Ink Master (5e Class)

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Ink Master[edit]

A half naked bald elf with tattoos all over ever inch of his fair skin closes his eyes. The inked eyes on his hands and back open instead, and the tattoos of dragon scales seem to ripple as though alive. Arrows fall upon him from all directions. With almost a clairvoyant guidance, his body twists and dodges the assault. Where he cannot dodge, he deflects with his body, sustaining nary a graze, as though his skin were of steel. When the melee combatants finally charge in, strings of written words, inked on his skin, seem to enlarge his muscles and bolster his savage attacks.

Perched high in the pines, a human woman looks down to her wandering target. Lifting her sleeve, she reveals a tattoo depicting an ugly coil of snakes. As if by summoning magic, snakes rain down on the targets transport, biting the footman and rider to death before slithering into the ride and finishing the job. The unfortunate miser inside dies with a bloodcurdling scream. The woman pulls her sleeve back down and the snakes vanish like they were never there.

Listening to the quiet of the night, the elderly tabaxi sips his tea and gazes out towards the moonlit night. Three? No.. five, at least. As though resigned, he poises his inked brush above the paper and proceeds to draw in absolute serenity. Dark garbed assassins leap from around his room and burst in on the quiet. The entire floor is covered in murky ink. Almost immediately, an inky tentacle swats at their footing. Those who were quicker avoid the surprise and leap straight for the old man. The tabaxi clamps his teeth on his brush and thrusts both his hands out, each with a written rune. The attackers promptly stop and are suddenly blown backwards, breaking a hole in the wall.

Magical Ink[edit]

An ink master is an individual who utilizes the powers of the medium of ink. It may appear to be illusory tattoos, bodily-enhancing runes, or even compelling prose that can command with a stroke of the quill.

Creating an Ink Master[edit]

From Shinjirō's Taboo Tattoo

For what reason does your character fascinate themselves in the arts of ink? It is a fluid medium able to be used for cruelty and beauty, life and death. Was your character a figure of the streets or perhaps a scholar of the pen? This should help you decide what subclass you choose as well.

Quick Build

You can make a ink master quickly by following these suggestions. First, Intelligence or Wisdom should be your highest ability score, followed by Constitution. Second, choose the Cloistered Scholar background, from page 146 of the SCAG.

Class Features

As a Ink Master you gain the following class features.

Hit Points

Hit Dice: 1d8 per Ink Master level
Hit Points at 1st Level: 8 + Constitution modifier
Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d8 (or 5) + Constitution modifier per Ink Master level after 1st


Armor: none
Weapons: daggers, darts, quarterstaff, scimitars
Tools: tattooist's tools, calligrapher's tools
Saving Throws: Intelligence and Constitution
Skills: Choose 3 from Arcana, History, Investigation, Survival, Acrobatics, Athletics and Perception


You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by your background:

Table: The Ink Master

Level Proficiency
Features Ink Manifestations
1st +2 Ink Art, Ink Manifest 3
2nd +2 4
3rd +2 Intelligent Design 4
4th +2 Ability Score Improvement 4
5th +3 Ink Art feature 4
6th +3 5
7th +3 Tattoo Reputation 5
8th +3 Ability Score Improvement 5
9th +4 6
10th +4 Ink Absorb 6
11th +4 Ink Art feature 6
12th +4 Ability Score Improvement 6
13th +5 7
14th +5 Unblocked Flow 7
15th +5 Ink Art feature 7
16th +5 Ability Score Improvement 7
17th +6 8
18th +6 Color Roulette 8
19th +6 Ability Score Improvement 9
20th +6 Ink Art feature 10

Ink Art[edit]

At 1st level, you chose a discipline of inking art. Choose between Tattoo Augment, Ink Summoner, and Scriptmaster all detailed at the end of the class description. Your choice grants you features at 1st and again at 5th, 11th, 15th and 20th level.

Ink Manifest[edit]

Starting 1st level, you can manifest your tattoos in a form that best showcases your art of ink. The vibrant rivulets on your skin come to life with limber movement and your body starts to flow in equal motion. Starting 1st level, you may manifest your ink with a bonus action.
While in manifestation, you gain the following benefits if you are unarmored:

Your manifestation lasts for 1 minute. It ends early if you are knocked unconscious. You can also end your manifestation on your turn as a bonus action. Once you have manifested the maximum number of times for your ink master level, you must finish a long rest before you can manifest ink again. You may manifest as many times per your level as shown on the Ink Manifestations column of the ink master table.

