For those of you unfamiliar with Battletech, it is a tabletop game first produced in 1985. Played on a hex map, the game involves battles between walking weapons of war, (called BattleMechs or ’Mechs for short) Supported by armor, infantry, and spacecraft, the ’Mechs are the main instruments of a nearly never-ending series of wars between interstellar states.
But what make Battletech unique is the detail that goes into the universe. Over nearly thirty years, a detailed universe has arisen, tracing the expansion of humanity, the creation of interstellar states, and the rise of a central authority and the “Golden Era” of a Star League. A golden era that was shattered when the ruler of the Star League was assassinated and an usurper takes his place, After a blood civil war, the Star League is shattered into it’s components states: five major interstellar states, known collectively as the Great Houses, and the smaller Periphery states.
The amount of detail that has been created over the last thirty years is staggering: a detailed timeline from 2010 to 3145, deep background on the empires – history, economy, military forces, religious groups, and politics. Each state has it’s own identity, each has it’s heroes and villains and each has triumphs and tragedies.
A key part of the games success is based on the fiction that supports it. Over a hundred novels, and four to five times as many short stories covering several hundred years of that history have been written. Characters are born, grow up, love, and die.
What does this have to do with me? I’ve written twenty short stories that have been e-published on the Battlecorps website, a subscription-based website, and is the only place to get canon fiction based on the Battletech Universe. I currently have over 160,000 words that have been published on the website, and one of my stories, “My Father’s Sword,” is in the Battlecorps Anthology, Onslaught (http://www.amazon.com/BattleTech-Onslaught-Tales-Clan-Invasion-ebook/dp/B00F56CLQ0/ref=sr_1_15?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1389274732&sr=1-15&keywords=onslaught).
It'll be five years in March since the first story was published, and my success has lead me into other areas of the gaming line where I can contribute. I have written parts of the Battletech sourcebooks over the last couple of years: Total Chaos, Field Manual: SLDF, and IP3: Interstellar Expeditions. Also, I’ve written several scenarios, some unit backgrounds, and 3145 Technical Readout entries. I was the main writer for the pdf-only product, Field Report 2765: Draconis Combine, and have contributed to several other products in a non-writing capacity.
That has been the sum of my “professional” writing to this point, but I want to expand beyond that. But make no mistake, Battletech will continue to be a part of my writing for the foreseeable future.
In the next part, I’ll talk about the advantages and disadvantage of writing in someone else’s universe.