BattleTech - The Board Game of Armored Combat

Catalyst Game Labs => Ask the Lead Developers => Topic started by: Frabby on 28 January 2011, 06:24:18

Title: A zillion questions about canonicity
Post by: Frabby on 28 January 2011, 06:24:18
This is a digest of the earlier thread, "The zillionth question about canonicity...", drawn from the forum archive to save the rulings and clarifications therein.
All Questions by myself (Frabby); all Answers by Line Developer Herbert A. Beas II (HABEAS2 on the old forum, HABeas2 here)

Quote from: Frabby
Could TPTB please clear up what counts as Canon and what does not, and if there is sort of "secondary canon" from ambigous sources that can be taken at face value unless ruled out by "primary" canon.
- What about original German material by FanPro that was never fully translated into English (i.e. the Ronin! scenario pack)?
- Generally, can any licensed BT source (esp. computer games, also original other language stuff or alterations in translation) be regarded as canonical unless ruled out by "primary" canon?
Computer games and the material printed only in Germany (with the exception of the Founding of the Clans novels by Randall Bills) are not considered canonical.
We have a rather simple matter of determining canon in-house: Whatever we establish for research material for the authors is canon.

Currently, that list includes:
   All sourcebooks and novels produced for BattleTech by FASA and Roc in the United States
   All sourcebooks and novels produced for Classic BattleTech by FanPro and Roc in the United States
   All sourcebooks and novels (including electronic publications, such as BattleCorps) produced by InMediaRes (and its subsidiaries, BattleCorps and Catalyst Game Labs) in the United States
   All material produced by WizKids for the MechWarrior: Dark Age/MechWarrior: Age of Destruction game lines

GENERAL INCLUSIVE NOTE: There are a few select instances where a story or article appearing even in these sources may be considered non-canon, but generally this is because the material was in error (such as date mishaps like original TRO3025's claim that the Zeus emerged from Defiance before the Mackie was even built OR Defiance even existed as such), or it was specifically published as a gag (such as Loren Coleman's infamous "Chapter 6" on BattleCorps)

The list does not include:
   Magazines, even "official" ones such as BattleTechnology, 'Mech, and others
   The MechWarrior, MechCommander, and MechAssault video and computer games, as well as the various BattleTech games produced for Nintendo and Sega game systems
   The BattleTech cartoon series
   The BattleTech comic book series

GENERAL NON-INCLUSIVE NOTE: Despite their non-canonical status, we have not gone into total denial about these sources either, but have simply opted to pick and choose what elements there are "canon" and what are not.
   For example, the BattleTech cartoon series' events may not be canon, but the characters they contained were, and the series itself has been referenced as an in-universe "propaganda vid" for the children of the FedCom growing up in the wake of the Clan invasion.

- Herb

Quote from: Frabby
I hope the last paragraph could be read to mean what Mendrugo said here though?
Quote from: Mendrugo
As long as a piece of fluff from an official source (FASA, FanPro, Catalyst, Infocom*, Activision*, Microprose*, Microsoft*) isn't directly contradicted, and makes sense, you can assume it to be part of the shared universe.

(*Fluff from these sources is 'canon' in the sense that the story that takes place in the game happened in canon in the same general broad strokes - Gideon recovered the Chalice from the Matabushi-backed Dark Wing; Jason found the Star League cache and rescued his father, then fought with the Hounds on Luthien; mercenaries helped Carver V become Liberty, FedCom forces on Port Arthur disrupted Smoke Jaguar operations as part of Operation Bird Dog, etc. - but the details are likely to be significantly different than the ones you experienced during your gameplay).
(Quote from a forum thread that was archived in early 2009 and lost when a new archive was created in early 2011)

It looks like Mendrugo essentially has the long and short of it right, yes.

- Herb

Quote from: Frabby
Does the release of a "Revised" product de-canonize the previous product, i.e. has TRO3057 become non-canon in its entirety with the release of TRO3057r?
Specifically, what about fluff sidenotes that were not included in the fluff of the revised source, but were not explicitly denounced either?
The argument was about wether or not a Clan version of the Tramp-class JumpShip exists that has 4 collars and a LF battery.

The old fluff explicitly states that.
The new (revised) fluff omits it.
No stats were ever published for such a configuration.

