There are many things wrong with the scythe...


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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I have many issues with the weapon "scythe" in Pathfinder. First off it's a martial weapon. How the hell is a farming tool a martial weapon? If a commoner wanted to harvest wheat he'd have to take a feat just to use a basic piece of farming equipment. It should be at best simple if not improvised. It's just a big sickle.
Next, it costs 18gp. Now everyone's going to say, "18gp isn't that much..." but in game terms that's more than an ox. It's a quarter staff with a knife stuck too it, that shouldn't cost more than an ox, it probably shouldn't cost more than a gold.
Third reason why the scythe has problems is it does x4 damage on a crit. There's only one other weapon in the core that has x4 damage and it's exotic.
In history you always hear about mighty soldiers charging into battle with a greataxe, or a spear. I've never heard of a warrior that charged into battle with a scythe. So why is it that a farming tool is arguably better than a greataxe, or a spear? The 300 Spartans never held of a horde of Persians with farming tools.


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Uhm, no? The commoner would be able to use the scythe just fine against whatever he's harvesting. He's not using it as a weapon unless the wheat is sentient.

Second, did you read the description of it?

Quote:
A scythe constructed for fighting (as opposed to a standard harvesting scythe) has had its blade transformed so that it extends upright from the staff, and is used much like a halberd.

It's not the best weapon since it only crits on a 20, x4 be damned. Greatswords are much better for damage.


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Cheapy wrote:

Uhm, no? The commoner would be able to use the scythe just fine against whatever he's harvesting. He's not using it as a weapon unless the wheat is sentient.

Second, did you read the description of it?

Quote:
A scythe constructed for fighting (as opposed to a standard harvesting scythe) has had its blade transformed so that it extends upright from the staff, and is used much like a halberd.
It's not the best weapon since it only crits on a 20, x4 be damned. Greatswords are much better for damage.

I would like to point out the glee of Coup de Grace attempts with a Scythe at any level.


PF is not Neverwinter Nights. You do not have to have proficiency in a weapon to pick it up, or use it for a non-combat purpose. A lumberjack doesn't need Martial Proficiency to do his job either, why would a farmer?

Sovereign Court

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Second or third that you don't need proficiency to farm with a Scythe. In fact you only need martial prof to fight without a penalty with it. Also Heavy/light picks are martial and have x4 on crits.

Sczarni

Some farmers would even get experienced in wielding scythes , there are traits which even imply that and it makes perfect sense to it.


Cheapy wrote:

Uhm, no? The commoner would be able to use the scythe just fine against whatever he's harvesting. He's not using it as a weapon unless the wheat is sentient.

Second, did you read the description of it?

Quote:
A scythe constructed for fighting (as opposed to a standard harvesting scythe) has had its blade transformed so that it extends upright from the staff, and is used much like a halberd.
It's not the best weapon since it only crits on a 20, x4 be damned. Greatswords are much better for damage.

Yeah, scythe never sees much use; even with the x4 crit, there are way better weapons.

I had never noticed that description of the weapon before, Cheapy. It raises the question (for me, at least): if the blade is turned upright like a halberd, then how is it A) doing piercing damage (while also critting like a light/heavy pick) and B) tripping anything any better than a halberd?

If it's "like a halberd" why is it not just a halberd? Granted a scythe as is would be extremely awkward as a weapon, but it's a fantasy game, and you've already decided to make it an option as a weapon. Seems silly to completely change the fluff when fluff is the only reason to use it in the first place.


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War Scythe

This might clear up things a bit


le sigh.

I miss my Neverwinter Nights scythe wielding weapons master.
:(

Still haven't seen someone actually use one in a D&D game though.

-S


My current party has the coolest comp ever.

