"...They're coming through the walls...we've lost the enginarium and the port gun deck...urgent assistance requi...the...need heavier arms...the...[screeching sounds interlaced with rapid shotcannon fire]...falling back! God Emperor save me…broken thr..."
- — transcription of vox data recovered from the wreck of the Merchant Brig Daughter of Regals, lost with all hands, 811.M41
The Rak'Gol are vicious xenos marauders and a relatively new threat within the Koronus Expanse of the Halo Stars adjacent to the Calixis Sector, encountered first in the dim stars past the Alenic Depths a little more than a standard century ago.
Striking from the blackest reaches of the Alenic Depths, the violent and cruel Rak'Gol have become the byword for death and terror in the Koronus Expanse. Horrific, eight-limbed alien monstrosities, twisted and warped, the Rak'Gol seem to exist only for slaughter, descending on voidships and isolated colonies like a plague, and disappearing again into the cold depths of the void.
Though the underlying impetus for the Rak'Gol's seemingly random attacks remains a mystery, those who suffer their predations rarely live to tell the tale. A xenos breed of which little is known for fact, they take the appearance of rough-hewn and irregular stone reptilids, eight-limbed and over three metres long.
Chalky white in colour and mantis-like in bodily arrangement, Rak'Gol warriors favour cybernetic augmentation to increase their abilities and replace lost limbs. Their point of origin remains unknown, as does the motivation for their sporadic attacks on human-held worlds and vessels, other than to slaughter indiscriminately and steal minerals and weapons.
Their rasping, screeching language remains incomprehensible, and no successful communication between the Rak'Gol and humanity has been recorded; no Rak'Gol has ever been captured alive. Indeed, even their name is taken from children's stories of mythical monsters from the settlement of Footfall's slums, legends which they superficially resemble.
- 1 History
- 2 Rak'Gol Homeworld
- 3 Rak'Gol Worlds
- 4 Orbital Habitation
- 5 Voidfarers
- 6 Anatomy and Physiology
- 7 Society
- 8 Rak'Gol Powers
- 9 Rak'Gol Technology
- 10 Rak'Gol War Vessels
- 11 Sources
"They come out from beyond the light of the Emperor, savages, who will skin you while you watch! There is no escape, they'll consume us all!"
- — Hob Viech, survivor of a Rak'Gol attack
Across the Expanse, there is one intelligent xenos race that is known to all, but seldom spoken of -- the Rak'Gol. When their name is mentioned, the speaker may well make the sign of the Aquila for protection -- for to speak the name of these vicious marauders is said to invite them to attack. The Rak'Gol are one of the single most feared, reviled, barbaric, and inhuman xenos species encountered in the Koronus Expanse to date. Their excesses are only surpassed by their brutality. Though they can be found throughout the Koronus Expanse, these near-primal, cannibalistic hunters are especially common near the ill-travelled Alenic Depths, where their packs of voidships lurk and wait for prey.
Beyond the God-Emperor's Scourge, deep within the Unbeholden Reaches, lies a region of clouded space -- the Alenic Depths. Dust clouds and shadowed nebulae choke the region of light, wrapping a few frail stars in thick black cloaks. Navigation is next to impossible in this part of space, where even the light of the Astronomican grows dim and nebulous, and astropathic communications seemed muffled and indistinct. The outward appearance of the Depths discourages most from venturing there, as even the starships of the Disciples of Thule avoid that section of space. Those few who journeyed within the Depths (most in the early centuries after the Maw was opened) were inevitably well-armed and well-provisioned. They spoke of star systems cluttered with debris and half-formed planets, asteroid rings, rock fields, and dust clouds. Those few worlds capable of supporting human life were often dry and cold, cloaked in the omnipresent whips of dust. By day, their feeble suns scarcely illuminated the surface, while the nights were completely dark -- no stars can pierce the shroud of the Depths. Little was discovered that encouraged expeditions into the Depths, and in later centuries, most Rogue Traders ventured into more profitable regions of the Expanse such as Winterscale's Realm and the Heathen Stars. Only a few desperate or visionary individuals journeyed to the Alenic Depths before the Rak'Gol appeared on the edges of the Koronus Expanse. Now, only the insane venture within the shrouded nebulae. None know when the Rak'Gol first left their accursed lairs in the far reaches of the Expanse and began to maraud across it. So few ships journey in to the Unbeholden Reaches that several missing vessels went unnoticed by all but their close peers. Even then, the Expanse is wild and lawless space, and few could muster the interest to search for a few minor missing voidships.
In 710.M41, a vessel from the Disciples of Thule stumbled across the wreck of the Imperial merchant brig Solace of Dawn, drifting without power near System Designate 368-2VR-3D. Only the ship's salvation beacon still operated on its isolated power storage, and the rest of the voidship was cold and dead. Inside, it was immediately apparent that the Solace had been boarded and her crew slaughtered by something unknown. Vox fragments and Auspex logs recovered from the remains of the bridge spoke of a new, unknown xenos species, something perhaps from beyond the Alenic Depths.
Uncharacteristically for their closed order, the Disciples sent a message containing all information gleaned from the wreck to Altar-Templum-Calixis-Ext-17. In turn, the Adeptus Mechanicus gifted the information to an infrequent Imperial Navy patrol travelling through the Maw. Word spread -- a new threat had emerged in the Koronus Expanse. It would be decades and countless atrocities before anyone knew more about this xenos race -- the burning of Monastery 20, thousands dead on Savolis, the Daughter of Regals. Eventually, however, the xenos had a name, the Rak'Gol -- although their motives remained as secret as when the Solace of Dawn was first discovered. As they push deeper into the Expanse, more than a few brash Rogue Traders have vowed to find their homeworlds and visit on them the same destruction the Rak'Gol bring. However, given how deadly the Rak'Gol have proven thus far, such boasting seems idle at best.
Since that time, dozens of additional confirmed losses have been attributed to Rak'Gol attacks. The Rak'Gol may have victimised countless more, but limited communications and the lack of any remains means that any numbers would be speculative at best. Over the decades, Rak'Gol sightings continue to occur throughout the trailing and rimward portions of the Expanse. In recent years, other human voidcraft have also confirmed encounters with these marauding terrors in the Cauldron and Heathen Stars, indicating their spread across the Expanse. Unfortunately, very few have survived an encounter with these xenos to tell the story of their conflict. Even fewer have retained sufficient sanity to make the stories believable.
