The Mind's Eye
Getting Wired
"The Art of Mastering Psionic Tattoos"
By Mark A. Jindra and Scott Brocius

Note from the Designer: When looking at psionic tattoos I wondered what a tattoo for a 9th-level power might look like. Images of people with full-body tattoos came to mind. This inspired me to expand the rules for psionic tattoos to allow higher-level powers to be scribed. I started out by creating a new feat, Psionic Tattoo Mastery, which allowed for these higher-level tattoos. It wasn't long before I wanted even more, so I started working on new types of tattoos. This material is the result of all that wondering.

In a campaign with a lot of psionics or one where psionic tattoos are commonplace, you may want to simply replace the Scribe Tattoo feat with the Psionic Tattoo Mastery feat.

Psionic Tattoo Mastery [Item Creation]

You can create more intricate and powerful psionic tattoos.

Prerequisite: Scribe Tattoo.

Benefit: You can create a psionic tattoo of any appropriate psionic power up to 9th level. The amount of time required to create a psionic tattoo is one day per 1,000 gp of base cost of the tattoo. Tattoos of powers higher than 3rd level are larger and more intricate; these tattoos count as more than one tattoo (see Table 1-1: Psionic Tattoos; note that the normal limit you can have is seventeen tattoos). You can create metapsionic-enhanced tattoos. You must have the metapsionic feat on your list of feats. The metapsionic level increases by 1 for every 2 points a metapsionic feat increases the power's cost. The number of slots used by the metapsionic-enhanced tattoo is based on its metapsionic level. The tattoo's metapsionic level is used for calculating its base cost. Metapsionic-enhanced tattoos are limited by the creator's metapsionic cap.

Table 1-1: Psionic Tattoos

Power
Level
Base
Days*
Total
Slots**
0 1 1
1 1 1
2 1 1
3 1 1
4 2 3
5 3 5
6 4 7
7 5 9
8 6 11
9 7 13

* Based on total cost when created at its lowest base level.
** The total number of tattoo slots available for psionic tattoos is 17.

Special Tattoos

Psionic tattoos aren't the only tattoos available. Several specialized tattoos have been developed over the centuries. To keep with the theme of "psychic circuitry," they have an electronic component theme to their naming structure. These specialized tattoos are broken into two types: basic tattoos that are usually linked to psionic tattoos scribed with psionic powers, and advanced tattoos that are very specialized. These tattoos take up a number of tattoo slots based on their equivalent level. A minimum level requirement is given for creating these tattoos as well as any additional costs for specialized inks. The Psionic Tattoo Mastery feat is required to create these specialized tattoos.

Type Symbol Fades Slots Level Ink Market
Price
Fuse [F] Yes 1* 0 Standard 25 gp
Relay [R] No 1 1 Standard 50 gp
Integrated Circuit [Ic] No 1 1 Standard 50 gp
Circuit Breaker [Cb] No 1 2 Standard 300 gp
Mental Tap [Mt] No 1 2 Psychoactive 800 gp
Capacitor [C] No 1 3 Distilled Crystal 1,250 gp
Transducer [T] No 1 3 Distilled Crystal 1,250 gp
Amplifier [A] No 1 3 Distilled Crystal 1,250 gp
Inducer [I] No 2 4 Distilled Crystal and Psychoactive 2,400 gp
Emitter [E] Yes 11 8 Distilled Gemstones and Ectoplasm 8,000 gp
Psychic Battery [B] Yes * * Distilled Crystal +500 gp**
Transmitter [Tr] Yes * * Distilled Crystal +250 gp**
Receiver [Re] Yes * * Distilled Crystal +250 gp**

* Varies
** An additional cost for special materials.
*** A fuse is a special case in that they use 1/3 of a slot; for every three fuses or fraction thereof a single slot is used. If you have one fuse and wish to add another one or two later, the total of three fuses still equals a single slot.

