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The best magical D&D tattoos, ranked

Not all Dungeons and Dragons tattoos are made equal – in fact, some of the Magical Tattoos 5e options are much stronger than others.

Wizards of the Coast art of an Orc giving an Elf D&D tattoos

A roleplaying character with D&D tattoos may look cool and intimidating, but there’s another great reason to ink up in Dungeons and Dragons. We’re talking about the Magical Tattoos 5e feature from Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything. This turns tattoos into magic items, which offer your character a range of benefits. But, just as in real life, deciding which tattoo to get can be tough. So here’s a ranked list that does all the hard work for you.

Tattoos are one of our favorite DnD magic items, thanks to their unique blend of flavor and mechanical benefits. The tattoo can look however you like, so you can design something that perfectly suits your pick of DnD classes and DnD races. There are attunement 5e rules to consider, and your character will have to press a needle to their skin, but we’d seriously recommend it.

These are the best D&D tattoos for your 5e character, from worst to best:

D&D tattoos - Wizards of the Coast art of a man in a carnival wearing a mask

11. Illuminator’s Tattoo

The Illuminator’s Tattoo lets you write with your finger as if it were a pen. You can also create invisible ink, and all it costs you is an action. Simply speak the name of a creature while touching a page of writing, and you can hide the words from everyone but yourself and the named target. This lasts for 24 hours or until you end the effect.

In a DnD campaign stuffed with social intrigue, this could be an incredibly useful feature. However, the mechanical benefits are too situational compared with the other D&D tattoos on offer. Plus, you can only do this once a day, so your concealed correspondence has clear limits. 

10. Masquerade Tattoo

Want to cast Disguise Self for free? The Masquerade Tattoo can make it happen. Provided your enemies fail a DC 13 check to detect you, this lets you swan into any establishment you like. The tattoo can also magically change its appearance (though it always looks like a tattoo).

Disguises are always handy, but this one isn’t foolproof. And while this tattoo opens up some creative roleplaying opportunities, it’s not particularly powerful or impressive. 

DnD tattoos - Wizards of the Coast art of a skeleton in a green cloak

9. Lifewell Tattoo

The Lifewell Tattoo makes you resistant to necrotic damage, which isn’t much to write home about. It’s not the most common DnD damage type, so you may never need the tattoo’s help.

Thankfully, the Lifewell Tattoo has one more trick up its sleeve. Once per day, when you reach zero hit points, you return to one hit point. Any magic item that saves you from a DnD death save is worth having, but there are many other ways to add this feature to your DnD character build – all without a needle. 

8. Absorbing Tattoo

The Absorbing Tattoo makes you resistant to a particular damage type, and you can spend a reaction to gain immunity when you would take damage of that type. The reaction also lets you regain hit points equal to half the damage you would have taken. Sounds pretty neat, right?

The problem with this D&D tattoo is you can’t choose what damage type you’re protected from. It’s up to your DM, or it’s chosen at random. A bad roll or an unkind DM may mean that you’re safe from a damage type you’ll never see. 

DnD tattoos - Wizards of the Coast art of a Monk in combat

7. Spellwrought Tattoo

A Spellwrought Tattoo lets you cast a particular spell without material components. It’s essentially a spell scroll, but any class can use it. The rarity and size of the tattoo determine what level spell you can cast, ranging from DnD cantrips to fifth-level 5e spells. The tattoo also comes with a default spellcasting ability modifier, spell save DC, and attack bonus.

A free fifth-level spell can be a game-changer, though the same can’t be said about cantrips. And since this tattoo only has one use, it’s not our favorite option. 

6. Eldritch Claw Tattoo

The Eldritch Claw Tattoo turns your unarmed strikes into magical attacks, and they get a +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls too. This D&D tattoo also lets you spend a bonus action to extend the reach of your weapon attacks and unarmed strikes by 15 feet for one minute. And on top of that, you deal an extra 1d6 force damage when these attacks hit.

That’s an awful lot of benefits for just one tattoo. However, anyone who isn’t a DnD Monk (or robbed of their DnD weapons) will likely ignore their unarmed strikes. And you can only use that second feature once a day, so it’s not quite the powerhouse that it seems. 

DnD tattoos - Wizards of the Coast art of a character stealthing past a guard

5. Shadowfell Brand Tattoo

The Shadowfell Brand Tattoo seems tailor-made for the DnD Rogue. It gives you 60 feet of Darkvision and advantage on Stealth checks, plus you can spend a reaction to half incoming damage once a day.

Even if you aren’t planning on picking this class, Stealth options and reduced damage are universally useful. Imagine a DnD Paladin who can bypass the downsides of their heavy DnD armor, for example. 

4. Coiling Grasp Tattoo

As an action, you can use your Coiling Grasp Tattoo to send inky tentacles towards a creature within 15 feet. If it fails a DC 14 Strength saving throw, it takes 3d6 force damage and becomes grappled 5e.

Being able to grapple a creature without sacrificing your damage output is an excellent way to control the battlefield. The only downside is they might pass that saving throw and escape. 

DnD tattoos - Wizards of the Coast art of two women fighting

3. Ghost Step Tattoo

The Ghost Step Tattoo is essentially a Get Out of Jail Free card. Spend a bonus action and one of the tattoo’s three daily charges, and you can become incorporeal until the end of your next turn.

This means you’re resistant to all non-magical bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage. Plus, you can’t be grappled or restrained, and you can move through solid objects as if they were difficult terrain. Just be sure you don’t return to the corporeal world while still inside a solid object – that’ll hit you with a bunch of force damage. 

2. Barrier Tattoo

Instead of wearing armor, you could get a Barrier tattoo. This gives you a natural armor class as long as you’re not wearing any extra gear (though you can still carry a DnD shield). Depending on the rarity of the tattoo, your AC gets beefier.

It’s not the flashiest ability, but it’s consistently useful. Plus, if you’re playing a race or class that can’t wear armor anyway, it’s a fantastic way to keep your character alive. 

DnD tattoos - Wizards of the Coast art of a Warlock

1. Blood Fury Tattoo

When you hit a creature with a weapon attack, the Blood Fury Tattoo lets you deal an extra 4d6 necrotic damage – and you regain that many hit points. Plus, when a creature damages you, you can spend a reaction to make an extra melee attack against them with advantage.

The tattoo has ten daily charges, meaning you can perform either or both of these feats several times a day. Free attacks, extra damage, and zero-cost healing is silly good, and this is by far the best D&D tattoo available.

For more character options, here are the DnD backgrounds and DnD feats we’d recommend.