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Magic Items

Magical Tattoos

Source Secrets of Magic pg. 164
Tattoos carry great significance for many who practice the art. Tattooing can be an intimate process loaded with meaning and emotion—an honored practice of a culture, a ceremony of supernatural importance, a permanent commitment to a cause—signifying a bit of personal decoration or self-expression, or both. Some tattoos can even instill magic into your very skin. Even more so than others, these tattoos aren't given lightly, nor should they be accepted lightly.

Tattooing is a precise art, and making magical tattoos requires developing a special rapport between the artist and their living canvas. For this reason, it can be difficult to find someone to ink a magical tattoo on your body. (Consequently, most most magical tattoos other than the ones appearing here are uncommon.) Securing such services might require a person to achieve notable deeds, become a member of a community, or prove their character and commitment to the artist.

Most magical tattooing requires the same tools as traditional methods, just using magical inks and, sometimes, magical implements, such as needles, bone tattooing rakes, or the like. Some processes, including certain traditional Varisian methods, etch the magic directly into the skin without puncturing it. The pain remains the same.

Tattooing Rules

Source Secrets of Magic pg. 164
To craft a magical tattoo, you must be able to craft magic items and have a specialty in tattooing. You can attain these requirements by taking the Tattoo Artist skill feat, or you can take both the Magical Crafting and Specialty Crafting skill feats, choosing artistry as your specialty.

Crafting a Tattoo

Source Secrets of Magic pg. 164
Inking a magical tattoo onto a creature is much like etching a rune onto an item. The tattooist uses the Craft activity, and the subject must be present throughout the process. The tattooist must meet any special Craft requirements, and they can ink only one tattoo at a time. Not only does a magical tattoo not have any effect until the Craft activity is complete, but it also requires a healing period. Though this time frame can last up to a month, applying magical or alchemical healing can shorten it to as little as a day.

The Tattoo Trait

Source Secrets of Magic pg. 164
A magical tattoo has the tattoo trait. It's permanently a part of the subject's body, and reduces the number of items that creature can invest per day by 1. Each tattoo has the invested trait to indicate this limitation—a magical tattoo is like an invested item that the tattooed creature has no choice but to invest. If the tattoo loses its magic or is destroyed, it no longer reduces your investiture.

Just like a physical magic item, a magical tattoo can be counteracted by spells like dispel magic or disjunction. If destroyed, the tattoo fades from the skin.

If a creature gets a new magical tattoo when their limit on invested items has already been reduced to zero, the new tattoo's magic fails to take hold, and it becomes a non-magical tattoo instead. However, a tattooist can alter an existing tattoo when they Craft a tattoo, modifying the old one into a different magical tattoo and removing the old effect. Magical tattoos can usually be upgraded into their greater versions by having a tattooist add to or modify the existing tattoo.

Related Rules

Chapter 11: Crafting & Treasure (Source Core Rulebook pg. 531 2.0)