Unearthed Arcana Spells & Magic Tattoos: New Unearthed Arcana

WotC has posted a new Unearthed Arcana called Spells & Magic Tattoos. "This document provides a magical miscellany: new spells and a new type of magic item, magic tattoos. Most of the spells focus on an alternative style of summoning: conjuring forth a spirit that assumes a physical form you customize to suit the situation."

Unknown.jpg
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey


log in or register to remove this ad



TwoSix

Unserious gamer
Bad? You think Plate Armor with no heavy armor proficiency or Str requirement, that doesn't impose disadvantage on Stealth and can be worn without being visibly armored, is bad? ...I'd hate to see what you consider the minimum to qualify as good.

Seriously though, I agree that it might not be a prime choice for a Str or Dex primary character, but for casters? For any of those Int or Cha gish types that are becoming more common? This is a top tier pick.
It's good if you can plan around it, sure, since you can sacrifice points in Strength and Dex. But how many gishes are not going to have 16-17 AC out of the box already?

For druids, though, moon druids in particular, this is awesome.
 

First impressions:

I don't know if Otherworldly Form will get much use from my players, but from now on all those hobgoblins and orcs in Archeron, those elves in Arborea, and, if I am feeling impish, those animals in the Beast Lands are getting this as a permanent thing. I am not sure I am ready for winged dwarves though.

5e's first NG celestials are in a spell? I have mixed feelings about that.

All those summoning spells, and no tattoo lets you summon the monster tattoo'd on your arm?

More summoning spells are always good. I would let the ranger get the fey summoning spell, and add the summon shadow spirit and undead spirit to the oath of tyranny and oath breaker paladins and death cleric's bonus list (I'm kind of hoping they will do a variant bonus spell list with spells outside of the PHB at some point).
 

MarkB

Legend
It's good if you can plan around it, sure, since you can sacrifice points in Strength and Dex. But how many gishes are not going to have 16-17 AC out of the box already?

For druids, though, moon druids in particular, this is awesome.
That will depend upon whether a tattoo is considered to be "equipment" for wild-shaping purposes, and if so, whether it becomes "worn" or "merged" upon transformation. After all, a normal tattoo would not remain visible while wild shaped.
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
That will depend upon whether a tattoo is considered to be "equipment" for wild-shaping purposes, and if so, whether it becomes "worn" or "merged" upon transformation. After all, a normal tattoo would not remain visible while wild shaped.
Fair. I'd allow it, but like a lot of wild shape stuff (and magic item stuff, for that matter) it's going to be a DM's ruling. The nice thing about the tattoo is that it's much easier to argue it should work from a narrative perspective.
 

Hurin88

Adventurer
I like the summons. Very cool.

The tatoos seem ripe for abuse though. Permanently giving a character AC 18 (without even needing a shield) is a bit much.
 

RSIxidor

Adventurer
I'm late to the party.

Acid Stream is meh.

Otherworldly Form is awesome for everyone who gets it, though certainly some classes get more out of it than others. I wonder if the spell level is right, though. Concentration certainly makes it a little limited.

Spirit Shroud I'm unsure about; I can't see Clerics using this over Spirit Guardians, maybe some Paladins will like it a bit more since they'll more consistently have a second attack, Eldritch Knights are probably getting the most benefit from this but they might still have better options.

The Summon spells overall are pretty nice. I think this is a much better route to take these types of spells than what was in the PHB. I used to maintain a guide on conjuring and when the ruling came out which removed player agency in the summon spells I didn't see much of a point in keeping it going. I like this direction much better. It also keeps away from the "wall of fur" which really was frustrating for some DMs to manage. I wonder if these only lasting an hour is good or annoying, though. They feel a bit like "pets" but they aren't pets that stick around. Maybe scaling the duration with spell level would help. Aside, if I use these as a player, I'm going to theme the conjurations from these spells to somehow be the same spirit that's changed somehow, with ditto eyes. I also don't think I like the 60' fly options.

