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Author Topic: Character Study of the Week: Adam Steiner  (Read 4938 times)

Grey

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Character Study of the Week: Adam Steiner
« on: 07 April 2015, 05:45:06 »
Character Study of the Week: Adam Steiner
Who: Adam Steiner
What: Kommandant (Major), Nagalring Training Academy
   Kommandant (Major), First Summerset Strikers
   Leutnant-General, 14th Donegal Guards RCT
   General of the Armies, Lyran Alliance
   Archon, Lyran Commonwealth
When: 3024 - 3121
Weapon of Choice: 2N Axman
         9Ma Awesome
         7X Thunder Hawk

Unlike most characters Adam Steiner comes to us first through the medium of an animated cartoon, and is the most prominent major character from that cartoon to feature in the wider universe, edging out Franklin Sakemoto who side-lined himself, and Victor who only had a guest shot on the cartoon along with Galen.

This obvious uniqueness gives the character a very different start. For one thing it means we don’t get to see inside his head in the same way as a novel character, so everything we know about him must be vocally emoted, with a little blatant physical emoting as well. This can make a character seem very simplistic compared to novel characters who are permitted the time and space to cogitate matters in their head in a manner we are privy to.

This is an important factor as he starts out more in the same vein as a sourcebook character, shaped by events rather than shaping things. The invasion and its results are a foregone conclusion, only Adam’s part in it remains to be seen, and considerable liberty is taken with that in the cartoon, to jarring effect for those familiar with the existing canon.

Regardless Adam comes across as a very blunt, angry character until he starts appearing in novels, where he continues to be angry and blunt, but is also permitted to develop further as we learn his thoughts and feelings.

Not that he doesn’t have a right to be angry, his homeworld was invaded, left to the invaders due to how far behind the lines it was and his brother was . . . actually I’ve found nothing concrete on his brother beyond the man being taken by the Jade Falcons and is eventually mentioned as deceased but without any solid confirmation, in any case Adam has a fair reason to feel sore about things.

Such is the limitations of the media, quite aside from the obvious fact that cartoons are very different from novels, it also has to tell the story in a condensed manner, characters may develop but they do so in a somewhat disjointed manner, or they don’t do it at all.

Another difference is that everything must be explained, sometimes in great detail, simply because the audience has no other way of gathering this information. This has influenced Adam’s reign as one of his better qualities has been to explain his policies before enacting them, building consensus and support and feeling oddly realistic since this is what the character has always done.

One aspect of similarity between the two forms of media is in terms of BattleMechs.

Any cartoon like this has the added job of selling toys, and as a consequence Adam Steiner winds up piloting two of the most unique ‘Mechs in the Federated Commonwealth, where every unit is apparently made up of nothing but Maulers, Wolfhounds and jump capable Centurions.

In fact he appears to pilot the only Heavy ‘Mech in the entire Inner Sphere, a 2N Axman, and later a command variant of an Awesome, because he’s the main character and leader and it wouldn’t do to put him in a ‘Mech just anyone, like Victor Steiner-Davion, could run around in like a Mauler.

Joking aside the Axman is unique in the cartoon for a couple of reasons, first of all it saves on animation costs to have only a small stable of images to be drawn, or used in fantastic 90’s CGI. Secondly it makes him distinct, it’s the hero ‘Mech of the setting and the only choice for a hero character.

The same can be said of the Awesome, which is a modified 9M, removing all the secondary weaponry for a standard small laser, ECM and command gear. Which mean it’s a bigger toy and can have two characters, one of which would be unique to this toy while money is saved by churning out more Adam Steiner figures.

The Awesome also forms the basis of what Adam pilots during the Civil War, a Thunder Hawk, which is an Awesome taking to the next logical step, and a credible threat to even a Dire Wolf with a trio of head choppers and no compunction about using them.

Could he have piloted a Berserker, an upsized Axman of sorts, instead? Not to the same effect, the Thunder Hawk is, like both the Awesome and 2N Axman, a support design, and good for a command character to pilot, it is also more Lyran than the two he used in the cartoons, as is the Thunder Hawk.

