Ravnavar is one of the largest and most densely-populated planets in the British Space Empire. It is a centre of industry and a military staging-point for the Colonial Army: in particular, it is the centre of operations of the famed Ravnavari Lancers. As such, it has become an important prize in the war against the lemming men of Yullia, who have sworn to capture Ravnavar, add it to the Greater Galactic Happiness and Friendship Co-Operative, and then slaughter every living thing on its surface, as they do.
Although Ravnavar is not their home planet (they're not sure what is, though), the M'Lak were the first intelligent race to colonise it to any great degree. Under M'Lak rule, Ravnavar was settled and the traditions of breeding huge monsters, formal war and combat golf were established. The next arrivals were humans of the British Space Empire, who landed in 2372 and imposed a top level of bureaucracy, which was largely ignored by the natives. Human attempts to exploit the natural resources brought them into conflict with the M'Lak.
The Anglo-Morlock war lasted from 2378 to 2381, and was fought with considerable enthusiasm on both sides. The superior discipline and technology of the Space Empire was equalled by the determination and ferocity of the M'Lak, such that everyone was rather impressed. The combat ended in, effectively, a draw, with both sides claiming victory. Under the Treaty of Ravnavar, the M'Lak agreed, in return for fighting the toughest and most dangerous enemies of the Space Empire, to be allowed to fight the toughest and most dangerous enemies of the Space Empire, thus beginning the tradition of the M'Lak regiments, which continues to this day.
Some M'Lak felt that the treaty was rather one-sided and continued fighting. Most notable of these was the fearsome warrior Grimdall the Rebel, lord of House Amatrin, an ancient warrior said to have had over a thousand years of bloody mayhem behind him. Forced to retreat to the hills, Grimdall constructed himself a robot steed, known as the Mechanical Maneater, and began a ferocious guerilla campaign. He was eventually hunted down and severely wounded. The location of his body is unknown: some say that he fled the planet in his personal spaceship.
At a very rough estimate (the best that there is) Ravnavar is home to around eighteen billion self-aware beings, including robots.
Human beings make up about 30% of the population; the M'Lak about 50%, and other races and sentient robots make up the rest. However, this is an extremely vague estimate. The M'Lak would never risk counting their own spawn, since they would probably be mauled in the process. Also, the construction of robots by other robots - generally forbidden under Imperial law - has reached epidemic proportions on Ravnavar, leading to an underclass of Peripherals: scrapbots made out of tins and other junk. They are generally believed to be behind the illegal traffic in silverware, which they use to make additional legs for themselves.
While supposedly controlled from Earth, Ravnavar is also nominally self-governing in most aspects of local government. In fact, neither viewpoint is strictly correct: it is in fact barely governed by anyone at all. The human-dominated Senate passes laws, which are occasionally obeyed, and the various M'Lak houses run themselves. Many human citizens are members of the great guilds, which report to Tressall House, the Guildhall of Ravnavar. A semblance of order is kept by the Imperial Police, many of whom are M'Lak. Among the alien areas, the workshops of House Oreod are of particular note. This M'Lak house always had a strong interest in industrialisation, and runs many of the weapon factories producing arms for the Yullian Front. It is a rare day when at least one M'Lak techie, clad in the white coat of his house, is not propelled violently towards the stratosphere by one of his more "successful" inventions.
Like all colonies, Ravnavar is under the aegis of the Royal Space Navy, which has been stretched somewhat thin by the recent two-front war. It is also protected by a range of slightly questionable things the M'Lak made over the weekend, which can be launched at a moment's notice, or when the elastic breaks.
Ravnavar also has its own, formidable, regiment, the Ravnavari Lancers. The Lancers are noted for their martial skill and loyalty to the Empire, and have served faithfully for over a hundred years. As such, they occupy the prestigious Pardrek Palace, high above the city: from the outside, a mighty fortress, yet, inside, full of smoking-rooms and old copies of The Telegraph.