The Imperial world of Nypson's Prize was once held by human colonists, lost to the Imperium for several millennia. The inhabitants lived a simple, agrarian lifestyle on a planet that possessed long growing seasons. Most of them lived contented, peaceful lives of quiet contemplation and farming. Their advanced technology regressed and stagnated, to the point that their agricultural equipment was primarily powered by native animals. Vessels associated with House Ma'Kao re-established contact with Nypson's Prize in 784.M41. At that time, they created agreements to exchange substantial portions of the world's agricultural output in trade for off-world communications, information, and a selection of Imperial supplies. The arrangement worked effectively for just over a decade of regular shipments and communications.
Then, the Sacred Testament arrived to find the world a toxic wasteland, its population completely eliminated, its landscape devastated with huge craters, and its atmosphere a radioactive hell. Ship's sensors suggest that a Rak'Gol vessel may have crashed into the surface of the planet, unleashing the scouring radiation. No further details have been recovered, though rumours suggest House Ma'Kao has made several failed attempts to recover the remains of the crashed xenos starship.
Rak'Gol at Present
With their continued expansion, the Rak'Gol have eradicated the sentient life on dozens of planets. In some instances, these were isolated populations of primitive xenos. In others, the creatures destroyed larger human settlements, including the one on Nypson's Prize. Throughout this time, no known humans have ever established a meaningful dialogue with the species. Rather, attempts at communication have always ended with violent conflict as the xenos continuously attack any whom they encounter. As a consequence, little is directly known of their culture, philosophy, or language -- or even if they possess any of these traits. Suppositions have been made regarding all of these matters, particularly in concert with information obtained from other xenos species concerning encounters with the Rak'Gol.
Even prior to the first confirmed human losses, races such as the Stryxis and the Vyrkeen mentioned the Rak'Gol when dealing with human cultures. Ancient legends from several cultures spoke of a race that travelled the stars, purging planets as they went. The capabilities accorded to these xenos varied from world to world, but a few factors were consistent with modern reports from Imperial sources. The first of these issues is the clear fact that the attackers were relentless and merciless. The aliens were known as the Scourge of the Expanse, and the legends described them as relentlessly cleansing planets of all life and culture.
Similarly, these mythical terrors were described as corrupted and armed with fell mechanical enhancements. The legends disagree on the reason for this, but all clearly indicate their mechanical components were designed to increase their combat capabilities. Some of the tales said the creatures hated themselves as much as they hated other life, and thus replaced components to distance themselves from their physical form. Others suggest that the Rak'Gol were a race created from nothing by another god-like race and that the mechanical components were simply used to finish the job, replacing those parts that could not be crafted biologically. Additional stories suggest that the cybernetic implants might be associated with status, purity, or serve as a requirement for reproduction. However, the truth is likely to remain unknown until Imperial agencies capture and interrogate one of these xenos.
Most confirmed knowledge of Rak'Gol cultural activities have been discovered through the analysis of combat sites. Since the earliest known encounters with these xenos, those few humans who survived have often been thoroughly questioned, whether by a Rogue Trader who wants to see the Rak'Gol destroyed, a renegade Magos Biologis, or even the Inquisition. However, such questioning often proves largely futile, as the survivors are often plagued by horrible mental trauma. It is unclear if this damage was a consequence of the horrors that they faced or if it is a direct consequence of any psykers that may be found among the Rak'Gol. Astropaths used in the investigations have only returned inconsistent reports after analysing surviving victims. Some insist that the degree of mental scarring could only be a consequence of mental assault, while others argue that the damage is more likely due to a combination of visceral reactions to extreme terror and possible Warp taint.
While individual reports are rarely particularly informative, members of the Inquisition's Ordo Xenos have recently shed additional light upon the Rak'Gol through comprehensive analyses of compiled studies. It is clear that the creatures possess a hierarchical society. Their command structure appears to be based upon a combination of martial prowess and cybernetic enhancement. Currently it remains unclear if these enhancements are attained only after their wielders have obtained a certain degree of success or if those who possess such enhancements build up the necessary combat capability to advance within their ranks.
Stories conflict over whether the interior of the Alenic Depths is the location of the Rak'Gol's profane homeworld, or simply the route they have taken from a more distant region. The few brave, or insane, souls who venture into the Depths to search for an answer never return, although pieces of them or their ships occasionally show up amidst the trophies recovered from Rak'Gol vessels. Most consider the idea of seeking the Rak'Gol homeworld with anything less than a full battlegroup of warships, or an Imperial Crusade, to be the height of lunacy. Matters have grown considerably more complicated since reports started filtering into Port Wander of the xenos marauders claiming worlds beyond the boundaries of the Depths, for unknown reasons. It is unknown when such encounters first began occurring, as the rumours were not substantiated until the recent Battle of Holtsfall, in 801.M41, was fought in orbit of such a stronghold. The battle's victor, Lord-Captain Patronius Holt, was forced to destroy the xenos structures with an orbital bombardment in order to claim the world for his dynasty, and the rubble left few clues as to their original purpose.
Regardless of whether the Rak'Gol simply seek to expand their holdings, as would be expected of a less deranged species, or if they have some other unfathomable goal in mind, certain common factors have been found among all Rak'Gol habitations discovered to date. In most cases, the bulk of the xenos actually dwelled in orbit and reduced vast swathes of the planet to irradiated deserts for no discernible reason. In some cases, the Rak'Gol constructed their warrens and fortresses in the midst of the poisonous expanse they had created, while on other worlds, they avoided setting foot in any of these areas, even when driven back by assaulting troops.
All Rak'Gol worlds are marked by special territories known as Rad-Zones, even those that normally lack territories of any kind. These territories are considered to possess desolate and virulent traits, although the ill-effects of the latter are due to the high levels of radiation present, as opposed to toxins. The number of Rad-Zones present on a Rak'Gol planet depends on its development level. Rak'Gol planets frequently house a fleet presence as well, with even minor encampments being defended by at least a single warship. Their more significant holdings often have a major battlegroup patrolling the reaches of the star system.
Newly-established Rak'Gol holdings have been found across much of the Koronus Expanse. They are most commonly encountered in the area between the God-Emperor's Scourge and the Phaineal Echoes, a region of space already plagued with significant activity by their kind. Interestingly, these encampments often seem temporary, as if set up as part of a grander effort. The matter is further clouded by claims of Rak'Gol holdings far from any known activity by their fleets. There are a handful of verified reports regarding such activity, as far afield as Winterscale's Realm and the Foundling Worlds. Rak'Gol planets have yet to be found near striking distance of Footfall and the Maw, but many fear it is only a matter of time. As far as can be told, establishment of a Rak'Gol colony is always preceded by a devastating barrage of nuclear fire, to create one of their infamous Rad-Zones. The colony's main warren is often, but not always, established in or near the Rad-Zone, but its purpose remains unclear to outside observation.