However by its very name the Berserker is not a command ‘Mech, it’s not even the sort of ‘Mech to be used by a character who has preached unity, it’s supposed to be a devastating wild card, a lone wolf design even.

Finally it should be noted that the Gauntlet OmniMech was inspired by Adam, which makes it very fitting that it has a Bushwacker sort of vibe going on. It also is an unconventional medium design in an organisation that favours heavy and assault classes, meaning that even though he does not (to my knowledge) pilot one the Gauntlet further cements Adam’s character traits.

Also, in being a cartoon, it requires certain moral tones to be played up, in this case cooperation, working together, the downsides of discrimination, all very basic stuff for a kid’s cartoon.

While the cartoon may be considered canon, a little creativity means that within the setting the Battletech cartoon is a poorly received piece of moral boosting propaganda with a basis in part not just on Adam’s journey to Somerset, but also his attack on Barcelona, which occurred with a significantly greater force built around that sorry lance he started with.

Convenient, but also for the better, in the cartoon his trip from Tharkad to Somerset didn’t so much meander as it seemed to be following a White Rabbit, going from world to world in a pattern that seemingly followed the advancing invasion more than be an indirect route to his goal.

Since he started out as a cartoon character Adam Steiner carries some baggage most others don’t. For one thing a cartoon protagonist has to be several things, obviously he has to be somewhat simplistic, not just because the intended audience is young but because the medium doesn’t have the length in each episode necessary to fully flesh out ethical and military complexities, and personalities must be equally blunt as a result.

He also has to be a natural leader, able to motivate and inspire a diverse range of people to provide a diverse pallet of characters. This is not unusual in novels, however a cartoon needs more of a twist and makes it a commandeered international crew with all the seething undercurrents that provides as internal tension.

It’s not lazy but it is a shortcut, a novel can take time to flesh out internal conflicts so that even if it is a group with a similar background it makes sense for them to clash with each other. Making it an international band of ‘volunteers’ means that the audience doesn’t have to think about why they’re angry with each other, they know full well, and can concentrate on other events.

And of course it’s up to heroic Adam to smooth these things over, be the level headed, skilled leader and hero of the show.

These traits make him an excellent candidate as a Civil War Leader as well. Keep in mind that within and without the setting this was a period that is viewed as Steiners vs Davions, and the list of Davion bouncing around for the Allies is immense. There are a considerable number of Steiners as well, but none have the same prominence as the Steiner-Davion family or even Jackson Davion.

More importantly there has to be someone on the Loyalist side of things who is “heroic”. And not just good, honest, no-war-crimes-or-kitten-kicking-on-my-watch good, there has to be someone protagonist level good, and they need to be a Steiner.

Equally important is that he needs to be militarily brilliant. Not simply competent, but as much of an innovator and forward thinker as Victor in order to provide an equivalent challenge or threat.

If by now you’ve noticed that I keep comparing Adam to Victor there is a reason. Victor has become the major protagonist of the setting by virtue of being heavily used, a matter explored in his article. However Victor is strictly print media, and while he easily dominates there is only one character that could be said to dominate the Audio Visual realm.

So Adam is brushed off, he’s the only person on the Loyalist side who has been a protagonist, trended towards the paragon end of the morality scale, and thus comes damned close to killing Victor.

This also means that he’s perfect for what follows: the Jade Falcon Incursion and Operation: Audacity, he has the presence within the fiction, the in universe reputation and political sway, and in the end comes to his own conclusions about where Katherine’s priorities lie, swinging him further towards the ‘good’ side of the conflict.

All of which leads into, both in setting and from a reader perspective, to his next promotions, General of the Armies and then Archon.

With Peter on the throne no one else who fought on the Loyalist side would be as trusted by the new Archon, and it had to be someone on the Loyalist because none of the Allies were trusted by most Lyrans.

And with his name forward in the fiction so much it is easier for the reader to accept this, and then his ascendency to Archon. With the Jihad killing so many Steiners the line of succession boils down to who is physically and politically close enough to the throne to sit on it, otherwise it is going to look like a sudden Steiner has fallen out of the woodwork. Peter signing off on it as one of his last acts is more of a formality.

Basically from neither an in-setting or fiction point of view can you just pull a Steiner out of the hat and plonk them in the chair.

