There are few customs so distinctive to the yakuza as their tattoos. Besides being an indication of an individual’s willingness to suffer pain for the brotherhood, these tattoos serve as signs of status and rank within the yakuza society. Horimonoshi are naturally found wherever there are yakuza, but none are so respected as the Horimyo, occult tattoo artists who have learned to infuse their creations with arcane energies. These spellcasters are capable of casting spells in a manner similar to wizards, but their true power is found in the application of ink to skin. Horimyo are constantly seeking to expand their spell repertoire and are always ready to infuse others with their arcane masterpieces, provided, of course, that the price is right. Some Horimyo adventure for much the same reason as other wizards: to discover new spells. Others are wandering the world, looking for the perfect spot to set up a shop of their own. Still others move from place to place, trying to escape the yakuza lifestyle, or, as often, the wrath of a particular yakuza boss.

The horimyo is an archetype of the wizard class.

Weapon Proficiency

Horimyo are proficient with the club, dagger, kama, quarterstaff, and throwing needles. Horimyo are proficient with leather armor and padded armor, but it potentially interferes with their spellcasting, as normal.

Tattoo Craftsman

One of your available skill points, each time you gain a level of the horimyo class, including at 1st level, must be placed in Craft (tattoo). However, you gain a bonus to Craft (tattoo) equal to half your class level +1. At 7th level, the amount of time it takes for you to create a tattoo, mundane or magical, is halved.


A horimyo prepares and cast spells drawn from the sorcerer/wizard spell list. Like the wizard, Intelligence is the chief factor in determining how many spells a horimyo can prepare and how well he can cast them. To prepare and cast a spell, a horimyo must have an Intelligence score at least equal to 10 + the spell level. Traditionally, horimyo do not keep spell books. Rather, their known spells, including the appropriate tattoo illustrations for that spell, are kept on scrolls: one scroll per spell. Horimyo guard these scrolls jealously, though they will sometimes agree to allow other horimyo to copy one of their scrolls, most often in return for being allowed access to one of the other horimyo’s scrolls.

A horimyo may learn any number of spells, but he may cast only a limited number of them a day, as a wizard. To prepare his spells, a horimyo must have eight hours of sleep and an hour in which to ready his spells. To prepare a spell for casting, a horimyo ritually transfers the image of the spell onto his skin. Though he uses a needle and a small amount of ink, the process is much faster than the process of creating actual tattoos. Still, at the end of the hour-long preparation, the horimyo possesses one tattoo for each prepared spell and as he uses each spell, the tattoo disappears. Uncast tattoos may be removed the next day as the horimyo prepares his spells for the day.

A horimyo without access to both his scrolls and a needle and ink cannot prepare his spells for the day unless he has the proper feats.

Horimyo add scrolls to their selection in a manner identical to how wizards add spells to their spellbooks. Likewise, a horimyo chooses a school of magic in the same manner as a wizard.


A horimyo does not require a tattoo to cast a cantrip and may prepare and cast cantrips in a manner identical to a wizard. However, it is possible for a horimyo to ink cantrip tattoos onto his flesh permanently, at the cost of 250 gp per tattoo. These cantrip tattoos do not take up a magic item slot, but they do reduce the number of cantrips he can prepare a day at a 2 for 1 ratio. That is, for every two such tattoos, the number of cantrips the horimyo can prepare a day is reduced by 1. Note that the odd number of cantrip tattoos does not affect his ability to prepare cantrips. Thus the first such cantrip tattoo does not decrease his cantrips per day, but the second does. The third likewise has no effect, but the fourth does.

Bonded Tattoo

Each horimyo begins his career with one powerful magical tattoo (often tattooed on either an arm or the horimyo’s chest). This tattoo grants the horimyo a +3 bonus to a skill of the horimyo’s choice and can be used to store one extra spell per day. The prepared spell must be one spell level lower than the highest spell level he is able to cast (minimum 1st level). Beginning at 4th level, the tattooed bond adds +1 to one of the horimyo’s physical ability scores (Strength, Dexterity, or Constitution). This bonus increases by another +1 every 4 levels.

This ability replaces arcane bond.

Craft Spell Tattoo

At 1st level a horimyo gains the Craft Spell Tattoo feat as a bonus feat.

This ability replaces Scribe Scroll.

Craft Wondrous Tattoo

At 5th level a horimyo gains the Craft Wondrous Tattoo feat.

This ability replaces the bonus feat the wizard would normally receive at 5th level.

Tattooed Familiar

At 8th level, the horimyo gains the ability to tattoo a chosen animal onto his skin. The animal may be summoned for a number of rounds per day equal to his class level and is statistically identical to a druid’s animal companion, with the hoorimyo’s class level functioning as his effective druid level. If the animal is slain, the horimyo takes 2d6 points of damage and loses the tattoo. The tattoo may not be replaced for 2 weeks.

At 15th level the horimyo may have two such tattoos.

This ability replaces the bonus feat the wizard would normally receive at 15th level.

Arcanic Energy Transfer

At 10th level, the horimyo gains the ability to sacrifice a prepared spell to make a touch attack with a range of 25 + 5 ft./lvl. which does 2d6 points of force damage per level of the spell sacrificed or 1d8 points of energy damage per level of the spell (fire, acid, cold, or electrical). The horimyo may use this ability a number of times per day equal to 1 + his Charisma modifier (minimum 1).

This ability replaces the bonus feat the wizard would normally receive at 10th level.

Tattoo Master

At 20th level, as a standard action, the horimyo learns to control and warp the tattoos worn by others, so as to cause the pictures and ink on their skin to painfully turn against them. The target of this ability must have tattoos for the ability to be effective and is allowed a Will save where the DC is equal to 10 + 1/2 the horimyo’s class level + the horimyo’s Intelligence modifier. If the save fails, the target takes 20d6 points of damage and is shaken for 2d6 rounds. A Fortitude save (with the same DC as the Will save) halves the damage and avoids the shaken effect. When the attack is over, the affected tattoos are blackened and twisted but not removed. The horimyo may use this ability once a day.

This ability replaces the bonus feat the wizard would normally receive at 20th level.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

The Way of the Yakuza Copyright 2011, Steven D. Russell and Michael Tumey, all rights reserved; Author Jonathan McAnulty.

scroll to top