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Bill! Glaive! Glaive-Guisarme with Hook! The medieval man-at-arms was most commonly equipped with one of a strange assortment of polearms instead of a trusty sword or even a club (at least you can expect he’ll know what to call a club!)

AD&D1e players in particular were assaulted by a massive variety of polearms in the core rules. As a Basic D&D fan, I particularly love the variety of stats they are given.

  • Glaive: 1d10 damage, 2 handed, 7 gp.
  • Bill: 1d10 damage, 2 handed, 7 gp.
  • Bohemian Ear-Spoon: 1d10 damage, 2 handed, 7 gp.
  • Glaive-Guisarme with Hook: 1d10 damage, 2 handed, 7 gp.
  • Etc.
A variety of halberds... but there might be an orcish bill-voulge with hook mixed in there...

A variety of halberds... but there might be an orcish bill-voulge with hook mixed in there...

So here is a system to make sure that every polearm in your game is unique.

Roll on Tables 1,2 and 3 to determine what kind of polearm you are dealing with. If you want to weight the tables towards the even more bizarre than listed, roll 1d20 on table 1, and 1d12 on table 3.

Table 1 – Prefix (1d30)
01. Antaran
02. Double
03. Dwarven
04. Elven
05. Entish
06. Gnomish
07. Goblin
08. Golden
09. Halfling
10. Hobgoblin
11. Iron
12. Massive
13. Molian
14. Orcish
15. Reticulated
16. Serrated
17-30. No Prefix

Table 2 – Polearm Type (1d20)
01. Bardiche
02. Bill
03. Fauchard
04. Fork
05. Glaive
06. Guisarme
07. Hache
08. Halberd
09. Partisan
10. Pike
11. Poleaxe
12. Pronged Hammer
13. Ranseur
14. Spetum
15. Spontoon
16. Voulge
17-20. Roll again twice

Table 3 – Suffix (Roll 1d20)
01. with Bill-Hook
02. with Fluke
03. with Fork
04. with Hilt
05. with Hilt-Hook
06. with Hook
07. with Spear
08. with Spike
09-10. Roll 1d8 twice (with x and y)
11-20. No Suffix

So, in Return to the Lost yet Plundered Temple of Illhan the Binder, our heroes find a polearm +1, +3 against lizards. To add some verisimilitude to the discovery, the dice are pulled out and we get an Elven Voulge-Partisan with Spike and Bill-Hook +1, +3 against lizards. Those elves sure hate lizards… In game terms it is just like a Goblin Pronged Hammer or a Double Bill-Bardiche with Hilt-Hook (both obviously +1, +3 against lizards).