Sickles in DnD 5e

Sickles in DnD 5e

Sickle

  • Type: Simple Melee Weapon
  • Cost: 1 gp
  • Weight: 2 pounds
  • Damage: 1d4 slashing
  • Properties: Light

Proficiency with a sickle allows you to add your proficiency bonus to the attack roll for any attack you make with it.

The sickle is a weapon from an agrarian source. Farmers and foragers use them to cut herbs, vegetables, and fruit. They can be used in both combat and psycho-slasher scenarios, but their first purpose is to be a gardening tool.

Though they cost 1gp, the truth is that everyone who has a sickle got one from their great-great-grandfather who forged it in the first fires of the village. High-quality iron tools like this last forever.

However, because they are such great tools, they aren’t very good weapons.

The dagger is objectively better. It does the same damage, the same people are proficient with it, and the damage on a dagger is interchangeable with Dexterity or Strength.

You can also throw a dagger. You can’t throw a sickle. It goes badly, trust me.

However, the sickle is a much more common item than a dagger. If you need to arm a bunch of peasants, foragers, or otherwise peaceful people, giving them all sickles is a perfectly reasonable thing to do. Otherwise, your players might wonder why all of these villagers walk around with perfectly balanced double-edged daggers in their belts.

Improving the Standard Sickle

Let’s face it — sickles just look cool! They’ve got this wicked curve that is designed for lopping off limbs. Plus, as a tool for land-based people, foragers, and farmers, they meet a flavorful niche that can’t be met in other ways.

How can we make the sickle work in DnD 5e?

Before we get into magic sickles, let’s see what we can do with the basic rules to make them more viable.

Sickles for Spellcasters

Being agrarian and land-based tools, it is perfectly reasonable to expect to find sickles as ceremonial objects. A silver sickle with its shape and color could be representative of the moon. A sickle used to harvest a ritually important plant like mistletoe could have magical significance.

For these reasons, we should consider how sickles can be used by spellcasters as alternatives to staffs or daggers.

Druids, Archfey Warlocks, and Nature or Twilight Domain Clerics could be allowed to wield sickles as spell foci and weapons at the same time. Such a character would still need the War Caster feat in order to wield a shield.

Since the sickle is also commonly associated with Death and various Deathly archetypes, Undying, Undead Warlocks, Necromancer Wizards, and Shadow Sorcerors could also be considered to use sickles as a spellcasting focus.

Specialty Sickles

A very common ninja weapon in modern legend is the kusari-gama or the chain sickle. The idea is that there is a sickle with a chain that has a weighted ball or a small dagger on the other end.

This sickle would essentially be a whip and a sickle combined.

I made one here:

Kusari-gama

  • Type: Martial Melee Weapon
  • Cost: 2 gp
  • Weight: 3 pounds
  • Damage: 1d4 slashing or bludgeoning
  • Properties: Light, Reach (10 ft.), Finesse

Proficiency with a sickle allows you to add your proficiency bonus to the attack roll for any attack you make with it.

Note that it has the finesse and reach properties, allowing you to throw out the chain and attack that way.

Kusari-gamas are also available to Monks.

Magic Sickles

Available in Tasha’s, The Moon Sickle is one of the best Druid- and Ranger-specific weapons in the game.

Moon Sickle

Weapon (sickle), varies (requires attunement by a Druid or Ranger)

This silver-bladed sickle glimmers softly with moonlight. While holding this magic weapon, you gain a bonus to attack and damage rolls made with it, and you gain a bonus to spell attack rolls and the saving throw DCs of your Druid and Ranger spells. The bonus is determined by the weapon’s rarity. In addition, you can use the sickle as a spellcasting focus for your Druid and Ranger spells.

When you cast a spell that restores hit points, you can roll a d4 and add the number rolled to the number of hit points restored, provided you are holding the sickle.

A personal favorite of mine is a homebrew sickle I made after learning that a silver sickle was used in the burial rites of Northern Europe and Scandinavia when they believed the buried person was at risk of becoming a vampire or a walking dead.

This sickle is called the Undead Harvester.

Undead Harvester

Weapon (sickle), varies (requires attunement)

This silver-bladed sickle is adorned with runes along the blade and the handle. It comes in three variations: Minor, Major, and Greater

The Minor Undead Harvester is an uncommon weapon that grants a +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls, and when facing undead, you are granted an extra 1d10 radiant damage.

The Major Undead Harvester is a rare weapon that grants a +2 to attack and damage rolls, and when facing undead, you sever a limb on a critical hit, thus reducing the undead’s speed by half and granting them a disadvantage on attacks. This benefit is in addition to the damage bonus of the Minor version of this weapon.

The Greater Undead Harvester is a very rare weapon that grants a +3 to attack and damage rolls, grants the benefits of the major and minor versions of this weapon, and automatically kills any undead of a CR 1 or lower on a critical hit.