Is this all there is to Adam Steiner, cartoon leader for one season and useful side character thereafter?

It undersells the character considerably but is essentially the case, he was created for the cartoon and served that purpose as best he could, and once he existed a further use was found for him.

None of this makes Adam Steiner a bad or poorly used character, if anything it marks the sort of efficiency that makes use of a pre-established character to fulfil the greater needs of the setting.

To call it recycling is also somewhat insulting towards the fiction, there was need for such a character during the Civil War and this cartoon character fit the bill.

Coming up next week: Jerome Blake.

Kidd

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Re: Character Study of the Week: Adam Steiner
« Reply #1 on: 07 April 2015, 07:17:27 »
So does he like, get in-universe props for being the only Successor State leader to star in a (B-list) children's cartoon? Or can the boos and hisses be heard all the way in the Fronc Reaches? :P

Wrangler

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Re: Character Study of the Week: Adam Steiner
« Reply #2 on: 07 April 2015, 12:56:15 »
Thank you , Grey, for writing up the character, though i think there more to his story.

He had some actions done during the Dark Age before passing on, especially his campaign against the Falcons once more.
He mentored his grandson,  Roderick Frost. How he had slight falling out children who led to rift between Republic of the Sphere and House Steiner.

Adam has alot more going for him, how he help fight during the the Jihad, took over reins of Lyran Alliance while still commanding general.   
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Grey

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Re: Character Study of the Week: Adam Steiner
« Reply #3 on: 07 April 2015, 14:31:27 »
There is much more to Adam's story, particularly as you mention his time as Archon, the thing is though that hasn't been fleshed out yet, which I find unfortunate since what is mentioned in passing is quite interesting.

For one thing he keeps a solid defensive posture against the Falcons and Wolves more through careful supply than masterful battle planning, showing a better grasp of strategy, particularly logistics, than his favourite saying would imply.

I focused on what was available and more pertinent, however that being said the Republic Era is slowly being mined for material and I'm hoping we find out more.

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Re: Character Study of the Week: Adam Steiner
« Reply #4 on: 07 April 2015, 16:31:01 »
Real nice article, helps flesh out the character beyond "MY HOME PLANET!"

Should give Adam some thanks considering it was the mediocre cartoon that introduced me the BTU just prior to MechWarrior 2. I started to really distance myself from the Cartoon once I discovered the other media and still groan when other remind me of the cartoon but I guess the character is still more well rounded than many other BTU characters (other characters however deserved to be washed away via Herb, the lord of nuke. Nicolai Malthus in particular)
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Col.Hengist

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Re: Character Study of the Week: Adam Steiner
« Reply #5 on: 07 April 2015, 16:41:10 »
So does he like, get in-universe props for being the only Successor State leader to star in a (B-list) children's cartoon? Or can the boos and hisses be heard all the way in the Fronc Reaches? :P

 Why would people boo and hiss? By all accounts the cartoon ( which in universe was aired after his exploits to capture Summer set ) was a success that boosted the ranks of the LAAF.
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Grey

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Re: Character Study of the Week: Adam Steiner
« Reply #6 on: 07 April 2015, 20:45:15 »
Well, and I'm not sure if I should have put something like this in the article or not, in setting the cartoon did boost recruitment and moral but is looked upon as a poorly produced, thrown together mess that was little more than a propaganda piece, which it was.

From our perspective it was a 90's kids cartoon that was never going to handle existing canon with great care (though to be honest it did a fairly respectful job) and was never going to since it had other demands on it (sell toys to name but one) and suffers from cheesy dialogue and what were at the time fairly novel special effects but looking back were pretty poor.

In either case time has not been kind to the material, but I think I mentioned in the article that the cartoon is a very different medium. As a result it cannot do justice to the larger setting and that is never going to sit well with die hard fans.

That being said a few characters have popped up in various places, though I would be interested in some sort of "where are they now" list circa 3067, finding out what happened to Ciro and Nicolai Malthus would produce some good fodder.

