Across the chaotic battlefields of Dungeons & Dragons, one long-shafted weapon strikes fear into the hearts of monsters and adventurers alike. The mighty halberd towers over the fray, turning the tide with each devastating swing.
Yet new heroes often overlook this stalwart armament. “A halberd?” they scoff. “Those gangly things are for lowly guardsmen, not destined champions like myself!” These arrogant words are often last regrets, as veteran halberdiers cleave fools who underestimate them.
Do not repeat their fatal misstep. The halberd waits patiently in obscurity, eager to find a new champion. Study its secrets, learn its powers, and claim your destiny as a master halberdier.
This tome contains everything an aspiring warrior needs to embrace the halberd's full potential. From weighing statistics to weaving lore, you will become a true expert worthy of this legendary weapon. Read on, brave soul, and join the elite ranks of the halberdiers!
Chapter I: Anatomy of a Polearm
Before planning cunning battlefield tactics, you must first understand the halberd itself. This winged spear is no clumsy club – it is an elegant killing machine, calibrated through generations of warfare.
At its heart lies the timeless spear, humanity's trusted companion since the first cave-dwellers lashed stones to sticks. By combining the spear's versatility with specialized attachments, the halberd gains new purpose and power.
The Business Ends
A typical halberd features three integrated tools, each deadly in its own right:
- Spear Tip – Often over a foot in length, the central spike delivers piercing blows capable of puncturing heavy armor. Assign this tool to eliminate powerful, well-protected foes.
- Ax Blade – Mounted alongside the spearhead, the ax head chops with tremendous force. Use broad swings to cleave through hordes of unarmored enemies.
- Spike – Opposite the ax, a hooking spike protrudes. This vicious point can pull riders from saddles and dig into joints at close range.
Though some halberds boast further enhancements like integrated hammers or extra spikes, most adhere to this efficient trifecta of stab, slice, and snag. Each phase of combat calls for a different business end. Learn your weapon's capacities, and you will always prevail.
The core statistics of the halberd reveal why seasoned warriors favor its tactical balance:
- Damage: 1d10 slashing. Few melee weapons match this potential for raw harm with a single swing. Only the massive greataxe and greatsword share in the devastation.
- Properties: Heavy, two-handed, reach. The halberd requires two hands to leverage its long haft and heavy head. But reach is what defines it, allowing you to strike foes 10 feet away with impunity!
- Weight: 6 pounds. Though bulky for Small creatures, most Medium warriors find the halberd easy to wield and transport. Your gear load need not suffer even when lugging ample equipment and treasure.
- Cost: 20 gold pieces. A fair price for the versatility and reach granted. Those lacking coins can often scavenge the same polearms used by low-paid guardsmen.
Now that you have surveyed the halberd's anatomy and vital attributes, it is time to examine how best to employ this multi-tool in the field. Onward to battlefield glory!
Chapter II: Tactics – Controlling the Field
The astute halberdier does not simply flail about hacking blindly; one must direct the weapon with cunning intent. Though brute force has its place, advanced tactics distinguish the novice from the master.
Fortunately, the halberd's design lends itself to diverse approaches for controlling the battlefield. Reach, in particular, unlocks unique strategies to disrupt the enemy's plans.
Creating a Combat Zone
The 10-foot reach of your halberd allows you to strike foes while remaining beyond their 5-foot melee range. This “cushion” is invaluable for controlling positioning. Establish a zone around yourself where you can attack creatures, but they cannot reach you without provoking your reaction.
Punish any who trespass on your territory with sweeping opportunity attacks. Frightened enemies will recoil rather than braving further blows. You dictate the flow of combat through your extended threat range.
When facing a single dangerous foe, keep them on the leash using hit-and-run “kiting” tactics. Strike from the edge of your reach then immediately retreat out of their range.
Most creatures need to Dash just to approach you each round, leaving no option to attack. Meanwhile, you slowly whittle away their health, leaving them bloodied and frustrated as you dance barely out of reach.
