Tattoo spellcasting

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Ink Magi are able to inscribe spells on living canvas. It’s prohibitive but in a world where magic is hard to obtain it can definitely give an edge. It is permanent unless removed by an Ink Magus.

Using it drains a lot of energy from its owner. To cast a spell via magic tattoos one have to spend Hit Dice (without removing hit points):

  • level 1 spell drains 1 HD
  • level 2 spell drains 3 HD
  • level 3 spell drains 5 HD

Remember that magical healing is not readily available in SiT (as explained: here). Spending HD is the primary way to regain hit points. This should prevent (playtesting will tell, in time.) balance-wrecking from this new source of magic.  You will have to evaluate carefully if the cost outweigh the benefit.

A short, incomplete, list of tattoo spells with suggested look:

Level 1:

Cost: 250 gp

  • Arms of hadar (black interweaved lines on arms)
  • Expeditious retreat (wings on ankles)
  • Feather fall, self only (wings on back)
  • Magic missile (darts on forearm)
  • Shield (triangle patterns)

Level 2:

Cost: 500 gp

  • Arcane lock (key or set of keys, anywhere)
  • Enhance ability (specific animal of  ability, only one ability per tattoo! Anywhere)
  • Spiritual weapon (chosen weapon: arm, neck, back or chest)
  • Web (web: elbow, of course!)

Level 3:

Cost: 1000 gp

  • Animate dead (bones, skull and such: anywhere)
  • Conjure animals (one animal per tattoo: anywhere)
  • Hypnotic Pattern (a spiral: chest, neck or face)
  • Lightning arrow (arrow: forearm)

Higher level spells could potentially exists but are unheard of.

7 thoughts on “Tattoo spellcasting

  1. If you break it down to just simple math, a spell that should do just about 5 HD of damage (say as a 3rd level spell cast by a 5th level wizard) will do on average about 15 dmg (5 x d6: 30 dmg drop to half for statistics).

    Granted, in this setting, most people don’t use dangerous weapons so it would be like bringing a gun to a knife fight.

    Only if that gun is 100% sure to explode in your face and likely will hurt you more than your target. IF you use it in combat. Hypnotic pattern versus possibly dying? No way. Conjuring a nice dog versus losing an arm and a leg? What? No!

    Not to mention the tremendous cost for the tattoo. You’d have to be rich AND crazy which is a rare combination.

    This is an interesting idea but there are issues of balance. Not to mention that anyone sporting fabulous ink will likely be a target right away.

    Like

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