|Physical and technical specifications|
Unique to the owner
|Usage and history|
- "If it has blood, you can make it bleed. if it has eyes, you can blind it. If it has a mouth, you can make it scream…"
- ―Inscription found on an ancient lanvarok
The lanvarok employed by the Massassi warriors of the Sith species was a combination two-handed polearm weapon and projectile launcher that released sharp, poison-coated discs guided by the power of the dark side. Initially purposed as a hunting tool, the massive lanvarok was the primary combat weapon of the Massassi, both melee and ranged, and also the device brandished by Sith Lords during ceremonies. The original lanvarok was inspired by the natural left-handed disposition of all members of the Sith species, a distinction retained with the weapon's modernization into a forearm-mounted projectile dispenser. A right-handed version was later developed by Sith Lords of Human descent.
Prevalent during the existence of the ancient Sith Empire, lanvaroks and usage thereof were confined within the borders of Sith space until exposure to the galaxy by the Massassi that fought on behalf of the Dark Lord Naga Sadow during the Great Hyperspace War. Lanvaroks were brought to the jungle moon of Yavin 4 by the warriors who joined Sadow in exile, and remained the foremost weapon of the Massassi for more than a thousand years. Either version was especially uncommon in the galaxy at large after the extinction of the Sith race, although an occasional lanvarok was found among the collections of antique dealers, the cargos of smugglers, or the arsenals of assassins. Those Massassi warriors who served aboard the Sith dreadnaught Harbinger that was propelled five thousand years forward in time brought with them lanvaroks into the modern era.
The original lanvarok was a large polearm weapon that was at least as tall as the beings for whom it was designed, the Massassi warriors of the ancient Sith, a species whose inherent left-handed predilection was the weapon's inspiration. Prior to their discovery of metallurgy and the manipulation of alloys thereby derived, materials such as wood and bone were used in the construction of lanvaroks and the discs with which it was equipped. Sharply speared at either end, the exotic lanvarok included a compact, crescent-shaped axehead at its summit with an opposing long spike, a shape reminiscent to some of a Dreadnaught-class warship. Several small, poison-coated discs were spring-loaded and hidden within a launcher mounted on the side of the axehead. The heft of the weapon was such that only the especially strong Massassi warrior was capable of using it effectively. Individuals occasionally decorated their personal weapons with tassels and inscriptions.
The battleaxe version of the lanvarok was modernized into a forearm-mounted weapon that bore few similarities to its predecessor. Forged of durasteel and sometimes plated with lightsaber-impervious cortosis alloy, the new model was no longer a halberd with ranged attack capabilities granted by an equipped disc launcher, but was instead a worn device similar in function to a blaster pistol. A thick, perforated metal and padded cuff around the base of the forearm supported the attached launcher mechanism, disc cartridge and emitter. The channel through which the ejected disc traveled extended from the launcher assembly and tapered at the end of the user's hand, which included a primary triggering handle that curved downward and fit into the wielder's grip. An additional release trigger was installed near the underside of the forearm cuff and required Force-manipulation to subtly activate the disc launcher. Among the design cues that were transferred to the new lanvarok were the weapon's left-handed exclusivity. However, further modifications saw the development of a right-handed version which, like those specifically suited to left-handed warriors, was not interchangeable from either side.
- "I have things from all over, including a recently-acquired Sith lanvarok that promises to be truly elegant, if I've figured out correctly how it's supposed to work. But you're not left-handed, so that will complicate things."
- ―Talon Karrde, to Booster Terrik
Brute strength rather than skill was necessary to properly control the massive lanvarok, in a firm two-handed grip, with a hand at the base of the hilt and the other situated underneath the axehead. A quick forward swing and return of the weapon released a single poison-coated disc, while a longer arc cast a wider flurry of multiple discs aimed at the throat and face, which instead fanned out in a wildly random pattern. Because of their unpredictable trajectory, Massassi were sometimes forced to guide the discs with dark side power to targets as distant as five meters, with such precision as to even disarm opponents. Sith Lords, for whom the weapon was not designed, only carried lanvaroks during ceremony, and were compelled to Force-guided hurls of its discs. When the lanvarok had exhausted its ammunition, which was time-consuming to reload, the axehead became the primary means of attack. The curved shape of the blade easily penetrated scaled reptilian hides, and was ideal for rending flesh from bone, as well as the clean removal of limbs and heads. The long, sharp opposite end was speared through targets in a killing maneuver.
