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The Helm and Cloak was a high-end inn, rooming house, and feasting hall in the city of Baldur's Gate in the late 1360s DR. It was highly popular both with travelers and with local residents, who enjoyed its dining room. It was also home to the majority of the Knights of the Unicorn, who rented the majority of an upper floor. It was once reviewed by Volothamp Geddarm.[1][2]

It was located in the heart of the Upper City, just a short walk away from the High Hall in the Temples District.[3]

DescriptionEdit

Its signboard consisted of a weathered cloak draped over an exterior balcony on one side and an enormous helm hanging over the door on the other. The helm was said by staff, not altogether seriously, to have once been worn by a titan.[1]

Architecture & DecorEdit

Helm and cloak

The Helm and Cloak.

The inn actually consisted of two connected buildings. The larger structure, known as the Helm, was an old rooming house that faced the Hall of Wonders, whereas the smaller of the two, the Cloak, was an old personal residence that faced onto Windspell Street at the crossroads near the Ducal Palace.[1][3][note 1]

The Helm was so named because an enormous iron helmet hung above its doors. According to the staff it was said to have been once worn by an actual titan,[3] and by others a "mere" fire giant.[2] The common room of the Helm was decorated with a marble carving of a unicorn's head that featured a bronze horn. It was local tradition to touch or kiss the horn for good luck.[4]

The smaller house, called the Cloak,[3] was once the residence of a priestess of Sune, and as such its ceilings were painted with numerous scenes of passion and rampant pleasure. These drew more than a few raised eyebrows over the years, but never any actual complaints. The furnishings in both buildings were traditional and elegant, somehow managing to avoid being gaudy and overdone. The Cloak's interior decor was widely considered a paradigm of informal good taste.[1]

PatronageEdit

The Helm was much favored by individuals of power in Baldur's Gate, including the city's patriar.[3] Numerous alliances and business deals had been negotiated in its dining alcoves. Its clientele largely fell into two categories: locals coming to dine in the feast hall and well-to-do travelers coming to enjoy the elegant accommodations.[1]

There was an entire floor set up for long-term occupancy, largely occupied by the Knights of the Unicorn. These Knights were romantic adventurers, commonly described as "elegant buffoons". They made pleasant if slightly absurd company for any patron with good manners and a sense of humor.[1]

ProvenderEdit

The Helm's cuisine was served in generous platters suitable for several ordinary people. Dishes such as candied meats, jellied eels, fresh fish in hot lemon sauce, and glazed and stuffed fowl with fried onion-and-spiced-tubers stuffing were representative of the menu at large and were delicious. Most dishes were cooked in wine.[1]

We're not running a tavern, m'lord
— A senior servant to Volothamp Geddarm on the issue of beers.[1]

The inn's wine cellar was vast, both in variety and in quantity. The Knights of the Unicorn had a particular taste for Saerloonian glowfire wine, and often purchased whole barrels in one evening, so others who preferred it were advised to order early. The contents of the cellar were only sold to non-residents in smaller quantities. Also available were a mediocre variety of mead and cinnamon-spiced milk (hot or cold). No beer or hard liquor of any sort were sold on the premises, in order to prevent a tavern-like atmosphere from arising in the establishment.[1]

ServiceEdit

The staff of the Helm were courteous, welcoming, and swift in their duties. The inn was renowned for its excellent service, especially little touches such as a warmed robe and slippers delivered to one's room upon waking.[1] Unlike many other Baldurian establishments, the staff of the Helm bucked the latest trends and focused on maintaining the high standards of their food and lodging.[4]

Services included hot baths, clothes-mending, dressing assistance, and as much mint water in-room as desired. All services except for stabling and food were inclusive in the room fee.[1]

Although noted for their courtesy and thoughtfulness, it should be noted that the staff of the Helm and Cloak would not tolerate rudeness, disruptive behavior, and especially violence. On the rare occasions when an unruly visitor refused to quiet down, she or he was swiftly and forcefully ejected from the establishment. The inn's owners were also said to have close ties to the Flaming Fist mercenary company. The establishment was widely considered one of the safest in the city.[1]

PricesEdit

Prices of food and services circa 1367 DR:

  • Mead and milk were 5 cp/glass.[1]
  • Wine was 3 gp/tallglass, 10 gp/greatgoblet (a huge silver flagon, containing as much as a bottle), or 25 gp/hand cask.[1]
  • All platters of food were 10 gp each.[1]
  • 50 gp/barrel, but only to long-term residents like the Knights of the Unicorn[1]
  • Rooms ranged from 17–25 gp/night, depending on size and location.[1]
  • Stabling costed an extra 3 gp/night/animal (the Helm was noted for providing the finest-quality hostlers).[1]

HistoryEdit

In the mid 14th century DR, the Helm and Cloak was a favored locale for adventuring companies. Among them were Gorpel Hind and his Band of Merry Fools along with the Maulers of Undermountain.[5]

Some time before the Year of the Banner, 1368 DR, the adventurer Vail stashed the helm of Balduran away within the Helm and Cloak, hidden behind a painting on the second floor.[5]

During the 15th century the inn was run by a husband-and-wife team from Cormyr, Vedren and Halesta. Unbeknownst to many, they were both former Knights of the Unicorn.[2][3]

RumorsEdit

Rumors persisted of elegantly furnished garret chambers reached by secret passages, though the staff declined to answer questions about them. However, it was not unknown for infamous guests to be swiftly moved out of sight, and sometimes never sighted again. Elminster hinted that some of these chambers contained magical tapestries that themselves held gates to other, unknown locations in Faerûn.[1]

There were also legends of treasure hidden beneath the rooming-house building—attributed to long-ago pirates, naturally.[1]

AppendixEdit

AppearancesEdit

Video Games

NotesEdit

  1. Volo's Guide to the Sword Coast dscribes the Cloak as the larger rooming house and the Helm as the smaller personal house. In Murder in Baldur's Gate these are reversed.

ReferencesEdit

External linksEdit

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