…Within the masks hold the power of all magic: divination, illusion, evocation, necromancy, abjuration, conjuration, enchantment, and alteration. With such, one can rule the world…
The masks were created long ago by the Teng, a race of powerful sorcerers. The Teng had come to fear the greatest among them, who was named Xoth. Xoth had become too powerful even for a race of sorcerers. His nearest rivals could not come near to matching him in power.
A plan was devised that would drain away the powers of Xoth and his conspirators would gain them. 8 masks were created, one for each of the schools of magic. Each mask would drain away the properties of that school of magic from Xoth, leaving him powerless before his enemies.
However they underestimated Xoth’s powers, he was caught unaware but not completely helpless. A titanic battle occurred with the sorcerers making use of the power they drained from Xoth. In the end Xoth was seemingly destroyed, but his enemies had themselves been absorbed by the masks leaving them mindless husks.
The masks were considered to be defective and cursed, by Xoth’s dying words. So they were hid away, never see the light of day, until the Teng were destroyed by a calamity seemingly unrelated but in truth brought on by the corpse-less mind of Xoth. His body was destroyed and much of his magic drained but he still maintained a shadowy existence in the astral planes. Xoth observed the Teng and deeming them unfit to live, manipulated events and natural disasters into destroying them. Xoth now seeks to return to the land of the living, but to do this the masks must be found and brought together through a special ritual. Then Xoth will step forward to reclaim the power lost to him. To this end Xoth has been trying to manipulate others by speaking to them through dreams and visions, claiming to be a god or demon of sorts.
The masks themselves are each possessed by a slight consciousness, more active in some than others, though their fragmented personalities in a way resemble Xoth. All the masks impart spell casting ability even to those who do not have it. How this translates is when a character has bonded with a mask, a process taking from 3 days to 2 weeks, he can access the masks casting abilities depending on his level. The owner is treated as a wizard for what level of spells can be cast. He/she is allowed to cast 1 spell from each level of that school that he could cast from if he was a mage. This is similar to the extra spells a specialist wizard is granted.
The character wills the mask to cast the particular spell and so it will be done. Note the PC does not do the casting so he is free to act in the same round. Sometimes the mask, particularly the more self-aware ones, will themselves decide when to cast a spell and what type. One more thing of note, all the masks are indestructible and once a wearer is bonded with a mask changing to a different mask takes twice as long as normal.
This also helps the GM foreshadow the future events concerning the unknown intelligence behind the masks.