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Threeshades
2008-02-08, 07:16 PM
The scythe, though an unconventional and unrealistic kind of weapon, has an awful lot of style to it. Makes a perfect choice for the Dread Necromancers bonus martial weapon proficiency or as a weapon for an evil cleric (though these will have to waste a feat on it) to make a stylish character. Nonetheless Blackguards, Paladins of Tyranny or Slaughter or generally any fighter or barbarian not striving for the shiny toothed blonde-curled goodie two-shoes hero image can look great with it. Only drawback: If you don't happen to roll a natural 20 and confirm the crit, it tends to be slightly useless (2d4 damage is rather poor for a two-handed weapon).

So, how can a character make good use of this weapon? What feats and magical abilities do well with it?
Since the scythe's strength is its critical hit, i thought improved critical/keen, as well as power critical and a burst ability (a crit with a burst scythe of bane against the designated enemy is the dream of anyone who likes to roll dice!) would be useful, thought these feats and abilities again are played down by the low crit range. While for example a keen scimitar is a beautiful thing, as it raises the crit range to 15-20 (30% threat chance), it seems pretty weak raising the crit range to 19-20 on a scythe. And as long as the threat range doesn't rise, the weapons greatest strength will come to bare in only a few encounters, as well as all those other abilities.
I will leave elementals, oozes, undead and constructs out of this argument, since they render all crit-focused weapons useless.

So what ideas do you have to make a scythe a trusty weapon of choice, that can actually profit from its strength? Are there feats, magic abilities that areparticularly useful for scythes? Or even prestige classes? Or do you think scythes are good as they are?

(while we are at it, and i dont want to make another thread right now, does anyone know any necromancing prestige classes useful for clerics?)

BRC
2008-02-08, 07:19 PM
One advantage of the scythe is that you can use it to make trip checks if I remember correctly, meaning that with the right build you cna have a decent chance of tripping your foes, then getting them sans-dodge bonus while they are down, increasing your chance to confirm.
Also, speed and brilliant energy are good, brilliant energy means you can ignore their armor bonus, improving chance to confirm, and speed means you get an extra swing in.

Sstoopidtallkid
2008-02-08, 07:21 PM
Boost # of attacks. Each additional one is another chance to crit and confirm. All you really need is 10 attacks a turn to start making crits a good strategy.

Reel On, Love
2008-02-08, 07:36 PM
The scythe, though an unconventional and unrealistic kind of weapon, has an awful lot of style to it. Makes a perfect choice for the Dread Necromancers bonus martial weapon proficiency or as a weapon for an evil cleric (though these will have to waste a feat on it) to make a stylish character. Nonetheless Blackguards, Paladins of Tyranny or Slaughter or generally any fighter or barbarian not striving for the shiny toothed blonde-curled goodie two-shoes hero image can look great with it. Only drawback: If you don't happen to roll a natural 20 and confirm the crit, it tends to be slightly useless (2d4 damage is rather poor for a two-handed weapon).
2d4 damage is just 2 points of average damage less than the greatsword. In return, you can make trip attacks with it *and* you have your choice of piercing or slashing damage. Oh, and better overall crits (20 x4 = 18-20 x2, to the greatsword's 19-20 x2). It's balanced fine.


So, how can a character make good use of this weapon? What feats and magical abilities do well with it?
Since the scythe's strength is its critical hit, i thought improved critical/keen, as well as power critical and a burst ability (a crit with a burst scythe of bane against the designated enemy is the dream of anyone who likes to roll dice!) would be useful, thought these feats and abilities again are played down by the low crit range. While for example a keen scimitar is a beautiful thing, as it raises the crit range to 15-20 (30% threat chance), it seems pretty weak raising the crit range to 19-20 on a scythe. And as long as the threat range doesn't rise, the weapons greatest strength will come to bare in only a few encounters, as well as all those other abilities.
I will leave elementals, oozes, undead and constructs out of this argument, since they render all crit-focused weapons useless.
19-20 x4 is the same average damage as 15-20 x2; it just comes out in bigger hits less frequently. That's a matter of preference.
Burst enhancements are a really bad choice, because they kick in so rarely.
Enhance the scythe just as you would any other weapon. You're not losing out much, if at all, by using one.

