Battletech's 'canon', like that of any long running series, be it a TV show, comic book, RPG or whathaveyou, has been developed over the long history of its production. With the first edition of the Battletech game having come out in 1984 (originally as a boardgame/wargame called Battledroids), we're looking at a good 28 years of material to sift through. There have been numerous splatbooks, Mechwarrior - The Battletech RPG, card games, video games, novels, etc. All in all, there's a freakin' lot of Battletech.
How am I going to make use of all of that?
Well, I'm not. Or at the very least, not right away.
A firm believer in the concept that less is more when initially introducing a group of players to a setting, I am working now to distill all that canon and history into an easy to digest summary. I want to focus my next campaign, BattleTech Reborn, on conflict between the Great Houses of the setting's 'Inner Sphere' of charted space (roughly 450-550 light years around Earth) and the Clans, the former military defense forces of the fallen Star League, who are returning from their self-imposed exile into what is known as the Periphery, a vast area of largely unexplored space some 500 more light years beyond the Inner Sphere.
Here is a preliminary design for the campaign map of known space. The colored borders indicate the areas of space ruled by the various interstellar government powers. I may be adding or taking away or simply shifting the position of some political entities but for the most part this is the way they will all sit next to each other.
The deep blue-grey-green circles indicate the regions of the Periphery and Deep Periphery. At the center of the map (well, a tad off center actually) you may note a small, white circle around a yellow star. That star is Sol and that represents the position of the Earth.
Now, I have not quite laid out all the details in my version of the Battletech universe's history, nor am I completely certain yet what event or events specifically set off the new state of conflict the PCs will find themselves in. The finishing touches in repainting and restoring this old jalopy are not complete by a long shot. In the meantime, here's another cool mech...
Great! Now quickly, while they're distracted...