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 Nein Heroez, which Mighty Nein acquired on Rumblecusp. 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

The Mighty Nein introduce themselves to Orly at the Wayfarer's Cove.

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

Jester Lavorre sent Orly a message via the Sending spell that a ship called The Mistake would hire him as a navigator. Orly came to the ship. He and Fjord agreed on a rate of twenty-seven gold per week on the condition Orly got to choose his quarters.[5] Orly assisted 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][7]

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

Orly was asked by Fjord to watch over the Mistake and the crew while the Mighty Nein were getting ready to go out exploring with Avantika. If they didn't come back soon, Orly would be the new captain of the ship.

"In Hot Water" (2x43)Edit

The Mighty Nein and the rest of the crew sailed away from Darktow Isle and made their way towards the Diver's Grave. with Orly's guidance

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

Fjord asked Orly to get as close as possible to the Diver's Grave in order to find the shipwrecked Tide's Breath.

"The Stowaway" (2x45) Edit

Orly helped Fjord guide the ship to Bisaft Isle to be repaired and restocked.

"A Storm of Memories" (2x46) Edit

Orly warned Fjord about the incoming storm they are about to face.

"The Second Seal" (2x47) Edit

Fjord decided to bequeath the ship to Orly once they reached the shores of Nicodranas.

"Homeward Bound" (2x48)Edit

When they reached Nicodranas, the party agreed to give the ship to Orly, but Orly responded that he would simply take care of it for them, use it to earn money trading, and give them their share of the profits. Orly told Jester if they ever needed anything, she had "some of that fancy magic word stuff". Jester confirmed she would definitely use a Sending spell if they needed anything. Orly said he probably could, too, and wished them safe travels. Marius LePual handed Orly Fjord's captain hat, which he put on.[8]

"Titles and Tattoos" (2x84) Edit

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

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

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

"Dark Waters" (2x98) Edit

While under attack by agents of Uk'otoa, Fjord and Orly were killed before the Mighty Nein ended the fight.

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

Caduceus successfully Revivified Fjord, and Jester cast Revivify on Orly, bringing him to one hit point. Orly asked the Nein if there were any more creatures on the boat, and thanked Jester for healing him. He walked over to shout to the other ships coming to investigate the disturbance that the danger had passed. After completing the negotiations, Fjord directed Orly to navigate south of the Inkclaw Reef towards the island of Rumblecusp.

"Traveler Con" (2x108) Edit

After finishing up their duties on Rumblecusp, Fjord, Jester, and Caduceus used Control Water to move the Eden's Horizon out of the cave. Orly and the crew took possession of the new ship, renamed the Nein Heroez, and said their goodbyes to the Mighty Nein.

"Frigid Propositions" (2x109) Edit

Before the Mighty Nein left for Nicodranas, Orly gave Yasha a magical stat-raising (dexterity) emerald and residuum tattoo that spelled in runes "Orphanmaker" with vines and flowers weaving through the runes. He claimed it was one of his finest works.

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 [9], he is able to imbue his tattoos with magical properties that alter a person's physical capabilities.[9] The gem dusts in the amounts listed below are the ones currently known to give the following effects when used:[10][11]

  • 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.[14]

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 "A Pirate's Life for Me" (2x41) at 42:12.
  8. See "Homeward Bound" (2x48) at 17:00.
  9. See "A Pirate's Life for Me" (2x41) at 0:39:35.
  10. See "A Pirate's Life for Me" (2x41) at 0:40:46.
  11. See "Titles and Tattoos" (2x84) at 0:57:28.
  12. See "Dark Waters" (2x98) at 3:18:16.
  13. 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
  14. See "Encroaching Waters" (2x34) at 0:17:59.


  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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