- Your BattleTech News Roundup For August 2020
- MechWarrior 5 DLC, Heroes Of The Inner Sphere, Previewed In Podcasts And Streams
- MechCommander Returns As a MechWarrior 5 Mod
- Your BattleTech News Roundup For July, 2020
- The Evolution Of Long-Range Missiles In BattleTech, or Why You Should Shut Up And Love The LRM-5
- Read more →
|Died||12 October, 3065|
|Affiliation||Clan Steel Viper|
Perigard Zalman (born 3019 - died October 12th, 3065) was a MechWarrior of Clan Steel Viper who would go on to become their Khan after the Clans' loss to the Com Guards on Tukayyid. His reign saw the Steel Vipers ejected from the Inner Sphere by Clan Jade Falcon after a failed attempt to supplant them in their Occupational Zone. He would go on to die in battle with Clan Snow Raven over Lum in the Clan Homeworlds.
- 1 Biography
- 2 Legacy
- 3 Titles and Positions
- 4 Game Rules
- 5 BattleMechs
- 6 References
- 7 Bibliography
Described as very tall and rather thin for a Clan Mechwarrior, with dark eyes and a chiseled face, Perigard Zalman was said to be homely by traditional standards. A Crusader in a Clan that was historically counted amongst the Wardens, Zalman seemed to herald a new breed of Steel Viper warriors who as often as not held similar political beliefs to his own. Likewise, Zalman was known to believe strongly in the Clan eugenics program, as well as Steel Viper's practices of greatly limiting any use of freeborn warriors in their Touman, relenting on this stance only in the latter years of his life. Known to be calculating and careful in action, his abilities as a warrior and leader had earned for him the respect and leadership of the Steel Vipers, yet he was also said to be something of an emotional paradox. He was noted to be a more conservative and confident leader than his predecessor, yet he was also noted to be indecisive without a strong supporter to back him.
A gifted MechWarrior and tactician, Zalman became the master of his Bloodname House early on during his career. He would achieve success in this role with the aid of a sibkin who had tested into the scientist caste, arranging the pairing of several high profile legacies to revitalize the line.
Zalman was also said to have been a rival of Natalie Breen for command of the 1st Viper Guards, until Breen was able to best the younger warrior in a Trial of Position. The dynamic rivalry between the two would continue until Breen ascended to the post of Khan.
Outbound Light and Operation Revival
Zalman held command of the Steel Viper's Alpha Galaxy prior to being elected to the post of saKhan in 3045, in the wake of Breen's ascension to the khanship of Clan Steel Viper. Perigard Zalman was said to enforce her policies, and to have fought many Trials that Khan Breen felt were issued by lesser challengers. His Crusader politics did much to balance the Warden point of view of his Khan, and the two reportedly worked well together, seeming to harness the energy of their earlier rivalry, while bringing stable leadership to their Clan. Both he and Khan Breen would vote in the affirmative for the invasion of the Inner Sphere after the Outbound Light incident of 3048. Though the Steel Vipers performed spectacularly in the early goings of the trials to determine which Clans would have the right to invade, sub-par performances in the latter half stunted their final results, leaving them in the reserve position as the fifth Clan involved with Operation Revival. Both khans fought a wave of challenges from many of their angry warriors, but none succeeded in besting either of them.
Knowing that the Steel Vipers would eventually be called upon to join the Invading Clans, Zalman's efforts and leadership were rewarded when newly-elected ilKhan Ulric Kerensky activated them after the death of Leo Showers and the Clans' return from Strana Mechty. SaKhan Zalman led many of the attacks that quickly seized several worlds from the Federated Commonwealth and Falcons alike. Among these, the Vipers took Twycross (which had been previously lost by the Jade Falcons), Blair Atholl, Benfled, Montmarault, and part of Orkney in a joint action with Clan Jade Falcon during the fifth wave of Operation Revival. Alpha Galaxy later captured Jabuka, a planet that represented the furthest point into the Inner Sphere yet reached by a Clan of Kerensky.
Battle of Tukayyid
In May of 3052, the Steel Vipers went into the Battle of Tukayyid bidding confidently to gain an earlier landing and more honor, with saKhan Zalman in command of the Viper's Gamma Galaxy. To the Viper warriors' frustration, the ensuing struggle would turn against them at the region called the Devil's Bath, a horrific combination of geysers, boiling mud and narrow paths walled in by massive granite columns which negated the Clan's advantages while playing to the Com Guards' strengths. 
