“Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid."
The line famously spoken by Han Solo while aboard the Millennium Falcon is a comment very fitting for the universe around us. Ranged weapons are common sights around the galaxy, from smugglers and pirates to Imperial security forces. In this course, we will look at the variety of ranged weapons available as man-portable systems. The course should give you a good level of knowledge to be able to distinguish which weapons do what and when to employ them.
Within the character sheet system, the ability to use ranged weapons is covered under four different skills, depending on the weapon type: blasters, slugthrowers, explosives and miscellaneous weapons. If you really want to make your character an expert in ranged weaponry, you could also consider taking feats like: I Bet You Have (quick-draw), Run and Gun (increased accuracy in motion), and Active Reload (faster reloading).
You’ll find links throughout the course to various weapons in our system. If you’d like to purchase one for your character, visit the Antei Armaments store.
Blasters come in all shapes and sizes, from tiny holdout units that have a limited number of shots, to giant field-emplaced weapons and anti-armor units. This section will cover in brief the various forms of blaster technology available for ground use.
Blasters are not typical energy weapons in that they do not utilise light amplification or laser technology. Blasters use a process that converts energy-rich blaster gas into a plasma-based particle bolt. Upon pulling the trigger, the weapon draws a portion of blaster gas from the weapon’s magazine, which is then fed into the weapon’s gas conversion enabler chamber (known as the XCiter) via the heter-valve. From the XCiter, the gas travels into the actuating module, which converts the newly powerful and energy-rich gas into plasma and passes it through a focusing prism. The end result is a plasma bolt, the colour of which depends on the type of blaster gas being used.
Some blasters incorporate a stun setting; this simply draws power from the magazine, bypassing the gas system, and projects a ring of energy that affects the target's nervous system.
If you’d like to equip your character with the ability to use blaster type weapons — from hold-out pistols to repeating and sniper rifles — make sure you take points in the blasters skill on your character sheet.
Man-portable blasters come in a variety of different types and sizes. In this section we will cover the main types that you will encounter:
Sporting and low-power blasters are commonly found among shooting enthusiasts and often seen in competitive sports. Sometimes they are used by security forces as a less-than-lethal option for their personnel, such as the S-5 used by Naboo Security forces. The Handmaidens of the Palace of Naboo carried elegant sporting blaster versions of the Q2, the ELG-3A. The most famous user of a sporting blaster is probably Princess Leia Organa; she often carried a Defender sporting blaster pistol, in both its standard and shortened forms.
One such example, the DDC Defender, was designed for civilian defence. It boasts an elegant yet compact design for concealment.
Hold-out blasters are essentially miniaturised versions of normal blasters and heavy blasters, designed to be secreted amongst clothing or luggage. The hold-out blaster is a limited-use emergency weapon, usually with no more than 6-8 shots; many of them are designed to be throwaway weapons once their powerpack and gas have been expended. Hold-out blasters function in the same way as their larger kin and are just as deadly; however, the more deadly they are, the lower the shot count. BlasTech Industries produced a hold-out version of their famous DL-44 heavy blaster, but it was limited to around 4 shots. Other holdout weapons include the Q2 used by the Naboo security forces and Queen/Senator Amidala.
The BlasTech EC-17 Hold-Out Blaster is a compact blaster pistol that uses a pressure-sensitive grip instead of a trigger to fire to account for gloves. It has very high accuracy in close-range combat, but quickly loses its effectiveness at greater distances. Commonly carried as a sidearm by soldiers whose primary weapon was ineffective at close range.
Blaster pistols are the most commonly seen blaster weapons and come in two distinct types: the common blaster pistol, used by military forces and citizens across the galaxy, and the heavy blaster made famous by Han Solo and Luke Skywalker.
Blaster pistols work in the same way as all other blaster weapons. The most common is the DH-17 blaster pistol used by both the Rebellion and the Empire during the Galactic Civil War. They are overall very versatile weapons, usually having around 100 shots per magazine and a range of up to 100 meters, easily able to pierce most light armour and structures.
