Rippers take particular joy in inflicting damage and death. Most of their number are sadists, and many are megalomaniacs. Few are particularly brave, however, which means rippers usually prey upon very weak settlements and targets. They may attempt to attack stronger targets if they can hit them from ambush with a debilitating first strike. In general, though, most ripper bands are not particularly astute in military matters—they are murderers, not soldiers.
Rippers are in many ways the most dreaded of all raiders since they are completely without scruples—or mercy. The ranks of the rippers are filled with escaped convicts, the worst of the pre-Rebellion pirates, war criminals guilty of ghastly acts, and former inmates of mental institutions. These bands are highly fractious and divisive unless they have a particularly powerful leader. Many of the individuals who fill the leadership role for ripper bands are genius-level sociopaths. Whatever their background and skills, these individuals give a ripper band cohesion via their powerful (if dark) charisma and self confidence. Ripper bands without such leadership are likely to fight more amongst themselves than with potential prey—which accounts for the low numbers which typically comprise these groups.
The only law in ripper bands is the rule of the mob. Otherwise, all disputes are settled by violence—often to the death. Rippers may have a small number of dependents, but these individuals may not be anything more than temporary plaything; on a whim, they might be cycled out a nearby airlock.