The Rak'Gol sometimes construct vast orbital stations, housing a population similar to those found on their colonies. As far as can be determined by the examination of reported encounters, there is no comprehensible pattern determining which worlds are occupied from the surface, and which from orbit. Issues of atmosphere, potential foodstuffs, and resources, do not seem to play into whatever alien priorities govern the decisions of the Rak'Gol in this matter. A widely circulated but unverified tale even claims that the xenos aboard an orbital station were once discovered in the process of examining their planet's surface, only to turn the void station's weaponry on the continent they occupied, reducing it to rubble as soon as the observers were detected.
In all recorded encounters with Rak'Gol orbitals, their void stations were heavily armed and well-protected, with even the most densely-populated habitats being the equivalent of dedicated defence stations. They bristle with the infamous Howler Cannons and Roarer Beams found on their warships, although they usually lack torpedoes or launch bays for void fighters. Imperial strategists suggest that this could be due to the fact that the xenos are known to construct variants designed exclusively for raiding and slave-taking, rather than as actual weapons. Though Rak'Gol in orbital habitation do not seem to make significant use of the planet they circle, they still scar it with the Rad-Zones for which they are known. It is believed that their stations are often constructed with a weapon specifically designed for such work, although this is impossible to verify, since no example has been captured intact.
Major Rak'Gol worlds beyond the Alenic Depths remain scattered and rare for the time being, but each is a unique horror, surrounded by a fleet devoted to no other goal than annihilation. As long as a single such stronghold of foulness and depravity exists, it remains too many for the Imperium's comfort, and their numbers are far greater than that. Where these worlds are known, they are denoted on every chart, rutter, and navigational primer as an area of extreme peril, but unfortunately, many more remain undocumented. Those star systems which their ships can easily reach are often subjected to the same treatment, as an additional precaution. The surface of these planets are usually reduced to nothing but a radioactive wasteland, broken only by cyclopean monoliths and hideous fortresses, with walls like enormous knives or fangs thrust forth from the earth. Innumerable minor Rad-Zones mark the surface like a pox, and larger examples stand out like enormous scars. Mercifully, the Rak'Gol have concentrated most of their planets at this development level in or near the Alenic Depths, and the majority of the remainder can be found in the stretches of the Expanse known for Rak'Gol activity.
Contact with Other Species
When the Rak'Gol come into contact with another intelligent species, only one side ever survives. No exceptions to this rule have been encountered anywhere in the Expanse, unless one counts conflicts as yet unresolved. As such, a star system determined to have inhabitants on multiple planets cannot have Rak'Gol planets alongside the holdings of other species. Instead, Rak'Gol planets are often found near worlds with archeotech caches or xenos ruins, but these are usually of limited abundance, given the extremely thorough destruction that the Rak'Gol visit on their enemies.
Anatomy and Physiology
The typical Rak'Gol possesses eight limbs. Normally, when not in pursuit of prey, they tend to walk upright on four limbs; using the other four to perform various other functions. However, when in pursuit of prey, they can easily shift into using up to all eight limbs for locomotion. A Rak'Gol's upper four limbs possess adaptable grasping appendages; they can change the musculature to use these as hands, complete with opposable digits, instead of grasping feet. These appendages are strong enough that an adult Rak'Gol can actually climb and run completely upside down, attached to virtually any surface. The Rak'Gol also possess prehensile tails that assist in balance. In addition, the Rak'Gol have keen senses of smell and sight, and these are often enhanced through their use of cybernetics and bionics. When standing upright, the Rak'Gol tower over humans, standing at least 2.6 metres tall and weighing up to 175 kilograms. To humans, this xenos species appears reptilian, however, their skin does not possess the tell-tale scales that many reptiloid species exhibit. Rather, their skin is a rough-hewn texture, almost stonelike -- very similar to ancient Terran lizards. Non-modified Rak'Gol possess two eyes deeply recessed in their skulls, and a tympanic-like membrane for hearing.
The dual taints of the Warp and radiation are commonly found among the Rak'Gol. The radiation may be a consequence of the "fission-pulse" nuclear thermal drives found in their vessels. However, it may be that the species seeks this out as a means of inducing additional mutations among their ranks. The seneschal and information broker Nathin Thsanthos has observed that he is unsure which option is more terrifying, that the Rak'Gol deliberately seeks out corrupting mutation, or that the species is so consumed by bloodlust and rage that they no longer have the interest or ability to conduct basic maintenance on their vessels. While some mutations are clearly due to the depredations of the Warp, others seem more consistent with those developed following extended exposure to ionising radiation. The combination of these two influences clearly affects the species' gene pool, which has resulted in substantial variation between specimens found in different regions of the Expanse. At the same time, Imperial reports have not identified any tribal or cultural iconography that associate with any of these genetic variants. This suggests, but does not confirm, that the Rak'Gol may lack the necessary cultural sophistication to develop tribal cultures.
Members of the Magos Biologis have marvelled at remains recovered from Rak'Gol conflicts. Studies indicate that the species is egg-laying and that Rak'Gol undergo extensive physiological changes over the course of their maturation. Further, their reproductive methods appear to involve a trinary breeding scheme that is dependent upon the age and stature of the individuals involved. Some reports suggest that biochemical and physiological changes may occur in the Rak'Gol based upon their social standing within their communities. As the xenos attain specific levels of authority, this may trigger shifts in their reproductive mode. However, these factors cannot be confirmed until live specimens are studied over an extended period. Astropaths have been unable to consistently divine future attacks, even with the assistance of the Emperor's Tarot, as the simple brutality occurs at unpredictable intervals across a huge range of locations. The xenos infest the Unbeholden Reaches more so than others, but attacks have occurred inconsistently in many other locations. Among voidsmen, many legends have circulated that the Warp itself often places the xenos vessel in ideal locations to launch an attack at the most inconvenient time possible. These legends are most common within the regions of space where the Rak'Gol are most active -- a factor that is hardly coincidental.
In sharp contrast, based upon their exploration patterns through the Koronus Expanse, there may be more of a pattern to at least some of the Rak'Gol attacks than first appears. A number of these assaults occurred on worlds where xenoarchaeologists have identified the remains of civilisations lost long before the first Rogue Traders passed through the Maw. This suggests that the seemingly mindless Rak'Gol have the motivation and abilities necessary to carry out a search for something lost. Thus far, however, no researcher has been able to discover what could be valuable enough to send them out across the Expanse. This presents a challenge to Imperial forces attempting to constrain the Rak'Gol. Without a known target, it is far more difficult to provide consistent protection against the alien incursions. Their volatile and unpredictable natures only exacerbate the problem. Ultimately, there are far too many worlds containing the remains of shattered cultures within the Koronus Expanse to hope to protect them all. The most prominent Rogue Trader houses in the Expanse -- Winterscale, Chorda, and Saul -- have promised great rewards to the persons who discover the source of these foul aliens, so that they might descend upon their world and cleanse it with the wrath of their considerable fleets. However, thus far no one has managed to accomplish this.
