Tattoo Artists

Tattoo magic, most commonly known as being used by the elves, is a form of art utilized by many different creatures among the multiverse. The design and function of these tatoos vary wildly between peoples, races, species, countries, continents and planes. They range from lucky charms for sailors to marks for slaves.

A new tool proficiency

In order to create a tattoo, mundane or magical, one must have proficiency with tattooist tools, which is a type of Artisan’s Tools. To ink a magical tattoo, one must have at least 1 level in a spellcasting class and be proficient with these tools. To gain proficiency with Tattooist Tools, you either practice with it over a time of a month, or gain it from the following backgrounds

  • Criminal: You may choose to forgo your proficiency with Thieves’ Tools and instead choosing to be proficient with Tattooist tools
  • Guild Artisan: You may choose Tattooist tools as your Artisan Tool proficiency
  • Sage: You may forgo one of your Language Proficiencies, instead choosing to be proficient with Tattooist tools
  • Sailor: You may choose to forgo your proficiency with Navigator’s Tools, instead choosing to be proficient with the Tattooist Tools
  • Tattoo Artist: a new background, which will be explained in-depth later on.

Tattooist Tools

This kit comes in a sturdy briefcase, of some description and contains a variety of various coloured inks, needles and medical supplies needed for sterilization. The kit may also include a sketchbook filled with original tattoo designs, or magical templates that the artist may find on their journeys. Tattooist’s tools are needed to create any tattoos, whether they have magical properties or not. Each set initially contains a variety of ink colours, but does not include any speciality inks from the speciality inks table. As you create tattoos, you will use up the supplies in your tool kit, which will need to be replaced every so often. Every Small tattoo you make will take 1 ounce of ink to create. Medium tattoos require 2 ounces, while Large tattoos will cost you 4 ounces of ink.  Each colour of ink costs more or less, depending on the dye used to make this colour. Purple, for example is the most expensive colour to create, because the minerals and plants that produce it are harder to find and acquire than other dyes.

Creating Tattoos

Magical tattoo templates are often crafted by masters of their art, which are few and far between. Finding drawings and schematics for magical tattoos can be a difficult task, as such pieces of art are exceedingly rare. When a character wishes to draw a tattoo onto either themselves, or another creature, they must follow the following rules

Tattoo Application

There are many variables that go into applying a tattoo which must be taken into account before choosing to apply it to the skin. Such variables include the size of the tattoo, the intricacy of the tattoo, the cleanliness of the procedure and the time it takes to apply the tattoo.

Tattoo size

in order to apply a tattoo of any type, there must first be room to draw it onto the skin. Every tattoo has a size and a location. Every creature has only so much space on their bodies to draw tattoos on, which limits the number they that can be applied to them. The scale of the tattoo adjusts depending on the size of the creature it is being applied to. Because of this a Large chest tattoo would take the same space on a human, halfling, or giant, as the size of the tattoo stays proportional to the size of the creature it is applied to. The amount of tattoos allowed on a creature are shown in the table below

Body parts Number of tattoos
Head 1 medium tattoo, or 2 small tattoos
Chest 1 large tattoo, 2 medium tattoos, or 4 small tattoos
Back 1 large tattoo, 2 medium tattoos, or 4 small tattoos
Arm 1 medium tattoo, or 2 small tattoos
Leg 1 medium tattoo, or 2 small tattoos

Tattooing the subject

In order to tattoo a creature, the artist makes a Tattooist’s Tools check, the skill for this role is either dexterity or charisma, plus the artist’s proficiency bonus from using the tools. Every tattoo has a DC target depending on the power and intricacy of the tattoo. If the artist fails this roll and the tattoo was intended to be magical, the magical properties are lost from the ink. Depending on how severely the artist fails the roll, the tattoo can have minor flaws, or be an horrible mess.

Intricacy Tattoo DC
Simple 10
Average 15
Ornate 20

Time to apply

Tattoos take time to apply based on their size and intricacy. A large but simple tattoo may take the same amount of time to create as it would to ink a small but detailed one. sessions may be broken into chunks of 4 hours per short rest. Use the following table to determine how long it will take to apply the tattoo.

Medium(Ornate) or Large(Average)16d4 HoursLarge(Ornate)32d4 Hours

Size (Intricacy) Time
Small (Simple) 2d4 hours
Small(Average) Medium(Simple) 4d4 Hours
Small(Ornate), Medium(Average) or Large(Simple) 8d4 Hours

Risk of Disease

Even with sterile tools, there is a slight chance of picking up a disease from being tattooed, the creature receiving the tattoo must make a constitution save, the DC of which depends on how sterile the procedure was.

Cleanliness Constitution Save DC
Appropiate medical supplies used 5
Improvised medical supplies used 10
Poorly improvished medical supplies used 12
No sterilization 15
Actively unsanitary 20

If a disease is contracted, the DM decides which disease it is, either by choosing one from pages 256-257 of the DMG, or by making one up. Once the tattoo is succesfully applied, the tattooed creature may utilize the effects of their new tattoo, after they have taken a long rest.

Discovering new templates

Magical tattoo templates work much like a wizard’s written spells or scrolls. Most examples of tattoo templates are exceedingly rare and either well hidden or carefully guarded, as existing tattoos are either culturally significant or highly prized by its current owners. In rare cases, ancient tattoo templates may be found in such areas as ancient temple walls or found in carved into totems. Furthermore, other labour-intense jobs may also make use of magical templates that can be modified into templates for tattoos. There is also another way of to acquire the knowledge of a magical design. This is to have a tattooed person in your presence. Copying the design of someone’s body in order to create a template will require an intelligence check. Depending on the condition of the body you’re copying the design from, The DC of this check changes according to the following table.

Body condition Intelligence Check DC
Willing, or unconscious subject, or has been dead for less than a week 5
Subject that has been dead between 1 to 3 weeks 15
Subject has been dead for over 3 weeks 20
Damaged tattoo on subject 25

Background : Tattoo Artist

You have spent your life learning under a tattooist for the biggest part of your life. Helping humanoids of all shapes and sizes. giving you the ability to create tatoo’s with magical properties.

Skill proficiencies : Sleight of Hand , Medicine
Tool proficiencies: Tattooist’s tools
Equipment: tattooist’s tools and one tattoo template.

Feature : Tattoo Master

Your study in the arts of tattoo creation has given you a keen eye for tattoo templates, get advantage on checks to recreate templates from subjects bodies. Furthermore, you can get new supplies in big cities with a tattooist guild with a 10% discount


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