Intelligent Design[edit]

Starting at the 3rd level, the tattoos etched on you are drawn with your intellect of many subjects and they imbue your body's movements with their style. When you make a Dexterity saving throw, you may instead treat it as an Intelligence saving throw.

Ability Score Increase[edit]

When you reach 4th level, and again at 8th, 12th, 16th and 19th level, you can increase one ability score of your choice by 2, or you can increase two ability scores of your choice by 1. As normal, you can't increase an ability score above 20 using this feature.

Tattoo Reputation[edit]

Tattoos have a bit of power in the social realm, sending signals to others based on the connotation. Your knowledge of these connotations go into the thought you have when negotiating, and this shows on your unarmored ink. Starting 7th level, you can add your Intelligence modifier to any Charisma (Persuasion) or (Intimidation) check you make.

Ink Absorb[edit]

Starting 10th level, you become so entwined with ink in your being that it can even restore you if you absorb texts and their scripted essence, or just ink. As an action, you may absorb the essences of a source of ink you are touching. For every ounce[1], or 600 filled pages of text, of ink you consume, you regain hit points equal to your Intelligence modifier. If you regain over your maximum, you instead gain temporary hit points that last until the end of your next long rest.

Unblocked Flow[edit]

Your intelligent designs mix and empower your body to give you an astounding potency. The ink flows seamlessly between body and mind, making a perfect harmony within you. Starting 14th level, you are immune to being paralyzed or stunned. You have advantage in saving throws against being knocked prone or moved against your will.

Color Roulette[edit]

The power of ink is now fully open to you, its ways of writing, drawing, and now even the fundamental color. Starting 18th level, you may use a bonus action and summon a series of runes of ink. They blink rapidly in different colors until settling on one and unleashing its power. Roll a d6 and apply the effect appropriate the result:

d6 Color Effect
1 Red A series of fiery explosions erupt from red ink runes up to 3 points of your choosing within 120 feet. These explosions each have a range of 10 feet from the point of your choosing. Creatures within range of the explosions must attempt a Dexterity saving throw against a DC equal to 8 + your Intelligence modifier + your proficiency bonus. A target takes 8d6 fire damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one. The fire spreads around corners. It ignites flammable objects in the area that aren't being worn or carried.
2 Blue Lightning bolts rain down from blue ink runes that flash intermittently overhead. Choose up to six creatures within 150 feet of you to be struck by this plasma. Targets must attempt a Dexterity saving throw against a DC equal to 8 + your Intelligence modifier + your proficiency bonus. A target takes 6d6 lightning damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one. The lightning ignites flammable objects in the area that aren't being worn or carried. The bolts all strike simultaneously, and you can direct them to hit one creature or several.
3 Green A large green rune appears on the ground from where you stand, stretching up to 100 feet from where you stand. The ground around you becomes covered in a series of thorny, ensnaring, sentient plants that spew toxic fumes. The ground is considered difficult terrain and the area is considered heavily obscured as the fumes linger in the air. Any creature in the area when you cast the spell, or that ends their turn within the area, must succeed on a Strength saving throw (DC=8 + your Intelligence modifier + your proficiency bonus) or be restrained by the entangling plants until the rune fades. A creature restrained by the plants can use its action to attempt a Strength check against the saving throw DC. On a success, it frees itself.

Additionally, any creature which is completely within the fumes at the start of its turn must make a Constitution saving throw ((DC=8 + your Intelligence modifier + your proficiency bonus)) against poison. On a failed save, the creature spends its action that turn retching and reeling and becomes poisoned. Creatures that don't need to breathe or are immune to poison automatically succeed on this saving throw. The rune fades after 1 minute, returning the air and terrain to normal.

4 Black A series of small, black ink runes float before you. Choose up to four creatures within 150 feet of you. The runes fly at them and stick on their bodies. For the next 10 minutes, you have advantage on all attack rolls and ability checks against the marked creatures, and you are always aware of their location as long as they remain within the same plane of existence as you. Your weapon deals an extra damage die upon hitting them. If the marked creature drops to 0 hit points, they die instantly. After the 10 minutes are over, the mark harmlessly washes off.
5 Purple A malicious sphere of crushing force materializes on one creature that you can see within 200 feet. The target must make a Dexterity saving throw (DC=8 + your Intelligence modifier + your proficiency bonus). On a failed save, the creature is sealed within the sphere for 1 minute. While inside, a creature is considered paralyzed. At the beginning of a trapped creature's turn, they take 3d8 force damage. At the end of each of their turns, the creature can make an Strength check against the same DC as the saving throw. On a success, it breaks the sphere and frees itself.