Dwarf two handed fighter archetype. 49hp with the saves of a paladin and does 1d12+21 damage

tactician human fighter 41hp 2d6+15 damage and a lot of skill points. Will be giving everyone outflank for free.

half orc barbarian 2d6+18 damage and 60hp when raging. 40ft ms no escape

wildshape dwarf druid 36hp saves like a paladin. healing, summons, etc(me) large ape. (carries around a scythe) very mobile.

dervish dance human magus deathstar burst damage with great ac. shocking grasp man. access to haste somewhat soon.

elven witch with slumber. Our debuffer and only one that isn't melee. LOL

In order to deal with ranged we'll just soak hits since the lowest ac is like 19 and lowest hp is like 30.(exception our witch)
Most of us are pretty mobile for the most part so it's no big deal.

Our spellcasting is covered by the magus and I.

Our healing is covered by me.

Our skills are covered by the tactician, magus, and I.

Our party face will probably be the tactician and the witch.

Ranged is for scrubs man.

Note this post is only on topic a little bit because of the scythe witch combo.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

A scythe built for war is NOT a farming implement.


Ponswick wrote:


Third reason why the scythe has problems is it does x4 damage on a crit. There's only one other weapon in the core that has x4 damage and it's exotic.

Light pick and heavy pick are martial... the scythe is the two-handed x4 martial weapon option.


Brambleman wrote:

War Scythe

This might clear up things a bit

That helps tremendously. However, that still doesn't look anything like a 'trip' weapon. No more than any other generic polearm, anyway. Can't say that I care to think of them that way though. Takes away the cool factor from the idea of using a scythe.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber

I think I can see why it would be a trip weapon. You would use a combat scythe differently than a typical polearm because you would still use the handles attached to the shaft for a better grip. That changes how you swing it.

Scarab Sages

Malag wrote:
Some farmers would even get experienced in wielding scythes , there are traits which even imply that and it makes perfect sense to it.

Plus the only agrarian culture - humans - get a nice bonus feat they could use to pick up proficiency in a variety of weapons, including those derived from farming implements.


just make it's crit range 18-20. Lol.


Cheapy wrote:
It's not the best weapon since it only crits on a 20, x4 be damned. Greatswords are much better for damage.

That's only because much of that x4 is likely to be wasted on overkill; in the hands on an NPC (who isn't expected to kill anything), Scythes kill more PCs than any other weapon.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Not a farmer's weapon. An ordinary farmer's scythe isn't a weapon at all. The sharp part is on the inside of the weapon, making it hideously limited in its uses for combat, the blade is often only of fine enough quality to cut though, um...wheat, rather than flesh and bone, and it has other flaws. A war-scythe, which is the kind most likely listed in the Core Rulebook, is what you'd see here , which is in reality an actual weapon which can be used effectively, although it looks a lot more like a glaive than anything else. In which case, it both earns martial weapon status, can keep its stats, and a war-scythe is indeed a weapon of...well, war. So you would in fact see infantry and men-at-arms carrying these babies into battle.


Quantum Steve wrote:
Cheapy wrote:
It's not the best weapon since it only crits on a 20, x4 be damned. Greatswords are much better for damage.
That's only because much of that x4 is likely to be wasted on overkill; in the hands on an NPC (who isn't expected to kill anything), Scythes kill more PCs than any other weapon.

I happen to recall a game in which my wife's cleric hit an enemy combatant with Murderous Command. Said enemy was using a Scythe. The enemy's nearest target was the most dangerous member of the opposing group.

Critgib.

Shadow Lodge

I've always pictured the PF scythe as a Thracian falx or a rhompaia more than anything. The war scythe article did clear thing up a bit more as well.

Now, if only PF artists were consistent with their art. Or rather, they are consistent, but the scythes in the art always have their blades pointed the way of the farming tool.


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If you happen to have the 3.5 Rules Compendium, on page 79 is a picture of what I envision the scythe to look like.

Edit: Ah, here it is.


