About Skurly Geddinloe
A young halfling in a drab linen tunic and a many-pocketed vest, who at a quick glance could easily be mistaken for a human boy. He’s plump and round all over, from his barrel-shaped belly to his apple cheeks, and even the big round mole on his upper lip. An ill-kempt mop of wavy, copper hair splays out over his head, with loose curls bobbling over his eyes. They’re small and round and bright green, like little emeralds, and tend to be pinched in worry whenever something “interesting” is happening. In more relaxed moments, they gleam with childlike zeal, a sure sign that a spontaneous exposition on local mythology is brewing.
Skurly is a tender soul born into a world where tenderness was not appreciated. His belief in his own helplessness in the face of stronger forces has made him a coward, and the only thing that keeps him from being an utter liability is that his fear is matched by his need to prove himself to his peers. He will do anything he can to help the team, but will always suggest the course of action that keep him out of harm’s way if possible.
On the contrary, when kindness and concern for others is more important than force and fury, Skurly is a good chap to have around; good at listening when he’s not feeling “inspired”, affable with children and other overlooked sorts, and handy at dispensing helpful advice. He looks after his friends, to a fault; one of his old companions called him “worse than my mother!”
He has a vivid, whimsical imagination, which often leads him down paths of thought that seem annoyingly irrelevant to others, but eventually bear fruit in unexpected ways. He loves to theorize and simulate, about practically anything, and has a treasured book of puzzles he’ll pester you to do if you hang around him long enough.
The Geddinloe family first came to the Coins over a century ago, hailing from Taldor. They've been hanging by a thread ever since- one failed enterprise after another has put the lie to the idea of a universal halfling blessing of good luck. By the time Skurly was born, the Geddinloes had been reduced to fraud, flim-flammery, and every other kind of cheap hustle just to keep the Father's cup brimming with ale at day's end. After that, extra money went to get-rich-quick schemes and dodgy investments that inevitably went sour. Food, clothes, and comfortable shelter were distant thirds. Education or opportunity for legitimate advancement never made the list.
Skurly was the fifth-youngest of seven Geddinloe children, who were put to work on the streets as soon as they could run, duck, and lie. They peddled cheap votary talismans, ran shell games, rolled drunken sailors, and weren't above a bit of light burglary from time to time. Skurly was four years younger than his next-oldest sibling, his sister Amalfia, who specialized in seducing sailors with a promise to help them "get lucky", getting them in a state of dishabille, and making off with any loose goods or cash she could lay hands on before disappearing down a back alley.
Skurly toddled along after his older sister like a lost puppy; from an early age, he showed a distinct incapacity for the duplicitousness, brazen defiance, and imprudence of Geddinloe tradition, and was marked early on as a lost cause by most of his family. Amalfia saw a little more in him than a failed huckster, but even she was frequently frustrated with his apparent haplessness- frequent bouts of daydreaming, crying over something as commonplace like a dead cat in an alley, naive trust in anyone with an easy smile, and perpetual moaning over his grumbling belly.
Things all went wrong somewhere around his 16th year- he's never been too sure of the exact number on his own age. Amalfia had a score planned, and had marked a Chelaxian slaver as her target. He'd be flush with cash, having sold his lot already, and likely eager to bend some of it to his will. They tailed him to the Merchant's Corner, on the idea he'd be feeling invicible, the way selling a hundred human beings as if they were a hundred bricks could make some men feel.
The Chelaxian was as cruel and hard-handed as the ones you read about in stories, and not to be taken for a fool. The snatch-and-grab turned into a struggle, and Amalfia had to bite off a good-sized chunk of the Chelaxian's ear to make her escape. Skurly lagged behind, as the slaver reached out his hand and drew a tear in empty space. The tear vomited out a snarling, rat-faced imp which began to scramble after them.
