By D&D 5e rules, is a spell cast from a spellwrought tattoo subject to someone else casting counterspell against it?


1 Answer 1


Yes, since the casting using this tattoo is perceptible.

The section Perceiving a caster at work of Xanatar's Guide to Everything says (emphasis mine):

But what about the act of casting a spell? Is it possible for someone to perceive that a spell is being cast in their presence? To be perceptible, the casting of a spell must involve a verbal, somatic, or material component. The form of a material component doesn’t matter for the purposes of perception, whether it’s an object specified in the spell’s description, a component pouch, or a spellcasting focus.

The complete description of the Spellwrought Tattoo specifies (emphasis mine):

Once the tattoo is there, you can cast its spell, requiring no material components. The tattoo glows faintly while you cast the spell and for the spell’s duration. Once the spell ends, the tattoo vanishes from your skin.

We have hence two important piece of information:

  • There is no need for material component, but it does not say anything about verbal or somatic ones.
  • The tattoo glows during the casting and for the duration (for non instantaneous spells).

This meas that the casting is perceptible, mainly due to the glowing of the tattoo that acts as a somatic component: this lead to the possibility of counterspell it.

Anyway, the tattoo can be covered by clothes and similar1: the table for tattoo coverage provides some guidance.

Tattoo Rarity Area Covered
Common One hand or foot or a quarter of a limb
Uncommon Half a limb or the scalp
Rare One limb
Very Rare Two limbs or the chest or upper back
Legendary Two limbs and the torso

In this case, the player and the DM have to decide together how much tattoo is visible. Anyway, if the DM feels that making imperceptible the casting form this item is too powerful, they can decide that the glowing cannot be hidden by clothes.

It is true that this magic item works just once, hence in this case maybe is not so game-breaking allowing an imperceptible casting just for one time, but it depends on the table and on the DM.

1 Credits to Jack that pointed this out in the comments.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Nice job on showing how. +1 \$\endgroup\$ Mar 4 at 12:50
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ But does a spellwrought tattoo need to be visible? If it were on the caster's back, and covered by several layers of clothing, or even armor, it doesn't seem like the faint glow would be visible. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jack
    Mar 4 at 12:54
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ I think it's fine, and already +1'd. But . . . the spellwrought tattoos are so annoying -- a great concept, but I feel like they took it out of the oven before the toothpick was clean. As you point out, they don't mention whether the spell still requires verbal and somatic, so RAW one would have to assume they're still required. So . . . glowing aside, the only thing making a spellwrought tattoo casting more stealthy than a regular casting, is lack of material component, which doesn't really make it much more stealthy. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jack
    Mar 4 at 14:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Jack yes, I agree: V and S seems to be still needed, indeed beside the glowing this makes the casting not stealthy/imperceivable to me. \$\endgroup\$
    – Eddymage
    Mar 4 at 14:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Pablo Yep, I can see from the confusion may come: indeed, the focus here is on the part "unless the item's description says otherwise.". \$\endgroup\$
    – Eddymage
    Mar 11 at 9:15

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