By the book, the sickle isn't a finesse weapon. Would game balance suffer were I to house rule the sickle into a finesse weapon?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Wait so I can't ask questions which ask DMs there opinion... ummm ok i guess I'll go to a different forum then. I'm a very new DM so just kind of wanted to know if others do the same. Well ok I guess you can shut this down I can't really re word it, thats the question I'll just have to go somewhere else \$\endgroup\$ Aug 26, 2016 at 9:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ Hi @JudgeArmada, and welcome. I encourage you to take the tour and read some existing Q&A to get a better sense of what we're about. We're not a forum, but an expert Q&A site. However, we do have a list of forums we suggest if you're looking to discuss a question like this. Happy gaming! \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60
    Aug 26, 2016 at 10:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ah ok sorry I didn't realise it was that kind of thing. Thank you anyway! you can close this down. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 26, 2016 at 10:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ I edited your question so that it should now fit the site's guidelines. Answers should be from those who have either used such a house rule themselves and can evaluate its effect or have experience enough with the system to assess this change's possible butterfly effect. If it turns out this edit is too different from your original question, feel free to roll it back or edit it further. Thank you for participating and have fun. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 26, 2016 at 10:44

1 Answer 1


No, it does not.

The damage dice for the sickle according to the PHB (149) is 1d4 slashing damage and only property is being light. To put things into perspective is best to use the closest simple weapon that fulfill the finesse property, that is the dagger. The dagger do 1d4 piercing damage and has the finesse, light, and throwing properties. Given that both weapons have identical damage, it is safe to assume that the consequences of giving the finesse property would make no difference. But, to try to expand the answer.

Bypassing damage resistance

As far as balance is concerned this is one of the biggest points to address. Given that creatures can have resistance to one type of damage, the question would be, does it make any impact? Well, let see, first we have to analyse which classes would benefit for this. First, we take from the equation any class with the martial weapon proficiency, since there are better weapons for those classes, the monk class because can turn any monk weapon into a DEX based weapon, and any caster class that won't be hitting things on melee. That leave us with the Rogue, Druid, Bard, and Cleric.

Lets reduce a bit more, the druid can use Scimitars, a 1d6 slashing martial weapon with the light and finesse properties. A better alternative than the sickle. So, this leave us with the rogue, bard and cleric. The highest damaging weapon that the rogue and bard can use is the rapier, a 1d8 piercing weapon with the finesse property. And this is where we are going to take into consideration the damage resistance.

Let assume that we have an enemy with piercing resistance (that is, it reduces by half any piercing damage it takes).

Rapier: 1d8 + 5. The average damage of 1d8 is 4.5 so 4.5 + 5 = 9.5 points of damage. Applying the resistance would yield 4.75 points of damage on average.

Sickle: 1d4 + 5. The average damage of a 1d4 is 2.5 +5 = 7.5.

The difference is 2.75 points of damage per hit favoring the sickle. Nothing to write home about, though. That is, taking in consideration just the weapon attack. The real difference comes when you consider the rogue's Sneak Attack, where the damage reduction really hurt the overall damage outcome. The other classes do not benefit from this as much, since they or have some martial archetypes or their main form of attack is not melee.

Therefore, the only class that really benefits from this change is the rogue, but it has alternatives to solve this problems: Multi-classing and feats. Funny enough, the rogue is the class that has more ASI/feats than the norm, second to the fighter, and that really benefits from a bit of multi-classing. So, there is not really a big advantage to the rogue, specially if the player wants to maximize the damage it can do.

Retracting a decision

As the DM you have all the rights to retract a decision on your games. If a change suddenly seems more powerful than expected and its ruining everyone game, you can always take it back.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I was writing an answer, but this covers everything I was going to say. \$\endgroup\$
    – Miniman
    Aug 26, 2016 at 15:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ For interest's sake, there are 10 monsters in the Monster Manual who have piercing resistance - if you'd like a specific example to include in your answer, the Flameskull is one. \$\endgroup\$
    – Miniman
    Aug 26, 2016 at 15:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast yes the fighter is the other class that has more feats/asi than the norm, and more than the rogue. Thoguh what I said is not wrong, I'll fix it. \$\endgroup\$
    – Chepelink
    Aug 26, 2016 at 15:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Miniman yup, I'll try to add it, though it'll be a little later \$\endgroup\$
    – Chepelink
    Aug 26, 2016 at 15:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Miniman cest la vie \$\endgroup\$ Aug 26, 2016 at 17:18

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