Base Cost for Tattoos

The basic cost for a tattoo depends on its level, as follows:

Level Cost
0 level 25 gp
1st level 50 gp
2nd level 300 gp
3rd level 750 gp
4th level 1,400 gp
5th level 2,250 gp
6th level 3,300 gp
7th level 4,550 gp
8th level 6,000 gp
9th level 7,650 gp

Basic Tattoos

Fuse [F]: This special psionic tattoo protects a creature with seventeen total tattoos from having them all "go off" when another tattoo is added. When triggered, the fuse fades away in a small wisp of smoke. Doing this causes all of the creature's tattoos to become inert, which disables them from being tapped; they can be moved as normal. If the total number of tattoos falls to below seventeen, they return to normal at the end of that round. You can possess more than one fuse; only one is triggered at a time. Should you add another tattoo after a fuse fades away, and if you don't have a second fuse to render it inert, all of your existing tattoos go off. A fuse instantly fades away if moved off your body. A fuse is a special case in that each one uses one third of a slot, so for every three fuses or fraction thereof a single slot is used. Fuses are created as though they were a tattoo of a 0-level power. Only a 1st-level or higher manifester can create this tattoo. If you have one fuse and wish to add another one or two later, the total of three fuses still equals a single slot.

Relay [R]: This special psionic tattoo links up to three psionic tattoos so that they can be triggered by tapping any one of the linked tattoos. The order in which the tattoos are resolved is set when the relay is scribed. A relay is not instantaneous. The first power triggers at the end of the current round, the second triggers at the end of the next round, and the third tattoo triggers at the end of the round 2 rounds after the relay is triggered. The linked tattoos must all be in close proximity on your body. They are considered a single tattoo for purposes of moving them on your body. Newly scribed tattoos can be attached to an existing relay, provided it is not already attached to another tattoo or relay. A relay instantly fades away if moved off your body. A relay takes a single slot and is created as though it were a tattoo of a 1st-level power. Only a manifester of 3rd-level or higher can create this tattoo.

Integrated Circuit [Ic]: This special elaborate psionic tattoo allows you to change the configuration of the tattoos on your body. Psionic tattoos that state they move with a tattoo they are linked to instead can be separated from each other and moved independently. The separated tattoos can be joined with other tattoos that work in conjunction with each other. Using the circuit to separate or join two tattoos costs 1 power point. Separating or joining tattoos from a relay costs 1 point as well. Newly scribed tattoos can be attached to an existing integrated circuit, provided it is not already attached to another tattoo or relay. Using an integrated circuit does not cause it to fade away. An integrated circuit instantly fades away if moved off your body, and it takes a single slot and is created as though it were a tattoo of a 1st-level power. Only a manifester of 3rd-level or higher can create an integrated circuit. Moving, separating, and joining tattoos are each a separate standard action.

Circuit Breaker [Cb]: This special psionic tattoo protects a psion from the effects that nullify tattoos and overload tattoo powers. If the psion fails a save against one of these powers, the circuit breaker renders all tattoos inert. When triggered, the circuit breaker makes a loud clicking sound. A triggered circuit breaker requires you to spend 3 power points to reset the breaker. Resetting a circuit breaker is a standard action. A circuit breaker instantly fades away if moved off your body. A circuit breaker takes a single slot and is created as though it were a tattoo of a 2nd-level power. Only manifesters of 5th level or higher can create this tattoo.

Mental Tap [Mt]: This psionic tattoo uses a special type of psychoactive ink that responds to mental commands. You can add a mental tap to any one psionic tattoo, or to the tattoos linked via a relay. A psionic tattoo attached to a mental tap can be activated by mental command, as though it were a quickened power. Using a mental tap counts toward the normal limit of one quickened power per round. Newly scribed tattoos can be attached to an existing mental tap, provided it is not already attached to another tattoo or relay. The mental tap does not fade away when used. Mental taps assist you only in tapping your tattoos; an attempt to trigger an unconscious creature's tattoo takes a full-round action as normal. A mental tap instantly fades away if moved off your body. A mental tap takes a single slot and is created as though it were a tattoo of a 2nd-level power. Only manifesters of 5th level or higher can create this tattoo. Mental taps cost more than a standard psionic tattoo because of the special ink involved.

