Complete Arcane has rules for alternate spellbooks, including tattoos (P. 186-187). While this is less economical than just putting on a Ring of Regeneration, cutting your fingers off and carving the spells into your fingerbones (either 1 page for a tattoo on the hand, or 1 page per finger bone), I'm curious as to how the magical tattoos can work alongside changing the caster's body so that the skin becomes empty again. Can you use this to store more spells on/in your body, and maybe somehow remember them? Or when you wipe them out you lose all knowledge of the spells you had and you'll have to tattoo them again?

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    \$\begingroup\$ It's worth mentioning that the list of spells a wizard knows isn't necessarily equal to the list of spells in her spellbook, though I must admit the distinction is blurred and poorly defined. \$\endgroup\$
    – GMJoe
    Commented Jul 11, 2014 at 2:40

1 Answer 1


In short, you really can't get extra spell pages by changing your form.

The longer version involves some not-terribly-well-defined rules. To my knowledge, there are no rules about what happens to tattoos on your body when you change your shape. Based on a careful reading of the shapeshifting rules, I would say that any tattoos on your normal form would remain when you shifted back into that form, but the wording is not 100% clear. In the end, whether your tattoos go away or not will be up to your GM.

If your tattoos go blank when you shapeshift, then any spells you have scribed on your body go into a weird limbo state, where you know the spell, but don't have it available for preparation. Assuming that you don't have any other copies of the spell in other spellbooks, you can no longer prepare it. You might be able to talk your GM into letting you gain access to it through Spell Mastery, since the language about what happens when you know a spell but don't have it in a spellbook is pretty wonky.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Grafts remain when you un-polymorph, which is pretty good evidence for keeping tattoos. But secret page makes me less sure that you can't get "more space" by polymorphing. Due to the need to imbue specific magic into scribed spells, you couldn't just make the tattoos during polymorph, but it seems like you could use polymorph to get a new "canvas" so to speak. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Jul 11, 2014 at 3:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ Maybe, but there's very little evidence that the canvas would stay once you shifted back. The polymorph rules say that you turn into a typical member of whatever race you're turning into, and a typical creature doesn't have spell tattoos. This is certainly in the realm of "maybe your GM will allow it because it would be so cool", though. \$\endgroup\$
    – DuckTapeAl
    Commented Jul 11, 2014 at 4:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ If your GM does allow it because it's so cool, remember to make sure the spell that lets you change forms isn't one you need to be in a particular form to access. \$\endgroup\$
    – GMJoe
    Commented Oct 1, 2014 at 4:39

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