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Old 09-23-2009, 10:04 PM   #1
NorphTehDwarf
 
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Default So how exactly do people fight with scythes?

It seems like just about every imaginable medieval or even just vaguely medieval-ish RPG has stats for scythes. When I see 'scythe' I always picture the big two-handed affair used by the Grim Reaper and the Amish, and most secondary stats (weight, strength requirements, et cetera) seem to agree with me. I understand that it's possible to hit someone with such a contraption, but for the life of me I can't understand how it can do as much damage as most books assign to it.

Is there anyone here who can explain to me how a human being would fight with such a thing? If no one here can help me out I may have to reality check it, and I don't even know if Home Depot has a scythe section--and I'd like to keep all my extremities intact, too. So if you can explain how someone would use such a thing to lay the hurt down on anyone but himself, please, please do so.
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Old 09-23-2009, 10:08 PM   #2
Mailanka
 
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Default Re: So how exactly do people fight with scythes?

Awesomely, preferably with a black, tattered cloak fluttering around you on a fierce wind, with swift attacks that leave ominous, silvery-or-red-or-black trails of gothic goodness behind them.

I don't think the inclusion of a scythe was ever meant to be, in anyway, realistic, but rather, stylistic.

(I'd imagine you'd fight with it something like a two-handed axe or a really awkward glaive. Mind you, there are some martial arts based on scythes, but those are vastly more practical one-handed little things)
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Old 09-23-2009, 10:21 PM   #3
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Default Re: So how exactly do people fight with scythes?

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Originally Posted by Mailanka View Post
Awesomely, preferably with a black, tattered cloak fluttering around you on a fierce wind, with swift attacks that leave ominous, silvery-or-red-or-black trails of gothic goodness behind them.

I don't think the inclusion of a scythe was ever meant to be, in anyway, realistic, but rather, stylistic.

(I'd imagine you'd fight with it something like a two-handed axe or a really awkward glaive. Mind you, there are some martial arts based on scythes, but those are vastly more practical one-handed little things)
Pretty much this. I think that main reason for their inclusion is that Death and minions thereof often have them, and some players will whine if there isn't a rule for how fast they can kill you. Looking at the scythe I've got, if I had to hurt someone with it i think that I'd go for a hamstringing/leg crippling shot, then drop the thing and run for it.
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Old 09-23-2009, 10:26 PM   #4
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Default Re: So how exactly do people fight with scythes?

Against an unskilled opponent (and probably many who are skilled) there's probably some amount of psychological warfare that goes along with using a scythe as well.

My thoughts on the subject are similar to Dal's. I could possibly see the scythe working as a tripping weapon of some sort.
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Old 09-23-2009, 10:40 PM   #5
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Default Re: So how exactly do people fight with scythes?

In D&D 3e, scythes occupy what I call the Stupid Weapon category. Weapons of the Stupid type (or Bloody Stupid subtype) are exaggerated or fanciful versions of real-life objects or outright fantasy inventions. The spiked chain is another textbook example. Their stats can be all over the place, but as a rule, they all have inexplicably massive critical damage multipliers.
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Old 09-23-2009, 10:44 PM   #6
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Default Re: So how exactly do people fight with scythes?

"Although the scythe isn't pre-eminent among weapons of war, anyone who has been on the wrong end of, say, a peasant's revolt will know that in skilled hands it is fearsome. Once its owner gets it weaving and spinning no-one - including the wielder - is quite certain where the blade is now and where it will be next."

- Terry Pratchett, Mort
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Old 09-23-2009, 10:58 PM   #7
NorphTehDwarf
 
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Default Re: So how exactly do people fight with scythes?

Thanks, all. "Cool but useless" was kind of what I arrived at too, but I guess some part of the nerd hind-brain was hoping against hope that somewhere out there exist people who kick ass with agricultural implements poorly adapted to fighting.
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Old 09-23-2009, 11:48 PM   #8
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Default Re: So how exactly do people fight with scythes?

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Originally Posted by Tommi_Kovala View Post
In D&D 3e, scythes occupy what I call the Stupid Weapon category. Weapons of the Stupid type (or Bloody Stupid subtype) are exaggerated or fanciful versions of real-life objects or outright fantasy inventions. The spiked chain is another textbook example. Their stats can be all over the place, but as a rule, they all have inexplicably massive critical damage multipliers.
I used to think that too, but I could actually see a spiked chain being used. I always imagined (contrary to what the artwork showed) that there would be some area of the chain to serve as a handle. The method of using one could be similar to quite a few other weapons such as nunchaku, possibly the lasso, and various others. It would depend upon how it was designed. The way it is portrayed in the artwork -from what I remember- would make it virtually impossible to use without hurting yourself though. As hard as it is to believe, there actually are a few RL weapons which have somewhat of an analogy to the D&D spiked chain, but they're all somewhat obscure and finding someone who actually knows how to use them is more rare than actually finding the weapons.

As for the scythe... I can imagine it being used, but it seems as though it would be difficult to handle. I suppose someone who had a lot of experience with one (possibly via farming and harvesting crops) would have a nasty trick or two to employ during a fight. I still suspect that someone skilled with a sword or another martially designed implement would probably fair better than someone using a scythe though. Still, I could possible see someone with unusual training learning to use a scythe in a manner similar to a quarterstaff or possibly some sort of polearm.

I'm far from an expert on weapons; just spelling out how I imagine it in my head.
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Old 09-24-2009, 12:26 AM   #9
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Default Re: So how exactly do people fight with scythes?

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Originally Posted by NorphTehDwarf View Post
Is there anyone here who can explain to me how a human being would fight with such a thing?
You take it to the village blacksmith and get him to straighten out the tang. Then you have a long single-edged blade on a middling-short handle, all more-or-less straight. A war scythe is similar to a fauchard.

It's a classic improvised weapon for peasant uprisings, particularly in Poland.

Last edited by Agemegos; 09-24-2009 at 07:06 AM.
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Old 09-24-2009, 01:43 AM   #10
sjard
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Default Re: So how exactly do people fight with scythes?

Having used one in real life, the only possible way I could see it working would be to try and chop the feet out from under the enemy. It is most definitely a cinematic weapon.
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