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Scythes in art usually have their blades pointed like the farming tool because the "harvest scythe as badass weapon" thing is pretty deeply engrained in fantasy and fantasy, if not in history, especially in the sort of magepunky style that PF's art usually falls into. It's not particuarly historical, but that's not the direction that PF's art leans in whatsoever. (Nobody wants to see thirty pictures of Sir Drabgray the Historically Accurate in his Ye Olde Pragmatic Chainmaille.) They could draw a war scythe, but it'd just look like a generic polearm to most people instead of the sweet-scythe-as-fantasy-weapon.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Joyd has a good point. I seem to have answered the question but in so doing missed the bigger picture. Its a fantasy game. Fantasy. As in "stuff that is borderline nonsensical just because its cool." I mean, if anyone's ever seen the first episode of Soul Eater, I can see why a scythe would make an awesome weapon, and in a world where random people have the ability o light the house on fire by muttering gobbdy-g!@% and waving their hands dramatically, the realistic ability of a farming-tool-turned-weapon become less of a concern, and more of a "but is it fun and interesting?" To paraphrase soul eater here, "the issue isn't the form, but the coolness factor."

In other words, I see nothing inherently wrong with the scythe as it is

Grand Lodge

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With all due respect to our historically accurate friends, no matter what the fluff says, the scythe is always going to be the iconic harvest scythe. Why? Rule of Cool.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I wonder where the OP disappeared...


I think he has been enlightened. :)

Shadow Lodge

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I used a Scythe once in a 3.5 game, with an Orc barbarian(not Half Orc). At level 4 I had 26 str when raging. In the final battle we were up against a lvl 12 Wizard(who was supposed to be defeated by a deus ex machina), I got one swing at him, with full power attack and critted. Then I rolled max damage(we roll once and multiply to speed things up). Didn't kill him, but I scared the hell out of the GM.

It was awesome :)

Shadow Lodge

We faced a flesh golem with a large magical scythe once. It critted three times.

Fear the scythe! Its breath is the carrion stench of dead PCs!


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I didnt read the description I kinda feel like a wanker...


This is one of those areas where the disconnect between simulationist accuracy and the 'rule of cool' that EntrerisShadow cites kindof makes my head explode. I mean come on, the GRIM REAPER uses a scythe, and it doesn't look like a glaive!


kenmckinney wrote:
This is one of those areas where the disconnect between simulationist accuracy and the 'rule of cool' that EntrerisShadow cites kindof makes my head explode. I mean come on, the GRIM REAPER uses a scythe, and it doesn't look like a glaive!

Death uses a harvest scythe because it takes lives, not fights. A Grim Reaper is just a battlefield parody of the original, and should be taking penalties for use of improvised weapon.

Regards,
Ruemere


One problem is that even is it's supposed to represent the war scythe, the scythe is ALWAYS depicted as the classic curved, reaper-like weapon. Character artworks and even item artworks picture it as a regular scythe.

Silver Crusade

Ponswick wrote:
I didnt read the description I kinda feel like a wanker...

Don't feel too bad. Now you know, and you also sparked an interesting thread about how scythes are presented in RPG art. For example, I can't find a single miniature with a "correct" scythe.


A normal farming scythe is nearly impossible to use as an effective weapon. The angle of the blade is not conducive to combat; you swing it across, but the blade is on the underside of the chine (big metal part) so you've got to swing it behind them and then pull; that's a very cumbersome and predictable maneuver. The fantasized vision of swinging a normal-bladed scythe and "cutting through" an enemy is complete fantasy fiction; it would never work that way. For it to do so, the blade would have to be on top of the chine and it would resemble an axe with a very elongated blade that wraps over the top of the pole more than anything else. The only way a normal-bladed scythe can function as a capable weapon is if it's combined with a high-velocity rifle so, once you swing the blade into position, you can fire the rifle and the recoil will propel the blade through the target.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Well, if one is going to necro a thread I suppose it is appropriate that it be one about scythes.


The scythe in D&D owes its entire existence to the Diablo 2 necromancer, IIRC.

Silver Crusade

Weird. I think the RSS feed brought this one back. That's how I saw it, anyway.


Sissyl wrote:
The scythe in D&D owes its entire existence to the Diablo 2 necromancer, IIRC.