The cost for a mental tap tattoo includes an extra 500 gp for special materials; the cost to create this tattoo is 650 gp + 12 XP.

Capacitor [C]: This psionic tattoo uses ink made from finely ground and distilled crystal. A capacitor can be linked to a psionic tattoo, or to tattoos linked via a relay. Tattoos linked to a capacitor do not fade away after being tapped provided the capacitor is at full power; otherwise they fade away as normal. Capacitors do not fade away when used. A capacitor recharges at a rate of 1 power point per day and is fully charged when the power points reach the amount needed to manifest the power of the tattoo it is linked to. You start the day with 1 fewer power point per day per capacitor that is charging. Newly scribed tattoos can be attached to an existing capacitor, provided it is not already attached to another tattoo or relay. Capacitors move along with the tattoo they are linked to but instantly fade away if moved off your body. A capacitor takes a single slot and is created as though it were a tattoo of a 3rd-level power. Only manifesters of 7th level or higher can create this tattoo. Capacitors cost more than a standard psionic tattoo because of the special ink involved.

The cost for a capacitor tattoo includes an extra 500 gp for special materials; the cost to create this tattoo is 875 gp + 30 XP.

Transducer [T]: This psionic tattoo uses ink made from finely ground and distilled crystal. A transducer can be linked only to a capacitor and it allows you to spend power points to recharge the capacitor. The capacitor can be recharged at a rate of 1 point for every 2 power points spent this way. Newly scribed tattoos can be attached to an existing transducer, provided it is not already attached to another tattoo or relay. A transducer does not fade away when used. Transducers move along with the capacitor they are linked to but instantly fade away if moved off your body. A transducer takes a single slot and is created as though it were a tattoo of a 3rd-level power. Only 7th-level or higher manifesters can create this tattoo. Transducers cost more than a standard psionic tattoo because of the special ink involved.

The cost for a transducer tattoo includes an extra 500 gp for special materials; the cost to create this tattoo is 875 gp + 30 XP.

Amplifier [A]: This psionic tattoo uses ink made from finely ground and distilled crystal. An amplifier can be linked to a psionic tattoo, or to tattoos linked via a relay. An amplifier allows you to spend additional power points to increase the effects of tapping a psionic tattoo. All variable, numeric effects of an amplified tattoos power are increased by one-quarter (minimum of 1) for every 2 power points spent amplifying the tattoo. Powers without random variables are not affected. You cannot exceed your metapsionic cap when amplifying a tattoo. Your metapsionic cap for purposes of use with the amplifier is standard amount minus what it would have cost to manifest the power stored in the tattoo. Newly scribed tattoos can be attached to an existing amplifier, provided it is not already attached to another tattoo or relay. Amplifiers do not fade away when used. Amplifiers move along with the tattoo they are linked to but instantly fade away if moved off your body. An amplifier takes a single slot and is created as though it were a tattoo of a 3rd-level power. Only manifesters of 7th level or higher can create this tattoo. Amplifiers cost more than a standard psionic tattoo because of the special ink involved.

The cost for an amplifier tattoo includes an extra 500 gp for special materials; the cost to create this tattoo is 875 gp + 30 XP.

Inducer [I]: This psionic tattoo uses ink made from finely ground distilled crystal and psychoactive ink that reacts to a set of preprogrammed directives as though the power stored in the tattoo were affected by the contingency power. You may add an inducer to any psionic tattoo, or to tattoos linked via a relay. A psionic tattoo attached to an inducer automatically triggers when the set of directives have been met. Tattoos attached to an inducer cannot be tapped as normal. The inducer does not fade away when used and newly scribed tattoos can be attached to an existing inducer, provided it is not already attached to another tattoo or relay. An inducer instantly fades away if moved off your body. An inducer takes two slots and is created as though it were a tattoo of a 4th-level power. Only a manifester of 8th level or higher can create this tattoo. Inducers cost more than a standard psionic tattoo because of the special ink involved.

