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"It's an old Sith skill. The Force can be extracted and mentally bound into a shape primed for explosion."
―Lord Kopecz[src]

A thought bomb was the result of an ancient ritual that, through the focused willpower of many unified Sith Lords, unleashed the full volatility of the dark side of the Force. When detonated, a thought bomb annihilated the entirety—corporeal and non-corporeal—of every Force-sensitive being caught within its blast radius and absorbed their fragmented souls into a swirling vortex of perpetual torment that resolved into an orb of silver iridescence. While the ability to wield such destructive power originated with the ancient Sith, the thought bomb's origins dated back to the Ritual of Nathema that saw the Sith Lord Vitiate consume an entire world, and its details were discovered during the Jedi Civil War by the Dark Lord of the Sith Darth Revan, who recorded the secrets of its creation within his Sith holocron. Revan's repository and the thought bomb ritual therein remained hidden in a forgotten temple on the planet Lehon until it was discovered in 1000 BBY by the Sith'ari, Darth Bane, who passed the instructions for its creation on to Lord Kaan, leader of the Brotherhood of Darkness. In a desperate attempt to end the war in which they were engaged with the Jedi, the Dark Lords of Kaan's Sith Brotherhood created and detonated a thought bomb that annihilated nearly all sapient Force-sensitive life on the planet Ruusan. More than a thousand years later, the spirits of the vanquished Jedi trapped within the thought bomb were set free by the valor of a young Rebel agent named Kyle Katarn.



"We are one. We are the dark side. The dark side is us. Feel the power of the dark side. Surrender to it. Surrender to the unified whole. Let us become one."
―The opening incantation for the thought bomb, led by Lord Kaan[src]

A Sullustan pilot trying in vain to escape a thought bomb.

The creation of a thought bomb required the collective focus of many Sith Lord participants, all considerably strong in the dark side of the Force. Arranged in a circular formation and joined by hands, those gathered began to chant an incantation that rapidly drew on the Force and channeled it into the center of the ring. As the expanding tide of darkness spun within the circle, so too did the minds of the united Sith coalesce into a single consciousness with which to shape the harnessed energy. As the ritual progressed, the thoughts, cognizance, and identities of the participants were consumed by the vortex until all were bereft of their individuality, transformed into a single entity within the Force. Eschewing the need for any further physical contact, the celebrants raised their hands toward the epicenter and gave corporeal form to that which had moments before been immaterial: the recited incantation that bound their collective will with the power of the dark side. So concentrated was the summoned power that the fabric of reality itself was distorted within the ring. The breath of those gathered became visible as the ambient temperature dropped significantly, causing frost to form on their extremities and the tapered protrusions of the surrounding area. All light, heat, and sound were drawn into the vacuum of the thought bomb, and tendrils of energy from a cloud of utter darkness formed over the master of the ceremony, who had since taken up position in the midst of his companions.[4] The Force grew thick, akin to congealed blood, in the atmosphere of the planet on which a thought bomb was in preparation, and those not attuned to the dark side could physically feel the burden of the unreleased energy.[5]

A simple clap of the hands instantly detonated the thought bomb[2] and transformed the essences of the affected into an oblong sphere[6] that absorbed all light but emanated a pale radiance of its own and thrummed with rhythmic vibrations. The dull gray, flat-surfaced, slightly nacreous orb shimmered with the smoke-like shadows of its trapped victims, and, though they often found it grotesquely repulsive, living beings in its presence were compelled to gaze upon the end result of the thought bomb. It hovered a meter above the ground, was four meters from top to bottom, and had a circumference of roughly three meters.[4] The ovoid, which resembled another ancient Sith weapon in size and shape,[7] burned with a cold fire upon touch, and the shadows within converged on the point of contact to whisper suggestions of hate and despair to the curious.[8]


"Kaan had some spell, some power, over his followers. They were enthralled to his will. When he led them down into the cave, they all followed him willingly. He had them convinced they could survive the thought bomb if they united their power…but he was wrong."
―Jedi Lord Valenthyne Farfalla[src]

