"Before seeking victory, first make yourself invulnerable to defeat."
The Raptors is a Loyalist Space Marine Chapter and a Second Founding successor of the Raven Guard. It has been heavily involved in many of the most recent campaigns of the Imperium of Man, including the Badab War, the Third War for Armageddon and the Taros Campaign.
As a Chapter, the Raptors have been nearly rendered extinct multiple times, but have learned to adapt to changing circumstances so well that they have flourished where other Chapters would simply have had their names added to the ranks of the fallen.
The Raptors' Chapter culture is one that is very wary of the idea of martial glory or honour, and prefers instead to emphasise pragmatism, adaptability and completion of the mission over all other concerns. The Raptors, having been reduced to so few battle-brothers so often in their history, have no illusions about what war truly is.
They understand that war is suffering and death. It is a brutal business that they specialise in, but they have no desire to wallow in its misery beyond what is required to carry out the Emperor's will.
The Raptors Chapter has constantly faced and overcome tragedies throughout its ten millennia history. These begin with the disasters that afflicted the Raven Guard Legion prior to its Founding and extend to the destruction of its homeworld and repeated instances of near-destruction.
The Raptors' success is dependent upon their ability to think and execute in a distributed and independent fashion. The Raptors willingly employ whatever tactics they believe most appropriate, relying upon success to establish their Chapter's glory rather than misguided notions of honour and dogmatic thought.
The Raptors prize skilled marksmanship and independent thought, and view the Codex Astartes as a highly effective set of guidelines rather than absolute doctrine like many other Chapters.
The Raptors are known for fielding substantial 10th Company assets supported by waves of combat skimmers.
- 1 Chapter History
- 2 Chapter Organisation
- 3 Chapter Homeworld
- 4 Chapter Combat Doctrine
- 5 Chapter Beliefs
- 6 Chapter Gene-Seed
- 7 Notable Raptors
- 8 Chapter Fleet
- 9 Chapter Relics
- 10 Chapter Appearance
- 11 Canon Conflict
- 12 Sources
- 13 Gallery
The Raptors is a Successor Chapter of the Second Founding. The Raptors are descendants of a handful of scions of the Raven Guard Legion who were created as a new Chapter after the dark days of the Horus Heresy.
Apocryphal legend suggests that the Raptors were originally drawn from a company of new initiates training on the Raven Guard homeworld of Deliverance at the time of the infamous Drop Site Massacre of Isstvan V that nearly wiped out the Raven Guard Legion, allowing only the Primarch Corax and several thousand of his Astartes to survive.
These initiates were also spared some of the darker events involving rampant mutation that befell their Legion as the Raven Guard attempted to rebuild itself too quickly under Corax's direction.
In the Heresy's aftermath, this company went on to serve with distinction against the remnants of the forces of Chaos and was later granted the honour of full Chapter status after Roboute Guilliman's reforms of the Space Marine Legions and the use of the Codex Astartes was imposed on the Legions, breaking them up into smaller Chapters.
Fragmentary evidence suggests that the fledgling Raptors Chapter began its service as a fleet-based Chapter in the middle of the 31st Millennium, engaging in the pursuit of the scattered Traitor Legions during the Great Scouring that followed the end of the Heresy.
Several standard centuries later, the Raptors were granted a world on the edge of the Eye of Terror in the Segmentum Obscurus, joining numerous other Chapters to share the responsibility as guardians against Chaos incursions from that great Warp rift into Imperial space.
All signs suggest that the Chapter served capably in fulfilling its responsibilities for millennia. However, the Chapter's history is then obscured by the passage of the ages, as its first homeworld (whose name is now lost) was believed to have been destroyed during one of Abaddon the Despoiler's Black Crusades, likely the 4th Black Crusade or 5th Black Crusade.
The disaster occurred in either the 34th or the 36th Millennium. With the world's destruction, all of the Chapter's early trophies, records, and much of its most valuable and ancient wargear were all annihilated.
In the 37th Millennium, Imperial records indicate that the entire Raptors Chapter was listed among those Space Marines who had gone missing and were presumed killed in action. All signs indicate that the Raptors maintained this status for more than two standard millennia.
The cause behind this disappearance is unclear, and lost to the ages. It was not until the Caberiad Wars of the early 39th Millennium that the Raptors resumed their status as a full-strength Space Marine Chapter.
Their actions during the intervening millennia are unclear. The Chapter may have been rebuilding from a substantial loss, or it might have spent this time fighting in, and escaping from, the terrors of the Warp.
Regardless, at this point one key element of the Raptors' incarnation became clear. During the Caberiad Wars, the Raptors had access to an ample supply line. References from other Imperial sources indicate that they have once more taken a homeworld and re-established a fortress-monastery they refer to only as "Prime."
