Why isn't Arcane Mark Used more and How do you Use it?


Advice


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Arcane mark is a unique, unforgable mark that when placed on living flesh lasts for a month.

This seems rather underused. I have two questions for the community.

1) What are the standard uses of this I may be overlooking? Both spells tied to it and strategic uses.

2) How have you used it in your games? Though similar to #1, question #2 includes any homebrew spells that are related.

Thanks in advance.


You should start casting it on everything you own, even your coins.

Arcane Mark
School universal; Level magus 0, sorcerer/wizard 0, summoner 0, witch 0

CASTING
Casting Time 1 standard action
Components V, S

EFFECT
Range: touch
Effect: one personal rune or mark, all of which must fit within 1 sq. ft.
Duration: permanent
Saving Throw: none; Spell Resistance no

DESCRIPTION
This spell allows you to inscribe your personal rune or mark, which can consist of no more than six characters. The writing can be visible or invisible. An arcane mark spell enables you to etch the rune upon any substance without harm to the material upon which it is placed. If an invisible mark is made, a detect magic spell causes it to glow and be visible, though not necessarily understandable.

See invisibility, true seeing, a gem of seeing, or a robe of eyes likewise allows the user to see an invisible arcane mark. A read magic spell reveals the words, if any. The mark cannot be dispelled, but it can be removed by the caster or by an erase spell.

If an arcane mark is placed on a living being, the effect gradually fades in about a month.

Arcane mark must be cast on an object prior to casting instant summons on the same object (see that spell description for details).

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Tiny Coffee Golem wrote:

Arcane mark is a unique, unforgable mark that when placed on living flesh lasts for a month.

This seems rather underused. I have two questions for the community.

1) What are the standard uses of this I may be overlooking? Both spells tied to it and strategic uses.

2) How have you used it in your games? Though similar to #1, question #2 includes any homebrew spells that are related.

Thanks in advance.

Up until recently, arcane mark was something I ignored, since I don't like crafting with my casters. However, in the homebrew game that I am playing in, my GM has declared that arcane mark is the entry to "Facebook for Casters." You make your unique mark, leave a note up next to it, and all your friends can read your status when they scry on your mark.

Friends and allies exchange marks. As a Pathfinder, I have the arcane mark for the Grand Lodge at Absalom, and can exchange messages with it via that means. You can also send messages via the message spell and arcane mark with a successful scry.

Learning this, my sorcerer immediately acquired her own arcane mark cantrip, as arcane mark became far more interesting for communications.

Hmm


Hmm wrote:
Tiny Coffee Golem wrote:

Arcane mark is a unique, unforgable mark that when placed on living flesh lasts for a month.

This seems rather underused. I have two questions for the community.

1) What are the standard uses of this I may be overlooking? Both spells tied to it and strategic uses.

2) How have you used it in your games? Though similar to #1, question #2 includes any homebrew spells that are related.

Thanks in advance.

Up until recently, arcane mark was something I ignored, since I don't like crafting with my casters. However, in the homebrew game that I am playing in, my GM has declared that arcane mark is the entry to "Facebook for Casters." You make your unique mark, leave a note up next to it, and all your friends can read your status when they scry on your mark.

Friends and allies exchange marks. As a Pathfinder, I have the arcane mark for the Grand Lodge at Absalom, and can exchange messages with it via that means. You can also send messages via the message spell and arcane mark with a successful scry.

Learning this, my sorcerer immediately acquired her own arcane mark cantrip, as arcane mark became far more interesting for communications.

Hmm

Your DM flavor additon is cute. Since he/she declared that you can also leave a short message it's perfect for arcane facebook.

Sczarni

I have seen a player using it on NPC to Bluff and Intimidate him that it's some sort of curse. It seemed cool enough, but I believe that living creatures should be given Saving Throws for the effect regardless. The "Saving Throw: none; Spell Resistance no" could be abused and doesn't make sense that a cantrip of such level can be used on every possible creature without their consent.

Adam


Ciaran Barnes wrote:
You should start casting it on everything you own, even your coins.

To what end? or are you making a joke?


Malag wrote:

I have seen a player using it on NPC to Bluff and Intimidate him that it's some sort of curse. It seemed cool enough, but I believe that living creatures should be given Saving Throws for the effect regardless. The "Saving Throw: none; Spell Resistance no" could be abused and doesn't make sense that a cantrip of such level can be used on every possible creature without their consent.

Adam

Ohh! I forgot about Magus using it.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Perhaps he is suggesting it as an anti-theft deterrent?

