Tattoos

Copyright Tero Oksala © 2004

Edited by Mario M. Butter for The Guild Companion

"The spells in the tattoos can be used only once."

Krell entered the dark cave. He knew that somewhere in here lived the spider queen, "the Queen of the Webs" as the local villagers named the monster, who terrorized the local region. Three hunters sent to dispatch the beast had failed to return. A sharp stabbing pain in his back - he had been ambushed! Krell activated a magical tattoo, praying that it would neutralise the poison, as he whirled round to attack the giant arachnid.

A character who wants to create tattoos needs the Artistic Tattooing skill and the Paint Tattoo talent. Tattooing needs some materials. Approximate tattooing costs are 10 gp + (spell casting rank/2 + total PPs spent) x 5 gp. Using the skill, the character paints the tattoo, and with the talent he can bind spells into it. Tattooing time is dependent on the PPs placed into the tattoo. Creation time is: Total amount of PPs x 2 hours.

After the tattoo is drawn, the caster imbeds a spell into the tattoo. The character can cast the Bind Tattoo spell before he casts the spell to be imbedded. The Bind Tattoo spell's cost should be added to the total cost of the tattoo. Attack spells or spells that don't affect the target or the caster directly cannot be cast into a tattoo. Tattoos also cannot be activated if the target is not a living being. The caster must use twice the normal number of PPs when imbedding a spell into a tattoo.

The spells in the tattoos can be used only once. Activating the tattoo takes the same time as it takes when cast normally. Only the owner of the tattoo and the maker of the tattoo can activate it by touch. Energy in the tattoo cannot be seen by spells until it is activated (unless these are able to detect dormant magic), then the tattoo glows for the duration of the spell, after which the tattoo disappears.

If the skin from the tattoo area is destroyed, the spell vanishes. It cannot be fixed, but a new tattoo can be placed. Cut wounds don't destroy the tattoo, but burns and so on will destroy the spell.

As greater PP costs require larger tattoos, there are some limitations to the total PP which can be inscribed upon a creature's skin.

Creature Size Max. Number of PPs
Tiny 10
Small 15
Medium 20
Large 25
Huge 30


Brenda the Cleric is going to tattoo her friend. First Brendan decides that she is going to cast a Minor Healing spell into the tattoo. She is going to use scaling options as well. She decides to increase the healing rating (using Increase Healing +2PP). Her friend, Gerax the Dwarf, is of small size, so no more than 15 PPs can be imbedded into tattoos. The spell takes 5 PPs to cast, so there are 10 PPs left for other spells. Brenda also decides that the spell should include bleeding reduction and healing. She also decides that the spell will activate automatically when bleeding occurs, otherwise it will only become activated when triggered by Gerax. At this point, the spell takes 9 PPs (Minor Healing spell 3 PP+ Scaling Option 2 PP+ 2nd Scaling Option 2PP + Bind Tattoo Spell 2 PP= 9 PP) and there are still 6 PPs left for other spells.
Brenda should buy the necessary equipment to paint tattoos. Cost of those is 10 gp + ( 7/2 + 9 PP) x 5 gp = 72.5 gp. Then Brenda buys the necessary equipment and makes her Tattooing skill roll and succeeds. Making a tattoo takes 14 hours (7 PPs x 2 hours = 14 hours). After the tattoo is ready, Brenda casts the spell into the tattoo. Every spell takes twice as many PPs as normal, so Brenda has to spent 14 power points for the tattoo. After the long and tiring process, the tattoo is ready and now her friend Gerax can use it when he wants.

New Talent

Paint Tattoo

With this talent the character can bind spells into tattoos. The character alters a tattoo's form so that it can contain magical properties. This talent has to be taken separately for each spell sphere.
Cost: 15

New Spell

Bind Tattoo

PP Cost: 2
Range: Touch
Duration: Special
Spell Type: Utility
RR: -
Spheres: Universal


Description: Caster can bind tattoo activation to when certain situations happen. For example the caster wants a Minor Healing spell tattoo to activate when a bleeding wound occurs. This spell has to be cast before the actual spell to be imbedded into the tattoo.