Defensively, Massassi lanvaroks were held aloft to parry incoming attacks. In an intimidating gesture, adept warriors spun their weapons with sufficient speed to produce an audible hum, before a spray of discs were released on the backswing. Those with greater skill were able to effectively wield a lanvarok one-handed and in tandem with a blaster pistol. Lanvaroks were also on occasion used to pry open cargo bay blast doors. The lanvarok's pointed summit kept enemies at bay under penalty of impalement. When not in use, the lanvarok was worn in a scabbard across the back, or simply held in hand, ready for action. Neither the polearm lanvarok nor the discs with which it was equipped were able to withstand direct contact with a lightsaber's blade.
The redesign of the lanvarok into a forearm-mounted shooter was inspired by the natural left-handed disposition of the Sith species. Although the primary release mechanism was located in the palm, the wielder enjoyed enough freedom to arm themselves with additional weapons in either hand. The subtle, Force-activated trigger toward the forearm cuff made for unexpected discharges of the ammunition. The tedious reload time was mitigated by the unpredictability of multiple discs, silently dispersed in a short yet random and nearly inescapable spray; opponents were completely surprised by a weapon that fired and dealt damage comparable to a blaster pistol. The cortosis-alloy that was occasionally incorporated in lanvarok construction was an added measure of protection from reciprocal lightsaber attacks. Each weapon was designed specifically for the right or left hand without interchangeability.
Lanvaroks were in use by ancient Massassi warriors long before the arrival of the Dark Jedi exiles of the Hundred Year Darkness on Korriban. Directions for the construction of Massassi lanvaroks were sometimes found within Sith holocrons. Legend told that hunting was its primary purpose; by the height of Sith civilization, however, the lanvarok had been the Massassi's foremost combat weapon for generations. Marka Ragnos, the immensely powerful Dark Lord of the Sith Golden Age, wielded a Sith lanvarok, among other weapons, in battle. Many of the Massassi warriors under the command of Ragnos' successor, Naga Sadow, were armed with lanvaroks as they invaded the Galactic Republic during the Great Hyperspace War. Among Sadow's forces was the Sith dreadnaught Harbinger, crewed by Massassi warriors who utilized lanvaroks to little effect—and often each other's bane—against the Jedi infiltrator Relin Druur. The surviving Massassi still wielded their lanvaroks against Druur when a botched hyperspace jump resulted in the propulsion of the Harbinger several millennia into the future. While lanvaroks had been exposed to the galaxy at large during the Hyperspace War, with the defeat and near-annihilation of the Sith Empire by war's end, their prevalence was anything but. The device was nonetheless remembered by the citizens of the succeeding Empire, whose Lords regarded lanvaroks with much admiration.
The remnants of the Massassi race relocated to the moon of Yavin 4, and maintained lanvarok usage for the duration of their existence. In 3,997 BBY, descendants of the original colonists were visited by the Dark Jedi Exar Kun, whom they disarmed with discs hurled from polearm lanvaroks. When the Massassi later became subjects of Kun, who had since become Dark Lord of the Sith, they wielded lanvaroks in the pursuant Great Sith War. The signature polearm became something of a rarity with the eradication of the Massassi after the war, and discovery of one usually fetched plentiful returns.
The lanvarok was redesigned into a forearm-mounted projectile launcher following the institution of the Order of the Sith Lords, and was just as uncommon as its predecessor. One of the final Lords of that Order, Darth Maul, included a lanvarok among his personal weapons arsenal. During the Galactic Civil War, Emperor's Hand Mara Jade owned a Sith lanvarok and contemplated its use for an assassination attempt against the Jeodu crime lord Dequc. However, its need for a left-handed operator ultimately forced Jade to choose another weapon. Jade then gave the lanvarok to her friend and smuggler Talon Kardde, who tried to sell it to fellow privateer Booster Terrik, much to the interest of his daughter Mirax.
In 5 ABY, while in search of a rare lanvarok, Imperial Ruling Councilor Plumba visited the proprietor of Antiques by Dumas on Imperial Center, who had recently acquired a priceless specimen. Plumba paid top dollar for the artifact, only to die when he soon afterward activated the device, a booby-trap set for him by Imperial Intelligence Director Ysanne Isard.
During the Second Galactic Civil War, Jedi apprentice Ben Skywalker experienced a vision of a female Sith Warrior armed with a Massassi lanvarok, a sighting that helped him learn to operate an ancient Sith Meditation Sphere.