Also, Power Critical is one of the worst feats ever printed.

Serpent
2008-02-08, 08:00 PM
Weapon Master.

Also, this (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xu8RZKPgEDU) is how you make scythes work.

Winterking
2008-02-08, 08:03 PM
There's a third-party sourcebook which a cousin showed me, called something like Torn Asunder: Critical Hits.

One of the prestige classes it offered gave you, by the time you'd finished the progression, automatic quadrupling of the crit threat range on your chosen weapon. It's of course excellent with rapiers--9-20 crit, anyone?--but with a scythe-wielder, with the scythe multiplier and the strength doubling from a two-handed weapon...17-20 starts to be quite effective.

Yami
2008-02-08, 08:59 PM
I grab this thing for style, not use. I may have decent luck with the dice, but I built a crit scythe build and never once got it off. A shame since the mounted charging feat would have made my crit X5. Besides, base damage shouldn't be your main sorce of damage, so that 2d4 isn't a drawback.

In fact, even if I didn't use a scythe as my main weapon, I'd still carry one around for the awesome factor.

Icewalker
2008-02-08, 09:20 PM
I would just like to add: Winterhaunt of Iborighu.

http://www.imagehosting.com/out.php/i1565657_Winterhaunt.jpg (http://www.imagehosting.com)

Awesome. This thread will be of use to me when I make this picture into a BBEG. Because he's awesome.

de-trick
2008-02-08, 09:25 PM
In my dm world we have a NPC called the reaper of orc's, she rides by on a black horse cuts the heads off of orcs, and has a badass factor of 12

Chronos
2008-02-08, 09:27 PM
I'm surprised that nobody's mentioned that a scythe is the absolute best weapon to use for Coup de Grace. Which is rather appropriate, given the whole Grim Reaper associations.

Tengu
2008-02-08, 10:34 PM
The funny thing is that, in order to use a scythe as an effective weapon, you must turn its blade 90 degrees, as seen here (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/ff/Kosy_i_piki.jpg/502px-Kosy_i_piki.jpg) - a thing that barely any western fantasy authors actually consider.

Ascension
2008-02-08, 11:10 PM
I dunno... I'd say that'd be necessary to make it an efficient weapon, but a weapon can be effective without being efficient. You can kill a man with a lot of things.

...that's why I'm building a rogue with Weapon Focus (pencil)... Come on! Any pencil attack has got to count as a surprise attack! :smallwink:

Ganurath
2008-02-08, 11:12 PM
Weapon Focus allows Improved Critical and Power CriticalCoWa.
Improved Initiative allows Death BlowCoAd.
Lucky Start synergizes with Improved Initiative, and leads into Unbelievable Luck, Better Lucky than Good, and Fortuitous Strike. Perhaps Victor's Luck, if Power Critical doesn't do the trick? All from Complete Scoundrel.
Combat Expertise for Improved Trip, maybe. Easier to go Monk and give your scythe the ki focus enchantment. Then you could channel your Stunning Fist to increase your number of coup de graces.

...Did I just suggest someone go Monk?

SilentNight
2008-02-08, 11:15 PM
I'm surprised that nobody's mentioned that a scythe is the absolute best weapon to use for Coup de Grace. Which is rather appropriate, given the whole Grim Reaper associations.

Improved trip+Combat reflexes+knockdown+swift finish(name? It's that feat that lets you coup de grace as a standard action.

Yes ganurath, yes you did. Come to think of it it actually wouldn't be that bad provided you took a level or two in fighter first what with flurry of blows.

Fizban
2008-02-08, 11:29 PM
Stunning Fist won't help you coup de gras, because you can't coup de gras a stunned opponent.

The thing about crits is that a larger multiplier isn't as good as a larger threat range. The big multiplier will only happen rarely, and when it does it's likely to be overkill, so the extra damage is wasted. The larger threat range will crit more often, and have less overkill, and will therefore have more effective damage dealt over time.

The moral: scythes are badass, who cares if they're mechanically worse. Plus you can trip with them, and if you critical the guy right after you trip him, it's just that much more badass.

Now that I think about it, I think there's a spell that makes your next attack an auto threat....