The Rak'Gol are savage and brutal. They are likened to primal beasts instead of an advanced xenos species, yet they have progressed to the point of being able to build crude voidships and bionics. Rak'Gol are very effective hunters, and they are utterly remorseless killers. They are led by a caste known as the Abominations -- aptly named, for outsiders regard their entire appearance, from their patchwork, stitched-together hides to their crude bionics, as utterly grotesque. Their societal system seems hierarchical in nature, with older and more powerful Abominations controlling groups consisting of several vessels and their attendant crews. They have never shown the slightest interest in communicating with other intelligent species, or interacting in any way save slaughtering all they come across. Although several sects of the Magos Biologis in the Adeptus Mechanicus have attempted to capture Rak'Gol alive, every attempt thus far has failed. When faced with capture, Rak'Gol go completely berserk, throwing themselves at any containment without regard for their own well-being until they escape, destroy themselves, or must be put down by their captors.
Surprisingly little is known about Rak'Gol society. Most of what is known has been extrapolated through various encounters and tales of their attacks on the colonies within the Expanse. Their language is indecipherable -- consisting of nothing more than screeches and rasps. No one knows their point of origin, or even if they originated within the Koronus Expanse. It is possible that they have a homeworld (or clutch of several) where they issue from and construct their warships. If this is true, the world must be far beyond the explored bounds of the Expanse, or hidden from prying eyes by some sort of phenomena. There appears to be no explanation as to why they attack the ships or colonies of the Expanse, and it might very well be an inscrutable aspect of their alien psychology.
The Rak'Gol are pack hunters. Within their society there is nothing more important than the kill, and much of their society revolves around slaughter. From a young age, the brood are taught to work together, meshing their strengths with others' weaknesses so the pack as a whole succeeds where the individual would not. As they grow older, they are taught different types of tactics and eventually they are sent out with a Clutchmaster to be blooded, or die in the process. Once a Rak'Gol has seen combat, they are often "gifted" with bionics and cybernetics by their Clutchmaster in order to make them more effective at death and slaughter. Eventually those who manage to live long enough will appear to be more machine than living, a brutal and remorseless killing engine of death.
Rak'Gol Carvers are a subset of this species that have recently been seen spearheading their lightning assaults. These creatures are slightly smaller than many of their compatriots, though they still tower over humans, built for speed in lieu of raw power and armed with savage melee weapons. Their presence is often a precursor to the larger Marauders, Broodmasters, Abominations, and occasionally, the dreaded Techno-Shamans.
Marauders are the "foot troops" of the Rak'Gol. Most of these wretched xenos are modified with at least one type of cybernetic implant, though it is far more common for them to have more. These creatures have blooded themselves on hunts and survived to join in others. They are crazed and bloodthirsty, revelling in the destruction they wrought. Though they are capable of some level of tactical cunning, Marauders usually overwhelm their opponents with speed and raw ferocity. When they attack and board other ships in the void, it is the Marauders that defenders most face, each with their own combination of weapons and gear. Marauders are also rarely encountered alone; they tend to hunt in packs of ten to twenty, making the most of their terror-mob tactics. Marauders are unsubtle in their brutal tactics. Many simply go for the direct kill, but they are not mindless brutes. Those that man the various gunnery and helm stations of their vessels show ingenuity and a grasp of spatial tactics that belies their primitive stature.
The Broodmasters are the commanders of the Marauders. These vicious creatures follow the directives of the leadership-caste Abominations and lead the numerous raids against the other races of the Expanse. The Broodmasters are also the ones who captain the larger ships of the Rak'Gol forces, and they tend to do most of the tactical planning with input from the Abominations above them. They are typically distinguished by the amount of bionics and cybernetics their bodies support, and by the fact that they inspire the loyalty of the other Rak'Gol (especially the Marauders). These horrid xenos organise packs into frenzied mobs, and work them into a wild fury, foaming at the mouth in anticipation of the kill.
Some of the tactics employed by the Broodmasters resemble those of bestial predators, yet there are some that are distinctly Rak'Gol in nature. One of the most common methods employed involves a single Rak'Gol voidship laying in wait along a known Warp route. When the ships travelling that route transition from the Warp to change course or get a navigation fix, the Rak'Gol strike, attempting to disable the other vessel. Once disabled, the Rak'Gol board the vessel and kill any they find left alive, except for a chosen few. These they leave alive, shocked and horrified, to summon rescue through Vox or astropathic signal. In the meantime, the Rak'Gol reinforce their position with a host of other ships, laying in ambush until the rescue ship gets within range. It has even been reported that the Rak'Gol leave behind a few of their own brood aboard the damaged ship, lying in wait for any potential rescuers. Once the leaders determine the proper moment to strike, the entire mob attacks in a frenzy of blood and gore; storming ships, tearing through bulkheads, and leaving barren vessels open to the void in their wake.
There is also a sub-class of Rak'Gol leaders called Clutchmasters. These are the lesser leaders of the caste, often acting as "lieutenants" or mob-enforcers during combat. Typical packs of Rak'Gol are almost always led by a Clutchmaster, who takes direction from either the Broodmasters, or the Abominations above them. Clutchmasters also captain the lesser Marauder ships of the Rak'Gol broods. It should also be noted that there is little to distinguish a Broodmaster from a Clutchmaster in close combat.
The Abominations are the rarest caste of Rak'Gol encountered by the denizens of the Koronus Expanse, and appear to be the leaders of the Rak'Gol species -- it is unknown if there are any other castes higher than them. Each one’s appearance is unique and heavily modified. Many of them possess the bionic and cybernetic implants that are ubiquitous to the Rak'Gol -- yet they also have been modified by what appear to be implants and devices very similar to those of the Yu'vath. In fact, there has been some speculation amongst the Magos Biologis of the Adeptus Mechanicus that the Rak'Gol may have stumbled upon ancient Yu'vath technology and somehow formed some manner of relationship with it. However, there exist no records of the Rak'Gol having served the Yu'vath during the Angevin Crusade. The Rak'Gol only appeared within the Koronus Expanse a little over a century ago, far too late to have fought with the Yu'vath in the Angevin Crusade. As well as leading the Rak'Gol in battle, Abominations are thought to be their spiritual leaders -- but like so much of Rak'Gol society, no concrete evidence exists to support this theory. It is thought that these Abominations also plan all of the Rak'Gol raids, positioning their warriors across the Koronus Expanse as if following some mysterious plan. Should this plan reach fruition, it could spell disaster for the other intelligent races of the Expanse.
