Force Lore: Lightsaber


Source: https://starwars.fandom.com/wiki/Lightsaber/Legends

OVERVIEW

Designed as much for elegance in combat as for ceremony, the lightsaber, also referred to as the “laser sword” by those who were unfamiliar with it, was a distinctive weapon, the very image of which was inextricably bound with the mythos of the Jedi Order and their polar opposites, the Sith. The lightsaber also became synonymous with the Jedi Order’s values to uphold peace and justice throughout the galaxy. This perception endured, despite the many conflicts with lightsaber-wielding Sith and Dark Jedi.

The weapon consisted of a blade of pure plasma emitted from the hilt and suspended in a force containment field. The field contained the immense heat of the plasma, protecting the wielder, and allowed the blade to keep its shape. The hilt was almost always self-fabricated by the wielder to match his or her specific needs, preferences and style. The hilt was also built similarly to his or her master’s lightsaber as a mark of respect. Due to the weightlessness of plasma and the strong gyroscopic effect generated by it, lightsabers required a great deal of strength and dexterity to wield, and it was extremely difficult—and dangerous—for the untrained to attempt using. However, in the hands of an expert of the Force, the lightsaber was a weapon to be greatly respected and feared. To wield a lightsaber was to demonstrate incredible skill and confidence, as well as masterful dexterity and attunement to the Force.

MECHANICS

The typical lightsaber hilt consisted of a metal cylinder between twenty-four and thirty centimeters in length. However, the size of individual hilts varied drastically, as the weapon was tailored to the creator’s specific needs and preferences. The hilt had a pommel cap at the bottom which sometimes held a backup power cell. The lightsaber mechanisms were contained within the hilt. High levels of energy generated by a high-output Diatium power cell was unleashed through a series of focusing lenses and energizers that converted the energy into plasma. The plasma was projected through a set of lightsaber crystals that lent the blade its properties and allowed for the adjustment of blade length and power output. The ideal number of crystals was three, though only one was required. A power insulator was installed on the hilt to protect the wielder from any energy discharges. Activating the lightsaber usually required a button of some sort. A blade power adjustment knob was sometimes installed to allow the wielder to vary the power of the blade. A discharge energy cell could also be installed to increase a lightsaber’s power output.

Once focused by the crystals, the plasma was sent through a series of field energizers and modulation circuitry within the emitter matrix that further focused it, making it into a coherent beam of energy that was projected from the blade emitter. The blade typically extended about a meter before being arced by the blade containment field back to a negatively charged fissure ringing the emitter, where it was channeled back to the power cell by a superconductor, completing the circuit. This containment field also caused the blades to make contact with other lightsabers blades without passing through like other forms of energy. This trait is seen when lightsaber wielders can block and parry other lightsaber blades.

CUTTING POWER

A lightsaber blade was a mass-less form that neither radiated heat nor expended energy, other than that emitted as visible light, until it came into contact with something solid. The power of the energy blade was so great that it could cut through almost anything, although the speed through which it cut depended on the density of the subject. One important note about lightsaber wounds is that they rarely bled profusely, even when a limb had been severed. This is because the energy blade cauterized the wound as it passed, and thus even a severe wound did not tend to bleed heavily.

When cutting through dense material, the immense electromagnetic field generated by the arc caused resistance rather than letting solid matter enter and interrupt the arc. This gave the blade a feeling of being solid when immersed in dense material. Rarely, some solid materials could actually pass through the electromagnetic field and short out the arc. Other electromagnetic energy fields and coherent energy were also repelled by lightsabers’ arcs. These include most force fields, blaster bolts, and other lightsaber blades.

HILT VARIATIONS

  • Standard: The standard lightsaber consisted of a straight hilt approximately 20 to 30 centimeters long. As it is the standard make, it has no defining features other than details on individual hilts, as each weapon is often self-fabricated by the wielder and customized to suit their specifications.

  • Double-Bladed: Also referred to as saberstaffs and Sith lightsabers, double-bladed lightsabers consisted of a single hilt that projected a blade from both ends, resulting in a deadly staff-like weapon. Most saberstaff hilts were of increased length, as they usually consisted of two separate lightsabers connected at the pommels. The usage of double-bladed lightsabers eventually gave rise to the use of paired lightsabers. As many double-bladed lightsabers were simply two separate lightsabers joined at the pommel, this was taken advantage of and the weapons were connected with a locking mechanism rather than a solid weld, allowing the two weapons to be separated for Jar’Kai dual-blade combat. Many duelists used the paired function to surprise enemies in combat, wielding it as a saberstaff before separating the weapons. Other versions of the paired lightsaber had the weapons joined by a fiber cord instead of a locking mechanism. Those linked by the fiber cords were held by the cord and flailed about, exchanging control for unpredictability.