Oh, and don't forget the spell Dolorous Blow, from the Spell Compendium. It's basically the same as Keen, except it only lasts for 1 minute/level. And it auto confirms all threats.

hylian chozo
2008-02-08, 11:51 PM
Stunning Fist won't help you coup de gras, because you can't coup de gras a stunned opponent.


What? No way. You can coup de gras any helpless opponent. Stunned is the very definition of helpless.

Gralamin
2008-02-08, 11:55 PM
What? No way. You can coup de gras any helpless opponent. Stunned is the very definition of helpless.

According to the rules, Stunned is not helpless. Stun has the following consequences

Stunned

A stunned creature drops everything held, canít take actions, takes a -2 penalty to AC, and loses his Dexterity bonus to AC (if any).
Note no where it state you are helpless.

The_Snark
2008-02-08, 11:57 PM
What? No way. You can coup de gras any helpless opponent. Stunned is the very definition of helpless.

No, it is not. The Stunned (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/conditionSummary.htm#stunned) condition, as contrasted with the helpless (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/conditionSummary.htm#helpless) condition. Helpless gives a specific list, and stunned is not on it.

A stunned character is too out of it to dodge very well or take any actions, but they aren't so out of it that you can line up a shot at their neck or eye as you can with a completely paralyzed opponent.


Improved trip+Combat reflexes+knockdown+swift finish(name? It's that feat that lets you coup de grace as a standard action.

Death Blow, requires Improved Initiative. But prone opponents aren't helpless either, so I'm not sure why you list Knockdown and Improved Trip there.

hylian chozo
2008-02-09, 12:13 AM
No, it is not. The Stunned (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/conditionSummary.htm#stunned) condition, as contrasted with the helpless (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/conditionSummary.htm#helpless) condition. Helpless gives a specific list, and stunned is not on it.

A stunned character is too out of it to dodge very well or take any actions, but they aren't so out of it that you can line up a shot at their neck or eye as you can with a completely paralyzed opponent.


If that is true then my DM is a mean person. Thank you for this information.

Hario
2008-02-09, 01:24 AM
Well this might be a bit cheesy but a cleric with a scythe and a few castings of Surge of Fortune means you'll crit at least once every battle. Of Course you could go the cheese route, Its not like surge of fortune isn't already practically cheese, an auto roll 20!? means instant death if your Cleric has vorpal vs. most creatures.

Triaxx
2008-02-09, 08:11 AM
Actually the reason I give a scythe to my sorcerors and wizards is that if they do happen to hit, it's a better chance of being a critical since they are wizards and sorcerors, so what ever damage they do is pretty high anyway.

Uthug
2008-02-09, 08:29 AM
But don't they have to confirm the crit?
I think the spell you were looking for is hunter's mercy, sort of remember that its an auto-crit.
So to increase crit chance:
Whirling Frenzy Barbarian for the extra attack, street-fighter variant to increase threat range by 1 when charging, maybe lose fast movement for the pounce ability. Well I think the general point would be to increase the number of hits and attempt to increase the threat range.

The Glyphstone
2008-02-09, 03:04 PM
Have a Curse Weapon effect and Bless Weapon effect on it as much as possible...continuous if you can. You'll automatically confirm criticals against non-good and non-evil opponents; that would be everyone.

Spiryt
2008-02-09, 03:23 PM
The funny thing is that, in order to use a scythe as an effective weapon, you must turn its blade 90 degrees, as seen here (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/ff/Kosy_i_piki.jpg/502px-Kosy_i_piki.jpg) - a thing that barely any western fantasy authors actually consider.

The thing is that it then just make a good makeshift glaive.
The scythe as it is in D&D probably just don't make sense.

And IMO scythe is too good in D&D. It is similar to falchion ( 2 handed, less damage, more interesting critics) but also can deal two types of damage and can trip. Who need poor halberd when he can have scythe?

Personally I always drop tripping quality in my games. It already have great damage output (who need those additonal 1,5 average damage of greataxe, when you can do critical hits like that?), and great versatility.

