James “Jim” Raynor is one of the central protagonists in the StarCraft universe. He was created by Chris Metzen and James Phinney and made his first appearance in 1998’s StarCraft. Raynor is a backwater marshal that, over the course of the game, becomes a galactic hero. He is voiced by Robert Clotworthy in all his appearances.
Raynor is perhaps one of the few Terran characters in StarCraft that remains fundamentally good and uncorrupted throughout the game. Though he is at times depicted as a sarcastic and laid back character, he has a huge sense of justice, and has always tried to do the right and honorable thing. Raynor is also one of the few Terrans that the Protoss trust, even forming a strong bond with the likes of Praetor Fenix, a great Protoss hero who was encased in a Dragoon due to serious injuries sustained in the first game. Often referred to as the rebel with a heart of gold, he himself admits that "he's not that good". Nonetheless, Raynor is a vital character in the StarCraft universe and really shows what it means to fight what's worth fighting for.
Making his debut in the very first Terran mission, Raynor is a marshal of the backwater planet, Mar Sara, and was stationed on the planet when the Zerg suddenly invaded it. While Raynor fought valiantly to protect the colony, he was eventually arrested by the very confederacy he was trying to protect due to his destruction of a confederate owned Command Center which was, at the time, infested by the Zerg.
Raynor was later rescued from prison by the rebel group, the Sons of Korhal for political reasons, effectively making Raynor a traitor to the Terran Confederacy. Becoming a General within the Sons of Korhal, Arcturus Mengsk, the faction’s leader, sends Raynor on many missions in order to undermine and overthrow the Terran Confederacy.
During his time with the group, Raynor develops a bond with the female ghost, Sarah Kerrigan. Near the end of the Terran campaign, the Sons of Korhal mount a large offensive on the Confederate capital of Tarsonis with the Zerg, luring them with Psi Emitter technology. However, during this offensive, Kerrigan and her contingent of Terran forces are assaulted by the Zerg, and Mengsk abandons them to their death. This infuriates Raynor, causing him to leave the rebel group by force, hijacking Mengsk’s flagship, the Hyperion, in the process.
Raynor soon hears telepathic messages from Kerrigan in his dreams. Believing her to be alive, Raynor travels to Char only to find Kerrigan completely infested and controlled by the Zerg. Destroying his camp, Kerrigan allows Raynor and his troops to leave, though they are still stranded on the planet. Raynor and his troops eventually encounter Tassadar and Zeratul, great Protoss templars. In the Protoss campaign, a force lead by Executor Artanis rescues Raynor and Tassadar from Char. Raynor and his remaining forces then aid the Protoss in the final assault on the Zerg Overmind which recently nested itself on the Protoss homeworld of Aiur.
StarCraft: Brood War
Raynor makes occasional appearances throughout the events of Brood War. First, during the Protoss campaign he, along with Fenix, assisted in the evacuation of Aiur, protecting the warp gate while Protoss forces used it to move to Shakuras. It is here where he and Fenix develop a strong friendship and a deep respect of each other. Later, Kerrigan convinces him and the Protoss that the United Earth Directorate invasion is a much greater threat to them than she is. Raynor and Fenix then kidnap Mengsk in order to gain his support in the campaign against the UED. Soon after, Korhal IV, the new throne world of the Terran Dominion is recaptured by the allied forces. Soon after this, however, Kerrigan betrays the alliance, casually slaying Fenix and Edmund Duke, Mengsk's second-in-command, in the process. Deeply outraged by Kerrigan’s actions, Raynor’s final words in Brood War are a vow that Kerrigan will die by his hands.
StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty
Jim Raynor and his ragtag group of rebels, Raynor's Raiders, are the focus of the Terran campaign in StarCraft II. Most of the relations between Jim and his crew are revealed on his ship, the Hyperion. While his best friend Matt Horner still has faith in him, even his old friend, a convict named Tychus Findlay, is in constant conflict with him due to their different views of the war with the Dominion.
"Let's kick this revolution into overdrive!"
After the events of Brood War, Raynor returns to Dominion space to wage war against Mengsk, but his forces have gradually been weakened in their struggle against the Dominion's seemingly inexhaustible resources. As a result, Raynor's Raiders are forced to take up occasional mercenary work to fund their campaign. Raynor has started drinking heavily, blaming himself for losing Kerrigan to the Zerg, and the death of his close friend Fenix, with his hatred of Mengsk constantly being fed through a stream of Dominion propaganda attacks on him and his men. A chance meeting with an old friend works to Raynor's favour, as Tychus Findlay offers him an opportunity to gain money for the Raiders by collecting a mysterious artifact. Tychus himself serves a mysterious man who is part of the Moebius Foundation, a research collective interested in acquiring Xel'Naga artifacts for a purpose not revealed until near the end of the campaign.
During a chain of side-missions in StarCraft II, Jim gets a hold of records revealing Mengsk's true intentions. The recording reveals a conversation from the end of the Terran campaign of the original StarCraft, in which Mengsk told Raynor that he was willing to sacrifice a whole planet and its entire population to the Zerg to seize power. As he states, "he will stop at nothing to get power". Raynor then manages to sneak this recording into a broadcast on the channel UNN, which then spread the message around, causing outrage that Emperor Mengsk was directly responsible for the Zerg slaughter of Tarsonis. This leads to massive riots among the Dominion population. Although the long-lasting results of this are unclear, this act undoubtedly deals a colossal blow to Mengsk's reputation, and it is clear that the chances of the people forgiving him are very low. As Jim says in a conversation with Matt after the operation, "It is the first step in a revolution."
