Helm (Forgotten Realms)

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Helm
Game background
Title(s) The Watcher, the Vigilant One
Home plane 2E: Everwatch (Mechanus)
3E: House of the Triad
Power level Intermediate
Alignment Lawful Neutral
Portfolio Guardians, protectors, protection
Superior Lord Ao
Design details

Helm (/ˈhɛlm/ HELM),[1] The Watcher, is a fictional deity in the Forgotten Realms campaign setting for the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game.

Within the context of the game, Helm is known as the Vigilant One, the Great Guard, and The Watcher. God of guardians, protection and protectors, and worshiped by guards and paladins, he was long seen as a cold and focused deity who impartially took the role of defender and sometimes also enforcer[who?]. His activities in the Time of Troubles caused the folk of Faerûn to look differently on the Watcher[vague].

Publication history[edit]

Ed Greenwood created Helm for his home Dungeons & Dragons game, in his Forgotten Realms world.[2]

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st edition (1977-1988)[edit]

Helm first appeared within Dungeons & Dragons as one of the deities featured in Ed Greenwood's article "Down-to-earth Divinity" in Dragon #54 (October 1981). Helm is introduced as He of the Unsleeping Eyes, the god of guardians, a lawful neutral lesser god from the plane of Nirvana. He is described as "always vigilant, watchful. He is never surprised, and anticipates most events by intelligence and observation. He can never be borne off his feet, rarely can he be tricked, and he will never betray or neglect that which he guards. In short, he is the ideal of guardians, and is worshipped so that some of his qualities will come to, or be borne out in, the worshipper." The article also notes that "In certain situations Torm and Helm will work together." Helm is commonly worshipped by lawful neutral thieves, monks, and clerics, as well as any characters employed as guards.[2]

Helm later officially appeared as one of the major deities for the Forgotten Realms campaign setting, in the Forgotten Realms Campaign Set's "Cyclopedia of the Realms" booklet (1987).[1]

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition (1989-1999)[edit]

Helm was described in the hardback Forgotten Realms Adventures (1990),[3] the revised Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting (1993) in the "Running the Realms" booklet,[4] and Faiths & Avatars (1996).[5] His clergy was further detailed in Warriors and Priests of the Realms (1996),[6] and Prayers from the Faithful (1997).[7]

His role in the cosmology of the Planescape campaign setting was described in On Hallowed Ground (1996).[8]

His relationships with the nonhuman deities in the Forgotten Realms was covered in Demihuman Deities (1998).[9]

Helm is described as one of the good deities that celestials can serve in the supplement Warriors of Heaven (1999).[10]

Dungeons & Dragons 3.0 edition (2000-2002)[edit]

Helm appears as one of the major deities of the Forgotten Realms setting again, in Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting (2001),[11] and is further detailed in Faiths and Pantheons (2002).[12]

Overview[edit]

Helm is a Lawful Neutral deity. His symbol is a staring eye with blue iris on an upright war gauntlet, his divine realm is Everwatch in the House of the Triad, and his 3.5 Edition D&D domains are Law, Planning, Protection, and Strength. The deity wields "Ever Watchful", a +4 holy keen lawful Bastard Sword, the favored weapon of his faith.

Helm's faith is (or was) especially popular in Cormyr, the Dragon Coast, Tethyr, the Vilhon Reach, and the Western Heartlands.

Worshippers[edit]

The Helmish have long been respected and revered for their dedication, purpose, and their pledge to come to the defense of those who call for it. They wear polished full suits of armor, often with plumed helmets. Their armor and helmets on the cover artwork of the Maztica Trilogy are depicted as similar to those worn by Conquistadors. Their hierarchy is strict and militaristic, with specific groups such as the order of paladins called the Vigilant Eyes of the Deity, and originally also a single pontiff (head of the church)—the Supreme Watcher. There has not been someone in this post since 992 DR, though.

Titles used by the clergy of Helm are (in ascending order of rank): Novice, Adept, Trusty, Alert, Watchknight, Guardian, Overblade, High Watcher, and Senior Steeleye (a title applied to all senior clergy).

Holy Days and rituals[edit]

Ceremony of Honor to Helm - The only calendar-related ritual observed by Helmites, a festival to honour Helm celebrated on each Shieldmeet.

Consecration of a Postulant - Confirmation of new clergy

Consecration of a Glymtul - Dedication of an item to Helm's service

Purification - An atonement for a shortcoming in vigilance, loyalty or worship

Holy Vigil - Ceremony marking the ascension of a priest to a higher rank

History and relationships[edit]

A very old deity, Helm is the eternal sentry and is always represented as a god and seen wearing a full suit of armor that represents the weight of his heavy responsibility to his task. Yet it is clear that Helm gets, and has always gotten, the job at hand done without there being any complaint made. The people of the Realms widely admired these qualities in what they saw as a humble and reassuring god of the pantheon.