Hmm


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Hmm wrote:

Perhaps he is suggesting it as an anti-theft deterrent?

Hmm

On magic items you don't intend to sell, sure. Though good luck using the gold.

...

Actually, I just had a thought.

1) Create an Instant Summons Item. Needs to be able to be used at will. It'll be expensive, but could easily pay for itself over time. My assumption is that "in the possession of another creature" means physically on their person and not in say a vault.

2) Arcane Mark EVERYTHING you can. Platinum pieces, magic items, etc. Bonus points if you can secretly arcane mark items of choice in Ye Ole Magic Shop and leave them there.

3) Spend gold (Platinum if you want to save time).

4) Recall spend gold or Platinum at a rate of 1/standard action. If the item has an on/off function you wouldn't even need to spend your time doing so.

5) Profit over and over and over until the merchants guild gets wind and comes to kill you with extreme prejudice.

Scarab Sages

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Magi typically use it for Spellsrike/Spell Combat to psuedo-flurry with a cantrip without being a hexcrafter or wasting the short range arcana.

I've seen it used to disguise explosive runes, put embarrassing words or pictures on a person's forehead/face, and to try to con someone into thinking an ordinary weapon was a magic one (It's got glowing runes on it, you can see it's power!)


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You can do it to just be a pain in the ass, I suppose, but also if you're a neurotic wizard. As for coinage, you can make the mark invisible.

I also like the idea if using for social networking, but I would consider it more in line with dogs peeing on a favored telephone pole.

Grand Lodge

It can also be used to not get lost in a maze (non magical one that is.)

Mark your path with an invisible mark every 100ft or so, and every turn. Lost? Detect Magic and look for your marks to refind your path.

I also have used it for magus flurry, but I try to avoid the mark of zoro style.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I like the idea of using it in a maze! We wound up using chalk, and still got lost! I also love the idea of trying to con someone that something is a magic weapon.

The mark on the face could be great for intimidate / bluff -- "I have put my gypsy curse on you. If you set foot in this town again, bad luck will follow where you go!"

Hmm


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I think it makes a pretty good doppelganger prevention system. Entire party agrees to the wizard's arcane mark on their forehead monthly. The spell specifically says you can't forge it and if they find some way around that, just try to dismiss it.

If it goes away, it's your real friend.
If it stays, they're a fake.


Kilroy was here.


Crafter's signature on items. Basically, it could be used like a serial number. And you can make it invisible, so it doesn't detract from the aesthetic value of the item.

Not saying this has to be magical items, mind you (although I can see a king requiring such a mark to keep track of those), since it is a cantrip. Just about anyone that took a few courses in college (or some similar level of education) could pull it off while getting useful stuff like detect and read magic.

You could also use it as a type of temporary brand on animals to prevent cattle rustling....or slaves in places like Chelaix. Being able to spot the slaves in a crowd with a simple detect magic seems useful.

Obviously it is possible to remove this stuff with magic...but that requires more expertise than simply putting the things on. Overall, it is about as effective as some car protection, I suppose.


I'm glad to see somebody still considers me every once in a while.

The maze suggestion was a solid one, but why limit it to mazes? A mark every so often will do wonders against getting lost just about anywhere-- a forest, a swamp, anywhere Survival checks might be called for. You can save yourself the time detecting magic too, by making the marks visible. This lets people follow you, including allies who get separated, or possibly enemies. Choose wisely!

Any sorcerer or bard who really wants to USE their Charisma will get good mileage out of me as well, since I'm basically your own personal logo. Mark your cloak and make it your "signature", and leave it wherever you want people to know you were, to build up your legend. If you want to leave mooks alive out of mercy, mark their foreheads as an intimidation tactic to break the enemy's morale. Give your favorite NPCs a marked item they can use to demonstrate that they're under your protection.

Plus, temporary tattoos! Tattoos are cool!


Slavers, of course. Slaves get marked during market, and large slaveowners have a low level caster on hand who can regularly rebrand the slaves.

Doug M.


