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Lightsabers with flat blades/emitters

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We all know, and possibly have strong feelings about, the darksaber and it's rather unique design, most notably (ok, perhaps second most notably) it's flat blade and emitter.

Darksaber1-681x382.jpg

As I have a character that's about to construct a hilt (not her first one) I've been toying around with ideas for cool designs, and to me, the flat emitter/blade is pretty cool, and in a lot of cases less conspicuous if you want to disguise your hilt as something else (I do). On the other hand, I don't want the hilt to be too unique as that'd make me feel like too much like I'm making my character the specialest snowflake of them all. No judgment on anyone else, but I'm a little touchy on that subject when it comes to my own characters.

The thing is, as far I can find, there are no other examples of the flat blade/emitter in Canon nor Legends, and the darksaber is quite the unique, legendary weapon in every sense of the word. So I'm in a bit of a bind, as I don't want to feel like I'm copying a unique feature of a weapon my character has never heard of.

So, since this forum has been known to occasionally be visited by the odd Star Wars lore geek and people in general who put way much more thought into these things than what reasonably called for (I love you guys :wub:), I ask you, denizens of the forum if there are any other examples of flat blades/emitters that you know of, and if you have any ideas why you would construct a lightsaber with this feature?

Could someone independently come up with the idea? If so, why? Is it an old design that has fallen out of favor due to it offering no real benefit to a round emitter, and perhaps some of drawback (slightly more difficult to construct/attune? Slightly harder to use due to edge alignment being a (perhaps minor) factor? I'm thinking if it had offered any real benefit, it would have caught on, so I'm leaning towards a pure stylistic choice that has some kind of drawback, but I'd love to hear peoples thoughts on this.

Just to be clear, not really looking for rules, but if you've come up with any, feel free to share.

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Honestly, there'd be no mechanical difference between a flat blade/emitter and the standard circular version.

Though to be frank, the only reason the Darksaber exists is because George Lucas didn't want to have a mundane-looking weapon be able to survive contact with a lightsaber (guess the electrostaves by the IG-100 MagnaGuards were either special enough to get a pass, or had forgotten they existed), as the original idea was for the weapon to have a blade with a cortosis-weave, which was the handwave given in the KOTOR games for why characters using vibroblades could have clashing sword battles with lightsabers.  And since Clone Wars was being produced prior to Lucas stepping aside and before Disney had purchased Lucasfilm, George's word was god, and so Dave Filoni recycled the original notion to create the Darksaber.

So the Darksaber is simply unique in having a flat blade & emitter simply for the sake of being unique.  Given that the Jedi are creatures of tradition, they simply used the usual circular blade & emitter because it was tradition.  The Sith likely did the same out of desire to mock their Jedi enemies.

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39 minutes ago, Donovan Morningfire said:

Honestly, there'd be no mechanical difference between a flat blade/emitter and the standard circular version.

Though to be frank, the only reason the Darksaber exists is because George Lucas didn't want to have a mundane-looking weapon be able to survive contact with a lightsaber (guess the electrostaves by the IG-100 MagnaGuards were either special enough to get a pass, or had forgotten they existed), as the original idea was for the weapon to have a blade with a cortosis-weave, which was the handwave given in the KOTOR games for why characters using vibroblades could have clashing sword battles with lightsabers.  And since Clone Wars was being produced prior to Lucas stepping aside and before Disney had purchased Lucasfilm, George's word was god, and so Dave Filoni recycled the original notion to create the Darksaber.

So the Darksaber is simply unique in having a flat blade & emitter simply for the sake of being unique.  Given that the Jedi are creatures of tradition, they simply used the usual circular blade & emitter because it was tradition.  The Sith likely did the same out of desire to mock their Jedi enemies.

Well, yes, that's the behind-the-scenes real-world reasons, but what I'm looking for is to bullsh*t creatively imagine the in-universe reasons for it.

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28 minutes ago, penpenpen said:

Well, yes, that's the behind-the-scenes real-world reasons, but what I'm looking for is to bullsh*t creatively imagine the in-universe reasons for it.

Going by Rebels, it was a Mandalorian that was apparently the first one to become a Jedi.  So being a Mandalorian, he probably wanted his lightsaber to be "unique" and buck Jedi tradition, especially if there'd already been a long history of conflict between the Jedi and the Mandalorians.

