OneDnD What, exactly, is a 5e "scimitar"?

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
I'll just drop in to say
4 feet or more = Berserk long

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Could be bigger?


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Yaarel

Mind Mage
I always thought D&D got it from the scimitars encountered during the crusades into the Middle East.
I think that is true, but even these medieval scimitars seem to emerge later from the 1200s on. Earlier, the Mideast was generally still using straight swords. My impression is, Saladin who captured Crusader Jerusalem in the latter 1100s, was wielding one of these long curved sabers. His family is Kurd, but they served a Turkic governor, and Saladin adopted the saber from this.

I suspect the D&D "finesse light" sabers has more to do with Drizzt the drow. Seriously. Albeit this tradition improperly assigns the two-weapon fighting to a weapon property. Drizzt was able to wield two weapons, because the Drow race in earlier editions is truly and fully ambidextrous. So it is a race trait, not a weapon property.
 



Yaarel

Mind Mage
I am unsure if this true for all 3e, but going by the 3e SRD, the weapons of interest here are as follows:

SIMPLE WEAPONS
Sickle 1d6 slashing: light

MARTIAL WEAPONS
Kukri (= Khukuri) 1d4 piercing: light
Short Sword 1d6 piercing: light
Longsword 1d8 slashing
Rapier 1d6 piercing
Scimitar 1d6 slashing
Falchion 2d4 slashing: two-handed
Greatsword 2d6 slashing
Bastard Sword 1d10 slashing: (one-handed!)



Heh, the 3e Weapons Table is more of a mess than 5e is, and occasionally incorrect. But is here for comparison. Note how rapier deals 1d6 damage, which seems more accurate. But twohand falchion and onehand bastard sword are possible, but less characteristic of these weapons generally. Falchion and scimitar appear redundant, or perhaps even reversed, where the falchion is properly the onehand weapon.

Note, 4e and 5e correctly understand the "longsword" to be longer (3-4 feet) than the normal sword (2-3 feet). Whence the 5e longsword is "versatile" to optionally use both hands such as for a claymore.
 
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No, I'm not describing a maul. I'm describing an anvil on a stick.
EDIT: Making the point that sometimes I'd rather imagine something impractical/impossible but aesthetically cool (imo), than imagine something historically/functionally accurate.

Yeah, that's a way of looking at it. I wouldn't go as far as "anime-swords" but I don't mind some silliness. I once modded a heavily armoured mini to make a Warforged. I made a flail that looked a bit like the one the Witch-King had in LotR. Because why not? The character was a "robot"!

I'll just drop in to say
4 feet or more = Berserk long
Whichever example we use, they're all weapons designed for superhumans to wield, or at least not taking into account having to swing the thing dozens-to-hundreds of time on a battlefield using regular human stamina. Perhaps more primary is the question of is historical accuracy a goal? It sure isn't for much of the rest of the game (unless the world is populated by more monster-and-treasure-filled-subterranean-buildings than I'm aware of), and the knee-jerk attempt to do so for the weapon-and-armor-users exclusively is a big part of the martial-caster debate*.
*that said, calling weapons by specific terms and/or removing studded leather/leather/ring mail/splint and replacing them with cuir bouilli/brigandine/coat of plate/lamellar/other historical armors is pretty far-afield from this.
I am unsure if this true for all 3e, but going by the 3e SRD, the weapons of interest here are as follows:

SIMPLE WEAPONS
Sickle 1d6 slashing: light

MARTIAL WEAPONS
Kukri (= Khukuri) 1d4 piercing: light
Short Sword 1d6 piercing: light
Longsword 1d8 slashing
Rapier 1d6 piercing
Scimitar 1d6 slashing
Falchion 2d4 slashing: two-handed
Greatsword 2d6 slashing
Bastard Sword 1d10 slashing: (one-handed!)

Heh, the 3e Weapons Table is more of a mess than 5e is, and occasionally incorrect. But is here for comparison. Note how rapier deals 1d6 damage, which seems more accurate. But twohand falchion and onehand bastard sword are possible, but less characteristic of these weapons generally. Falchion and scimitar appear redundant, or perhaps even reversed, where the falchion is properly the onehand weapon.

Note, 4e and 5e correctly understand the "longsword" to be longer (3-4 feet) than the normal sword (2-3 feet). Whence the 5e longsword is "versatile" to optionally use both hands such as for a claymore.
3e has a bunch of wrinkles in the concept because they were trying to fit existing weapons into a paradigm where you had the 'short/long/bastard/greatsword' model (19-20 crit, 1d8 for the non-light 1H version) and then the '-1 avg damage for 18-20 crit' variants (kukri/scimitar/falchion). Also the axe model with x3 instead of 19-20 and a '-1 avg. damage for x4 crit' variant on the other side. They needed a curvy blade (or really just a blade sufficiently distinct from the default line) and then shorter and longer versions of that, and thus we got kukri, scimitar, falchion (if there was a specific reasoning behind falchion being the 2H version, I sure don't know about it).

I'm really glad that they finally got longsword in the 'one hand, plus' slot, if only because it reduced how often we've gotten someone pop up thinking they would be the only person to know that (and then the people posting the 'well, akshually' meme to mock them for that, and so on). Here's hoping the next edition does the same with brigandine/studded.

I'm not 100% sure I know what you were trying to show with this post. What component of the conversation does this address? For example, what about a rapier doing 1d6 damage is 'more accurate,' and why? Thanks!
 




MrWildman

Explorer
Yeah, even tho the "pirates of the Caribbean" are modern from the 1600s onward, they have found their way into D&D fantasy well enough.

Despite being modern, the "cutlass" is a reallife weapon that can match the 5e Weapons Table stats.

That's how I envision the 5e scimitar; not a horseman's sabre but a sailor's hanger.
I find it easy to explain to players, too: "Like Jack Sparrow" is all I need to say.
 

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