Mercifully rare, Renders are larger and even more violent than typical Rak'Gol. They are easily recognised, even in isolation, as they never carry any additional armaments and typically are almost totally covered with protruding cybernetic modifications. Reports indicate that these specimens are almost universally encountered at the forefront of Rak'Gol voidship attacks. In most instances, fewer than ten Renders are present. Their additional implants and muscle mass serve them well as they present the largest targets in such conflicts. Renders universally showed a thirty to forty-five percent increase in muscle mass when compared to Marauders with a comparably-sized skeletal structure. Renders also showed a marked structural change in overall neural structure. It is unclear if the increase of overall number and types of cybernetic enhancements are all fully functional within the specimens examined; it may be that some of these implants served only as additional armoured protection. Few of the implants present in the examined specimens appeared functional. Alternatively, it might be that some of the additional cybernetics were used to transform a Marauder into a Render. Previous studies suggest that Rak'Gol may be capable of biological change in response to cultural pressures.
"You thought they couldn't exist. You thought that the stories your squadmates told you were just meant to entertain you between engagements on long campaigns. You were wrong. They're here now, and that means we are already dead. Dead!"
- — Sgt. Voran, speaking to his squad moments before leaping out a void-lock unshielded
Rak'Gol hunting parties, and by extension their ships' complements, sometimes contain one or more psykers, or Techno-Shamans. The normal prey of a Rak'Gol hunting party is weak in comparison to the beasts that stalk them. For these hunts, a pack of three to ten Rak'Gol hunters is more than sufficient to ensure that no being escapes. Sometimes, for unknown reasons, a Techno-Shaman may lead the hunt. These creatures are terrifying destroyers, blurring the line between mind and machine and unleashing brutal torrents of invisible annihilation from strange, crystalline implants that seem to have grown into their bodies. Some superstitious voidsmen also claim that these abominations have the ability to corrupt Machine Spirits to their own destructive ends, though numerous reputable Explorators in the Expanse have dismissed these claims as both heretical and ridiculous.
Available Imperial records do not spell out reasons for the difference between normal Rak'Gol attacks and these other, more disturbing accounts. Deeper research and bribes to the right officials, however, get access to accounts that are not part of the standard Imperial documentation. These backroom conversations and hurriedly relayed transmissions show that there is one connecting factor between all appearances of Techno-Shamans: the lost technology and lore of the long-dead xenos species known as the Yu'vath. If the target of a Rak'Gol hunting party contains a person with either an artefact of Yu'vath origin or knowledge (subconscious or otherwise) of Yu'vath technology, then a Techno-Shaman may well lead the marauders, guiding them to this individual for some unknown, sinister purpose.
Though the Rak'Gol are a horrifying species, mercifully few of their kind are gifted in the ways of the psyker; in fact several xenographers of the Koronus Expanse have denied that Rak'Gol have any natural psychic potential at all. In spite of these claims, Rak'Gol raids are sometimes lead by terrifying specimens capable of wielding logic-defying powers. These xenos psykers are termed Techno-Shamans, as their particular abilities enable them to fuse their bodies with technology, merge seemingly disparate machines into coherent and functional systems, and even to stalk the Warp so that they can achieve their unknowable goals. They are rare among these xenos and appear to receive some grudging degree of respect from their fellows -- at the very least, other Rak'Gol give them a wide berth.
Rak'Gol Techno-Shamans seek out the technology left behind by long-extinct species and implant these, often horrifying, artefacts into their bodies. Imperial scholars have no insight into why they seek out the cursed machines of the Yu'vath and other dead empires, and most scholars of the Koronus Expanse deny that these monstrosities even exist. The implants grant their bearers certain supernatural abilities akin to psychic powers, even if the bearer's species does not otherwise display such potential.
Techno-Shamans are also characterised by the unusual energy flows that arc around them. These foul energies often travel between and through unusual cybernetic implants. A few sources, including the infamous Explorator Abraxas, have claimed that these odd, often crystalline artefacts are the source of the Techno-Shamans' powers and the key to their secrets. Inquisitors and apostate Tech-priests alike offer astronomical bounties for capturing one of these legendary monsters alive. The following are the most common powers utilised by the Rak'Gol:
- Distort Function - After a Rak'Gol attack, vessels are seldom in adequate condition for repair. Rather, the ships are often scrapped and various components used for salvage. Rumours circulate that the Machine Spirits in some of the salvaged components have begun to share stories of the Rak'Gol. Only the Explorators who have interacted with the damaged devices know the truth of the matter, but the stories state that Rak'Gol psykers can combine seemingly mundane devices into deadly killing machines.
- Flay Reality - It is clear that many psykers perceive reality differently to those who lack psychic talents. Among the Rak'Gol, where many members perceive the world through cybernetic implants or radiation-spawned mutations, the baseline for perceptions is decidedly variable. For those who are neither Rak'Gol nor a psyker, the world as perceived and understood by these creatures is a horrifying experience. Even more horrifying is the effect of the Rak'Gol psyker overlaying its dread perceptions onto the world around it, and those unfortunate enough to be caught within the blast can only watch in abject terror as reality itself frays and tatters, breaking apart at the most elemental level. Objects and individuals within the blast begin to break apart in incomprehensible ways, and madness seems the only escape from this realm of absolute terror.
- Open the Mind's Eye - Rak'Gol are known to be horrific, but their Techno-Shamans display abilities that go beyond mundane fears. Rather than attempting to overcome foes with finesse and delicacy, they often use brute terror, unleashing the raw fury of the Warp to rend their opponents' minds.
- Reap the Flesh - The Rak'Gol go to extremes when they overcome their opponents. Vessels are gutted, bodies are left in shambles, and supplies are destroyed. Techno-Shamans are also seldom satisfied with merely besting foes; survivors claim that these psykers may have a psychokinetic attack that tears the skin from its victims.
- Reweave - Rak'Gol frequently incorporate cybernetic devices into their bodies. Recordings recovered from encounters, along with survivor's reports, consistently indicate that the largest of these hideous xenos appear almost mechanical. Little corroborating data suggests that the species has any particular medical knowledge beside field treatment (and even such basic care has never been observed firsthand). Anecdotal reports suggest that Techno-Shamans install some cybernetic devices through the psychic talents they have prised from other artefacts of lost predecessors.
