In musing on my last post, it occurred to me that I had rather downplayed colour as a portion of the ray gun. This needn't be a mistake, but it set the cogs in motion.
Here's how it goes: the newness and the strangeness of the beam from a ray gun might come about from a number of ways. Let's think of visuals: I shall apply some short-hand in the form of referring to other works.
So, the contemporary medieval fantasy is, for better or worse, going to draw on the HBO television adaptation Game of Thrones - as part of a knowledge base, a shared understanding, a cultural reference point. If you have seen it, you may observe that the visual tone - as shown in costumes, sets, locations - is often rather muted. I might equally point to the 2010 film True Grit.
Either way, a brightly coloured laser from a ray gun is going to look deeply out of place: imagine the brilliant red of the ray against the grim grey hill side. All in keeping - my premise being that the ray should look unreal, otherworldly.
Therefore this ray might be said to come from a different dimension. A dimension of bright, uniform colours. A dimension of American comic books of the mid-twentieth century. Or of the brilliant, carefully contrasted abstractions of heraldry.
Thusly, I turned to Iain Moncrieffe and Don Pottinger's Simple Heraldry - Cheerfully Illustrated (a charming little book if you can get a copy) and produced the following table for your laser shooting beams from the heraldry dimension.
What colour is the beam of your ray gun? [If you need a crib, you may find it here.]
What shape, in cross section, is the beam of your ray gun?
1. A fess (rectangle, longest side horizontal)
2. A pale (rectangle, longest side vertical)
3. A cross/a saltire
4. A pairle (Y-shape)
5. A chevron
6. A roundel
7. A trefoil/quatrefoil/cinquefoil
8. A label (bar with three descending tabs)
9. A lozenge
10. An eschuteon (shaped like a shield with a flat top and pointed base)
Go forth; wield your trusty ermine energy blade to put a Y-shaped hole through Ming the Merciless and save the day!