Against groups, kiting with reach weapons still proves effective. Eliminate melee enemies first while relying on allies to slow any ranged or spell attacks. A mobile halberdier is a challenging target, so enemies who ignore you do so at their peril.
Spearheading the Charge
Playing keep-away grows dull after a while. When the time comes to surge forth, use your halberd's length to lead the charge.Position yourself at maximum reach from the enemy's front line. Your allies can maneuver into formation around you, protected behind your 10-foot threatening zone.
From this spearpoint position, you can scan for gaps in the enemy ranks to exploit. Capitalize on any that emerge with quick lunges using your halberd's deadly spear tip. Then retract behind your guard once more.
Leave the chaotic melee to shorter warriors, while you control the tide of battle from your fortress of reach. With you holding strong at the vanguard, your party's advance is all but assured.
Chapter III: Mastering Your Arsenal
The principles of combat covered thus far apply broadly to all reach weapons. But the halberd itself grants access to special techniques through its versatile design. Grasp these strange arts, and enemy hordes will learn to fear your name.
Some combatants scoff that polearms are unwieldy in close quarters. You will prove them dead wrong after mastering the Way of the Polearm. This fighting style turns the halberd's length into an advantage even up close.
By grasping the haft near its base and choking up, you can use the butt end to deliver sharp, unexpected blows. Enemies see you winding up a mighty swing, only to strike them suddenly with the other end!
With the Polearm Mastery feat, you can use these reverse-grip strikes to supplement your normal attacks. Wield the halberd two-handed for devastating normal strikes, intermixed with off-hand jabs using the haft. No other weapon lets you switch fluidly between reach and close quarters combat.
A skilled halberdier can lock down enemies and control the battlefield. But true mastery comes not through superior offense, but perfect defense. Develop an impenetrable defense, and the enemy's spirit will waver.
The Sentinel feat complements the halberd's reach superbly. Any strike of opportunity against a moving enemy stops them in their tracks. With your expanded threat range, you can halt approaching foes before they ever reach you.
Only ranged attacks present a risk once you adopt the Sentinel's Stance. Support your defensive spearpoint by deploying shields and mobile tanks to hinder missiles and spells. Then wade forth – your enemies will break against you like water.
Some deride the halberd as an unpredictable weapon. “Those loose axe heads shear off limbs or simply bounce away!” decry the critics. But true masters rely not on chance, but skill.
Hone your balance and grip until you can direct even the wildest swing. Follow through with hands choked low on the haft for tightest control. Soon you will land devastating hits precisely where intended.
With the Great Weapon Fighting style, even misfortune will not stay your hand. Missed strikes can be immediately redirected, while clumsy chopping blows are simply reattempted. No other style is better suited to commanding the halberd's raw potential.
Practice these techniques tirelessly, and you will dominate the chaotic ebb and flow of battle. Foes will gape in awe as perfect poise and balance enable your onslaught.
Chapter IV: Signature Character Builds
Now that you have dissected the halberd and honed essential combat skills, it is time to sharpen your total fighting package. Certain classes and characters complement the halberd especially well. Study these specialized builds, that you may guide your own champion to greatness.
The Battlefield Maestro
Some conscript-turned-guardsman swings their government-issued halberd without finesse, like an oaf threshing wheat. Elevate yourself above these rank amateurs by becoming a true conductor of battle.
No class embodies martial mastery better than the Battle Master fighter. Their judicious maneuvers turn the halberd into a surgical instrument—one moment parrying a blow, the next using the spear tip to deliver a riposte swarming with destructive energy.
With each clash of arms, the true Battle Master dissects their opponent's fighting style, then adapts their strategy accordingly. Combat becomes a high-stakes game of wits between two strategic minds. Woe to those who underestimate you and charge in blindly!
The Battle Master's superiority dice empower maneuvers both offensive and defensive. Trip a charging enemy and watch them sprawl helpless beneath your axe head. Disarm warriors trying to close within your reach, then kick their weapons away. When surrounded, execute a Pushing Attack to open an escape route. The maneuvers are limited only by your imagination.