An extremely difficult weapon to control, a thought bomb subjected its creators and those nearby to a host of potentially fatal dangers,[4] and to even attempt the ritual was widely considered an act of suicide.[6] Those especially strong in the dark side were only vaguely aware of their senses, tactile and otherwise, but most participants remained completely enthralled and unable to resist. The initiators, who were closest to the point of detonation, suffered the same fate as those against whom the bomb was directed; the deafening explosion destroyed everything in its path, and the souls of all Force-sensitive beings in close proximity were torn asunder as they were drawn into the epicenter of the bomb,[4] destined for an eternity of unending torment. Those who were able to withstand the initial detonation were not immune to its residual effects. Some suffered from relentless headaches, even experienced hallucinations in the hours, days, and weeks that followed a thought bomb's detonation. To mentally penetrate the orb was to subject oneself to the agony of the shattered souls imprisoned within, an eternal madness languished by the spirits of what had once been sentient individuals. The wretched souls assailed the molester en masse as they attempted to drag the being into the inescapable depths of their suffering. A powerful Force nexus also resulted in the aftermath of a successful thought bomb, and the environment of the planet where one was detonated experienced an abrupt shift in weather patterns. As a result, indigenous animals that were unable to adapt to the changes were driven into extinction.[8]

The effects of the thought bomb on a Force-sensitive individual


"They're going to unleash some kind of Sith weapon. Something called a thought bomb."
"Is Kaan mad?"
―Jedi Lords Valenthyne Farfalla and Hoth[src]

The thought bomb was designed by the ancient Sith to eliminate all Force-sensitive opposition, namely Jedi, but was reserved as a last resort where no other means of ensuring victory existed. The willingness to employ such devastation was often attributed to madness on part of the thought bomb's creators, given their apparent disregard for the probability of their own resultant demise.[4] Indeed, when detonated, a thought bomb killed every proximate Force adept indiscriminately.[2] However, tremendous strength in the Force or maintaining a considerable distance from ground zero increased the chances of one's survival.[8]


"I ask that you join me in one last task: the creation of a weapon so powerful that when it is detonated, the victors shall become the vanquished and be swept from the pages of history."

History ascribed knowledge and usage of the thought bomb to the ancient Sith,[4] though the origins of the thought bomb lay in a ritual of Sith magic used by the ancient Sith Lord Vitiate that saw him bind the strength of thousands of fellow Sith Lords and use them to consume all life on his homeworld of Medriaas and thus grant him immortality.[9] A millennium later, Darth Revan, the Dark Lord of the Sith and instigator of the Jedi Civil War,[1] recorded a transcription of his knowledge of the ritual[9] within his personal holocron,[10] Revan's holocron remained well-hidden in the Rakatan Temple of the Ancients on the world of Lehon for nearly another three thousand years, until it was found and studied in great detail by Darth Bane,[4] the prophesied Sith'ari of old Sith legend.[11] By that time, stories were related to students in the Jedi Temple about the destruction wrought by a thought bomb.[4]

Newly bestowed with the title of Dark Lord, Darth Bane found Revan's holocron and from it learned[4] of Vitiate's ritual, though he used the transcription as inspiration for the actual thought bomb[9]—something he intended to use as the means by which he brought his new philosophy, the Sith Rule of Two, into sharp relief. Bane journeyed to the planet Ruusan and provided the details of the thought bomb's implementation to Lord Kaan, the leader of the Brotherhood of Darkness, whom Bane had come to believe was leading the Sith into oblivion. The Brotherhood's total eradication was Bane's foremost goal, and he knew that Kaan's unyielding desire to win the latest campaign of the protracted war against the Jedi and Galactic Republic motivated him to use the thought bomb.[4] During the final battle of Ruusan,[2] all of the Dark Lords joined Kaan in an underground bunker,[5] and as the Jedi's Army of Light surrounded the area,[2] the Sith began to perform the thought bomb ritual. Led by Jedi Lord Hoth, 100 Knights pursued Kaan the next morning and confronted the Brotherhood within the cave in an attempt to prevent their reckless exercise of power. They were too late, however; the thought bomb had already been created, and as Hoth himself rushed Kaan, the Dark Lord detonated his weapon, instantaneously vanquishing him, the entire Sith Brotherhood, and all 100 Jedi who had been in the cave, consuming their spirits in the seething vacuum.[12]

