Intended to replace stormtroopers as the primary enforcers of Zsinj's rule, Raptors quickly became as feared as the Stormtrooper Corps among Zsinj's subjects.
During the fragmentation of the Empire after the Battle of Endor, the population of stormtroopers, already an elite force, began to dwindle. This problem was even more serious for the growing number of warlords, as the few facilities that produced genuine stormtroopers were loyal to the Imperial Ruling Council.
While many commanders chose to equip regular Imperial Army troops with stormtrooper armor, Warlord Zsinj took a totally different path. He created the Raptors, a force which was arguably more loyal to Zsinj than the stormtroopers had been to Emperor Palpatine and his legal successors. Nevertheless, a number of genuine stormtroopers continued to serve in Zsinj's military.
Raptors were a special forces unit, charged with enforcing Zsinj's will throughout his growing territory. Their primary mission was the destruction of hostile planetary defense forces, a task they performed with terrible efficiency. After conquering a world, a Raptor garrison would remain stationed there to ensure the loyalty of the planetary governor.
Though Zsinj maintained the pretense of democratic government on his conquered worlds to deflect the attention of the fledgling New Republic, many planetary governments were simply Zsinj's puppets, with his edicts enforced by the Raptors.
Raptor garrisons were found on over a thousand planets by the end of Zsinj's reign. On a Zsinj-controlled planet, they were the first forces to respond to an external threat. With their distinctive black armor and equipment decked out in the Raptor colors of black, red, and yellow, they were commonly considered the most recognized symbol of Zsinj's power.
After Zsinj's death, most Raptor units were captured or destroyed by Imperial and New Republic forces. Bereft of their leader, the acutely devoted Raptor commandos alternately engaged in terrorism against the New Republic or joined the hardliners of Supreme Commander Ennix Devian.
Raptors were the most competent of Zsinj's forces, specially trained in the Imperial doctrine of rule by fear. In their role as a special operations force, they could strike silently and without warning.
On average, Raptors were more intelligent than stormtroopers, with a broader range of combat skills. Each Raptor had training in demolitions and martial arts which stormtroopers generally lacked.
Their loyalty was virtually unshakable, and they were immune to bribery or negotiation. It is said that Raptors were the only part of Zsinj's military force that he trusted implicitly.
Zsinj had two separate economies in his territory, and both his public military-industrial complex and his secret network of business holdings were used to build or buy the best possible equipment for the Raptors.
Raptor armor was very similar to stormtrooper armor but was slightly lighter, providing almost the same level of personal protection with less reduction in mobility.
Like stormtrooper armor, Raptor armor gave every Raptor an intimidating sort of anonymity. In contrast to the stormtroopers, however, Raptors were dressed in solid black outfits, with red faceplates, gloves, and boots, and yellow trim.
Raptor equipment was similar to stormtrooper gear. They carried a comlink set to Raptor encoding, and were armed with both a blaster rifle and a blaster pistol. Raptors also carried a vibroblade as standard equipment.
For ground operations, Raptors used standard military speeder bikes painted with Raptor colors.
Landing operations were carried out with Incom Y-4 "Raptor" transports. These shuttles were originally developed for the Empire, but never saw widespread use. Zsinj acquired large numbers of them, and their association with the Raptors caused them to share the Raptor name.
For space combat, Raptor forces used the TIE Raptor, a unique TIE Series derivative built by Zsinj's own engineers at Rancor Base. TIE pilots in the Raptor forces had similar uniforms to Raptor commandos.
- Cracken's Threat Dossier
- The Essential Guide to Vehicles and Vessels
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
- The Essential Guide to Warfare
- The Imperial Warlords: Despoilers of an Empire