The Summon Fey Spirit feels like it could be better, and it feels weird that you can summon an elf-looking spirit. I like how the "step" abilities work well enough. I find it odd that this is the only one of these spells that doesn't have a flying or ranged attack option. While Shadow Spirit also doesn't have a ranged or flying option, the abilities seem a bit stronger to make up for it (except Fear, which I think is bad, just because you're in dim light/darkness doesn't mean creatures can't see you so hidden kind of doesn't matter).

Summon Undead Spirit feels like a good frame to make a new Necromancer subclass with. Maybe allowing it to work similar to the variant ranger hunter's mark from a previous UA (some number of casts at basic level per day and no concentration, or maybe make it work like animate dead where they stick around longer). I much prefer this to animate dead and similar. Likewise, perhaps something similar could be used as a basis for a better beast master subclass.

The tattoos are all pretty cool but I'm not sure how I feel about their attunement stacking. At the least, I think there should be a limit to the number of tattoos in some way, maybe higher Charisma gives you the ability to hold more but I'm not sure I like that either. When originally reading this, I somehow managed to miss the section at the start of the tattoos that explained how they take up space. It works well enough that I feel my complaints aren't needed, except for: Illuminator's Tattoo, Masquerade Tattoo don't quite feel like they should take attunement at all. For the rest, attunement does make sense but still not sure about being able to stack all of these together.
 
Last edited:

RSIxidor

Adventurer
The tatoos seem ripe for abuse though. Permanently giving a character AC 18 (without even needing a shield) is a bit much.

My opinion is if the tattoos didn't stack, a magic item giving AC 18 wouldn't be that worrisome. It might make sense for it be 17 instead, regardless of the tattoo stacking, but I wouldn't want to reduce it 16 because then I'd feel like the rare version should be 14+max 2, and I wouldn't want to shift the rare or uncommon at all.
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
I'm happy for him, but none of this stuff will ever see the light of day at my table.
Not sure I want to open this can of worms, but why? Your posts are giving me a sense that you almost have a sense of repulsion and disgust at the material, and I can't fathom what about it would cause that kind of emotional response.

I mean, it's some new spells and magic items, what about it is so problematic?
 

MarkB

Legend
The tattoos are all pretty cool but I'm not sure how I feel about their attunement stacking. At the least, I think there should be a limit to the number of tattoos in some way, maybe higher Charisma gives you the ability to hold more but I'm not sure I like that either. Illuminator's Tattoo, Masquerade Tattoo don't quite feel like they should take attunement at all. For the rest, attunement does make sense but still not sure about being able to stack all of these together.
The limitation is the amount of area each tattoo occupies on your body. You can have several Uncommon ones, but only a few Very Rare or one Legendary.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
These spells ought to make players of conjurers pretty happy.

The tattoos are alright I guess, pretty similar to stuff I've seen from 3pp back in the 3.5 days.

Not bad all in all and the imprimatur of WOTC officialdom will make the magic tattoos a bit more popular. I did think it interesting that they require attunement. Its a good balance measure and given that various rarities cover more of the body, it makes flavorful tattooed man , tattoo monk or similar builds easy to do.

I like that quite a bit.

The magical application method is neat too.

One thing of not, the Spell Storing tattoo does not require attunement, though it does still take up body space. Also, it is one use and the needle does not reappear, so it is more similiar to scroll kept on the body of the individual.

While Shadow Spirit also doesn't have a ranged or flying option, the abilities seem a bit stronger to make up for it (except Fear, which I think is bad, just because you're in dim light/darkness doesn't mean creatures can't see you so hidden kind of doesn't matter).

I think the idea is that the monster summoned is quite similar to a Shadow (the monster) so it can hide in Dim Light because it blends into the darkness itself.

