SPOILERS for AHSOKA
Watching the new Ahsoka and I felt compelled to break down some Laser Sword fights.
I’m running an Everyday Heroes cyberpunk game, and one of my players has a strong hero that knocks people around, I thought his Brute ability might be similar to force-pushing people, though I kind of wanted to use the duelist for these examples.
I scribbled notes for fights from both episodes out now, but I’m going to go in the order we see them on screen, they get more technical as we go.
Baylan Skoll and Shin Hati board the Republic ship, and there’s a fight.
Shin Hati starts off, ignites her saber, and charges into the Mon Calamari, cutting his arm off. She keeps moving to the second security guy and gives him a slash worthy of a samurai movie, and he falls back, already dead from a slice vaguely in his midsection. It’s possible she could have the Major Feat Sweeping Attack, allowing her to attack anyone within reach with one smooth motion. She force pushes two more members of the security detail.
Baylan Skoll grabs the Captain’s blaster telekinetically. While out of focus, the apprentice Shin cuts down the last 2 members of the security detail that entered the hangar.
We see Shin and Baylan both blocking/deflecting blaster bolts from their enemies, but we only see Baylan’s enemies cut down from blaster fire offscreen, I’m assuming he can deflect them back onto other targets. We never see Shin do this. Baylan then force-chokes one of the ship’s crew on his way to free the prisoner.
In the fight between Sabine and Shin, we see both of them change between one and two-handed grips frequently, I’m going to say, therefore, that a Laser Sword is an Advanced Melee Weapon, useable with one hand and has the Versatile trait. There are dual wielders that obviously have two light, finesse versions of the weapon, but others have just long enough handles that two hands can be applied to give more force to a blow or brought to bear resisting an opponent.
The breakdowns, of course, always happen when we try to split cinematic action into 6-second rounds. How many swings can you take, how many minions can you throw around, how far can you run in a round? How much damage does a lightsaber do, does a versatile one do more than a light finesse one? Right now, I’m satisfied that using two hands on a lightsaber confers some benefit, maybe to damage or resisting the push of your opponent’s blade when you do it.
Sabine Wren vs. Shin Hati
Sabine pushes off with an aggressive two-handed overhead swing slightly to the left of Shin (it doesn’t feel like Shin was the target), who brings her saber across her body and blocks Sabine’s saber.
In fencing, we practiced back and forth crossing of swords, like you see in Robin Hood movies. There’s no target for each stroke, I hit your blade, you hit my blade, there’s a lot of action on the screen, and you can see the actor’s face. Same with crossing swords in general. I’m going to say Sabine and Shin bash their swords together, and there’s not a game explanation for what is purely a theatrical device.
Sabine bulls in again with the same two-handed overhead slash, and Shin makes the exact same block as the initial engagement.
They bash again, cross, we can tell Sabine is not as strong as Shin (in the force probably, not like in the gym necessarily), and Sabine starts to get sloppy. Shin grabs Sabine’s wrist, turns and shoulder throws her to the ground.
Sabie gets up, comes out swinging, and Shin plays defense initially, then asserts her dominance when they cross sabers, shoves off Sabine two-handed, and doesn’t attack Sabine’s exposed back then as soon as Sabine turns around Shin knocks her backward.
The HK droid alerts Shin to the presence of someone coming. Everything changes.
Shin skewers Sabine and leaves.
Shin wasn’t speedrunning this fight like the republic ship, also she wasn’t possibly showing off for her master. Shin and the HK droid had recovered the map, they could have just left, Shin could have engaged Sabine with the HK droid, but she didn’t do either, she thought she had time. I get the impression she was toying with Sabine, but you never see her gloating, growling, or generally menacing like Darth Maul.
Looking at the Evil Genius Highlander supplement for Everyday Heroes they have some strategies for dueling, and I think that Sabine’s could reflect the powerful blows STR or relentless pressure CON styles while Shin’s was more of the careful observation WIS. I won’t hazard if either strategy ever won the edge and what mechanic might have been chosen, but it’s worth a read to add more depth to your laser sword duels.
There’s a lot of one to two-handed grip changing in this fight, I stick with my belief the one-handed saber wielders blades are versatile.
It’s dark, but not as dark as the Obi-Wan / Vader fight, so the film crew learned from that.
So end my notes for Ahsoka episode 1 laser sword duels.
Marrok might have the Tumbling minor feat as he smoothly moves around Ahsoka and is unhindered, that’s not normal Jedi, Sith, or Fencing footwork.
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