Tattoo magic is an ancient form of enchanting, imbuing living flesh with mystic power. Taught by the Chiang-ku to the True Atlanteans in the days of High Atlantis, it’s secrets were wrested by the Splugorth, either from rogue Chiang-ku or during the Atlantean diaspora after the Atlantean Cataclysm. For True Atlanteans, it is part of their culture; all True Atlanteans are tattooed young with the “Marks of Heritage”, including a sword bearing the crest of their Clan, and a mark providing protection against vampires.
Tattoos form two basic types: Minor Tattoos, also called Gear Tattoos by Splugorth Slaves, and Power Tattoos, also called Major Tattoos. Minor Tattoos create relatively simple, mundane objects. Most common are Medieval Weapons, such as swords, clubs, flails, and so on, but can also include medieval armor, ropes, lockpicks, quivers of arrows, or any simple tool with a minimum of moving parts, and nothing which functions due to chemical reactions (so no batteries, bullets, or lighters, for example). Creating such objects requires no roll, but normally requires an action. Each different object requires a separate tattoo, and a single PPE. The object will persist indefinitely while attended to by the Tattooed Warrior, and for a round after they release it.
Power Tattoos are far more flexible, and more closely mimic the Powers of spellcasters, psychics, and other Arcane Backgrounds. A primary difference is range; powers designed to help someone frequently only function on the Tattooed Warrior themselves; functioning beyond the caster requires a different tattoo, and an additional power point. Tattoos are also limited; any choices about the power, save the target, must be made when the tattoos is created; a Boost Strength Tattoo is different than a Boost Spirit Tattoo, and if the Tattooed Warrior is to use it beyond themselves, it will require a separate tattoo, and cost 3 (rather than 2) points to use.
Most users of Tattoo Magics cannot learn powers in any normal way; acquiring a Power requires that they visit a Tattoo Master willing and able to provide them the tattoo they wish. The tattoo takes a number of hours equal to its cost in Power Points to acquire, and major tattoos inflict the equivalent of two wounds, which the subjects must heal from without magic. Acquiring a Minor Tattoo requires the same, but they only need to heal from one wound. Elves are particularly poorly adapted to tattoo magic, and take an additional wound for each tattoo acquired. Any powers acquired during character creation are assumed to have been adequately healed.
All tattoos impart power and endurance to their bearers. For every tattoo, the bearer receives +1 PPE. For every 3 tattoos, the bearer receives +1 to Armor and Toughness. However, worn armor interferes with the use of Tattoo Magic, inflicting a 1 point penalty on Tattoo Magic skill rolls per point of armor. Like other magical disciplines, each point of cybernetic Strain inflicts a 1 point penalty on the Tattoo Magic skill.
Tattoo Magic carries an additional drawback: because it is enchanting, too many tattoos will inhibit the use of other magic. For every power tattoo, or two minor tattoos, any skill dependent upon PPE (spellcasting, mysticism, a techno-wizard’s Weird science) takes a -1. True Atlanteans do not count their Marks of Heritage for this penalty.
Tattooed Warrior Iconic Framework
Tattooed Warriors must be Humans, Ogres, Elves, or True Atlanteans; Chiang-ku Dragons are also capable of learning Tattoo Magic, but have their own approach, different from this Iconic Framework. True Atlantean Tattooed Warriors are frequently known as “Undead Slayers”; humans, ogres, and elves who are Tattooed Warriors are most commonly slaves of the Splugorth.
Tattooed Warrior’s Hero’s Journey
Tattooed Warriors begin with three rolls on the Hero’s Journey tables, chosen from any except Body Armor, Cybernetics, Ranged Weapons, and Underworld & Black Ops.
Tattooed Warrior Abilities and Bonuses
Arcane Background (Tattoo Magic). Tattooed Warriors begin with 15 PPE, and a d8 Tattoo Magic skill. They begin with 4 Minor Tattoos and 4 Power Tattoos. If the “New Power” Edge is acquired, two Minor Tattoos may be taken, or one Power Tattoo.
Trained to War: Tattooed Warriors begin with d8 Fighting and two Combat Edges. They must meet the requirements of any edges they select.
Enhanced Toughness. Tattoo magic enhances the toughness of those who have been subjected to it. For every 2 tattoos, Tattooed Warriors receive +1 Armor and +1 Toughness.
Enhanced Magic. Tattooing imparts a bit of additional PPE reservoir into their skin. For each tattoo, add +1 PPE. The initial PPE allotment includes the PPE bonus from the tattoos they have.
Master of Magic: Tattooed Warriors may use their Power Tattoos as Mega Powers, if they wish. They may also activate 1 minor tattoo each round as a free action.
Tattooed Warrior Complications
Naked and Famous: Physical armor impedes a Tattooed Warrior’s access to his powers. Each point of worn armor imposes an equal penalty on Tattoo Magic rolls.
Tattooed Freak: Tattooed Warriors are very noticeable. For every 2 power tattoos, they receive a -1 modifier to Charisma to those prejudiced against magic, Splugorth/True Atlanteans, or tattoos.
Conditioned: Tattooed Warriors all have a Major personality hindrance stemming from their background. Undead Slayers may suffer from Arrogant, Code of Honor, Heroic, or Vow. Splugorth Tattooed Warriors may suffer from Arrogant, Bloodthirsty, Overconfident, or Vengeful.
Psychic Lock: Tattooed Warriors may not possess any other Arcane Background dependent on PPE. They may use Psionics normally, and True Atlantean Tattooed Warriors may make use of Stone Magic that does not require their own PPE.
Cybernetics: Like other magical disciplines, each point of cybernetic Strain inflicts a 1 point penalty on the Tattoo Magic skill.
Arcane Background: Tattoo Magic
Arcane Skill: Tattoo Magic (Vigor)
Starting Power Points: 5
Starting Powers: 2 Power Tattoos, 4 Minor Tattoos, or 1 Power and 2 Minor Tattoos
Tattoo Magic allows a person to access the magical tattoos inscribed on their skin by a Tattoo Master. Tattoo powers are very regimented, with all decisions about the power determined in advance by the Tattoo Master, and seldom function beyond the subject’s skin. The Starting Power Points for the Arcane Background do NOT include any bonus power points granted by the tattoos themselves.
Requirements: Legendary, Arcane Background: Tattoo Magic, Tattoo Magic d12, Knowledge: Arcana d10
A Tattoo Master is the pinnacle of Tattoo Magic; not only are they skilled with the use of tattoos on their own bodies, but they have the ability to create tattoos on other people.
Requirements: Veteran, Arcane Background: Tattoo MagicThe tattoo user has mastered their tattoo magic to the point where they no longer need to touch their tattoos to use them. They no longer suffer a penalty to their Tattoo Magic skill for wearing armor, and may activate one Minor Tattoo per round as a free action. If they are of the Tattooed Warrior Iconic framework, they may activate one Power Tattoo or one Minor Tattoo each round as a free action.