Magic Tattoos are one of the most interesting magic items introduced in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything.
Few magic items can add as much flavor to your character as these tattoos while still being useful. I can easily see some very interesting homebrew tattoos being made for characters!
There are 11 magic tattoos in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything, so let’s dive in with an overlook and first-impressions for each of the magic tattoo options!
Examining the Magic Tattoos in Tasha’s Cauldron
These items give the wearer some awesome abilities while also leaving room for players to customize what the tattoo looks like. These magic tattoos are gained by attuning to magic needles which transfer the pattern onto the user’s skin at the end of the attunement process.
Magic Tattoos – Coverage and Appearance
The rarer a magic tattoo is, the more powerful it is and the more space it requires to be applied.
Common tattoos could be placed on a character’s hand, foot, or a quarter of one of their limbs. Uncommon tattoos require half of a limb or a character’s scalp. Rare requires a limb, Very Rare requires two limbs OR the chest or back, while Legendary Magic Tattoos require two limbs and the torso.
Each of the magic tattoos in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything have a general description, but much is left for the player to decide what it looks like.
Mind you, this also expands beyond the design of the tattoo to also include the appearance of the tattoo itself. A character may prefer some other appearance such as scarification, a brand, patterns of scale, or some other such appearance to the traditional ink.
These magic tattoos feature a design that heavily focuses on a specific color.
This color determines the exact ability of the Absorbing Tattoo as each color corresponds to a specific type of damage. The color is chosen by the DM or rolled randomly on the table on page 119 of Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything.
When the tattoo is on your skin, you gain resistance to the type of damage associated with the Absorbing Tattoo’s color.
But it gets better!
Once a day, you can use your reaction to become immune to that type of damage instead of just being resistant. Furthermore, half of the damage that you would have taken is instead converted to sweet, sweet hit points that you gain!
The Barrier Tattoo depicts protective imagery like shields, armor, and the like. Its ink resembles a shining, liquid metal.
This tattoo gives you some awesome bonuses to your Armor Class when you aren’t wearing armor. The more rare the tattoo, the greater the bonus. Uncommon Barrier Tattoos provide a bonus of 12 plus your Dexterity ability modifier, while Rare tattoos provide 15 plus your Dexterity modifier (to a max of +2) and Very Rare tattoos give you an AC of 18.
Blood Fury Tattoo
Blood Fury Tattoos have forms and colors that are meant to evoke feelings of rage and inspire fury.
These magic tattoos have 10 charges that they regain every day at dawn. These charges are spent to add extra damage to your attacks and take extra attacks.
When you hit a target, you can spend one of these charges to add 4d6 necrotic damage to the hit. Then, you regain hit points equal to half of that necrotic damage.
Likewise, if an enemy hits you, you can use a charge and your reaction to make a melee attack (with advantage!) against that creature.
The Blood Fury tattoo is legendary and is something that I can definitely see a class like the Monk being able to turn into something truly terrifying.
Coiling Grasp Tattoo
With long and intertwining designs, the Coiling Grasp tattoo is a powerful option for those who like to keep their enemies close.
As an action, the tattoo unleashes inky tendrils that grab at a creature that you can see within 15 feet of you.
This creature takes 3d6 damage and is grappled unless it makes a DC 14 Strength saving throw. Failing that, the creature must use an action to break through with a successful Athletics or Acrobatics check.
This grapple can only be used on one creature at a time and ends if the grappled creature is ever more than 15 feet from you.
Eldritch Claw Tattoo
These tattoos feature forms that resemble claws and other such shapes with jagged designs.
The Eldritch Claw Tattoo gives the wearer two abilities: Magical Strikes and Eldritch Maul.
With Magical Strikes, the wearer’s unarmed attacks are considered magical which lets them overcome resistances to non-magical damage. Additionally, unarmed strikes receive a +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls.
The Eldritch Maul ability allows you to empower your tattoo.
Using a bonus action to activate this ability, your melee attacks (whether with a weapon or unarmed) can reach up to 15 feet away from you for 1 minute as tendrils reach forward from your attack. When active, you deal an extra 1d6 damage on a successful hit.
Eldritch Maul can only be used once a day and recharges at dawn.
Ghost Step Tattoo
The Ghost Step tattoo takes on a mysterious form on the wearer’s skin. It shifts to and from while parts of it appear to blur.
This magic tattoo has three charges that recharge every day at dawn. By using a bonus action to spend a charge, the wearer become incorporeal until the end of their next turn.
While in this state, the character is resistant to damage from non-magical attacks and can’t be grappled or restrained.
The character can also move through creatures and solid objects. These count as difficult terrain and take twice as much movement to move through. (Moving through a 5ft stone wall would take 10 feet of movement.)
Be careful not to end your turn in a solid object as you will take 1d10 force damage for doing so. If you’re inside an object when the effect ends, you are thrown to the nearest unoccupied space and take 1d10 force damage for every 5 feet traveled in this way.
