New Class: Shadow-Tattoo Artist

Shadow-Tattoo Artist


There are those who dabble in shadow magic, and then there are those who embody it. The shadow tattoo-artist is the latter. Using the wispy tendrils of shadow energy, a shadow-tattoo artist covers her body with magical tattoos. Though they generally take the form of representative images, tattoos might just as easily appear as magical runes or other, more abstract forms on the shadow-tattoo artist’s body. Regardless of the form, a shadow-tattoo artist’s tattoos allow her to shape the magic of the Shadow Plane into spectacular, quasi-real, illusory effects.

Adventures: Many shadow-tattoos artists see adventures as an opportunity to show off their shadow-tattoos. They might also see adventuring as an opportunity to test their abilities, learning what works so that they can learn to create tattoos that are even more powerful than the ones they currently possess.

Characteristics: Shadow-tattoo artists are a reservoir of shadow energy. They do not wield spells, but rather use their tattoos to perform a variety of magical effects. These effects are only partially real, however, and against some creatures, they may not be entirely effective. Shadow-tattoo artists make up for this deficiency through their versatility in shaping shadow magic.

Alignment: Due to the morally ambiguous nature of shadow magic, the path of a shadow-tattoo artist tends to attract those of the neutral or evil in alignment. That said, there are some good creatures who do not take such a narrow view of shadow magic, and who use their tattoo’s abilities in order to more effectively fight against evil.

Religion: Although shadow-tattoo artists are not known for their religious piety, they have been known to worship trickster deities, deities of magic, the moon, or night.

Background: Shadow-tattoo artists usually learn the art of inking from other shadow-tattoo artists. Still, there are some with innate, magical talents, and an artistic background, who are self taught. Either way, the path to shadow-tattoo art is rather informal, and attracts those who are put off by the intense study needed to master the art of wizardry.

Races: Humans, who often lack the patience, or religious focus needed to pursue other magical arts frequently become shadow-tattoo artists. Half-orc shamans also frequently use shadow-tattoo art in their tribal rituals. Halflings, who pride themselves on their agility, and stealth, often become shadow-tattoo artists. There are also a surprising number of gnomes who have come to appreciate the art’s focus on illusory magic. Elves and half-elves rarely become shadow-tattoo artists, though it is a common path amongst the drow.

Other Classes: Shadow-tattoo artists share a close affinity with sorcerers, and often share in their derision for the more bookish wizards. They also tend to get along quite well with rogues, and bards, who share their affinity for mischief and deception. Shadow-tattoo artists typically find druids, fighters, and monks to be too stodgy for their liking, and often come into conflict with clerics and paladins who worship deities of light, and/or law.

Role: Shadow-tattoo artists are most notable for their supernatural and spell-like abilities, and can quite easily fill the role of a more traditional spellcaster. That said, they lack the versatility of a wizard or cleric, and often are better suited in a party with one or two spellcasters.

Like bards and sorcerers, shadow-tattoo artists are charismatic, free-loving characters, who excel in the areas of deception. They also possess many abilities that make them excellent scouts and spies.

Level BAB Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Special
1st +0 +0 +0 +2 Shadow bolt 1d6, tattoo (least), use magic device
2nd +1 +0 +0 +3 Shadow sight, tattoo (least)
3rd +2 +1 +1 +3 Shadow bolt 2d6
4th +3 +1 +1 +4 Shadow stealth +1, tattoo (least)
5th +3 +1 +1 +4 Shadow bolt 3d6
6th +4 +2 +2 +5 Shadow aura, tattoo (least)
7th +5 +2 +2 +5 Shadow bolt 4d6
8th +6/+1 +2 +2 +6 Shadow stealth +2, tattoo (least, or lesser)
9th +6/+1 +3 +3 +6 Shadow bolt 5d6
10th +7/+2 +3 +3 +7 Shadow vision, tattoo (least, or lesser)
11th +8/+3 +3 +3 +7 Shadow bolt 6d6
12th +9/+4 +4 +4 +8 Shadow stealth +3, tattoo (least, or lesser)
13th +9/+4 +4 +4 +8 Shadow bolt 7d6
14th +10/+5 +4 +4 +9 Shadow walk, tattoo (least or lesser)
15th +11/+6/+1 +5 +5 +9 Shadow bolt 8d6
16th +12/+7/+2 +5 +5 +10 Shadow stealth +4, tattoo (least, lesser, or greater)
17th +12/+7/+2 +5 +5 +10 Shadow bolt 9d6
18th +13/+8/+3 +6 +6 +11 Greater shadow aura, tattoo (least, lesser, or greater)
19th +14/+9/+4 +6 +6 +11 Shadow bolt 10d6
20th +15/+10/+5 +6 +6 +12 Tattoo (least, lesser, or greater), shadow stealth +5

Game Rule Information
Shadow-tattoo artists have the following game statistics.

