Grubby Garrin

Mephit James's picture

“Right now I can crush all of you in combat. Do you like that? Are you content with weakness? This school will show you the path to perfection and power.” -Grubby Garrin, to students at the Perfect Road

To folks just meeting him, Grubby Garrin seems the quintessential half-orc: covered in dirt and grime, wearing moth-eaten clothing gathered with a simple rope belt, and shod in scuffed slippers. This appearance has proved a disguise fatal to many would-be opponents.

      Contrary to his shabby look, Garrin is an influential member of the Sodkillers and a dangerous combatant in his own right. He started his career in the Cage twenty years ago when he was working as a sellsword for crime lords in the Hive. The brawny half-orc wasn’t the most elegant fighter, but he was strong and knew how to crack skulls which is all an enforcer really needs to do anyways. Then one day the infamous mudfever struck the Hive and Garrin finally met an opponent he couldn’t fight. The disease proved to be tough for local clerics to stop, scholars determined it was probably magical in nature, and Garrin nearly died of the debilitating disease. Eventually he was healed, though to this day he is covered with the distinctive dirt-like rash of the virus.

      This brush with death gave the half-orc a scare. All his life he’d been able to push around anyone he wanted and get his way, but this virus showed him there were things in life that were stronger than the largest muscle. Garrin, now called “Grubby” because of his rash, withdrew farther into the Hive where he lived as an ascetic, thinking and contemplating. He wasn’t the most intelligent individual, but over several years he formulated a simple creed.

      Power drives the multiverse, he reasoned, a natural conclusion from his childhood and early adulthood. Sometimes that didn’t seem fair, and Garrin truly did feel bad for some weak sods who couldn’t stand up to enforcers like he used to be. But the only way to stop that sort of thing was to send in tough paladins and Harmonium guards, who were only power directed at another aim; in the long run, one’s goals didn’t matter at all, power was what made a difference. But he had a lot of power, a tall half-orc basher, and a tiny virus had nearly scribed him in the dead book.

      Ah, he realised, power doesn’t necessarily mean physical strength. He’d seen a rail-thin wizard once tear apart an ogre thug with invisible force, and bloods like Shemeska and Estevan could grind a poor sod to pulp without lifting a finger. Even the Lady Herself didn’t seem particularly strong, but there was no doubting the unlimited scope of Her power.

      There are many paths to power, the grime-covered half-orc came to think, all one needs to achieve is perfection of one of these. Whether a basher accumulated arcane knowledge, authority from a Power, influence through jink, or power through muscle or agility they would be able to reach whatever goals they set for themselves with their chosen path. Occasionally, Garrin would wander for days on end through the wards of Sigil and he would continually see his thoughts expressed. He witnessed a brawny fighter thrown through a tavern wall by a frail-looking mindbender charged with psionics. Just outside the Temple of Abyss one day he saw an austere cleric, shielded only by a magical shield of faith, withstand powerful magical blasts from a fiend. After a time he began to appreciate expertise wherever he found it, whether it was a small orphan surviving on picked pockets in the Market Ward or the mephit Seamusxanthuzenus whose business skill helped him thrive in the cut-throat world of the Cage.

      Meanwhile, life outside of the introverted world of Grubby Garrin continued. One day Nijul P’iuy, then only a justiciar, came to the Hive in search of a fugitive. She saw Garrin and nearly passed right by him except for the calm aura that she saw around the grimy half-orc. Convincing herself that this individual might have seen her quarry, she asked the half-orc what he was doing. “Achieving,” was the cryptic answer. Many would have walked off right then, dismissing the half-orc as a mud-covered barmy, but Nijul was intrigued and pressed for more information. Whether it was the aasimar’s uncanny ability to pull information out of anyone or the half-orc’s excitement to share his contemplative opus, the two talked for several hours. Eventually, Nijul had to press on after her target, but she didn’t foget about Garrin and returned frequently to visit him.

