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Poll

Who is the most evil?

Stefan Amaris
27 (19.6%)
Romano Liao
1 (0.7%)
Katherine "Katrina" Steiner-Davion
19 (13.8%)
Thomas "The Master" Marik
24 (17.4%)
Etienne Balzac
2 (1.4%)
Malvina Hazen
37 (26.8%)
Other
28 (20.3%)

Total Members Voted: 138

Author Topic: Who is the Most Evil Battletech Character?  (Read 6479 times)

Colt Ward

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Re: Who is the Most Evil Battletech Character?
« Reply #60 on: 09 January 2022, 22:05:21 »
It is much like a modern person would espouse more recent sports stars as the greatest to play the game rather than historical legends. Not necessarily wrong, but recency does play a part. In this case, discussing a fictional universe, it is completely one of zero-stakes and therefore makes it more interesting than one of which to argue.

No, never liked Jordan when he played or really watched NBA, but Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, and Doctor J were all better than Lebron.  But I do admire the hell out of Michael Jordan for his business empire- he either got (and importantly listened) great advice or has one hell of a head for business.  His branding model is what all athletes since have tried to copy.

Claudius Steiner must be right up there, he would drag people into the palace and play with them using old Star League medical equipment.

Come on, he was named Claudius . . . how else was he going to turn out?
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Middcore

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Re: Who is the Most Evil Battletech Character?
« Reply #61 on: 09 January 2022, 22:22:20 »
Come on, he was named Claudius . . . how else was he going to turn out?

Claudius, not Caligula. Anybody ever read the novel by Robert Grave

Xan

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Re: Who is the Most Evil Battletech Character?
« Reply #62 on: 10 January 2022, 19:19:08 »
The following comes to mind reading this:

“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”

― C. S. Lewis


Orwell84

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Re: Who is the Most Evil Battletech Character?
« Reply #63 on: 10 January 2022, 21:23:15 »
The following comes to mind reading this:

“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”

― C. S. Lewis

One of my all-time favourites :thumbsup:

Sums up the darker side of the Star League, the CC and the Clans quite nicely - the "it's all for your own good" kind of tyranny that tramples on personal freedom and genuine unity in diversity. Also why I'd rank Ian Cameron in some respects as being on par with Amaris, at least in terms of lives destroyed if not their differing motives.
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rebs

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Re: Who is the Most Evil Battletech Character?
« Reply #64 on: 10 January 2022, 22:47:28 »
For Ian Cameron's ultimate example of tyranny, see the Pollux Proclamation.

SteelRaven

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Re: Who is the Most Evil Battletech Character?
« Reply #65 on: 10 January 2022, 23:09:19 »
One of my all-time favourites :thumbsup:

Sums up the darker side of the Star League, the CC and the Clans quite nicely - the "it's all for your own good" kind of tyranny that tramples on personal freedom and genuine unity in diversity. Also why I'd rank Ian Cameron in some respects as being on par with Amaris, at least in terms of lives destroyed if not their differing motives.

I don't think any of these power where interested in policing morality as much as peace through power, power through conquest (might as well be the tag line for the BTU) I'll also put Amaris in his own category as he wasn't even pretending it was about peace or some warp sense of justice. The Cameron family being bastards may have been his justifications to the troops but he's goals seem to begin and end with becoming the Star Lord, why all of his efforts quickly evaporated after his 3 step plan. Step 1: Star a war, Step 2: Shoot Cameron in the head. Step 3: kill anyone who disagrees with step 2 (that ended up being allot of people) 
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GRUD

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Re: Who is the Most Evil Battletech Character?
« Reply #66 on: 10 January 2022, 23:21:39 »
I don't even know that Waterly or Amaris were evil.  Power hungry yes for sure.   But Malvina on the Other hand fits evil she would kill you for looking at her wrong
Malvina would kill you for looking at her, Period, Right OR Wrong.   ;D


Consider How Many of her scientists she had killed simply because they couldn't get her through the Fortress Wall.   xp  She lost her #1, so her #2 got promoted.  Maybe the #1 guy was #1 because he was the Best that she had?  Maybe #2 wasn't as good.  So now, #2 is in a spot ABOVE his Abilities, and Mad Malvina thinks this will work?  But then #2 couldn't do it, "BLAM!" (or "PEW!" if she used a laser), so #3 is now #1.  And #3 wasn't As Good As #2!  I think she went through 3 in one book, but it had been mentioned she'd killed OTHERS that had "Failed" her before them?


