Thousands of years previously, a country, now forgotten by all but the sages, was ruled by a wise and just king, though an old king. He was not long for the world, and he was suitably pleased with his achievements.
His son, heir to the throne, had been trained by his father for the task of leadership, and as his father grew weaker, he prepared himself for the onerous task of leadership.
As always, however, there are people not content with being one of the ruled, and feel the need to be the ruler. In this case, it was a Wizard of moderate power, but sharp intellect, and no great youth.
This Wizard, his name long forgotten, and deemed unimportant by the Sages at any rate, realised that he could never amass power on his own without a bloody coup and, most likely, a civil war. This posed a significant risk to his person, and so he used his cunning and devised another way.
To this end, he had a princely armour made. And such a set it was! He spared no expense, and soon it was the most beautiful breastplate a man could set his eyes on. Made of magical metals, detailed in the most artistic way. The smith who constructed it was a genius, and he took his time, for he had been told that it was to be a gift for the Prince himself.
What he obviously hadn’t been told was that it was the device was to be used to the Prince’s great detriment.
The wizard, on receiving the armour, was delighted. Who could possibly turn down such a gift? Especially a coronation gift? And so, well pleased with the Smithy’s work, he set to work on forging his own craft into the armour.
He, in his cunning, had come upon a most ingenius plan. But it was one that required the assistance of others, namely his apprentice, to whom he promised a great reward should he follow his instructions.
The wizard, certain of his plan being carried out, worked his magic into the armour. When his plan worked, his mind would be in the Prince’s body, and the Prince’s mind, in the armour. And in order that the armour seem all the more attractive to wear, a small charm was placed upon it to seal the deal.
However, all did not go exactly to plan. Either a slip of the tongue at the wrong moment gone unnoticed, or perhaps it was something else, but the armour’s curse was impaired.
Shortly, the King died, and the Prince was to be crowned King.
At first the curse worked fine. The wizard donned his armour shortly before the Prince was coronated, and instantly fell into a coma from which he was never to awaken, his mind held within the armour itself. The apprentice, expecting this, followed his master’s instructions to the letter, and removed the armour, and sent it via a prearranged courier as a gift to the Prince.
The Prince, delighted with the armour, put it on, all the while praising the ‘kind wizard’s’ thought.
No sooner had he finished strapping the armour than his words faltered and his demeanour changed. The wizard, now in control, said that he considered the item far too extravagant and could not accept it. He removed the breast plate, and sent it away, telling the courier to go and throw it into the ocean. An order that must have seemed strange. The Wizard, however, was particularly impressed that he still retained knowledge that the Prince had had.
But all was not well, the young King’s mind may have been in the breastplate, but so too was it submerged in his own head, beneath the Wizard’s intruding mind. Not a day later, the Wizard’s mind was battling the young King’s resurfacing mind for control in a display that suggested madness to onlookers.
Rumours of the new King’s sudden madness spread throughout the castle, and everyone had a theory. Sorcery? Poison? Perhaps it was the pressure? But that was not all.
The courier, dispatched with the item, was an appreciator of such fine work, and could not bear to throw it into the ocean. Instead, he intended on selling it, but he tried it on first. Instantly his mind was now both inside the armour, as well as displaced in his own head by the Prince’s furious mind.
The Prince, or King rather, having been fully conscious inside the armour, but only in so far as being able to think, had worked it out, he’d been tricked. And now, finding himself in this peasant’s body, he worked out the rest of it. He was in the peasant’s body, and that fiendish wizard was in his! He wanted vengeance, and he wanted to spare the kingdom that tyrant’s rule.
He hid the armour, and made haste to the castle, finding and secreting a knife he found in the courier’s equipment.
He heard, as he entered the castle, of the new King’s insanity, and, in his state, assumed they meant his tyrrany.
The young King/courier came upon the Wizard/young king in a lucid moment, and decrying him as a treacherous son of harlot, among other things, proceeded to slay his own body.
Moments later the guards fell upon him, and slew him too, sparing him at least the agony of sharing a mind without boundaries between them.
But the breastplate remained lost for some years. It was found by a trader, who sold it, in perfect condition, and made his fortune. The unfortunate nobleman who purchased it found himself inside a set of armour, and the young courier, now stark raving mad anyway from years of sensory deprivation and lack of interaction with other people, immediately went mad, slaying everyone in the room with the Nobleman’s weaponry skills, and guards immediately burst in, and in defence of their own lives slew their master.
Since that time, it has been thus passed from person to person. Sometimes the outcome is an outburst of explosive violence, sometimes the insane mind is quite lucid and capable of acting normal. Often the former, however, as the armour is generally lost for years.
Perhaps a character, or more probably, an NPC puts on the armour and then attempts to leave the party at the earliest convenience, not giving any particularly good reason. “What do you mean you’ve got better things to do than save your sister?”
Perhaps they discover the armour, and not needing it, sell it, only to hear about the merchant they sold it to killing everyone in the shop. If they manage to figure out it was the armour, they could be sent on a merry old hunt for the it as various people put it on, and send it somewhere else, before going mad and becoming news.
The breastplate might contain the mind of anybody who could lay hands on such a thing. They are likely to act a bit surprised for a moment after putting it on. Perhaps it harbours a Nobleman? Or another Adventurer? Or perhaps a bloodthirsty bandit or pirate?
Perhaps a Pirate wears the armour and a well-disposed hero is ejected, what then?
Whoever they are, they will have figured out the armours powers, and will seek to get it far away from them as quickly as they can.
When the final strap is done up, the mind of the wearer shall be copied into the armour, as the mind inside the armour is moved out. This results in the mind having previously been in the armour taking control for about a day, until the minds start to merge in a period of complete madness. It’s possible that this is a temporary condition until the minds can resolve themselves, but it’s unlikely anyone survived that long to find out.
The method for a cure, unknown to anyone, is to do a standard curse removal. This will, however, only erase the oldest mind. Therefore, you must once again strap the armour onto the victim, having previously removed it, and copy the mad mind back into it. Once again, perform the standard curse removal.
If you did it the quick way, ie. Put the armour back on, then do the curse removal only once, that would copy both minds into the armour, and create a triple layer mind in the victim until the curse was removed.
Conceivably, if this cure were thought the proper method of removal, and repeatedly done in any case of the armour surfacing, you could have a large number of minds all vying for supremacy shifted into the victims head.