With Khan Breen provoked into advancing into the treacherous Bath after Precentor Beeshor Yekel of the Sixth Division insulted her honor, Zalman and the rest of the Viper inflicted heavy losses upon the Sixth and Seventh-Eighth Divisions as they pushed them through the mud fields. Realizing both Galaxies were now dangerously low on ammunition, Zalman ordered Gamma Galaxy's 57th Striker Cluster to divide the Com Guard units and pin down the Sixth Division, sacrificing the Fifty-Seventh to allow the Breen-led Alpha to annihilate the hated Com Guard Division. 
Even with destroying the 78th Division shortly after, once they reached the far end of the Bath the virtually unarmed Alpha and Gamma Galaxies found themselves confronted by fresh and superior numbers of ComStar troops. As the Com Guards breached the Viper lines in several places, Zalman was forced to request aid from the reserve Zeta Galaxy to prevent his force from collapsing. Galled to watch the "freebirth" troops of Zeta succeed where his own warriors failed, as the Com Guard forces began to push the Vipers back, a wounded Zalman convinced Khan Breen to order a general withdrawal back to the landing zone. 
After Tukayyid, Breen led an investigation into the history of a ComGuard soldier who bore genetic similarities to a Clan Wolverine warrior. She determined that the soldier wasn't a fugitive of the Not-Named Clan, but a relative who shared a common ancestor. With Zalman's blessing, she sent elements of the Alpha Galaxy to destroy this person's family to insure the tainted bloodline would end.
Khan of the Steel Vipers
Natalie Breen's withdrawal was seen as disgraceful to many in and outside the Clan, but it left the Steel Vipers in a good position afterward. Most of their Touman was still intact, having emerged from Tukayyid with the least amount of damage out of all of the Clans present. Khan Zalman was able to make gains at the Jade Falcon's expense in the coming years. At times, Zalman was forced to deal with incidents that reminded the Vipers of their loss at Tukayyid and the attendant shame, such as when he presided over the banishment of Dawn to the Inner Sphere for her failures in a raid on the world of Cumbres, but would later welcome her back into the fold after her redemption.
In another incident, Zalman's saKhan, Christopher Ahmed, became politically entangled when he tried to play units of Clan Wolf and the Jade Falcons against each other during the Refusal War, in attempt to benefit the Warden political faction through his machinations. The unexpected deaths of both Ulric and Khan Natasha Kerensky put an end to this notion, and the Jade Falcons' gains at the end of the struggle caused more consternation amongst the Viper warriors. SaKhan Ahmed's failure was punished by the Steel Viper Clan Council, who found him guilty of Treason for having acted without sanction of his superior. He was slain by Khan Zalman's champion, Star Colonel Brett Andrews during his Trial of Refusal, who succeeded Ahmed in his post soon after. The political fallout of this would virtually paralyze the Touman for long enough to completely disrupt any chance that the Steel Vipers had of taking advantage of this situation with it's Clan neighbors in the Inner Sphere, and was regarded by Zalman himself as his greatest failure.
The Steel Vipers would make steady gains against the Jade Falcons throughout the 3050's, having taken six more worlds by 3055, and more after that. Though the Vipers would never hold nearly as many worlds as the original Invader Clan in their shared Occupational Zone, the resources gained during this time would strengthen the Clan beyond what it could have ever known had they not won a place in Operation Revival. The Steel Vipers would put little of this into their Inner Sphere holdings, opting to send most of their new found resources into strengthening their position in the Clan Homeworlds. This strategy was sound enough from a Clan position, but seemed to go against the idea of coexisting with the people of the Inner Sphere while trying to work with them toward the establishment of a new Star League as laid out in the vision of Sanra Mercer and by which the Steel Vipers had long been guided. Coupling their sometimes conflicted leadership with this lack of focus on securing their gains, the Steel Vipers were unable to truly exploit the volatile political and martial troubles of their neighbors, something that would haunt them in the coming years.
The Great Refusal
In May of 3060, Task Force Serpent had finished with destroying Clan Smoke Jaguar's home world of Huntress, and had issued a challenge to the Grand Council on Strana Mechty itself. The challenge issued by the newly formed Second Star League was delivered by Victor Steiner-Davion, and came in the form of a Trial of Refusal against the invasion of the Inner Sphere. The Steel Viper Khans opted to stay out of the ensuing vote along with the rest of the Warden Clans, but the Clan defeat that resulted pleased few in the Steel Vipers, who felt it as a strong blow to their destiny as foretold by Sanra Mercer. The only benefits came through expansion, after Clan Nova Cat was Abjured for siding with the Star League forces and Clan Ghost Bear's announcement that they would be leaving the Clan Homeworlds. This rush for conquest did much to take the sting out of the recent turn of events.
Challenging the Jade Falcons
|“||The Jade Falcon policy of not only accepting freedoms into their ranks, but of actually allowing one to compete for a bloodname is one of the most wasteful policies to be found in any Clan.||”|
|— Khan Perigard Zalman to the Grand Council, 3060.|
During all this time, Natalie Breen had continued to serve the Steel Vipers and Khan Zalman as an advisor. Khan Zalman would especially seek her consultation regarding the Jade Falcons, though saKhan Andrews vocally protested this situation, often remarking that the former Khan had outlived her usefulness and should be shunned. Under Breen's advice, Khan Zalman increasingly challenged the Jade Falcons in the Grand Council regarding their stance toward freeborn warriors serving in their Touman. Zalman was a staunch believer in the supremacy of trueborn warriors and the Clans' eugenics program, and made it no secret that he despised the idea of any Clan that would honor a freeborn over a trueborn for any reason. His remarks regarding this state of affairs in the Grand Council (urged by former Khan Breen, and supported by saKhan Andrews) inflamed the Jade Falcon Khan Marthe Pryde into challenging him to a duel to be fought by champions.
|“||It is not surprising, Khan Marthe, that you cannot see the deterioration of your own Clan's genetic strains. Further, it is possible you do not see the harm you do your own Clan by elevation of freebirths to power within the Clan or your willingness to deny a trueborn a bloodname so that a freeborn might win it. And it is clear that in your own Clan mythology you have obscured the fact that the greatest of your own heroes was himself an aberration, an abomination, who was indeed something of a sham hero in his—||”|
|— Perigard Zalman to the Grand Council, before being cut off by the challenge of an enraged Khan Marthe Pryde.|
After losing their trial when Steel Viper champion Star Colonel Ivan Sinclair of the 94th Battle Cluster was narrowly defeated by Jade Falcon Star Captain Horse, Breen - often called Khan Breen by her former saKhan who was now her Khan - would advise Zalman that the time had come for the Steel Vipers to seize the Jade Falcon's Occupation Zone.
|“||Natalie Breen would die if she were sent away. Hers is one of the best military minds I have known. I use it the way I use any valuable tool, the way I use anyone who can help me achieve my goals—the way, in fact, I use you, Brett Andrews. You are the fire I need to make the Steel Vipers more powerful.||”|
|— Khan Perigard Zalman to saKhan Andrews, 3060.|
Heeding Natalie Breen's advice to strike while the Jade Falcons were still reeling from the recent turn of events on Strana Mechty, the Vipers launched a sudden attack after traveling back to the Inner Sphere from the Kerensky Cluster in early 3061. The initial waves were led by saKhan Andrews and achieved great success in the Falcon's coreward holdings, seizing nearly a dozen worlds in a very short time. But after several weeks, the Falcons were able to begin reversing this with their battle-hardened Touman. On the world of Waldorff, the Steel Vipers made their stand against the gathering Jade Falcons. Khan Zalman would find and challenge the object of much of his pro-trueborn rhetoric, Jade Falcon freeborn Star Commander Diana Pryde who had managed to win a Bloodname. The two engaged in a duel at the area called Daemon Beach, a duel that Zalman was not destined to win. His Battle Cobra was finally disabled by the freeborn, which also shattered the last bit of resolve left in the Steel Vipers on-planet. After accepting the Falcon offer of Hegira, the Vipers departed the Inner Sphere forever.