The fluff simply omits in this case, but doesn't necessarily decanonize the variants referenced. In their absence, however, the continued existence of such units would always be questionable.

- Herb

Quote from: Frabby
This is how I see it (correct me if I'm wrong):
- Once it's been said (in a canonical source) the cat is out of the bag and the information is in the universe.
Only if it actually works within the boundaries of the universe. There have been details that made it into canon in past sources that really had to be waved away later, when it became clear that they would not have worked.

Quote from: Frabby
- The information remains in the universe even if not repeated (omitted) in successive canonical sources.
That is something we reserve the right to state later, as necessary. For instance, we've not seen any stats on the "Ostwar" since it had a listing in a Cost table in Mercs Handbook: 3055 (IIRC). We could yet see it someday, but there's no guarantee of that.

Edit/note: The Ostwar BattleMech has been introduced into canon since.

Quote from: Frabby
- It is only cancelled/retconned out if
a) the original canonical source is declared non-canon (like it happened BattleTechnology) or
b) a successive canonical source invalidates the information in-universe (for example, a ComStar report saying "previous reports regarding the alledged sighting of a 4-collar LF Tramp have been confirmed as a misunderstanding") or
c) a successive canonical source otherwise trumps the information (for example, a omniscient article in the GigaTech rulebook stating something to the effect that "Any and all variants of the Tramp have 3 or less Hardpoints").
Generally an acceptable outcome, but as I stated, not necesarily always the case. That there could be a 4-collar Tramp is possible. But it could also have been a one-off, and as such not a standard-production vessel. (The Quetzalcoatl, for example, started this way; it only becme a "class" later, and new fluff explains this, though its roots as an ad hoc refit remains intact.)

Quote from: Frabby
For clarity's sake, this should be reworded to:
"- The information exists within the universe henceforth by virtue of having been included, irrespecitve of wether or not it is ever mentioned again."
While usually the case, that is not always the case. Sorry. No guarantees.

- Herb

Quote from: Frabby
Is BattleDroids material canon? Specifically 'Mechs and variants that did not appear in later BattleTech products, such the OSR-9C Ostroc II.
Revisiting Battledroids: Since I now finally got my hands on a copy of the Battledroids boxed set, here's the questions that arise from the Battledroids rulebook:
BattleDroids is BattleTech's precursor. Of that there's no doubt. What is in doubt is whether its entire contents can be called canon. In which case, we have to side with "only partially", because there are details in that rulebook that no longer mesh due to over 20 years of revisions. Rulebooks, after all, are prone to being superceded.

Quote from: Frabby
1. Is there anything to suggest the planet "Mesa 7" isn't canon?
(Mini-scenario "Skirmish on Mesa 7" on flipside page 6 of the rulebook - 2 Davion lances scout the "recently rediscovered planet of Mesa 7" where they encounter forces from Wolf's Dragoons who apparently have been here for some time. The Davion objectives are to eliminate the Dragoon presence and secure the planet for House Davion; the Dragoon objective is to eliminate the enemy force to keep Mesa 7 base secret.)
Given the quoted text and the contents of the recently published Handbook: House Davion, the planet identified as "Mesa 7" is not canonical. A likely possibility is that, had there been such a planet, it was renamed, but as it presently exists in now Federated Suns maps across all eras, it is not considered to be an existing world.

Quote from: Frabby
2. Is there anything to suggest that these specific tanks mentioned aren't canon?
- SCR-8N Scorpion - no turret, 3 SRM-6 with 15 shots per lancher installed in the front
- HNT-3R Hunter - no turret, one LRM-20 with 18 shots installed in the front
- VDE-3T Vedette - AC/5 with 40 shots and machine gun with 200 shots, both turret-mounted
All tanks have armor front 20, sides 10, back 8 (turret 5 for Vedette), and have 4 MP which arguably could be ignored because they don't follow any construction rules and have generic, simplified rules applying to them.
  * The "SCR-8N" Scorpion appears to be an unattainable variant of the Scorpion Light Tank described on pp. 34-35, TR3039. An SRM-6 variant is mentioned in the write-up, but that variant features only two SRM-6 launchers and a single ton of ammunition for both launchers.
  * The "HNT-3R" Hunter is a variant described in the Hunter Light Support Tank entry on pp. 42-43, TR3039.
  * The "VDE-3T" Vedette has no such described variant in its entry on pp. 66-67, TR3039.
As further noted, vehicular construction and gameplay rules were not solidified in the BattleDroids product released by FASA Corporation. This would therefore have created errors that could have impaired the ability to give all of the described vehicles the armor and mobility described in their respective stats. A better solution, therefore, is to consider any modern designs that appear similar in function and firepower as the official versions of these described vehicle variants.