Abilities: A high Charisma score makes a shadow-tattoo artist’s illusions much harder to detect. Like sorcerers and wizards, a shadow-tattoo artist benefits from high Dexterity and Constitution scores.

Alignment: Any non-lawful.

Hit Die: d8

Class Skills
The shadow-tattoo artist’s skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Arcana (Int), Deception (Cha), Intuition (Wis), Notice (Wis), Planar (Int), Profession (Wis), Stealth (Dex), Thievery (Dex)

Skill Points at 1st Level: (2 + Int modifier) × 4.

Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 2 + Int modifier.

Class Features
All of the following are class features of the shadow-tatoo artist.

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Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Shadow-tattoo artists are proficient with all simple weapons. They are not proficient with any type of armor, or shield. Although a shadow-tattoo artist does not cast spells, her tattoos must be visible in order to function. Clothing, other than a monk’s outfit, and armor obscure a shadow-tattoo artist’s tattoos, and must be removed before a shadow-tattoo artist can use her tattoos.

Generally, removing clothing is a move action. The time needed to remove armor varies (see Getting Into and Out of Armor).

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Use Magic Device: Shadow-tattoo artists can use an Intuition check to activate magical devices.

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Shadow Bolt (Sp): A shadow-tattoo artist’s body is infused with shadow energy. By focusing her mind, a shadow-tattoo artist can emit a blast of arcane energy from her fingertips, dealing damage to her foes.

A shadow bolt is a ray with a range of 60 feet. It is a ranged touch attack that affects a single target, allowing no saving throw. A shadow bolt deals 1d6 points of damage at 1st level and increases every other level thereafter. A shadow bolt is the equivalent of a spell whose level is equal to one-half the shadow-tattoo artist’s level (round down), with a minimum spell level of 1st and a maximum of 9th when a shadow-tattoo artist reaches 18th level or higher. That said, a shadow-tattoo artist can choose to lower the spell level of her shadow bolt for purposes of feats such as Empower Spell-Like Ability and Quicken Spell-Like Ability.

Since shadow bolt is a spell-like ability, a shadow-tattoo artist cannot benefit from feats like Spell Focus, Spell Penetration, or any metamagic feat, though she can benefit from feats like Ability Focus. Because shadow magic is only partially real, a shadow bolt deals only half damage to objects.

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Tattoos (Sp): Unlike other magic users, a shadow-tattoo artist does not prepare or cast spells. Rather, she draws power from the tattoos she has inscribed on her body. A shadow-tattoo artist has three types of tattoos that she can use a certain number of times per day. Least tattoos can be used at-will; lesser tattoos can be used three times per day; and greater tattoos can be used once per day. A shadow tattoo artist can use the tattoos she possesses as follows:

A tattoo is the equivalent of a spell whose level is equal to one-half the shadow-tattoo artist’s level (round down), with a minimum spell level of 1st and a maximum of 9th when a shadow-tattoo artist reaches 18th level or higher. That said, a shadow-tattoo artist can choose to lower the spell level of her tattoos for purposes of feats such as Empower Spell-Like Ability and Quicken Spell-Like Ability.

Since a shadow-tattoo artist’s tattoos are considered spell-like abilities, a shadow-tattoo artist cannot benefit from feats like Spell Focus, Spell Penetration, or any metamagic feat, though she can benefit from feats like Ability Focus.

Because shadow magic is partially illusory, many of a shadow-tattoo artist’s abilities are only partially effective against creatures who make a Will save (DC 10 + spell level + the shadow-tattoo artist’s Charisma modifier) when interacting with the effect. Tattoos that deal damage, for example, deal 50% as much damage, while tattoos that produce other effects are only 50% as likely to be effective. Creatures summoned by a shadow-tattoo have half as many hit points as a normal creature of its kind, and deal only half as much damage against an opponent who recognizes it as a shadow creature. Regardless of the result of the save to disbelieve, an affected creature is also allowed any additional saves, such as a Reflex save, that the shadow-tattoo artist’s abilities allow. Any effect created by a shadow tattoo allows spell resistance, regardless of the effect produced.

