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I had a thought that if my players don't raid the treasury before their fight with Strahd, he would use the magic items inside during the final fight against the players. However...

The description for the Helm of Brilliance mentions that:

  • As long as it has at least one diamond, the helm emits dim light in a 30-foot radius when at least one undead is within that area. Any undead that starts its turn in that area takes 1d6 radiant damage.

Since wearing the helmet technically means being within the effects radius...

  • Does this mean Strahd would be damaged by the helm if he got anywhere near it, even if it was lying on the floor un-attuned?
  • Could he pluck out all the diamonds before the fight to eliminate this potential threat, or would it burn his hands or something similar?
  • Could any undead creature wear the helm of brilliance without it dealing damage to said wearer?
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Does this mean Strahd would be damaged by the helm if he got anywhere near it, even if it was lying on the floor un-attuned?

No, because the line you quoted is part of the benefits while it is being wielded by somebody who is attuned to it. If it's laying on the floor unattuned, or if somebody is attuned to it but not wearing it, the helm doesn't do any of its 'You gain the following benefits while wearing it:' lines, including the one about emitting light and dealing damage.

Could he pluck out all the diamonds before the fight to eliminate this potential threat, or would it burn his hands or something similar?

He can, because the text specifically mentions you can pry them out and that they will crumble to dust, and the helm isn't active so it won't have an undead-damaging AoE effect. Vampires have no specific weakness to diamonds either.

Could any undead creature wear the helm of brilliance without it dealing damage to said wearer?

Yes, if they don't attune to it, or if they remove all the diamonds before they do attune and wear it. But simply being attuned to it will not protect them from the damage related to being undead, because they will be within the 30-foot radius of light that damages undead.

So in short, Strahd can remove all the diamonds, because it won't damage him for coming near, then put it on and attune to it, wielding all the other properties of the Helm of Brilliance without endangering himself.

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