I hated it when I first fired it. The damn thing kicks like a ronto.
—Camilla Sookanado describing the L337 Model BFG's recoil
The L337 Model BFG blaster rifle was a long-range heavy assault weapon manufactured by Rheshalva Interstellar Armaments which was marketed to sportsmen and mercenaries. A comparatively large weapon, the L337 utilized Rheshalva's then-newly-developed phase-plasma technology, giving the rifle a vast range and high power level, which was the company's main selling point. The technology caused the blaster rifle to have a dangerous recoil when fired, which sometimes caused injury to the users. The weapon accumulated a sizable collection of accident reports pertaining to the recoil, but Rheshalva decided to keep the L337 on store shelves. It was not until the accidental death of a user that Rheshalva finally pulled the weapon off the market, abandoning the phase-plasma technology.
The L337 Model BFG blaster rifle was a lesser-known heavy assault weapon manufactured by Rheshalva Interstellar Armaments. Constructed to be larger than most other known firearms, it used a then-newly-developed phase-plasma technology to create the blaster bolts. This deviation from standard blaster technology gave the L337 what Rheshalva considered to be impressive range and power, but also a large recoil when fired. Powered by removable power cells, the battery units contained ultra-cold plasma and were designed to mimic the look of ammunition magazines utilized by older solid-state projectile weapons. The L337 was equipped with a scope for use as a long-range sniper rifle. Marketing analysts from competing companies ridiculed the weapon's large size, saying that such proportions would be more of a hindrance than a benefit, and thus did not expect the L337 to be as widely popular as other blaster rifles. The size was a cosmetic decision, intended to intimidate targets as well as house the blaster technology and an additional internal power pack.
Rheshalva held a high reputation on Rodia as being one of the top weapons manufacturers next to rival company Sancretti Arms and Munitions, Interstellar. However, Rheshalva's list of better known products consisted of only the Repulsor Throwing Razor, whereas Sancretti boasted a repertoire of cryogenic weapons and was expanding into the galactic market, targeting the average weapons aficionado as opposed to just bounty hunters and Rodians. Not to be outdone, and to secure a foothold in the interstellar market, Rheshalva began work on the manufacture of new ranged weaponry and power sources. With the development of the phase-plasma technology, it was quickly integrated into a blaster rifle casing. Initial testing proved successful and the weapon, dubbed the "L337 Model BFG", was put on the market. Rheshalva hoped to gain galactic notoriety and trump Sancretti in popularity. However, due to Rheshalva's eager rush to outdo a rival, they overlooked the problems that the L337 had exhibited in the testing phases. This oversight ended up hurting Rheshalva and their credibility.
There was no doubt by many consumers that the main reason for the widespread unpopularity of the L337 was the weapon's notorious recoil. This was documented to be a potential nuisance even during the blaster's early testing phases. According to Rheshalva's accident reports, an ordnance officer suffered a concussion when the L337's kickback threw him against the wall of the firing range. However, because most blaster rifles possessed some degree of recoil, Rheshalva overlooked it and put the L337 on the market, hoping the weapon's power would compensate. It was not in production for long before reports of injuries to the users flooded in, ranging from minor bumps and bruises to lost eyes and broken bones. Upon securing representation from the Law Offices of Kloos-Hunter & Naylimh, a few of the wounded gunners even took legal action against the company for medical compensation and to have the weapon recalled. Rheshalva spokespeople were quick to dismiss the claims as the gunners were "inexperienced and did not properly stabilize the blaster".
Injury reports increased in severity, including a report of a young Rodian sharp-shooter suffering a near-fatal crushing blow to the larynx, but the weapon remained in retailer storehouses. The incident that sealed the L337's fate, however, sent the media into a frenzy; a well-respected big-game hunter was killed by blunt-force trauma when the butt of his L337 fractured his skull. The weapon had kicked, sending the stock jerking upward and driving it through the Rodian's left temple. Reporters picketed Rheshalva's headquarters for interviews and design details concerning the weapon, tabloid stories were fabricated, and other wounded users were again threatening legal action. The reportedly gruesome nature of the sportsman's death, coupled with the L337's numerous injury reports, proved to be too much for the company to dismiss as a freak occurrence. Fearing that the company's name would be tarnished, Rheshalva pulled the weapon off the market, abandoning the phase-plasma technology.
Despite the potential for serious injury or even accidental death from the weapon's recoil, many owners were quite happy with their L337s. When properly stabilized, owners of the weapon felt that the range and power of the rifle more than made up for the bad press. Though no longer in production, used and refurbished L337s could still be purchased on the secondary market and from private arms dealers. The weapon was an uncommon item, however, due to reputation and experienced owners refusing to sell it.
Behind the scenes Edit
The L337 Model BFG design was based loosely on that of the M16 assault rifle, a weapon introduced by the United States Military during the Vietnam War in 1964. The L337 was based on the M16 mainly in the muzzle design. The grooves in the barrel and the shape of the muzzle of the weapon, along with the ammunition magazine were derived from the M16. This weapon design was one that Trak Nar, the creator of the weapon, was familiar with and could draw from memory. When drawing firearms, Nar often would base them on the M16.
The name of the weapon was comprised of a few in-jokes by Dareth Pan'dha, a friend who aided Nar with some of the dialogue in the comic jam CJ008: Only a Sith Deals an Absolute and wrote the accompanying phase-plasma article on Star Wars Fanon, the Star Wars wiki of fan invention. These in-jokes were made due to the weapon's large size in comparison to Camilla in the author's initial sketch. In the sketch, if the weapon were standing on end, the length of the L337 was drawn almost three-quarters the height of the character.
The actual parts of the weapon's name were homages to two different popular culture items. The "Model BFG" in the weapon's name referred to the BFG 9000 that was featured in the video game DOOM. A comparatively large and powerful weapon, the BFG 9000 fired balls of plasma and was capable of destroying nearly any player and enemy with a single hit. The "L337" was an homage to the internet slang word for "elite", which is "l337" or "leet".