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Helm's Hold was a fortified city and cathedral located near Neverwinter.
Helm's Hold was located around twenty miles (less than a day's travel) south east of the the city of Neverwinter, not far from the edge of Neverwinter Wood, in fact, a section of the Wood, known as the Watcher's Forest, was cared for by the Hold's residents, historically because of a wild magic area within.
Originally, the Hold's founder, Dumal Erard, led the Hold as First Guardian - a position that could only be passed on through martial combat. Eventually though, a democratically elected City Council was chosen from among the populace. This council was composed of 'Speakers' who were frequently loud, individualistic and sometimes obnoxious during their debates, often using intimidation against each other to try and pass legislation. The Chief Speaker led this forum and had final say on policy-making decisions.
Eventually, when the Ashmadai revealed themselves, The Prophet, as their leader, temporarily became de facto ruler of the Hold until she showed her true colours and fled to the Crypts.
After Neverwinter retook the city, the Council of Speakers was re-established with the Chief Speaker being Amarandine Wanderfoot.
Priests and Paladins of Helm based out of Helm's Hold would, for the Hold's first four decades at least, patrol the Watcher's Forest and the Neverwinter Wood perimeter. One hundred men and women served as Helm's Hundred, a fighting force consisting of magic-users, warriors and even thieves. Before Hellgate Keep was sealed however, this troop would leave the Hold for Sundabar every Spring to battle the tanar'ri.
When the Hold expanded to become a city, a high wall was erected around it. After Dagult Neverember became Lord of nearby Neverwinter, he sent a detachment of Mintarn Mercenaries, led by Dunfield, an associate who'd fallen out of Lord Neverember's favour. These mercenaries had the power to impose martial law on the Hold if they were ordered to.
Founded at the beginning of 1340 DR by Dumal Erard, a priest of Helm and former member of the Company of Crazed Venturers, as a farm that was originally known as Helm's Stead. Other followers of Helm arrived, electing to stay, and by 1353 DR the site had grown to become a fortified town of seven hundred surrounding an abbey.
The town lost prominence following the Time of Troubles when the people of Neverwinter proscribed the residents for the actions of their god.
Cultists responsible for infecting Neverwinter with the Wailing Death used Helm's Hold as a base in 1372 DR, posing as Helmites while desecrating the abbey until the Hero of Neverwinter entered a portal that led there to arrest Desther Indelayne
After recovering from its losses, Helm's Hold gained a reputation for safety over the next several decades and began to quickly grow again. The abbey became a grand cathedral and the town itself grew to become a small city. Though only a few actual Helmites remained in the cathedral after their god's apparent death in 1384 DR. This fortune changed once the Netherese briefly conquered the place but then it was allowed to be retaken when Mount Hotenow erupted.
Helm's Hold became a prime site for refugees fleeing Neverwinter's destruction, many infected with Spellplague energies. Though none of the residents held any preconceived notions against such people, many of the uninfected refugees brought theirs with them and persecuted any who showed signs of spellscars. Those who were persecuted against fought back, forming the Heirs of Azure to retaliate against their oppressors.
When Dagult Neverember of Waterdeep began reconstruction efforts in Neverwinter, he put a call out to all skilled carpenters and masons to come to Neverwinter to help. This left a dreadful lack of such tradesmen in the Hold and caused many of the Hold's buildings to fall into disrepair. Because of the already high population of spellscarred within the Hold's walls, and the success that some of the priests had shown in suppressing symptoms, Lord Neverember also issued the Protector's Law, an edict that required all those showing symptoms be sent to the Hold for treatment.
An agent of the Abolethic Sovereignty named Rohini (known in the Hold as The Prophet) capitalized on this turn of events, acting as a double agent working on behalf of the Ashmadai to convert the spellscarred to their service. With this local increase in membership, the Ashmadai seized Helm's Hold. This in turn drew the attention of the Neverwinter Guard, who laid siege to the city - Rohini's plan all along having been to expose the Ashmadai and have the forces of Neverwinter engage the cult so that the two were preoccupied with each other.
After the siege was ended, the Hold was declared cleansed of evil influence. An adventuring member of the Order of the Gauntlet by the name of Javen Tarmikos began experiencing signs of the god Helm's return, followed shortly afterward by several others. Javen was a veteran of the siege of the Hold and started a splinter-group he named the Order of the Gilded Eye, which refused to follow the Order of the Gauntlet's ethos of avoiding pre-emptive strikes, instead actively searching for hidden evil and destroying it before it threatened anybody. The Order came to control Helm's Hold and sponsored sometimes brutal tactics to achieve their goals.
Rumours and LegendsEdit
Rumours persisted that passages formed when Scar Alley was created led up and inside the Sanatorium. Nobody who ever explored that way was seen again but it didn't stop the brave and the desperate from trying.
Crypts of the Vigilant EyeEdit
A veritable city beneath a city, the Crypts were a secret burial place located beneath Helm's Hold. Their existence was made public when they were discovered by those constructing the Cathedral. The crypts were occupied by the Abolethic Sovereignty who posted undead guards created from the interred. These former faithful of Helm hesitated to attack those prominently wearing the holy symbol of their former god, but their numbers were supplemented by foulspawn who had no such compunctions.
