Orly Skiffback is a tortle bard sailor. He was hired by the Mighty Nein to serve as the navigator of The Mistake. He continued to serve as navigator after the Mighty Nein took over the Squall Eater. Orly now serves as acting captain of the ship, renamed the Ball-Eater. As an NPC, Orly Skiffback is played by Matthew Mercer.

Description Edit

Appearance Edit

Orly Skiffback by BlackSalander

Fan art of Orly Skiffback, by BlackSalander.[art 2]

Orly is a tortle with an eyepatch and three ivory bagpipes emerging out of his shell. He has series of magical tattoos on his arms imbued with Aquamarine dust, that look like swirling water.[3][4]

Personality Edit

Befitting his role as a bard, Orly is talkative and engaging. However, he does not sing; rather, he expresses his music through the bagpipes installed into his shell. Orly speaks with a Cajun accent and has a stutter.

Biography Edit

Background Edit

"Encroaching Waters" (2x34) Edit

"O Captain, Who's Captain?" (2x36) Edit

Jester Lavorre sent Orly a message via the Sending spell that a ship called The Mistake will hire him as a navigator. Orly comes to the ship. He and Fjord agree on a rate of twenty-seven gold per week on the condition Orly gets to choose his quarters.[5] Orly assists Fjord navigating to the Inkclaw Reef and through the shelves to Urukayxl.
Orly - Mateusz Wilma

Fan art of Orly, by MateuszWilma.[art 3]

"A Pirate's Life for Me" (2x41) Edit

Orly told Jester he learned how to create magical tattoos from gem dust during his travels around the Swavain Islands and showed her his own magical tattoo infused with aquamarine dust. He then showed her how to create non-magical tattoos.[6][4]

"A Hole In the Plan" (2x42) Edit

"In Hot Water" (2x43) Edit

"The Diver's Grave" (2x44) Edit

"The Stowaway" (2x45) Edit

"A Storm of Memories" (2x46) Edit

"The Second Seal" (2x47) Edit

"Homeward Bound" (2x48)Edit

Orly told Jester if they ever need anything, she has "some of that fancy magic word stuff". Jester confirmed she will definitely use a Sending spell if they need anything. Orly responded that he probably can too and wished them safe travels. Marius LePual hands Orly Fjord's captain hat, which he puts on.[7]

"Titles and Tattoos" (2x84) Edit

After giving the Mighty Nein their cut of the Ball-Eater's profits, Orly gives magical stat-raising tattoos for constitution to Jester, wisdom to Beau, and charisma to Nott.

"The Fancy and the Fooled" (2x97) Edit

Orly greets the Mighty Nein in Nicodranas's harbor, telling them the Ball-Eater is ready to leave for the peace negotiations whenever they are.

"Dark Waters" (2x98) Edit

"High Seas, High Stakes" (2x99) Edit

Relationships Edit

Character Information Edit

Abilities Edit

Orly is able to infuse gem dust into his tattoo ink and through a process taught to him by the descendants of the Ki'Nau [8], he is able to imbue his tattoos with magical properties that alter a person's physical capabilities.[8] The gem dusts in the amounts listed below are the ones currently known to give the following effects when used:[9][10]

  • Ruby dust: +1 Strength (2200gp)
  • Emerald dust: +1 Dexterity (2200gp)
  • Diamond dust: +1 Constitution (2500gp)
  • Jade dust: +1 Wisdom (2200gp)
  • Sapphire dust: +1 Intelligence (2200gp)
  • Aquamarine dust: +1 Charisma (2200gp)
  • Fire Opal dust: Fire resistance (5000gp)
  • Black Sapphire dust: Cold resistance (5000gp)

Tortle Abilities Edit

  • Claws
  • Hold Breath
  • Natural Armor
  • Shell Defense

Bard Abilities Edit

  • Bardic Inspiration
  • Ritual Casting
  • Spellcasting (Charisma-based)

Bard Spells Edit

Cantrips Edit
1st-level Edit

Notable Items Edit

  • Surgically implanted bagpipes.[13]

Quotations Edit

Trivia Edit

  • The character of Orly was created as a collaboration between Matthew Mercer and the Critter community during "Fireside Chat & NPC Build with Matthew Mercer" (Sx34) . Matt took suggestions from twitter polls and the live chat to decide what race, class, and special traits would that character have.
  • Matt had a stutter himself when he was younger and used that knowledge to give Orly depth.
  • Orly's enchanted tattoos are a traditional ritual of the Ki'Nau people (the indigenous natives of the islands along the Menagerie Coast), and they taught Orly this cultural practice during his many travels throughout the archipelago.

References Edit

  1. See "Fireside Chat & NPC Build with Matthew Mercer" (Sx34).
  2. See "High Seas, High Stakes" (2x99) at 0:18:08.
  3. See "The Ruby and the Sapphire" (2x33) at 3:37:59.
  4. See "A Pirate's Life for Me" (2x41) at 42:12.
  5. See "O Captain, Who's Captain?" (2x36) from 2:03:05 through 2:07:23.
  6. See "A Pirate's Life for Me" (2x41) at 39:35.
  7. See "Homeward Bound" (2x48) at 17:00.
  8. See "A Pirate's Life for Me" (2x41) at 0:39:35.
  9. See "A Pirate's Life for Me" (2x41) at 0:40:46.
  10. See "Titles and Tattoos" (2x84) at 0:57:28.
  11. See "Dark Waters" (2x98) at 3:18:16.
  12. See "Homeward Bound" (2x48) at 0:16:40.  Orly tells Jester "I can too probably" in response to her telling him she will use Sending if they need him
  13. See "Encroaching Waters" (2x34) at 00:17:59.


  1. Fan art of Orly Skiffback, by David René (source).  Used with permission.
  2. Fan art of Orly Skiffback, by BlackSalander (source).  Used with permission.
  3. Fan art of Orly, by MateuszWilma (source).  Used with permission.
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