Tidings of Doom
During these missions, Zeratul visits Raynor on the Hyperion and warns him about the impending doom. He hints at future events by suggesting that Jim would hold Kerrigan's life in his hands and that she is the key to saving all life and must be saved. He gives Jim a crystal containing his memories and asks for his understanding. After witnessing these memories, culminating in a vision from the Zerg Overmind of a future in which Kerrigan was killed, a future in which Zerg-Protoss hybrids, controlled by a mysterious, malevolent entity, annihilate both the Terran and Protoss species, a shaken Raynor can only agree with Zeratul: Kerrigan must survive.
A Dangerous Game
After many missions in which Raynor's Raiders engage the savage Protoss Tal'darim it is revealed that they have been working for Crown Prince Valerian Mengsk, the heir to the Dominion, who is also secretly the leader of the Moebius Foundation. He has been collecting the artifacts to secure his ascent to the throne and prove to the people that he can be a great Emperor by defeating the Queen of Blades and the Zerg. He lures Raynor in by hinting at the possibility that the artifact could reverse the infestation of Kerrigan and return her to human form. Raynor agrees to help him, which causes many crew members to doubt him as they don't see Valerian as being any different from his father.
After a few harsh verbal exchanges between Raynor and the Hyperion's Crew, and a fight with Tychus in the Cantina, Raynor helps the Dominion invade Char, the main Zerg hive. After heavy losses during landing, Raynor faces a decision on whether or not to take out the Zerg underground or in the air. Regardless of his decision he is forced to mount a desperate defense of the artifact against the Queen of Blades herself. After defeating many of her minions the artifact finally activates killing all Zerg forces on the planet.
Search for Kerrigan
At this time, Raynor and Tychus lead a group to search for Kerrigan whom they find weakened in an empty Zerg hive. Although she hasn't fully been purged of her Zerg infestation, she has regained her original personality and appears mostly Human. She opens her eyes and looks at Raynor, seemingly unable to speak. It is in this moment where Tychus reveals he has been working for Emperor Mengsk all along and attempts to kill Kerrigan. He ultimately fails in this endeavour as Raynor defends her by shooting Findlay. Raynor is last seen carrying Kerrigan out on to Char telling her that everything will be okay.
In StarCraft, Raynor is a hero unit during the campaign and thus has special stats compared to his fellow Marines. Jim has the same reach and speed as the standard marine but he has 200 hit points (compared to 40 for a standard Marine) with a default armor value of 3 (compared to zero). He also deals significantly more damage, with ground and air attacks worth 18 points (compared to 6). Jim is also affected by StimPacks like his fellow marines, as it halves his attack cooldown and doubles his movement speed at the cost of taking damage from each injection. More often than not, however, Raynor's base unit is a Vulture hover-bike, not a Marine.
In StarCraft II, Raynor is the protagonist and the main playable character through most of the campaign. Between missions, players control him around his ship Hyperion as he interacts with his crew members and passes his downtime by drinking and mulling over Sarah. On the battlefield, he is again a hero unit based primarily (although not as directly as before) on the standard Terran Marine. During certain missions, he gets special attacks like grenade launcher, an experimental Plasma rifle, radar and special penetrator rounds.
Like all previous Blizzard strategy games, StarCraft contains a cavalcade of humorous unit dialogue during gameplay. Here are some of the lines uttered by Jim during the campaign missions:
- This is Jimmy.
- Aaaaaaaaany time you're ready.
When selected repeatedly:
- Hey! Quit it!
- What's your problem man?
- Look, commander, do you mind?
- I knew I should've stayed in bed this morning...
StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty
When selected repeatedly:
- My dad raised me right... tried to anyway.
- Everybody's got to believe in something.
- Country boys can survive!
- You don't mess with the Bourbon cowboy.
- I've got friends in low places.
- Fat lady's about to sing.
- Still caries his Marshal badge from the Mar Sara Confederacy days.
- Knows Tychus from his outlaw days, when they used to rob trains on their Vulture bikes.
- Disappointingly, Raynor never actually says 'This is Jimmy' in the entirety of StarCraft II.
- World of Warcraft featured a character named Lord Marshal Raynor during the Opening of the Dark Portal event at the release of the World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade expansion pack. It is likely that his name is a reference to Jim Raynor, and his title of Marshal.
- StarCraft II's collectors edition comes with a USB key in the shape of Raynor's dog tag.
- Blood Type: B
- In Oct 2005, Blizzard's classic Battle.net site had an easter egg with an animated Kerrigan hologram saying "Help me Jim Raynor...you're my only hope!"
- Carries an old double-barrelled revolver in StarCraft II with just one bullet in it, meant for Arcturus Mengsk.
- The pack of cigarettes tucked in his sleeve is labelled 'Full Flavor'.
- After officially announcing StarCraft II, Blizzard ran a community contest called Finding Jim Raynor, where players had to find every hidden image of Jim Raynor, Zeratul and other characters from the StarCraft Universe.