Heavy blasters are a much more specialised weapon, usually found in the hands of smugglers, pirates and bounty hunters, but often used by both Imperial and Rebel officers. Heavy blasters have a much more powerful XCiter, which consumes around twice the amount of blaster gas and power from the magazine but results in a shot that is far more powerful. Heavy blasters get around 50 shots from their magazine and a maximum range of around 75m; they are, however, able to penetrate all but the heaviest infantry armour and will damage light armoured vehicles. When impacting structures, they are more than capable of blowing chunks out of Durasteel and Ferrocrete. The most common of these are BlasTech’s DL-44 and Merr-Sonn’s Flash 4 (a copy of the DL-44) and the Power 5. Han Solo was rumoured to have modified his to allow more range and hitting power.
The BlasTech DC-17 is a compact blaster pistol, handy in close-quarters combat due to its capability for quick, successive volleys of shots when fully recharged, though it requires a recharge before firing again. It saw a lot of use during the Clone Wars, usually by Commandos. There exists a modification kit that allows this weapon to be transformed into a sniper rifle, which is sometimes mistakenly labeled as a variant of this weapon. In a specific model number, this weapon is known as the DC-17m(odified) ICWS.
The Security S-5 is a versatile heavy blaster pistol with a limited capacity of shots to allow for attachments, fitted with optics for medium-range combat and a liquid cable launcher with two charges that fires a grappling hook tip with 20 meters of cable and holding 500 kilograms of weight. Commonly used by security officers and security guards for the high utility.
Blaster carbines sit somewhat between a blaster rifle and a blaster pistol — while they have a much greater range than pistols, they don't have quite as much power as a full blaster rifle. Carbines are often used by military forces in close quarter environments where their greater rate of fire and ammunition capacity can be used more effectively than a full blown rifle. The most common of these weapons are the DC-15A carbines used during the Clone Wars, the E-5 carbine carried by the Trade Federation Battle Droids and Boba Fett's customised EE-3 carbine. Carbines had around 50 shots per pack, with a range of up to 250m.
The BlasTech DC-15A is a blaster carbine variant of the larger and more powerful DC-15 blaster rifle. It is easier to handle, with a higher accuracy and less chance of overheating under sustained fire than larger blaster rifles, though with less powerful armor-piercing shots. It comes with a folding stock that can be deployed for enhanced aiming under braced fire.
A common sight among both the Rebellion and the Empire, blaster rifles are the mainstay of most of the galaxy’s military forces. Rifles are often a multi-purpose weapon, used as an assault rifle with a burst or autofire setting or a sniping weapon with the addition of a sight or scope. Most blaster rifles have a range of around 300m, depending on the length of their barrels, and a shot count between 50-100. The most common of these weapons are the DLT-19 Heavy Blaster Rifle and E-11 used by the Empire and the A280 used by the Rebel Alliance.
The BAW E-5 is a powerful short-barreled blaster rifle that is somewhat inaccurate even at close range, producing its increased power at a standard rate of fire by generating a great deal of heat over repeated firings. Its heat and high recoil were not an issue for the non-living droid operators it was designed for, as the standard issue weapon of the B1 battle droid.
Light repeating blasters sit in the role of a light support weapon. Accurate up to around 450m, these weapons can be used as anti infantry-sniping weapons or for suppression. Most of these weapons only have small power supplies and gas canisters, so sustained autofire is limited; however, they are able to be attached to an external power source, allowing them greater sustained fire. The most common of these weapons is the T-21 repeating blaster, used by both sides during the Galactic Civil War.
Heavy repeating blasters are weapons that have been seen in the hands of military forces from the Clone Wars right to the current era. They are commonly used on a vehicle mount, but man-portable and tripod-mounted variants have been made. The FWMB-10 used by the First Order would fall into this class; it is designed to be both man-portable, with the aid of a foldout stand, and vehicle mounted. Other versions include the Z-6 rotary cannons used by the Republic Clone troopers and the well-known E-Web heavy blaster, designed for both ground and vehicle mounting. Range would be in the region of 750 meters with ammunition supply depending on the power pack attached.