Supplementing their tactical genius, Battle Masters possess ample ASIs to obtain both Great Weapon Master and Polearm Master feats. Add Sentinel as well, and enemies will grow to fear and respect the 10-foot radius you control. There is no better battlefield conductor than a Battle Master artfully wielding their halberd baton.
The Immovable Object
Enemies who fail to respect your supreme reach and control pay dearly. But some brutes and frenzied berserkers rely on sheer momentum, disregarding all else in pursuit of their target. Hurl your body forth and prove that even unstoppable forces fail against an immovable polearm master.
Among the fighter's disciplines, no archetype embodies stubborn immobility like the Cavalier. Their vigilant guardian fighting style synergizes perfectly with Polearm Master and Sentinel. Each round, plant your halberd firmly and dare enemies to approach within 10 feet.
With the Cavalier's Warding Maneuver, you can also guard adjacent allies. Transfer half the damage of any strike against them to yourself – then immediately skewer the attacker with a reprisal from Sentinel. Your friends will cheer as you shrug off fierce blows while never yielding ground.
As the pinnacle to your unbreakable bastion tactics, Cavaliers gain the level 18 Hold the Line feature. Before retreating or becoming incapacitated, you can make opportunity attacks without expending your reaction. Recall the valiant Spartans of Thermopylae – with spear and shield they defied endless ranks of Persian soldiers. You shall recapture that legend today!
The Lightning Lancer
Most halberdiers remain planted to maximize their reach, welcoming enemies to come to them. But what if foes refuse to approach? Some battles demand that you take the fight to them. When lightning spear tactics are required, Rangers swift as wind answer the call.
Though Rangers lack heavy armor, using flight and nature's cunning to avoid damage works just as well. Zephyr Strike renders you impossible to hit for a full minute – more than enough time to shred apart enemy clusters with spinning halberd attacks as you race past.
Add spells like Ensnaring Strike to trip up foes at range and keep them within your halberd's reach. Plant Growth and Spike Growth further punish enemies if they give chase. With magic enhancing your elusive spearplay, you will savour endless glory on the open battlefield. No fortress can bar the gates against your gale-force charges.
Military halberdiers use their weapons for mass combat maneuvers, but the grimmest halberd masters apply their reach more directly, harvesting souls on the field. Death comes for all, but you may choose who meets their end this day.
No class inflicts concentrated lethality like the Assassin rogue. Use disguise and deception to place yourself amongst the enemy, or shadow step between obscuring curtains. Then reveal your halberd only when perfectly positioned for the deadliest first strike.
Once the bloodshed begins in earnest, apply your halberd's reach to remain on the fray's perimeter. Let impatient allies rush in; you target stragglers and other soft targets. Against distracted casters behind their tank's guard, your spear tip strikes true.
Assassins excel at targeting individuals, but with the right build a halberdier can reap an entire crop. Select Great Weapon Master, Savage Attacker, and Fighting Spirit to mow down whole ranks at once. Leave allies to fight honorably; you ensure no enemy leaves this field to fight another day.
Conclusion: Destiny Calls
The insights spread throughout this training manual will transform you from halberd dabbler to master. But one final ingredient yet remains. Each halberd chooses its wielder, resonating with their soul's hunger for purpose. This bond cannot be taught – you must discover it for yourself.
Set forth now into dungeon and wilderness with halberd in hand. Face challenges no other weapon can overcome, ever extending your reach until all goals are attained. Let the halberd become a vessel for your highest self.
Then return and share your legend, that others may follow the glittering path you have blazed. The way of the halberd remains obscured in shadow and doubt, known only to scattered masters. Together we shall bring this noble tradition back into the light, where its splendor may inspire generations to come.
May your enemies quail at your approach, and your allies gain courage in your presence. Wherever your travels take you, there too will the halberd's legacy be renewed. Grasp destiny with both hands! Adventure awaits!