Atop the Shoulders of Giants
Body Modifying Magic
Body Modifying Magics are special techniques developed by advanced, and often unscrupulous, practitioners of the three Crafting Techniques which allow them to enchant parts of their own bodies as if they were magic items. Each of the techniques below corresponds to one of the three Crafting Technique feats, and relies on the same creation rules as other magic items, found here.
Rune branding is a method developed by some of the most advanced practitioners of the Magic Scribing technique in which one designs rune combinations which will, once branded into the flesh, provide a constant effect enchantment to the person who has suffered the branding. This technique is gruesome and ugly, leaving severe scar tissue on those who practice it, and weakening their bodies in the process.
For every caster level of an effect Rune Branded onto someone that person permanently loses 1 hit point – if it was done correctly. When applying the brand the arcane scribe must make a spellcraft check independently of the standard Linguistics checks to create the enchantment. This spellcraft check is made at the end of the process when the brands are being applied to channel the magical energies into the subject as swiftly as possible and avoid prolonged exposure to the brand. If the check exceeds a DC 20 + Caster Level of the enchantment, the subject only loses 1 hit point per caster level of the enchantment. If it fails to meet that DC, the subject loses an extra 1d6 permanent hit points. If the subject has natural armor, their natural armor bonus is subtracted from the enchanter’s spellcraft check as they have a harder time judging when to remove the brand. Furthermore, if the enchanter is branding themselves, they suffer a – 4 penalty to the spellcraft check unless they can make themselves numb to the pain.
Because of the size of these brands a creature can generally only fit around 10 on their body, though creatures with a larger proportion of open flesh to total body mass may be able to fit more at GM’s discretion. As a general rule, however, the brand must be proportioned to the size of subject, so a creature with an approximately similar anatomy does not have more area for brands by virtue of being a larger size category.
Furthermore, the creature must accept this brand in its true form, thus shape-changers such as dragons and doppelgangers cannot gain such a brand while in disguise. There is even a 10% chance of failing to apply a brand correctly if the subject is simply magically disguised due to applying it to the wrong area of the body or out of proportion with the creature’s exact size. In such a case the enchantment should be treated as a Failed Enchantment, and roll should be made on the Failed Enchantments table here. Also, such brands are visible in any form the creature takes as a result of a polymorphing effect, however they can be concealed through the application of very simple illusions such as Disguise Self – or even a skilled application of a disguise kit.
From the point of successful branding forward the brand functions as a magic item permanently equipped to that creature and always functional in whatever its designed capacity was. Like any other magic item any spell effect it produces can be counter-spelled, its effects can be suppressed by dispel magic or an anti-magic field, but it cannot be completely removed except by physically destroying it or using a spell such as Mage’s Disjunction, Miracle, or Wish.
Hit points permanently lost through Rune Branding cannot be regained except by divine intervention, in which case the rune would still be destroyed and become non-functional in the process.
Demon Blood Elixir
Demon Blood Elixirs are concoctions made by some of the most experienced practitioners of Arcane Alchemy who wish to permanently altar their body, mind, or soul. They do not all actually use demon’s blood as an ingredient, but the first experiments undertaken involved whole batches of elixirs derived from the blood of demons, and so when the treatise “Experiments with Demon Blood Elixirs” was published, the name stuck. Though some practitioners of the technique deny it, the demon’s blood (or substitute there-for) taints the elixir in a way that poisons the subject.
For every Demon Blood Elixir created the creator must roll a spellcraft check, separate from the Craft (Alchemy) check made to create the elixir. This spellcraft check represents the crafter trying to find a way to reduce the need for poisonous ingredients as much as possible. The DC for this check is 20 + Caster Level of the enchantment to be provided. If this check succeeds, the subject takes one point of ability drain to an ability score designated by the elixir’s creator. If the check is failed, the subject takes 1d2+1 points of permanent drain to that ability score. Which ability score is to be drained should be declared before the spellcraft roll is made.
Unlike most ability drain, however, this effect cannot be reversed through application of Restoration. These lost ability points can only be restored through divine intervention, and even then so doing would destroy the effectiveness of the enchantments. Application of Mage’s Disjunction can also remove the effects of a Demon Blood Elixir, as can use of Wish, and – of course – Miracle. Otherwise the effects of these elixirs are permanent and can only be suppressed by dispel magic or an anti-magic field.
What makes these elixirs even more dangerous, however, is that repeated poisonings are increasingly dangerous. If someone has been the subject of a Demon Blood Elixir that poisoned the same ability score previously, an extra 1 point of permanent ability drain is applied per previous use. So, for example, if someone has taken two demon blood elixirs that both poisoned strength, taking a third that does the same will apply 3 points of strength drain on a successful spellcraft, or 1d2+4 on an unsuccessful spellcraft. NOTE: the spellcraft check is made when the elixir is finished being made, not when it is imbibed, who imbibes it defines whether extra ability drain for repeated poisonings are applicable.
These elixirs can be used by creatures who do not possess an active physiology, but must be applied to some orifice or drenched over the creature and allowed to soak in over a period of several hours. Creatures who do not possess the score to be drained by an elixir do not reap any benefits from drinking a Demon Blood Elixir, and waste any magic it had. Creatures whose ability scores have been drained by a Demon Blood Elixir who later lose the use of those ability scores (such as becoming undead after draining constitution) lose the effects of those elixirs.
Someone may take as many Demon Blood Elixirs as they like, but if any ability score is reduced to 0 or below by a Demon Blood Elixir, the subject instantly dies, is destroyed, or goes permanently insane (as appropriate).
Despite their name, these are not necessarily tattoos, though they always take a very similar appearance. These are symbols and images painted, tattooed, chalked, or otherwise applied to a creature which are not only imbued with magic, but imbued with a wellspring of magical energy to perpetuates their effectiveness indefinitely. These images are not necessarily sentient and do not always possess any independent control over spell energy, but they certainly give such an impression.
Wild Tattoos move – constantly. They are essentially impossible to conceal as they move about the body at all times. A tattoo of a snake may slither across someone’s neck as they are speaking, or a drawing of an archer may climb down onto their hand and begin trying to fire arrows at passers-by, and more abstract symbols may begin to dismantle themselves, reform into other shapes, or even just spin about like a top. Whatever they are, Wild Tattoos are exceptionally animate – well beyond the slight writhing that many non-permanent magical tattoos can be – and are often vehemently feared by mages.
Any spell effect originating from- or cast by someone within- 5 feet per Wild Tattoo of the Wild Tattoo wearer (including any spell cast by or targeting the Wild Tattoo wearer itself) has a 10% chance to experience a Wild Effect (roll on table here). Much like Rune Branding, due to space scaling requirements someone can only have a total of 10 Wild Tattoos on their body outside of exceptional circumstances, thus the maximum range of wild magic influence is a 50 foot radius.
Also like Rune Branding wild tattoos must be applied to a creature’s natural form, and thus have a chance of being a failed item creation if the creature is disguised via illusion when they are being applied, and are also visible in any form the creature takes via polymorphing effects.
However, wild tattoos cannot be concealed with simple illusions the way rune branding can. By their nature they must remain visible to remain effective, and thus penetrate any illusory disguise cast on their recipient. They do not remain visible if the subject is invisible, however, and they can be covered over by a very thorough use of make-up and clothing.