The Red Marines are the special forces of the Dominion of the Red Tide. Highly trained and feared across the seas, the Red Marines have endured a fearsome training regimen designed to turn a hobgoblin into an amphibious terror, at home on any battlefield.
All Red Marines have some levels of ranger. Many also take levels of scout, barbarian, fighter, or warblade. Stealth, surprise, and mobility are the tools in trade of the Red Marines. Training focuses on swimming, endurance, acrobatics and close combat, as well as survival and tracking in all terrains, land and sea both. Some Red Marines focus on sniping, while others focus on infiltration and close-in combat. Common maneuvers chosen derive from the Tiger Claw, Iron Heart, Shadow Hand, and White Raven schools. Red Marines tend to favor unusual, usually exotic weaponry, both to keep their opponents guessing and to serve as a calling card. Most Red Marine snipers prefer crossbows to regular bows, as firing at range from a prone, concealed position is a popular tactic.
Only the most elite hobgoblins are chosen to join the Red Marines. The training program is brutal and merciless; on average, only half of a given boot class makes it to the end of training. The final exam sees the potential Red Marine tied up and thrown into the water off a remote island, alone and naked. Only those who make it back to base by the next full moon are inducted into the corps.
A Red Marine is required to serve for a period of ten years. After this, they are permitted to re-enlist. Most of those who do not are exiled, as the rulers of the Dominion are not especially comfortable having such well-trained warriors moving through society, relatively uncontrolled.
The symbol of the Red Marines are the blood-red chevrons they wear on the sleeves of their uniforms. One chevron is awarded at induction, and additional chevrons are awarded for each five years of service. Out of uniform, a Red Marine is still conspicuous by the branding that takes place at their induction and at the conclusion of particularly successful operations. Even the newest Red Marine will have their unit branded into their right shoulder; veterans of many campaigns have emblematic brands all over their arms and torso.
The Red Marines are characterized by a strong camaraderie, a brotherly bond that lasts even beyond a Marine’s retirement. A Marine’s first loyalty is to his orders; his second is to his regiment-brothers; and his third is to the Red Marines and the Dominion.