Yes I know I contributed in little opposite way. Sorry :smallbiggrin:

Chronos
2008-02-09, 03:30 PM
Have a Curse Weapon effect and Bless Weapon effect on it as much as possible...continuous if you can. You'll automatically confirm criticals against non-good and non-evil opponents; that would be everyone.Wouldn't work. Even if your DM lets you get away with the conflicting-alignment spells, Bless (or Corrupt) Weapon's auto-confirm property doesn't work on any weapon which already has any effect relating to critical hits. So if you cast Corrupt Weapon first, then the Bless Weapon's auto-confirm effect won't work, and if you cast Bless Weapon first, then the Corrupt's won't work.

Person_Man
2008-02-09, 03:47 PM
Psychic Warrior/Master Thrower/Psychic Weapon Master (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/psm/20040827d)

Take the Throw Anything feat.

Take one level of Master Thrower. This increases the crit multiplier of your weapon by one step, to *5.

Head into Psychic Weapon Master. This allows you to increase the crit multiplier to *6. And it allows you to increase the crit threat range to 17-20.

Get 5 attacks. You already have Hustle and Psionic Lion's Charge, so it'll be easy to get a full attack every round. Statistically, you'll crit on at least one of them.

I also think there's a Ranger-ish PrC in one of the Eberron books with pretty good class features that has a double scythe thingy. Can't remember the name of the top of my head though.

Also, its worth mentioning that any build that relies on crits is inherently weak, because its so unpredictable and so many monsters in D&D are immune to crits.

Adumbration
2008-02-09, 03:48 PM
If you know you're fighting dragons - this is very hyphotethical - there's a feat in Dracocomnicon that gives you better crits against dragons. For an example, for a scythe it gives x7 instead of x4. The downside of this is that you need 2 other feats for it, and it only works against dragons. :smallfrown:

Azerian Kelimon
2008-02-09, 04:00 PM
Didn't some class have a class feature that worked as a sort of Penetrating Strike for crits?

sonofzeal
2008-02-09, 04:06 PM
The thing is that it then just make a good makeshift glaive.
Actually, it'd be closer to a Naganata with a reversed blade.

You can fight with a standard scythe effectively against a sword user, by keeping your distance and using rising strike (which swords suck at blocking). Still, that goes for almost any polearm. The only really good use I've seen Scythes put to in D&D is in combination with "Suggestion" or "Sleep". But hey, compared to the mighty Spiked Chain, they're still a solid choice.

I'd recommend against them for enemies though - a x2 crit is survivable for a PC, but a x4 crit can end a hero's career on a single lucky roll, and there's nothing Players hate more (in my experience) than losing a character on one bad roll.

Ganurath
2008-02-09, 04:19 PM
Meet the Monk of Nerull:
{table]Level|Class|Feat(s)
0|Human|Lucky Start
1|Fighter|Improved Initiative, Unbelievable Luck
2|Fighter|Weapon Focus (Scythe)
3|Fighter|Victor's Luck
4|Fighter|Power Critical (Scythe)
5|Fighter|
6|Fighter|Better Lucky Than Good, Weapon Specialization (Scythe)
7|Monk|Stunning Fist
8|Monk|Combat Reflexes
9|Monk|Improved Critical (Scythe)
10|Monk|
11|Monk|Improved Trip[/table]

I'll let you imagine from there. As you may note, with this build you not only threaten on a 19-20, but also on a 1 if you expend a luck reroll.

Spiryt
2008-02-09, 04:27 PM
Actually, it'd be closer to a Naganata with a reversed blade.



IMO it's nitpicking, isn't a Naganata just a type of glaive?

Basically all is similar - quite long, flat cutting (but also capable of trust) blade on the top of pole, unlike bardiches or other stuff with similar blades.

As for fighting with scythe :

Are you doing some historical fight performance? If so I can agree, as you certainly know what you are talking about then.
Still it looks extremaly cumbersome as a wapon to me.

Of course, it would casue terrible wound, but thats all.


The only really good use I've seen Scythes put to in D&D is in combination with "Suggestion" or "Sleep". But hey, compared to the mighty Spiked Chain, they're still a solid choice.

I disagree. Maybe it's good only on higher levels, but still it's very good.