The Raptors currently operate from a world variously named Numina, Ra or Badwater from deep within the dense stellar drifts of the Sutters Spiral Nebula on the northern border of the Segmentum Solar. However, none of the battle-brothers have disclosed the name or precise location of their homeworld, even to members of the Adeptus Administratum.
- Origo Blockade (701-711.M36) - A mixed force of Space Marine Chapters, built around the 5th Company of the Raptors Chapter, imposed a ring of steel about the world of Origo at the direct request of Segmentum High Command. For almost a solar decade nothing got in or out despite total war engulfing the seven other settled bodies in the Origo System. When at last the war was won and the blockade lifted, the surface of Origo was found to have been scoured clean, not so much as a sun-bleached skeleton remaining of the once teeming population. What apocalyptic forces were unleashed upon the surface of Origo while the blockade was being maintained remains a mystery, and several dozen highly ranked lords of the Inquisition, in particular those of the Ordo Xenos, have vanished attempting to determine the truth.
- Sancta Angelis Campaign (339-370.M39) - A Raptors taskforce was cut off utterly from the rest of the Imperium by Warp Storms in the galactic northwest of the Ultima Segmentum, nevertheless they successfully conducted a thirty standard year campaign against the gathering power of WAAAGH! Irongol in the Sancta Angelis Cluster. Bereft of outside aid or supply, the Raptors engaged in a guerrilla war in the very heart of the Ork demesnes, striking against dozens of different Ork tribes on scores of worlds. This campaign culminated with the Chapter eventually slaying the Ork Warboss Irongol and his hundred-strong mega-armoured bodyguard in a grueling six-hour struggle. This caused the cluster to quickly descend into a bloodbath of internecine warfare to establish dominance amongst the Orks. The threat effectively eliminated, the Raptors withdrew to wait out the storms' passing before returning homeward.
- Caberiad Wars (ca. 39th Millennium)
- Crucible of Endikon IX (236.M40) - In the early years of the 40th Millennium, the Hive World of Endikon IX fell under the assault of Aeldari Corsair hosts, piratical raiders who enslaved the population and set them to systematically strip their world of all material wealth. After nearly eighty standard years of occupation and torment an Imperial force finally arrived to liberate Endikon IX, spearheaded by a combined force of Space Marines from the Raptors and Red Scorpions Chapters. The battle for control of the space over Endikon IX was brutal, with the Imperial Navy taskforce sustaining heavy casualties as it drove off the sleek Aeldari voidcraft, especially amongst the lumbering transports that bore the liberation army's Astra Militarum contingent. With their manpower depleted to dangerous levels the Raptor's commander, Captain Kel Vamar, proposed utilising the famed ability of his Chapter in stealth and infiltration to engage the Aeldari by ambush and wear them down in a campaign of hit-and-run strikes before landing the remainder of their support troops. The Red Scorpions' 5th Company, under Commander Oren Saker, refused to have any part of what he termed "cowardice in the face of the enemy" and proceeded to initiate a full drop assault without any support. The resulting battle was successful in breaking and scattering the Aeldari ground forces, but at a terrible price -- of the eighty-three Red Scorpions who descended to the surface of Endikon IX, only sixteen returned. The few members of the Apothecarion which had accompanied the 5th Company spent many solar days searching the drifts of Aeldari dead to recover all of their Chapter's fallen. The campaign was eventually completed by the forces of the Raptors Chapter, who lost but a handful of brothers in a protracted harrying campaign to eliminate the remaining Aeldari.
- Sulsalid Campaign, Fourth Quadrant Rebellion (775-777.M41) - A full quarter of the Segmentum Solar and its outlaying systems were engulfed by a series of wars, revolts and secessionist outbreaks which set that part of the galaxy ablaze with civil strive that became known as the Fourth Quadrant Rebellion. With the civil conflicts affecting most of the systems, Renegade and xenos forces took advantage of the widespread anarchy. More than a dozen Space Marine Chapters were caught up in the fighting, either aiding one faction or another or simply defending their own territories while others were brought in by the Imperium to pacify the quadrant and finally put an end to the fighting. Four Astartes Chapters -- the Dark Angels, the Raptors, the Skull Bearers and the Red Wolves -- were instrumental in bringing the rebellion to an end. To the Raptors Chapter and Battlefleet Solar fell the task of toppling the Traitors of the Sulsalid Sub-sector. As the wider rebellion had raged, the powers and principalities of Sulsalid had cast off their tithe lords and cardinals in favour of the twin-abominations of "progress" and "democracy". Given time the Imperium knew such seditious corruption could quickly spread, and the Adeptus Terra tasked the Raptors to stamp out the heresy as swiftly as possible. In order to accomplish their aims, the Raptors took direct strategic command of several failing Imperial taskforces that had been thrown back by the Traitor forces at the Sulsalid Sub-sector capital world of Auranar. Here they reinforced and redirected the Astra Militarum assaults, using them as deliberate cover for their own series of lethal strikes at the enemy's command, control and supply infrastructure. In short order the Traitor forces were thrown into disarray and Auranar's power-distribution network was severed in a dozen vital locations, cutting off enemy supplies and communications. The Traitors buckled before the mass assault of the Imperial Guard, but it was the Assault Squads and Thunderhawks of the Raptors that smashed their way into the sky-palaces of the Sulasalid Ordinators in the final battles of the campaign and put them to the sword, ending this one revolt among many in the rebellion with ruthless efficiency.
