It’s our first monster from the Occult Bestiary! [Stan Lee voice] Because you asked it for it, True Believers! [/Stan] I won’t pretend to be an expert on the new rules—heck, my copy of Occult Adventures hasn’t even shipped yet—but we’ll muddle through as best we can.
Tattoo guardians combine some of the best features of magical tattoos and familiars—they rise up in defense when their master is threatened, then return to become a simple (if intricate and eye-catching) adornment when the threat has passed. In the Golarion setting, these tattoos tend to adorn nobles and the clergy, but on your world, who knows how common or rare they might be?
Best of all for PCs’ purposes, all you need to have a tattoo guardian of your own is a 9th-level caster! Or you can do it yourself—what better use for the Craft skill can you think of?
Just beware—in the rare cases where the tattoo guardian survives and its master doesn’t, sometimes the tattoo guardian gets a splinter of its master’s sentience…and the results are never good.
A crime lord offers to settle a dispute with a party of adventures via a test of strength: a wrestling match, his champion versus theirs. Only once the champions come to grips, the dragon tattoo adorning the crime lord’s representative animates and begins carving up his challenger. Protesting will do little good—“We said no spells, magic items, familiars, or outside assistance…can I help it if the tattoo is none of the above?”—and they are outnumbered, so the adventurers may have to get creative to save their friend.
An animate tattoo of a two-headed eagle has been attacking city guardsmen. The tattoo matches the one that sits on the back of a well-known local paladin—or did, since the paladin just turned up dead with no tattoo on his body. Investigation by a party of novice city guardsmen reveals that the paladin was murdered, and the tattoo guardian is hunting those it believes responsible while it still has the will to do so.
A half-elf nude model is the talk of the university town of Fairhope. Bards and painters alike compete to respectively sing her praises and sketch her curves, with some of the more ambitious artists even painting her body like a canvas for use in avant-garde shows. But not everyone is so pleased, included the local clerics and Fairhope’s strongly traditionalist elven community. At a show some adventurers are attending, a knife flies through the air and buries itself in her back. That’s when her tattoo guardian, a heron, rises up to strike—and since it did not see who cast the knife, it begins attacking the crowd at random.
—Occult Bestiary 54
Stats for the tattoo guardian don’t seem to be online yet, but you can always find them here.