Behind the scenes
A lone Massassi lanvarok first appeared in First Encounter, the third comic in Tales of the Jedi: The Fall of the Sith Empire penciled by artist Dario Carrasco, Jr.. For Dark Lords of the Sith, the weapon was initially drawn by Christian Gossett, with its last appearance in that story arc rendered by Art Wetherell. John Whitman's audio rendition of Dark Lords of the Sith, featured lanvaroks in action, complete with sound effects of the discharge of the weapon's discs. Carrasco returned as the penciller of Tales of the Jedi: The Sith War, several issues of which featured polearm lanvarok-armed Massassi warriors. Lanvaroks and the unique fighting style employed by the Massassi were also featured prominently in author Paul S. Kemp's Crosscurrent, a novel set in the same era as The Fall of the Sith Empire 3: First Encounter. The weapon was also briefly mentioned in another of Kemp's works, Star Wars: The Old Republic: Deceived.
The first appearance of an otherwise nondescript Sith lanvarok occurred six months before the debut of the previously established Massassi version, in Michael A. Stackpole's The Bacta War, fourth novel in the X-Wing series. The first comic book in the Mara Jade: By the Emperor's Hand series featured a forearm-mounted lanvarok drawn by Carlos Ezquerra and in the possession of the main character, Mara Jade, which was later revealed to be the same weapon from The Bacta War, in another of Stackpole's novels, I, Jedi. The weapon was briefly mentioned in Star Wars: Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast video game, and appeared in Aaron Allston's Exile via Force vision.
Full specifications were given for both lanvarok versions in The Dark Side Sourcebook, with both Sith used interchangeably to describe both versions. Additional details were provided three years afterward in The New Essential Guide to Weapons and Technology, which also noted the polearm version's transition to a forearm-mounted weapon. However, although a Massassi lanvarok is shown releasing three simultaneous discs in Dark Lords of the Sith 4: Death of a Dark Jedi, a description supported by The Dark Side Sourcebook, the Knights of the Old Republic Campaign Guide describes instead a single discharge weapon. Visual depictions of both versions were provided in Drew Karpyshyn's Heritage of the Sith, an article for Star Wars Insider 88, while a convoluted historical mention of the lanvarok was given in Evil Never Dies: The Sith Dynasties, an online supplement to the same magazine. An entry was provided for only the forearm-mounted lanvarok in The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia.
- Tales of the Jedi: The Fall of the Sith Empire 3: First Encounter (First appearance) (polearm version)
- Tales of the Jedi: Dark Lords of the Sith 4: Death of a Dark Jedi
- Tales of the Jedi: Dark Lords of the Sith (audio)
- Tales of the Jedi: The Sith War 2: The Battle of Coruscant
- Tales of the Jedi: The Sith War 3: The Trial of Ulic Qel-Droma
- Tales of the Jedi: The Sith War 5: Brother Against Brother
- Star Wars: The Old Republic: Deceived
- Mara Jade: By the Emperor's Hand 1
- X-wing Rogue Squadron 35: Mandatory Retirement, Part 4
- X-wing: The Bacta War (First appearance) (forearm-mounted version)
- I, Jedi (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars: Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast (Mentioned only)
- Exile (Vision)
- The Dark Side Sourcebook
- The New Essential Guide to Weapons and Technology
- "Heritage of the Sith"—Star Wars Insider 88
- Knights of the Old Republic Campaign Guide
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
Notes and references
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 Knights of the Old Republic Campaign Guide
- ↑ 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17 2.18 2.19 2.20 2.21 2.22 2.23 2.24 2.25 2.26 2.27 The New Essential Guide to Weapons and Technology
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Tales of the Jedi: Dark Lords of the Sith 4: Death of a Dark Jedi
- ↑ Tales of the Jedi: The Sith War
- ↑ 5.00 5.01 5.02 5.03 5.04 5.05 5.06 5.07 5.08 5.09 5.10 5.11 5.12 5.13 5.14 5.15 5.16 The Dark Side Sourcebook
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 X-wing Rogue Squadron 35: Mandatory Retirement, Part 4
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 Mara Jade: By the Emperor's Hand 1
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 X-wing: The Bacta War
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 9.6 9.7 Crosscurrent
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 Tales of the Jedi: The Fall of the Sith Empire 3: First Encounter
- ↑ 11.0 11.1
- ↑ Tales of the Jedi: The Sith War 3: The Trial of Ulic Qel-Droma
- ↑ Tales of the Jedi: The Sith War 5: Brother Against Brother
- ↑ Tales of the Jedi: The Sith War 2: The Battle of Coruscant
- ↑ Star Wars: The Old Republic: Deceived
- ↑ I, Jedi
- ↑ The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia, Vol. III, p. 31 ("Plumba")
- ↑ Exile