Go to: [Rare GURPS Items]
By LEG (LEG@telekabel.at)
It is possible to introduce tiny, hollow spheres filled with colored
particles under the skin, just like the pigments of a regular tattoo. This
creates a Tattoo Field, a small area where the skin can act very much like
Tattoo Fields can be an element of fashion, depending on the culture.
It is likely that they will replace lipstick, eyeshadow or minor make-up.
The Tattoo Field must be changed with a special "Tattoo Writer", a device
which makes the embedded spheres change colors.
All Tattoo Writers except the pen of an artist require some form of graphics
file to create an image. Depending on how common Tattoo fields are, software
to design such graphics may be anything form free (comes bundled with every
computer) or rare, expensive and buggy.
A standard Tattoo Writer looks like a 20th century hand scanner or brush,
weighs 1 pound, costs $100 and runs indefinitely off building current.
It can write to a field 8'' wide;
Larger Tattoo Fields require bigger Writers, which are not commonly for
sale, but available at every tattoo parlor. It is possible to write a large
Tattoo with a smaller writer, but the edges can be shoddy.
A Tattoo Blanker that wipes a Tattoo field clean is the size of a pencil,
has negligible weight, costs $10 and can do several thousand blankings
on an A Cell.
Artists can make their own Tattoos with a "pen" that activates the embedded
spheres along the lie of the pens movement (weight negligible, cost $50-500,
depending on quality, runs for a year on an A Cell).
One reprogramming costs $1 for a small patch or $30 for the full body
and takes a minute. Some parlors offer free reprogrammings on special occasions.
Political groups or companies offer free reprogrammings for anybody who
wants to carry their logo for a few days.
A tattoo field can be cleared so that no tattoo is visible, and it can
be used to imitate a scar, birthmark or skin condition. A full-body Tattoo
field can be used to give a person a different skin color or even a camouflage
pattern. Of course, a mere image on the skin is never really convincing.
Tattoo Fields are available from TL9 on cost $10 per square inch. Real
full-body Tattoo Fields are feasable at TL10 when the problem of skin breathing
is solved. TL9 "full body" jobs must leave a few areas free. The operation
to place one is basically painless and not dangerous with TL9 medicine,
though this may not apply to jobs done in the back room of some starport
The GM can rule that TL10 Tattoo Fields are linked to the nervous system
and can be turned on an off at will, and come with a tiny computer ship
implanted under the skin that stores 100 Gigabytes worth of images (the
chip costs $300 with operation).
A Character is made an offer to have his Tattoo field reprogrammed for
free in same shop. The owner claims it's his birthday, or the festival
of the great prophet Humda, or whatever. The Character is told to go to
another shop on the next planet (or just across the border) for another
free reprogramming. The Character does not know that the Tattoo carries
a secret message of some kind. It could be the shape of the Tattoo itself
("This image is a symbol of a Neo-Tong group. It means that blood vengeance
has been declared on somebody... I cannot tell you against whom...") or
tiny imperfections in the image that can be read by a scanner disguised
as a Tattoo Writer.
A Character has his Tattoo Field reprogrammed with some "nice ethnic art"
on some planet only to discover that it is a symbol of a religious group
suspected of terrorism on the next planet.
Undercover cops will need Tattoo Fields if tattoos have remained fashionable
with the criminal element.