Amalfia had a dancer's grace and a drover's stamina, and would have easily outpaced the imp. Skurly, while proficient in ducking, tumbling, and general feats of cowardice, was winded and gasping from the first minute of the chase. Amalfia turned back time and again to harry the imp with last-second obstacles and surprises, buying her brother precious space.
The chase drove them on out of their usual haunts, and into the streets south of the Merchant's Quarter. The time came that neither could go on, and each of them stopped to take hold of their senses. When they realized where they were, they both wished they had turned to face the imp long ago. They'd stumbled into the Precipice.
Skurly's memory of what followed is fractured and murky. They were cold, and it was impossible to see- the sea had coated them in a thick, milky fog. They were walking among disjointed, broken shadows that subtly rearranged themselves between glances. Everywhere around, just beyond the limits of their hearing, was an insidious, scratching polyphony.
There was a man, or something shaped like a man, but with too many joints. It talked, but its words sounded like the grinding of stone and the keening of metal. Amalfia was gone. He could hear her voice, but it didn't sound right. He ran.
Skurly woke up shivering on a stoop in Eastgate, and Amalfia was never seen again.
On the day of her funeral, a fight erupted between Skurly's father and older brother, Yuringer, over whether Skurly was the one that empty grave had been meant for. What should have been a light scuffle spun out of control and ended with the pater familias being kicked to death by a horse pulling the hearse of a recently deceased magnate.
Skurly has not accepted his sister's death to this day. After the death of his father, the family began to lose cohesion, and Skurly was cut adrift from his familiar role as the runt of the litter. Determined to prove them all wrong, he began to learn about the Precipice- its history, its legends, its secrets. In the process, he stumbled onto a small but ambitious group of adventurers who were committed to probing its depths, each seeking a reckoning with a tragedy of their own. He made himself first their acquaintance, then their errand boy, then unofficial clerk and scribe, and finally apprentice. He read as many volumes of Absalomite history as he could, shopped for deals on exotic alchemical goods, recruited eyes and ears in the district, pestered Low Council bureaucrats with requests for funding, and pushed himself to his limits to absorb all he could. Meanwhile, the so-called Grey Boars were growing ever more confident in their incursions to the truly forsaken domains of the quarter.
Almost one year ago now, Skurly's curse struck again. The Grey Boars are no more, and the only sign of his sister is a tortured flash of memory, of hearing her voice doubled over itself wrongly. He knows he needs allies who will help him survive the things he needs to face ahead- but can't ignore the fact that being his friend might cost them all their lives.
Skurly's a sensitive and sweet-natured young man, but his experiences have left him battling constant terror, guilt, and self-doubt. On any occasion where he feels fully safe, he transforms into a bubbling fountain of trivial knowledge and far-fetched ideas, but most times he simply behaves as if he's already ruined everything, and is desperately trying to patch it up.
Skurly serves the party best as a lorekeeper and early warning system. His inspiration ability means he will be making consistently high Knowledge rolls, within his purview. This includes Religion, so he’ll be useful for identifying undead. Apart from that he knows a lot about the area and old stories and legends, which might provide useful clues to tantalizing mysteries. As a bonus, he’s also not half bad with face skills, apart from Bluff.
He also has excellent Perception and Initiative bonuses, and is strong in Stealth as well, so he’s a top-notch scout. If he stumbles into trouble, he’s exceptionally well-equipped to hie it out of there, with lots of bonuses to Acrobatics rolls to avoid AoAs. He can also negate half-damage on a Reflex save with his Opportunistic Evasion, so he avoids area damage well.
In combat, his damage is fairly abysmal, so after plunking away a bit with his crossbow he enters play as a support skirmisher- providing flanking bonuses to other allies and using Aid Other actions to help adjacent ones. He has to be careful, though- he has a good AC but very low hit points, and has to be careful about his own exposure. He’s also got very low Fortitude saves, making him vulnerable to things like environmental effects. And while his Will saves are good overall, he’s vulnerable to fear effects. Meaning, the stakes are high for him in any conflict, and he has to stay on his toes to stay alive.