Tattoo Magic (D&D equipment)

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Unofficial rules compendium

Magic tattoos approximate the effects of magic rings and certain wondrous magic devices. The following rules apply to all magic tattoos:

  • Magic tattoos take body slots, and each body slot can normally hold one magic tattoo. Packing them tighter than this uses the standard rules.
  • Wearing another magic item in the indicated item slot voids the effect of the magic tattoo, unless either the tatoo or item has been modified not to take an item slot.
  • A magic tattoo with charges or limited uses disappears when the final charge is expended.
  • Magic tattoos can be temporarily disabled by cutting or scarring. This does not happen as a normal side effect in combat; it must be made as a deliberate action. Specifically attacking a tattoo gives a -4 attack penalty and halves any damage inflicted (the attacker is out to flay rather than slay), but any damage disables the tattoo. Such scarring lasts until the wearer is next completely healed.
  • A magic tattoo can be suppressed for 1d4 rounds (or dispelled, if a one-use tattoo) by the erase spell.
  • Magic tattoos can be permanently removed by cutting of the body part or flaying the skin, a slow and very painful process that requires a helpless victim and irrecoverably destroys the tattoo. A severed body part that is regenerated from scratch loses any magic tattoos it once held.
  • Tattoos are tied to the life-force of the wearer. If the wearer dies, all tattoos on the body are rendered inert. If the body is intact and resurrected, remaining tattoos once again function. A magic tattoo can never be resold or reused. Techniques that salvage the power of magic items may still work if used while the wearer is alive.
  • Read magic will identify a magic tattoo, as can a Spellcraft check, DC 20 + 1/2 caster level as a full-round action. This can be done at up to 30 ft. distance. Since a magic tattoo must be uncovered in order to work, this is a practical possibility.
  • An tattoo incorporating an extradimensional space (like a|Robe of 1001 pockets) does not involve pulling the item out of your body; instead it just appears in your hand as you use the tattoo. If such a tattoo is disabled, for example by scarring or with a targeted dispel magic, all the items held in it fall to the floor in a heap in your space. If it is blocked by clothing or another magic item the stored objects become inaccessible. A disabled or covered extradimensional tattoo is not harmed by entering an extradimensional space, but it cannot be accessed in such a space.
  • Under these limitations, magic tattoos can duplicate the functions of wondrous items and rings that use the following body slots. The cost and prerequisites remain the same, except that magic tattoos always uses the Craft Magic Tattoo feat. There are also some specific tattoos described below; more can be created. An item that does not normally require a body slot that is made into a tattoo reduces the cost by half.
Body Slot Tattoo Location Normal Gear Affinity
Head Scalp, Brow Headband, helmet Mental improvement, ranged attacks
Phylactery Morale, alignment
Hat Interaction
Face Face Lenses, goggles Vision
Throat Neck, Breast Amulet, brooch, medallion, necklace, periapt, scarab Protection, discernment
Back Back Cloak, cape, mantle Transformation, protection
Torso Chest Vest, vestment Class ability improvement
Shirt Physical improvement
Body Midriff Robe Multiple effects
Waist Vitals, Legs Belt, Girdle Physical improvement
Arms Arm Bracers Combat
Bracelets Allies
Hands Wrists, hand Gloves Quickness
Gauntlets Destructive power
Rings Palm, Fingers Rings Protection, spell effects
Feet Feet, Ankles Boots Movement

Special Magical Tattoos

These enchantments are specific to magic tattoos.

Tattoo of Fidelity

Placed on the arm or breast, this tattoo spells out the name of a specific individual. Once per day, the wearer can use sending to communicate with the named individual only. Commonly used by seafarers and other long-time travelers. Prerequisites: CL 7, sending, Craft Magic Tattoo. 2,850 gp.

Tattoo Monster

Placed on an arm or leg, these monsters can detach and fight on behalf of the user, functioning as summon nature's ally, summon monster, or summon undead spells, calling the specific creature depicted. Available both as resuable and one-use enchantments that never return to tattoo form. Prerequisites: Summon (monster, nature's ally, or undead), Craft Magic Tattoo.

  • Summon I, CL 1. One-use 25 gp. One use/day 200 gp.
  • Summon II, CL 3, One-use 150 gp. One use/day 1200 gp.
  • Summon III, CL 5. One-use 375 gp. One use/day 3,000 gp.
  • Summon IV, CL 7. One-use 1700 gp. One use/day 5,600 gp.
  • Summon V, CL 9. One-use 1,125 gp. One use/day 9,000 gp.
  • Summon VI, CL 11. One-use 1,160 gp. One use/day 13,200 gp.
  • Summon VII, CL 13. One-use 2,600 gp. One use/day 20,800 gp.
  • Summon VIII, CL 15. One-use 3,000 gp. One use/day 24,000 gp.
  • Summon IX, CL 17. One-use 3,875 gp. One use/day 30,600 gp.

Tattoo of Recall

Often depicting an anchor, the tattoo of recall can be placed on the chest or arm. When activated, it functions as a word of recall spell, transferring the wearer and up to three medium-size creatures to a secure area designated when the tattoo is drawn. Disappears when used. Prerequisites: CL 11, word of recall, Craft Magic Tattoo. 1,650 gp.