Nothing—not physical objects, energy, or other spell effects—can pass through the barrier, in or out, though a creature in the sphere can breathe there. The sphere is immune to all damage, and a creature or object inside can't be damaged by attacks or effects originating from outside, nor can a creature inside the sphere damage anything outside it. The sphere is weightless and just large enough to contain the creature or object inside. A disintegrate spell targeting the globe destroys it without harming anything inside it.

6 Gold A series of loud trumpets sound and bright rays shine forth from one large glowing gold rune which appears before you. You can select up to six creatures that you see within 120 feet of you and have the ray hit them. Each ray deals 2d8 radiant damage to its target. The rays all strike simultaneously, and you can direct them to hit one creature or several.

You can use this feature twice, regaining use upon finishing a long rest.

Tattoo Augment[edit]

A tattoo to you is not just a symbol or artistic statement. It is a part of you, lending you its essence, boosting your own power.

Inked Body

The ink on you imbues your body with a stronger skin against damage as it draws out your own inner power with complex arts and depictions. Starting 1st level, while unarmored, your Armor Class is equal to 11 + your Constitution modifier and Wisdom modifier. You may use a shield and still gain this benefit.

Ink Surge

Starting 5th level, when you use your Ink Manifest, you additionally bulk your body with a random tattoo pattern that materializes from the ink on your body. Roll a d8. For the duration of your manifestation, you have one of the following effects depending on your roll:

d8 Surge
1 Your muscles bulge and you feel a surge of strength course through you from your tats. You count as one size larger when determining your carrying capacity and the weight you can push, drag, or lift. Additionally, you gain advantage in Strength (Athletics) checks and Strength saving throws until the end of your manifestation.
2 The wind of swiftness forms on your skin and makes you feel lighter. Your movement speed increases to 50 feet until the end of your manifestation.
3 A pair of inked wings appear on your back and grant you a flying speed of 30 feet until the end of your manifestation.
4 A guarding ink appears all over your body. Until the end of your manifestation, you gain a +3 bonus to AC.
5 Fuselines circle your skin and make you dangerous to hit until the end of your manifestation. Whenever a creature within 30 feet of you hits you with an attack, that creature takes force damage equal to your Wisdom or Intelligence modifier, whichever is higher.
6 The ink on your body issues out a slick material that makes you more elusive. You may use your Dexterity modifier to make checks resisting grapples, and opportunity attacks roll with disadvantage against you until the end of your manifestation.
7 A myriad of inked eyes appear on your body and allow for your sight to be enhanced. You have advantage in Wisdom (Perception) checks until the end of your manifestation. Additionally, you can no longer be surprised while you are not incapacitated or unconscious.
8 Voids appear in dark swirls of ink on your body, swallowing whatever harm comes to you. When an attacker that you can see hits you with an attack, you can use your reaction to halve the attack's damage against you.
Skin Burster

Starting 11th level, the ink within your skin is so virulent and apt to attack those who strike at you that it will burst from your own body in defense of you. When you fail a saving throw while you are manifesting, you can use your reaction to half any damage you take as a result.


Starting 15th level, the ink which attunes your body with powers is elevated to that which connects you to powers of the universe. You have advantage in Wisdom saving throws while you are manifesting.

Second Surge

Starting 20th level, you can manipulate the energies summoned forth from the universe with your powers of ink. When you use your Color Roulette feature, you can reroll any result you get once and use the new result instead.

Ink Summoner[edit]

Drawings in ink done on mediums add to their mystique. You can draw on their liveliness to bring them to life, whether from drawings or tattoos as your companions.

Bewildering Image

Your inked displays serve to enhance your movement and fluidity. You gain proficiency in the Performance skill. If you were already proficient in this skill, you instead gain expertise. Additionally, if you roll a 1 on a Dexterity (Performance) check, you can reroll and you must take the new result.

Ink Calling

Starting 5th level, you can call out the creature living within the ink. As an action, you call upon the ink on your body and summon forth something of the image which it depicts. There are various callings that can come from one tattoo. At 5th level, you have 3 tattoos of your choice from the table which you can call from. These are not simple, small tattoos. They are laboriously made and quite large, enough to cover from an arm up to the neck. To add more tattoos, you must spend a number of days, equal to the highest CR calling of that tattoo, etching and inking the pattern on yourself. You must also expend Xd10 gp to properly infuse the tattoo with the summoning ability, where X is equal to twice the amount of days it took you to ink yourself.