A creature that succeeds on its save sees the effect of a shadow-tattoo as a transparent image, superimposed on vague, shadowy forms.

Objects automatically succeed on their saving throws against a shadow-tattoo’s effect.

Unless otherwise specified, activating a tattoo is a standard action.

As a shadow-tattoo artist gains levels, the power of her tattoos increase. She can also inscribe additional tattoos on her body, as summarized on the table above. A complete list of available shadow-tattoos appears below.

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Shadow Sight (Su): At 2nd level, a shadow-tattoo artist gains low-light vision, if she doesn’t already have it. In addition, a shadow-tattoo artist can see through magical darkness.

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Shadow Aura (Su): At 4th level, a shadow-tattoo artist can envelop herself in a nimbus of shadowy darkness, with a diameter of 5 feet, granting her concealment. Opponents attempting to strike a shadow-tattoo artist suffer a 20% miss chance on all melee and ranged attacks. The nimbus lasts for 1 round per shadow-tattoo artist level per day. Because of her shadow sight, a shadow-tattoo artist can see through the nimbus normally.

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Shadow Stealth (Su): At 4th level, a shadow-tattoo artist can slip deeper into shadows than most, gaining a +1 circumstance bonus on all Hide and Move Silently checks. The effect only works in areas of shadowy illumination. This bonus increases by 1 for every four levels thereafter.

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Shadow Vision (Su): At 10th level, a shadow-tattoo artist gains darkvision 60 ft. If the shadow-tattoo artist already has darkvision, increase this range by 30 ft.

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Shadow Walk (Sp): At 14th level, a shadow-tattoo artist can use the spell shadow walk as a spell-like ability once per day.

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Greater Shadow Aura (Su): At 18th level, a shadow-tattoo artist’s shadow aura increases in strength, granting her full concealment. Opponents attempting to strike her suffer a 50% miss chance on all melee and ranged attacks. Because of her shadow sight, a shadow-tattoo artist can see through the nimbus normally.

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Ex Shadow-Tattoo Artists: A shadow-tattoo artist who becomes lawful cannot gain new levels as a shadow-tattoo artist and loses all supernatural and spell-like abilities gained from this class.

Least Tattoos

Acid Flask: This tattoo allows you to convert your shadow bolt into a quasi-real, illusory bolt that deals acid damage. Targets of your shadow bolt must make a Will save or take 2d6 points of acid damage per two of your shadow-tatoo artist levels, instead of the unspecified damage usually inflicted. Characters who make this save take half damage.

Objects automatically succeed on their Will saves against this attack.

Armor: This tattoo surrounds you in an aura of shadowy force, providing a +4 armor bonus to your Armor Class at 1st level, and increasing by +2 every four shadow-tattoo artist levels thereafter. The armor lasts for up to 1 minute per shadow-tattoo artist level. Against a creature who makes its save to recognize the effect as illusory, the armor tattoo provides half as much protection as normal.

Corpse: This tattoo allows you to create a quasi-real, illusory version of the ray of enfeeblement spell. Targets who make a Will save take half the penalty to their Strength score.

Fiend: This tattoo creates the illusion that your face is that of a fiendish creature. All creatures within 30 feet must make a Will save or become shaken for 5d6 rounds. Creatures who make their save are not affected by this tattoo’s abilities for a period of 24 hours. This ability is a mind-affecting effect.

Flames: This tattoo allows you to convert your shadow bolt into a quasi-real, illusory bolt that deals fire damage. Targets of your shadow bolt must make a Will save or take 2d6 points of fire damage per two of your shadow-tatoo artist levels, instead of the unspecified damage usually inflicted. Characters who make this save take half damage.

Objects automatically succeed on their Will saves against this attack.

Icicle: This tattoo allows you to convert your shadow bolt into a quasi-real, illusory bolt that deals cold damage. Targets of your shadow bolt must make a Will save or take 2d6 points of cold damage per two of your shadow-tatoo artist levels, instead of the unspecified damage usually inflicted. Characters who make this save take half damage.

Objects automatically succeed on their Will saves against this attack.

Javelin: This tattoo allows you to double the range of your shadow bolt. You can combine the effects of this tattoo with the effects of any tattoo that deals energy damage.

You can combine the effects of this tattoo with the effects of any tattoo that deals energy damage as a swift action.

