Why do druids use scimitars?


3.5/d20/OGL


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I've never been able to figure this one since 1st edition. The druid is pretty well celtic themed, and most of their weapn proficiencies are traditional celtic weapons, eg spear, sling, club, but the scimitar is not at all associated with the celts. In fact one of the iconic weapons of the celts was the straight longsword, which is not on the list.

At first I thought maybe the druid's scimitar proficiency was supposed to represent the druidic sickle, but no, "sickle" is a weapon on the list all it's own. Then I thought maybe it was supposed to represent a machete for cutting through the forest, but a) that doesn't seem a very druidic way of navigating the woods, b) I would think a machete was a short sword rather than a scimitar, and c) machetes aren't exactly celtic either.

So yeah. Not really the most pressing question, but why DO druids have scimitar proficiency?

Any one have an answer for this perplexing mystery?

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kahoolin wrote:

Not really the most pressing question, but why DO druids have scimitar proficiency?

Any one have an answer for this perplexing mystery?

My only answer is "so that druids at least have access to SOME martial weapon". Of course, you're right about the proficiency dating back before the 'simple and martial' separation. Hmmm... nope, doesn't make much sense to me either. Let's be honest though, how many people usually choose scimitars as their druid's weapon? I'd be willing to wager that a fair number of people do, which means that it must be good for something! ;)

Liberty's Edge

I think it was purely mechanical. They didn't want to go with long sword because of damage, and they didn't want to go with mace to help differentiate the class from cleric.


Because they look cool!

Liberty's Edge

Gary Gygax has a thread over at enWorld; I'll ask over there.
;)

Liberty's Edge

Allright. I asked. We'll see what he says.


Heathansson wrote:

Gary Gygax has a thread over at enWorld; I'll ask over there.

;)

Cheers mate, I'd love to know what was going through Gygax's head. I hope the answer isn't something horribly 70's and un-PC like "well, we wanted druids to seem uncivilized, and I thought hey, no civilized man ever used a curvy sword."

Actually, I hope he DOES say that ;)


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I seem to recall somebody saying that it was a pure game mechanic thing: Druids are severely limited with weapons and armor, compared to clerics, so to compensate that, they could use a scimitar, which is a type of sword and more likely to be found as a magical weapon. Then again, I might be dead wrong.

It might really represent the sickle, which is seen as something characteristical for druids, but rather useless as a weapon. The sickle might be influenced by the comic book series asterix , which includes a lot clichés about the celts, in a popularized form.

Stefan

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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My take: the scimitar represents the crescent moon, as does the sickle. Of course, by that reasoning, druids should be able to use falchions and scythes. Which (as it turns out) they can... in my campaign.

Alternately, the curved blade could symbolize an animal's claw or fang.


Well, it DOES make the game somewhat interesting...

For 3.5 it adds, not a good damage die so much, but a favorable crit range.

That, and yeah, martial proficiency.

Well, going by Wikipedia, my bet is that Scimitar was used to create this idea of a bladed weapon that was exotic, OTHER and possibly to add an Asian or Middle eastern feel to the class, game and to warp cultural ideas. But this is just take on the ideas behind it. It also, in a way, has more of an ORGANIC or NATURAL feel in the way it looks and operates than other bladed weapons, even sickle swords- which would never be used in D&D exactly, wouldn't be quite as natural with Druidic ideas of "Claw" or organic curves. See, D&D doesn't just COPY cultural ideas from reality, or idealize them, it mixes them together and creates pastiches as well as cliches. You have asian-style aesthetic monks in what was predominantly a European or medieval style game- that banks heavily on the Fantasy genre being geared towards a feeling for "exotic" "strange" or just less modern.

The Scimitar is a pretty age-old and reliable weapon...and it refers to a BROAD spectrum of curved swords. Of course say a Falchion is a little different for D&D...

Hell, as far as how it started- I'll wait for Gygax to weigh in if he will and we can just stop speculating now.

