The Rough Rhinos were an elite group of Fire Nationkomodo rhino cavalry. They did not seem to be under the direct control of the military, but instead worked on a freelance basis, claiming their loyalty to the Fire Lord. There were five members of the group, each of whom specialized in a different type of weapon or fighting style, though their preferred weapons were not well adapted for close-combat.
Around 91 ASC, the Rough Rhinos attacked the village where Jet was living and killed his parents, which ignited Jet's lifelong hatred of the Fire Nation.
In 100 ASC, the Rough Rhinos first encountered Team Avatar, ambushing them in a forest near Chin Village, but the three friends managed to escape on Appa. The Rough Rhinos later invaded Chin Village during Aang's trial for the murder of the village's great leader, Chin the Great. They claimed it in name of the Fire Lord and commenced their destruction of the village before eventually being defeated by Team Avatar. The Rough Rhinos later confronted Team Avatar in a small Earth Kingdomvillage. They captured Sokka, mistakenly believing he was the Avatar, but were soon bested by Aang, Katara, and Toph. They never encountered Team Avatar again afterward.
Sometime later, the team of soldiers surrounded Iroh and Zuko while the two fugitives of the Fire Nation were traveling through the Earth Kingdom, near the great Si Wong Desert. After a brief battle, the warriors were bested by the two firebenders, who were able to escape in the chaos ensuing an explosion.
The Rough Rhinos' leader, Colonel Mongke, was a talented firebender, although Zuko managed to overpower him without significant effort. He was the only firebender in the group and once served under Iroh in the Fire Nation military.Ogodei and Kahchi preferred mêlée weaponry: Ogodei carried chains or "bolas" and Kahchi a Guan Dao. Ogodei sported a similar hairstyle to that of the hammer-and-chain wielding Fire Nation soldier who attacked Aang during the Siege of the North – the only other character to use a weapon of this type.Yeh-Lu specialized in explosives and wore armor that masked his face, never exposing it in any known encounters. Vachir wielded a bow and frequently used flaming arrows, making him the third member to fight with fire, despite there only being one firebender in the group. He was originally a member of the renowned Yuyan Archers, as indicated by his facial tattoos.
All of the riders' names resemble various Mongolians associated with Genghis Khan, and other nomadic warriors.
Their name bears strong resemblance to the Rough Riders, a horse cavalry once led by Colonel and eventual United States President, Theodore Roosevelt.
Despite their fierce reputation, according to Iroh, they were also a "very capable singing group".
Each rider seemed to be related to a different part of the Fire Nation military; Mongke was a firebender, Ogodei was an engineer, Yeh-Lu was a bombardier, Kahchi was a regular infantry soldier, and Vachir was a Yuyan Archer.
Although a supposedly fearsome and successful organization, they seemed to be fairly unsuccessful during their appearances in the series.