- Seize the Machine - Techno-Shamans have an unholy affinity for technological devices. Even those guided by a Machine Spirit may fall prey to their corruptive advances. It is unclear if this is due to the strange and forbidding technology that they integrate into their bodies or some other eldritch source of power. However, it is certain that these psykers are capable of exploiting this affinity in ways that are inordinately destructive to those they face. Those who have attempted to use automated defences against Rak'Gol attacks have learned their folly, often in explosive fashion. If a Machine Spirit typically automates the device, this technique immediately destroys that spirit and the device falls silent until a Tech-priest can coax a new Machine Spirit to take up the task of the one that was annihilated.
- Telekinetic Sledge - The Rak'Gol are a species that knows little of subtlety. Their combat actions are generally every bit as direct as they are savage. At least some of their confirmed psychic abilities reflect this; Techno-Shamans are reported to savagely beat their foes with raw bursts of telekinetic force, the blasts invisible except for the waves of gore they carry.
"Effective, but poorly optimised. Ammunition is expended too quickly for effective use in an extended firefight. Unmodified humans are incapable of carrying sufficient ammunition for maximal utility."
- — Magos Trosk, Weaponsmith of Leveen Rho
By the standards of the Imperium, Rak'Gol technology is quite primitive. Even their augmetic implants lack the utilitarian elegance exhibited by Imperium designs. Yet, this xenos race has managed to merge the biological with the mechanical, and have learned to construct ships that can traverse the void. Though they do not possess any true psykers, the Rak'Gol also manage to navigate the Immaterium. How this is accomplished is something the Ordos of the Inquisition (and someRogue Traders) would pay dearly to find out. Rak'Gol weaponry is as brutal as it is effective. Many of the weapons employed are designed for close combat, but they employ a few that are effective at range. Most of their weapons are deadly mono-blades, spears, or some combination of the two; all have wicked-looking curves to them and deadly barbs. Rak'Gol favour simple projectile weapons, firing either oversized stub ammunition, or barbed razor-shells that tear and rend on impact.
The Rak'Gol appear to care little for their gear, as is readily evidenced after every raid they conduct. They casually leave weapons and armour behind, as well as their dead. In those instances where a defender successfully survives a Rak'Gol assault, they always have samples of the xenos tech to use or provide to the Adeptus Mechanicus for analysis. Similarly, in those cases where a vessel at least put up an effective defence against the Marauders, the ship's ruins always contain samples of Rak'Gol technology for those that salvage the remains. Consequently, Inquisition and Adeptus Mechanicus agents have successfully assembled far more information about Rak'Gol technology than they have managed to glean of their history or culture.
In the years since the Rak'Gol emergence, various xenographers and Adeptus Mechanicus Explorators have undertaken exhaustive studies of Rak'Gol technology at their own initiative or at the behest of those Rogue Traders who want to see the Rak'Gol destroyed. The results of those studies reveal a race possessing an inferior technological base to humanity, though the beasts seem able to compensate for this somewhat with their hyper-aggressive demeanour. Rak'Gol energy production seems firmly rooted in primitive atomics, meaning their ships' motive power comes from dangerous and inefficient fission pulse engines, rather than the mighty fusion plasma drives of Mankind. Though they can reach an impressive speed, their turning and acceleration is greatly limited. The rest of their technology shows the same limitations.
The Rak'Gol have little skill with the arcane sciences of energy weapons. While the few such devices they do possess are potent atomic beam weapons, they are also bulky and unwieldy. The "Roarer Beams" mounted on their starship are spinal weapons running the length of the hull, and the few beam weapons used by individual Rak'Gol suffer similar limitations, their bulk requiring them to be wielded by the largest and strongest of the xenos race. Simple projectile weapons make up the majority of the Rak'Gol armoury. Some of these weapons are very similar to human heavy ballistic Stubbers or Autoguns, though this is more likely a quirk of similarly evolving technologies. Another common variant of projectile weapons fire barbed razor shells that shatter into sharp fragments on impact, ripping through a target's body and causing massive, and usually fatal, tissue damage.
In addition to the various weapons, cybernetic enhancements are a clear hallmark characteristic of the species, though again, these are almost always bulkier and cruder than their human equivalents. However, with the exception of the unblooded, virtually every combat-capable specimen has at least one mechanical modification, and many of the bodies recovered possessed more than a dozen different implants. The Rak'Gol also possess implanted ceramic plates to reinforce their already resilient hides. Rak'Gol cybernetics tend to be simple but robust, able to withstand a great deal of punishment before failing, and sometimes operating long after their owners die. It remains unclear if these devices are still manufactured by the Rak'Gol, recovered from their fallen brethren, or simply ancient devices that remain from a time when the race might have possessed a greater level of sophistication and technical aptitude. Clearly there are individual members of the species that possess sufficient technical acumen to implant these devices within the bodies of their brethren. Most of the devices' purposes are fairly obvious -- cybernetic limbs, bionic replacement organs, and implanted weapons. However, some served no discernible purpose, even when subjected to detailed analysis. At least one Magos employed by Aspyce Chorda attempted to learn their function by implanting the devices in a number of that Rogue Trader's indentured workers.
Initially analysts believed that the Rak'Gol implants were non-functional as the installed devices appeared nonresponsive to standard query protocols. Further analysis showed little evidence of any energetic flow within the devices, suggesting that the alternative hosts were incapable of activating and controlling these implants. However, the test subjects soon discovered that these preliminary results were not consistently accurate. In all cases, if the human body did not fatally reject the unknown implants, severe mental degradation followed within a week. It is unclear if this was a consequence of the implant's unusual biochemical interface or if the implants affected the brain directly. None of the test subjects survived beyond two weeks -- and the three that possessed some rudimentary psychic abilities perished in screaming agony within hours. It is said that Chorda sold the results, as well as the services of the Magos who conducted the experiments, to an agent of the Ordo Xenos in Footfall.
One point of note about Rak'Gol technology is that a small but significant percentage seems to incorporate technology that bears the hallmark crystalline and bone structure associated with the Yu'vath. This suggests that the Rak'Gol may have an association with that dead xenos species. Some of those who have had the misfortune of encountering one of the Rak'Gol "Abominations" -- the xenos' leadership caste -- note that they are more likely to possess Yu'vath technology, indicating that it may be some sort of status symbol amongst them. Rak'Gol have been encountered possessing Yu'vath symbols, as well as symbols that learned scholars of the arcane and the forbidden claim are debased and simplified symbols of the Ruinous Powers of the Warp. Clearly, the Rak'Gol have some sort of ties to the Immaterium, possibly through their covetous desire of Yu'vath technology. One of the most mysterious facets of Rak'Gol technology is the propensity for the Abominations to seek out and capture lost relics of the Yu'vath. These wretches will go to any length to possess Yu'vath implants and constructs, going so far as to even decorate their bodies with the silvered traceries and symbols used by that decimated race of Chaos-worshippers.