The cost for an amplifier tattoo includes an extra 1,000 gp for special materials; the cost to create this tattoo is 1,700 gp + 56 XP.

Advanced Tattoos

Emitter [E]: This specialized psionic tattoo, usually colorful, intricate, and large, uses many colors of special ink made from finely ground and distilled gemstones and raw ectoplasm. When activated, the tattoo emits psychic energy in the form of nine shimmering, intertwined, multicolored, beams of light. Creatures within a 50 foot radius centered on you that have 8 HD or less are automatically blinded (see blindness/deafness) for 2d4 rounds. All creatures in the area are randomly struck by one or more beams, which have additional effects (see Table 1-2 below). Creatures struck by these beams can make saving throws as listed below. Once used, an emitter instantly fades away. An emitter instantly fades away if moved off your body. An amplifier cannot be applied to an emitter. An emitter takes eleven slots and is created as though it were a tattoo of an 8th-level power. Only a manifester of 17th level or higher can create this tattoo.

The cost for an amplifier tattoo includes an extra 2,000 gp for special materials; the cost to create this tattoo is 5,000 gp + 240 XP.

Table 1-2: Emitter Beam Effects

1d10 Color
of Beam
Effect
1 Red 20 points fire damage (Reflex half)
2 Orange 40 points acid damage (Reflex half)
3 Yellow 60 points sonic damage (Reflex half)
4 Green 80 points acid damage (Reflex half)
5 Blue 100 points cold damage (Reflex half)
6 Indigo Insane, as insanity power (Will negates)
7 Violet 120 points electricity damage (Reflex half)
8 White Turned to crystal, same as being turned to stone (Fortitude negates)
9 Silver Sent to the Astral Plane (Will negates)
10 -- Struck by two rays; roll again twice ignoring any "10" results

Psychic Battery [B]: This psionic tattoo uses ink made from finely ground and distilled crystal. A battery cannot be linked to any other tattoos. When created, select the number of power points (1-19) to store in the battery. The number selected must be an odd number. The equivalent power level of the tattoo is equal to one half this number (rounded down) for purposes of creation (see Table 1-3 below). The tattoo can be used like a crystal capacitor. When tapped for power points, the tattoo fades away. Any unused points are lost when the tattoo fades away. Batteries can be moved on your body but instantly fade away if moved off your body. A battery takes a number of slots based on the amount of power stored and its equivalent power level on Table 1-1: Psionic Tattoos, and it is created as a tattoo of the appropriate power level. Only a manifester of 7th level or higher can create this tattoo. Batteries cost more than a standard psionic tattoo because of the special ink involved; 500 gp is applied to both the base cost and the cost of goods.

Table 1-3: Psychic Battery Level Equivalencies

Power
Points
Level
Equivalent
1 1
3 1
5 2
7 3
9 4
11 5
13 6
15 7
17 8
19 9

Transmitter [Tr] / Receiver [Re]: These psionic tattoos are made from finely ground and distilled crystal that can store a psionic combat mode. Tattoos that store offensive modes are known as transmitters, and tattoos that store defensive modes are known as receivers. The mode is stored when the tattoo is scribed. They are activated the same way a normal psionic tattoo is activated. Once activated or moved off your body, they instantly fade away. An amplifier cannot be applied to a transmitter or receiver. These tattoos take a number of slots based on the level equivalent of the stored psionic combat mode (see Table 1-4 below), and they are created as a tattoo of the appropriate equivalent power level. Only a manifester of 7th level or higher can create these tattoos. They cost more than a standard psionic tattoo because of the special ink involved; 250 gp is added for materials.