Liberty's Edge

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Gary Gygax said it was the closest sword-type weapon he could come up with to the druid's mistletoe-harvesting sickle.
And he wrote the thing... ;)


Can I tell you the biggest problem I have with scimitars for druids? How about they're MADE OF METAL! Blarg. Doesn't use of forged metal violate their ancient and sacred oaths of blah blah blah?

I always thought this was wierd. I mean what are their scimitars, wooden? Bone? Then again there's a lot of things on their "useable" list that likewise would contain a lot of metal unless they made it themselves or had it custom made from some druid outfitter or whatever. It's pretty hard to find anything that doesn't at least have metal rivets or something...

...then again there's always those Dark Sun rules about making stuff out of teeth and stuff.


Heathansson wrote:

Gary Gygax said it was the closest sword-type weapon he could come up with to the druid's mistletoe-harvesting sickle.

And he wrote the thing... ;)

Cool. That's what I suspected. Thanks!

Interesting. Looks like the knowledge that the scimitar was only there to represent the sickle had been lost in the mists of time by 3E, and even after the sickle became a weapon with stats, the scimitar was still on the druid list simply because it had always been there.

Liberty's Edge

kahoolin wrote:
Heathansson wrote:

Gary Gygax said it was the closest sword-type weapon he could come up with to the druid's mistletoe-harvesting sickle.

And he wrote the thing... ;)

Cool. That's what I suspected. Thanks!

Interesting. Looks like the knowledge that the scimitar was only there to represent the sickle had been lost in the mists of time by 3E, and even after the sickle became a weapon with stats, the scimitar was still on the druid list simply because it had always been there.

Yeah, but a druid without a scimitar would just confuse me.

Bad enough you have clerics with their gods' main weapon, but druids without scimitars? Blaarg!


guess he had not heard of sickles and sythes....


kahoolin wrote:

I've never been able to figure this one since 1st edition. The druid is pretty well celtic themed, and most of their weapn proficiencies are traditional celtic weapons, eg spear, sling, club, but the scimitar is not at all associated with the celts. In fact one of the iconic weapons of the celts was the straight longsword, which is not on the list.

At first I thought maybe the druid's scimitar proficiency was supposed to represent the druidic sickle, but no, "sickle" is a weapon on the list all it's own. Then I thought maybe it was supposed to represent a machete for cutting through the forest, but a) that doesn't seem a very druidic way of navigating the woods, b) I would think a machete was a short sword rather than a scimitar, and c) machetes aren't exactly celtic either.

So yeah. Not really the most pressing question, but why DO druids have scimitar proficiency?

Any one have an answer for this perplexing mystery?

The scimitar was the sacred shed horn of the unicorn.

In legends the Unicorn is the symbol of nature and in the first appearances of unicorns its horn is curved!

The unicorn is also the defender of woods and woodlands!

Mielekki was the druids go to goddess!
'Our lady of the forest, the forest queen. Symbol: Golden-horned, blue eyed unicorn´s head facing left. Favoured weapon: "The hornblade" (scimitar)'

There used to be no martial/simple stuff. It used to do a d8.

On a primal and earthy note curved blades were used in bloodletting and sacrifices. Clerics were all bludgeoning only, no blood and druids were all lets dance naked in spurts of blood!

Inside edge could be sharpened as a harvest tool.

Curves are natural - claws, moon was sacred to druids - crescent.

Shorter curved blades need less advanced forging techniques and can be made from natural iron deposits unlike long weapons that need fancy sciency metallurgy.

Personally I wonder it there was some influence from islam through art/myths/museum exibits etc as arabian nights and such would have influenced the creation of the genre. Just type into google the words 'scimitar' and 'crescent moon' together and you will see they are ingrained in that culture and an ancient and ongoing relation between the two. I can imagine seeing an old ring or amulet as a child with the crescent moon and scimitar and thinking western/celtic thoughts while having it impact upon me. Only later realizing its Islamic iconography.

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