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Tuesday Magic Item – Scythe of the Harvest God

31 May, 2022

Let the harvest begin“That is one fancy scythe,” said Voddick, looking over the supposed agricultural tool, that was decorated with gold leaf and the blued steel blade was decorated with pastoral scenes in gold and silver.

“Truth,” agreed Gollaon, “it is a powerful ensorcelled item as well.  I have seen one other like it, though far away.”

“So it will be used for the harvest tomorrow?”

“Yes, it will be impressive, though taxing upon the reaper.”

Scythe of the Harvest God

These scythes are beautiful, as much works of art as tools for agricultural work.  Harvest scenes or abstract versions of grains are popular as are marks of the gods of harvest.  The scythes are virtually indestructable requiring divine intervention or specific circumstances unique to each scythe.

It is a masterwork scythe, comfortable to use and as light as a feather when used to harvest grain.  A reaper using it can work for four hours before even beginning to tire.

But on the first day of the harvest, the reaper using it can call upon the god of the harvest and briefly embody the divine as an avatar.  The reaper and scythe grow to tremendous size and can harvest as much as a hundred reapers and the grain stalks are swept by winds into rough bushels.  Once they have begun, they will not stop until all the fields they can reach with ripe grain have been harvested or the sun has set.

The avatar is single-minded, intent only on its task of reaping the fields.  Should a person or animal get in the way, the harvester will not stop, and someone in the way of the scythe must make a Reflex save (DC 18) or take 3d10+7 points of slashing damage.  If one wishes to stop the avatar of the harvest, treat it as a Strom Giant with DR 5/+1 and Resistance to Fire 10.  When its hit points is reduced to zero, the person who embodied the avatar is revealed as the avatar dissolves into chaff and dust.

The avatar also dissolves, but much more happily, after all the fields it can reach have been reaped or the sun sets.  The embodiment of the avatar must make a Fortitude save (DC 14 + number of hours worked) if the save is made, they are exhausted, if it is failed then they also take one point of Constitution damage for each point they failed the save by.  The save DC is increased by 7 if the avatar was dispersed by damage inflicted upon it.

If the culture using the scythe has multiple grains to harvest, say barley and wheat, the scythe can be used for each harvest,

Aura strong transmutation; CL 17th; Slot none; Weight 10 lbs.

For D&D 5E:

Wondrous item (scythe), legendary (requires attunement)

First three paragraphs as above.

The avatar is single-minded, intent only on its task of reaping the fields.  Should a person or animal get in the way, the harvester will not stop, and someone in the way of the scythe must make a Dexterity save (DC 18) or take 3d10+5 points of slashing damage.  If one wishes to stop the avatar of the harvest, treat it as a Strom Giant with Resistance to Bludgeoning, Piercing and Slashing from non-magical weapons and Fire.  When its hit points is reduced to zero, the person who embodied the avatar is revealed as the avatar dissolves into chaff and dust.

The avatar also dissolves, but much more happily, after all the fields it can reach have been reaped or the sun sets.  The embodiment of the avatar must make a Constitution saving throw save (DC 12 + number of hours worked) if the save is made, they suffer two levels of exhaustion, if it is failed that also take one additional level of exhaustion plus a further level for each four full points they failed the save by.  The save DC is increased by 5 if the avatar was dispersed by damage inflicted upon it.

If the culture using the scythe has multiple grains to harvest, say barley and wheat, the scythe can be used for each harvest.

Notes: Again, a useful item, one that is designed for a positive and helpful use, but also one that could be turned to war or unpleasantness.  The version of these items that exist in the Sea of Stars are known as the Scythe of the Harvest Giant, as the dragons have no wish to call attention to the dead gods.

Image Saturn with his scythe, above, an angel looking heavenward from the Wellcome Collection and is in the Public Domain.

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