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Crawling Tattoos

Crawling tattoos resemble standard psionic tattoos, but their effects are often harmful rather than beneficial. Like a psionic tattoo, a crawling tattoo can be scribed only with a power of no higher than 3rd level that targets one or more creatures. Exceptions are the body adjustment power, which can be scribed even though it affects only the manifester, and telepathy (compulsion) powers, which cannot be scribed at all. Powers that normally have an area affect only one target if scribed in a crawling tattoo. Otherwise, crawling tattoos are treated as psionic tattoos until they are activated by the wearer.

The wearer of a crawling tattoo can tap the tattoo as a standard action that provokes attacks of opportunity, mentally specifying a target (to which the wearer must have line of sight). Instead of manifesting its stored power, the tattoo animates, drops to the ground, and scuttles toward the target. The original wearer need no longer concentrate on the tattoo once animated.

The animated tattoo moves toward its designated target in the same round when it is activated. Treat it as a Fine construct that has AC 18, 10 hit points, a hardness of 5, speed 30 feet, and a bonus on attack rolls equal to the wearer’s manifester level + his key ability modifier. Crawling tattoos, unlike true constructs, are subject to illusions, darkness, fog, and similar effects. Should the target be killed, teleport away, or otherwise absent itself before the animated tattoo reaches it, the wearer can reclaim the tattoo. If it is destroyed, a crawling tattoo shatters and evaporates.

A crawling tattoo must enter the target’s square to attack and thus provokes attacks of opportunity as it passes through the target’s threatened area. The tattoo makes one touch attack per round thereafter until it strikes its target or is destroyed. On a successful attack, the power scribed in the crawling tattoo affects the target if the target fails the appropriate saving throw; however, powers that normally allow a Reflex saving throw automatically affect the touched target. Crawling tattoos can ferry beneficial powers as well as harmful ones, and a target can allow the tattoo’s touch attack to succeed if he or she desires.

Two examples of crawling tattoos are described below; many more types are possible.

Crawling tattoo of concussion

Aura faint psychokinesis; ML 1st

Slot —; Price 50 gp; Weight


This crawling tattoo delivers a concussion effect, dealing 1d6 points of damage to a creature hit by its touch attack.

Construction Requirements

Scribe Tattoo, concussion blast; Cost 50 gp.

Crawling Tattoo of Energy Bolt

Aura faint psychokinesis; ML 5th

Slot —; Price 750 gp; Weight


Each of these tattoos is keyed to one energy type: cold, electricity, fire, or sonic. This crawling tattoo delivers the energy bolt power, dealing 5d6 points of damage of its energy type.

Construction Requirements

Scribe Tattoo, energy bolt; Cost 375 gp.