Cosmohaematological Quill Item in Istralar | World Anvil

Cosmohaematological Quill

You mean people really want to engrave themselves with... fire? Like, actively-burning fire? The sort that will never stop hurting them?   Sure, it looks cool, but... seems a little crazy to me.
  One of the greatest achievements of alchemy has been the ability to distill elements down to a form able to be contained in potion bottles or even turned into inks. These have many applications, usually found in the realm of magical enchantments and inscriptions on various weapons, tools, and armour. No would-be dragonslayer would dare face off against a red dragon without a shield imbued with fire to fend off its fire-breathing attacks, and no royal would dare sit at their throne without rings of protective force.   It wasn't until recently that some bright soul looked at their tattoo equipment and their alchemy supplies and decided that it would be a fantastic idea to mix the two. Whilst the first attempts didn't go particularly well - it turns out that it's a bad idea to effectively inject yourself with fire - the outcomes of those early experiments still looked effective enough that others began to take note. A decade on, specialised equipment now exists to correctly apply magical inks to one's body for the purpose of tattoos and decoration. The most standard of these is, of course, the cosmohaemotological quill.   The name describes the function: cosmetology relates to beauty, and haemotology to the blood. As the quill's effects are more than just skin-deep, the name 'cosmodermatological' was rejected and replaced with the current.  


Ink of the Inferno
Fire-aspected ink.   Painful; inflicts nausea if not resistant to fire. Glows in lifelike flickering flame. The first ink to exist; a favourite of ifrits.
Deep-Sea Ink
Water-aspected ink.   Increases susceptibility to aboleths if not resistant to cold. Animates like water; is bioluminescent.
Essence of the Skies
Air-aspected ink.   Decreases size for wind-style effects if not electricity-resistant. Reflects current sky conditions, even underground.
Frostburn Essence
Ice-aspected ink.   Painful; inflicts chill if not resistant to cold. Shimmers like iridescent ice, holding the same glow a glacier's ice does.
Acidic Secretions
Acid-aspected 'ink'.   Very painful; inflicts sickened if not acid-resistant. Emits toxic fog and glows sickening green.
Umbral Ink
Shadow-aspected ink.   Blinds if darkvision is not possessed. Emits constant shadow, and absorbs all light. Notably caused a minor art war; Kapoor Artworks is forbidden from using this.
Heavenly Starlight
Light-aspected ink.   Blinds if light sensitive. Emits a bright light equivalent to a standard torch. Cannot be put out; must be covered instead.
Potent Healing Essence
Positive energy.   Doubles effectiveness of negative energy damage if susceptible. Increases healing gained by +1 per die, and glows gold.
Corruptive Energy Essence
Negative energy.   Doubles effectiveness of positive energy damage if susceptible. Increases channel resistance by 5, and glows a red-tinted black.
  The negative and positive energy inks are incredibly hard to find, and raise the risk of brightbleed or the blight equivalent. Caution is advised.

Mechanics & Inner Workings

Hold very, very still...
— tattoo artist
  The cosmohaemotological quill is a combination of precise machining and rune-inscribed magics on a scale easy enough to reproduce by any enchanting-trained mage, arcane or divine. It draws the elemental ink into an internal extradimensional well, and when inserted into the skin of a living creature, pulls the ink down the quill's nib and into a sharp needle-like point.   This, when carefully etched onto the skin, creates a blend of scarification and tattooing through which the ink bleeds. Takes 10 minutes minimum for an approximately hand-sized area. If the ink used emits light, then unless specified otherwise, one dose glows as a candle; four or more cause a torchlike glow. Notably, all inks must be concentrated to remain past 24 hours: this typically multiplies the cost over ten times the standard.


Swirls of light give into a searing flame... I wish to imitate the angels. Can you do that? Can I become transcendent, incandescent?
— tattoo customer
  The quill quickly gained prominence as the standard for alchemical ink tattooing due to the relative ease of both creating and using one, along with some vague similarity to using a standard quillpen.   It is the first alchemical or magical tattooing device to reach any kind of widespread distribution, largely thanks to the loose licensing around the blueprints as established by its inventors. As a product of the collaboration of inventors worldwide, as part of a joint movement proposed by an Ordanian alchemist and her Polyhedral mage compatriot, the cosmohaemotological quill is free to be improved on and sold in any form.   Adaptations of it already exist - the difficulties of Yulan Sheng prompted their revolutionaries to adapt the quill for use as a graffiti aide, and now etch their slogans in ink that will never be removed as easily as the paints they replaced, whilst multiple nations have reported their research teams are developing weaponised versions to be fired from crossbows.
Item type
Related Technologies
Cosmohaemotological quill.   It takes longer to say than it does to decide to use it!
— Dawn, goblin representative


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Jul 5, 2021 15:26

Great stuff! I loved the intro.

Jul 5, 2021 15:33 by Alex (TheDumbOwl)

I could think of a few characters that would look good with this kinda ink..

Ahoy hoy! Have a happy day! Check out my world Vertinall!
Jul 5, 2021 15:36 by Han

You're being tempted, aren't you.   I guarantee Azsire has the frost variant. Both on him, and in a bottle in his bag.

welcome to my signature! check out istralar!
Jul 5, 2021 15:38

Those people must indeed be crazy to willfully do that stuff xp Cool idea to actually have multiple types of ink each with their own effects, and side effects.

Feel free to check my new world Terra Occidentalis if you want to see what I am up to!
Jul 6, 2021 11:34 by Avalon Arcana

This sounds absolutely stunning. I have always wanted to turn myself into a slowing piece of magic and this would make that possible. Amazing article :D

You should check out the The 5 Shudake, if you want of course.
Jul 12, 2021 13:32 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

I bet the tattoos made with this look stunning... but I don't think I'd want one for myself.

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
Jul 25, 2021 01:23 by Rashkavar

Delightfully disturbing idea. I love it!

Jul 30, 2021 12:55 by AS Lindsey (Pan)

That Black 3.0 reference gave me a good chuckle, very nice.   Can one person be imbued with multiple inks and keep their effects? Essence of the Skies and Heavenly Starlight sound super useful for an adventuring group prone to cave-delving.