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The Church of Helm was the organized collective of clerics, paladins, fighters, guards and other martial protectors, who dedicated their service to god of vigilance, Helm. They dedicated themselves to the protection of those who could not protect themselves[1] and shared their skills and tenets with the guardians and defenders of Faerûn, and beyond.[2]

DogmaEdit

BeliefsEdit

The practice of controlling the undead, as opposed to their outright destruction, was abhorrent to the faithful of Helm.[3]

AttitudesEdit

Novices, or initiates, of the church were trained to vigilant and dutiful in carrying out their orders. In their service they learned to never betray the trust that was bestowed upon them, which extended to the manner in which they considered martial combat. They had to rely upon themselves, their weapons and allies in order to best plan and coordinate defense and attacks in battle.[3]

ActivitiesEdit

Following the Time of Troubles they set out to win back favor among the people of Faerûn with renewed demonstrations of excellent and loyal service as protectors. The church sponsored the training of guards and armed escorts in various cities throughout the realms, extolling their virtues and worthiness as the only guardians that were worthy for hire.[3]

The clergy of Helm would take in anyone who sought sanctuary within the walls of their fortified churches, persecuted and criminally accused alike. Those running from the authorities would be turned over to local law enforcement, though the presiding Helmite priest would ensure a fair and just trial.[2]

OrganizationEdit

The church of Helm was organized into a strict military hierarchy.[3] Although the highest post within the church had remained vacant since the 10th century DR, the Council of Helm oversaw Helmite activities, up until the late 14thcentury.[2]

TitlesEdit

Supreme Watcher
A single source of authority within the church (vacant since 992 DR)[2]

Some of the titles below Supreme Watcher are listed below: Novice • Adept • Trusty • Alert • WatchknightWatcher[4]GuardianOverbladeHigh Watcher[4]Senior Steeleye[3]Bishous (bishop)[5]

OrdersEdit

Priestly orders

The various orders of priests, or "pryats",[6] within the church:

Knightly orders

Many abbeys of helm maintained strong armies and sponsored various military groups, in order to defend their congregation.[2]

Other groups

RitualsEdit

HolidaysEdit

The faithful of Helm celebrated their devotion with the Ceremony to Honor Helm on Shieldmeet. They held no other annual observances or holidays.[3]

CeremoniesEdit

  • Consecration of a Postulant: One of the holiest of the Helmite rituals, this consecration was performed upon the confirmation of a person's dedication as they entered into the ranks of the Helmite clergy.[3]
  • Consecration of a Glymtul: This ceremony was used to dedicate items into service unto Helm.[3]
  • Purification: A ritual of atonement that was performed when a clergy member returned to the faith after leaving its service, or otherwise failed in their vigilance, obedience or faithfulness.[3]
  • Holy Vigil: This night-long ceremony was performed by a priest of Helm when they ascended in rank within the church.[3]

BasesEdit

The church of Helm was a strong, protective presence throughout the North. They were oft regarded as the region's first defenders against attacks from monstrous beasts and malevolent humanoids.[3]

RegionsEdit

Lands of Intrigue
Maztica
The North
Western Heartlands

TemplesEdit

Temples of Helm were imposing fortresses, whose architecture stressed defense and defendability. They were often built in Faerûn's most dangerous regions, or near its strongholds aligned with malevolent forces,[2] (such was the case with Darkhold near the Sunset Mountains).[3] Within their halls were a number of barracks, armories, training grounds and, within the heart of each temple, a central altar with a suit of pristine full plate mail. Each of these sets of armor had been worn by one of Helm's champions throughout history, and were considered among his holy relics.[2]

Each temple was extremely well-defended; Helmite guards remained ever-vigilant to protect their holy houses. To aid in this feat, the church often enlisted the aid of spectators, a sub-species of even-tempered beholder-kin.[2]

Most major cities throughout the Realms had a temple or abbey dedicated to the Watchful One. Among these were:[2]

Equipment, Spells, and RelicsEdit

DressEdit

Clerics of Helm were armored in pristine full plate mail, often enchanted with the everbright property, complete with open-faced helmets that often featured colored plumes. Over their armor they typically carried steel-colored scabbards, wore red or steel-grey cloaks, with Helm's symbol, the "Unsleeping Eye". While and church members donned their armor in the field and during church ceremonies, if found themself in a venue where armor was not allowed, they often kept their pauldrons and always wore their helm.[2][3]

In the south, Helmite clergy inset their finely-crafted armor with gems and adorned its lining with gold filigree, particularly around the lids of the eye.[2]

Weapons and armsEdit

When preparing for battle, a Patriarch of Helm often used a ceremonial mace to anoit troops in holy water, referred to as the "Tears of Helm".[15]

SpellsEdit

RelicsEdit

Artifacts
  • Guardian's Tear: Manifested after the death of Mystra at the hands of Helm, this immensely powerful gemstone held the anguish of the Guardian God.[20]
  • Helm of Helm: This warhelm, which has been donned by several of Helm's champions, offered great power to the faithful of the God of Guardians.[9]