M yfunniest ever was..
My first game ever I was a draconic sorcerer we captured a guy. We were all solidly good so actual torture was out.
So the barbarian was in the room screaming tryin intimidate checks but it wasn't working.
So, I walk in with a shocking grasp charged and held. I called out to the barbarian (the prisoner could obviously see me calling out) the barbarian ignored me (part of the plan). So I put on an exasperated look and touched the char the barbarian was next to-which promptely exploded. He put on a look of alarm. I then cast a detect magic spell on him, which made a mark I put on him glow and threatened him with melting brains. The barb left quietly after that. Setting the stage nicely.
Then I normally asked questions to the guy who wouldn't talk. So I put a mark on him and told him next time he lied to me he would burn his body and soul and would be my toy for 10 years before burning out. The guy not knowing magic freaked out. Thus we got our way in and info haha. It was amusing

Dark Archive

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I use arcane mark as a sorcerer all over my body to intimidate people into thinking I'm a tattoo'd sorcerer once in a while. I also use it to summon dwarves to a halflings home when I need that halfling for a quest.


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Zwordsman wrote:
We were all solidly good so actual torture was out.
Quote:
I put a mark on him and told him next time he lied to me he would burn his body and soul and would be my toy for 10 years before burning out.

I am confused...


Zwordsman wrote:

M yfunniest ever was..

My first game ever I was a draconic sorcerer we captured a guy. We were all solidly good so actual torture was out.
So the barbarian was in the room screaming tryin intimidate checks but it wasn't working.
So, I walk in with a shocking grasp charged and held. I called out to the barbarian (the prisoner could obviously see me calling out) the barbarian ignored me (part of the plan). So I put on an exasperated look and touched the char the barbarian was next to-which promptely exploded. He put on a look of alarm. I then cast a detect magic spell on him, which made a mark I put on him glow and threatened him with melting brains. The barb left quietly after that. Setting the stage nicely.
Then I normally asked questions to the guy who wouldn't talk. So I put a mark on him and told him next time he lied to me he would burn his body and soul and would be my toy for 10 years before burning out. The guy not knowing magic freaked out. Thus we got our way in and info haha. It was amusing

Mental torture is not exactly a good action.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Tiny Coffee Golem wrote:


3) Spend gold (Platinum if you want to save time).

4) Recall spend gold or Platinum at a rate of 1/standard action. If the item has an on/off function you wouldn't even need to spend your time doing so.

5) Profit over and over and over until the merchants guild gets wind and comes to kill you with extreme prejudice.

So let me get this straight... you would expend a thousand gold piece gem to swindle a merchant out of a lousy gold piece??

I hope your wizard is a far better battle caster than he is an accountant.


There's no obvious way to forge an invisible arcane mark, so you could use it for authentication. Make a code based on the placement of multiple arcane marks and forging such messages becomes really, really hard.


@VRMH he was a fairly simple thug. Not like he could identify spells so why wouldn't he believe the caster who just put a mark on his face. the same mark that scared a big ole barbarian who whollop him when he was captured?

@lostcause

Scaring someone for 5mins is way different then busting someone's face up or forever scarring him. It's not bastion of good but between torture, using magic to mindrape him, or letting a little kid die because we won't make him talk it's by far the least horrible choice. After he talked I told him it would fade once we were sure he wasn't lying and turned him into the cops on a smaller charge (as we couldn't prove anything worse) so he couldn't run off and warn his people. It would most likely look like to his crew that he just botched up a B&A and got caught and jailed for a little while.
It was the least e vil way we could see to do something that had to be done~


In my homebrew I have a custom pixie variant called a Gravesworn Piskie. They have an array of Arcane Marks they place on things:

Marked for Death: Gravesworn are nature's observers of death and they make sure that those that die naturally stay dead and go into the ground. Sometimes these faeries mark a poor soul when they are about to die. In doing so they ensure that at the moment of their death the Piskies are there to do what needs doing.

Interloper: The Gravesworn abhor those who disturb their Faerie Graves or the revels that make them. If someone interferes they are marked as an Interloper. Once this happens then over the next 30 days all fey in the vicinity of the marked victim are considered Unfriendly and have a duty to prank the victim. These pranks get worse the further the mark fades so the victim appears to have 30 days of bad luck. If they survive this haunting they are considered to have atoned for their sin; if they should seek forgiveness of the Gravesworn before this time is up there is no guarantee of success.

Fey Friend: If a mortal has helped the Gravesworn in their duties or otherwise done some great act for the fey they may be marked with this invisible and permanent glyph. It takes a Coven of Gravesworn (3 or more) to make this mark permanent. Once bestowed the bearer is paid a certain amount of respect by those fey who in turn respect their kin, the Gravesworn. This translates to a +2 Circumstance bonus to Diplomacy among the fey though there are some instances where the mark's bonus may not apply (as decided by the GM).

