This is Darth GM. As fortold by prophecy, for this 58th episode of Fragments from the Rim I will continue my presentation on the short lightsaber, or Shoto.
A friend of mine raves that George Lucas is a creative genius because he gave us the greatest personal weapon ever conceived; the lightsaber. And the only thing better than a lightaber? Two Lightsabers.
Normally when someone thinks about a twin-lightsaber weilding fighter, they think of the character wielding two normal length lightsabers. But there is an interesting benefit for some very specific builds by wielding a shoto as one of your lightsabers.
The Shoto Master talent on page 19 of the Jedi Academy Training Manual states “When you wield both a one-handed lightsaber and a shoto, you can consider the one-handed lightsaber to be a light weapon. Additionally, if you have the Lightsaber Defense talent, you can activate the talent as a free action on your turn (instead of a swift action) whenever you are wielding a one-handed lightsaber and a shoto.” The talent does state that this works if the shoto is a guard-shoto. So here, you have the option to use your full-sized lightsaber as a light weapon, which can be handy, but if you’re someone who’s investing in Lightsaber Defense talents, you can activate it as a free action, allowing you to have a full set of actions and get the benefit of your Lightsaber Defense talents in the same round.
There’s another talent, this one from the Lightsaber Combat talent tree in JATM, that benefits this weapon style, Shoto Focus. It states “Whenever you wield both a one-handed lightsaber and a shoto (or guard shoto), you gain a +2 competence bonus on attack rolls made with the shoto.” So that’s great, my Shoto get’s a +2 attack roll bonus; awesome.
But wait, if you’re wielding two Shotos, each shoto is meeting the requirement for the bonus; a shoto in one hand and a one-handed lightsaber in the other. At low levels, a +2 bonus to attack rolls is huge. A level 1 Jedi with a 14 strength can start with a +5 bonus to attack rolls with their shoto, and so can a human Jedi with the Weapon Finesse Talent and a 14 Dex. That means they’re rolling a base d20 to hit someone when using Dual Weapon Mastery at LEVEL ONE. For a Clone Wars Era game, where the average battle droid has a Reflex defense in the 9-12 range, you stand a really good chance of hitting that droid twice in a round. Certainly much better than any other dual-wielding 1st level melee combatant.
To optimize this high-defense, dual wielding concept, you’ll need the two talents presented here, 2 Lightsaber Defense talents, and the Niman and Jar-Kai Lightsaber Forms talents from the Core Rulebook. You’ll also probably want a Dex of 17, all three Dual Weapon Mastery Feats, and Weapon Finesse. That’s a pretty focused build, but by the time you have all those talents you’ve got a 12th level Jedi Knight with at least a 32 defense and a +17 to hit with each shoto minimum.
I’m sure folks out there can make that number even higher.
The Shoto; proving once again that it’s not the size that counts, it’s how to use it.
If you have any questions, send them along to firstname.lastname@example.org. Until next time Gamer Nation, 20 side up, 1 side down.
Originally aired on Order 66 Podcast #112 "Split Happens"