Jim Raynor – Co-op Commander Lore

starcraft 7 - Jim Raynor - Co-op Commander Lore

Hey folks,

I've done these lore threads before, but I think the Co-op ones have gotten some of the best feedback. So for the next few week I'll go through each commander and dive into the lore of their units and abilities, a quick summary of their history (and I mean very quick), and going into why they have the abilities and talents they have.

The first three, the free commanders, are very basic, but do have some fun stuff, so let's dig in to the farmboy turned soldiers turned bandit turned marshal turned rebel commander, Jim Raynor!


For a much more in depth summary, check my longform summary here. Sadly Raynor's probably one of the most storied StarCraft characters, but I'll try to do a quick summary that still touches everything.

Jim Raynor was born on the farm world of Shiloh, when he was recruited into the marine corps of the Terran Confederacy as the Guild Wars rages across the sector. It was here he met Tychus Findlay, and the two worked well as a team, becoming part of an elite platoon named Heaven's Devils. However, when their commander turned on them, Raynor and Tychus shot him through the chest and went AWOL. Seeing the corruption of the Confederacy, the two became a notorious bandit group for years. But after a botched bank robbery, Tychus gave himself up to buy Raynor time to escape.

Raynor turned his life around, and became marshal of the Mar Sara colony. He had a wife and child, though the child was recruited into the ghost program, and reported dead (totally not Stone from CoD). His wife died soon after. Yet the entire galaxy would be turned upside down by the outbreak of war between the protoss and zerg. After their sister colony, Chau Sara, was purified, the Confederacy locked down Mar Sara, through refused to evacuate and left the civilians to die. Only the intervention of Arcturus Mengsk and his group the Sons of Korhal saved Raynor, and he joined their revolution

Raynor became close to the local magistrate, a young pilot Matthew Horner, a reporter Michael Liberty, and to the former ghost Sarah Kerrigan during his time as a rebel, falling deeply in love with Kerrigan. However, Mengsk's tactics became more and more brutal, and Raynor and Kerrigan spoke out against him. Finally, Mengsk assaulted the Confederate capital of Tarsonis, and used a device to release the zerg on their population. In order to keep her from being a threat, Mengsk left Kerrigan on the planet to be consumed by the zerg. Appalled by Mengsk's murder of billions of civilian, Raynor and Horner rebelled. As Mengsk founded his new Terran Dominion, Raynor formed his new group to oppose it: Raynor's Raiders.

Raynor was first though called to the planet Char, where a psionic voice spoke to him in his dreams. This was Kerrigan, now infested by the zerg and the puppet of their Overmind. Stranded by the zerg, Raynor allied with the protoss forces of the former executor Tassadar and Dark Prelate Zeratul to survive Kerrigan's onslaught, but were eventually rescued by Artanis. They returned to the protoss homeworld of Aiur, which was invaded by the zerg, and Raynor allied with Tassadar against his own government, and finally against the zerg. In the final battle, Raynor's Raiders aided Tassadar as he sacrificed himself to kill the Overmind, shattering the Swarm.

Yet under the Overmind's cerebrates, the zerg rampaged across Aiur and nearly wiped out the protoss. Raynor and the protoss hero Fenix stayed on Aiur to allow the protoss time to evacuate the planet, but were stranded. They were saved by a now-freed Kerrigan, who asked for their aid against the cerebrates, and a new terran invading force from the terran homeworld of Earth named the United Earth Directorate. Reluctantly, the two aided Kerrigan, but when they pushed the UED back, she turned on them, and attacked their forces. Fenix was killed, and Raynor swore he'd see her dead. Kerrigan was victorious but did not press on, and allowed the Dominion to rebuild.

Yet, after a failed retaliatory strike on Kerrigan, Raynor put his revenge on hold, and focused instead on taking down Mengsk. However, four years later they were no closer to victory, and ground down by Mengsk's forces and propaganda against him. Yet salvation came with two new appearances, Tychus Findlay being released from prison and offering him a source of income hunting artifacts of the ancient xel'naga race, and a second zerg invasion.