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Re: Character Study of the Week: Adam Steiner
« Reply #7 on: 07 April 2015, 22:14:50 »
That being said a few characters have popped up in various places, though I would be interested in some sort of "where are they now" list circa 3067, finding out what happened to Ciro and Nicolai Malthus would produce some good fodder.
Might as well, we know a little about Franklin Sakemoto and I guess it would be nice to know about the others. Nicoli Malthus could end up being a flushed out character considering some of his more rash actions could also be attributed to his Neural Implants, which have been know to cause mental instability over time.
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Re: Character Study of the Week: Adam Steiner
« Reply #8 on: 08 April 2015, 07:35:03 »
Might as well, we know a little about Franklin Sakemoto and I guess it would be nice to know about the others. Nicoli Malthus could end up being a flushed out character considering some of his more rash actions could also be attributed to his Neural Implants, which have been know to cause mental instability over time.

Well, Nicoli Malthus last seen in updated TRO:3050Update.  I think your right about that.

Franklin Sakamoto would be fascinating character to flesh out, despite the cartoon.  He has long novel and source book legacy than he does in cartoons. From his Mom's flight to keep then unnamed Franklin alive i Heir to the Dragon, to him showing up in Black Dragon by Victor Milan.   His kidnapping (again) during the Jihad by the Black Dragons, then...nuthing until his grand daughter shows up and becomes the coordinator.
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Col.Hengist

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Re: Character Study of the Week: Adam Steiner
« Reply #9 on: 08 April 2015, 08:32:31 »
Well, and I'm not sure if I should have put something like this in the article or not, in setting the cartoon did boost recruitment and moral but is looked upon as a poorly produced, thrown together mess that was little more than a propaganda piece, which it was.

From our perspective it was a 90's kids cartoon that was never going to handle existing canon with great care (though to be honest it did a fairly respectful job) and was never going to since it had other demands on it (sell toys to name but one) and suffers from cheesy dialogue and what were at the time fairly novel special effects but looking back were pretty poor.

In either case time has not been kind to the material, but I think I mentioned in the article that the cartoon is a very different medium. As a result it cannot do justice to the larger setting and that is never going to sit well with die hard fans.

That being said a few characters have popped up in various places, though I would be interested in some sort of "where are they now" list circa 3067, finding out what happened to Ciro and Nicolai Malthus would produce some good fodder.

 I was replying to what someone else said. Even if it wasn't of the best quality, it did what it was supposed to both in and out of the story line.
« Last Edit: 08 April 2015, 08:34:56 by Col.Hengist »
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Re: Character Study of the Week: Adam Steiner
« Reply #10 on: 08 April 2015, 10:48:11 »
The cartoon got me into battle tech.  I thought Adam became an interesting character in the greater universe.  He seemed to be a Lyran (Steiner) that took to heart what the AFFS taught as far as tactics, strategy, and being competent outside of the ball-room circuit.  He recognized that *someone* had to watch the boarders and fight off the Falcons if Katherine and Victor wasn't going too and ended up teaming up with Archer to do just that.

I think it was easy to give him the reigns to the state as he proved he could look out for the best interests of the Lyran people and not one Steiner-Davion or another.  While he might not have been happy at first per whatever novel he dings Victor's Dire Wolf with a gauss to the head, I think he adapted and saw who the real threat was (Falcons.)

Col.Hengist

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Re: Character Study of the Week: Adam Steiner
« Reply #11 on: 08 April 2015, 10:55:27 »
Agreed. I like his no nonsense approach to fighting the clans, and then the WoB.
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Re: Character Study of the Week: Adam Steiner
« Reply #12 on: 08 April 2015, 13:56:57 »
Sadly I have never seen the cartoon, but I did buy the sourcebook when it came out. So I never got the entire issue with the show. I just used the rules for scenario's and things like that. Character wise he seemed the angry avenger and the lack of any follow up made him a forgettable character until he showed up in the novels. I mean we don't even really know what unit or kind of unit he actually ran during the Clan Invasion or if anyone else besides Sakamoto even existed as anything other than a name. We sure don't know what happened to any of them. But we do know what happened to him after the FedCom Civil War. Just not what happened to him before that.
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Grey

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Re: Character Study of the Week: Adam Steiner
« Reply #13 on: 08 April 2015, 17:48:34 »
I think the cartoon is actually up on Youtube these days, including the "lost" episode.