What better way for a member of a warrior culture that got it's hindquarters whupped time and again to mock their ancient adversary that decided to make you a member of it than to take the typical design of their iconic weapon and make it a unique design that bucks centuries of tradition?

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I don't know of any concrete examples as far as blade shapes go, but the Darksaber itself is ancient. As stated by the show, constructed by the first Mandalorian Jedi.

As far as acient lightsabers go we also see an acient cross guard lightsaber in Rebels (at the end of season two at the Sith temple) akin to Kylo Rens Lightsaber (which is even mechanically covered by lightsaber crafting in Endless Vigil).

As with most things in this game a narrative approach seems to be a good way to go. And don't be afraid to just make something up together with your GM. In my opinion rule of cool > over muh canon. That being said I like my game to be informed by canon as well.

So let's get into it.

How familiar is your character with Jedi traditions? If not at all, it may not be unreasonable to accidentaly build an unorthodox blade. Maybe they could see a benefit in having a blade that is different for the purpose of being different, be it for concealment or to throw of enemies in combat. Maybe you encounter an ancient holocron of no particular affiliation that contains "blueprints" for what could ostensibly be the first generation of lightsabers. Archaic designs also don't necessarily constitute weak and brittle. Especially expanded universe Star Wars is a lot about forgotten tech and mighty artifacts. We see this in the Darksaber explicitly as it holds its own against regular lightsabers no problem.

Another way could be an unusual blade born of necessity. Maybe the right parts aren't available und you make due with some junk that ends up working anyway, creating an unique shape.

Also, not necessarily a different blade shape, but my favorite crystal is the Ghostfire Crystal (can't remember which book it's from), as  it leaves behind a confusing afterimage of the blade everytime it is swung.

Longer and/or shorter blades aren't that unusual either. I also quite like the idea of a "Zweihänder" Lightsaber that just has an overall thicker blade.

 

And I wouldn't worry about making your character "too unique", that's kinda what roleplaying is all about. The players are the main characters after all.

Rule Of Cool. :D

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As a pretty major down side apparently in dawn the darksaber is statted as a standard crystal with no upgrades. IMHO that's a pretty big downside.

Perhaps your charater's travels bring him across the darksabers' creators holocron where he states how it was made.

The colour is my favorite part of the darksaber although the shape of the 'blade' is quite interesting.

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I would imagine that to get a blade of those dimensions instead of just basically being a pillar of energy, you would need the handle to orient right at all times, and the blade would need several emitters working in concert to purposely short some of the vectors of energy in order to create slopes and angles. I would make such a blade super hard to make and very hard to maintain. I would have it have a main emitter and three vector control emitters, which makes it a bit of an energy hog because some of the power is used in creating the shape. I would also make it so that it has less of a thermal capability than a typical lightsaber, and have it shear more through molecular disruption than the combination of heat and MD as I envision regular lightsabers doing. 

Just my fun pseudo-science take on it though.  

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I'm away from my books at the moment, but it seems like in previous SWRPG editions there was a type of crystal that created a slightly wider blade which made deflecting/Reflecting blaster bolts easier. That might have also been in KOTOR, too? Been a long time since I've played through it.

I wonder, though... one of the cool things about a lightsaber is the omni-directional cutting edge. Swing it in any direction, and it cuts whatever it touches. If the Darksaber's blade - or a hypothetical copycat - exhibits a different blade geometry, does it lose that capability?

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3 minutes ago, SFC Snuffy said:

I'm away from my books at the moment, but it seems like in previous SWRPG editions there was a type of crystal that created a slightly wider blade which made deflecting/Reflecting blaster bolts easier. That might have also been in KOTOR, too? Been a long time since I've played through it.

Solari Crystals do the same. I think they are in Disciples of Harmony.

4 minutes ago, SFC Snuffy said:

I wonder, though... one of the cool things about a lightsaber is the omni-directional cutting edge. Swing it in any direction, and it cuts whatever it touches. If the Darksaber's blade - or a hypothetical copycat - exhibits a different blade geometry, does it lose that capability?