Lightning: This tattoo allows you to convert your shadow bolt into a quasi-real, illusory bolt that deals electricity damage. Targets of your shadow bolt must make a Will save or take 2d6 points of electricity damage per two of your shadow-tatoo artist levels, instead of the unpsecified damage usually inflicted. Characters who make this save take half damage.

Longsword: This tattoo allows you to conjure a quasi-real, illusory version of a magical weapon of your choice as a move action. The weapons bonus is +1 at 1st level and increases by +1 for every four shadow-tattoo artist levels you possess. Against targets who make a Will save, the weapon only deals half damage.

The weapon is only usable by you. If you are disarmed, the weapon disappears.

Opponents who make a Will save take half damage from any attack made by your conjured weapon. This save applies to any additional shadow weapons you may attempt to conjure for a period of 10 minutes.

Mask: This tattoo allows you to disguise yourself per the disguise self spell.

Spitting Cobra: This tattoo allows you to reshape your shadow bolt into a 15-foot, cone-shaped burst. Creatures who succeed at a Reflex save take half damage against your attack.

You can combine the effects of this tattoo with the effects of any tattoo that deals energy damage.

Skull: This tattoo allows you to convert your shadow bolt into a quasi-real, illusory bolt that deals negative energy damage. Targets of your shadow bolt must make a Will save or take 2d6 points of negative energy damage per two of your shadow-tatoo artist levels, instead of the unspecified damage usually inflicted. Characters who make this save take half damage.

Objects automatically succeed on their Will saves against this attack.

Twins: This tattoo allows you to split your shadow bolt between two or more opponents. You gain two rays at 1st level that deal 1d3 damage each. At 3rd level, this damage increases to 1d6. At 7th level the damage increases to 2d6. At 11th level, and every four shadow-tattoo artist levels thereafter, you gain one additional ray.

You can combine the effects of this tattoo with the effects of any tattoo that deals energy damage as a swift action.

Web: This tattoo allows you to convert your shadow bolt into a quasi-real, illusory version of a spider’s web. This is similar to an attack with a net but has a maximum range of 60 feet, with a range increment of 10 feet, and is effective against targets up to one size category larger than you. An entangled creature can escape with a successful Agility or Athletics check (DC 10 + ½ your shadow-tattoo artist level + your Constitution modifier). Both are standard actions. Against targets who make a Will save, the effects of this tattoo are only 50% likely to be effective.

Lesser Tattoos
Animal Totem: This tattoo allows you to summon a shadowy version of a creature per the summon monster spell. The level of the spell you can cast is is dependent upon your shadow-tattoo artist level (see table below). Creatures summoned by a shadow-tattoo have half as many hit points as a normal creature of its kind, and deal only half as much damage against an opponent who recognizes it as a shadow creature.

Level Spell
8th Summon monster IV
10th Summon monster V
12th Summon monster VI
14th Summon monster VII
16th Summon monster VIII
18th Summon monster IX

Dark Sun: This tattoo allows you to reshape your shadow bolt into a 120-foot line. Creatures who make a Reflex save take half-damage against your attack.

You can combine the effects of this tattoo with the effects of any tattoo that deals energy damage as a swift action.

Flaming Scimitar: If you already possess the longsword tattoo, you can convert part of the enhancement bonus on your weapon into a quasi-real, illusory version of a special ability. For example, instead of a +3 longsword, an 8th level shadow-tattoo artist could conjure a +2 shocking longsword, or a +1 icy burst longsword.

Hand: This tattoo allows you to conjure a quasi-real, illusory version of a giant hand. The abilities of the hand are dependent upon your shadow-tattoo artist level, and mimic one of the following spells (see table below).

Against targets who make a Will save to recognize the hand as illusory, the hand has a 50% chance of providing cover for you. If the hand can deal damage, the damage is halved.

Level Spell
8th Interposing hand
12th Forceful hand
14th Grasping hand
16th Clenched fist
18th Crushing hand

Knives: This tattoo surrounds you in a whirling field of quasi-real, illusory knives 5 feet in diameter. The knives deal no damage to you. However, any creature striking you with its body or a handheld weapon takes 1d6 points of damage +1 point per shadow-tattoo artist level (maximum +15) from them. Creatures wielding reach weapons are not subject to this damage if they attack you.

Against targets who make a Will save, the effects of this tattoo deal half damage.

