There is a planet whose source of mana is Ink. There are two mediums used for the Ink. They are Parchment and Tattoos. The spells are written in Runes on the parchment or tattooed on the mage. The use of magic in this realm is very difficult to come by. Even though anyone has the opportunity to become a “magic user” the application of Ink is “taught” to those of worth. The Ink Masters decide who benefit from their craft. If one is fortunate enough to understand the use of Ink, then they decide who is taught its secrets. There are no central schools of magic or a guilds of users.
The use of Ink in essence is simple. In order for your to “learn” a spell it must be tattooed on your skin in Runes. Once the spell is tattooed it is considered learned. In most cases to activate the spell the user concentrates on the tattoo. The skill level is still bought as if you memorized the spell. The point costs to buy the spell are the same as the GURPS Basic Set Rules. Two differences are that Magery and spell perquisites are not used. If your system requires some other items, like regents, it is best to disregard them and treat the Ink as all you need. Ink is difficult to acquire, as is someone to apply it to the mage, parchment or item.
When the Ink is used on parchment the spell just needs to be read, either aloud or silently to work. The Runic language on the scroll or tattoo is in an uncommon language. You know the spell as long as you have the scroll and can read it. The scroll only has one use. Once it has been read the Ink becomes inert.
Magic items can be created using the parchment. It must be imbued into the item by a magical artisan. These individuals do not always possess the ability to use magic or create the parchments. They learn their craft and it is passed down from master to apprentice.
Casting a Spell – Tattoo
- Low Skill Level (14 or less) – Concentrate on tattoo, speak the words and gesture.
- Mid Skill Level (15-19) – Concentrate on tattoo, speak the words or gesture.
- High Skill Level (20-24) – Concentrate on tattoo.
- Ridiculously High Level (25+) – No ritual is required.
Casting a Spell – Parchment
- The user needs only to read the Runes. Skill Level is based on IQ
Casting a Spell – Item
- No ritual. Skill Level is based on IQ, unless user has the spell tattooed, then based on spell level.
I have based the skill levels and attributes to the GURPS ruleset. Because magic use in this world is rare, the PC’s should take Unusual Background or something similar in your favorite system. The points that it would cost should be up to the GM. For my group it is a 10 point advantage and the background for the character should reflect that.