The BlasTech T-21 is a powerful heavy repeating blaster rifle that can penetrate light armoring on vehicles. Though capable of being wielded by a single person, its slow firing powerful shots quickly deplete the energy in the weapon with reduced accuracy due to lack of optics. It is most effective mounted on a tripod and hooked to a power generator.
The Merr-Sonn Z-6 is a powerful heavy repeating blaster with a tremendous sustained rate of fire spraying blaster bolts at a target while quickly expending its available energy. The weapon is large, heavy and unwieldy with a powerful recoil making sustained use possible only in a stationary position attached to a power generator, though individual operation is possible.
Laser weapons work in the same way as blasters, but instead of using plasma-based gas to create a charged plasma bolt, they used spin-sealed Tibanna gas or an equivalent as the fuel for the conversion process. The gas is converted into a high energy laser particle bolt. Like with blasters, the color of the bolt is determined by the type and quality of gas.
The three types of laser weapons you are likely to encounter as man-portable weapons are:
Made famous by Mandalorians such as Boba Fett and his father Jango Fett, the Dur-24 is a combat laser weapon usually found mounted on a gauntlet or other similar wrist mount. The weapon, while small, has the same characteristics of a full-powered blaster rifle compacted into something the size of a blaster pistol. This weapon is an excellent choice for those wanting a hands-free option, as it can often be controlled via comp-linked systems.
Very similar to the DLT-19 blaster rifle used by the Empire, this weapon uses laser-based technology rather than the plasma-based system of blaster weapons. Otherwise, its effects are much the same as those found in standard heavy blaster rifles.
The DLT-20A is a weapon that seems to sit in the gap between the DLT-19 and the E-11, commonly seen in use by the Empire Stormtroopers as a replacement option for the E-11. Unlike its blaster-based cousins, the DLT-20A is more akin to the DLT-18, and may even be a later version based on that weapon. Its performance is equal to those of most blaster rifles.
Perhaps the most primitive form of ranged weaponry that remains in use today — we of course speak of the Bow and Arrow. Though there was once a wider variety, including ballistic crossbows, only three still remain prevalent in the galaxy. The Bow is made of a flexible arc bent by a string at each end (limbs) to form a bowstring. It is used to launch arrows or other pointed projectiles by drawing the bowstring. This weapon was used notably by Ewoks as they assisted the Alliance to Restore the Republic against the Galactic Empire on Endor.
A survival bow is a quickly-made weapon used to protect oneself or gather food in the worst of situations. Usually made from small, flexible trees or branches, with whatever string or cordage to be found or crafted. These weapons are not very durable and usually not powerful enough to puncture through armor, but are great for taking down unarmored foes or wild game.
As an example, a ‘good’ survival bow will have perhaps three shots before the tension on your string would need to be reset. Commonly, those surviving near water or in tropical climates will craft arrows from young shoots of tall, slender leafy plants for ‘bow-fishing’. These arrows are simple in design, requiring no fletchings; one end is notched to fit the string whilst the other is cut into four quadrants, small twigs widening the barbs before it is bound and the barbs sharpened to the satisfaction of the user.
A recurve bow is one where the limbs curve away from the user when unstrung. The curvature of the limbs gives the bow more power than a straight limb bow, allowing it to hit harder while being shorter and more compact in some cases; some recurve bows many millennia earlier were reportedly as tall as the user when strung, capable of being fired long distances. These bows are great for use while mounted, or for light scouting missions. Though there is a heavier draw weight (how much pressure is built up when the arrow is drawn back), its short length allows for faster firing of arrows that hit hard enough to pierce through light armors of hide or leather.
Though not as reliable as the solid construction, the takedown bow is much easier for transport, though its assembly can take a few minutes, depending on how practiced the user is with their tool. This form of the recurve bow comes in three separate pieces (four, if you include the bowstring — body & two limbs), which are locked into place with long bolts going almost completely through the body to handle the tension created.
