Roland is Borderlands' "Soldier" class. He is originally from the planet Promethea and is a former soldier of the Crimson Lance, the highly trained private military of the Atlas corporation. He is proficient with all weapons, although he prefers Shotguns and Combat Rifles. Roland can deploy a Scorpio Turret that can be upgraded throughout the game.
Following the Vault Hunters' defeat of General Knoxx, the Atlas Corporation abandoned all remaining Crimson Lance soldiers on Pandora. Roland used this opportunity to rally the Lancemen against Hyperion, pledging to give them a cause their previous employer could not promise them, forming the Crimson Raiders, along with Mordecai, Brick, and his then-girlfriend Lilith.
The Raiders were originally stationed in New Haven, but was discovered when Shep Sanders disclosed its location to Hyperion. Overrun by the company, and with Lilith believed dead by Hyperion, the Raiders relocated to Sanctuary. Roland then ended his relationship with Lilith to focus on defending the town, while she drew the bandits' attention away.
Before meeting with the new Vault Hunters, Roland was captured by the Bloodshots, a bandit group who attempted to claim the bounty on his head. With the assistance of Lilith, the Vault Hunters rescue him from Hyperion. He then resumes his post as the leader of the Raiders and assigns story quests to the Vault Hunters.
During the Crimson Raider/Slab joint strike on Control Core Angel, he assists the Vault Hunters in retrieving the Vault Key. In the core of the facility, he lowers the shields guarding Angel's Eridium injectors, while the Vault Hunters destroy them. Against Roland and Angel's insistence, Lilith appears as well. When Angel dies, Roland goes to retrieve the Vault Key, but is shot dead by Handsome Jack. After Jack is defeated Roland is buried with the original vault hunters tearfully mourning him.
A manifestation of Roland becomes part of the plot of Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon Keep, where he is added in randomly at points whenever Tiny Tina wants to, and was meant to be a necessary player in Tina's game would it not be for his untimely demise, ultimately representing how Tina can't let go of Roland. Roland acts the same (AI wise), deploying his Scorpio Turret and assisting the player, he will always use common (or white) rarity weapons and is clad in white armour instead of his normal attire to fit with the theme. His choice of words when speaking are clearly inspired by Tina's speech patterns rather than the actual Roland's. Roland, in said game, identifies himself as a Knight of the Queen. After the original Vault Hunters finish their game, they gather at Roland's memorial statue, joined by Claptrap and the new Vault Hunters, where Tina says her farewell.