Not if the blade has the overall same properties of a regular lightsaber I reckon. The "edge" would basically be an exclusively aesthetic feature.

In Rebels, while Kanan and Ezra train Sabine to use the Darksaber, they discuss that the Darksaber is actually even more dangerous than a normal blade. The unparalleled cutting prowess of a lightsaber might be overall the same in the Darksaber, but maybe is even more focused along the edge.

 

 

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The “flat blade” of the Darksaber was one of the two biggest problems I had with it ( the other being the black color). Since lightsabers blades are plasma, the entire surface is a cutting surface. As such, having a wide, flat blade is pointless and actually counterproductive. If it has been a real blade with a plasma edge, that would be another matter.

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Would the flat of the blade be less useful for cutting though? The plasma of the blade could very well be uniformly hot, and since a lightsaber cuts by heat, not by physical interaction, couldn't it cut just as effectively, but through a wider path?
But say a narrow beams cuts easier, which makes the the flat of the blade less useful and since you need to consider blade alignment, the saber itself becomes somewhat harder to handle optimally. Then again, if it makes the "edge" a thinner cutting surface that a regular saber, it would perhaps give a slight edge in cutting power to a user trained to consider egde alignment. If jedi (and sith) saber training is adapted for an omnidirectional cutting edge (why wouldn't it be?) a flat blade would be more of a hindrance than help, but to someone trained with regular blades the darksaber might make sense.

That said, lightsabers have pretty much only used by the jedi in the Dawn of Rebellion era afaik, so there's not much room for anyone else to have developed different training regimes.

Unless those dashing scoundrels in the tapani sector have been experimenting with their lightfoils...

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17 minutes ago, Tramp Graphics said:

The larger the surface area the more resistance trying to cut.

It's not cutting, it's burning. I don't think two blowtorches side by side would cut slower than a single one.

It occurred to me that that you could perhaps split the difference, with an oval shaped emitter?

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Just now, penpenpen said:

It's not cutting, it's burning. I don't think two blowtorches side by side would cut slower than a single one.

It occurred to me that that you could perhaps split the difference, with an oval shaped emitter?

Not really. For a weapon that is all cutting surface, a perfect cylinder is actually the most effective shape.

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There's the phase knife in I think endless vigil, so narratively you found one of those and figured out how to make a sword version.  Thing is you can't swap out crystals in a phase knife and the dark saber has the basic lightsaber stats and can't be upgraded... it sounds pretty similar, maybe the darksaber isn't really a lightsaber just something similar to a lightsaber that works by different processes 

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I'm not 100% on this but I believe there is some discussion about ancient HEMA (Historical European Martial Arts) manuals saying parrying with the flat of the blade is much better than with the edge. Since traditional lightsabers are pretty much all edge maybe the more sword shaped blade could increase your parry and your knowledge of that affected your saber design? (Again I may be completely wrong about this but its ringing a bell.)

Edited by SithArissa

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3 hours ago, SithArissa said:

I'm not 100% on this but I believe there is some discussion about ancient HEMA (Historical European Martial Arts) manuals saying parrying with the flat of the blade is much better than with the edge. Since traditional lightsabers are pretty much all edge maybe the more sword shaped blade could increase your parry and your knowledge of that affected your saber design? (Again I may be completely wrong about this but its ringing a bell.)

I think the edge vs. flat debate is mostly about having a stronger parry (edge) vs preserving your edge (flat). As you tend to hold a sword in a way that lets you exert the most force in the direction of the edge (for obvious reasons),  blocking or parrying with the edge lets you put the most amount of force in your move. On the other hand, striking the edges of two blades together tends to ruin the edges of both. Not so with a lightsaber.

4 hours ago, EliasWindrider said:

There's the phase knife in I think endless vigil, so narratively you found one of those and figured out how to make a sword version.  Thing is you can't swap out crystals in a phase knife and the dark saber has the basic lightsaber stats and can't be upgraded... it sounds pretty similar, maybe the darksaber isn't really a lightsaber just something similar to a lightsaber that works by different processes 

That's interesting. So the Darksaber doesn't actually have a crystal? As far as rules are concerned, that is?