But the Scythe was in D&D before Diablo 2 Necromancer: was D&D future psychics?

Why did they waste their powers on weaponry when they have the ability to see the future so well?


Was it? Where in the 1st and 2nd editions were scythes usable as weapons?

Shadow Lodge

Scythes are large heavy blades on sticks. They are martial because if you don't know how to use a big heavy blade on a stick then you are just as likely to chop off your own head and therefor it takes special training. If you look at a harvesting scythe vs. a war scythe, the harvest scythe looks cooler, but when you pick it up and try to swing it, you notice its not all that great as a weapon. The WAR scythe has a x4 crit because if a big heavy blade on a stick hits you in a place you really don't want it, you pretty much just die. The war scythe is a weapon in D&D for the same reason the longsword is, it is a legitimate, lethal weapon.


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Sissyl wrote:
The scythe in D&D owes its entire existence to the Diablo 2 necromancer, IIRC.

Magus in Chrono Trigger predates Diablo 2 by about 5 years.


Yeah well, I really feel that third edition was Diablo 2 edition. Sure, harvest scythes have been used for ages in various fantasy pictures... But the necromancer was in Diablo 2. I repeat... Where was it detailed in first or second edition?


Yeah, it would have been more honest to keep calling it a "fauchard" and eliminate confusion. But people want farm scythes as weapons in the same way they want swords that are nine feet long and have blades wider than their torso, because they think it's "rad."


Buster swords are... Sooooo... Coooool...


Sissyl wrote:
Yeah well, I really feel that third edition was Diablo 2 edition. Sure, harvest scythes have been used for ages in various fantasy pictures... But the necromancer was in Diablo 2. I repeat... Where was it detailed in first or second edition?

Yes, there were scythes in 2nd edition.

3.0 predated Diablo 2 btw.


...and there were fauchards in 1st edition, and a war scythe is a fauchard.


Why couldnt a scythe be sharp on both sides of the blade? thats how I visioned it being since that would fit the slashing dmg being viable in combat.


"The Drunken Dragon" (cut by me for length) wrote:
Not a farmer's weapon....So you would in fact see infantry and men-at-arms carrying these babies into battle.

Not likely. The shape and name are not a coincidence. The warscythe originated as a weapon of desperation, where farmers converted their farm tools into weapons right before the nobles came. It is a tool of rebellion. The fact that it was effective though does lend credence to the idea that soldiers could use them (especially in nations formed by said rebels, as an icon), but usually a halberd was preferred by those that could afford them. *checks the prices of the two*...I will agree with the original poster that the price is a bit wonky though. Even factoring in the conversion cost, I would imagine they would be a 'poor-man's weapon.'

Also, I do want to mention this: There are some medieval fighting manuals on the use of regular, blade-at-a-right-angle, harvest scythes. They were not a slashing weapon though (you would have to do a pulling motion to do that, which is inherently awkward), and they basically worked like a pickax. The long blade did make them surprisingly effective since they would be hard to block (the shaft hits the shield/sword, the blade goes around to hit them in the face)


What else is my Rage Prophet with the Haunted curse and Spirit Totem supposed to wield?


Starbuck_II wrote:
Sissyl wrote:
Yeah well, I really feel that third edition was Diablo 2 edition. Sure, harvest scythes have been used for ages in various fantasy pictures... But the necromancer was in Diablo 2. I repeat... Where was it detailed in first or second edition?

Yes, there were scythes in 2nd edition.

3.0 predated Diablo 2 btw.

Fine. Where? Reference please.

By the by, Diablo 2 was released at the end of June 2000, 3.0 PHB was released early August 2000. So, no, Diablo 2 was first. Admittedly, it is not much time to "be influenced" by something... But please, do a search for Dungeons & Dragons Adventure Game, Diablo 2 edition, Diablo 2 The Awakening, Diablo 2 Diablerie, and Diablo 2 To Hell and Back. Guess when they were released?

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