- Badab War (906-908.M41) - Responding to the Inquisitor Legate's call for aid against the Secessionist threat in the Badab Sector, the Raptors, along with strong contingents from the Fire Angels, Salamanders and Red Scorpions Chapters arrived in the Maelstrom Zone in 906.M41 to participate in the Badab War. The Raptors deployed four companies to the war zone. This taskforce was led by the Raptor's Chapter Master Lias Issodon, a warrior of great experience and expert in the arts of covert and rapid-moving warfare in which his Chapter excelled. As a highly experienced Chapter Master, Lias Issodon offered himself for command of the combined Loyalist Space Marine forces but lost out to Carab Culln of the Red Scorpions. The Raptors gracefully deferred to the newly appointed Loyalist commander without hesitation or reservation. The Raptors maintained an excellent relationship with the Red Scorpions Chapter throughout the war, forming many lasting ties of blood and alliance with them; a perhaps surprising development given the almost diametrically opposite styles and beliefs of the two Astartes Chapters who in many ways could not have been more unalike in character. The Raptors engaged in frontline combat duties for the next standard year and a half of the war. They primarily operated as a mobile reserve for the main Loyalist battle lines. Though well suited to these tasks, these extensive commitments caused the Raptors to suffer substantial losses in some of the heaviest fighting of the war. Within two standard years of their arrival, the Chapter was no longer considered a combat-effective force and given the withdrawal order from the war in late 908.M41.
- 906.M41 - The Raptors answered Inquisitor Legate Jarndyce Frain's call for assistance fighting the Secessionist forces in the Badab Sector. Arriving alongside the Red Scorpions, Fire Angels and Salamanders, the Raptors, led by Lias Issodon himself, deployed their 2nd, 5th and 6th Companies bolstered by assault reserves and scouts. The committed fleet elements for the Raptors included the battle barge War Talon, two strike cruisers, the Arias Vex and Shadow Stalker, all accompanied by ten Gladius-class frigates. Offering himself for command of the Loyalist Space Marine forces in the Badab Sector Lias Issodon was passed over and Carab Culln of the Red Scorpions was selected instead. This decision caused no ill will or resentment between the Chapters and despite the obvious cultural differences between them, many lasting bonds were formed. The Raptors engaged in frontline combat duties and acted as mobile reserves during the first standard year and a half of combat in the sector. Of particular note was Operation Sedna wherein tasked with liberating the planet Surngraad, the Raptors devised a cunning plan to assault the polar defence fortress. The successful execution of the plan allowed for the Raptors and Salamanders to retake Surngraad. Losses during Operation Sedna included severe damage to the battle barge War Talon; this however did not remove it from the war.
- 907.M41 - Participating in some of the heaviest fighting of the war took its toll on the Chapter and by the end of 907.M41 it was estimated the Raptors had lost between 35% and 60% of their original fighting force. The worst losses were inflicted during fighting against the Mantis Warriors and Astral Claws in the Gargathea System and included the destruction of the strike cruiser Arias Vex. The losses were not in vain, however, as the Raptors helped achieve the eventual victory on Gargathea III, a victory that in no small part was also due to the Raptors' ability to match the Mantis Warriors' ambush tactics.
- 908.M41 - Deemed "combat-ineffective" after suffering heavy losses and with the intent of allowing the Chapter to rebuild, the Raptors were ordered to withdraw from the war. The Raptors next focussed their attention on the growing wars in the Ultima Segmentum. The Raptors strike cruiser Shadow Stalker and a small force of battle-brothers did remain in the Maelstrom Zone for some time, however, though the exact reason for this is unknown.
- Third War for Armageddon (998.M41) - The Raptors deployed a task force of five companies from the Chapter throughout the equatorial jungles and vapour woods of the Hive World of Armageddon during the Third War for Armageddon. The Raptors served alongside the infamous Astra Militarum regiment known as the Armageddon Ork Hunters and the Catachan Jungle Fighters whose deadly jungle warfare skills and infiltration tactics were best suited to the terrain.
- Taros Campaign (998.M41) - The Taros Campaign was an Imperial military campaign fought by the 4621st Imperial Guard Army and elements of the Adeptus Astartes to reclaim the Imperial desert mining world of Taros from the Tau Empire and its Kroot and human (Gue'vesa) allies of the Taros Planetary Defence Force. The Raptors deployed their 3rd and 6th Battle Companies in support of Imperial forces during the Taros Campaign.