So that's how I've used it. The one I like the best is marking a victim for later dog-piling by the fey and it could be a good use by other GMs. Some goblin witch or Adept or whatever puts this on a victim, and then for the next 30 days all Goblinoids can "sniff them out" and try to murder that PC.

Other practical uses I've seen PCs put the spell to:

- Placing the spell's mark on ammo for collection after a fight so said ammo can be repaired using Mending

- Marking gear so that in case of theft it might be slightly more easy to find/identify

- Marking animals with a temporary brand to blend into a settlement

- Labeling trails in the wilderness or in a dungeon; in this case I give circumstantial bonuses to Survival checks to avoid getting lost

- Marking PCs invisibly to ensure dopplegangers and the like are not an issue

- Labeling a glass invisibly as part of a "battle of wits" to ensure the PC didn't drink poisoned wine

In the same game as that last one the wizard player had the thought: what if you marked a substance and made a person ingest it? Could you cast Detect Magic and track that victim?


Tiny Coffee Golem wrote:
Hmm wrote:
Tiny Coffee Golem wrote:

Arcane mark is a unique, unforgable mark that when placed on living flesh lasts for a month.

This seems rather underused. I have two questions for the community.

1) What are the standard uses of this I may be overlooking? Both spells tied to it and strategic uses.

2) How have you used it in your games? Though similar to #1, question #2 includes any homebrew spells that are related.

Thanks in advance.

Up until recently, arcane mark was something I ignored, since I don't like crafting with my casters. However, in the homebrew game that I am playing in, my GM has declared that arcane mark is the entry to "Facebook for Casters." You make your unique mark, leave a note up next to it, and all your friends can read your status when they scry on your mark.

Friends and allies exchange marks. As a Pathfinder, I have the arcane mark for the Grand Lodge at Absalom, and can exchange messages with it via that means. You can also send messages via the message spell and arcane mark with a successful scry.

Learning this, my sorcerer immediately acquired her own arcane mark cantrip, as arcane mark became far more interesting for communications.

Hmm

Your DM flavor additon is cute. Since he/she declared that you can also leave a short message it's perfect for arcane facebook.

Is there an Arcane Failbook? An Arcane YouTube? An Arcane 4chan?

Scarab Sages

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pennywit wrote:

Is there an Arcane Failbook? An Arcane YouTube? An Arcane 4chan?

You really don't want to see the trolls on those sites.


What is a "Piskie"?

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Ways to use Arcane Mark:

-Mark quick directions in a dungeon or maze.
-Screw with people who use detect magic too often.
-Mark a few enemies then use obscuring mist, blast the glow.
-The aforementioned instant summons bit.
-Fast graffiti.


Lune wrote:
What is a "Piskie"?

Another word for "pixie"


Pathfinder Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Mark the forehead of a prisoner after taking a lock of hair from them.

If they escape, it is much easier for a wizard to find out where they went. Need to do it relatively quickly though, the mark will fade after a month.

I recommend a visible mark and explaining what is happening as you do it. It doesn't require that the person who made the mark can scry, you could hire it out. Assuming you hire it out the will save should be at -5 (second hand knowledge, tuft of hair) when scrying.


Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, LO Special Edition, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

Not all societies bury their dead.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Here is a good use for it:

Get a character with see invisibility and if you are fighting something that is invisible then cast arcane mark on it. Easy target for those that dont have see invisibility. :)


LazarX wrote:
Tiny Coffee Golem wrote:


3) Spend gold (Platinum if you want to save time).

4) Recall spend gold or Platinum at a rate of 1/standard action. If the item has an on/off function you wouldn't even need to spend your time doing so.

5) Profit over and over and over until the merchants guild gets wind and comes to kill you with extreme prejudice.

So let me get this straight... you would expend a thousand gold piece gem to swindle a merchant out of a lousy gold piece??

I hope your wizard is a far better battle caster than he is an accountant.

More like a thousand merchants out of a thousand gold pieces. More as time went on.

You have it. You spend it (getting something). Then you have it again and the thing you bought.


Its 1,000 gold per Instant Summons item. So if you are using it on 1 gold at a time, you are losing out 999 gold per summon.

You'd want to use it on gems and things that are worth more than 1,000 gold, or maybe magic items. Then summon them back, and resell them to make a profit while still buying a replacement sapphire as well.

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I used arcane mark for clever bluffing.