Raynor weathered the zerg, helping fringe colonies and gathering new allies, and striking blows against Mengsk. As he gathered artifacts to support his war effort, Raynor was contacted by Zeratul, who gave him a vision of the future: an ancient evil was arising from the xel'naga, and if Kerrigan died it would mean its victory over all life. Shaken, Raynor was then contacted by Arcturus's son Valerian Mengsk, who said the artifacts he was collecting could cure Kerrigan of her infestation. Hoping to save the girl he once knew, Raynor and Valerian assaulted Char, and used the artifact on her. She was purged of infestation, and reverted to human, and though he had to kill Tychus to keep him from killing her as Tychus was working with Mengsk, he got his lover back.

Yet Arcturus, seeking revenge, ambushed Raynor on Char, shattering his forces. In desperation he was forced into the rival terran nation of the Umojan Protectorate. But Mengsk found them, and sent an assault force to raid the lab. Kerrigan escaped, but Raynor was captured and placed in a prison ship.

Months later, Kerrigan reinfested herself, and allied with Valerian Mengsk and Matt Horner to hunt down Raynor. She broke him out of the ship, but Raynor was appalled she was zerg once again, and refused to talk to her. But soon Kerrigan began her assault on Mengsk's capital of Korhal, and Kerrigan specifically attacked in a way that would allow Valerian to evacuate civilians. Knowing now that his old love was still there, Raynor aided Kerrigan in the final assault. Together, the two overcame Mengsk's schemes, and killed the Emperor of the Dominion, avenging the billions he killed.

With the Dominion's leader slain, Valerian Mengsk took over the superpower, and instated a new and fairer regime. Raynor became a commander in the Dominion Armed Forces, aiding in guiding Valerian's ideologies. But the ancient evil Raynor was warned about returned: Amon, the fallen xel'naga, led a massive army commanded by protoss/zerg hybrid against the sector. Raynor, with the aid of the protoss, defended Korhal from their terran forces of Moebius Corps, but the sector was aflame with his thralls. Now commanding the Dominion Armed Forces, Raynor leads the armies of humanity in the Koprulu Sector in a battle for their survival.

  • Marine: The basic workforce of the terran forces of the sector, marines are frontline soldiers made to adapt to any situation. Shielded by CMC-300/400 Powered Armor, marines can fight in any environment. Most are armed with C-14 Gauss Impaler Rifles, a flexible gauss-assisted weapon that can pierce armor at long range. Marines are often equipped with dangerous combat stimulants to increase combat effectiveness. Though many marines were resocialized, or lobotomized into servitude, under the Confederacy and Arcturus, under Valerian such practices were outlawed.

    • Combat Shield: The M98 ballistic alloy combat shield was developed by LarsCorp Technologies, famous for creating the Goliath walker. They were made of 30mm of bonded carbide, and operate similar to the shields utilized by the UED medics, increasing marine suitability on the battlefield.
  • Firebat: Firebats were once recruited from criminals with a predisposition for pyromania, though supposedly such practices have been ended. Firebats are frontline flame troopers, armed in heavy CMC-660 armor and two heavy Perdition Flamethrowers, capable of incinerating everything in front of it in an arc. However, marine distrust the seals on the firebats flame tanks, and give them a wide berth in case a stray shot ends up causing them to go up in flames.

    • Incinerator Gauntlets: These enhanced gauntlets channel the Perdition Flamethrower's napalm through multiple ports rather than a single line. This allows them to keep the same flame intensity over a much wider area, creating a literal wall of fire.
    • Juggernaut Plating: This enhancement to the CMC-660 reinforces the suit's natural weak spots and thickens the armor in the suit's helmet and chest piece, giving them much more durability against both fatal strikes and combined small arms fire.
  • Marauder: The marauders were modeled after the firebat's armor and role in combat, but were designed to combat heavy armor, as zerg heavy carapaces (including the recently evolved roach) were able to shrug off most terran infantry arms. With a new 5-4 Armor, marauders can lob heavy Punisher Grenades, capable of breaking armored targets. Unlike most in the marine corps, marauders are largely not recruited from criminal elements: 47% have never been to jail, and only 23% have ever been accused of murder.