Table 1-4: Psionic Combat Mode Level Equivalencies

Transmitters
Mode Power
Points
Level
Equivalent
Mind Thrust 1 1
Ego Whip 3 2
Id Insinuation 3 2
Psychic Crush 5 3
Mind Blast 9 5

Receivers
Mode Power
Points
Level
Equivalent
Empty Mind 1 1
Thought Shield 1 1
Mental Barrier 3 2
Intellect Fortress 5 3
Tower of Iron Will 5 5

Psychic Schematic -- Organizing Your Tattoos

A psychic schematic is a diagram showing which tattoos are currently linked to each other and what types of tattoos they are. It is suggested that you keep a schematic of all tattoos to help make game play easier on both you and your DM.

First, make a list of all of your tattoos. This list should include a unique identifier (numbers or letters), the number of slots used, the type of tattoo, the identities of linked tattoos, and notes such as inducer directives or capacitor limits. Let's take a look at a sample schematic.

Tattoo 1
ID Slots Type Links Notes
R0 1 Relay 1, 2, 3, 7 --
T1 1 Psionic Tattoo 4, 0 Body Adjustment
T2 1 Psionic Tattoo 5, 0 Body Adjustment
T3 1 Psionic Tattoo 6, 0 Body Adjustment
C4 1 Capacitor 1 3 PP
C5 1 Capacitor 2 3 PP
C6 1 Capacitor 3 3 PP
M7 1 Mental Tap 0 --

Tattoo 2
ID Slots Type Links Notes
T8 2 Psionic Tattoo 10, 11 Vitality: 42 bonus HP max
C10 1 Capacitor 8 3 PP
I11 2 Inducer 8 Activates when HP fall to 10 or less

You may also wish to create a small diagram of each tattoo. Here are examples of the two tattoos listed above..

Tattoo 1 Tattoo 2

Body Piercing -- An Alternative to Tattooing

Not all societies will discover the ability to create psionic tattoos. Some may even find tattooing unacceptable for religious or other reasons. One alternative to tattooing you could introduce to your campaign would be body piercing.

You might first start by replacing the Scribe Tattoo feat with something like Craft Psionic Piercing. Essentially the feat would be the same, but the character would be creating a piercing instead of a tattoo. The piercing can be made from wood, metal, bone, or other materials but should include at least a small amount of crystal in its construction. If using the tattoo rules from the "Get Wired" article, larger tattoos would be represented by larger and more intricate piercings or multiple smaller piercings, connected by ornamental chains or in close proximity to each other.

Piercings are generally in the form of ornamental jewelry that is attached to the body by means of piercing the skin. Most piercings are generally in the facial areas, ears, eyebrows, lips, nose, and so on, but other parts of the body have been known to be pierced by certain cultures (the navel, for instance). A creature wishing to use psionic piercings should take care to arrange the piercings in a location that can easily be reached to tap the piercing.

Piercings are different from tattoos in that they cannot be moved easily from one location on your body to another without some discomfort and would require an entire day for them to change locations. Also transferring them off of your body can be quite painful and is best to simply not allow this practice. When used, instead of dissipating like a standard psionic tattoo, they simply discharge and become jewelry.

If you wanted to, you could allow both piercings and tattoos in your campaign at the same time, even allowing a creature to mix and match integrating piercings with tattoos. A creature would still be limited to a combined total of seventeen piercings and tattoos. Options here include allowing the Scribe Tattoo feat to cover both tattoos and piercings, or you could require them to have two separate feats: one for piercings and one for tattoos.

New Items

Take a look at two specialized psionic items that may be useful to someone who specializes in creating psionic tattoos. The first is the psychic tattoo needle, which allows a tattoo crafter to craft tattoos from powers they do not know. Also detailed below is a tattoo avatar, which is essentially a heavy crystal mannequin that can store tattoos.

Psychic Tattoo Needle: This tool is crafted of the finest metals and crystals. A tattoo crafter with the Scribe Tattoo or Psionic Tattoo Mastery feats can use this specialized needle to create tattoos of powers that they do not know. For the needle to work, the crafter must be in contact with a power stone that contains the power to be scribed. The tattoo creator must remain in contact with the stone through the scribing process. The power is "flushed" from the power stone during the process.

Faint metacreativity; ML 8th; Craft Universal Item, Scribe Tattoo; Price 1,000 gp; Weight --.

