D&D General Druids and Path Dependency: Why the Scimitar Helps Illuminate D&D

DrunkonDuty

he/him
One thing later editions seem to have right is the shape changing. Many of the the Irish/British examples of druids involve changing their own and others' shapes. I have heard a theory that the Song of Amergin, from the Book of Invasions, is an expression of belief in reincarnation.

One possible translation of Amergina is "White Knees." I suspect it is a mistranslation and is supposed to be "White Russian."
 

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Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
The khopesh, the jambiya, the saber, the cutlass, the falx, maybe even the nagamaki?
Interesting enough of course Falx is indeed derived from the Sica (Sickle) and referred to a range of Sickle bladed weapons of various lengths. So having Druid sickles inspire longer Falx-like weapons makes sense for DnD worlds, calling them Scimitar is just a result of different cultural influences converging
 

James Gasik

Legend
Interesting enough of course Falx is indeed derived from the Sica (Sickle) and referred to a range of Sickle bladed weapons of various lengths. So having Druid sickles inspire longer Falx-like weapons makes sense for DnD worlds, calling them Scimitar is just a result of different cultural influences converging
Ever since I heard about the Dacian Falx and how devastating it was in combat, I've wanted to use one in a game. Though I'll probably just end up refluffing a glaive and sighing, lol.
 




Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
Kopesh is an axe blade weapon though not a sickle blade,
Are we talking about the same thing?
1663990138410.jpeg
 

Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
Are we talking about the same thing?
View attachment 262271
Yes, Kopesh were developed from the epsilon axe and it is the outer curve edge that was used to cut not the inside (which was used as a hook however) - the Kopesh is in fact the opposite of a sickle bladed weapon where the inside cresent is the cutting edge

698E7633-E131-4609-AA55-74DFA3054830.jpeg


as opposed to the Dacian Falx which was sickle bladed
A2ED8877-86D3-4C21-B609-55E80C15EDCF.jpeg
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
Yes, Kopesh were developed from the epsilon axe and it is the outer curve edge that was used to cut not the inside (which was used as a hook however) - the Kopesh is in fact the opposite of a sickle bladed weapon where the inside cresent is the cutting edge

View attachment 262273

as opposed to the Dacian Falx which was sickle bladed
View attachment 262274
I see what you’re saying, but a scimitar’s cutting edge is on the outside too. At least a khopesh is actually shaped like a sickle.
 





Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
I’m not sure path dependency is really an issue for swapping out the scimitar for a sickle now. There’s just no real knock-on effect to removing it from the druid. I see path dependency as more akin to the difficulties of changing armor to damage reduction rather than being harder to hit or replacing Vancian casting, for example. There’s just too many other things that would need to change for these to happen and the question of the game still feeling like D&D. That’s not the case with a druid using a scimitar or not.

So I was going to address this before being interrupted by the Snickers-deprived.

You raise a great point- I am not using path dependency here in the sense that we often think about it; in other words, that the cost of switching is so high that superior alternatives are not utilized. Instead, I am thinking of it in the more banal sense ... that history matters, and that the decisions of the past had necessary and crucial effects upon the present.

When it comes to the very nature of class identities in D&D, I think that there is a fair amount of path dependency. Some classes, such as Druids, are a prime example of this. They aren't really represented in fantasy literature. They aren't really a part of the general time period of even the generously-expanded general D&D medieval/Renaissance range. They aren't based on an accurate representation of the past- and but are instead a very specific misconception that had a great amount of currency in the 60s and 70s.

In many ways, Druids are essentially D&Disms. The very markers we associate with Druids (shape changing, no metal armor, scimitars, even the specific spells) were all set out when the class started, and absent those signifiers, the "class" doesn't exist.

Now, this was going to be the first part of a three part series (the next one to contrast the Ranger, and the third to g deeper into the difference with non-crunch rules like the "no armor") but it's apparent I'm not going to start threads for a while. :)
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
In many ways, Druids are essentially D&Disms. The very markers we associate with Druids (shape changing, no metal armor, scimitars, even the specific spells) were all set out when the class started, and absent those signifiers, the "class" doesn't exist.

Now, this was going to be the first part of a three part series (the next one to contrast the Ranger, and the third to g deeper into the difference with non-crunch rules like the "no armor") but it's apparent I'm not going to start threads for a while. :)
snick.gif
 


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