Powered melee weapon
20,000 to 500,000
|Physical and Technical Specifications|
|Usage and History|
The lightsaber, sometimes referred to as a laser sword, is a weapon used by the Jedi, the Sith, and other Force-sensitives. Lightsabers consist of a plasma blade, powered by a kyber crystal, that is emitted from a usually metal hilt and can be shut off at will. It is a weapon that required skill and training, and is greatly enhanced when used in conjunction with the Force. Though also used by the Sith, the lightsaber is synonymous with the Jedi, with some in the galaxy believing only Jedi can use lightsabers.
Lightsabers are generally used for both offense and defense. A lightsaber can cut through virtually anything, from enemies to blast doors. The only ways to block the incoming attack of a lightsaber is with a weapon made with material that conducts energy, such as an electrostaff, Z6 riot control baton, some rare metals or simply another lightsaber. When used defensively, a Force-sensitive can deflect blaster bolts with a lightsaber, and with skill, can even reflect the shots back toward the shooter or some other target. Experienced Jedi can even employ their lightsabers to absorb Force lightning. Most practitioners use one single-bladed lightsaber, though some use double-bladed lightsabers or even multiple lightsabers at once.
Though it is unknown when the first lightsaber was created, it is known they were in use thousands of years before the age of the Republic, in the Great Scourge of Malachor. They were also used in the Battles of Rashfond and the Peacekeeping of Parliock.
Lightsabers took on a more prominent role in galactic affairs as the Clone Wars came to pass. Jedi, previously peacekeepers, became Jedi Generals of the Grand Army of the Republic, and thus began using their lightsabers more often than they had in their role of peacekeeping.
As the Clone Wars ended, and the Jedi Purge took place, lightsabers became a rarity in the galaxy, as the Jedi who once used them were greatly reduced in number and did not use their weapons as often for fear of drawing attention. For the majority of the reign of the Empire, the only lightsaber that was prominently used was that of Darth Vader, and, in its waning years, that of Luke Skywalker.
After the Empire was defeated, Luke began training a new generation of Jedi. These, however, were massacred by Kylo Ren and the Knights of Ren, once again leading to a time where the only prominent lightsaber user was a darksider.
Mechanics and specifications
Metal was usually chosen to make up the hilt, but a casing carved from the Brylark tree, wood that is strong as metal, would also work. Some hilts were even crafted of gems. The weapon drew power from an appropriately-sized power cell. Parts that would work to make a lightsaber include modulation circuits and an energy gate. Ones that were necessary include a blade emitter shroud, the emitter matrix and some type of activator to turn the weapon on and off. Other parts that could be added include handgrip ridges and a blade length adjuster. Some lightsabers also featured a non-lethal low-power setting used for training. Single-bladed lightsabers usually had a belt ring so they could be hung from a belt hook, or a wheel-shaped attachment that slotted into a matching belt clip on the owner's belt when not in use.
During assembly, it was important to not accidentally invert the emitter matrix; when improperly activated the lightsaber's power grid would backfire. At best this could cause the blade to quickly short out, but if left on the faulty weapon would violently explode, potentially killing those in close proximity.
Specially designed lightsabers could even use unstable crystals, such as Kylo Ren's lightsaber, which featured two laterally facing vents designed to divert excess energy away from the cracked crystal and keep the lightsaber stable.
On the aquatic planet of Mon Calamari, the Jedi Kit Fisto, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker and Ahsoka Tano were all able to use their lightsabers underwater with no ill effects, although whether this was a standard feature of the weapon or a later adjustment is unknown. Whilst in areas of low light, a lightsaber could easily function as a light source, demonstrated by Jedi Knights Anakin Skywalker, Jedi Masters Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Savage Opress.
The power of the energy blade was so great that it could cut through almost anything. 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.
Aside from the blade of another lightsaber, there were rare materials that could withstand a lightsaber blade:
- Zillo Beast hide could deflect lightsaber strikes, but this material was exceedingly rare due to the species' extinction.
- Mandalorian Iron was specially crafted steel from the warrior planet of Mandalore and could provide protection against slashing or glancing blows.
- Cortosis was a material which could be made into a mesh which could conduct the energy from a blaster bolt. Its conductive properties caused lightsabers to temporarily short out upon contact.
- Phrik was a metallic compound that was nearly indestructible and resistant to lightsaber attacks.
- Water was able to short out standard saber blades, but Jedi such as Kit Fisto, Anakin Skywalker, and Obi-Wan Kenobi adapted their lightsabers to be able to withstand this effect.
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.
Also referred to as saberstaffs, 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.
Double-bladed Spinning Lightsaber
Similar to the saberstaff, these weapons could emit a blades from each end of the hilt. Unlike a saberstaff, however, the hilt was as long as a single-bladed lightsaber, with a circular rim that, when activated, could spin the blades along a track.
An ancient design dating back to the Great Scourge of Malachor, a crossguard lightsaber consisted of a standard blade with two shorter blades perpendicular to it at the end of the 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 Form II, or to provide variable blade angle to confuse opponents.
This weapon was essentially a single bladed lightsaber with an attachment that allows it to fire blaster bolts. Only one example is known to have existed.
A lightsaber rifle was a type of rifle designed to be combined with lightsaber. To work, the user would insert a standard lightsaber into a slot on top of the rifle. Once loaded the hybrid rifle could fire powerful beams of energy that were highly destructive.
Resembling pole-arms in many respects, lightsaber pikes featured extremely long handles with somewhat shorter lightsaber blades.
The cane disguised lightsaber was a simple variation of the standard lightsaber concealed as the head of a cane. In combat, the handle would be detached from the body of the cane and wielded normally. Tera Sinube wielded such a weapon, as did Maul, though his was a saberstaff concealed in the head of a cane.
Training lightsabers were essentially regular lightsabers, 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.
Essentially, a shoto was a short lightsaber. Featuring a shortened blade length and diminutive handle. Shotos were usually used as the secondary weapon in dual-blade combat. Shotos were also used as 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. Master Yoda is an example of this.
This ancient lightsaber had a unique black blade that was flattened and came to a point like a traditional sword, rather than the rounded beam of more standard lightsabers.
Usage and Application
Lightsaber combat was the preferred fighting method used by lightsaber wielders. Throughout the millennia, 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. Lightsabers were most often held with both hands during combat.
Lightsabers were an integral part of the knighting ceremonies of the Jedi Order. During the ceremony, a Padawan would have his or her Padawan braid ritualistically severed by the presiding Jedi Master. The Master would then motion the blade near each of the Padawan's shoulders and say "By the right of the Council, by the will of the Force, [Insert Padawan's name here], you may rise".
Lightsabers were able to cut through most materials, and also occasionally functioned as flashlights, although the latter was uncommon.
Thanks to Wookieepedia for the information provided in this article.