Tattoo Avatar: This item allows a psion to store tattoos for later use. Created of crystal, brass, and other materials, this fairly small figure is about 18 inches tall and is polished to a smooth finish. It resembles a featureless humanoid with its legs together and arms at its sides. It weighs 200 pounds. The body itself costs 1,000 gp in materials and takes a month to fashion. Psionic tattoos that can be moved off a psionic creature's body can be moved onto a tattoo avatar. Once on the avatar, the tattoos become inert. A psionic creature can spend a single power point to awaken a tattoo on an avatar and move it onto its body. Moving a tattoo to or from an avatar requires the creature to be in physical contact with the avatar. Crystalsingers and other tattoo crafters often use a tattoo avatar to display tattoos they have crafted and have for sale in their shops. The tattoo avatar can hold up to seventeen psionic tattoos. It is impossible to add a tattoo to an avatar that would cause it to exceed this limit.

Faint metacreativity; ML 8th; Craft Universal Item, Scribe Tattoo; Price 2,000 gp, Cost 1,500 gp + 20 XP; Weight 200 lb.

New Powers

These powers are rather specialized in use but can be quite valuable in the right situations or campaigns. A few of them might find their way onto the power list of a bad guy or two in some games where psionic tattoos are often used.

False Tattoos
Psychometabolism (Str)
Level: Psion 1/Psychic Warrior 1
Display: Ma
Manifestation Time: 1 standard action
Range: Touch
Target: One living creature touched
Duration: 1 hour/level (D)
Saving Throw: Fortitude negates
Power Resistance: Yes
Power Points: 1

You create one or more false tattoos on yourself or another. An unwilling target can resist the tattoos by making a Fortitude save. The number of tattoos and their design is decided when the power is manifested. Elaborately designed tattoos would require a Craft (Artist) skill check (DC 10-30 depending on the design). The false tattoo radiates psionic energy, so much so that it can be mistaken for a real psionic tattoo; a Psicraft check (DC 15 + 1/2 manifester level) can recognize it as a false psionic tattoo.

Hide Tattoos
Psychometabolism (Str)
Level: Psion 1/Psychic Warrior 1
Display: Ma
Manifestation Time: 1 standard action
Range: Personal
Target: You
Duration: 1 hour/level (D)
Saving Throw: None
Power Resistance: No
Power Points: 1

You can hide some or all of your psionic tattoos by absorbing them into your skin. You can still tap or otherwise manipulate hidden tattoos as normal. If you dismiss this power, the tattoos return to your skin at the end of the following round. Hidden tattoos still count toward the total number of tattoos that you can have on your body. Hidden tattoos can be detected by the use of true seeing and detect psionics.

Nullify Tattoos
Psychometabolism (Str)
Level: Psion 3
Display: Ma, Me
Manifestation Time: 1 standard action
Range: Close (25 ft. +2 ft./level)
Target: One creature
Duration: Instantaneous (see text)
Saving Throw: Fortitude negates (see below)
Power Resistance: Yes
Power Points: 5

You create a temporary short circuit in a target's psychic circuitry that causes all of its psionic tattoos to become inactive. The target must make a Fortitude save. If it fails the save, then none of its tattoos can be activated in any way for 1d4+1 minutes. If the target has no psionic tattoos, this power has no effect.

Overload Tattoos
Psychometabolism (Str)
Level: Psion 4
Display: Ma, Me
Manifestation Time: 1 standard action
Range: Close (25 ft. +2 ft./level)
Target: One creature
Duration: Instantaneous (see text)
Saving Throw: Fortitude negates (see below)
Power Resistance: Yes
Power Points: 7

You create an overload in a target's psychic circuitry that causes all of its psionic tattoos "go off." The target must make a Fortitude save to avoid this having this occur. If the target has no psionic tattoos, this power has no effect.

*Psionic tattoo powers based on powers created by Dark Psion of the Wizards of the Coast web community.


1995-2008 Wizards of the Coast, Inc., a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc. All Rights Reserved.