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A tattoo was a cosmetic body alteration made by needling ink subdermally. It was very common for Rokugani to bear tattoos.

Non-magical Tattoos Edit

Kolat Tattoo

Kolat Tattoo

Groups such as the Kolat used tattoos to identify membership, [1] and similarly the Daidoji family tattoed a crane, his family mon, on each wrist of their bushi on the day of their gempukku, as a reminder of their sworn duty to the Crane. [2] The most revered Rememberers of the nezumi, the Torre'chek, tattooed their tails with red symbols from the most famous Ratling tales and legends. [3] Young Agasha acquired tattoos during their gempukku. [4]

Magical Tattoos Edit

Tattooing chamber

Tattooing chamber

Ashalan Tattoos Edit

Many of the first Ashalan made the tattoos into a coming-of-age ritual, signifying that the person given the tattoos was experienced enough to be involved in the group's decisions. These tattoos began to quietly reflect the traits of their owners, sorcerous sigils and diagrams on those with greater magical ability, or the from of tiger stripes and a lion's mane on those physically gifted. [5] The immortal Ashalan race used crystal needles to make their tattoos. If the tattoo was placed upon a human his will was bound to the Ashalan. [6] This powerful magic, the Tattoo of Domination, [7] was developed by Rashol. [5]

Dragon Monk Tattoos Edit

In addition to normal, cosmetic tattoos, some members of the Dragon Clan had the ability to create magic tattoos that allowed their bearers to use special abilities. The most famous tattoos came from the monastic orders of the Dragon Clan. The Hitomi, Hoshi and Togashi all tattooed their initiates. The Kokujin monks received tattoos as well. The tattoos these monks received granted the bearer special powers based on their design. For example, a centipede tattoo allowed its bearer to run at very high speeds for a time, whereas tattoos of frost or fire gave their bearers the ability to breath ice or flame respectively. [8]

The tattoos did not grant power, they unlocked what was already within the tattooed. [9]

Dragon non-Monk tattoed Edit

It was rare for one who was not a Dragon monk to receive a tattoo, and when this happened it was considered a great honor. In 1168 Togashi Satsu tattooed Toturi III before he set off on his journey to find Enlightenment. [10] In 1169 Kitsuki Taiko wished a tattoo as a keepsake but Togashi Iroshi tattooed the true blood of Satsu without her acknowledgement. [11] The Asako Inquisitors bore a strange eye tattooed upon their palms, the seekers of truth. [12] The tattoos were magical, enhancing their perceptive talents, and were provided by the Togashi family during times when the Dragon and Phoenix Clan were allies. The duty of creating these tattoos was eventually taken over by the Agasha family. [13]

Bloodspeaker research on tattooes Edit

There were few Dragon bloodspeaker cells, all located in remote monasteries. There the cultists were investigating the value of tainted oni blood in tattoo magic. [14]

Kokujin tattoos Edit

Kokujin, the mad Ise Zumi, the Prophet of the Dark Lotus, used tattoos in his wicked monastic order, the Order of Kokujin Tattoos. [15]

Tattoos of the Dragon Clan Edit

See Also Edit


  1. Broken Tiger, by Shawn Carman and Rich Wulf
  2. Way of the Crane, p. 42
  3. Way of the Ratling, p. 49
  4. Great Clans, p. 185
  5. 5.0 5.1 Legend of the Burning Sands Roleplaying Game, p. 139
  6. Fires of Toshi Ranbo, Part Four, by Rich Wulf
  7. Secrets of the Scorpion, p. 89
  8. Legend of the Five Rings: Third Edition p. 127
  9. Enlightened Madness, Part One, by Rich Wulf
  10. Rulebook Story (Test of Enlightenment)
  11. Mysteries and Truths, by Rusty Priske
  12. Game Master's Guide; 2nd Ed, p. 215
  13. Way of the Shugenja, p. 60
  14. Bloodspeakers, p. 10
  15. The Mad Dragon, by Shawn Carman

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