Quote from: Frabby
(As a sidenote, all the Droids described except for the Shadow Hawk and the Warhammer had their stats changed/corrected in BT 2nd edition. Which clearly means the initial wrong stats were retconned, right?)
This is correct.

Thank you,

- Herbert Beas
  Catalyst Game Labs

Quote from: Frabby
Regarding the canonicity of BattleTechnology 'Mechs, Randall "Precentor Martial" Bills had this to say on the issue while he was Line Developer:
Q: Is the Huntress BattleMech showcased in the old BattleTechnology still considered cannon? [...]
A: Any unit that appeared in that magazine can be considered a part of the BattleTech universe, even if it is simply a unique prototype somewhere. However, they are not legal for tournament play.
This statement is from the "Ask the Precentor Martial FAQ" that is available for download from this site's download section, so it is official and current info - and published under "Rules" no less.
Technically, this means the BattleTechnology 'Mechs, tanks ets. ("any unit") fall under the General Non-Inclusive Notice from the first answer above as specific items that have positively been picked out as canonical elements.
However, given the adamant refusal of people like Herb or ColBosch to treat them as canonical I have to ask: Was the quoted ruling by Randall officially rescinded?


- Herb
Title: Re: A zillion questions about canonicity
Post by: Frabby on 04 October 2011, 08:11:35
Another subject where I am wondering about its canonicity:

It seems FASA Interactive officially published the script for the MechCommander intro on their homepage back in the day, according to this posting (,10938.msg262644.html#msg262644).
A saved copy was re-uploaded here at the Pryde Rock Industries ( site.

Question: Is this "short story", as published online by FASA, canonical?
If so, then this would establish the Hunchback to have a full-head ejection system and a Raven variant (possibly a field refit) with a SRM-2 to exist.
Title: Re: A zillion questions about canonicity
Post by: HABeas2 on 04 October 2011, 15:11:49

Nope. Computer games like MechCommander and the MechWarrior franchise are based in canon and based in the BattleTech universe, but are themselves not generally considered to be canon. This includes the MechCommander introduction. The fact is, the designers took a little artistic license is all. A Hunchback with Full-Head Ejection and a Raven with SRM 2s are *possible* variants, but they have not been canonized as such yet.

Thank you,

- Herbert Beas
  Catalyst Game Labs

Title: Re: A zillion questions about canonicity
Post by: Frabby on 04 October 2011, 15:43:56
Sorry if my question wasn't worded clear enough.
My inquiry was about a online publication in writing by FASA, not the game per se. (Perhaps comparable to Loren Coleman's "Trial under Fire" novelization of the MW3 computer game on BattleCorps which is canon in and of itself.)
Title: Re: A zillion questions about canonicity
Post by: Øystein on 04 October 2011, 15:50:37
FASA Interactive is not the same as FASA Corporation. They were two different companies.

Title: Re: A zillion questions about canonicity
Post by: Frabby on 10 October 2012, 10:44:03
Pertinent to this thread as an official Line Developer ruling, and placed here for reference and for completeness' sake:

Quote from: HABEAS2, on the previous forum
The Steiner Coliseum was a Blue Shield system writ large and backed by walls of mesh-reinforced ferroglass (a clear, anti-ballistic material akin to what's used in BattleMech cockpits). The screens detonated missiles prematurely and could deflect or absorb full-power laser and energy blasts with some resiliency while active. But as we learned at the dawn of the Civil War, this giant bit of Lostech was easily destroyed once the power grid went down.

