Tuesday Magic Item – Revolutionary’s Tattoo

10 December, 2013

“How do they keep escaping us!” thundered Baron Gallond.  “I know the guards are loyal, I choose them myself.  How?”

“The last one’s were stripped naked yet some how they still manged to get out, my lord.”

“The King wants them alive, so we will just have to figure it out.  Get me that wizard, he seemed to have ideas.”

Revolutionary’s Tattoo

These magical tattoos are used by revolutionary cells (and occasionally by criminal organizations) as both means of identification and as an ace in the hole if the person is captured.  The tattooing process is painful and puts great stress on the recipient so only true believers and the most dedicated.

The tattooing process takes two hours and inflicts 1d3 points of Strength and Charisma damage on the recipient, the tattoo remains inactive until the damage is healed.  As long as the tattoo is active, it provides the bearer with a +3 resistance bonus to Will saves against any effects that would force them to reveal information, even inadvertently, about the group they belong to.

The tattoo may be expended as a free action, converting the tattoo into scar tissue and inflicting 1 point of Constitution damage, for one of the following effects: feather fall, invisibility, knock or spider climb.  Though, for obvious reasons, this is only used in extreme situations.

On the bearer’s death, the tattoo, if unused, dissolves into indecipherable swirls.

Aura faint transmutation; CL 5th
Slot none; Price 1,200; Weight
Construction Requirements
Brew Potion, feather fall, invisibility, knock, resistance, spider climb, must be applied by someone with Craft (tattoos) at 5 ranks or higher; Cost 600

This does not take up a magic item slot and a person may have as many Revolutionary’s Tattoos as their Wisdom modifier (minimum 1) over their lifetime.

Notes: A difficult item to price, very flexible yet also absurdly limited.  I think it is reasonable, perhaps even a little over-costed but as a specialized item for a specialized group, it should serve.



  1. Of course, they immediately mark someone as being part of a cell/cult/what have you, too.

    • True, unless they are hidden among other tattoos.

  2. I like it. I even feel like that point of constitution damage should be permanent…is it?

    • No, that would be Constitution Drain in Pathfinder terminology. I figured that loosing the tattoo plus the Constitution damage, even if temporary, was punishing enough.

  3. Interesting. I’d be tempted to allow the CON to be slowly regained, perhaps with a cumulative penalty for each new instance and an increasing chance of the loss becoming permanent. I like this method of imprinting a spell into the very skin of an otherwise non-magical operative or agent. Lots of interesting applications come to mind…

    • Welcome! Nice to have you visit, big fan of Hereticwerks and Wermspittle.

      And whatever works for your playstyle.

      I keep playing with magic items for the margins, weird expendables (cigarettes, food, booze, and so on), tattoos and rituals scars and other such things on the folk magic edge of things. There is a lot of neglected design space there.

      • You’re right. There’s a lot of room for marginal items and fringe stuff and folk magic. There’s always strange new stuff to try out, especially if you look into history and archaeology and see what people really did do way back when…

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