A Cat of Tindalos

A Cat of Tindalos

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Monster-of-the-Week Items: Spell Tattoos

Twenty Palace Spell Tattoos

The Twenty Palaces is a novel series blending fantasy and mystery and written by Seattle author Harry Connolly. Ray Lilly, the series' first person narrator, and protagonist recounts his adventures working for the Twenty Palace Society. Their aim appears to be using any means necessary to keep magic out of the hands of anyone other than their own members. Their primary concern is with spell books, which are the source of magic, and with preventing magic users from summoning creatures known as predators from an otherworldly dimension known as the Empty Places.

Spells are commonly placed by spell casters on their servants or followers by means of spells inscribed on them by tattoos and are generally meant to last but can be inscribed in henna for temporary effectiveness.

• Closed Way: Provides impenetrability on the covered area, and is one of the more common spell tattoos - However, for spell casters who are weaker than primaries, the tattoo becomes visible (allowing knowledgeable individuals to target exposed areas), and the area becomes less and less sensitive, until it becomes completely numb (Ray has often looked down to realize he's been shot but didn't feel anything because the tattoo blocked it). However, the tattoo isn't an absolute protection; "Tattoo," an infamous enemy of the society, was almost completely covered in them, but was ultimately wounded by the blast from a backfire of his pistol, allowing Ray to finish him off magically. In practice I would assign a 1 or 2 armor bonus to a player with this type of tattoo.

• The Twisted Path: Appearing as a tattoo on an individual, this spell allows many beneficial effects for a criminal or outlaw. One "on the twisted path" leaves no accurate forensic evidence. Fingerprints won't match, DNA won't come back to you, and witnesses may even identify someone else in a lineup. The spell tattoo is apparently powerful enough to subvert digital photography or any form of electronic surveillance. 

• Golem Flesh: Golem Flesh provides an added degree of protection from damage; however, more importantly, it also provides a healing factor that allows for the bearer of the spell to regenerate damage rapidly, provided that they take in fresh meat. However, as a trade-off, the spell requires the consumption of red meat daily, and it is best if the meat is fresh and uncooked, which is disgusting to new recipients of the spell, and takes time to get used to. Until such damage is healed, however, the body of a golem flesh recipient is able to survive long periods of time with horrific injuries - Human flesh works well. In addition, should one consume meat properly on a regular basis, the spell can artificially extend one's natural lifetime - the traditional expectation is often put at "five hundred years," but no one knows exactly how long it would last. I would allow a bonus the same as the Slayer’s Resilience ability. (Slayer Resilience: You heal faster than normal people. Any time your harm gets healed, heal an extra point. Additionally, your wounds count as 1-harm less for the purpose of the Keeper’s harm moves.) For Slayers with the ability resilience I would increase the ability with tattoo to allow 2 point extra heals a day and your wounds count and a 2-harm less reduction for the purpose of the Keeper’s harm moves.

• The Iron Gate: Protects one from mental influence both from spells and predators. The spell throbs or even screams with unbearable agony depending upon the severity of the invasion, providing both a warning and something to focus upon to resist the intrusion. This tattoo prevents mental control or scans of the bearer at the price of making the subject paralyzed with pain while such abilities are focused on the player with the tattoo.

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