The Valley of the Jedi

Bane and his apprentice, Zannah, were the only Sith survivors, and although both felt the wave of dark side energy pass over them, they were distant enough to only feel the reverberations of the blast. They later traveled to ground zero, where Bane examined the metallic globe that had formed from the detonation and was satisfied with the end result. The thought bomb's pall also attracted others, including a young Human boy named Darovit, and many of Ruusan's native Force-sensitive Bouncers. Its residual effects were realized by Bane in the days and weeks that followed, manifesting as terrible headaches and vivid hallucinations of deceased Brotherhood members that eventually subsided. The thought bomb's aftereffects were feared by the Jedi, who ordered an immediate evacuation of all Force-sensitives on Ruusan.[8] Almost overnight the planet was transformed into a desert wasteland, and many of the Ruusanian natives and off-world colonists were killed in the explosion.[3] The irreparable damage done to Ruusan's biosphere by the thought bomb introduced the annual phenomenon of snow in subsequent years, a change that resulted in the extinction of many of the planet's domestic fauna. The release of such potent energy combined with the broken spirits of those trapped within the bomb's void turned the zero point into a Force nexus, equally balanced between the light and dark sides of the Force. In remembrance of the valiance of the Jedi, the Republic commissioned the creation of the Valley of the Jedi monument on Ruusan to commemorate the sacrifice made by the victims of the thought bomb,[8] and the Masters of the Order recounted the story for centuries.[13]

The Ruusanian survivors of the thought bomb remained on their homeworld and endured a life of toil, a consequence of the devastated planetary ecosystem. Ruusan was abandoned by the Republic in the years that followed, and the planet—along with the Force nexus that was the Valley of the Jedi—were forgotten, their locations all but lost due to shifting nearby nebulae.[3] For the next thousand years the Jedi spirits were subjected to the perpetual torment of their prison. In 5 ABY, a Force-sensitive Rebel Alliance operative named Kyle Katarn learned of the Valley's coordinates and wrested control of the nexus from a megalomaniac Dark Jedi named Jerec, a confrontation that resulted in the latter's death and release of those imprisoned within[14] the remnants of the only known thought bomb to have been created.[15]

Behind the scenes[]

The thought bomb first appeared in the October 1998 novella Dark Forces: Jedi Knight, the third and final installment in author William C. Dietz's Dark Forces trilogy, wherein protagonist Kyle Katarn experiences a Force vision of the last battle of Ruusan. The same event, albeit rendered slightly different but nonetheless complete with the thought bomb, was given full treatment with the 2001 release of Darko Macan's Jedi vs. Sith comic series. Only insignificant inconsistencies with regard to the creation of the thought bomb and the circumstances of its unleashing exist between Jedi vs. Sith and the weapon's next appearance, the first of author Drew Karpyshyn's Darth Bane Trilogy of novels, titled Path of Destruction. The thought bomb subsequently appeared in the second Darth Bane novel, Rule of Two, and was mentioned in the third, Dynasty of Evil. The thought bomb also received mention in Kevin J. Anderson's Bane of the Sith and Ryder Windham's The Life and Legend of Obi-Wan Kenobi. The Star Wars: Force and Destiny Core Rulebook slightly revises the origin of the bomb, establishing it as originating from Revan's recollections of the planet Nathema.

While both Jedi vs. Sith and Path of Destruction give relatively synonymous accounts of the same event, there are minor differences; Jedi vs. Sith depicts Kaan seated upon a throne when he is confronted by the Jedi,[2] while Path of Destruction illustrates a charge by the Jedi into the Sith perimeter that surrounds a standing Kaan as he primes the thought bomb for detonation.[4] Furthermore, both sources differ considerably from Dark Forces: Jedi Knight, which specifies a greater number of Sith participants and Jedi victims, variations in the performance of the ritual as well as the actual description of the thought bomb's appearance, and an entirely different zero point.[5] The rendition as depicted in Jedi vs. Sith and Path of Destruction is corroborated by the release of various pieces of subsequent Star Wars source and guidebook material, including Star Wars: The Ultimate Visual Guide, The New Essential Chronology, Jedi vs. Sith: The Essential Guide to the Force, The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia, and The Essential Atlas.


The thought bomb on Ruusan


Notes and references[]