Do you ever browse through the Player’s Handbook, or Dungeon Master’s Guide, and wish that they had more circus-themed player and non-player character classes? Me too!
In all seriousness, though, my idea for this class came from a gothic horror themed adventure that I’m writing which involves a circus similar to the one in the movie, Something Wicked This Way Comes. (By the way, if you haven’t seen this movie, I highly recommend it. It might be old, and it might be Disney, but it’s still creepy beyond reason.)
As I tried to come up with a story for my campaign, I started thinking about the common types of characters one might see in a circus. Of these, the tattoo artist was one of the first to spring to mind. The next step was trying to come up with a way to make that character interesting in a 3.5 setting, and what, pray tell, is more interesting than shadow magic? That’s right. Nothing! Hence, the shadow-tattoo artist class was born.
Now initially, the shadow-tattoo artist was supposed to be a non-player class. After, all, it’s a lot easier to write up an NPC class than it is to write up a fully realized player class. However, as I started looking into how shadow magic works, and saw all of the offensive spells that it can duplicate, I decided it made more sense to create it as a player class instead.
I don’t remember exactly when I decided to use the warlock class as an inspiration for the shadow-tattoo artist. However, I’ve always liked the idea of a class that can use its abilities at-will, so I decided to go with it as a template. Of course, as I developed the tattoos, the class changed significantly and what started out as little more than a redressed warlock, really turned into something else entirely, and I’m quite proud of the results.
As for the picture, this comes from a blog written by a guy, named Joseph McGee. In his entry, “Research Proposal: Ars Velius: Exploring the Urban Shamanism of the Ink Bard,” he included the picture you see in this entry. Since it seemed to just incapsulate everyting that is cool about this class, I wrote to him and asked if I could use it. Here’s the response I got back.
“Hey Brian, thanks for your email! Yes, you can absolutely use the picture for your blog. Incidentally, I happen to be a huge RPGer! (To include, of course, D&D). What’s your blog address? I’d like to check it out. And if you would post a link to my blog and/or website www.josephmcgee.com that would be great. I am a fantasy/paranormal/sci-fi writer, so if your readers would be interested in my work, my website might work best (it also has a link to my blog). Thanks again and best of luck! Please send the site address. I’d love to check out your blog.”
Awesome, right? Anyway, after a response like that, I had to include it. I also encourage anyone who is at all impressed with the picture to take a look at Joseph’s blog, and at his website, because he has some pretty neat stuff posted there.
Anyway, that’s pretty much the story behind this class. As always, I would greatly appreciate any comments you might have. Later.