  • Guard Shoto (aka. Lightsaber Tonfa): A variation on the standard short shoto lightsabers, guard shotos featured an elongated hilt with a secondary handle built angling 90 degrees out from the main hilt. They were built to be carried by the second handle, with the blade parallel to the forearm, allowing the weapon to be easily used for blocks. Due to the defensive nature of the weapon, it was recommended that the casing be machined out of lightsaber-resistant phrik alloy.

  • Crossguard: An extremely rare variant only seen in the hands of skilled duelists, crossguard lightsabers, also known as forked lightsabers, featured a specialized hilt which emitted two blades. One blade was the standard lightsaber blade, but the second was a significantly shorter and thinner blade projected by a secondary emitter next to the main at an angle. The secondary blade was used as a guard to protect the hand, and on occasion to catch attacks between it and the main blade.

  • Curved-Hilt: Curved-hilt lightsabers were of a design which featured a hilt with a built in curve. This was usually done to allow the hilt to fit better into the palm, facilitating the use of one-handed fighting styles such as Makashi, or to provide variable blade angle to confuse opponents.

  • Long-Handle: Built to cater to specific fighting styles, long-handle lightsabers featured a lengthened handle that provided the duelist with more surface area to place his hands, and providing more leverage for attacks.[3] The length of long-handled lightsabers varied considerably.

  • Lightsaber Pike: Resembling pole-arms in many respects, lightsaber pikes featured extremely long handles, up to two meters long, with a somewhat shorter and thicker lightsaber blade. The handle was machined from phrik alloy to prevent it from being cut in two, as the purpose of the weapon was to provide increased range in close combat.

  • Sabercane: The sabercane was a simple variation on the standard; a lightsaber concealed as the head of a cane. In combat, the handle would be detached from the body of the cane and wielded normally.

  • Electrum Detail: The only difference an electrum-detailed lightsaber possessed compared to the standard was that its casing was built with the golden electrum metal. A purely cosmetic accessory, this feature was only allowed to high-ranking members of the Jedi Order, being a prestigious honor bestowed on masters who have demonstrated their strength and skill.

BLADE VARIATIONS

  • Training: Training lightsabers were essentially regular lightsaber, only engineered with a permanent low-power setting, rather than the adjustable setting featured on standard weapons. As their name indicates, training lightsabers were used for instructional purposes, teaching initiates how to wield a lightsaber. Due to their permanent low-power setting, training lightsabers were extremely limited in the type of damage they could cause, the most severe injuries being burns and serious bruises. In fact, the weapon was so weak that an individual could physically grab the blade and suffer no injury besides the burns and bruises.

  • Dual-Phase: While most lightsabers featured a built-in length adjust, dual-phase lightsabers allowed for rapid transitions between two sets of preset lengths. The dual-phase lightsaber was originally conceived early in history, being used for the purpose of lightsaber dueling. The most common usage at the time would be to switch between a standard length and one of increased length as a surprise tactic during lightsaber duels. In more contemporary times, however, it is more common to have the secondary length be shorter for precision cutting.

  • Shoto: Essentially, a shoto was a short lightsaber. Featuring a shortened blade length and diminutive handle, it was basically a miniaturized lightsaber. Shotos were usually used as the secondary weapon in dual-blade combat, as their smaller blade length resulted in a less intensive gyroscopic effect, making the weapon easier to handle. Shotos were also used a primary weapons by some duelists, most who did so being of diminutive size, making a full sized lightsaber impractical, though this is not always the case.

  • Lightclub: Essentially the opposite of the shoto, lightclubs were massively oversized lightsabers that projected overlong blades. They were almost universally wielded by individuals of overlarge stature to accommodate their size.

  • Lightfoil: Lightfoils were small and elegant energy swords based upon lightsabers. They were popular among certain nobles of the Tapani sector, especially those that called themselves “saber rakes.” Lightfoils were weaker than authentic lightsabers due to the poor quality focusing crystals used in their manufacture and the relatively low level of craftsmanship compared to Jedi artisans. They did not require any connection to the Force to create, and were fully usable by non-Force sensitives.

  • Underwater: While most lightsabers shorted out when the blade touches water, this blade was made to operate underwater due to two crystals employed in a bifurcating cyclical-ignition pulse.[4] Generally only Jedi from aquatic races would go to the trouble of constructing a waterproof saber, as only they had the mobility to use it effectively underwater.

LIGHTSABERS IN COMBAT

Lightsaber combat was the preferred fighting method used by lightsaber wielders, many of the forms and styles being designed to compensate for the gyroscopic effect inherent in lightsabers, and take advantage of the Force-sensitivity common in most wielders. The different styles of lightsaber dueling were initially based on ancient sword-fighting techniques. Throughout the millennia, these many combat styles were refined into the seven “classic” forms that serve as the standard, and numerous other fighting methods that call for advanced levels of skill. Lightsaber combat was difficult to master for a number of reasons, one of them being that all of the weight a lightsaber had was in its hilt, and the gyroscopic effect caused resistance to changes in motion, or built up momentum so quickly than an untrained wielder could lose control of the weapon.

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