Your calling acts independently of you, but it always obeys your commands. In combat, it rolls its own initiative and acts on its own turn. When the calling drops to 0 hit points, it disappears, collapsing into a puddle of ink.

While your calling is on the same plane of existence as you, you can communicate with it telepathically. As an action, you can temporarily dismiss your calling. It disappears back into your tattoo, where it can be resummoned. Alternatively, you can dismiss it forever. As an action, while it is temporarily dismissed, you can cause it to reappear in any unoccupied space within 30 feet of you.

You can't have more than one calling at a time. You can instead cause it to adopt a new form within the same tattoo category. To change tattoos, you must dispel the current calling and summon another. You can use this feature a number of times equal to your Intelligence modifier, regaining use upon finishing a short or long rest.

Tattoo Callings
Tiger cat, panther, lion, tiger, saber-toothed tiger
Snakes poisonous snake, giant constrictor snake, swarm of poisonous snakes
Hawk bat, hawk, owl, raven, axe beak, pteranodon, harpy
Fish dolphin, quipper, hunter shark
Dragon pseudodragon, hippogriff, any dragon wyrmling up to CR2
Wolf wolf, mastiff, dire wolf, blink dog, death dog
Spider spider, giant spider, phase spider
Bull elk, camel, rhinoceros, cow, aurochs
Ape ape, homunculus
Horse warhorse, riding horse, giant sea horse, mule
Bear brown bear, black bear, polar bear
Insects scorpion, giant centipede, giant crab, stirge
Skull skeleton, zombie, ghoul, specter, minotaur skeleton
Demon imp, dretch, grick, lemure
Elements gargoyle, Any mephit up to CR2
Plants dryad, violet fungus
Weapons flying sword
Attune Ink

If you see something new, you can add that to your ink repertoire. Starting 11th level, you can now etch tattoos of creatures that are not listed in the above callings. They must be of CR3 or lower.

Ink Drinker

Starting 15th level, when you use your Ink Absorb feature, you regain one use of your Ink Calling.

Summon Manifestation

Starting at 20th level, when you permanently dispel your Ink Calling, you may enter into your Ink Manifest with no further action required. This does not count toward your total uses of manifestations.


As a master of the ink, you can also command its mediums when it is outside your body, as in, not just tattoos. You can manipulate texts, magical inks, and such.

Runic Art

You command a variety of symbols in ink that, when activated, bequeath effects onto reality around you. Starting at 1st level, you learn three Ink Runes of your choice. They have a variety of effects, not all meant for just combat. You learn an additional rune of your choice at 5th, 11th, 15th and 20th level. Each time you learn new runes, you can also replace one rune you know with a different one.


Like a master typist, no, even faster, you can transcribe printed works of ink and copy them. Starting 1st level, as an action, you cause writing from one source you are touching (such as a book) to be copied into a book, paper, or parchment. You copy up to Xd10 pages at once, where X equals your Intelligence modifier. You create a perfect duplicate of the original in text. You can only copy nonmagical text, not illustrations or magical writings (such as the text of a spellbook, a spell scroll, or a sigil). If the source contains normal and magical writing (such as a letter with explosive runes), only the normal text is copied, leaving blank space in the copied text where the magical writing would be expected. Likewise, if the target contains text and illustration, only the text is copied.

This feature triggers writing-based magic traps in the material being copied, but does not copy the trap. You do not translate the copied writing. If you do not understand the original, you have no additional ability to understand the copy.


You're like a scholar with your knowledge in inks and their messages. It's not just the medium; you know anything it is used to write. You can interpret and understand the languages written in the inks, as a master of the medium in more ways than one. Starting at 5th level, you can understand the language of anything written in ink. As an action, you touch a book, scroll, or some other medium with writing and absorb the knowledge contained within as if you had just read it. This is equivalent to a solid reading but not deep study, as you do not gain perfect recall of the information, just whatever you would have gotten from reading it completely once. You cannot read magical books or texts with this feature.

Nourishing Knowledge

Starting 11th level, when you use your Ink Absorb feature, you regain additional hit points equal to double your proficiency bonus.


One must know an enemy to defeat it, and you have the intellect for that. Starting at 15th level, if you spend at least 1 minute observing or interacting with another creature outside combat, you can learn certain information about its capabilities compared to your own. The DM tells you if the creature is your equal, superior, or inferior in regard to one of the following characteristics of your choice:

Rune Storm

The runes can come off your skin and move free of a medium, like magic. This allows you to use multiple runes at a time. When you use the effect of a rune as part of an action or bonus action, you may use an additional rune without expending any additional action. You can only use this feature once per turn.