    • Concussive Shells: A modification to the Punisher Grenade, Concussive Shells form a gravitational warp when they detonate. This both damages the target, and slows their movement for a short time as they try to break from the very brief gravitational flux.
  • Medic: Combat medics have always been used by the terran of the sector, but it wasn't until the arrival of the United Earth Directorate that they became so invaluable. These medics were enhanced with advanced medical nanites, powerful drugs, and heavy suits of armor, capable of patching a wounded marine back up and in the fight in minutes. This changed terran infantry from a mild nuisance to a devastating threat to protoss and zerg forces. After the UED Expeditionary Fleet's destruction, the terrans of the sector scrambled to recover this advanced technology, and medics became a standard frontline option for terran forces.

    • Stabilizer Med-packs: Researching the UED's nanites, the Stabilizer Med-pack is the sector's newest iteration on the design, which heals more effectively and at faster rates. Also the co-op upgrade doesn't have the hyphen and it annoys me.
  • Vulture: An iconic terran hoverbike, vultures are used both by the military and civilians as a fast option in hover transportation. In the Confederacy and Dominion, they served as a fast recon option, armed with a grenade launcher and specialized spider mines that would home in on anything not marked friendly. In spite of its speed, the fact the vulture's armor was so light, the engine that leaked radioactive fluid, and the bike's tendency to explode with the repulsor seals froze led the bike to get a reputation as a death trap. Nonetheless, the bike is a favorite of Jim Raynor, who rode his throughout the Great War and Brood War.

    • Replenishable Magazines: Enlightened Dynamics created a microfabricator that could be placed inside a vulture that could generate new mines on the battlefield utilizing a small number of mineral crystals, bypassing the old vulture issue of only being able to store three mines in its hold.
    • Cerberus Mines: The corporate nation of the Kel-Morian Combine was famous for the clever ways they utilized spider mines in the Guild Wars and beyond. One such invention was the Cerberus Mine, used in the siege of New Austin to defend their supply depots and terrorize the civilian population. These mines have increased trigger, pursuit, and blast radiuses.
  • Siege Tank: Improved from the former Arclite model, the new generation of Crucio siege tank has better combat capabilities while on the move. Siege tanks date back to the 2460s, and were a mobile “final defense” cannon capable to shelling targets from long range, then repositioning as a standard combat tank. It is armed with an armor-breaking twin 90mm Plasma Cannon on the move, and a 180mm Shock Cannon when in its immobile siege mode that can deal devastating damage in a large area.

    • Advanced Siege Tech: While there isn't much lore for this upgrade, Raynor utilizes some of the best practical engineers in the sector, under Rory Swann, who always seek to improve the efficiency of their armor.
  • Viking: Upgraded from the old Confederate Wyrm transforming fighter, the A2 Viking Armored Mechanical Hybrid can transform from a ground walker to an air fighter immediately, made to be more mobile and flexible than the Goliath walker and Wraith Fighter. They are notoriously difficult to pilot, but easy to fix and repair. The ships are armed with twin gattling cannons for ground combat that can shred infantry, and MT50 Lanzer Torpedoes that can devastate air targets, designed to take down capital ships.

    • Ripwave Missiles: A new loadout for the Viking's air-to-air missiles by Enlightened Dynamics, these new torpedoes are equipped with anti-matter that bursts into subatomic shrapnel. This residue however is possibly devastating to the environments they're used in, which is why Enlightened Dynamics offers an entire suite of environmental decontamination services.
    • Phobos Systems: The Phobos-class weapons system is a new Viking loadout offered by the company Bellerephon, which improves the gattling cannon systems and missile configuration for enhanced range.
  • Banshee: The AH/G-24 Banshee Tactical-Strike Aircraft is an advanced stealth assault craft developed by the Terran Dominion for terror operations against rebelling terran colonies. It is equipped with a hyper-advanced stealth system, as well as a suite of rockets to hit ground targets. In spite of its turbofans being designed for atmospheric flight, the banshee has systems to operate in space, albeit at vastly decreased functionality, and cannot themselves achieve escape velocity.

