From the MoviesWith their imposing size and enormous strength, Wookiees are intimidating enough when unarmed. But when they need to hit targets well beyond their great reach, their preferred weapon is their native laser crossbow.
A melding of varied technologies, the crossbow weapon fires energy blasts with explosive force. These Wookiee weapons are often hand-crafted, and vary in size and deadliness. The Wookiee warriors charged with protecting Kashyyyk from the invading forces of the Separatists during the Clone Wars carried large laser crossbows in addition to their rifles and pistols. Later, during the Galactic Civil War, Chewbacca was known to carry a smaller, more machined version of the weapon.
From the Expanded UniverseA bowcaster's firing chamber is versatile enough to support both energy quarrel ammunition and solid projectiles, such as explosive-tipped bolts. Aside from Wookiees, there are only a small number of species capable of accurately controlling a bowcaster, as the weapon requires a great deal of strength to simply cock and fire, and its recoil is enough to level weaker beings.
A bowcaster is essentially a magnetic accelerator with twin polarizers. Alternating polarity pulses travel along a metal bowstring, which in turn launches an explosive quarrel at extremely high speed. The quarrel is enveloped in energy that channels its explosive force directly into the target. Thus, the bowcaster is an incredibly deadly weapon. However, tremendous strength is required to cock the weapon and load a quarrel from the ammo cartridge.
Most bowcasters have an optimum range of 30 meters and a maximum range of 50 meters. In the event that the bowcaster depletes its power pack or suffers some malfunction, a meter-long length of kthysh vine can be attached to the weapon's reserve spring. The vine functions as a crude bowstring and can fire either energy quarrels or wooden crossbow bolts, although the weapon's maximum range is significantly reduced when using this primitive alternate mode.
Because of its limited rate of fire and a slow recharge rate, Wookiees have learned to become patient snipers when using their bowcasters. Individual Wookiees also modify their personal bowcasters by adding multiple bowstrings or dual bows. Chewbacca's bowcaster is equipped with an automatic-recocking system, a feature commonly found in the Wookiee infantry forces of the Clone Wars.
Bowcasters can be disassembled and easily carried in a utility pouch. When needed, a skilled Wookiee can reassemble the weapon in less than a minute. Bandoliers are used to store power packs, canisters of blaster gas, and spare ammunition charges that hold six quarrels each. Many Wookiees also carry treated kthysh vine in their utility pouches for emergencies.
Wookiees view their bowcasters as highly personal possessions. The weapons are bestowed upon young Wookiees as they complete traditional rites of passage into adulthood. Wookiees commonly decorate their bowcasters with clan markings, pictographs, and other engravings celebrating their greatest accomplishments.
Keywords: Databank - Episode IV, Databank - Episode V, Databank - Episode III, Databank - Episode VI, Databank - Expanded Universe
Filed under: Vault, Technology
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