In fact, the following technologies DO NOT EXIST in BattleTech:

Artificial gravity/Antigravity (other than through acceleration/rotational force)
Warp Drive (KF-style jumping and HPGs are more of a hyperpsace wormhole effect)
Anti-Matter (You want a big boom, you're stuck with nukes)
Singularity/Black Hole power sources (No, No, and ****** no)
Energy Shields (Oh, wait; we mentioned that, didn't we?)
Nanotechnology (If we had nanotech, would BattleMechs still weigh in the tens of tons? I don't think so!)
Time Travel (NO, the Manassass does not count)
Tractor Beams (Unless you wanna call a harpoon a tractor beam...)
Replicators/Holosuites (If I have to explain why to you, do me a favor and kick YOURSELF in the crotch)
Teleporters/energy-matter transporters (Seriously, see above)
Trans-dimensional travel (The BattleTech universe is one timeline, not a Marvel comic multiverse)
Sentient AIs (Skynet is depressed; it had plans for the Atlas)
Lightsabers (There is no "try". There is only "do not")
Star-killing super weapons (Right...)

Other things not in BattleTech:
Magic (some strange shit happens, yes, but most of these can be played off as near-death experiences and hallucinations)
Telepathy/telekinesis/clairvoyance (Face it guys, the Nova Cats just smoke some weird shit, and those Nekakami guys just have fun bags of tricks)
Sentient aliens (Sorry; we remain committed to a strictly man-vs-man universe, at least as far as everyone can tell)

Someone probably will wat to bookmark this....

- Herb
Title: Re: A zillion questions about canonicity
Post by: Frabby on 20 March 2013, 10:10:39
Another official ruling from then-Line Developer Randall Bills. Like with the BattleTechnology 'Mechs ruling above, this doesn't seem to jive with Herbert Beas' stance as Line Developer so I have to ask if it was officially rescinded? (Please say no!)
Quote from: February 2005 BattleChat
BeeRockxs Are the german-only CBT novels written by german authors and published by fanpro germany considered canon?
Precentor_Martial The simple answer is yes.
(BattleChat log link) (
Title: Re: A zillion questions about canonicity
Post by: HABeas2 on 20 March 2013, 18:18:25

That was seven years ago, and no longer counts as true.


- Herbert Beas
Title: Re: A zillion questions about canonicity
Post by: Frabby on 21 March 2013, 03:38:46
I knew you were going to say that. But I still had to ask, because "knowing" what the Line Developer ruling would be doesn't quite equal having an official, explicit ruling. Thank you for clearing this up then.  :)

(Re-uniting the American and German BT universes is high up there among the things I wish for, right after re-acquiring the unseen and bringing BattleTechnology back into canon.)
Title: Re: A zillion questions about canonicity
Post by: Frabby on 13 May 2013, 07:53:17
The FASA 1993 Update Flyer technically meets all criteria for Canon, but I recall that the two 'Mechs it featured - RD-1R Roadrunner and TZ-1 Devil aren't considered canon. Unfortunately, the official rulings were lost in the last forum crash. So, to recap:

Would it be accurate to say that the 15-ton RD-1R Roadrunner and 30-ton TZ-1 Devil as reported are merely canon rumors, with the Roadrunner's existence so far unconfirmed while the TZ-1 Devil turned out to be an erroneous reporting of the canonical 20-ton Howler (Baboon) variant Howler 3 (aka Devil)?

(This came up while digging for references for Sarna articles.)
Title: Re: A zillion questions about canonicity
Post by: Frabby on 03 July 2013, 07:06:23
You have included "magic" and generally all supernatural phenomena (besides FASAfysix) in your list of "Things not in BattleTech" as cited above (,586.msg529255.html#msg529255).

However, in a recent BattleChat (,27836.msg635955.html#msg635955) (16 March) you said:
Psychic Abilities:
[01:38] <Circinus_Enquirer> What's the official position on psychic abilities in the BattleTech universe?  I've heard before that "the Nova Cats just smoke some strange things," but elements of recent sourcebook fiction (Pulsar, Hard Justice) keep hearkening back to precognitive visions.  (High Ranked Sixth Sense ability?)
[01:39] <@Habeas2> Circinus_Enquirer - Open to limited interpretation.

Should that response be read to mean your previous statement is rescinded (and true prophetic visions might be in BT after all), or were you just saying that the supernatural is as "real" in the BT universe as it is in the real world (i.e. subject to what one holds to be true)?
Title: Re: A zillion questions about canonicity
Post by: Frabby on 29 April 2016, 10:09:04
Update: As officially clarified by Adrian Gideon here (, the cards from the BattleTech CCG are not considered canonical.
Title: Re: A zillion questions about canonicity
Post by: Bedwyr on 29 April 2016, 11:29:53
Questions sufficiently answered. Thread locked.