But the characters do exist, so far, by mentions in novels, sourcebooks, TROs, sidebars and even in connection with Adam himself. To the best of my recollection they include:

Rachel Specter
Zachary Hawkins
Katiara Kylie
Jeroen Fredstadt
Doctor Nakamura
Ciro Ramirez
Kristen Redmond
Pytor

It would be nice to find out what he was up to between wars, like so many other times it's a rich source of material that is yet to be tapped.

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Re: Character Study of the Week: Adam Steiner
« Reply #14 on: 08 April 2015, 18:28:07 »
I am a big fan of Adams. Never saw the cartoon myself.
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Re: Character Study of the Week: Adam Steiner
« Reply #15 on: 08 April 2015, 19:48:58 »
I think the cartoon is actually up on Youtube these days, including the "lost" episode.

But the characters do exist, so far, by mentions in novels, sourcebooks, TROs, sidebars and even in connection with Adam himself. To the best of my recollection they include:

Rachel Specter
Zachary Hawkins
Katiara Kylie
Jeroen Fredstadt
Doctor Nakamura
Ciro Ramirez
Kristen Redmond
Pytor

It would be nice to find out what he was up to between wars, like so many other times it's a rich source of material that is yet to be tapped.

Allright offhand I have seen mention of Pytor as a washed up warrior that Joanna meets, Kristen Redmond as a advisor to Khan Pryde. Rachel Spector in a short blurb about a potential mistress of Adam Steiner. Hawkins, maybe, just maybe I think I might have seen a mention of as a report writer during the late Jihad. The rest I can honestly say I never remember seeing or hearing a mention of those names.
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Re: Character Study of the Week: Adam Steiner
« Reply #16 on: 08 April 2015, 22:23:04 »
Katiara become the CO of the 14th Donegal Guards RCT's Air Wing when Adam is the overall CO. From FM: Lyran Alliance, IIRC. Ciro is mentioned prior to the start of the Series timeline in "Lethal Heritage" as a classmate of VSD at Nagelring, and as a sort of a fop. I think they sent Hawkins out to find the Hidden Worlds during the Jihad. As Stormlion said, one of the Jihad books mentions Rachel being looked down upon as Adam's commoner mistress, as his marriage was political.

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Re: Character Study of the Week: Adam Steiner
« Reply #17 on: 09 April 2015, 07:34:34 »
Don't forget Adam's most famous Credo , Information is ammunition.  ::)

I didn't realize he had two sons, apparently the actual Archon who came after him was his second son.
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Re: Character Study of the Week: Adam Steiner
« Reply #18 on: 09 April 2015, 11:03:31 »
I didn't realize he had two sons, apparently the actual Archon who came after him was his second son.

No, Andrew was his first son; Frederick (father of Roderick) was his second.

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Re: Character Study of the Week: Adam Steiner
« Reply #19 on: 09 April 2015, 11:12:55 »
No, Andrew was his first son; Frederick (father of Roderick) was his second.

Yes, Andrew Steiner, in a fun little homage to Andrew Steiner of cartoon fame.
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Re: Character Study of the Week: Adam Steiner
« Reply #20 on: 09 April 2015, 12:17:27 »
Sadly I have never seen the cartoon, but I did buy the sourcebook when it came out. So I never got the entire issue with the show. I just used the rules for scenario's and things like that. Character wise he seemed the angry avenger and the lack of any follow up made him a forgettable character until he showed up in the novels. I mean we don't even really know what unit or kind of unit he actually ran during the Clan Invasion or if anyone else besides Sakamoto even existed as anything other than a name. We sure don't know what happened to any of them. But we do know what happened to him after the FedCom Civil War. Just not what happened to him before that.

 He commanded the 14th DG.
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Re: Character Study of the Week: Adam Steiner
« Reply #21 on: 09 April 2015, 12:31:42 »
All I knew of BT then was Mechwarrior 2. Then suddenly the Saturday morning lineup was broken into by a verrrry distinctive Timber Wolf!! The Mech combat was silly but I seem to remember having liked the Elemental scenes. But it was MW2, which had a strong sense of backgrounding in the mission aftermaths, description of the Battle of Tukayyid and TRO snippets which drew me in.