The Sovereignty and its servants were not the only residents of the Crypts, as a team of Gray Wolf Uthgardt infiltrators once made a camp after foolishly digging their way into one of the catacombs. The werewolves went mad with hunger after their entry tunnel collapsed behind them, attacking anything they could conceivably eat.
The easternmost crypt, known as the Crypt of Vigilance, was found under the boughs of the Watcher's Forest, the section of the Neverwinter Wood traditionally cared for by the Hold's inhabitants. This crypt was made for the rest of paladins of Helm, fallen protecting the innocent, but was abandoned after Helm's apparent death. The Ashmadai eventually found and secured it, hoping to turn it into a sanctum for devil-summoning while the spirits of long-dead paladins watched in horror.
A former inn that came to serve as a centre of local government when the City Council chose it to hold their meetings.
The centre of this marketplace in the middle of the city is a hangman's scaffold. Heartward was haunted, manifesting on nights when a waning moon is covered by clouds. Apparitions appear at these times, going about their business and occasionally performing a hanging. On the edge of the marketplace was a shrine to Sune, from which the place got its name. The shrine was converted to a proper temple called Heartward Hall after the fall of The Prophet.
Dumal Erard's abbey to Helm was expanded into a grand cathedral. Only the foundation had been laid when Helm appeared to have been killed in 1384 DR but the building was completed in the fallen deity's honour regardless. Furnished with grand statues depicting the god and heroes of the church, Helm's holy symbol was displayed prominently in the stonework, on wall-mounted pennants and on suits of armor that lined the halls. The walls were built for acoustics that block all but the most raucous sounds, creating an impressive, but peaceful place of worship. Very few devout of Helm remained here and eventually, The Prophet took the cathedral as her seat, dispensing her prophecies to congregations of loyal acolytes, fawning supplicants, and awed spellscarred patients, though she laid no claim to the actual structure. The site also had an orphanage and, after after Helm regained his divinity, a building was constructed to house those spellchanged mutants who had survived their time in the Sanatorium.
A run-down old tavern that held a reputation for unfriendliness toward those without spellscars. This was because the place was the headquarters of the Heirs of Azure.
Located beneath the Cathedral, a confusing collection of corridors and rooms were eventually adopted as a place to securely hold the spellscarred patients sent here by the Protector's Law.
When Helm's Hold started growing again towards the end of the 14th century, a project to expand the Hold's basic sewer system was begun. Work stalled when the Spellplague magically weakened the ground that the Hold was built on and the original sewer system collapsed. The poorest refugees moving to the city found refuge in the submerged tunnels, building a shanty town, though it quickly became a place of violence. When the Ashmadai took over the hold, they raided Scar Alley for human sacrifices to fuel their devil summoning rituals. They became heavily patrolled by guards under orders from Helm's priesthood after the fall of The Prophet.
Formerly Known as the Old Dirty Dwarf, this inn and tavern weathered the Netherese invasion and the Cataclysm, staying open and welcoming through it all and continuing to serve high quality provender. It wasn't the cleanest place and some of the staff discriminated against spellscarred, but the Old Dirty Dwarf was justifiably popular with everyone. Unknown to most however, The Prophet had spies keeping the establishment under constant surveillance for 'interesting' looking newcomers. After the removal of The Prophet, a Chauntean Paladin named Kharissa Anuvien, took ownership, and changed the name of the establishment.
Beneath Scar Alley, are the original crypts of Helm's Abbey, long abandoned and forgotten by the people of the Hold. These crypts are infested with stealthy spellscarred monsters.
- Alisara Callum
- Amarandine Wanderfoot
- Brother Satarin
- Doloran Bard
- Dumal Erard
- Halas the Pure
- Javen Tarmikos
- Jurden Splitlip
- Kharissa Anuvien
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- ↑ Ed Greenwood and Steven E. Schend (July 1994). “Campaign Guide”. City of Splendors (TSR, Inc), p. 15. ISBN 0-5607-6868-1.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Matt Sernett, Erik Scott de Bie, Ari Marmell (2011). Neverwinter Campaign Setting. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 167. ISBN 0-7869-5814-6.
- ↑ Cryptic Studios (2013). Jack Emmert and Shane Hensley. Neverwinter. Perfect World Entertainment.
- ↑ Paul Jaquays (1988). The Savage Frontier. (TSR, Inc), p. 10. ISBN 0-88038-593-6.
- ↑ BioWare (2002). Trent Oster, Brent Knowles, James Ohlen. Neverwinter Nights. Atari.
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Kim Mohan ed. (2015). Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 85. ISBN 978-0786965809.
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 Matt Sernett, Erik Scott de Bie, Ari Marmell (2011). Neverwinter Campaign Setting. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 172. ISBN 0-7869-5814-6.
- ↑ Matt Sernett, Erik Scott de Bie, Ari Marmell (2011). Neverwinter Campaign Setting. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 172–173. ISBN 0-7869-5814-6.
- ↑ Kim Mohan ed. (2015). Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 86. ISBN 978-0786965809.
- ↑ Matt Sernett, Erik Scott de Bie, Ari Marmell (2011). Neverwinter Campaign Setting. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 170. ISBN 0-7869-5814-6.