Slug weapons, more commonly referred to as ‘slugthrowers’, are relatively ancient — though nowhere near as anarchic as that of a bow — technology, yet not as archaic as some may first think. Slug weapons use a variety of means to expel their ammunition from their barrels, from rail and coil propulsion to explosive and propellant-based systems. A slug weapon usually will propel a solid round encased in an energy field which aids its flight stability, range and penetration capabilities. Most slug weapons have the ability to load specialist ammunition types such as explosive, poison, and even armor-piercing rounds. Slug weapons are often used as long-range sniping weapons, as their lack of easily visible shots and their ability to dampen both the muzzle blast and the sound makes them an excellent weapon for assassinations. For this reason, many bounty hunters — including the well-known Zam Wesell — carried slug weapons.
To use any variety of slug weapon effectively, you must invest points in the slugthrowers skill on your character sheet.
Slug weapons come with an inherent downside: their ability to penetrate plasteel armor and similar systems is somewhat limited as these protective measures are designed to dampen the blow of kinetic weapons. However, they have been proven effective against Jedi, as the round can’t be deflected by a lightsaber, and they are harder to detect than a blaster round.
Slug weapons come in a variety of forms — from small, hold-out pistols, heavy pistols that function as an equivalent to blaster pistols, rifles with both bolt action and semi-automatic actions, to sniper rifles. Slug weapons usually have a range equivalent to and occasionally more than their blaster cousins. Some examples can be found below:
The Reynolds DE-21 Slugthrower Pistol is a heavy yet powerful slugthrower revolver that is capable of firing up to ten (or twelve, with the larger cylinder) single slugs in rapid succession with great accuracy. Each shot carries the power to pierce light armor, but with a high recoil that makes firing the weapon difficult for those without the necessary experience in slugthrower weapons. It has a built-in mode that allows it to fire two rounds at once, giving each shot more punch but rapidly depleting its limited ammunition and doubling the already high recoil, making it difficult to wield for even the most experienced of gunslingers.
The .48-caliber Enforcer Pistol is a powerful slugthrower pistol that is capable of firing up to eight (nine, if one is already chambered before the magazine is inserted) single slugs in rapid succession that are very accurate. Each shot carries the power to pierce light armor, but with an extreme recoil that makes firing the weapon difficult. Unlike the previous example, this is considered a pistol, as it possesses an ejectible magazine rather than the revolving (noteworthy, as the Tusken Cycler Rifle bears a similar design) cylinder.
The scatter gun comes in several calibers and is the all purpose slugthrower. It can be found in homes for household defence, any hunter will have at least two in their collection, and it is widely used on backwater planets. Scatter guns fire multiple pellets that spread out in a cone the farther it gets from the barrel. Capable of puncturing through deflector shields (those not created for shrapnel or other ballistics) and most types of armor, the scatter gun is the perfect weapon for close range and in tight, confined spaces such as hallways and tunnels, though it loses power and becomes less effective outside of twenty yards. These, however, come in many different styles. Some may be small pistols,with one handed grips and short stubby barrels, whilst others are set up more like a rifle with longer barrels and butt stocks.
The KiSteer 1284 Projectile Rifle is a slugthrower rifle that is accurate at very long-range with a top-mounted optical scope. It is favored by Bounty Hunters — notably, Zam Wesell — as slugthrower shots do not leave a visible trace like blaster shots and the weapon contains no electronics, making it impossible to jam. However, this weapon is limited to a single round before it needs to be reloaded.
The Synergy S-5 Oathbreaker is an incredibly powerful slugthrower sniper rifle with a top-mounted electromagnetic targeting scope with an incredibly high-level magnification supported by enhanced targeting and image stability. It has a capacity of ten powerful shots before needing to be reloaded. It was designed by Synergy for the Dark Jedi Brotherhood for use by its elite forces.
