Mister Meeson’s Will, by H Rider Haggard, tells the story of a veddy propah Englishwoman who is shipwrecked on a desert island and must have a dying tycoon’s will tattooed upon her back. It’s part of the 19th century tradition of novels exploring outlandish corner cases of the law, like Wilkie Collins’ Man and Wife.
The informational tattoo idea has been explored in fantasy. The tattoo treasure map has been done before: I remember seeing it first in some Ultima game. In D&D, tattoos of spells have been mentioned as alternatives to spellbooks.
Worst case D&D scenario: someone is tattooed with an expendable spell. They’re essentially a living scroll. Scrolls self-destruct when used.
This might lead to a rough situation for a poor sailor. He passes out at the tattoo parlor, and wakes up a living – and disposable – piece of ordnance. If the ship is attacked by pirates, the ship’s wizard might decide that there’s nothing to be done but read the scroll and expend the sailor.
Either that or someone is tattooed with Explosive Runes.
Any other weird D&D consequences of an ill-considered tattoo?