The tattoos are all pretty cool but I'm not sure how I feel about their attunement stacking. At the least, I think there should be a limit to the number of tattoos in some way, maybe higher Charisma gives you the ability to hold more but I'm not sure I like that either. Illuminator's Tattoo, Masquerade Tattoo don't quite feel like they should take attunement at all. For the rest, attunement does make sense but still not sure about being able to stack all of these together.

There is a limit, the amount of skin you can cover.

Uncommon tattoos take up half of a limb, so you can rough out some math for the upper limit of the tattoo attunement based off of how many limbs you have (scalp is half a limb, Chest and Back seem to be two limbs respectively)
 

NotAYakk

Legend
By RAW, you cannot put uncommon tattoos on your torso. Those "slots" are only useful for VRare/Legendary Tattoos.

That prevents having 17 uncommon tattoos, which seems like a good design principle. Instead, you cap out at 9 uncommon, plus 2 VRare.
 

Marandahir

Crown-Forester (he/him)
Feathers are problematic...
Not really. Maybe your Aaarkocra is conspicuously missing a feather here and there, and the missing feathers display a pattern. Maybe they've dyed their feathers with a pattern. Maybe the tattoo is under the feathers: sketched into their scales and skin, and glows through them when activated.

Between the standard and Variant rules, there's no reason to limit Aarakocras' access to Tattoo Magic other than (D&D-)racial discrimination.
 

NotAYakk

Legend
Not really. Maybe your Aaarkocra is conspicuously missing a feather here and there, and the missing feathers display a pattern. Maybe they've dyed their feathers with a pattern. Maybe the tattoo is under the feathers: sketched into their scales and skin, and glows through them when activated.

Between the standard and Variant rules, there's no reason to limit Aarakocras' access to Tattoo Magic other than (D&D-)racial discrimination.
Maybe these are magical tattoos, and they change the color of the feathers that grow into the same pattern.
 

Longspeak

Adventurer
One of the things from the old RIFTS game I really loved was its take on Tattoo magic. I saw this UA and dared hope... But no.

These are cool, I suppose.

I will have to just homebrew my own, probably modeled on Warlock. Spells and Invocations class abilities are tattoos one activates to make use of that do cool things. Probably someone else has already done it if I remember to look for it later tonight.
 

RSIxidor

Adventurer
Uncommon tattoos take up half of a limb, so you can rough out some math for the upper limit of the tattoo attunement based off of how many limbs you have (scalp is half a limb, Chest and Back seem to be two limbs respectively)

Thanks! Seems I completely missed the section at the start of the tattoos were it explained this. That actually takes care of most of my complaints around attunement with these tattoos.
 

RSIxidor

Adventurer
I think the idea is that the monster summoned is quite similar to a Shadow (the monster) so it can hide in Dim Light because it blends into the darkness itself.

But it can still be seen if the PCs can see into dim light or darkness. Making it a bonus action means it could strength drain, move away into darkness, and then hide. But if it was just dim light? Even humans can see in dim light, though their perception is at disadvantage. I suppose I never thought much about the Shadow's ability in this regards either. I wouldn't be surprised if this has already been debated. Whatever the "RAW" is, I'd let them hide and effectively be unseen but it feels like it shouldn't work in a lot of ways "mechanically."
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
But it can still be seen if the PCs can see into dim light or darkness. Making it a bonus action means it could strength drain, move away into darkness, and then hide. But if it was just dim light? Even humans can see in dim light, though their perception is at disadvantage. I suppose I never thought much about the Shadow's ability in this regards either. I wouldn't be surprised if this has already been debated. Whatever the "RAW" is, I'd let them hide and effectively be unseen but it feels like it shouldn't work in a lot of ways "mechanically."

It is just like the Wood Elf's Mask of the Wild to. With that you can hid in a light rain. I can see people when it rains, but a wood elf can hide in the rain with no cover.

I guess if it is an issue of "these mechanics don't make realistic sense" that is one thing, but I'm just pointing out the precedence of what they are basing the ability off of
 

Visit Our Sponsor

Latest threads

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top