|THE GALACTIC DATABASE|
|I II III IV V VI EU|
|"Chewie, give them your crossbow" - Luke Skywalker, ROTJ|
Type: Laser crossbow
Range: Short (50 meters)
Features: Bowstring, magnetic accelerator
Debut: A New Hope
A bowcaster can only be used by a being of immense strength, so it's no surprise that the Wookiees adopted it as their chief weapon, as a long-range alternative to their fists.
While a bowcaster's projectile looks similar to a standard laser bolt fired from a blaster, it is in fact a simple quarrel wrapped in an energy envelope that channels the quarrel's explosive force into the target. The result is a weapon that's considerably less advanced than a blaster, yet delivers an equivalent amount of damage. The bowcaster notches the bowstring and loads a quarrel from the ammo cartridge, though tremendous strength is needed to just accomplish this. This primitive arming system limits the bowcaster's rate of fire and places great emphasis on the Wookiee's patience and marksmanship, since it may take several seconds for the warrior to get off another shot. Some Wookiee's have modified their bowcaster's by adding multiple bowstrings, dual bows or an automatic recocking system.
The traditional weapon of Wookiees inhabiting their native Kashyyyk, the bowcaster was primarily designed for use in the planet's dense jungles - it was a way of killing a dangerous predator without getting too close - though many were modified when Imperial forces began to take over Kashyyyk. The rebellious Wookiees bolted blaster rifles to their bowcasters for added firepower. Though Kashyyyk was duly occupied by the Empire, bowcasters still stayed in use throughout the Galactic Civil War and beyond.