Adam Steiner is said to have a slight Germanic accent.

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Re: Character Study of the Week: Adam Steiner
« Reply #22 on: 09 April 2015, 20:02:09 »
So is Victor and a great many characters, something that doesn't translate well into print and was thrown out the window in the cartoon. Not that I mind too much, the cultural characterisation is something usually left to convenience in novels and is more of a context flavouring rather than something that informs a character.

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Re: Character Study of the Week: Adam Steiner
« Reply #23 on: 09 April 2015, 21:07:41 »
I forget, i did watch tv show.  Insanely i was in a "record everything" mentality on VHS.  So i taped the show, then promptly lost it over the years.   Wasn't Victor in one episode as little kid?  I think that was continuum error they made.
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Re: Character Study of the Week: Adam Steiner
« Reply #24 on: 09 April 2015, 21:26:06 »
The Strikers meet up with Victor and Galen after they are forced to retreat from Trellwan. He wants to confiscate the Striker's jumpship to start a new offensive, but is ultimately dissuaded.

Ultimately, doesn't Adam break the power of the Brotherhood of Circinius?

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Re: Character Study of the Week: Adam Steiner
« Reply #25 on: 09 April 2015, 21:27:21 »
The Strikers meet up with Victor and Galen after they are forced to retreat from Trellwan. He wants to confiscate the Striker's jumpship to start a new offensive, but is ultimately dissuaded.

Ultimately, doesn't Adam break the power of the Brotherhood of Circinius?

SMc.
He did, once they tried assassinate Hanse Steiner (peter's son).
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Grey

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Re: Character Study of the Week: Adam Steiner
« Reply #26 on: 09 April 2015, 23:26:25 »
Yes, dealing with the Brotherhood and Archonettes is probably something I should have touched on as they show that Adam was dedicated to consolidating his power against internal threats. In both cases his military actions were decisive and in terms of the Archonettes came about after attempts at dialogue rather than just dropping the heavy end of the hammer.

In a way that characterises a lot of leadership reactions to internal threats post-Jihad: negotiate, politick, and only if that fails resort to military actions. Mostly the reasons would have been based on limited military resources, limited will and fear of losing more infrastructure.

It would also have been a reaction coloured by the actions of Democracy Now, which was ironically dealt with by one of the Archonettes, meaning Adam couldn't afford to allow self interested groups dominate the Lyran landscape.

smcwatt

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Re: Character Study of the Week: Adam Steiner
« Reply #27 on: 10 April 2015, 07:48:24 »
However, he also did make Thomas Hogarth the Quartermaster General's head of procurement. So, the football player Atlas is ultimately Adam Steiner's fault.  ;-)

I can hear that discussion now.

"I'll make him the head of procurement. It's not in the public eye, even he knows Atlas' are too slow to fill out our recce lances"

SMc.

False Son

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Re: Character Study of the Week: Adam Steiner
« Reply #28 on: 10 April 2015, 12:20:53 »
In a way that characterises a lot of leadership reactions to internal threats post-Jihad: negotiate, politick, and only if that fails resort to military actions. Mostly the reasons would have been based on limited military resources, limited will and fear of losing more infrastructure.

Or simple respect for your subjects.  You have to rule these people after they return to the fold.  Best to not have them hate you for killing Uncle Bob.  The Archon has be to aware of how many friends they have, and more importantly, how many enemies they have.  If they wield their power the wrong way "accidents" happen.
TOYNBEE IDEA
IN MOViE `2001
RESURRECT DEAD
ON PLANET JUPITER


Destroy what destroys you

Grey

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Re: Character Study of the Week: Adam Steiner
« Reply #29 on: 11 April 2015, 00:15:17 »
Honestly that never occurred to me.

Mostly because no matter how nice the ruler they all seem to put larger concerns such as the defence and integrity of the nation ahead of the basic wellbeing of the people who make up the nation. The less nice ones tend to think in terms of territorial or material gains and personal glory, forgetting that with territory and material come people, and glory is at best a personal concern.

I'm not sure if that says something about my perception of the setting or the setting itself.