Do you REALLY want to get down to the "Photocopier Repair Technician" being the only person with experience with Technology working on the Fortress Wall Solution?  ::)  Apparently, that was "Winning Strategy!" as far as Mad Malvina was concerned.   xp
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Mecha-Anchovy

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Re: Who is the Most Evil Battletech Character?
« Reply #67 on: 10 January 2022, 23:25:57 »
The problem you have here is that the word 'evil' is somewhat opaque.

If the question is something like, "Whose actions had the worst consequences?", then my pick is probably Nicholas Kerensky, with Stefan Amaris as runner-up. I pick Nicholas for being the most significant person in not only creating the Clans but shaping them into what they would become. Amaris, for all that he was horrifically awful, was at his core a tinpot dictator with no vision beyond his own power and ego. Nicholas has that, but also had a horrific vision that centuries later everyone else is still paying for.

Remove Amaris from history and it's possible the Star League falls some other way: it had plenty of failure points, and we could see the systemic issues starting to tear it apart from before Amaris ever got involved. Remove Nicholas from history and the Clans look very different. Without him there's probably no return to the Pentagon (or at least not a victorious one), likely no eugenics programme or caste system, and probably no Clan society as we know it at all. Remove Nicholas and you probably get a bunch of separate military juntas in the Pentagon and in the Kerensky Cluster, they fight each other a lot, and the final result is another Deep Periphery state where feuding warlords fight over scraps of tech, which seems undoubtedly far better for everyone else in the setting.

However, that may not be the best way to judge evil. We could judge it as, "Who had the worst personal character; who was the least virtuous?" If so, it could be any random person in the whole setting, and is very unlikely to be one of the most famous ones. Of the most famous people, Amaris, Katherine, and Malvina stand out as particularly unpleasant, but in all likelihood there's been some sort of sadistic serial killer in the back of alleys of some minor planet I've never heard of who puts them all to shame.

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Re: Who is the Most Evil Battletech Character?
« Reply #68 on: 10 January 2022, 23:44:52 »
Malvina would kill you for looking at her, Period, Right OR Wrong.   ;D


Consider How Many of her scientists she had killed simply because they couldn't get her through the Fortress Wall.   xp  She lost her #1, so her #2 got promoted.  Maybe the #1 guy was #1 because he was the Best that she had?  Maybe #2 wasn't as good.  So now, #2 is in a spot ABOVE his Abilities, and Mad Malvina thinks this will work?  But then #2 couldn't do it, "BLAM!" (or "PEW!" if she used a laser), so #3 is now #1.  And #3 wasn't As Good As #2!  I think she went through 3 in one book, but it had been mentioned she'd killed OTHERS that had "Failed" her before them?


Do you REALLY want to get down to the "Photocopier Repair Technician" being the only person with experience with Technology working on the Fortress Wall Solution?  ::)  Apparently, that was "Winning Strategy!" as far as Mad Malvina was concerned.   xp

I kind of theorized once that Malvina's madness was a direct side-effect of Etienne's sabotage, because of how many truly BAD strategic decisions she wasn't jsut making, but having the support to MAKE.

among them, of course, being what you just outlined with completely failing to understand that specialist skills don't just pop into someone's head.

Terrorized people don't think particularly well, if the job requires thinking...
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Col Toda

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Re: Who is the Most Evil Battletech Character?
« Reply #69 on: 11 January 2022, 02:47:09 »
Kerensky by not staying and cleaning up the mess he left behind.  It permitted Blake to pursue the destruction of Mankind's technical base.

StCptMara

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Re: Who is the Most Evil Battletech Character?
« Reply #70 on: 11 January 2022, 06:16:18 »
Kerensky by not staying and cleaning up the mess he left behind.  It permitted Blake to pursue the destruction of Mankind's technical base.

You mean Conrad Toyama...Blake was just a bureaucrat, it was Toyama who came up with the religious trappings, and the Holy Shroud thing...
I don't think Blake said a thing that the people who worshipped him think he said, and that it was Toyama who created it all out of his depraved imagination.
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Elmoth

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Re: Who is the Most Evil Battletech Character?
« Reply #71 on: 11 January 2022, 06:52:30 »
I will go for a usual suspect, but a much smaller fry.

Redjack Ryan.