Compared to the KiSteer 1284, it possesses a shorter barrel and more recoil — usually grounded by a tripod — but boasts a much greater capacity due to its magazine (visible near the end of the stock) combined with the bolt-action system for greater control.
Explosive Projectile weapons (or launchers) are a much more specialized category of weapons that generally come in two sizes: shoulder-mounted or wrist-mounted. Wielding these types of weapons effectively usually requires points in the explosives skill on your character sheet.
Shoulder-mounted systems such as the PLX-1 Portable Missile Launcher, aka Plex, are used for anti-vehicular and anti-emplacement duties, with a range of around 40km. The PLX system fires a miniaturized proton warhead (other, similar systems sometimes use concussion warheads), and are very effective against shielded vehicles as they generally rely on armour to protect against projectile weapons. These weapons usually have a magazine capacity of two shots, and are light enough to be easily carried around the battlefield.
The smaller, wrist-mounted systems include the MM9 Wrist Rocket made famous by Boba Fett. This system is a simple magnetic accelerator tube that propels a small missile. The warhead can be customised to carry a variety of payloads and, while not as powerful as a shoulder-mounted system, is more than capable of making a mockery of armored doors, battle droids, etc.
The Tostovin Munitions Micro-Grenade Launcher is a multi-purpose launcher that dumb-fires grenades that detonate on impact with a hard surface into a wide blast radius.
Not all weapons fall neatly into conventional categories. For the purpose of our character system, those weapons are categorized as miscellaneous weapons and require that skill set for their use. You’ll find a number of those ranged miscellaneous weapons below.
Within the armouries of the galaxy lie some bizarre and non-standard weapons. The most prevalent of these is the flamethrower. Used to great effect by bounty hunters such as Jango Fett, as well as the terrorising flame troopers of The First Order, flamethrowers utilise a chemical fuel, projected via an emitter tube. This fuel is then ignited, projecting a stream of burning chemicals that can stick to its target and cause horrific burns. These weapons are good for affecting large areas; however, they are relatively short range, having a maximum range of around 10-12 meters.
The BT X-42 Heavy Flamethrower is a large incendiary weapon that produces a burning stream of liquid when fired in a cone of fire nine meters long and nine meter in diameter, capable of one minute of sustained fire alone but easily extended by attaching an external fuel source.
The Energy Slingshot is a small wrist-mounted weapon that fires an unlimited supply of balls of energy capable of hitting targets as far as one-hundred-fifty meters away. However, the energy projectiles are weak and cannot penetrate even basic protective armor. The weapon was developed by the Xexto culture, whose six arms made the weaker weapon more convenient to use.
A net gun, either in a wrist-mounted system (such as the Net Gun) or a rifle that could fire both normal and electrified variants, such as the Electrified Net Gun. These weapons have been around for countless millennia, developed during ancient times when Slugthrowers were still popular and energy weapons were but a futuristic dream. These weapons are usually limited to a single round per use, with a net that expanded after being fired, trapping and/or subduing their opponents without unnecessary force.
Another example of a rare, exotic weapon is that of the energy bow used by the Nightbrothers and Nightsisters of Dathomir. Both the drawstring and arrows themselves were made up of pure plasma, with a grip where the user could draw back an arrow without harming themselves. Though their exact range is unknown, it is assumed that the ‘arrow’ could reach similar distance as any blaster bolt before the energy would disperse.
Whilst this would be an excellent weapon for those who favor stealth, as the arrows are released much quieter than any blaster, you will risk giving away your position the moment you notch an arrow.
The Repulsor Dart Shooter is a small and discreet wrist-mounted weapon with a simple design. A high tension spring combined with repulsor technology can launch simple metal darts at short ranges. It is often paired with toxins or poisons by those with the necessary talents.
This course should have provided you with a glancing look at all the different kinds of ranged weaponry the galaxy has to offer. If you feel you're up for it, go ahead and take the exam. If you have further questions, the course professor will be happy to help you.
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