"Keep cool and you will command everyone."
- – Justinian I
"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
|Battle Cry||Nothing. Wouldn't want those heretics to discover us prematurely, would we?|
|Successors of||Raven Guard|
|Chapter Master||Lias Issodon|
|Homeworld||Unknown (somewhere in the Sutter Spiral Nebula)|
|Specialty||Guerilla Warfare & Recon|
|Colours||Olive (though they repaint their armour to suit the battlefield)|
Raven Guard successors that use actual camouflage, sneaking, and tactics, rather than running at the enemy painted in bright colours. They're almost always deployed as individual task forces or kill teams, with a task force of them maybe maxing out at four companies. They're also known for getting fucked over numerous times and declared extinct just as many, including the destruction of their original homeworld and losing all of their ancient wargear. Indeed, for while many chapters in similar situations become extinct, the Raptors always manage to resurface after some time. Because of this, this makes them one of the few Forge World Chapters that doesn't use the fancy MKIV Armor or other Heresy-era gear. This automatically makes them the cheapest FW Chapter to play.
Basically, the Raptors fight like super soldiers instead of super warrior-monks.
Their origins are also a bit muddled. As the original Raptors were super Space Marines ten thousand years (and over half a decade IRL) before the Primaris Space Marines even existed. (Yes, you are now hearing the sound of a bullet being rechambered by each and every RG and/or Raptors fanboy who owns at least one firearm after reading this.) Corax wanted to get his boys back into the fight as quickly as possible after the events of the Drop Site Massacre. So he sought a solution from daddy. The one guy who'd know the most about making Space Marines quickly.
Since time was a luxury they couldn't afford. The Emperor directed him to his old labs on Luna and Corax took as much he could with him back to Deliverance. The Alpha Legion caught wind of this and poisoned the following batches causing half of the Raptors to mutate into hideous beasts. Though unlike other mutant Space Marines, didn't make up sketchy bullshit stories , still sane, loyal and able to tell friend from foe. Though they were a bit paranoid. But who wouldn't be after being turned into a mutant by the Alpha Legion?
Whether the current Raptors are descended from their more stable predecessors, a perfected version, or Corax just named the chapter in honor of the original super Space Marines during the Second Founding is unknown. The last one is more likely as the current Imperium can't make proper records as to where their own bodily excretions go, much less their cool toys.
In one of its only known large actions, its 3rd and 6th companies participated in the Taros Campaign along with a bunch of Tallarn, Cadian, and Elysian regiments, to kick the Tau out of Taros. Needless to say, after two regiments were annihilated, half of the fleet was destroyed, and the Avenging Sons Chapter lost basically its whole task force, the Imperial forces retreated. Through all of this, after the initial assault on the anti-space missile silo, fully mechanized force of Raptors were mostly used in conjunction with Cadian armoured regiment as a quick response force, and as Tau went to great lengths to avoid them (which they did successfully being much quicker themselves) they suffered the least amount of casualties amongst the Imperium's ground forces. Later they were used in the operation Comet, once again with Cadians and some titans, and kicked major ass, although while they managed to repel all Tau forces thrown at them, it did slow them down a bit, and bought the xenos enough time to eradicate the Elysian Drop Troops and destroy the water processing plant (securing it was the main objective of the operation). Following this failure, and the clusterfuck that was an assassination of Aun'El, they've retreated to the LZ, robbing Tallarn desert raiders of what was left of their fuel and leaving them to die in the desert from thirst and angry gunzerking Tau. In the end however, it was the Raptors who defended the LZ for long enough to let what was left of imperial forces to evacuate, although both sides suffered big casualties in this fight, mostly 'cause the Tau were too mad-angry with vengeance and threw away any sense of tactics, going for a full frontal attack on a heavily fortified position.
Ironically in Fire Warrior they were portrayed as reckless assholes known for jumping into missions without any real planning. Which started the whole plot and the Ultramarines show up to fix their mess and beat them over the head with the codex; fun fact - these events take place before the Badab War meaning the Smurf may have in fact turned the Raptors into Reasonable Marines.
Or maybe because at the time they were a background chapter written by two different groups.
Probably the second one. Especially given that the Raptors in the game had olive drab armor, which is their base color scheme after they became Reasonable Marines. Then again their lore still states they used to be very different to what they are now and only change their ways after a disaster; working for a Chaos Worshiper resulting in a whole planet turning to chaos because you didn't bother to wonder why he needed an alien only to be saved by the Ultramarines sounds like a pretty good turning point. Except there is already a canonical cause of their change. They became Reasonable Marines to survive when stranded on a planet. Of course, by "reasonable", we mean they think before they act. If you told them to parley with xenos they'd fill you full of bolter rounds. Better still, the Raptors make a habit of taking command of Imperial Guard forces where they fight and distributing their marines amongst the Guard forces under their command. The result is the Guard kicking ass and taking minimal casualties while maximizing the enemies'. Who knows, maybe the Raptors will eventually take some Guard regiments under their wing and make them mini-me Reasonable Marines?
04:00-Morning Prayer: The Raptors are roused from their beds of camo cloaks. Many have to wake themselves up, as the servitors often fail to find the Raptors entirely. The chaplains assemble those who wake up for prayer.
05:00-Morning Firing Rites: The Raptors take to the firing ranges. Those who score well are lauded.
06:00-More firing rites: The Raptors are STILL at the firing ranges. The sternguard veterans have by now woken up and have started their daily attempts at Lias Issodon's personal record.
07:00-Still more firing rites: By now everyone but the veterans have stopped shooting, to watch the more advanced marksmen repeatedly attempt Lias Issodon's personal record. The less advanced members are currently giving shooting advice to initiates.