He is a sociopath that likes to torture people for a hobby. Official publications on that. He is a bad guy and he knows it. He tortures for fun, not for grand objectives. Malvina still had an objective even if her methods were quite bad for achieving it.  Redjack just wanted to cause as much pain as he could.

He didn't have the means to do this on a grand scale, but on individual evilness ranking he was quite high.

Mendrugo

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Re: Who is the Most Evil Battletech Character?
« Reply #72 on: 11 January 2022, 07:05:05 »
Eh - Redjack was a piker compared to Gunthar "Vampire" Von Strang.

Example - buried thousands of people alive in extensive underground vaults with no light and no food, and threw a few hundred violent psychopaths in for good measure.   Let them murder and eat each other in the dark.

Some survived for years, but were barely human when SLDF forces finally found and freed them.

I've always been disappointed that the Star League SB and the Liberation of Terra SBs missed the Jade Falcon profile on him, and entirely skipped over the battle for New York, which featured Gunthar's desperate battle to reach his evacuation ships at LaGuardia.
« Last Edit: 11 January 2022, 07:22:42 by Mendrugo »
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Elmoth

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Re: Who is the Most Evil Battletech Character?
« Reply #73 on: 11 January 2022, 07:15:53 »
I concede my position to Gunthar Von Srang. I did not remember him, true.

Mecha-Anchovy

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Re: Who is the Most Evil Battletech Character?
« Reply #74 on: 11 January 2022, 08:22:02 »
You mean Conrad Toyama...Blake was just a bureaucrat, it was Toyama who came up with the religious trappings, and the Holy Shroud thing...
I don't think Blake said a thing that the people who worshipped him think he said, and that it was Toyama who created it all out of his depraved imagination.

The opening fiction in Historical: Second Succession War suggests that Toyama turned ComStar into a mystery cult on Blake's explicit orders:

Quote from: Historical 2SW p. 6-7
“It happened naturally, Conrad. In hindsight, I realized that we’d already been moving towards it even before Silver Shield. Even your little quip about ‘excommunication’ adds to the pile. But we have the beginnings of a religion, and we’ve had them for a long time. More often than not, our recruits feel a genuine calling. Only at the higher levels does the mongering and sycophancy kick in. We’re a proto-religion right now. But soon, you can turn it in to a full religion.

“All you need is a saint.”

Conrad jumped to his feet, and the flimsy chair fell back, clattering across the floor.

“NO! I refuse! That’s…horrifying! I’ll not turn you in to some figurehead, some idol, some false god just to further this ridiculous agenda!”

“Oh, stop it, Conrad. I’ve been a symbol for years now. But I haven’t been myself for most of my life. Always in the service of others, for the greater good. Meeting someone else’s expectations. I was a little genius, and my parents made sure I went to school. I graduated at sixteen, but I’ve had no life, and no love. All I’ve ever had was a career and a crisis.” Suddenly, Jerome’s face twisted in to an angry scowl. “Why should I care how I’m remembered, when I’ve barely lived at all?!”

Now it's up to you how seriously you take that, and I try to take all published sourcebooks as polite suggestions rather than ironclad law, but if it makes a difference to you... there is a canonical source suggesting that Toyama only played the religious tyrant because Blake ordered him to.

jasonf

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Re: Who is the Most Evil Battletech Character?
« Reply #75 on: 11 January 2022, 08:58:55 »
In terms of dark-horse candidates, I'm gonna go with Titus Cameron-Jones.

You might be able to make a justification for completely wiping out Gibson and Circinus as hornet's nests full of Wobbies that have their own dangerous stashes of WMDs, but the obliteration of Diamantina, Paradise (Pop. 144 mil.), and Poulsbo (Pop. 2.4 bn.) were essentially three worlds full of innocent people wiped out "just to be safe" ...or something.

That's 5 nuked planets. Completely off the maps. Three of which had no actual Wobbies at the time. At least 4 of which well-populated. 

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Re: Who is the Most Evil Battletech Character?
« Reply #76 on: 11 January 2022, 09:36:22 »
The problem you have here is that the word 'evil' is somewhat opaque.

If the question is something like, "Whose actions had the worst consequences?", then my pick is probably Nicholas Kerensky, with Stefan Amaris as runner-up. I pick Nicholas for being the most significant person in not only creating the Clans but shaping them into what they would become. Amaris, for all that he was horrifically awful, was at his core a tinpot dictator with no vision beyond his own power and ego. Nicholas has that, but also had a horrific vision that centuries later everyone else is still paying for.