HistoryEdit

Formation of the CouncilEdit

In the mid-13th century, great Helmite cleric, Garshond, led the defense of Iriaebor from a goblinoid army. Following the battle, the battle-priest was presented with the Helm of Helm, which rose out of a nearby bog and seemingly chose him as its new wearer. Donning the ancient relic, Garshond returned to the Watchtower of the Vigilant, a lone keep found in nearby scrublands, which surrounded the long-ruined town of Harkstag.[9]

From the sentry-like outpost, Garshond reached out to the rich, noble families of Waterdeep, Iriaebor and Scornubel, and invited them to his stronghold for a meeting of minds regarding the protection of the northern heartlands and the Sword Coast North. This assembly came to be known as the first Council of Helm, which saw the formation of the Vigilant Riders. These elite guardians would protect the region for several years, and helped ensure welfare for the small villages and hamlets as far south as Baldur's Gate.[9]

Time of TroublesEdit

In 1358 DR, following the events of the Time of Troubles, the reputation of Helm and his clergy were heavily tarnished across most of Faerûn. The ranks of their faithful diminished greatly and in some regions, such as the North, they were openly persecuted.[3]

Involvement in MazticaEdit

Inexplicably immune to the distrust and weariness in four years following the Avatar Crisis, the Helmites of the south declare that 1362 DR, the Year of the Helm, would mark a new blessed age for their faith.[21]

A few years later, in 1365 DR, the Waterdhavian branch of the church, along with the Adarbrent, Helmfast. Jardeth and Raventree noble families, sponsored a transoceanic expedition of twelve ships across the Trackless Sea to the land of Maztica.[22] While they were turned away at Helmsport by the Lord-Governor of New Amn, the colonists settled on Maztapan Island, and opened lines of trade and negotiation with the native Kultakan people. Within months they formed the colony of New Waterdeep, and after forging further north, the second settlement of Trythosford.[21]

At some point, the Helmite knights known as Companions of the One True Vision slaughtered many native Maztican people. This order was scorned across Faerûn, and many of their guilt-ridden brothers atoned for their sins by serving among the altruistic order, the Vigilant Eyes of the God.[7]

Helm's death and rebirthEdit

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AppendixEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. Eric L. Boyd, Erik Mona (May 2002). Faiths and Pantheons. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 28. ISBN 0-7869-2759-3.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 Eric L. Boyd, Erik Mona (May 2002). Faiths and Pantheons. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 29. ISBN 0-7869-2759-3.
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 3.15 3.16 3.17 3.18 3.19 Julia Martin, Eric L. Boyd (March 1996). Faiths & Avatars. (TSR, Inc), p. 69. ISBN 978-0786903849.
  4. 4.0 4.1 R.A. Salvatore (January 1998). The Spine of the World. (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 0-7869-1180-8.
  5. Douglas Niles (1990). Ironhelm. (TSR, Inc). ISBN 0-8803-8903-6.
  6. Douglas Niles (1991). Feathered Dragon. (TSR, Inc). ISBN 1-5607-6045-1.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Thomas M. Reid, Sean K. Reynolds (Nov. 2005). Champions of Valor. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 105. ISBN 0-7869-3697-5.
  8. Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 24. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 Ed Greenwood and Doug Stewart (1997). Prayers from the Faithful. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 37. ISBN 0-7869-0682-0.
  10. Ed Greenwood and Doug Stewart (1997). Prayers from the Faithful. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 38. ISBN 0-7869-0682-0.
  11. Ed Greenwood and Jason Carl (July 2002). Silver Marches. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 68. ISBN 0-7869-2835-2.
  12. Paul Jaquays (1988). The Savage Frontier. (TSR, Inc), p. 32. ISBN 0-88038-593-6.
  13. Ed Greenwood (November 1998). The City of Ravens Bluff. (TSR, Inc), p. 111. ISBN 0-7869-1195-6.
  14. Jeff Grubb and Ed Greenwood (1990). Forgotten Realms Adventures. (TSR, Inc), p. 98. ISBN 0-8803-8828-5.
  15. Ed Greenwood and Jeff Grubb (April 1998). Cormyr: A Novel (Paperback). (Wizards of the Coast), p. 302. ISBN ISBN 0-7869-0710-X.
  16. 16.0 16.1 Julia Martin, Eric L. Boyd (March 1996). Faiths & Avatars. (TSR, Inc), p. 70. ISBN 978-0786903849.
  17. 17.0 17.1 Ed Greenwood and Doug Stewart (1997). Prayers from the Faithful. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 39. ISBN 0-7869-0682-0.
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 Julia Martin, Eric L. Boyd (March 1996). Faiths & Avatars. (TSR, Inc), p. 71. ISBN 978-0786903849.
  19. 19.0 19.1 Ed Greenwood and Doug Stewart (1997). Prayers from the Faithful. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 40. ISBN 0-7869-0682-0.
  20. Ed Greenwood, Eric L. Boyd (1996). Volo's Guide to All Things Magical. (TSR, Inc), p. 108. ISBN 0-7869-0446-1.
  21. 21.0 21.1 Steven E. Schend (1997). Lands of Intrigue: Book Two: Amn. (TSR, Inc), p. 60. ISBN 0-7869-0697-9.
  22. Steven E. Schend (1997). Lands of Intrigue: Book Two: Amn. (TSR, Inc), p. 62. ISBN 0-7869-0697-9.
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