3 hours ago, Richardbuxton said:

Reverse grip benefits Shien but is more difficult for everyone else. Would a traditional sword blade shape benefit Shi Cho being that it’s the original form and closest in technique to traditional martial combat?

You know, I was thinking earlier "There's no reason Jedi lightsaber training would take edge alignment into account, except maybe if they practice Sii-cho." but didn't really go further than that in my thinking other than a fleeting thought that perhaps such a saber could be used with Melee rather than Lightsaber (but then Sabine wouldn't need lightsaber lessons from Kanan). This is a great line of thought, and actually makes more sense than a reverse grip (which, as far as I know, has little to no merit in swordplay).

EDIT: For a grip attachment, maybe rules along the lines of "may add half ranks in Melee as (damage/advantages/cookies) to Lightsaber (Brawn) checks"? Or "May spend X advantage/triumph to add damage equal to (half?) ranks in Melee"?

Damnit, I wasn't supposed to tinker with rules for this one! It's a curse, I tell you! A curse!

Edited by penpenpen

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As someone else mentioned it’s probably most beneficial for Reflect and in particular Improved Reflect than anything else. Perhaps Soresu would find use in it as a Defensive weapon, otherwise the ever creative Shien get the win again. 

There is a question of if the wider blade would cause worse Critical injuries, if you stab someone then it stands to reason that a fatter blade creates a bigger hole... does Makashi Finish benefit from a darksaber shaped blade?

Ultimately this is a weightless magic sword in a fictional story set in a universe with strangely different physics, you can basically come up with anything you want so long as it’s cool.

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32 minutes ago, Richardbuxton said:

Ultimately this is a weightless magic sword in a fictional story set in a universe with strangely different physics, you can basically come up with anything you want so long as it’s cool.

Agreed, and I appreciate everyone's efforts in doing so. :wub:

But weightless, you say?

Quote

"It's heavier than I thought."
"Energy constantly flows through the crystal. You're not fighting with a simple blade as much as you are directing a current of power."

;)

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I would probably treat a flat blade as an accurate 1 weapon due to it's narrower profile, in the same way that a Shato does less damage. I wouldn't give it any particular advantage in it dealing damage; from a design point a flat plasma blade doesn't really offer much difference given that it is a blade of hot plasma; it doesn't cut, it burns through.

What is more potent though is that the Dark Saber particularly is like the Mandolorians excalibur. One who wields it will likely be of great interest to a particular culture of people for better and worse.

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1 minute ago, LordBritish said:

I would probably treat a flat blade as an accurate 1 weapon due to it's narrower profile, in the same way that a Shato does less damage. 

The precision lightsaber template could work for that. Accurate 1, -1 damage and less hardpoints for modifications. I could even tie that to it being a design more commonly used in Tapani sector lightfoils (which we haven't seen that many depictions of), the fighting style of which could be closer to traditional swordplay. Or philaxian phase knives. Or both.

...and I'm thinking about rules again. :rolleyes:

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2 minutes ago, penpenpen said:

The precision lightsaber template could work for that. Accurate 1, -1 damage and less hardpoints for modifications. I could even tie that to it being a design more commonly used in Tapani sector lightfoils (which we haven't seen that many depictions of), the fighting style of which could be closer to traditional swordplay. Or philaxian phase knives. Or both.

...and I'm thinking about rules again. :rolleyes:

Aye that's just it really. My DM ruled it as an 8 damage weapon with a pierce of 5 and extra vicious; it was a light saber weapon but comparatively there were better blades out there, this was just one of the oldest.

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This is straying a bit from blade geometry and fighting styles, but I recall that a Saga Edition rulebook, the Legacy Era Campaign Guide, had rules for "heirloom items." Examples included the lightsabers of Anakin, Luke, and the Emperor, as well as Boba Fett's armor, Han's blaster pistol and Chewbacca's bowcaster.

Essentially, being owned and used by a great hero (or villain) in great deeds and fulfillment of destiny imbued a bit of the hero into that item. As such, the item might become attuned to either the Dark or Light side of the Force, or simply famous in its own right. It seems to me that the Darksaber would certainly qualify. Perhaps mocking up some rules to reflect its fame would set it apart without deviating too much from the fact that, at the end of the day, it's still just a lightsaber.

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