Like their genetic forebears, the Raptors adhere to the broad organisational patterns and provisions laid down in the Codex Astartes, but as a Chapter, they see the Codex as a highly effective and proven set of strategic and operational guidelines rather than inviolable dogma to be obeyed without question.
The Raptors maintain a high degree of flexibility in their deployments and structures, and in battle favour hit-and-run tactics over all else.
Each Chapter selects its Librarians in its own way, either from seed worlds, as it does with the bulk of its initiates, or from the ranks of gifted psykers brought to the Scholastica Psykana of the Adeptus Astra Telepathica.
Most Chapters train and test chosen psykers following the ancient doctrines laid out in the Codex Astartes. Librarians of the Raptors Chapter are trained in this way, and, with few minor traditional variances, have been taught to live by the word of the Codex.
Raptors Librarians have a number of unique psychic abilities only used by the psykers of their Chapter, including:
- Librarian's Farsight - The Librarian calls upon his psychic gifts to enhance his vision and grant himself a hunter's gaze which can sweep across the battlefield to find targets. This keen sight not only allows the Librarian to pick out targets at extreme ranges but also thwart their attempts to hide, differentiating shapes from within shadow to see those that are trying to hide from him. In addition, his enhanced sight allows him to see things much closer than they would normally appear and reduces the range to a target when using a ranged weapon. This ability can also be used to see fine detail from the same distance which normal sight might not be able to see. This power only works when the Librarian is using his own vision and does not function in conjunction with scopes or lenses which would enhance ranged vision.
- Raptor's Wings - Raptors have an affinity for striking from the sky, making extensive use of Jump Packs and Land Speeders to descend on their foes from unexpected angles. The Librarian can manifest great wings of psychic power which bear him aloft. While active, others will be able to see the Librarian's wings as crackling green nimbuses of energy that arch up over his shoulders and can make it very difficult for him to hide. Also, when he moves if the wings brush against any surface they will crackle and burn with contained Warp energy (though the surfaces or objects they touch suffer no harm).
- Screaming Eagles - The Raptors Librarian can summon forth a swarm of shadowy birds of prey from the Warp which rise up from the ground screaming for the blood of his enemies. The effects of this power also have the effect of creating a brief cloud of darkness when the ethereal birds spring from the ground, and, though not complete darkness, this does foul vision and cast a shadow over the area of effect as thousands of black beating wings arch skyward.
The Raptors are quite deliberately vague in any discussions of their homeworld. This is among their fellow battle-brothers as well as in discussions with outsiders. It is in their nature to be secretive and to value the careful application of stealth.
The fact that the Raptors lost their first homeworld only serves to intensify their concern. The safe preservation of their adopted home is clearly a priority for the Raptors. However, this has become a point of concern between the Adeptus Administratum and the Chapter.
Not only could this act of independence have heretical consequences, but it effectively complicates any communications between Terra and the Chapter. The name of the Raptors' fortress-monastery is also kept a secret by the Chapter, who generally refer to it simply as "Prime", though it is believed to be located on a planet named Numina, Ra, Badwater, or Cortiz-Pol located in the Sutter Spiral Nebula of the Segmentum Solar.
Chapter Combat Doctrine
The Raptors are known for shunning the glory of close quarter combat favoured by many other Chapters for the simple expediency of the clean kill from afar with ranged weapons.
Like their parent Chapter, the Raven Guard, the Raptors make extensive use of their Scout Marines dispersed throughout their taskforces, and maintain a sizable contingent of Land Speeders of all types as well as a core of diverse armoured vehicles.
They prefer to employ these assets, along with their assault units, in precision strikes to overwhelm an enemy at strategically crucial junctures in battle after determining the most effective pressure point at which to break the enemy.
Flexibility and willingness to adapt to their situation represents the core of the Raptors' combat doctrine. As they prepare to engage their opponents, these Space Marines are always careful to identify all of their assets and utilise them to the fullest means possible.
These often include assets that are not identified within the constraints of the Codex Astartes. Even when operating well within the strictures of that tome, these battle-brothers may choose to take measures that others might consider dishonourable.
For members of the Raptors Chapter, the only important standard is success. Honour and glory are noble notions, but a clear victory is worth far more than any amount of either. Most of the distinctive combat tactics that the Raptors employ are tied into this notion.
Many Space Marine Chapters exhibit a clear disdain for the use of concealment, secrecy, espionage, and counter-intelligence. The Raptors know, however, that such tactics provide a limited number of countermeasures to overcome those who would use such deception against members of the Adeptus Astartes.
However, the Raptors Chapter enthusiastically and consistently applies these techniques throughout its battles. Deceiving their opponents as to the timing, nature, and objectives of an attack can often grant the Space Marines a significant tactical advantage.
Similarly, by expertly scouting a region prior to launching an attack, the Raptors are often able to insert their forces without their opponents realising the number or nature of the opposing forces.
