Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Magical Tattoos for Unisystem

Note: This is something I did a while back and have been meaning to redo for old-school D&D.  But this works well enough on it's own and I never could get it to jell just right for D&D games.

Magical Tattoos
One of the oldest forms of art is decorating the human body. Consequently one of the earliest forms of magic was decorating the human body to achieve supernatural effects. Whether to aid in battle or to connect more closely with the natural or supernatural world, body art and modification was amongst the first magics performed.

Inscribing a Tattoo
A sorcerer, witch or magician usually learns their magic from learned masters, ancient tomes or some other supernatural agent. Magical tattoos are not that much different, but the ways of inscribing the magic is very different. Often words are not used as most magical tattoos pre-date written language; instead the secret language of symbols, shapes and often color is needed.
Learning to inscribe a tattoo is a dying art. While once used the world over now only a handful the world over know the art. Directors then can rules that the Cast do not have access to the knowledge to learn how to make these and must seek out a Master.

To inscribe a magical tattoo is much like casting a spell. To learn how to do it the Master must match or exceed in Success the power level of the tattoo to be learned. This is usually a Perception + Art + Occultism (not Magic) roll. To cast or inscribe the tattoo is a Willpower + Art + Magic roll.

Like spells some tattoos have durations and some may be of limited use. Other may require a sacrifice of life force (Quality Points) or even Magic Levels to be able to use.
Unlike spells magical tattoos are never quick-cast. Typically it takes 1 to 2 hours per Power Level to inscribe. Any interruptions render the tattoo useless.

Anti-Magic Tattoo
Power Level: 2 to 5
Requirements: recipient looses 1 level of Magic per level of Tattoo
Inscribing Time: 1 hour per PL
Effects: This powerful and rare tattoo is one of the most sought after all of magical tattoos. The application renders the recipient immune to magic. They are immune to any offensive spell below the Power Level of the tattoo (ie. a PL 3 tattoo protects against PL 1 or 2 spells). It can also negate up to PLx10 Life Point in damage per supernatural attack (say the fire breath of a demon).
If the Ghosts of Albion magical combat rules are used then the PL of the tattoo is treated as the defenders level in Magic. They may not however attack back.
The cost for this protection is high. The recipient also cannot be effected by any magic including healing from a spell or other beneficial supernatural effects (such as rapid healing). The recipient must also sacrifice 1 level of Magic (Sorcery) per PL of the Tattoo in order to gain its protection. The recipient of the tattoo can no longer cast magic themselves.
Example: Eric the Witchhunter gets an anti-magic tattoo. He has 3 levels of Magic and finds a master that will give him a PL 3 Anti-Magic tattoo. He looses his 3 levels and nearly six hours later he has his tattoo. If he wishes to get a PL 4 Anti-Magic tattoo then he must first earn another level of Magic before he can do so. While he is doing so he can not of course even use them due to his own tattoo negating them.

Celtic Battle Tattoo
Power Level: 1 to 5
Requirements: Special woad paint from the British Isles
Inscribing Time: 1 hour per PL
Effects: This special tattoo requires special woad paint found only in the British Isles and a master at applying the tattoos. Once inscribed the tattoo provides an armor value equal to the PL of the tattoo +1. The tattoo must be exposed and visible in order to provide this protection. Once active the tattoo is treated like thick hide or leather. Weapons, even bullets, seem to bounce off the user. They still suffer from environmental exposure however. A naked painted blue Celt might have enough protection to be bullet-proof, but will still freeze to death.
A user may have multiple tattoos, but the protections are from the most powerful one (highest PL) only. Each additional tattoo regardless of PL provides only an extra +1 to the armor value. The tattoos, as the name implies, are permanent and only come into their magical effect when the user enters battle.
The maximum protection in any combination is +6.

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