Gods are such an integral part to the mythos of any D&D setting. In these elaborate worlds we create full of magical abilities and fantastical creatures, there are often some sort of incredibly powerful beings watching over.
Today, we’re going to be looking at a god who does just that, watches.
Helm, god of guardians, is a god who’s been around since the beginnings of the Forgotten Realms. We’ll be taking a deep dive into this watchful god’s life, who he is, and how he affects the realms we know and love.
Who Is Helm?
Helm, guardian of guardians, is a member of the Faerûnian pantheon and a god of protection. He is worshipped by guardians, protectors, paladins, clerics, and any who swear an oath to protect life.
Alignment: Lawful Neutral
Symbol: Staring eye on an upright left gauntlet
Domains: Life, Light, Twilight
Helm is an incredibly old god, consistently seen as a very tall (14-20 feet) man in a full suit of armor with beaming eyes shining out from his visor.
Being a part of the pantheon since before Faerûn itself existed, Helm has been privy to some important moments in the history of Abeir-Toril.
Perhaps one of the most important was his role in the Time of Troubles. When Bane and Myrkul attempted to steal the Tablets of Fate in a grab for power, AO, Lord of the gods, decided enough was enough.
To punish all the gods, Faerûnian pantheon or not, he sent them to walk the earth (just Toril at the time) in their mortal Avatar forms.
Helm was the only god permitted to stay in the heavens, serving his eternal role as sentry. His task was to stop the gods from returning until the tablets had been returned, and he served that role well.
When Mystra, goddess of the arcane, attempted to pass Helm without the tablets he struck her down. Helm took no pleasure in this, and this is in fact the origin of the Guardian’s Tear artifact.
It’s said that the single tear he shed, which held within it all the guilt and sadness he felt for slaying Mystra, fell to Toril and became a magnificent gemstone.
The Guardians Tear
While not an artifact present in 5e, this is definitely a powerful item with deep connections to both Mystra and Helm. Including it in your game, even in legends, is a fun way to immerse your players in the world.
The artifact is a jewel about a foot in length and 8 inches in diameter that floats several feet off the ground. It has the ability to create areas of wild magic or dead-magic zones (a field that negates all arcane abilities) around it.
Later, when Helm was serving as messenger between Tyr and Tymora, supporting their courtship, Tyr accused Helm of stealing Tymora’s heart.
Tyr is not a jealous god, but he was suspected to have been manipulated by Cyric, god of lies.
In anger, Tyr killed Helm, putting an end to the watch. Or did he? Some believed that Tyr absorbed Helm’s essence, becoming a sort of amalgamation god.
This belief may not have been widely held, but considering that Tyr’s portfolio and followers expanded soon after deicide, we have to believe something was afoot.
Of course, you can’t keep a god who is believed in dead for long.
After only a few millennia, Helm returned. When he did, he regained a huge variety of followers, and once again he took the title, Guardian of Guardians.
Behind the Screen: Fitting Helm Into Your World
Knowing that a god exists is great, but some of us want to use these gods to improve the storytelling at our tables.
There’s nothing wrong with learning lore just to learn lore, but incorporating the stories of Helm to your table is what this is really all about.
The next two sections will cover Helm from a DM’s and a player’s perspective, respectively.
Helm as a Character
Helm is a god with very little extraneous information. His ever-watchful presence isn’t quite the riveting tale that some gods carry behind them.
There are the key points we can use, but if Helm is a god we really want to focus on in our campaign, we should be bringing in a bit more.
Now, realistically, you’re going to have a much easier time if you set out to use Helm as a supporting character. There are many gods with similar portfolios that can really motivate an adventure.
If you’re dead set on Helm though, let’s get into it. Helm does have several organizations of followers that your version of the Forgotten Realms might want to utilize.
Below is a list of Helm-affiliated groups with all the information you need to bring them to your table.
The Companions of the One True Vision
This religious group of clerics and fighters claiming to follow Helm was an incredibly efficient military force. They were known for their ability to accomplish any task set before them.
When they were sent on expeditions to Maztica, they killed countless natives, giving them quite the bad reputation. Sound familiar?
The Watcher Over the Fallen
This group of Helmites (followers of Helm – yes, I know it sounds like helmet) consisted of clerics and paladins that served as battlefield healers for large military groups.
Bodyguards, sentinels, you name it. These followers of Helm not only sought to emulate his behavior, but they did so often in protection of temples devoted to Helm.
Vigilant Eyes of the God
An order of paladins set on finding evil and stopping it from harming innocent lives. It’s… a very paladin thing to do, and it’s very cool.
They are one of the few orders of anything that are just about universally respected throughout Faerun.
If you want themes of protection and vigilance (or maybe even vigilante justice) to be at the forefront of your campaign, these are the types of orders you might want to buff up.
Giving them an important role, having them be seen often from town to town as your adventurers travel – these are the kinds of things that set the stage for an important event including them.
All stories are derivative, so focusing on Helm might mean calling upon the two important stories in his life.
Have the order you choose to include tasked with guarding something incredibly important, or maybe frame them for some awful event (hell, do both).
You could even use the real story of The Companions as a reason why Helmites throughout Faerun are looked down on.
There are plenty of options, but if you stick to the rather simple and straightforward source material, you should be in good shape.
In many ways, the fact that Helm isn’t as deeply explored gives you an easier time of creating a compelling story built around him and/or his followers.
Character Motivation: Helm as a PC Deity
Helm is a great god to worship as a PC. He fits just about every paladin archetype, and clerics of the proper domain would be happy to have him.
Also, not for nothing, having a god with about enough defining characteristics to count on one hand is a breeze of a time.
Paladins are guardians, so it makes perfect sense that most Helmites join paladin orders of some variety.
Clerics always have it much easier. Your domains are chosen for you. The subclass options if you follow Helm are light, life, and twilight – all excellent subclasses that have abilities reflective of Helm’s portfolio.
As for other player characters, we are well aware that fighters have a history of following Helm, if as members of an iffy militant organization.
You may be a fighter attempting to right the wrongs of The Companions of the past, or you may be a druid that is more focused on the protection part of “protect nature.”
Helm is a very straightforward god. If your character is someone focused on protection of innocents, then you’re already halfway to his temple.
Some gods are reminders of how massive and deep the lore of D&D is. Helm is more of a reminder of how much lore is still out there, waiting to be discovered by heroes like you.
What will your party learn about this god as you travel across the Forgotten Realms of Abeir-Toril? That’s for you to find out.
As always, happy adventuring.