However, such insertions are entirely dependent upon the reliability and accuracy of their initial reconnaissance work. This requires extensive dependence upon their Scout Marine units, which exceeds the level characteristic of many other Space Marine Chapters.
When engaged in scouting missions, the Chapter's Battle-Brothers typically focus on both gathering intelligence and on countering the opposition's efforts. Just as they work to penetrate the fog of war, they may also deliver false -- but credible -- information.
Consequently, at the same time as the Space Marines penetrate directly to the most vulnerable points of their opponent's strategy, those opponents are unable to locate the heart of the Raptors' forces. This stratagem has often enabled the Raptors to effectively engage opponents that enjoy an even greater numerical advantage than is typical for Imperial Space Marine forces.
In keeping with their willingness to make use of every available resource, the Raptors Chapter often takes direct charge of any Astra Militarum units available in a given theatre.
Rather than deferring to the organisation's intrinsic leadership, these Space Marines deploy their members among the merely Human forces and then take a direct hand in their disposition and tactics.
During the course of an engagement, there are two favoured elements to any plan that these battle-brothers are likely to enact. The first is a supreme reliance upon their marksmanship.
It is unclear if enhanced marksmanship is an innate element in the Raptors' gene-seed or simply a consequence of their training. In either case, these Space Marines are highly skilled sharpshooters even by the exceptionally high standards of the Adeptus Astartes.
The second core strategy is the use of the hit-and-run tactic. The Raptors Chapter is exceptionally well-equipped with Assault Bikes, Land Speeders, and Jump Packs. Whenever possible, these Space Marines favour the use of guerrilla tactics and ambushes to deplete enemy forces prior to a more traditional engagement.
Millennia of refining their techniques has enhanced their abilities to the point that these battle-brothers are often able to decimate enemy forces through precision surgical strikes, minimising the enemy forces present in future conflicts.
When these tactics are considered in combination with their extraordinary marksmanship, it is not surprising that some have likened the Chapter to Space Marine assassins. To accommodate this tendency, the Raptors keep an atypically sizable contingent of all types of Land Speeders as part of their Armoury.
In keeping with the value that these Space Marines place upon independent thought, each of the Raptors' companies operates on a largely independent basis. It is only in reaction to a particularly dire threat that multiple companies gather to cooperate. For the last few millennia, they have fought across the breadth of the Imperium, wherever they have been needed.
"Stop blindly obeying the words of the book and look at the situation. You have completed your training, but you must now learn to apply it. Regurgitation is not the answer, simple analysis and thought must be used to solve the problem!"
- — Captain Maodes Karib, Raptors 5th Company
As a Chapter the Raptors have been brought to the brink of extinction several times, but yet have managed to endure and return to full strength when other Chapters would have been destroyed.
They have a remarkably grim determination to survive, and one of the Raptors' hallmarks is the ability to adapt to changing circumstances and respond swiftly to the fortunes (or misfortunes) of war.
This has tempered their character with a general disregard and suspicion of the mere trappings of honour and glory, favouring results by any means necessary.
When faced with insurmountable odds, the Raptors manifest the ability to bend rather than break, and to change their tactics and withdraw to fight again where more prideful Chapters would perhaps choose to stand and die. The Raptors value the art of concealment, and utilise secrecy and surprise as paramount weapons in their arsenal.
As a result they have always cultivated in themselves an ability to see clearly through the fog of war and strike at the hidden heart of the enemy, where they can inflict the most damage and achieve their objectives, undistracted by hubris or hidebound dogma.
In order to attain such a goal, the Chapter's battle-brothers are trained in a variety of ways that are remarkably inconsistent with most other Space Marine Chapters. Perhaps most critical of these changes is their attitude towards the Codex Astartes.
The Raptors consider the Codex Astartes to be a critical guide to strategy and tactics. They do not, however, consider that its words must be obeyed without question.
Ultimately, the Raptors Chapter is focused upon success in all of its endeavours. Failure is never an acceptable option, but neither is an approach that needlessly throws away the lives of battle-brothers or irreplaceable wargear. When an objective is identified, these Space Marines pursue that goal relentlessly.
However, their tactics are seldom direct. They study a situation intently, so that they may accomplish their goal with a minimum of risk. This outlook has often caused tension during those missions where the Raptors work closely with Space Marines of other Chapters.
On more than one occasion, the Raptors have been accused of cowardice by other Adeptus Astartes formations. Members of the Raptors do not look kindly upon such accusations, but they seldom take such insults as a major affront.
For their part, the Raptors consider the more orthodox Chapters to be blind adherents to tradition. While they seldom instigate such rivalry, they accept it and reluctantly participate in it when such actions do not interfere with accomplishing their objectives.
Flexibility also plays a key role in their decision-making process. Conditions in the field often change with alarming speed.
Before a Space Marine of the Raptors Chapter can assume an officer's responsibilities, he is thoroughly trained in all aspects of battlefield awareness and observation. Tactical cognisance and strategic prioritisation play crucial roles at every level of command.