    • Cloaking Field: Taken from the Wraith fighter, the banshee has a vastly improved cloaking field. When they were initially deployed, this technology was so invaluable that the Terran Dominion would send special teams to crashed banshees to recover or destroy their cloaking devices, in order to prevent them from falling into the hands of other groups.
  • Shockwave Missiles: The Shockwave Missile Battery was an upgrade developed by Swann during the Second Great War, that allowed banshees to hit multiple ground targets in a line. Out of lore, upgrade was likely made to make the banshees match up with their cinematic appearance in “Card to Play,” where they take out multiple zerglings in a line.

  • Battlecruiser: The Minotaur-class battlecruiser was a capital ship design made before the Second Great War, which shrunk the size but increased the battlecruiser loadout and weapon refitting ability. These battlecruisers were loaned to Raynor's Raiders by Valerian before their assault on Char, and since then have become a staple of the Dominion Navy. Like their predecessors, they are armed with ATA and ATG laser batteries, and a powerful Yamato Cannon.

    • Weapon Refit: Not all battlecruisers are modified to utilize the powerful Yamato Cannon. This heavy plasma gun has the yield of a nuclear blast in a small area, capable of decimating cities in a single bombardment, though requires a heavy drain on the battlecruiser's energy reserves.
  • Neosteel Frame: Utilized by Swann during the Second Great War to increase Raynor's arsenal, these bunkers utilize highly dense neosteel, increasing bunker capacity while keeping the armor and size the same.

  • MULE: The Mobilt Utility Lunar Excavator is an experimental terran mech that is deployed from the fleet overhead to mine quicker than regular SCVs. While powerful and capable of working large loads, they had a limited energy reserve, and were often frustrating to work with by SCVs pilots as their guidance systems required a lot of correction.

  • Hyperion: One of the most storied Behemoth-class battlecruisers in the sector. Initially the ship was utilized by the Terran Confederacy, but a bad jump put the ship in Umojan Protectorate territory, who seized the ship and bought the crew. When Arcturus Mengsk formed his new revolutionary group, the Sons of Korhal, from the devastated Korhal Rebellion, he was gifted the ship by the Umojans, and he gave it its regal name: the Hyperion. This served as his flagship against the Confederacy, and won him many battles against the Confederate fleet, outwitting even Norad II.

After Mengsk declared himself Emperor of the Terran Dominion, Raynor rebelled from him, and struck at the Dylarian Shipyards were the Hyperion was docked, stealing it from under Mengsk. From then on it became the flagship of Raynor's Raiders, serving as their mobile command center through the Great War, Brood War, and Second Great War. Under the command of Matthew Horner and the continued vigilant upgrades of Rory Swann, the ship was heavily modified to take on the best of the Dominion's arsenal.

After Mengsk's death, the Hyperion became the flagship for the Dominion Navy. Even after Raynor vanished in the aftermath of the End War, Matt Horner continued to use the ship to command the Dominion's vast fleets in preserving the peace.

  • Hyperjump: Battlecruisers and other capital can do short range jumps through warp space. However, usually such jumps are incredibly risky, especially in the atmosphere of a planet, as a collision during warp travel can destroy the ship. After nearly being boarded by zerg when the Raiders attempted to rescue Kerrigan on Char in the Great War, one such emergency jump put the Hyperion out of commission for many weeks.

  • *Yamato Cannon: The Yamato Cannon, as mentioned in the BC section, is already a devastating weapon. Under the continued repair of Swann, the Hyperion's Yamato Cannon has become even more lethal, capable of taking out capital ships in a single burst. In the early drafts of Wings of Liberty, the Yamato Cannon battery was one of the locations players could visit in the Hyperion.