My magus was an anthropomorphic cerberus that guards the ancient, forbidden library of a wizard that disappeared centuries ago on a quest to retrieve tomes stolen from her. Her party captured two ninjas working for one of the thieves, both of whom said they'd rather die than tell us any information. So, I turned invisible, cast arcane mark on both of them, causing the wizard's golden insignia to appear on their skin. After returning visible and approaching the prisoners, I pointed out the signias and made the ninjas believe my master had cursed them with the Mark of Insubordination where any further attempts to obstruct his desires would trigger the mark and turn their bodies inside-out. I described the transformation in such technical, gorey detail that even the rest of the party (both players and characters) felt sick listening to it. They spilled all the information they had...


Tarantula wrote:

Its 1,000 gold per Instant Summons item. So if you are using it on 1 gold at a time, you are losing out 999 gold per summon.

You'd want to use it on gems and things that are worth more than 1,000 gold, or maybe magic items. Then summon them back, and resell them to make a profit while still buying a replacement sapphire as well.

Hence creating an item that does it automatically and not just casting the spell. The focus cost will be subsumed into the item creation cost one time.

As mentioned it's expensive, but could easily pay for itself given enough time and depending on how clever you are.

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hehehe I got one, make a fake summoner and Eidolon


GM_Solspiral wrote:
hehehe I got one, make a fake summoner and Eidolon

I like that. Put a mark on the fighters helmet. And maybe come costume stuff to make him look otherworldly.


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Tiny Coffee Golem wrote:
GM_Solspiral wrote:
hehehe I got one, make a fake summoner and Eidolon
I like that. Put a mark on the fighters helmet. And maybe come costume stuff to make him look otherworldly.

Have the actual eidolon take the skilled evo for disguise, and have him dress up like a commoner with a nice hat.

Make the enemies very confused when they target the fighter with a banishment after they had heard that the party had a summoner...and then have the cook they had tried to take hostage swallow them whole.


(Arcane Mark + Umbral Spell + Shadow Grasp) so fun :)


Malag wrote:
I have seen a player using it on NPC to Bluff and Intimidate him that it's some sort of curse. It seemed cool enough, but I believe that living creatures should be given Saving Throws for the effect regardless. The "Saving Throw: none; Spell Resistance no" could be abused and doesn't make sense that a cantrip of such level can be used on every possible creature without their consent.

It's range touch, so would require a melee touch attack against an unwilling target. Note that helpless characters are not considered willing, but unconscious ones are. That would curb some potential abuse.


DominusMegadeus wrote:

I think it makes a pretty good doppelganger prevention system. Entire party agrees to the wizard's arcane mark on their forehead monthly. The spell specifically says you can't forge it and if they find some way around that, just try to dismiss it.

If it goes away, it's your real friend.
If it stays, they're a fake.

We'll each cut off the tip of our pinky to easily identify each other!

Dude, just use the pen.

[extra points if you get the reference]


Necro from way way back


Seeing as how an Arcane Mark is your personal rune or mark, would having something with someone else’s Arcane Mark be usd as a “Body part, lock of hair, bit of nail, etc” to get the -10 Save DC for Scrying?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber

We have a kleptomaniac that uses arcane mark to stamp "property of X" on everything they see.


avr wrote:
There's no obvious way to forge an invisible arcane mark, so you could use it for authentication. Make a code based on the placement of multiple arcane marks and forging such messages becomes really, really hard.

Counterfeiting would still technically be possible as the spell only says it is your personal mark not that no one else can copy it, but if it's invisible it would be much harder to do.

If the GM allowed, I could easily see some sort of coin casting that automatically adds an invisible arcane rune to coins of the realm. Merchants of all sorts could then have some item that shows the invisible mark to determine the coins are real. Similarly passes into restricted areas could be so marked and the guardians provided with some way of seeing the mark.

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I had a character who was a servant of a dangerous archmage that disappeared centuries ago. When we needed to get information from a captured enemy, I placed an arcane mark of my master on the prisoner while invisible and then returned to the prisoner, feigning horror.

"Oh a horrible feat befalls you as this is the mark of my master's disdain. Those so marked suffer a fate far worse than death with their bodies turning inside-out to live the rest of their days as a horrifying monstrosity." She then went onto intricate detail about the transformation process and how each piece of their anatomy will be painfully changed. "This is a fate I wouldn't even wish on my worst enemies. There may be hope to save you. My master's anger might be sated if you cooperate and tell us what we need to know. We'll even let you go and give you some of our provisions."

The GM asked for Intimidate. I rolled a natural 20.

The prisoner blurted out, "I DON'T WANNA TURN INSIDE OUT!" And started sobbing.

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