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The Iron Helm of Heroes was unremarkable in appearance. It was a simple, bowl-shaped headpiece fashioned from bronze and of ancient construction. There was no ornamentation bar the holy symbol of Ilmater over the forehead: two human hands crossed and bound at the wrist.
If worn by a being of good heart, the Iron Helm granted them the ability to cast divine spells as a high-level cleric with access to the Healing and Necromantic spheres. However, these spells could only have a beneficial, curative effect, and could not harm or inflict suffering. Typical spells were aid, breath of life, cure blindness or deafness, cure disease, cure critical wounds, cure light wounds, cure serious wounds, fortify, heal, neutralize poison, raise dead, regenerate, reincarnate, restoration, resurrection, and slow poison. To gain access to these spells, the wearer simply had to meditate for a time and pray to Ilmater, as was standard for a normal cleric of the deity. However, those who could already cast divine spells could not prepare their normal spells while they wore the Helm. If the Helm was removed, then all its spells were lost.
Once a set number of spells had been used, then the Helm disappeared and teleported to a random location in Faerûn. Here it would be found by another good-hearted being who could use it to heal heroes in need.
The true origins of the Helm were unknown. However, it was commonly believed to be the only remnant of an avatar of Ilmater that died somewhere south of the Inner Sea some time before the 4th century DR. [note 1]
Many legends and stories across Faerûn made mention of the Iron Helm of Heroes and its powers of healing. They told that the Helm halted countless plagues and healed numerous suffering heroes who fought the forces of darkness. However, it never stayed long in one place, and Ilmater often guided it such that it reappeared where it was needed—its discovery often heralded a vital need for its healing magic.
By around 1370 DR, the Iron Helm was in the possession of Lord Tessaril Winter of Eveningstar in Cormyr. Friendly to local adventurers, Tessaril often used it to aid those who explored the nearby Haunted Halls. However, Tessaril was unaware of its limited number of uses, and it was expected to disappear and reappear somewhere else in the Realms when she hit that limit. Nevertheless, she rationed its uses out, only healing a group once or twice.
There were several theoretical ways to destroy the Iron Helm of Heroes, if one should desire it. One was for it to be worn by a cleric of wizard as they were transformed into a lich. Another was to dip it in the blood of a Faerûnian ruler killed in a great battle that claimed 10,000 other souls. Involving the gods, an avatar of Talos could drink unholy water desecrated in the Destroyer's name from the Helm, or Loviatar, the Maiden of Pain and rival of Ilmater, could whip an Ilmatari wearing the Helm 10,000 times.