At least for heavy Power attacking, strong guys, when those possible 1 - 4 additional damage of greatsword or axe hardly matters, and critical is usually one shot to most enemies.

sonofzeal
2008-02-09, 04:48 PM
IMO it's nitpicking, isn't a Naganata just a type of glaive?

Basically all is similar - quite long, flat cutting (but also capable of trust) blade on the top of pole, unlike bardiches or other stuff with similar blades.
Somewhat. They're similar, but the naginata's blade is substantially longer (25-30 inches, as opposed to 18 for the glaive, according to wikipedia). I don't know if Naginatas have ever been given stats, but I'd treat them like a bastard sword to the glaive's longsword - same basic rules, but exotic and one die size higher.


As for fighting with scythe :

Are you doing some historical fight performance? If so I can agree, as you certainly know what you are talking about then.
Still it looks extremaly cumbersome as a wapon to me.

Of course, it would casue terrible wound, but thats all.
I've done a bit of SCA and LARP combat, and I'm an 8th Kyu at Iaido, but I've never actually fought with a scythe. All I know is that any polearm that can slash will be horribly effective against a swordsman when used wisely (hint: go for the legs or rising blows to the torso), and while a scythe is more awkward than most, it should still get the job done. I'll admit, I'd rather have a voulge or bardiche any day.



I disagree. Maybe it's good only on higher levels, but still it's very good.

At least for heavy Power attacking, strong guys, when those possible 1 - 4 additional damage of greatsword or axe hardly matters, and critical is usually one shot to most enemies.
Granted; I was only reporting personal experience there. I've yet to see someone play a high-crit-mod weapon with any major success, but I have no doubts it works out for some.

Spiryt
2008-02-09, 05:31 PM
Somewhat. They're similar, but the naginata's blade is substantially longer (25-30 inches, as opposed to 18 for the glaive, according to wikipedia). I don't know if Naginatas have ever been given stats, but I'd treat them like a bastard sword to the glaive's longsword - same basic rules, but exotic and one die size higher.
Well, I guess that it's the matter of what you need from your glaive. Arms&armors done two glaives and as you can see blades are around 29'' (http://www.armor.com/custom929.html) and 26'' (http://www.armor.com/custom930.html). There were many differents style of glaive. It seems that naginatas where also differential.


EDIT: Sorry for the triple post, but server has some lags, and it's hard to know what's going on.

Triaxx
2008-02-09, 08:10 PM
Yeah, they roll to confirm the crit. They might make it, and they might not. If they don't, they still hit for normal damage. If they do, it's a much nastier blow, because it's completely unexpected. I recently saw the party barbarian charge up to kill the opposing caster, a sorceror in this case. So he runs up, and finds out that the sorceror had prepared an action. Readied vs. a charge. So the Sorceror attacks, using his scythe. From behind the DM screen, we hear 'Uh-oh.' Critical hit.

'Uh-oh.' Now the DM asks if he's in rage. The answer is no. Silence for several moments and then: 'Sorry, you're dead.' Of course the Monk proceeds to run up and slap the Sorceror in the face dealing five damage and killing him.

Just remember that unless he's wearing chainmail leggings, if you get him in the knees, he's not getting back up. I've always ruled you can make two hamstring attempts with a single action while using the Scythe. The way it's swung you have to get the blade behind their legs and pull forwards, cutting into the soft tissue there. The Scythe isn't particularly good at rising strikes, but you can get quite a bit of momementum going in it, and do some serious damage even to someone in armor.

Fax Celestis
2008-02-09, 08:13 PM
I'm gonna agree with PersonMan that the Psychic Weaponmaster's probably your best bet. Crit threat range increase and crit multiplier increase that stacks with keen/improved critical? Yes please.

SilentNight
2008-02-10, 10:59 AM
No, it is not. The Stunned (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/conditionSummary.htm#stunned) condition, as contrasted with the helpless (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/conditionSummary.htm#helpless) condition. Helpless gives a specific list, and stunned is not on it.




Death Blow, requires Improved Initiative. But prone opponents aren't helpless either, so I'm not sure why you list Knockdown and Improved Trip there.

I realized that a while later.:smallredface: sorry.