  • Point Defense Drone: Usually utilized by raven support craft, the point defense drone is a temporary mobile drone that is usually constructed on the field utilizing nanotechnology. These drones use lasers to intercept projectiles, protecting a zone from most enemy anti-air fire.

    • Dusk Wings: The Dusk Wings were once a Dominion unit assigned as one of the first banshee squadrons. However, not long after the squadron discovered they could make a massive profit with their cutting edge war machines and went rogue, becoming a mercenary group. They soon found themselves in the service of Raynor's Raiders thanks to their mercenary contact Graven Hill, and continued to be on their payroll even after their takeover of the Dominion.

  • Rapid Recruitment: Much of the terran's infantry arsenal was gained through forced recruitment. Under the Confederacy and Arcturus Mengsk, many were taken from criminals and political prisoners, or even just those that they deemed needed on the frontline, and many were resocialized, or lobotomized into becoming perfect obedient soldiers. Under Valerian Mengsk and Raynor, this practice was outlawed, though the End War and Amon's attempts to wipe out all life has necessitated many take up arms to defend humanity.

  • Air Strike Likely made to simulate the “Card to Play” cinematic of Wings of Liberty, where Raynor uses a group of banshees to wipe out a zerg wave.

  • Battle Bunkers: Designed by Raynor's Raiders scientist Egon Stetmann after researching the targeting capabilities of the zerg spore crawler and heavy defenses of the zerg ultralisk, this combines Stetmann's Shrike Turrets and Fortified Bunker research into one ultimate defense solution, increasing the armor of the bunker's armor design while utilizing a top turret to aid in the amount of rounds they can output.

  • Orbital Drop Pods: A common option for atmospheric assaults by all terran forces, drop pods are the slightly risky way to deploy ground forces into a combat zone, but can bypass most anti-orbital defenses. Egon Stetmann developed low-cost drop pods for the Hyperion based off of a material he discovered when researching protoss crystal matrices.

  • Vanadium Plating: Vanadium is an artificial material invented by Egon Stetmann when he was researching protoss designs and armor. This material is as complex as organics, but tough and flexible, and can diffuse weapon impacts.

  • Orbital Depots: Another invention of Stetmann after researching protoss architecture, Stetmann attached key joints to supply depots, allowing them to survive the violent turbulence of being shot from the Hyperion onto the battlefield.

  • Mercenary Munition: In order to supplement his ranks of revolutionaries, Raynor utilized his mercenary recruited Gravin Hill to support his ranks with elite mercenaries. Among these are advanced banshees like the Dusk Wings, but many other renegade Confederate and Dominion forces, remnants of the UED fleet, and members of the Kel-Morian Combine aided him through mercenary contracts, bringing their advanced modified weapons to aid him all the way through the End War.


Just some quotes that have some added lore context to them. Usually there won't be too many, especially for the earlier commander, but later commanders have some gems.

  • “Stay frosty, it's on the move.”/”Got an enemy attack coming for our base. Stay frosty.” – “Stay frosty” was what Raynor first said to his crew when he arrived in Char in StarCraft 1 trying to find Kerrigan “All right. All crews, stay frosty, and keep your eyes peeled for our target.” Since then he says it a few more times in SCII.

  • ”Enemy's en route to my base. Raiders, lock and load!” / ”My raiders are going after the objective.” / ”Raiders, take 'er down.” – Raynor's Raiders is Raynor's group. Even after they were absorbed into the Dominion Armed Forces, Raynor appears to still be in command of the group he calls “Raynor's Raiders,” in defense of the Dominion.

  • ”Right on. The objective's down.” – “Right on” is one of Raynor's movement quotes from StarCraft 1.

  • ”Just another day at the office…” – When Raynor meets Artanis on Korhal before the Legacy of the Void mission “Sky Shield,” he tells him that the invasion of Moebius Corps is “Just another day at the office.”

I'll try to do this weekly, maybe peek into some maps as well. The first three are pretty basic but once we get into some of the wilder commanders we'll get into some really cool stuff, particularly looking forward to Stukov and Fenix. Let me know if this is something you all would like to see continued, and see you all next time!

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