Lich: This tattoo allows you to convert your shadow bolt into a quasi-real, illusory bolt of negative energy. Creatures struck by the bolt gain 1d4 negative levels. Against targets who make a Will save, the effects of this tattoo deal half damage.

Octopus: This tattoo allows you to conjure a quasi-real, illusory version of a rubbery black tentacle that springs from the ground and remains for 1 round per your shadow-tattoo artist level. The tentacle waves around, dealing 1d6+8 points of damage to any creature it hits within 5 feet. Creatures hit by the tentacle must then make an opposed grapple check to avoid being grappled. Treat the tentacle as a Large creature with a base attack bonus equal to your shadow-tattoo artist level, a Strength score of 19, and improved grab. Thus, its grapple check modifier is equal to your shadow-tattoo artist level +8. The tentacle is immune to all types of damage.

Once the tentacle grapples an opponent, it can make a grapple check each round on your turn to deal 2d6+8 points of damage as it constricts around its victim. Against targets who make a Will save, the effects of this tattoo deal half damage.

Phantom: This tattoo allows you to create a frightening vision in the mind of one of your opponents per the spell, phantasmal killer.

Rose: This tattoo allows you to reshape your shadow bolt into a long range, 20-foot radius spread. Creatures who make a Reflex save take half-damage against your attack.

You can combine the effects of this tattoo with the effects of any tattoo that deals energy damage as a swift action.

Shadow: This tattoo makes the quasi-real, illusory effects of your tattoos 10% more powerful than normal. This tattoo has no use limit and can be used as a free action.

Shadow Mastiff: To use this tattoo you must be in an area of shadowy illumination. You can step into the shadows and instantly transfer yourself from your current location to any other spot within range per the dimension door spell (self only).

Veiled Woman: This tattoo allows you to render yourself unseen per the greater invisibility spell (self only).

Wall: This tattoo allows you to reshape one of your lesser tattoos that deals energy damage into a barrier 20 ft. high. The barrier can be shaped into a 20 foot long sheet per shadow-tattoo artist level, or a ring with a radius of up to 5 feet per two levels. Creatures passing through the barrier take 2d6 + 1 point of damage per shadow-tattoo artist level (maximum +20) of the appropriate energy type. The type of barrier is dependent upon the lesser tattoo (see table below).

Tattoo Wall Energy Type
Acid Flask Acid
Flames Fire
Icicle Ice
Lightning Electricity

Greater Tattoos
Chrysanthemum: This tattoo allows you to reshape your shadow bolt into a long range, 40-foot radius spread. Creatures who make a Reflex save take half-damage against your attack.

You can combine the effects of this tattoo with the effects of any tattoo that deals energy damage as a swift action.

Doppelganger: This tattoo allows you to conjure a quasi-real, illusory version of yourself. The duplicate has half as many hit points as you, and only has access to your least tattoo abilities. Targets who make a Will save to recognize your duplicate as illusory take half damage from the duplicate’s shadow bolt ability, and any attacks made with a melee or ranged weapon. In addition, the target automatically succeeds on all Will saves to recognize the effects of your duplicate’s shadow-tattoos as illusory.

The duplicate remains in effect for 1 round per your shadow-tattoo artist level.

Nightwalker: This tattoo makes the quasi-real, illusory effects of your tattoos 20% more powerful than normal. This tattoo has no use limit and can be used as a free action. You must possess the shadow lesser tattoo in order to use this tattoo.

Portal: You banish the subject to the Plane of Shadow. Each round on its turn, it may attempt a DC 20 Intelligence check to find a portal back to the Material Plane as a full-round action. On escaping or leaving the Plane of Shadow, the subject reappears 1d10×10 feet in a random, horizontal direction from it had been. If this location is filled with a solid object, the subject appears in the nearest open space. Shadow walk allows the subject to return to the Material Plane as per the spell, while plane shift allows it to return to whatever plane is designated in that spell. A find the path spell allows the subject to find a portal back to the Material Plane in a single round.

In all other ways, this ability functions as the maze spell.

Red Dragon: This tattoo allows you to reshape your shadow bolt into a 60-foot cone. Creatures who make a Reflex save take half-damage against your attack.

You can combine the effects of this tattoo with the effects of any tattoo that deals energy damage as a swift action.

Target: For every four shadow-tattoo artist levels you possess, this tattoo allows you to conjure one additional object, or target one additional creature with one of your lesser tattoo abilities. For example, a 16th level shadow-tattoo artist could conjure four additional tentacles with her octopus tattoo, or target four additional creatures with her lich tattoo.

