This submission is my way of trying to avoid the flamefests that seem to have broken out on the reviews of certain uh… fics in the Battletech/Mechwarrior section.

Okay, so you've just finished the Mechwarrior 4 or MechAssault game on your PC or console. You're pumped up after all that stomping around, blasting away and destroying hordes of enemy infantry, tanks, and mechs with barely a scratch on your mech. Heck, you feel invincible, and your mind is bustling with stories of mech action. You open your word processor, and your fingers stretch towards the keyboard…

STOP!!!

Yes, I meant that! Stop! Before you even write a single word, before you try wading into the immense world of Battletech, there're a few(well, actually a lot of) things you had better check with you and yourself first.

First up, how much do you know about the background? Do you know the names of the five Great Houses that had been waging war? What are those wars called? And why did they happen? What is the big area of space humanity is living in called? How do people get around traveling the stars? How does humanity handle FTL communications?

Next, do you know about the clans? Where they were from? Who are their leaders? Why are their mechs so cheesy? The difference between a large laser and a PPC?

Now for the more difficult questions? What are the differing political creeds of the various Inner Sphere states? The prevalent social structure? Socio-economics? What is the currency of use? How much does a single battlemech cost?

Then there are the advanced questions. What is the difference between a RCT and a Level IV? The different ranking conventions for each faction? The various 'secrets' of the Battletech universe(eg. Tommy Marik)? How many worlds does each house have? Which worlds are rich, poor, or plain ugly? The minutiae of the Battletech universe, this sort of thing.

If you can answer all these questions, you're well equipped to write in Battletech. Even being able to answer at least the first and second set of questions is good enough.

If you find yourself unable to answer the majority of these questions, I would readily recommend that you go out to a gaming store and BUY the Battletech 5th Ed box set immediately. Trust me, you won't regret it! Hours upon hours of fun await you!

Also, you can try Mechwarrior: Dark Age(choke!), and buy the novels. I would recommend the Gray Death Trilogy(out of print, unfortunately), the Warrior Trilogy, the Blood of Kernsky Trilogy, or if you're a fan of the clans, the Jade Phoenix Trilogy.

That's about it, I think. If you wish to know more, you can proceed to the various websites on the net dedicated to this awesome universe.

Good luck!

So what're you doing here still looking at my essay? Go out now and get those stuff no matter what! Remember, no guts, no galaxy!

The Wobbly Guy

PS. I will hunt you down with my toaster of doom if you do not do what I tell you to do.