Remove Amaris from history and it's possible the Star League falls some other way: it had plenty of failure points, and we could see the systemic issues starting to tear it apart from before Amaris ever got involved. Remove Nicholas from history and the Clans look very different. Without him there's probably no return to the Pentagon (or at least not a victorious one), likely no eugenics programme or caste system, and probably no Clan society as we know it at all. Remove Nicholas and you probably get a bunch of separate military juntas in the Pentagon and in the Kerensky Cluster, they fight each other a lot, and the final result is another Deep Periphery state where feuding warlords fight over scraps of tech, which seems undoubtedly far better for everyone else in the setting.

However, that may not be the best way to judge evil. We could judge it as, "Who had the worst personal character; who was the least virtuous?" If so, it could be any random person in the whole setting, and is very unlikely to be one of the most famous ones. Of the most famous people, Amaris, Katherine, and Malvina stand out as particularly unpleasant, but in all likelihood there's been some sort of sadistic serial killer in the back of alleys of some minor planet I've never heard of who puts them all to shame.

It's not just the "what" Clan society became, but also how Nicholas Kerensky Built clan society and what he did with its dissidents.

BrianDavion

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Re: Who is the Most Evil Battletech Character?
« Reply #77 on: 11 January 2022, 12:19:51 »
I kind of theorized once that Malvina's madness was a direct side-effect of Etienne's sabotage, because of how many truly BAD strategic decisions she wasn't jsut making, but having the support to MAKE.

among them, of course, being what you just outlined with completely failing to understand that specialist skills don't just pop into someone's head.

Terrorized people don't think particularly well, if the job requires thinking...

IIRC Beckett Malthus outright accused Malvina of having tainted genes. I'd not be suprised if her blood linniage gets reaved and that becomes the "offical jade falcon party line"

carlisimo

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Re: Who is the Most Evil Battletech Character?
« Reply #78 on: 11 January 2022, 18:40:07 »
I voted for Malvina Hazen; she feels like the most one-dimensionally evil character we've seen. 

Those who want to conquer humanity because they're telling themselves they can make it better are evil too, but they have more understandable or relatable type of evil than Malvina's.  I'd say that includes Stefan Amaris.  A lot of previous House Lords were similar in mentality to Malvina, but they weren't successful enough to have the opportunity to show us how depraved they were. 

I also with nova_dew; ComStar deserves a place of honor here because they were actively trying to hold humanity back.  I haven't read enough about them to know if I can blame it on somebody specific.

I am Belch II

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Re: Who is the Most Evil Battletech Character?
« Reply #79 on: 11 January 2022, 19:32:05 »
Which one had the highest death toll??? That would be a good start. Don't know my Battletech history as good as I should.
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klarg1

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Re: Who is the Most Evil Battletech Character?
« Reply #80 on: 11 January 2022, 20:53:18 »
I voted for Malvina Hazen; she feels like the most one-dimensionally evil character we've seen. 

Those who want to conquer humanity because they're telling themselves they can make it better are evil too, but they have more understandable or relatable type of evil than Malvina's.  I'd say that includes Stefan Amaris.  A lot of previous House Lords were similar in mentality to Malvina, but they weren't successful enough to have the opportunity to show us how depraved they were. 

I also with nova_dew; ComStar deserves a place of honor here because they were actively trying to hold humanity back.  I haven't read enough about them to know if I can blame it on somebody specific.

As an organization, I'd vote Comstar/WoB. Dedicating three centuries to the explicit project of systematically making things worse for (essentially) all of humanity is hard to beat.

Most evil individual is a harder call.

Mecha-Anchovy

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Re: Who is the Most Evil Battletech Character?
« Reply #81 on: 11 January 2022, 22:35:34 »
As an organization, I'd vote Comstar/WoB. Dedicating three centuries to the explicit project of systematically making things worse for (essentially) all of humanity is hard to beat.

Eh, their mission was explicitly to save and uplift humanity through preserving technology. They got cultish about it eventually and gave birth to the Word of Blake, but there are enough good motives alloyed with the bad that I feel hesitant.

I'm not sure how you can sensible say that ComStar as a whole is worse than the Clans, or even Houses Liao or Kurita.

Mendrugo

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Re: Who is the Most Evil Battletech Character?
« Reply #82 on: 11 January 2022, 22:59:00 »
But House Liao only wants to provide free medical care and education while keeping the warp beacon lit from the celestial throne...