These battle-brothers are expected to identify any changes that occur through the course of a battle -- including unexpected enemy response -- at the earliest stages and act upon them accordingly.
Throughout the Chapter, blind obedience is strongly discouraged. All of these Space Marines are expected to act upon their own initiative at the appropriate times. However, such actions must fit within the context of the larger battle scheme.
Battle-brothers consider unorthodox tactics during their preparation for any conflict. These include unusual deployment manoeuvres and infiltration. At times, they have gone so far as to assemble ad hoc units specifically appropriate for resolving a particular tactical problem.
In this same way, battle-brothers of the Raptors Chapter will concede the articles of faith and honour in the name of victory, they also willingly concede minor objectives in the interest of achieving overall military success.
This idea is foreign to many of the other Chapters of the Adeptus Astartes but well within the goal-focused flexibility of the Raptors. Their continued focus on the overall conflict and goals rather than individual honour or glory is key to propagating this ideal among the Chapter's battle-brothers.
At various times during their history, the Raptors have almost faced extinction but the Chapter has never the less continued to function, rebuild and once more face its enemies. It is part of the Raptor mentality that the Chapter will endure no matter the cost and that the eventual destruction and rebuilding of all Chapters in the Adeptus Astartes is inevitable.
As one battle-brother dies, another takes his place to continue the endless struggle where the gene-seed lives on but the warrior does not. Death is the only constant in the universe and regardless of victory or defeat, it is the only true reward a battle-brother can look forward to.
Quite apart from casting a dark cloud over the battle-brothers of the Raptors Chapter, this outlook fills them with stoic pragmatism to face everything that the universe can throw at them, to fulfil their duty until they eventually die and another takes their place.
The galaxy and its many horrors hold no surprises for them and they know that somewhere out there amongst the inky black is the piece of ground where they will fall, having served their Emperor and held back the night that seeks to consume Humanity at least for a brief time.
Other Chapters can find these attitudes at odds with a strong devotion to the Emperor and the righteous plight of Mankind, though the Raptors see the two as intertwined, and their Chapter has always done its duty and remains unquestionably loyal to the Imperium.
For the Raptors, battle-brothers facing death is only a matter of time, and they carry the knowledge with them every day, alongside their duty to their brothers and their oath to the Emperor.
Throughout their history, the Raptors suffered catastrophic losses on several occasions. In spite of this, as a testament to their perseverance, they have managed to recover each time.
This ability to rebuild in spite of massive losses also suggests that their gene-seed is healthy and stable. Under the conditions of rebuilding, the success of each implantation into a neophyte is crucial for the Chapter's survival.
In spite of this fact, many of the genetic flaws of their progenitor Chapter continue to haunt the Raptors. As with the Raven Guard, battle-brothers of the Raptors Chapter gradually attain an ever paler skin tone as they age. After just a few standard centuries of service, some have skin that is very nearly translucent.
At the same time, their hair colour darkens, so that the Chapter's Veterans are easily identified by their black hair and pale complexions. Again, like their progenitors, the Raptors also lack a functional Mucranoid implant.
However, they do have a fully functional Betcher's Gland. It is unclear if this organ's function was somehow recovered by the Raptors or if their Founding occurred prior to the Raven Guard Chapter losing that organ from the standard array of Astartes organ implants.
Raptors are as intensely loyal as any of the Chapters of the Adeptus Astartes and do not take their duty lightly nor the oaths they take to the Emperor. Regardless, however, they retain a fatalism which can cling to them even in their most triumphant moments.
Unlike the stubborn adherence to duty that other Chapters might possess, which would see a battle-brother fight on until claimed by death, the Raptors have instead a grim determination to do their duty.
This is not so much a desire to die as it is an acceptance that death is the only end to the path a Space Marine treads, and everything he does is another step along that path and one closer to his eventual demise.
As this condition increases, the battle-brother can become more and more fatalistic about his chances, citing the many times the Raptors have suffered near-extinction or that the Imperium itself has come close to the edge of destruction.
These black moods will not affect his willingness to do his duty nor makes him turn from his brothers, but it can press in upon his squadmates all the same.
Primarch's Curse: Grim Determination
When the Chapter's genetic curse manifests itself in an affected battle-brother, it comes on in three stages:
- Stage 1 - The Shadow of Death - The battle-brother starts to see death in everything. He becomes distant and makes little effort to forge alliances with new squad members, knowing they will soon be in the grave. He becomes more dismissive of death and the praising of the dead, seeing little glory in their sacrifice, only the inevitable end to their duty and another corpse to feed the gods of war. This attitude can grate on those around the battle-brother and he suffers with his fellowship when dealing with other soldiers or members of the Adeptus Astartes.