During the Time of Troubles, however, when the gods walked among Toril, it was in the reliable Helm that Lord Ao trusted the task of keeping the other deities from returning to their posts without returning the stolen Tablets of Fate. Helm kept his full power for this task, so that when the goddess of magic, Mystra, attempted to pass him on the stair without the Tablets he was capable of first blocking her and after, when she retaliated, destroying her completely. This action had enormous repercussions for Helm, and while it put off any of the other earthbound deities attempting the same action, it also caused the other deities and mortals alike to hold Helm in great contempt (surprisingly however, in the South, Helm's following was still quite strong among mortal beings).

When the Time of Troubles ended and (what was left of) the other gods were restored to their former existences, and Helm himself no longer bound to stand guard against them, much of Helm's worship had faltered. Things amongst his clergy were made worse when the natives of recently discovered Maztica, whom the priests of Helm were subjugating in their conquest of the region, highlighted their cause. It is only in recent times that Helm has regained some of his popularity and respect, as people acknowledge that in the Time of Troubles he was doing what he had to. The only god who could be considered a full ally of the Watcher is Torm the True, the god of paladins. Strongly held ideological differences have caused a great rivalry verging on hatred between the clergy of the two gods, but the deities themselves remain close.

Far back in time, the deity Lathander caused a divine purge known as the Dawn Cataclysm in which Helm's lover, a lesser deity of pragmatism called Murdane, was victim. Helm has begrudged the Morninglord this ever since. However Helm reserves his real opposition for deities whose plots threaten the people and stability of Faerûn, especially Bane and Cyric, as well as Mask and Shar. He is also especially at odds with the uncontrolled violence and careless destruction of the deities Garagos, Malar and Talos.

According to The Grand History of the Realms, released by Wizards of the Coast, Helm is eventually killed by Tyr in 1384 DR, though the other gods suspect Cyric is somehow behind it.

Erik Scott de Bie's book, Downshadow, speaks of Helm and his mythical weapon.[13]

Orders[edit]

  • Watchers over the Fallen

The Watchers over the Fallen form a small fellowship of battlefield healers who worship Helm. Only Clerics in high favor may join.

  • Everwatch Knights

The Everwatch Knights are a group of dedicated bodyguards whom Helmite temples hire out to others to generate revenue.

  • Vigilant Eyes of the Deity

This is the order of the paladins who worship Helm. All Paladins may join this guild after squirehood.

  • He Who Watches Over Travelers

This is a relatively obscure order of clerics who see to the blessings of those about to partake on long journeys, such as traders and merchants.

Helm in computer games[edit]

  • In Baldur's Gate there are temples of Helm in Nashkel and Baldur's Gate
  • In Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn there is a temple of Helm in the 'Temple District' of Athkatla, in which you are sent to discover the truth about the 'Cult of the Unseeing Eye,' unless the main character is a cleric of Lathander or Talos, in which case you will be sent to the corresponding temple. The NPC Anomen Delryn is an aspiring warrior-priest of Helm.
  • In Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal a huge dungeon called Watcher's Keep is available. The dungeon was built by the order of Helm to imprison dangerous creatures, most notably an avatar of Demogorgon.
  • In Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal a major quest is offered to the player if their character class is 'Priest of Helm'.
  • In Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance II one of the playable characters, Allessia Faithhammer, is a human cleric of Helm.
  • In Neverwinter Nights towards the end of the first chapter, the player must battle through Helm's Hold, where the Cult of the Eye has slaughtered all the followers of Helm and suppressed the guardian spirit with a demon. The player has the option of destroying the demon and resummoning the guardian spirit of Helm.
  • In Strahd's Possession, after completing the main quest, the player's party is summoned before Helm for a hearty thank you.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Ed Greenwood, Jeff Grubb and Karen S. Martin (1987). Forgotten Realms Campaign Set. Wizard of the Coast. ISBN 0-88038-472-7. 
  2. ^ a b Ed Greenwood, Dragon magazine #54 - "Down-to-earth divinity" (October 1981)
  3. ^ Grubb, Jeff and Ed Greenwood. Forgotten Realms Adventures (TSR, 1990)
  4. ^ Ed Greenwood (1993). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting. ASIN B000K06S2E. 
  5. ^ Martin, Julia, and Eric L. Boyd. Faiths & Avatars (TSR, 1996)
  6. ^ Terra, John. Warriors and Priests of the Realms (TSR, 1996)
  7. ^ Greenwood, Ed and Stewart, Doug. Prayers from the Faithful (TSR, 1997)
  8. ^ McComb, Colin. On Hallowed Ground (TSR, 1996)
  9. ^ Boyd, Eric L. Demihuman Deities (TSR, 1998)
  10. ^ Perkins, Christopher. Warriors of Heaven (TSR, 1999)
  11. ^ Ed Greenwood et al. (2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting. Wizard of the Coast. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5. 
  12. ^ Boyd, Eric L., and Erik Mona. Faiths and Pantheons (Wizards of the Coast, 2002)
  13. ^ http://ww2.wizards.com/books/Wizards/Products/?doc=240257400

Additional reading[edit]