Appearance: If you didn't know that it was magical, you would not think it was any different from any other haliberd issued to the Pier Point City Guard. It looks slightly battered and tarnished from years of use and many a fight and battle.
Benefits: If the owner says a certain code word, a crackling bolt of lightning as if straight from a thundercloud will bust out from the weapon, electrocuting anyone or anything it touches. Given enough time it will power up again, but such is the impressiveness and the danger of the bolt that it rarely needs to be used twice. Unprotected flesh will be seared to the bone, cloth and leather armour will be burnt, and whilst chainmail and plate armours will only get a nasty mark, enough of the electricity will get through the metal to give the target a horrid shock.
Drawbacks; The further away it is from thundercloud season, the longer it takes to recharge after being fired. In a thunderstorm it can reload quickly; at the other end of the scale with no thundercloud anywhere near the weapon it takes several days to reload. It is heavy, if the fight goes on long enough it's owner will tire before his attackers do. Lastly, it gains it's powers from it's owner's love of glory;in the hands of a coward or someone content to hang back, the power of the bolt will be much reduced.
Lore; John Howard was the eldest son of a noble line, but from when he was five and saw a city guardsman ran after a criminal, trip him with the handle of his haliberd and slap the cuffs on him, he knew that was what he wanted to be...a fearless member of law enforcement. As a young child he played often with a stick, pretending he was a police officer hunting down criminals and dragging them off to jail. When he was old enough, he announced to his parents that he wanted to go to the local City Guard acadamy for basic training, and his parents were horrified. They suggested that he train as a prosecution lawyer instead, with a good change of becoming a judge who sentenced the criminals. That way he could get rich.
Or if that seemed too dull, his father said he could eaily get him a commission in the Royal Army as a lieutenant. With his abilities and his father's contacts he could quite easily become a colonel by the age of thirty and a general by the time he was forty,his parents said. They pointed out that police work was often boring, fustrating,hard and occasionly dangerous as well. Butr he was determined to enlist, so his father took a haliberd from the family hoard and paid a lot for a witch to enchant it. He entered the acadamy just like any other recruit, didn't fail or drop out and after six months got his badge and guard armour and was sent out on patrol.
The somewhat low pay, hours of boredom guarding some door, policing some demonstration or patroling cold streets did not bother him, nor did he knowingly beat up and frame innocent people or give into the temptation to take bribes, arresting anyone who tried to bribe him. And when violence was needed, he was an expert at jamming his haliberd into someone's stomach, tripping them up with it or as a last resort, bringing the blunt end down on a head, never using the sharp edge of the blade except to parry weapons or bricks.
After a few years he became a Sergeant with twenty officers under him, and was not afraid to arrest high ranking criminals. After bribery attempts were refused, and an attempt to frame him for police brutality was defeated with his father's help, a couple of professional assassins were sent after him. One scarpered and escaped with his life, the other was fried by the haliberd's power of lightning used for the first time in Howard's police job. There was an inquiry of course but given that the dead man had been trying to hit Howard with a drawn sword at the time, it was ruled justifiable homicide. Since then he's used the lightning bolt power one more time, to quell a minor riot in it's tracks before it became a major riot, and is very happy doing the job he loves.
On occasion the lightning bolt can fire wrongly, only giving a slight shock instead of a deadly one, in effect a magical misfire.