Shards of broken metal pierce this splintered wooden circlet, as though it were once part of a helmet that violently shattered.
The Thorncrown of Iomedae functions as a major crown of blasting that grants the wearer a deflection bonus to her Armor Class equal to her Charisma modifier. In the hands of a paladin, the Thorncrown reveals its true powers, bursting into flames and spinning above the wearer's head in a halo of divine power. Paladins of any faith who wear the Thorncrown have their class abilities enhanced for as long as they wear it, gaining three additional mercies (from levels they have access to but have not selected), healing the maximum amount possible every time they use lay on hands, and gaining a number of additional uses of smite evil equal to their Charisma modifier. Additionally, if a paladin wearing the Thorncrown is slain, she may choose to instantly be restored to full hit points for a number of minutes equal to her Charisma modifier. She may act as normal for this period, but at the end of this time she dies and cannot be restored by any means short of a miracle cast by a cleric of her faith. The Thorncrown of Iomedae bestows two negative levels on any evil creature that wears it. These negative levels remain as long as the Thorncrown is held or worn—though they never result in actual level loss, they cannot be overcome in any way (including restoration spells) while the creature possesses the Thorncrown. Additionally, paladins who either break their code of conduct while wearing the Thorncrown or do not have access to their class features when they don the artifact must succeed at a DC 30 Will save or instantly be disintegrated. Those slain by the Thorncrown cannot be brought back to life by clerics with good or lawful components to their alignment—their spells simply fail—though clerics of other alignments can restore a paladin as normal. Even those who succeed at this save are treated as though they were evil creatures and gain negative levels. Paladins who receive atonement can wear the Thorncrown again without fear of ill effects.
If a paladin temporarily restored to life by the Thorncrown of Iomedae forsakes her deity and, of her own free will, swears herself to an evil force, the crown consumes the wearer in holy flames, destroying itself and its wearer utterly. Nothing can restore a traitorous paladin killed in this way.
As Iomedae stepped from the Starstone Cathedral, her armor dripped from her body in streams of molten metal. Only after her departure from the world to enter the service of her patron Aroden did her new worshipers pay mind to the slag that marked the goddess's steps. Although much of this metal was crafted into relics of Aroden's church, a portion of the goddess's helmet survived the Test of the Starstone along with its mistress, becoming imbued with righteous power. This splintered band of wood, jagged with exploded shards of the goddess's helmet, became known as the Thorncrown of Iomedae, or among her worshipers, the Truecrown of Iomedae.
Upon their return to Lastwall, the Knights of Ozem began construction of the first cathedral dedicated to their leader, the Sancta Iomedaea. On the sanctuary's completion, the Thorncrown was meant to be installed within and permanently displayed. But on the eve of the dedication, the artifact's guardians were slain, and the Thorncrown went missing. Who stole it and how remain mysteries, but when the Thorncrown reappeared in Absalom in the hands of the Pathfinder Society 15 years later, Iomedae's church demanded its return—and was ignored.
For the following 8 centuries, the Thorncrown was smuggled from lodge to lodge across the Inner Sea as Pathfinders hoped to glean some insight into the Test of the Starstone and uncover the mystery of divine apotheosis. During Galt's Red Revolution, however, the Thorncrown was caught at the lodge in Woodsedge and disappeared. Since then it is rumored to have appeared in diverse hands from Qadira to Varisia. Today, both the Church of Iomedae and the Pathfinder Society search for the Thorncrown of Iomedae, with both groups willing to sacrifice anything for its recovery.
Those who take up the Thorncrown of Iomedae gain great power and a centuries-old conflict.