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.
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)
17-30. No Prefix
Table 2 – Polearm Type (1d20)
12. Pronged Hammer
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).