The D&D book Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything has a section on Magic Tattoos. Here’s how to get them, what they do, and all of their powers explained.
Magic Tattoos were originally implemented in the Dungeons & Dragons Unearthed Arcana playtest material, but have become an official part of the D&D world in the latest sourcebook, Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything. Here’s all there is to know about these wondrous skin-infused items.
Like a normal tattoo, these magical ink imprints are customizable in Dungeons & Dragons, but do have guidelines for appearances depending on the type of tattoo. These unusual marks come in many forms which can look like a brand, a scarification, or any other cosmetic alteration. They’re produced with a special magic needle which is pressed to skin to initiate the attunement process. After the attunement is complete, the needle actually turns into the ink that becomes the tattoo on the wearer’s skin.
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The Lead Rules Designer for Dungeons & Dragons – Jeremy Crawford – elaborates on these items in a Screen Rant interview. He states that if the attunement ever ends, the Magic Tattoo in Dungeons & Dragons “actually slinks off your body and that needle reforms and the tattoo goes back into it.” If desired, it can “then be applied to somebody else.” He also confirms Dungeons & Dragons’ Magic Tattoos count towards the number of magic items a player can be attuned to.
Dungeons & Dragons: Magic Tattoo Coverage & Types
The rarer a Magic Tattoo in Dungeons & Dragons, the more space it’ll cover on the wearer’s body. Common tattoos cover a small area, such as one hand or a quarter of a limb. Uncommon tattoos cover half a limb or even the bearer’s scalp. Rare Dungeons & Dragons tattoos take up an entire limb, and very rare tattoos can cover two whole limbs, the chest, or the upper back according to Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything’s lore. Finally, Dungeons & Dragons Legendary Magic Tattoos can cover an entire half of a character’s body, like both arms and torso. Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything lists 11 different types of Magic Tattoos:
- The Absorbing Tattoo emphasizes a particular color that corresponds with a type of damage resistance in Dungeons & Dragons. A green one, for example, resists Acid damage. Blue resists Cold, gold resists Radiant and so on.
- Barrier Tattoos grant the wearer an Armor Class that varies depending on that tattoo’s rarity and its ink resembles liquid metal.
- Blood Fury Tattoos allow for 10 charges of Bloodthirsty Strikes that can deal an extra 4d6 Necrotic damage to a target when attacking, allowing its bearer to regain HP equal to the Necrotic damage dealt in a D&D battle. When a creature attacks the tattoo’s bearer, a charge can be expended to use a reaction to make a melee attack on that creature – if it’s within sight – with advantage on the attack roll.
- The Coiling Grasp Tattoo’s long intertwining designs allows its user to extrude inky tendrils to reach for a creature within 15 feet, and grapples it.
- The Eldritch Claw Tattoo in Dungeons & Dragons allows unarmed strikes by the bearer to be considered magical to overcome immunity and resistance to nonmagical attacks. It depicts jagged shapes and also allows the bonus action Eldritch Maul, which for the duration of one minute can let unarmed strikes and melee attacks reach up to 15 feet away via inky tendrils.
- The shifting Ghost Step Tattoo’s Ghostly Form has three charges that regain every dawn. They allow the following benefits: resistance to Bludgeoning, Piercing, and Slashing damage from nonmagical attacks; inability to be grappled or restrained; and the ability to move through creatures and solid objects as if they were difficult terrain.
- Dungeons & Dragons’ Illuminator’s Tattoo appears as calligraphy and the like. It’s Magical Scribing ability allows the user to write with a finger, and as a bonus action can make a written page appear invisible to everyone else except the wearer and a creature of choice.
- The Lifewell Tattoo symbolizes life and birth and gives its user resistance to Necrotic damage. Also, if its user’s hit points drop to 0, it will instead be at 1 HP.
- A Masquerade Tattoo can appear however desired as a recognizable tattoo, and its Fluid Ink ability allows it to shape into any color or pattern anywhere on the body. It can also cast the D&D Disguise Self spell.
- The dark and abstract Shadowfell Brand Tattoo gives its user darkvision and can halve damage taken once per day.
- Finally, the Spellwrought Tattoo contains a single spell up to the 5th level that requires no material components to use. It glows faintly when casting, but vanishes completely once expended in a Dungeons & Dragons campaign.
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