The Haelberd is one of the more complex forms of pole weapon. Now used throughout Caelereth, this weapon saw its creation and first use by the goblins. Though still predominantly used by these green-skins, this flamboyant yet lethal weapon has slowly found its way into the hands of other races too. Its design was developed on from the standard spear, from which it still bears resemblance. Different to this more antiquated weapon, the tip of the haelberds bear illustrious crests, often designed to be both devastating and beautiful. Similarly, unlike its predecessor, the haelberd is a pure melee weapon, and though impressive to behold, this weapon works more on shock and awe than practicality.
|Image description. A variety of the haelberd polearm featuring troll tusks. This type is often used by goblins. Picture drawn by Jonael Tomeskrift.|
A haelberd is a long wooden polearm usually up to three and a half
peds in length, that
bears a metal point at its tip together with an impressive crest and hook coming
off perpendicular to the tip. The pole is crafted from sturdy and often heavy
woods. In some cases, the metal-crafted ‘head’ of the haelberd even extends down
the pole, engulfing the wooden component of this
weapon in reinforcing metalwork. Generally though standard
samples of this weapon boast
durable dark woods.
The haelberd generally consists of three main components, these are: the spike, the crest and the hook.
The spike, is the tip of the weapon, reminiscent of its predecessor, the spear. Metallic and sharp, it is the most consistent aspect of haelberds, used tostrike at opponents and pierce their armour. While the spike make the haelberd strongly resemble a spear or javelin, it is widely known that a haelberd cannot be thrown; the crest and the hook as well as the more bulk build of this weapon mean it fails miserable as a throwing weapon.
The crest is the most intricate part of the haelberd, often allowing for modification and decoration of the weapon. As a single component it closely resembles the detached blade of an axe, though often differently shaped. Similar to an axe, the arcing edge of this component is sharpened to act as a chopping weapon. Given the build of the weapon though, and the relatively limited swinging strength of a goblin, this part of the haelberd rarely sees heavy action. Instead throughout the different variations of this weapon the crest has become the crafty part of the weapon where crafters can show skill, and warriors convey threat and command respect from.
The hook, similar to the spike is a protruding sharp member of the haelberd’s ‘head’. Unlike the spike though, the hook comes off perpendicular from the main length of the weapon. Next to making for a penetrating spike, the hook also adds a new dimension to the spear, allowing the wielder to strike out sideways from an already outstretched posture, without having to retract the weapon and lunge in for another strike to the side.
Types. The most common variations of the Haelberd are as follows:
Knowing of the goblin's craftmanship and their reverence of flame and fire, it was to be expected that sooner or later a weapon such as the flame tongue would arise. Revered, this form of haelberd bears a flaming crest, summoned by the user through the use of powerful glyphs on the blade of the weapon. The flame blazes out behind the weapon's top, replacing the usually metallic crest of the weapon. While impressive, the flaming crest is rarely used for damage, but much rather as a visible warning that onlookers do not want to cause trouble here. Rare, these weapons are often only wielded by the highest ranking soldiers amongst goblin warbands.
Playing strongly on the goblin’s connection to trolls, the Troll Tusk Haelberd is one of the more creative variations of the haelberd. While the spike, crest and hook of the weapon stay fairly standard, the core of the head is modified to encase two troll tusks. These natural additions add piercing power to the weapon. More important than the added lethality though, the goblins use this as a sign of reverence to their larger allies. It was only after the goblin race opened up to the outside world that this weapon was first seen, and it immediately lead to a lot of discussions: previously troll tusk wounds and kills were immediately attributed to trolls hunting. In light of this new evidence, the troll hunting grounds around the Tandala Highlands may have to be redrawn since it is now debatable whether such kills are troll or goblin-made.
The Haelberd was once a grandmaster class
weapon that represented the
goblin master craftsmanship, and is still
considered by many to be the defiant roar of the goblins, proving to the world
that they were not just a lowly race that would be bound and confined to the
Tandala Depths, but a skilled race that had a flaming spirit, represented by the
original haelberds’ flame-like crest.
Through perfecting their ability to defend themselves, through sheer numbers as well as strategic manoeuvres such as the Mert’Ruk wyrmskin, the goblins established dominance over the Tandala Depths. While most of the race revelled in its own chaotic nature, leading figures within the goblin castes foresaw that simply bunkering down in the depths of the Tandalas would only lead to an eventual extinction. In an attempt to explode out onto the surface of Sarvonia, goblin craftsmen commenced stretching their borders, reaching out for goals beyond merely salvaging dwarven weapons and crafts. Though the initiative mainly faltered under the disorganised and volatile nature of the goblins, the direction did bear some fruit in remote and isolated incidents. One of these was the creation of the Haelberds. Inspired by the magma fields that seed the deep and dark recesses of the Depths, goblin blacksmiths and artisans wanted to don enraged, flaming motives to their spears. The idea being that bearing these arms when on the surface, goblin infantry would instil both fear and respect with these ornate weapons.
Fighting Style. Much like spears, the haelberd is a formidable weapon for both defensive and offensive manoeuvres. In the hands of the goblins, given their smaller stature and lack of bulk physical strength, the weapon presents a deterrent for an enemy to come too close. Keeping an enemy at bay greatly decreases the chance of their formation being broken. To a race that relies heavily on numbers, a solid unwavering formation is most important. As well as being used in military formations, the haelberd has become a formidable weapon of choice for guards, both practically and ceremonially.
There are different ways of wielding a haelberd, dependant on both the situation and the build of the bearer:
The haelberd has always been the weapon of choice amongst guards, its impressive and intimidating appearance instilling subordination in the mind of onlookers. In these situations, the guards often hold the haelberd vertically, spearhead up in the air, above their helms, a solid grip on the pole of the weapon at about chest height. Often the blade of the haelberd is pointed outwards facing in the direction of the guard.
Much like spears, the haelberd triumphs when used defensively because it keep the enemy at bay. Using the long pole, the spearhead of the haelberd is kept threateningly close to the enemy and at a distance of the wielder. Being a pole-arm, this weapon works in perfect unison with shields. Combined the two make for a perfect defence. It is not uncommon among the more organised goblin warbands that once formation is assumed, the haelberd’s blunt end is stuck into the ground, and further socket-ed into the soldier’s inner sole. Protruding from in between tight shield formations, these spikes then provide formidable stopping power to bigger, bulkier opponents such as stray feral trolls or cavalry charges.
An offensive stance often sees the haelberd hoisted over the wielder's head, aligned with the person's centre. One hand up and in front of the bearer's head, the other behind, the weapon thus gains momentum, and the element of height adds a morale crushing element to this posture. In quick powerful jabs, the weapon is brought down on the enemy. Given the goblins don't offten find themselves towering over opponents in height, they use this stance as a means of striking at the lower parts of their opponents, crippling them and making them collapse. Once on the level of the goblins, the enemy is then easy picking for the attacking haelberd.
Origin/History. The haelberd originated from deep within the Tandala Depths, at the hands of master-class goblin blacksmiths. While concept and crafting can clearly be attributed to the goblins, it is necessary to mention the Ylossian Dwarves. Though unclear to what extent, it is popularly debated that the goblins could not have achieved such high level of craftsmanship and production were it not for the means previously installed in the Tandala Depths by this mythical dwarven clan. Critics of this theory argue that the fall of the Ylossian Clan (ca. 10.490 b.S.) happened so long ago that regardless of how skillful the goblins are at salvage, they could by no means have recovered functioning ylossian tools and work-spaces. Until more information emerges from the goblin nation, who only recently opened themselves up from isolation, no definitive evidence to this argument will be available.