Unlike other factions, raiders are not an established organization, but rather a collective term for the countless groups of bandits, thieves, murderers, junkies, sociopaths and psychopaths who dwell in the Commonwealth and its ruins. They have no true "society," living simply by the philosophy that might makes right and killing anyone who gets in their way. Most raider gangs are small, consisting of up to a couple dozen members and make a living scavenging the ruins of Boston, as well as through robbery, extortion, murder and the manufacture/selling of chems.
Raiders are notoriously cruel and merciless, shooting any non-raider on sight. Although they are not nearly as powerful as other dangerous groups like the super mutants or Gunners, they make up for it through scare tactics via their ruthless reputation and their intimidating mannerisms. The bases they build in the ruins are often decorated with graffiti and the mutilated bones and bodies of previous victims, and their outfits and weapons are equally crude and low-tech, built from scrap metal and other junk. Some gangs of raiders have a roughly-established hierarchy: lower-ranking members wear very basic armor and clothing and wield low-tech pipe weapons, while higher-ranking members wear more impressive armor and wield more powerful weapons, such as assault rifles and various heavy weapons, including the Fat Man and minigun. Some raider leaders even wear their own power armor.
The equipment of the various raider gangs will vary depending on location. For example, the raiders at Dunwich Borers will all equip mining helmets, as opposed to raiders in more generic locations.
Raider scum are little more than raiders with slightly beefed up stats. They usually are armed with pipe weapons and crudely made welded armor, and also leather armor. The armor they equip may also have a few low level upgrades on them.
Raider scavvers are basic raiders that may have a wider assortment of armor or weapons; they are the most common raiders that will spawn in raider power armor. Raider scavvers are also the lowest level raider that can occasionally be seen with the sturdy variant of raider armor.
Stronger than the raider scum and raider psychos, survivalists tend to have more health and hit harder. They will typically hide behind objects and blindfire around them. When changing hiding positions they will take well aimed shots.
Raider veterans are battle-hardened warriors. They are among the toughest raiders. These veterans are raiders who have managed to survive the perils of the wasteland for the longest amount of time. Armed with higher tier weapons such as combat rifles, assault rifles and on occasion laser weapons. These enemies are further bolstered by a high health pool and segments of combat armor. They are almost never encountered alone, in fact they sometimes act as bosses for mid level areas. Raider veterans around Hyde Park and Quincy Quarries may be seen with sturdy combat armor, along with heavy raider, leather and even metal armor.
Raider bosses are unique, named raiders who lead a particular group of raiders and can be found at various specific locations. Raider bosses have the same stats as one of the regular raider types, depending on the player character's level, although they typically spawn at a higher tier than their regular raider minions (i.e. if the raiders in the location spawn as raider psychos and raider scum, the location boss may have the stats of a raider waster). Some of them are also equipped with better-than-normal equipment, such as power armor. An example of a raider boss is Boomer, the raider boss in Outpost Zimonja.
While undetected around them, some raiders can be overheard talking to themselves that killing wastelanders is "nothing personal," and also expressing their hopes that "the next one dies clean."
Additionally, after clearing a named raider leader's gang, you may overhear other raider gangs discussing the former being wiped out.
Unlike raiders in the previous Fallout games, these raiders have access to their own power armor.
Raiders now have a more human aesthetic, as they can be heard saying "It's either you, or me" in a shaken, nervous tone, indicating the need to justify their own actions, showing many to have a fragile conscience underneath the sadistic exterior.
Despite the fact they are regarded as the most technological inferior faction (at least compared to the other major factions) in the Commonwealth, they are surprisingly very formidable, even for high level players. At high levels, raider veterans are very common and are difficult to kill because of their high health, their powerful weaponry, and their extensive use of armors.
When a faction checkpoint is being attacked, raiders are exclusively seen using raider power armor, giving them a higher chance to win, even if they are facing the likes of the Brotherhood of Steel.