The Rak'Gol have a noticeable propensity for the use of crude bionics. Possessing primitive technology by the standards of the Imperium, Rak'Gol implants lack the utilitarian elegance exhibited by more advanced races. Yet, the Rak'Gol have somehow managed to successfully merge the biological with the mechanical. However, with the exception of the unblooded, all Rak'Gol possess at least one implant or prosthetic. They also possess implanted ceramic plates to reinforce their already resilient hides.
Once a Rak'Gol has seen combat, they are often "gifted" with bionics and cybernetics by their Clutchmaster in order to make them more effective at death and slaughter. Eventually those who manage to live long enough will appear to be more machine than living, a brutal and remorseless killing engine of death. For example, a Rak'Gol Broodmaster is typically distinguished by the amount of bionics and cybernetics their bodies support. The rare caste known as Abominations possess the bionic and cybernetic implants that are ubiquitous to the Rak'Gol, yet they also have been modified by what appear to be implants and devices very similar to those of the xenos known as the Yu'vath.
Like Abominations, Rak'Gol Techno-Shamans seek out the technology left behind by long-extinct species and implant these often horrifying artefacts into their bodies. Imperial scholars have no insight into why they seek out the cursed machines of the Yu'vath and other dead empires, and most scholars of the Koronus Expanse deny that these monstrosities even exist. The implants grant their bearers certain supernatural abilities akin to psychic powers, even if the bearer's species does not otherwise display such potential.
Most Rak'Gol seem to disdain ranged weapons, exhibiting a clear preference for melee combat. In several instances, survivor reports have indicated that Rak'Gol wielding ranged weapons tend to use them as melee weapons once their ammunition is depleted, rather than reloading. The following are the known patterns of ranged weaponry utilised by the Rak'Gol:
- Rak'Gol Razor Gun - The most common ranged weapon among these xenos, these weapons use chemical propellants to hurl finely barbed slugs at their targets. These weapons are most effective against lightly armoured targets and often inflict savage wounds upon their victims. The slugs create a distinctive high-pitched whine as they corkscrew through the air at hypersonic speeds. The combination of the sound and the savage howls of the marauders haunt the nightmares of nearly all who have survived encounters with these savages.
- Howler Rifle - Rak'Gol wielding Howler Rifles are easily identified by the large packs of ammunition that they must wear strapped to their torso to supply these chain-fed weapons. The rounds are made of a dense, ceramic-like material fired by highly volatile propellent. The tri-barrelled weapon spits out thousands of these rounds per minute with great gouts of flame, yielding a characteristic wailing noise as it showers unlucky targets with lead.
- Rad-beam Cannon - The massive Rad-beam Cannon is only rarely seen among Rak'Gol units. The cannon discharges a blast of high intensity ionising radiation that voraciously breaks down armour and materials and kills living tissue. The radiation is focused through an unstable ionisation field, meaning the wielders often suffer doses of radiation whenever it fires. While an extremely effective weapon, the Rak'Gol wielding it often show little patience for getting it aligned and waiting for it to recharge after each burst. Only the Abominations seem capable of restraining the bearers from throwing themselves into melee combat instead.
Many Rak'Gol choose to employ only their natural claws and massive teeth as their weapons of choice in close combat. Others use a vicious collection of implanted mono-blades and armoured, razor-edged gauntlets designed to rend and tear flesh with maximum carnage. The following are the known melee weapons employed by the Rak'Gol:
- Rak'Gol Rad Axe - The massive blade on this pole-arm is characterised by an ionisation field that focuses a massive radioactive discharge.When these weapons are used, the battlefields often suffer from substantial levels of radioactive contamination.
- Rak'Gol Intimidator - Only a few of these handheld devices have been recovered, but no eyewitness reports indicate their use in combat. Adeptus Mechanicus agents believe that the Intimidators are primarily used as torture devices, but records indicate most Rak'Gol Abominations carry them. This may be an indicator of status or a means to maintain discipline among their crew.
Rak'Gol War Vessels
"It is fortunate that the Rak'Gol remain isolated. They are xenos who worship dark gods and slay servants of the Imperium. Inquisitors might come to blows over who could destroy them."
- — Inquisitor Marr
It is unclear if the Rak'Gol have recently discovered Warp travel by scavenging starships from other star-faring races or if they might be the survivors of an advanced and dying species. As their vessels are best characterised by haphazard repairs and an uneven appearance, both opinions seem justified. In either case, their vessels share common core architecture. The cylindrical core, balanced upon a crude fission-powered reaction drive, extends the length of the ship. Asymmetric extensions run fore and aft of the core, in line with it. Short fins extend irregularly from the hull. These vessels are extensively decorated with crude symbols, randomly placed armour plates, and a broad range of defensive turrets.
Fortunately for their potential victims, the fission-drives that they use are unshielded. This likely subjects the crews to unimaginable levels of radiation but offers a tremendous benefit for targeted ships. These engines glow brightly on any Auspex. Word has spread that the best defence against a Rak'Gol attack may be to flee at the first sign of an engine signature. Analyses of ships that have fallen prey to the Rak'Gol are remarkably consistent. The remains of these ships are seldom more than scavenged hulks. Any salvageable equipment is missing, and the bodies of the crew are either completely missing or so badly damaged as to be unidentifiable. Radiation scars that may take centuries to fade mar the ship's hull and damaged components.
Recent reports indicate that some Rak'Gol boarders take prisoners. The reasons for this remain unclear, as does the survivability of those prisoners under the harsh radiation from the fission engines. Until one of these craft is closely examined, it is unlikely that any conclusions can be drawn. Anecdotal reports identify larger Rak'Gol vessels, equipped with large atomic beam weapons. A few of these reports suggest that these vessels may be accompanied by squadrons of smaller vessels. Woe to the lone Imperial craft that encounters such a squadron.
The war vessels of the Rak'Gol are seemingly primitive compared to those of the Imperium of Man -- crude amalgamations of armour plating and other systems resembling fins or the barbs of horned insects. All are covered with numerous weapon spines clustered around a central, elongated core containing propulsion and navigation systems. One of the most unique features of Rak'Gol vessels are their propulsion systems; they use fission-pulse drives powered by unshielded nuclear fission atomic piles. The radiation produced by such abominable devices is extremely intense and it is unknown if the Rak'Gol are naturally resistant to the radiation output, or if they are simply unconcerned with the increased mortality that comes from exposure to such heavy doses of ionising radiation.
