Take one thief extraordinaire, and one jealous, but magically inclined, not so extraordinary thief. And add a pair of boots.
What we have here are thieves boots, and quite good boots they are too. Excellent for walking those narrow ledges, and taking off over the rooftops. They’re magically enchanted to help the wearer stay safe and steady, and they’re very comfortable too.
The magically inclined thief, named Jastev, felt that he deserved the glory that his colleague, Divan received. This was probably not he case, but he did not see it that way. He felt that Divan got everything, and nobody gave him the respect he deserved.
Divan was often far too busy basking in his own glory to notice the bitter jealousy his colleague seeped from every pore, and he often just turned his attention to his myriad of adoring ‘fans’. He was a showman, plain and simple.
Jastev recognised this, and decided to hit him where it hurt, his ‘fanbase.’ He found the most comfortable pair of boots he could find, and he twice enchanted them. First, he infused them with the ability to keep a man sturdy and safe, no matter the terrain, excellent and most desirable for a thief. And secondly, he added a curse, whoever wore them would be disrespected by everyone, as if they’d made some ghastly faux pa, and he set it on a time delay.
A few days later, he made a bet with Divan. He bet him his new boots that he could beat Divan in a contest which he, in fact, had neither a chance, nor any intention, of winning. Thus, when Divan won, it was in fact Jastev who held a private victory.
Divan was pleasantly surprised by the boots, and took to wearing them. At first, life went on much the same for him, though his work was made easier with his new boots. But shortly later, he found things to become very strange.
Children mocked him in the street. The serving wench, at his frequented tavern, whom he often spent some time alone with after the tavern closed, walked right by him. Everywhere it was the same, nobody thought he was the greatest anymore, he couldn’t bribe guards, he was insulted in the street, and he had a difficult time getting a drink, and he had to buy his own!
It came to pass that Divan was later captured by some guards whom he very unsuccessfully tried to bribe. The judge, too, did not feel very well disposed to Divan, and Divan’s every charm and wile failed on him.
Divan’s now extremely truncated life took a quick turn for the worse, and then it was over.
Perhaps this item could be found on a lone bandit who tried to rob them. A lone bandit who seemed all talk. The boots catch their interest, and the group’s showman, generally the rogue, tries them on, and finds them to his liking. A couple days later (enough time should pass so that the player starts to forget about the new boots and focus on other things), the curse begins to manifest. What’s it like to be a hero in a group, and have everyone else in the party greeted with open arms, but be shunned yourself?
Perhaps a person of some importance could come to the party offering coin if they can discover why it is that nobody seems to like him anymore. The party should be informed that this man seems like a real nincompoop, or somesuch, even if he clearly isn’t. A nice little non-combative side-quest, to help hone their investigative skills, maybe?
Perhaps the peasantry could be overheard to laugh about their employers dress sense, or something similar.
Perhaps he was involved in a position in the law enforcement sector, which allowed him to assume ownership of such goods as the deceased’s clothes.
The boots will allow the wearer to be steadier on their feet than they could otherwise be. They will also test the wearers ego with a curse that lets everyone they meet act like the wearer has just committed some horrible social misdeed, people will snob him, make fun of him, and generally degrade his character.