Copacetic
2008-02-10, 11:24 AM
Thundering, Keen Scythe. 19-20 crit range, x4 multiplier and does an extra 3d8 on critcals. Not too shabby for the equalivant of a +2 weapon. And this is just the weapon.:smallamused:

Tengu
2008-02-10, 12:01 PM
Thundering, Keen Scythe. 19-20 crit range, x4 multiplier and does an extra 3d8 on critcals. Not too shabby for the equalivant of a +2 weapon. And this is just the weapon.:smallamused:

+3, actually - a magical weapon must be enchanted +1 before it can get any additional properties.

Thrawn183
2008-02-10, 03:21 PM
Psychic Warrior/Master Thrower/Psychic Weapon Master (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/psm/20040827d)
*snip*
Take the Throw Anything feat.

Take one level of Master Thrower. This increases the crit multiplier of your weapon by one step, to *5.

Head into Psychic Weapon Master. This allows you to increase the crit multiplier to *6. And it allows you to increase the crit threat range to 17-20.
*snip*

I started work on trying to build this character, but master thrower specifically says the increase in critical multiplier doesn't stack with any other. Considering the feats you save by not going into master thrower, are there any other prestige classes you would recommend?

John Campbell
2008-02-10, 05:22 PM
Unmodified scythes are awful weapons. Having a yard of heavy blade sticking out at right angles to the snath does terrible things to the center of mass... the balance point of a scythe is not even inside it, but in empty space in the angle between blade and snath. That in turn makes handling them tricky... they have a nasty tendency to try to twist around so that the blade trails behind the snath when swung, which makes them dangerous to the wielder. The crooked snath makes it awkward to grip other than by the handles, and the handles enforce holding and handling it in a particular way. Plus, the blade is sharp only on the inside.

Added all up, this means that the scythe basically has only one effective move: wait until your opponent gets close and sweep it from right to left to cut them off at the knees. That one move is fairly effective, because it's pretty close what the scythe was actually designed and optimized to do. But... it's predictable, it requires your enemy to get closer to you than the range at which a guy with a sword (or, gods forbid, a proper polearm) can easily kill you, and, worst of all, you have no follow-up. If your blow misses, or is blocked, or the enemy steps out of it, or inside it, (and any of these are pretty likely, because, again, predictable) you've got nothing you can do except - maybe, if your opponent hasn't taken advantage of the opportunity to tie up your weapon - bring the scythe back and try the same thing again. You'll very likely be dead before you get the chance.

Straightening the blade connector and remounting it in-line on a straight shaft, as Tengu's link illustrates, gives you a pretty good improvised glaive (or fauchard, or whatever... polearm classificiation really isn't all that exact a science)... not as good as a purpose-built glaive, but effective enough, and a whole hell of a lot better than an unmodified scythe.


Personally, I figure the best thing to do with the D&D scythe is erase where it says "scythe", and write in "pick, two-handed". Then erase the "Slashing" damage type and the whole bit about tripping. The actual scythe can be an improvised weapon, with all the drawbacks thereof.


(And, if we're presenting credentials, I'm an SCA heavy fighter with a dozen years of armored combat experience, a competent polearmsman (and that's "competent" by Northern Army standards), have actually used a scythe for its intended purpose, and experimented enough with it to have a pretty good idea of how it'd handle in combat.)

Chronos
2008-02-10, 06:15 PM
(And, if we're presenting credentials, I'm an SCA heavy fighter with a dozen years of armored combat experience, a competent polearmsman (and that's "competent" by Northern Army standards), have actually used a scythe for its intended purpose, and experimented enough with it to have a pretty good idea of how it'd handle in combat.)Bah, we need someone really qualified. Where's DEATH when you need him?

Parvum
2008-02-10, 06:29 PM
[Logic]

No! Bad! Go sit in the corner with the man who made fun of epic barbarians surviving atmospheric re-entry and anime/300 characters losing blood in excess of enough tankards to flood a small town.

Don't get into a fist fight, though. You'll fly through three panes of glass and have to deal with three papercut-like scratches.

Phae Nymna
2008-02-10, 07:28 PM
Get a Merciful scythe and then knock people out with it (somehow) and then Coup de Grace them.

2d4 (x4) + 1d6 (x4) = Quick(ish) K.O. :thog: