Stephen Liao

Stephen Edward Liao
AffiliationHouse Liao
Title(s)Duke of Lorient
ParentsArdan Liao (father)
ChildrenJasmine Liao
Duncan Liao

Alternately known as "The Great Organizer" or "Sir Stephen", Stephen Edward Liao of House Liao nobility, politician, Duke of St. Lorient, and fifth Chancellor of the Capellan Confederation. He was also the 4th Duke of Liao.


Son of Ardan Liao and nephew of Chancellor Aleisha Liao, Stephen Liao was Duke of St. Lorient when he came into power as Chancellor. The young Duke felt that his republican predecessor Arden Baxter had run the Capellan Confederation Armed Forces into ineffectiveness to undermine House Liao, a potentially disastrous situation given the politically hostile relations between the Confederation and the Free Worlds League and Federated Suns resulting from Baxter's blunders.[3][4]

Steadfast in the belief war would happen in his lifetime, Stephen boldly committed to a complete reorganization of the CCAF to improve its morale and fighting skills. The reorganization, which he personally had a hand in, was a long and thorough process resulting in arguably the best-equipped and best-fed army the Confederation had yet seen. During the 2430s Stephen's efforts led to preliminary designs for massive troop carriers, concepts that would see reality centuries later with the development of the familiar Overlord and Union-class DropShips, as well investing heavily into the Maskirovka to make it a more effective organization.[3][4]

While successful in rebuilding the CCAF, the massive financial investments into what many mockingly called "Sir Stephen's Army" cost the nobility of his era considerable wealth, while rest of his nation average citizen's quality of life suffered with poor education, heavy taxes and new universal ceiling for all wages paid to them. The expanded Maskirovka easily kept this popular discontent at a low boil. However, even those in the egotistical Stephen's "pet army" grew to resent him, the Chancellor's fondness for parades and ceremony often resulting in more focus on stylish but uncomfortable uniforms and parade marches than martial ability and combat exercises.[3][4]

Death and Legacy[edit]

Though convinced war would happen in his lifetime, rather than dying in battle Stephen Liao's reign instead ended when he succumbed to a bad case of pneumonia in 2450.[2][3][4]

While successful in revitalizing the Capellan military, Stephen's efforts would also unfortunately excessively empower and embolden a number of high-ranking officers to consider taking supreme power themselves, most notably General Ral Merik of Merik's Grenadiers Capellan Hussar regiment. With Prefectorate and Stephen's 17-year-old successor Duncan moving to halve the size of Merik's prestigious unit to curb his influence, Merik and his unit staged a well-coordinated revolt, taking Duncan hostage. During the so-called "Time of Tribulation" as Merik's junta ruled in Duncan's name and the House of Scions squabbled over the proper response for seven months, Duncan ultimately chose to commit suicide in 2452 rather than remain a pawn in their scheme, Stephen's daughter and her brother's successor Jasmine Liao launching a brutal purge of her father's military to cement its loyalty to the Capellan state and the Chancellor above all.[3][4]

Despite this, centuries later "Sir" Stephen would be well-regarded for his dedication to the Capellan state and extensive efforts to reform the Capellan military. The honorable nature of the 15th Dracon Regiment mercenary unit, especially their stalwart defense of Gunthar during the Andurien-Canopus Invasion would draw comparisons to his actions, with the 15th's Colonel Samuel Shimosa being called "Sir Samuel" in tribute to Stephen.[5] Duke Gregory Liao's quiet devotion and dedication to the Confederation would also attract similar comparisons to Stephen.[6]

Further evidence of the esteem held for him, Stephen Liao's face would appear on the 50 yuan coin.[7]


  • In the original text, St. Lorient is cited as the name of his duchy, however it is possible this was a typo in the article describing his reign, due to House Liao (The Capellan Confederation) not listing this world in its A Brief Atlas section, but the spelling is very similar to the St. Loris listed in the map at the end of the book.[8]


  1. House Liao (The Capellan Confederation), foldout (pp. 163–164 in PDF): "The Capellan Confederation's Line of Succession and Partial Liao Family Tree"
  2. 2.0 2.1 House Liao (The Capellan Confederation), p. 34: "Sir Stephen - Tribulations"
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Inner Sphere, pp. 52–53: "The Capellan Confederation - Origins and History - A House Divided - Liao Revival"
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Handbook: House Liao, p. 19: "History of the Nation - Confederation Genesis - The Time of Tribulations"
  5. Handbook: House Liao, p. 47: "The Not-So Filthy Lucre"
  6. Handbook: House Liao, p. 96: "House Liao - Duke Gregory Liao"
  7. Handbook: House Liao, p. 129: "Economics - Mints and Taxation"
  8. House Liao (The Capellan Confederation), foldouts: "Map of the Capellan Confederation" and "Planet Guide"