Last Updated on January 22, 2023
The double-bladed scimitar is one of D&D 5e’s most fascinating nonmagical weapons and one of the few weapons to have a property that significantly changes its usage.
While it’s called a scimitar, the weapon is more like a double-ended spear or glaive with curving blades (like scimitar blades) emerging from either end of a shaft of wood. The weapon is meant to be spun in arcing attacks, slashing at your foes from either end of the central staff.
But that’s not what makes it interesting — just what makes it cool to wield.
The double-bladed scimitar grants its wielder an extra attack via Bonus Action basically every round, all without being magical in any way! Usually, such a feat requires, well, a feat — like Crossbow Expert.
However, the double-bladed scimitar has no such requirements, and as such, it can be an extremely attractive option for melee martials. More power means more complexity, and there are a lot of different ways to use this weapon. Despite the clear advantages, there are also situations where it is not the ideal weapon to wield.
If you’re thinking of using this weapon but don’t know how or don’t even know how to get your hands on it, just read this guide for all the information you could want about the double-bladed scimitar.
Stats & Description
Let’s start out with an official look at what the double-bladed scimitar can do.
The double-bladed scimitar is a melee martial weapon that does 2d4 slashing damage when you attack with it. It weighs 6 pounds and is a two-handed weapon, which means there’s no shield-wearing with this weapon.
It also has a special property, which, as mentioned before, allows the wielder an extra attack as a Bonus Action. When you attack with the double-bladed scimitar using the Attack action, you can use your Bonus action to attack again. However, this Bonus action attack only does 1d4 damage instead of the usual 2d4.
Lastly, the double-bladed scimitar costs 100 gp.
Wait, 100 gp for a nonmagical blade weapon? Yes, the double-bladed scimitar has some additional lore attached to its basic stats that ensures the weapon is rare indeed.
Unlike more standard weapons like a greatsword or longsword, the double-bladed scimitar comes with a bunch of lore attached to it.
The weapon is not simply blades attached to the end of a staff or something any competent weapon-maker could put together. Instead, the double-bladed scimitar in D&D 5e is the specific incarnation of a kind of weapon, made by the Valenar elves using precise techniques that create something incredibly light and strong.
The double-bladed scimitar created by the Valenar elves is not a simple weapon or easily mass-produced. Instead, it is something that takes great skill and a lifetime of practice to make. Each weapon is a masterpiece and given only to other elves. A weapon in the hands of a non-elf is itself justification for accusations of theft and perhaps even a challenge to return the Valenar blade.
To those familiar with the blades, it is usually assumed that a non-elf wielding the weapon is an example of looting or theft. Exceptions are made only in the rarest of cases, and the official guidance says that the 100 gp cost is merely an estimate of value. As one might expect, these Valenar double-bladed scimitars are not simply available for sale, even in an area that might commonly sell low-rarity magic items.
Using the Double-Bladed Scimitar
The double-bladed scimitar seems easy to use and clearly superior to other options. However, there are some builds that are better suited to using it and some situations where it is actually not an ideal weapon.
Moreover, it’s worth asking if the extra attack that the double-bladed scimitar allows actually makes up for its d4 damage die. More statistically minded players will wonder if the extra attack is really worth it compared to other two-handed weapons, like a 1d12 greataxe.
Let’s take a look at a comparison chart between the double-bladed scimitar and other two-handed weapons. Generally, two-handed weapons either have a damage die of 1d10 or 2d6. The only exception is the greataxe, as mentioned above, but the damage potential of a 1d12 and 2d6 is the same.
The chart below compares a 1d10 base damage die, the double-bladed scimitar, and a 2d6 base damage die. You can check the average assuming that each weapon gets either one or two attacks since the Extra Attack feature for at least two attacks per Attack action is extremely common for martials.
Also, while we aren’t factoring in class features that boost damage or the extra damage from a high Ability Score, the chart does take into account that the double-bladed scimitar gets to make an extra Bonus Action attack at half damage.
As you can see, the double-bladed scimitar does pretty well. While it is generally worse compared to both the 1d10 and 2d6 options in both scenarios, it’s not that far off. Half a point to 1 point of damage less than a 1d10 weapon isn’t a big difference.
However, when you include the Bonus Action damage, the double-bladed scimitar is comparable to the 2d6 base damage, outpacing weapons like the great sword with a single attack per Attack action and falling just 1.5 points of damage behind when extra attack comes into play.
It seems as if that bonus damage is critical to making the double-bladed scimitar a competitive two-handed weapon, but it still doesn’t stand out as much as you might imagine.
However, that’s because we’re only looking at the base damage. That’s not how martials calculate damage in D&D 5e. You also get to add a modifier from your Ability Score every time you attack!
Let’s look at the table again, this time assuming that our attacker has a Strength of 20. That gives a +5 boost to the damage of every attack.
As you can see, the story is very different. True, the double-bladed scimitar still lags behind even 1d10 weapons when you don’t factor in the Bonus Action attack. But when you do factor that extra attack into the picture, the double-bladed scimitar actually does more damage on average, assuming all attacks hit, than a greatsword.
In fact, it does more damage than any nonmagical weapon in the game!
How is this possible? Well, although the Bonus Action attack receives a damage penalty, only doing 1d4 instead of 2d4 damage, no such penalty applies to the bonus from the attacker’s Ability Score. If a greatsword can attack twice it can do an extra 10 points of damage, but because the double-bladed scimitar can attack three times in that same turn, it does 15 points, enough to make up for lower base damage.
That’s the true power of this weapon. The more damage a weapon can do per attack, the better the double-bladed scimitar will do because of its extra attack every round. If you can stack damage modifiers on this weapon, you can really push the potential of its damage output.
