The Fra’al are believed both to have an empire[3a] and to be nomadic. Occasionally sighted in the Gothic Sector (including the Bhein Morr Subsector as raiders in early M41,[3b] and during the Gothic War by the Mars Class Battlecruiser Marquis Lex on anti-pirate patrols of the Hammerhead Deeps and across the Quinrox Sound), the neighbouring Tamahl Sector and the Osiris Cluster (in M40), their empire is thought to be based in Segmentum Obscurus.[3a]
While their empire includes planets which they protect and an organisational system including Satraps (local rulers) who are known to have traded with the Imperium on occasion (probably mostly indirectly through Rogue Traders in the Cold Trade, greedily selling secrets and even human slaves for Fra’al technology), they are better known as raiders, attacking various convoys and systems. The Imperial Navy chases down and engages Fra’al raiders on anti-pirate patrols and in fleet actions,[3b] though the Fra’al agenda on these raids remain obscure.
Little Fra’al technology is known to or understood by the Imperium, with what has been traded described by the Fra’al Satrap Master Vray as “mere trinkets and toys... the least of our crafts”. One of the main advances which the Fra’al have over other races is that of Ether technology, the basis of the deadly Ether Cannons of their Battlecruisers which fire a pulsed energy beam at the enemy ship, causing an Ether field which corrodes the enemy hull, ignoring and even overloading void shields and Eldar holo-fields; Tech-priest Hieronomus Tezla “won great renown amongst his fellows for his audacious examination of a crashed Fra’al spacecraft in the Tamahl sector and his subsequent etheric-plasma theorums”.
The Fra’al Glass Knife is rumoured by the smugglers of the Halo Stars border to be Fra’al technology: jagged blades made sharp enough to split ceramite by continually fracturing tiny shards from their cutting edges which are infamous for working their way into wounds, causing agonising injuries.
Imperial Diviners sometimes use Fra’al night shards as a divination foci, along with other arcane materials such as Eldar Wraithbone or Imperial saints’ relics. This mysterious race is also known to hold within their possession a nightmarish array of psy-arcana.
The Chaos Idolator Raider with its accurate long ranged weaponry may provide another example of the mysterious Fra’al technology; it is known to incorporate many non-human systems and features, thought probably to have been bought or stolen from other space-faring races such as the Kroot and the Fra’al.[3c]
Fra’al Battlecruisers are the most frequently encountered of their ships, though these are deployed by their expert commanders only sparingly and raid infrequently. Though it is unknown why they fight in this way they are either usually found alone when protecting their planets from orbit or in pairs when raiding. They are extremely powerful craft, with a deadly Ether Cannon which ignores void shields (and even Eldar holo-fields), often subsequently overloading them, allowing their conventional lance batteries to attack with impunity.
- 1: Planet Killer (magazine) #1, "Fra'al Battlecruiser", pgs. 21–22
- 2: Dark Heresy: Disciples of the Dark Gods, pgs. 72–74
- 3: Battlefleet Gothic Rulebook
- 4: White Dwarf 232, "De'Aynes Fighting Ships of the Gothic Sector", pg. 15
- 5: White Dwarf 260, "Tech-Priest Tezla", pg. 65
- 6: Execution Hour (Novel), Part One
- 7: Fanatic Online #20, "New Phenomena"
- 8: Dark Heresy: The Radical's Handbook, pg. 48
- 9: Rogue Trader Core Rulebook, pg. 156