I'm currently looking at alter self and change shape spells and abilities and began to wonder.

If a being like a kitsune has change shape (su) which functions similar to alter self and gets tattooed while they are in their transformed form what happens?

From what I know it is so that wounds are transferred to their "normal" form. Thus as a tattoo is most often sort of a wound it should also show up in their normal form from how I understand it, but then what is if they change into their normal form and then again into their transformed one does the tattoo then disappear compeletly form the transformed form?

Thus my question is twofould

  1. Am I correct that the tattoo is transferred to their original form?

  2. What happens whne they change back into their true form and then transforms again does the tattoo disappear form all but their true form? and on 2 what happens if the being is a dragon is the tatoo then enlarged in his true form to accomodate to the size difference of the real being?

On the note of the tattoos: Mundane and also magical ones (thus what is in both cases)

  • \$\begingroup\$ Are these magical tattoos or just decoration? \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Aug 8 '14 at 18:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ didnt know about the magical ones will modify the qustion but it is for both types of tattoos \$\endgroup\$ – Thomas E. Aug 8 '14 at 18:39

I would assume that in this instance the Tattoos would take effect in a manner similar to how equipment takes effect on a creature being polymorphed.

From the Transmutation spell description from the Pathfinder SRD:

When you cast a polymorph spell that changes you into a creature of the animal, dragon, elemental, magical beast, plant, or vermin type, all of your gear melds into your body. Items that provide constant bonuses and do not need to be activated continue to function while melded in this way (with the exception of armor and shield bonuses, which cease to function). Items that require activation cannot be used while you maintain that form.

While in such a form, you cannot cast any spells that require material components (unless you have the Eschew Materials or Natural Spell feat), and can only cast spells with somatic or verbal components if the form you choose has the capability to make such movements or speak, such as a dragon.

Other polymorph spells might be subject to this restriction as well, if they change you into a form that is unlike your original form (subject to GM discretion). If your new form does not cause your equipment to meld into your form, the equipment resizes to match your new size.

Essentially this means that if your tattoos require activation, they cannot be used while you maintain an alternate form if that ability or spell changes you into an animal, dragon, elemental, magical beast, plant, or vermin.

However, Since Change Shape (Su) that Kitsune has mimics an Alter self spell, the type that the Kitsune transforms into is always restricted to a specific type, humanoid. Meaning that since the form the kitsune is changing into is of the same subtype ( Humanoid ) all of your equipment ( including tattoos ) will transfer over to the new form.

As far as the first question is concerned, the tattoos will carry over to the original form, yes.

When they shapechange back into their true form and then back again I believe in this instance the tattoo would remain as well, Change Shape (Su) says that the Kitsune can take the shape of "a specific single human form of the same sex". A tattoo is still a "possession" in the instance of it being a magical item that provides an effect.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ And what about for example a dragon? (the in the company of dragons rulebook addition has given them also Change Shape (Su) like the kitsunes to any humanoid form and a second ability that exists also works like the druids spell to transform into beasts). If we take the former a dragons real form would be drastically different to an elfs (in form and size) \$\endgroup\$ – Thomas E. Aug 10 '14 at 5:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ "Does that dragon over there really have a tramp stamp!?!?" \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk - SE stop being evil Aug 10 '14 at 14:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ If a dragon changes from a Dragon into a humanoid, the dragon does not share the same subtype so the tattoo does not persist. Essentially casting a polymorph spell or ability to change to into any animal, dragon, elemental, magical beast, plant, or vermin creature causes your equipment to meld into your body. So for example if the dragon were to get a tattoo while shapeshifted into a humanoid, that tattoo would vanish upon switching back to a dragon because the change from humanoid would cause any equipment or items to meld with the dragon upon changing. \$\endgroup\$ – Sandwich Aug 12 '14 at 3:17

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