Like the race itself, Rak'Gol ship weaponry is similarly both brutal and primitive. They tend to favour the short-ranged, rapid-fire macro-weapons, compensating for smaller warheads with increased rates of fire. This fits in with their favoured tactic of closing in with and crippling their opponents before boarding them in savage assaults. Their vessels also bristle with many short-ranged defensive turrets, designed to fill the space around the ship with clouds of high-velocity slugs. Needless to say, this can be highly devastating to smaller craft, and launching Attack Craft against Rak'Gol warships seems suicidal at best. A few larger Rak’Gol ships are equipped with massive beam weapons that appear to run the entire length of the ship's spine. Though powerful, they are thankfully relatively rare.
Rak'Gol Starship Classes
- Marauder - Marauders are the name given to the most common of Rak'Gol ships, sharing the name with the Rak'Gol warrior caste. Given that no two are exactly alike, they are similar enough in size and performance to be grouped together into a broad classification. All Marauders seem to be haphazardly constructed with little regard for layout or comfort of crew. They are all generally brutal voidcraft that are over-gunned and have impressive amounts of speed thanks to their fission-pulse drives. However, though they are quite fast they are slow to manoeuvre, and savvy captains have been known to exploit this weakness in order to win the day.
- Butcher - Very rarely found alone, the Butcher is used on the rare occasions when the Rak'Gol attack planetary targets. While capable of assisting in combat, these starships are relatively poorly armed and lightly armoured. Their slow speed and lack of manoeuvrability exacerbates the issue. In combat, they prefer to stand off from the main fight and inundate their opposition with swarms of small craft and boarding torpedoes. Once opposition is eliminated, they enter low orbit over a target world and mercilessly pound targets with warhead swarms while launching waves of assault craft.
- Mauler - Less common than other Rak'Gol Escort craft, the Mauler-class Frigates are still far more commonly seen than any lone explorer or trader would like. These vessels vary -- often dramatically -- in their precise secondary armaments, defences, and appearance. They are, however, distinguished by their primary weapon, clusters of torpedo tubes. These tubes are almost always loaded with boarding torpedoes, offering another method for the vicious Rak'Gol to enter into direct melee with their prey. Like other smaller Rak'Gol warships, Maulers generally travel without the support of other vessels. In these cases, the vessels begin firing salvo after salvo of torpedoes towards their victims the instant that they enter range. Maulers then continue to close to bring their Howler Cannons into play. In the rarer cases where a Mauler is part of a mixed squadron, they generally hang back, firing continuous salvoes of torpedoes, while vessels with shorter ranged weapons close.
- Mangler - Mangler vessels are full-sized Rak'Gol warships. These (mercifully rare) starships are generally found accompanied by at least one to three Butchers or Maulers. In a few rare instances, Manglers have led larger squadrons. The examples that have been identified share a common core design and armament, but vary significantly in their architecture. This may be due to extensive repairs or may indicate that they were designed by different artisans. Thus far, only Manglers are large enough to mount Rak'Gol Lance weapons. These warships, especially when accompanied by a support squadron, are fully capable of launching a planetary assault against smaller colonies. In addition, the wings of assault craft in concert with their beam weapons can be an absolutely devastating combination against any but the largest of vessels.
Rak'Gol Starship Components
The components that go into Rak'Gol vessels tend to be inferior to human vessels, but nonetheless brutally effective. The following is a list of the most common components found on a Rak'Gol starship:
- Drives - Instead of the fusion plasma drives of humanity, the Rak'Gol rely on something referred to as a "fission-pulse" drive. These drives are far inferior to the plasma drives of Imperial vessels, based around an atomic reactor core and relying on explosive "pulsed" nuclear fission reactions to move their ships through space. In general they can accelerate to a decent speed, but fall far short on manoeuvrability. There are two broad classes of drives used by the Rak'Gol, categorised by xenostechnologists as the "Stutter"-class and the "Burst"-class, with the latter being the larger of the two. Like the smaller "Stutter"-class drives, the "Burst" drives of the Rak'Gol are capable of accelerating to high velocities, but are incapable of nimble manoeuvring. However, Imperial captains tend to underestimate the brutal force behind them, sometimes to their peril.
- Warp Drives and Protective Devices - The Rak'Gol's Warp-Drives are far more advanced than the xenos race's other technology. Inspections of several hulked Rak'Gol vessels revealed the Warp-Drives seemed to have been added to the Rak'Gol ships independently of the starship's construction. This was further borne out by strange crystalline devices that make up part of the Warp-Drives. To protect against the predations of the Warp, the Rak'Gol seem to rely exclusively on a series of talismans, charms, and symbols built into the hulls of their vessels.
- Life Sustainer and Crew Quarters - Although the Rak'Gol seem able to breath oxygen, the atmospheres aboard their ships are thick and choked with noxious chemicals, as well as radiation from their unshielded fission piles. This has lead xenostechnologists to derisively dub their sustainer systems "fume sustainers." Likewise, their living quarters are hot, dry, and awash in lethal levels of radiation.
Rak'Gol Starship Weaponry
Rak'Gol starship weaponry tends towards macrobatteries firing swarms of warheads, or unwieldly Lance weapons. The following is a list of the most common Rak'Gol weaponry found aboard Rak'Gol war vessels:
- Howler Cannons - These weapons were nicknamed by the survivors of Rak'Gol attacks, who described the sound of their shells impacting on a voidship's hull as an "unrelenting howl." Howler Cannon batteries fire massive and brutal barrages of ordinance to overwhelm their targets with the sheer volume of fire.
- Roarer Beam - "The foulest bellow of the vile xenos," these gigantic beam weapon clusters seem to run the entire length of the largest Rak'Gol warships. They fire rad-beams that voraciously eat through the toughest armour.
- Clanger Torpedo Tubes - These tubes are capable of firing two torpedoes in each salvo. They are always loaded with Boarding Torpedoes, which are functionally identical to those used by Imperial vessels.
- Raider Landing Bay - During combat, these bays are completely open to the void. Docked assault craft are each attached to an airlock which is used to load the vessels. In non-combat situations, massive doors are closed to seal off the bay compartment so that the area may be used to conduct repairs and maintenance, inasmuch as the Rak'Gol engage in these activities.
- Rogue Trader: Core Rulebook (RPG), pg. 359
- Rogue Trader: Battlefleet Koronus (RPG), pp. 97-100
- Rogue Trader: Edge of the Abyss (RPG), pp. 70-74
- Rogue Trader: The Navis Primer (RPG), pp. 133-135
- Rogue Trader: The Koronus Bestiary (RPG), pp. 85-91
- Rogue Trader: Stars of Inequity (RPG), pp. 48-49, 82