Images of exquisite calligraphy and beautiful renderings of writing implements adorn the skin of whoever wears the Illuminator’s Tattoo.
This tattoo allows the wearer to write with their fingertip as if it were a pen with an unlimited amount of ink.
Additionally, the wearer is able to send secret messages. By touching a piece of writing (no more than a page in length) and speaking a creature’s name, the writing becomes invisible to anyone other than the two of you for 24 hours.
This can only be used once per day and the ability resets at dawn.
Wizards may be particularly drawn to this tattoo as it makes keeping up with their spellbooks far easier. Likewise, I can certainly see Rogues or other characters who favor espionage getting use out of this.
Symbols of life and rebirth make up the Lifewell tattoo. Personally, I imagine this depicting an ouroboros (a snake eating its own tail) or a phoenix.
The wearer of the Lifewell tattoo gains resistance to necrotic damage.
Additionally, they gain a Life Ward that can be used once a day and recharges at dawn. With this, the creature stays at 1 hit point when they would normally drop to 0.
This effectively gives them the benefit of the Half-Orcs’ Relentless Endurance. If a character is a Half-Orc who has this tattoo, I would rule that the player can pick which ability activated.
The Masquerade Tattoo has no defined imagery. It appears on your character’s skin as whatever you would like it to be.
This tattoo is mysterious and able to change appearance and placement. With the Fluid Ink feature, you can use a bonus action to have the Masquerade Tattoo change into any color or pattern that you would like. It can also change where it is located on your character’s body.
It does stay as a very apparent tattoo, however.
If you change the size, it can range from the size of a copper piece to a massive design that covers your entire body if you would like.
Using this tattoo, you are also able to cast Disguise Self as an action once a day. As with the other tattoos, this recharges every day at dawn.
Shadowfell Brand Tattoo
The Shadowfell Brand Tattoo is dark in color (blacks, dark blues and purples) and features an abstract design.
This tattoo gives you darkvision up to 60 feet and advantage on Stealth checks.
The coolest feature of this tattoo is that you gain a reaction. When you are hit, you can use your reaction to become insubstantial for a brief moment and only take half of the damage. This is great to have in your pocket when an enemy rolls max damage and/or scores a critical hit.
This can only be used once a day and recharges at dawn.
Spellwrought Tattoos are a “one and done” kind of tattoo that disappear after they have been used.
The tattoo contains a spell that is stored in a manner similar to spell scrolls. The level of the spell (with a maximum of 5th level) determines the rarity of the tattoo in addition to its other factors.
The tattoo is activated by speaking the command word. At that point, the spell activates and the tattoo fades from the character’s skin.
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Does Injury Make You Lose a Magic Tattoo?
Magic tattoos are applied with magic needles by skilled artists. This means that there’s an incredible amount of skill and enchantment that goes into creating one of these!
What a shame it would be if the tattoo’s power was suddenly lost due to damage or injury!
Fortunately, you don’t have anything to worry about. Magical Tattoos in D&D don’t lose their powers as a result of a character being injured.
If the character were to lose a limb that the tattoo is on, I would reason that the same rules would apply as if the character lost attunement to the tattoo. The tattoo vanishes and the magical needle that created appears in your character’s space. This allows the tattoo to be reapplied.
The cost of a Magical Tattoo is related to the rarity of the tattoo itself.
As is the case with most magic items, I would recommend using the table from the Dungeon Master’s Guide as a jumping-off point to determine the pricing in your game.
|Rarity||Character Level||Value (gp)|
|Common||1or higher||50 – 100|
|Uncommon||1 or higher||101 – 500|
|Rare||5 or higher||501 – 5,000|
|Very Rare||11 or higher||5,001 – 50,000|
|Legendary||17 or higher||50,001 +|
You may weave in a couple of quest objectives for a character would like to acquire one of these tattoos.
In their downtime, this character may search the city to find an artist who is skilled and talented enough to apply their tattoo and teach them how to attune to the magic needles. The artist may require a type of ink or other such thing that the party can go on a quest for.
If they acquire the things that this NPC needs, this person would be happy to help and may even lower the price!
Designing Your Own Custom Tattoos
With 11 different tattoo options in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything, there’s definitely a clear style in the design of Magical Tattoos.
This is a very cool mechanic that allows for a great deal of creativity from both DMs and Players. I have no doubt that we will be seeing some very interesting tattoos in no time at all!
If you have an idea for a Magical Tattoo, I’d love to hear about it in the comments!
Conclusion – Magic Tattoos in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything
Of all of the new material in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything, I was most immediately attracted to the inclusion of Magic Tattoos.
It really brought me back to one of my favorite prestige classes from back in D&D 3.5, the Tattooed Monk. I see myself making another such character in the near future so that I can really explore the power of Magic Tattoos!
Don’t forget to check out my review of Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything! With so many new things added to the game, you’ll want to read my review before you pick up a copy!