Full Item Description
Skelroth’s Panoply of Atrocity fits the iconic image of what a suit of evil and wicked armor should look like. It consists of a hauberk of black chainmail. This mail shows sign of heavy usage, including mending with some chainmail of differing size links. Over the chainmail is a cuirass of hand sized black steel plates, linked together in a lamellar fashion. The plates are each artistically embellished with scenes of wickedness, depravity and atrocity. Some show sign of being damaged and having been hammered back into shape, with a degree of damage having been done to the artwork.
The gauntlets of the armor have been given special attention. Each knuckle is covered by a small black diamond set in an iron fitting. The gauntlets radiate evil to such an extent that sensitive people may be sickened by simple proximity. A warrior with magical aptitude could imbue these wicked jewels with magical energy to grant himself entropy laced punches and and corrosive touch attacks.
Finally, the close faced helm is a thing of horror. The visor is shaped in the likeness of a demonic skeleton, the eyes are a matched pair of Demon Jade stones. With such a pair of power laced infernal jewels set into such a fine made helm, the only limit to the malice that can be worked is imagination. The jewels are quite potent and can retain almost any sort of malefic spell, as well as serving as magical resevoirs of power.
According to legend, the Liche Skelroth created this armor during his period of martial campaign against the barbarian hordes of the high steppe. When he was later defeated by the Barbarian High King, the armor and Skelroth’s corpse were supposedly stolen away by the liche’s minions who survived. It remains lost, a potent tool of evil for anyone willing to search it out and don the infernal armor.
This is complete hogwash.
There never was a Liche Skelroth, nor have the barbarians of the High Steppe ever had a High King. The entire suit of armor is a farce created by the Arch-Mage Ashight. The arch-magus tired of constantly being pulled away from her studies to help fend off this liche, or this vampire lord, or this evil warlord or warlock. To give herself a bit more time for her own studies, Ashight commissioned a blacksmith to make the armor for her, later erasing his memory of making it. The demon jade and black diamonds are real for authenticity, as any would be evil overlord worthy of the name would be able to check their authenticity.
The armor was enchanted with various spells, making it magical, resistant to rust and decay. It also has a miasma of cold and evil that radiates from it, the jewels cast a faint green light, and the black diamonds seem to drink in the light around the gauntlets. All in all, the effect is impressive.
But the farce had to have deep roots to be accepted. By utilizing potent and dangerous magics, Ashight manipulated the past. This is a task not lightly done, as a failure can have dramatic consequences. The magus Dayln attempted this sort of sorcery and accidentally erased himself and a few thousand people from the face of creation. Oops! With the spell completed, the myth of Skelroth, the marauding Liche was planted in common memory. A few whispered of the Liche’s armor, others his black sword, his tattered mantle, and other black treasures. A lead was leaked to the mythic tomb of Skelroth, where the corpse of the Liche, shattered by barbarian blood rage, rests. It wasn’t long before the first victims arrived.
Many people content that in the end, evil will win, because good is dumb. This is hardly the case. The Panoply of Atrocity is indeed a magical suit of armor, but it has several layers of curses placed upon it. Any undead who touches the armor must make a saving check to avoid being destroyed and devoured by the magical aura of the armor. Skeletons and zombies are almost always destroyed instantly, other undead might be able to withstand the visceral attack on their necrogenic essence for a few seconds or minutes longer. A greater undead would be wracked with pain as the armor devoured their strength first and then their animating essence.
A patently evil soul that dons the armor is initially unaffected. After donning the armor, they are afflicted with hideous nightmares drawn from their own memory. Every evil deed they have performed is replayed but with the roles reversed. Instead of killing, they are killed over and over, instead of feeding the cleric to the worgs, they scream as the worgs rip away their own flesh in bloody gibbets. The only respite from these debilitating nightmares is to find a cleric to offer forgiveness to the blackguard in question. This requires genuine repentance, and not paying for, coercing, or gaining false forgiveness. The wicked souls that refuse to concede their defeat often retaliate with poorly planned schemes, pointless attacks, or simply end their own lives on the point of their swords.
The final curse of the armor warps evil back on the evildoer. Should a overlord clad in the armor stab an undefended or unarmed foe with a dagger, he would suffer a similar wound himself. It is not immediately obvious that the armor inflicted the wound, instead the wearer might sense a flicker of movement, or suspect an invisible foe. Damage dealt in combat with armed and armored foes doesn’t invoke this reaction. Only striking the unarmed, undefended, women, children, the elderly, the sick, or the weak invokes this power. The power applies to magics cast while wearing the armor as well. Any spell of the necromantic persuasion are automatically inflicted on the caster as injuries of a comparable Inflict Wounds spell.
Support your Local Overlord - An aspiring overlord has acquired the Panoply of Atrocity, and with it is gathering a cadre of blackguards and minions. The PCs have to face the obviously powerful rising star, only to have him start behaving erratically and becoming reclusive. A basic defeat the villain scenario for beginning characters.
Evil PCs - a cursed item for an Evils campaign, the armor is a great lure to power hungry players who wouldn’t suspect the DM to have a Good cursed magic item.