Double Bladed Scimitar vs. Two-Weapon Fighting
There are, of course, other ways to use your Bonus Action to attack, like two-weapon fighting. How does the double-bladed scimitar stack up to this option that’s available to everyone?
Two-weapon fighting is restricted to Light one-handed melee weapons (though you can pick weapons without the Light property with a feat), and you do not get your Ability Score bonus to your Bonus Action attack.
In the best-case scenario, you take a feat and dual-wield rapiers. Your Bonus Action attack is limited to just 1d8 damage or 4.5 damage on average.
In comparison, the double-bladed scimitar will do 1d4 + your Ability Score bonus with its Bonus Action attack. As long your Ability Score bonus is +3 or greater, you’ll do more damage with the double-bladed scimitar — 5.5 damage on average. Plus, you’ll be doing more damage with your regular attacks than the theoretical rapier wielder will since 2d4 does .5 damage more on average than a rapier’s 4.5 average damage.
The only way around this is to take the two-weapon Fighting Style, in which case two-weapon fighting does deal slightly more damage on the offhand attack than the double-bladed scimitar, though it still does less on regular attacks.
Are there any disadvantages to such a glorious weapon? Sadly, yes.
To make this weapon worthwhile, you must regularly use your Bonus Action for the extra attack, and that isn’t always the ideal move. If your build has lots of options for Bonus Actions, your action economy will be constricted, and you won’t be able to use your abilities or deal damage efficiently. You probably shouldn’t use a double-bladed scimitar if you have a lot of Bonus Action options.
Moreover, the rarity and lore of the weapon mean it might be quite difficult to get, especially at low levels. Your DM may even decide the weapon is simply not accessible to you!
Best Builds for the Double-Bladed Scimitar
If you do want to use the double-bladed scimitar, what are your options for maximizing its effectiveness?
There are not a lot of feats that specifically improve the use of the double-bladed scimitar. However, the racial feat Revenant Blade is designed for this weapon specifically.
If you are an elf, you can take Revenant Blade to increase your Strength or Dexterity by +1, get a +1 bonus to your AC while wielding the double-bladed scimitar in two hands, and gain the ability to use the double-bladed scimitar as if it had the Finesse property (allowing you to wield it with Dexterity instead of Strength).
As mentioned previously, the best classes and builds for using this weapon will be those that have few in-combat options for your Bonus Action. That said, that isn’t a hard and fast rule.
Pact of the Blade Hexblade warlocks can make excellent use of this weapon. At level three, this build can wield their pact weapon with Charisma instead of Strength or Dexterity.
Moreover, they can summon their weapon directly, so you can bypass the need to find a real double-bladed scimitar out in the world. With Eldritch Invocations like Lifedrinker (extra necrotic damage per attack) and Thirsting Blade (extra attack per attack action), you can really stack the damage.
The only disadvantage is that you won’t be able to use a weapon with its own magical abilities if you rely on simply creating your pact weapon.
I also recommend using the double-bladed scimitar with barbarians of just about any subclass. As a barbarian, you won’t miss the ability to use a shield, and you even get to add extra rage damage to each of your attacks.
The downside here is you need to use your first Bonus Action to rage, but this is a pretty small cost, and barbarians rarely have much to do with their bonus actions after that initial startup.
Of course, there are other builds and classes that can work well with this weapon, like the paladin or maybe even a fighter. However, these two are my personal recommendations.
Magical Options for Double-Bladed Scimitars
There are virtually no official options for magical double-bladed scimitars and very few homebrew options out there. The weapon is simply relatively new and not very well known.
That means any version of this weapon that is magical will have to be homebrewed. As always, copying the stats from other magical melee weapons that aren’t weapon specific is a great way to create balanced content.
However, with the double-bladed scimitar specifically, I have two cautions for DMs out there looking to homebrew.
Firstly, given the lore of this weapon, no magical version should be anything less than Rare. The weapon simply isn’t common enough to be enchanted with less powerful magics. Plus, the rarity of the weapon has a role to play in its value, and regardless of the enchantment, the weapon’s value should be inflated simply due to the difficulty of making it.
Secondly, I would be cautious about granting the weapon abilities that add bonus damage per attack. Standard +1 to +3 bonuses are fine, and it would be problematic not to let a player have these. However, abilities that, for example, grant an extra 1d4 or 1d6 elemental damage to a weapon are particularly powerful with the double-bladed scimitar. They aren’t game-breaking, especially with the multitude of ways a bonus action can be turned into an extra attack, but you should be aware of the power of extra damage per attack and plan for it in your encounters.
Outside of those two considerations, happy homebrewing!
The double-bladed scimitar is a weapon not well known both in D&D 5e and in the real world. Hopefully, in the real world, that will change, and we’ll get more magical double-bladed scimitars with enchantments specific to their abilities and lore.
The weapon is fantastic allowing unlimited Bonus Action attacks. The next easiest way for a player to get those is to take the Polearm Master feat!
While the damage die is low, don’t let that put you off. The weapon can compete with and even outcompete other two-handed weapons. Players who like to maximize their attacks will love this weapon, and its unique lore is a boon for DMs looking to cause trouble.
If your players want to take this weapon but don’t want to play as an elf, let them! Later, at the worst possible moment, an elf might show up to challenge them for the right to wield such a weapon.
In short, the double-bladed scimitar is one of the more interesting and potentially powerful base weapons in the game, and whether you’re a DM or a player, it’s definitely worth playing around with in your campaign.
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Growing up I spent most of my time reading, so when I first started playing RPGs in middle school and got a copy of DnD 3.5’s rules I loved their collaborative take on storytelling. These days I like to use RPGs to develop my creative problem-solving skills as well.