It can be found in secondhand stores and pricey boutiques. It’s been worn by socialites, gun molls, and even grandmothers. No one who has succumbed to the dubious fashion temptation of the so-called leopard skin pillbox hat has been left unchanged.
Nothing is known about the leopard that originally wore the fur, but the hat was cut from a larger garment--a magical raiment worn by generations of protectoresses of the Ebon-Land wilds, the Leopard Women. Some of these warrior women were native Black folk, others white-skinned foundlings. Whatever their origins, they were each imbued with a portion of a wild spirit of that ancient land.
It all came to an end at the hands of a jealous huntress--or so the story goes. Fearing she would lose her man to the wild beauty, she did what legend said no man had been able to do. She killed a leopard woman, and claimed her vestments.
This story may only be so much pulp fiction. What is undisputed fact is that there exist possibly as many as three pillbox hats of leopard skin that can corrupt their wearers with a bestial spirit. Slowly, the spirit of the hat works to make the owner more short-tempered and predatory in her interactions with others (failing a saving throw as with lycanthropy). This spirit, invisible to anyone else, will at times be visible to the owner as a mirror image of herself, dressed in a leopard skin outfit.
The wearer will be goaded by this other personality into increasingly antisocial acts to further her goals (if alignment is used, it changes to Chaotic). While no visible physical transformation occurs, the owner develops (over 2-16 days) the uncanny ability to perform the physical feats of the leopard (climbing, jumping, stealth, etc.). Note that the owner does not to have to wear the hat any more frequently than once every 3 days for the change to take place, as long as they remain the owner (meaning it is not out of their possession for more than 7 consecutive days).
The outcome of the transformation is often death or imprisonment for the owner. Somehow, the hat always seems to make its way back to retail afterwards, though it make take months for this to occur.
The ultimate goal of the beast spirit seems to be vengeance against civilization. It may be that it can be placated with the appropriate ritual, but no one has yet discovered it.