- Stage 2 - The Bad Beneath the Good - The battle-brother cannot help but reflect on the worst side of a new development and will endeavour to find the worst aspect of even the most favourable of circumstances. Quite apart from causing friction within his squad, the drawing of focus onto potential problems and unforeseen dangers (regardless of the actual likelihood they will impact on the squad's mission) can cause compromises in command and less than direct tactical judgements.
- Stage 3 - Game Over - Death is inevitable and the battle-brother is already a walking corpse just waiting for the moment when an enemy's blade or bullet ends him. Filled with visions of his own demise, the battle-brother begins to act recklessly, accepting that it is his time and there is nothing he can do to prevent it coming. This will not only place him in danger but can endanger his entire squad. The battle-brother does not contribute to the squad's cohesion as he fails to adequately aid them in battle. In addition, he tends not to gain the benefit of hiding behind cover, as even when behind barricades and walls he exposes himself to fire with little mind to remaining concealed.
- Chapter Master Lias Issodon "the Grim" - The current Chapter Master of the Raptors, Issodon is a consummate strategist as well as one of the finest marksmen within the Chapter. He possesses an innate talent for ambush, infiltration and sabotage that borders on the supernatural, and cares little for glory or regard, simply for victory. An extremely taciturn and private individual, Issodon communicates little even with his own battle-brothers unless needed, which, coupled with his expressionless countenance and dark eyes, have earned him the nickname "The Grim" within his Chapter.
- Captain Orelius - Orelius is the captain of the Raptors 3rd Company and was the highest-ranking Space Marine officer in the Imperial invasion force during the Taros Campaign. He is a long-time servant of his Chapter, having fought in wars and Imperial Crusades for the past 100 Terran years. His entire company and support units were committed to the invasion by his Chapter Master. Although Lord High Commander Otto Ivan Gustavus was the overall commander of the Taros Crusade, in fact he had little control over the actions of Orelius and his warriors. Still, Orelius' experience and the reputation of the Adeptus Astartes made him a valued member of the command staff when planning operations. His forces would not be involved in a protracted ground campaign. Once their mission was completed the Space Marines withdrew to their Battle Barge to prepare for their next deployment. As commander of the Raptors' 3rd Company and the most experienced warrior of the Chapter present, Orelius held seniority over Captain Kaedes of the 6th Company, although they shared the same rank. As befits his Chapter's heritage, Orelius was an aggressive commander, who always sought to take the battle to the enemy and led from the front.
- Captain Kaedes - Kaedes is the captain of the Raptors 6th Company. His role during the Taros Campaign was to provide support and battlefield replacements to Orelius' 3rd Company. As such he was subordinate to Orelius. In the event Orelius became a casualty, Kaedes would be fully able to step in and lead the Raptors battle-brothers on the battlefield. Whilst not as experienced as Orelius, he was still a Space Marine captain, and had all the respect that rank demanded within Gustavus' staff.
- Kohl Leibhen - Prior to his secondment to the Deathwatch, Brother Leibhen distinguished himself among the Raptors as a particularly talented Scout. Even once he completed his time as an initiate, he frequently chose to work in close concert with members of the Chapter's 10th Company. Over his first standard century of service, he engaged in scouting expeditions behind enemy lines as part of dozens of missions, frequently serving the role of sergeant in command of the various Scout Squads in times of need. Since his arrival at Watch Fortress Erioch in the Jericho Reach, Brother Leibhen has primarily served as a member of a Kill-team but has volunteered for numerous scouting missions. His abilities to infiltrate deep behind enemy lines have been particularly useful within the Tyranid-infested worlds of the Orpheus Salient of the Achilus Crusade. On three separate occasions, the battle-brother has engaged in extended scouting missions on worlds under Tyranid assault while using Scout Armour. Reports of his findings are prized by the members of the Adeptus Mechanicus' Ordo Biologis who focus on the Tyranid threat.
- Cassius Yates - Brother Yates' secondment to the Deathwatch was ostensibly made due to his service as an Assault Marine. Clearly, he is talented in that regard, as he has distinguished himself in this service prior to and since his arrival at Watch Fortress Erioch. However, his passion and greatest expertise comes from his abilities as a Land Speeder pilot. Never shy to recount his past successes, the battle-brother has recounted countless stories of his abilities to pilot both the Land Speeder and the Land Speeder Storm through extraordinary battlefield conditions. During his service with the Deathwatch, he has been able to demonstrate these skills only a limited number of times, due to his usual responsibilities as the member of a Kill-team. On several occasions, he has served as a pilot for missions undertaken by other teams, and has proven himself more than capable in that role. His enthusiasm for piloting is unabashed, and he invariably preaches the merits of a swift offensive strike to any who are within earshot.
- War Talon (Battle Barge) - The War Talon is a renowned Battle Barge that deployed in support of Loyalist forces during the Badab War. The War Talon went on to become the terror of Secessionist raider forces who found the mighty vessel lying in wait for them on numerous occasions. The Battle Barge was eventually badly damaged during Operation Sedna and in need of major repair, but still went on to fight in dozens of separate engagements before the end of the war.