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3 Responses to New Class: Shadow-Tattoo Artist

  1. Rob McKellip says:

    I think you could probably just make the alignment No Lawful Good (and perhaps Neutral Good and Lawful Neutral) and be alright. I could see a Neutral or Lawful Evil person being okay with it..probably also a Neutral person too without being too extreme. Being that a Chaotic Good person could do this class..why not the others I mentioned?

    • dovearrow says:

      The alignment restriction was one of those things I agonized over. I thought about making it any non-good, but I liked the idea of a chaotic good character taking this class. I also thought that Lawful Neutral and Lawful Evil seemed like a stretch. Perhaps any non-lawful would make more sense. That way, a Neutral character could take the class.

  2. dovearrow says:

    This is from email correspondence with a friend.

    What does “This tattoo makes the quasi-real, illusory effects of your tattoos 10% more powerful than normal” mean? If you roll a 5 on 2d6 does it add +1 to the damage or do you have to do 10 damage for +1? And how does it effect other spells such as summons, Walls, webs or hands? or is it only damage?
    Because it’s shadow magic, the effects of a tattoo artist’s tattoos are only partially real. If a character makes a Will save, the tattoo only does half damage, is only 50% likely to occur, etc. The shadow and nightwalker tattoos make it so that a shadow-tattoo artist’s tattoos are 10% – 20% more powerful.

    What is the range, duration of ability and duration of effect for Fiend?
    Fixed.

    Have you considered adding hide in plain sight?I know you want to differentiate from shadow dancer but this seems like a no-brainer for the class.
    Since the shadow aura ability provides a shadow-tattoo artist with concealment, I thought that hide in plain sight seemed a bit redundant.

    Is the summon monster really an unlimited number of times per day? if so it seems way too powerful, It would mean you could cast a 9th level spell an unlimited number of times. You might want to make it a lesser spell. The ability to summon an unlimited number of monsters seems ridiculously buff at any level. (and tough to DM).
    This is one of those issues that I deliberated over for quite a long time. I ultimately decided that since the creatures that a shadow-tattoo artist summons have half as many hit points as normal, and deal half damage against creatures who make a Will save, it’s fairly well balanced.

    Also, you should consider multi-classes, especially with rogue. The ability of a rogue to see through magical darkness is really buff. Too buff..? I don’t know.
    That’s an interesting point. I’d like to see how this ability works in playtesting before removing it.

    How does arcane spell failure work? Would any armor cause 100% failure. This is unclear. And what about in cold environments. Does the character have to have their skin exposed, or does clothing cause spell failure?
    To be honest, when I wrote the part about a shadow-tattoo artist’s tattoos needing to be exposed, I hadn’t really considered what effect this flavor text might have on mechanics. I have since altered this text significantly.

    I am not sure why you have the tattoos as supernatural abilities that subject to spell failure and SR. I know the issue— you want to make it less buff, but also don’t want to use the spell casting system. I would do this… Forget Arcane spell failure; just say the Shadow tattoo artist abilities do not work when wearing armor or shields. Just like a monk. Then separate all the abilities into SU, SP and EX as appropriate. SP abilities don’t have to mimic spells exactly, as long as they list a caster level and spell level such as a demon’s summon ability, a salt mephit’s moisture sucking ability, or a gold dragon’s luck ability. I might make the basic bolt a SU ability, but the add-ons SP. You can really screw the class over by making all the abilities subject to SR. Run into one creature that is immune to spells and you are screwed, even mages have spells that are not affected by SR.
    This is another issue that I debated for a long time. The reason I didn’t assign a specific spell level to the tattoos is because it would be too easy for opponents to make a saving throw against the least tattoos at higher levels. Since I wanted to make the least tattoos a primary component of the shadow-tattoo artist’s arsenal, I decided that supernatural abilities made more sense. As you have rightly pointed out, however, making tattoos regular, supernatural abilities would be extremely buff. That is why I added in the text about spell resistance, etc. That said, I think you are correct. It does make more sense to make them spell-like abilities.I have made some updates.

    As for your points about spell resistance, it’s not that often that a creature has immunity to all spells. That said, even if a shadow-tattoo artist were to encounter such a creature, she has the Base Attack Bonus progression of a rogue, so it’s conceivable that she could switch over to a melee or ranged weapon in such an event.

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