10:00-Again, more firing rites: Lias Issodon himself has woken up. He effortlessly sets his own record higher just to troll the more advanced marksmen.
12:00-Midday meal: A light meal is prepared by the chapter serfs. Some of the more advanced marksmen forgo this meal to get more time at attempting Lias Issodon's personal record.
12:30-Operator Training: The various captains gather their men together to try and infiltrate each other's facilities. Brother Captain Venom in particular makes it his goal to attach overly large balloons to his fellow captains, while Captains Liquid and Solid are at a constant rivalry with each other's companies.
14:30-Evening Firing Rites: The Raptors descend to their firing ranges for more shooting practice. This time live prey is released into the ranges for the initiates. This prey includes things like the various chapter serfs that Brother Captain Venom has "Fultoned" in the two hours he spent in Operator Training, who are designated as live capture training.
19:00-Evening Prayer: The chaplains put down their bolters and halt the firing rites to assemble the Raptors for prayer. Important prayer topics typically include beseeching the God Emperor for help with beating Lias Issodon's record.
20:00-Evening Meal: The chapter serfs deliver food directly to the firing ranges. In many cases, the food is ignored by the Sternguard veterans that are still attempting to best the record of their chapter master.
21:00-Weapons Maintenance: The Raptors lovingly maintain and oil their bolters. Special attention is paid towards keeping their scopes in flawless condition. Later, the Raptors will paint their power armour in Camo Patterns for upcoming missions.
22:00-Free Time: The Raptors are given free time. Most spend this either modifying their bolters, or at the firing range. The Sternguard veterans give up by this point and start sulking around and eating their now cold dinner.
00:00-Rest: The Raptors retire for the evening.
The Raptors were given unique chapter Special Rules by Forgeworld in 6th and 7th edition, and dammit if that doesn't turn them into the sneaky snipers they are made out to be in fluff. All non-Vehicle models not in transports on the first turn get Shrouded just like the Raven Guard, but the real beef lies within their Bolters: All Bolters and Bolt Pistols have the alternative profile of Heavy 1, Rending for no additional cost. This makes every Tactical Marine and especially their Sternguard into something akin to Tau Fire Warrior teams on pretty aggressive steroids. Find them a good place with cover and a good view of the battlefield and enjoy your S 4 AP 5 Rending Anti-everything infantry weaponry.
In 8th edition, the Raptors are now slumming it, have to utilize the Chapter Tactics of the Raven Guard, which oddly enough seems to fit the Raptors better than their more emo big brothers. Your opponent must subtract 1 from any hit rolls when shooting at units with this tactic if they are more than 12" away...you'd think the Raven Guard would get that benefit at LESS than 12in away, considering they're all about assault...but all the better for us Raptors players who are used to using our rending gunlines in 6th/7th. Regardless, this means your Devastators and "Rifleman" Dreadnoughts cause enemy plasma to kill their bearers on 2s rather than 1s. Stick your long range shooters in cover and enjoy near immunity to return fire. Sadly, this does not apply to vehicles which do not receive Chapter Tactics, so replace that tri-las Predator with a Devastator squad if you don't plan on moving. Obviously, this is *very* fluffy for the Raptors...too bad you can't take the Stalker Pattern Boltguns that are a Deathwatch exclusive.... But wait! The Primaris Vanguard are here, bringing Infiltrator and Eliminator units that play on the table the way Raptors were always supposed to fight in fluff.
Forgeworld has also blessed us with the rules for the Raptors' Chapter Master Lias Issodon, who is quite a curious character in both fluff and crunch, and the rules reflect that fact. Lias has the stats of your standard Chapter Master, but with less focus on melee and more on shooting, boasting a high BS for a Marine. He lacks Orbital Bombardment and any kind of Invulnerability Save, but his gun and special rules make up for that: in 7th edition, his personal bolter Malice is a Salvo 2/4 Range 30" Bolter with access to the same Special Ammunition as the Sternguard and is one of the better weapons in the game period, and his special rules make him into a highly strategic character, penalizing the enemy's reserve rolls while being able to re-roll his own and being able to cripple one MC or vehicle of the enemy's before the game has started. In short, Lias is exactly what you would expect a Raptors Chapter Master to be: Shooty, strategic, and reasonable.
In 8th edition, he's even better, and one of the few ways you can still infiltrate your power armor without a drop pod. His bolter "Malice" is now 30" Assault 3 S5 AP-4 D1d3...which is possibly the strongest bolter in the Imperium. Disappointingly, GW has mixed up his characterization as either a "rifleman" or a "sniper;" while he is stealthier than any other character with his "0+" save in cover, he can't "snipe" characters. Instead, he shows off his marksmanship ability by negating the cover bonus to the saving throws of his targets...so at AP-4, MEQs will essentially NEVER get a save against him. So instead of "Carlos Hathcock" sniper-crawling through the enemy's lines for the perfect assassination, he's more of an "Alvin York," infiltrating enemy lines and taking out the enemy's priority weapons. This analogy is even stronger considering he LOVES launching assaulting forces forward with his +1in to movement and charges. Keep him in your mid-field battleline or well hidden among your infiltrators, and he'll do your army many favors with his shooting and other utilities. He has no official model, but if you want to run him (and can’t be asked to convert your own) the Forge World Alpha Legion Praetor, Legion Vigilator, or any marine from the Mk IV Recon Squad will serve as a fantastic proxy. A Vanguard Captain with an Eliminators bits are also good proxies if you want shiny truescale.
A different take on Issodon. Looks more like a Space Marine Legion Reconnaissance Squad member.