Ink Runes[edit]

The following are runes available to you as per your Runic Art feature. They are only to be used for the scriptmaster subclass, as they require a masterful and learned mind to utilize fully. If a rune has a prerequisite, you must fulfill that prerequisite to take it.

Rune of Strength

You call upon the power of strength in the symbol inked on your skin. As an action, you can boost your physical prowess. For a number of turns equal to your Wisdom modifier, you have advantage in Strength (Athletics) checks, and you gain a +1 bonus to your Armor Class. You can only use this feature once per combat.

Rune of Defense

Your resiliency is summoned with the power of this rune. When you would receive damage from an attack, you can use your reaction and halve the damage you would take.

Rune of Safety

Calling forth your danger sense, you can react in time to safely avert damage. When you make a saving throw, you may expend your reaction and take half damage on a failed save, and no damage on a successful save. You may use this rune a number of times equal to your Intelligence modifier, regaining use when you finish a long rest.

Rune of Peace

Prerequisite: 5th-level inkmaster
Using a mark of serenity, you can bring those undead to peace, and impose nonviolence on those living. As an action, you can mark a creature within 60 feet of you with this tattoo. For the next minute, the marked creature has disadvantage on their attack rolls. If the creature is undead, they also take force damage equal to your proficiency bonus at the beginning of each of their turns that they are marked. You may use this rune a number of times equal to your Intelligence modifier, regaining use when you finish a long rest.

Rune of Sealing

Prerequisite: 17th-level inkmaster
With a quick reflex, you can try and staunch magic before it takes effect. As a reaction, you can target one creature within 60 feet of you that you can see about to cast a spell. Your sealing rune appears over their head and nullifies the spell they were about to cast, making it have no effect. A rune appears on their forehead, making them unable to cast spells for the next minute. You can use this rune once, regaining use when you finish a short or long rest.

Rune of Force

Prerequisite: 2nd-level inkmaster
Using this rune allows you to blast away opponents. As a reaction, you make a melee weapon attack against a target that moves within 5 feet of you. On a hit, the target takes 2d6 force damage and is shoved backwards by 15 feet.

Rune of Speed

This rune gives you an additional 10 feet of movement speed to each speed you have.

Serene Rune

As a bonus action, you can grant one creature within 30 feet of you a protective aura with a rune. So long as the targeted creature does not attack in any way, they cannot be targeted by any attack rolls.

Rune of Blood

As a bonus action, you select a creature within 60 feet of you that you can see. A mark that resembles a bleeding rune suddenly appears on their skin. You have advantage on attack rolls and Wisdom (Survival) checks to track the creature. Additionally, the marked creature cannot benefit from half cover from you. This mark fades after 1 minute. You must finish a short or long rest to use this rune again.

Gravity Rune

As an action, you select a point within 90 feet of you where a massive rune with a radius of 30 feet appears on the ground. For the next minute, that area is flooded with strong gravitational energies, making it difficult terrain. A creature in the area when you cast the rune must succeed on a Strength saving throw (DC= 8 + your Intelligence modifier + your proficiency bonus) or be knocked prone. A prone creature within the rune range must succeed on a Strength check against the same DC to be able to stand up. You must finish a short or long rest to use this rune again.

Chain Rune

As a bonus action, you select a willing creature within 10 feet of you. If it is an unwilling creature, you force them to make a Strength saving throw (DC= 8 + your Intelligence modifier + your proficiency bonus). On success, they are unaffected. On failure, a rune appears on both your bodies, forming a link. For up to 1 minute, or as long as you concentrate on the link, when you or the linked creature use your movement speed, the other creature must use their reaction to move up to half the amount of movement speed expended in the same direction. They also cannot move further away from their linked other than when they were linked. A creature linked by this rune can spend an action to attempt the Strength saving throw again, breaking the chain on a successful save. You can dispel this rune's effect with a bonus action.

Rune of Binding

As a an action, you force a creature within 30 feet of you to make a Strength saving throw (DC= 8 + your Intelligence modifier + your proficiency bonus). On a failed save, a series of runes snake about their body, binding their movement. They are restrained for up to 1 minute. They may attempt the save with an action on their turn, breaking free on success. You can use this rune a number of times equal to your Intelligence modifier, regaining use when you finish a long rest.


Prerequisites. To qualify for multiclassing into the ink master class, you must meet these prerequisites: 16 Wisdom, 16 Intelligence

Proficiencies. When you multiclass into the ink master class, you gain the following proficiencies: tattooist's tools, daggers, scimitars, Arcana

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