- Arias Vex (Strike Cruiser) - Deployed in support of the Raptor task force during the Badab War, this Strike Cruiser was lost after it was gutted by a reactor breach during the fighting above the world of Gargathea.
- Shadow Stalker (Strike Cruiser) - The Shadow Stalker was deployed in support of Loyalist forces during the Badab War. When the bulk of the Raptors task force withdrew from the war zone, the Shadow Stalker and a small chosen force remained for some time afterwards in the Maelstrom Zone.
- Coatal (Gladius-class Frigate) - A Gladius-class frigate of the Raptors Chapter that served during the Badab War.
- Diomedes' Grace - Captain Diomedes of the Raptors had the finest Artificers of his Chapter adapt the Jump Pack he favoured with an advanced gravitic suspensor rig and dispersion jets to assist his manoeuvrability in the jungle warfare he had mastered. The Jump Pack eventually made its way to the Deathwatch, where it has served without equal in all manner of areas normally inaccessible by such means.
- Marksman Combat Sight - As part of their exceptional marksman training, the Raptors stationed in the Jericho Reach have developed a number of combat sights for use with their weapons, incorporating various aspects of standard Imperial sights but enhanced and improved by the skills of the Chapter's Techmarines. A Raptors Battle-Brother may possess a Combat Sight specially developed for his own needs, one he will have trained with and adjusted to his own unique abilities. A Combat Sight has been specially configured for its user and will only grant its full effects to the Battle-Brother it was intended for, its size, shape, and focus matching that Battle-Brother's own physiology and marksman style.
The Chapter first appeared in the 1st Edition of Warhammer 40,000 as the "Raptor Legion", and wore blue power armour with a yellow face, shoulder plates, gloves, boots, and greaves. The Chapter badge was a white hawk's head.
When the Chapter was revisited during the 3rd Edition, the "Legion" suffix was dropped from its name and its Battle-Brothers became specialists in jungle warfare. At this point their armour colour changed to a dull green, with the white hawk's head badge retained, and this new colour was ideal for fighting within flora-dominated spaces.
How To Paint Space Marines shows that during the 4th Edition release of Space Marine-related material, the colour scheme was reverted to blue and yellow, although material published by Forgeworld after this time retains the 3rd Edition dull green. It is possible the Raptors and the Raptor Legion are supposed to be two different Chapters, but no official statement on this can be found in any official sources.
In one incident the entire Chapter became stranded on a jungle Death World, leading to them repainting their armour green in order to better survive. However, as stated, the issue of the Chapter's colour has not been cleared up by Games Workshop.
In Games Workshop's online Space Marine Gallery the figure shown as a Raptor Space Marine has bronze Power Armour.
The Raptors Chapter utilises a mind grey with white spot marking as a blizzard camouflage pattern in arctic environments.
A black High Gothic numeral is stenciled in the centre of the squad specialty symbol which indicates squad number.
A white High Gothic numeral stenciled on the right knee plate indicates company number.
The Raptors' Chapter badge is the profile of a white raptor's head centred on a field of dull green.
The colour scheme and name of the Raptors were altered following their first appearance in White Dwarf 101 (UK) in May 1988 where they were named as the "Raptor Legion" and were outfitted with blue and yellow Power Armour.
This same colour scheme for the Raptors also appears in the publication How to Paint Space Marines.
- Adeptus Astartes: Successor Chapters (Limited Release Booklet)
- Codex: Armageddon (3rd Edition), pg. 18
- Codex: Space Marines (9th Edition), pg. 69
- Codex: Space Marines (8th Edition) (Revised Codex), pg. 47
- Codex: Space Marines (5th Edition), pg. 8
- Codex: Space Marines (3rd Edition), pp. 22-23, 47
- Codex: Ultramarines (2nd Edition), pg. 9
- Deathwatch: Honour the Chapter (RPG), pp. 82-88
- Fire Warrior (Novel) by Simon Spurrier
- How to Paint Space Marines, pg. 83
- Imperial Armour Volume Two - Space Marines and Forces of the Inquisition, pp. 17, 43, 81, 91, 177
- Imperial Armour Volume Two, Second Edition - War Machines of the Adeptus Astartes, pg. 18
- Imperial Armour Volume Three - The Taros Campaign, pp. 39, 40-41, 45, 146
- Imperial Armour Volume Four - The Anphelion Campaign, Second Edition, pg. 117
- Imperial Armour Volume Nine - The Badab War - Part One, pp. 31, 39-40, 47, 98-105, 169
- Warhammer 40,000: Compendium (1st Edition), "The Badab War", pp. 35, 117 (Reprint of article from White Dwarf 101 (UK) (May 1988), pp. 35, 117)
- Third War for Armageddon Worldwide Campaign - Forces Disposition, Imperial Forces: Raptors