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Basic Information

Scarification is a form of body-modification similar to tattooing, but consisting of the deliberate infliction of scars for visual effect. These scars are likely to be administered as a rite of passage - often into adulthood, but sometimes for some other life event such as marriage or an investiture of some kind. The specific pattern of scars may identify the wearer as a member of a specific social group or may have some mystical significance.

Depending on the culture the scars are cut or burned into the wearer's skin, sometimes with clay or similar material packed into the wounds to increase scarring or the wounds may be irritated with chemicals. Infection is relatively common and may even be cultivated to enhance the resulting scars - and this may be particularly the case where the scarring procedure is part of an endurance rite.

Scarification may also be used as a form of punishment, similar to branding or mutilation to identify the subject as a criminal.


1. full source reference

Game and Story Use

  • This sort of scarring might be an interesting rite for a character who wishes to join a tribe or society.
  • The pain and brutality involved would seem to make it very orcish, or the sort of thing that a demon might expect of its acolytes.
  • In some circumstances having the right scars may grant bonuses to social skills - either because they are the sign of a recognised social group, or because the person you are dealing with is used to according some degree of respect to scarified people and considers you to be a person of equivalent honour from another culture.
    • Actually, in the right context even accidental scars may have a similar effect - a pre-gunpowder fighting man commonly had scars all over his forearms and could recognise a fellow veteran from similar marks. The ability to "strip his sleeve and show his scars" could be an important chance to form common ground.
  • Amusing kulturkampfe may ensue where someone from a culture that bears scarification as a mark of honour arrives in one that scarifies criminals - whilst his facial scars may mark him out as part of an elite warrior caste back home, here they merely make him look like he has committed some unknown but serious offence…
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