Go ahead and try to convince me that Celestial Wisdom <> God Emperor and that this isn't BattleTech's Golden Throne.
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Re: Who is the Most Evil Battletech Character?
« Reply #83 on: 11 January 2022, 23:42:31 »
I'm not sure how you can sensible say that ComStar as a whole is worse than the Clans, or even Houses Liao or Kurita.

From a quick run down of ComStars history.
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Re: Who is the Most Evil Battletech Character?
« Reply #84 on: 12 January 2022, 03:15:57 »
The opening fiction in Historical: Second Succession War suggests that Toyama turned ComStar into a mystery cult on Blake's explicit orders:

Now it's up to you how seriously you take that, and I try to take all published sourcebooks as polite suggestions rather than ironclad law, but if it makes a difference to you... there is a canonical source suggesting that Toyama only played the religious tyrant because Blake ordered him to.

See, I do not have that book, so did not know about that. That is actually rather interesting. Previously, it was all kinda vague, and the impression I had always gotten was that Toyama did it to assert greater control over  the organization. So, this is really cool to finally get something that is actually not vague.
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klarg1

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Re: Who is the Most Evil Battletech Character?
« Reply #85 on: 12 January 2022, 07:31:43 »
Eh, their mission was explicitly to save and uplift humanity through preserving technology. They got cultish about it eventually and gave birth to the Word of Blake, but there are enough good motives alloyed with the bad that I feel hesitant.

I'm not sure how you can sensible say that ComStar as a whole is worse than the Clans, or even Houses Liao or Kurita.

While the recruiting pamphlet definitely says "Savior of Mankind", every policy and action we know about from Kerensky's exodus until the battle of Tukayyid was aimed at the specific goal of perpetuating war, strife, and technological decline across all of humanity (with the possible exception of Earth).

The loss of medical technology alone had to have resulted in a death toll in the tens or hundreds of billions across 268 years. The promise of stepping in to rebuild was always "some day soon" but never "now".
« Last Edit: 12 January 2022, 10:48:14 by klarg1 »

klarg1

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Re: Who is the Most Evil Battletech Character?
« Reply #86 on: 12 January 2022, 07:35:47 »
to convince me that Celestial Wisdom <> God Emperor and that this isn't BattleTech's Golden Throne.

If I ruled over billions of people across dozens of worlds, I'd probably build a chair like that for myself too.

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Re: Who is the Most Evil Battletech Character?
« Reply #87 on: 12 January 2022, 10:15:15 »
While the recruiting pamphlet definitely says "Savior of Mankind", every policy and action we know about from Kerensky's exodus until the battle of Tukayyid was aimed at the specific goal of perpetuating war, strife, and technological decline across all of humanity (with the possible exception of Earth).

There are two arguments ComStar would traditionally make, right?

The first is that by depriving the great houses of advanced technology they're lowering the tempo of war and reducing the odds of a catastrophic self-annihilation through advanced technology. The Star League had a lot of advanced tech, and the more they remove or monopolise that, the more the houses need to rely on less advanced technology and thus are less likely to inadvertently depopulate entire planets or wipe out the human race.

The second is the accelerationist argument: the great houses are the cause of all of this misery, and the quicker their infrastructure collapses the quicker they too will collapse, and there will be the hope of building something new from the remains.

My take is that the latter argument is specious and I have very little sympathy for it, but I can understand the idea of wanting to keep advanced weapons of mass destruction out of the houses' hands, or at least, minimise their use.

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Re: Who is the Most Evil Battletech Character?
« Reply #88 on: 12 January 2022, 11:18:12 »
Mecha-Anchovy, the problem with that is the way to end a war is to get a decisive resolution.  ComStar's action did not accelerate the decline or anything like that, their meddling kept it dragging out.  Considering they wanted perpetual war a la Oceania/Eastasia/Eurasia and they kept it balanced to maintain that war- see ramming through the CapCon, League & Drac alliance- so that one side could not decisively win and thus start them on the road to recovery.  Heck, they lashed out several times because someone might lead the IS into a new age; and it was not them, how dare they!

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Re: Who is the Most Evil Battletech Character?
« Reply #89 on: 12 January 2022, 11:36:43 »
Generally speaking, BattleTech has plenty of 'win-at-all' costs types like Malvina Hazen.  I'm not sure one is any more evil than the other.

Then again, I could never pay enough attention in philosophy classes, so perhaps I'm the wrong man to comment on such things.