Return to the Homeworlds and Death
Bitter from this reversal of fortunes, Perigard Zalman often spoke out about the "taint" that he felt had infected the Invading Clans, though he was also said to have changed the Steel Viper's official stance on freeborn warriors by allowing selected individuals to join the Clan Steel Viper Touman. He would also face several challenges to his continued leadership before reaching New Kent, but he defeated these. Using the vast stores of resources plundered from the Inner Sphere, the Steel Vipers set about proving their dominance amongst the Home Clans. Fending off attacks from Clan Snow Raven that saw the Steel Vipers lose their enclave on Homer (after negotiating a graceful exit from the world with Clan Cloud Cobra, with Clan Star Adder serving as mediator), Khan Zalman prepared his Clan to strike a great blow against their enemies. In 3065, this was done when the Steel Vipers launched an attack on Lum, where they seized a land holding with which to threaten the Snow Ravens' control of the world after entering the fight without having been granted safcon. The Snow Ravens countered by blockading the system, cutting off the Steel Vipers from resupply, and launching an assault that would slowly drive the Vipers from the world. Without hegira to protect them, Khan Zalman's Dropship was destroyed by the guns of the CSR Avalanche.
|“||Glory removes all pain. A glorious death is the stairway to the Remembrance.||”|
|— Khan Perigard Zalman, Clan Steel Viper, 3059|
Remembered for being a gifted MechWarrior and Master of the Zalman Bloodhouse, Perigard Zalman's greater legacy is a mixed one. After him, the Crusader mindset would slowly come to dominate his Clan, though they were by that point effectively removed from the rolls of the Invader Clans. In latter years, the Steel Viper loss and ejection from the Inner Sphere at the hands of the Jade Falcons would become cited as one of the harbingers of Inner Sphere taint in the Clan Homeworlds, a point of view that Khan Zalman himself had helped to create. Zalman's words were recorded by Steel Viper Loremaster Arthur Stoklas, and his ideas carried to great extremes by his successor, Brett Andrews, who went on to make aggressive use of this concept as a tool during his ambitious rise to power.
During the late 3060's, a colossal Leviathan-class WarShip was produced by the Steel Vipers for purposes of dominating the Clan Homeworlds through increased naval strength. Called the CSV Perigard Zalman, it first saw battle against Clan Diamond Shark over Strana Mechty in 3070. This vessel was the pinnacle of Clan Steel Viper's naval power during its time, and was used to assert Steel Viper dominance over the Clan Homeworlds well into the Wars of Reaving.
Titles and Positions
|Khan of Clan Steel Viper
| Succeeded by|
|saKhan of Clan Steel Viper
| Succeeded by|
A more conservative leader compared to his predecessor, Zalman was a Veteran-level MechWarrior who suffered from the Impatient and Poor Strategic Planning traits, receiving a +4 Strategy modifier at best. He receives a +6 Leadership bonus, and a +1 bonus to the initiative rolls for all troops under his command.
- The Wars of Reaving, p. 22 - "Crashing Home"
- The Wars of Reaving, p. 22 - "Crashing Home"
- Field Manual: Warden Clans, p. 137 - "Pulling the Falcon's Feathers" and "Shattered Dreams"
- Field Manual: Warden Clans, p. 142 - "Perigard Zalman"
- Era Report: 3052, p. 92 - "Perigard Zalman"
- Era Report: 3062, p. 98, 99 - "Perigard Zalman"
- Era Report: 3052, p. 58, 59 - "Clan Steel Viper"
- Tukayyid, pp. 79-88 "Campaign: Clan Steel Viper"
- Invading Clans, pp. 86-87 "Clan Steel Viper - Fifth Wave: The Snake Strikes - Tukayyid"
- Tukayyid, pp. 87-88 "Campaign: Clan Steel Viper - Halting the Vipers "
- Bloodright (scenario pack), p. 6
- Star Lord, chapters 3, 5, and Epilogue
- Era Report: 3062, p. 63 - "Clan Steel Viper"
- Prince of Havoc, chapters 3 through 15
- Falcon Rising, chapter 8 through 20
- Falcon Rising, chapter 28.
- Falcon Rising, chapter 32 through 38, epilogue
- Era Report: 3062, p. 98 - "Brett Andrews"
- Field Manual: Updates, p. 48 - "Clan Jade Falcon"
- The Wars of Reaving, p. 12 - "Armed Politics"
- The Wars of Reaving, p. 21 - Rising Viper
- The Wars of Reaving, p. 181, 182 - "Brett Andrews"
- The Wars of Reaving, p. 51 - "Closing the Net"
- Era Report: 3062, p. 160 - "Major Personalities of the Late Clan Invasion"
- Falcon Rising, chapter 36 and 37