      A month or so after their first meeting, Nijul came up to Garrin looking slightly annoyed. “Sitting here is a bloody waste,” she said abruptly, obviously prepared for a large argument. “You talk about setting goals and achieving power but all you do is sit around in the muck and think! What goals are you achieving?”

      Garrin replied without opening his eyes, “Knowledge and blance are the path I choose to pursue. My goal is to develop a plan that helps me become perfect at that path.”

      “Well,” said Nijul sternly, “You did it. You’ve got a plan, Garrin, now what?”

      There wasn’t an immediate response. The half-orc opened his eyes and blinked slowly, then looked up at the aasimar. At length he smiled good-naturedly: “Hadn’t planned that far.”

      And that was how Grubby Garrin, the mud-skinned enforcer-turned-ascetic, became a member of the Mercykillers. He was popular among the more philosophical factioneers and talked for some time about the design he’d thought of. Not everyone liked the half-orc: paladins in the faction thought that his reverence of any power was of questionable morality and the rougher members of the faction thought he was too flighty to be effective. Garrin cared little for those in the Red Death who didn't like him, such things were outside his path to perfection.

      The half-orc rose steadily through the faction hierarchy and eventually started a martial arts school called the Perfect Road in a small building between the Prison and the Tower of the Wyrm. Having no real training in unarmed combat himself, Garrin’s lessons concentrated on boxing and wrestling maneuvers, but the membership of the school was always steady. The majority of students were Mercykillers and most of the rest were considering the faction, and all of them came for Garrin’s philosophical lessons more than his combat training. By the time of the Faction War, Garrin’s school had a loyal student base of Mercykillers who helped out during the troubles, fighting on the side of the Sodkillers under Nijul’s command. Some of the students questioned an alliance with such a rowdy group, but the scorn they received regularly from Arwyl Swan Son’s paladins made the choice of loyalty clear.

      After a brief closure, Garrin’s school is operating once more. Because it espouses Garrin’s own philosophy instead of a faction creed, the half-orc was never very worried about the Lady’s Edict and opened the school as soon as he could. He remains very active in the Sodkillers, however, travelling to Vorkehan frequently to keep up on faction matters and to dine with now-factol Nijul. His popularity in the Sodkillers is even greater than it was in the Mercykillers because Garrin’s vision is so close to the faction’s own. Besides the Minder’s Guild, the Perfect Road is the best resource the Sodkillers have in the Cage at the moment and Garrin’s students run frequent faction errands in the City. The school also serves frequently as a safehouse for Brutes in Sigil, and Garrin is happy to have guests in for a conversation.

      Most who meet the half-orc are surprised that such a simple man was able to accomplish so much. The truth is that the half-orc isn’t a particularly smart basher, nor is he the sagacious image that most expect of a martial arts instructor. He’s just an average berk who’s done a sodding lot of thinking. As Grubby Garrin would say, with a quick, dirty smile, “It’s not the traveller that follows the path to greatness, berk, it’s the walking.”

Grubby Garrin(Pl / male half-orc / monk 10 / LN)

Male half-orc: CR 10; Medium Humanoid; HD 10d8+30; hp 86; Init +5; Spd 60 ft.; AC 19 (+1 Dex, +3 monk bonus, +3 ring of protection, +2 amulet of natural armor); Base Atk +7; Grp +12; Atk +12 melee (unarmed 2d6+5); Full Atk +7/+2 melee (unarmed 2d6+5) or flurry of blows +7/+7/+2 melee (unarmed 2d6+5); SA Flurry of blows, improved evasion, ki strike (magic, lawful), slow fall 50ft.; SQ Darkvision 60 ft., orc blood, purity of body, still mind, wholeness of body; AL LN; SV Fort +12, Ref +8, Will +7; Str 20, Dex 13, Con 16, Int 8, Wis 11, Cha 7.Skills and Feats: Climb +7, Balance +9, Bluff +1, Escape Artist +4, Hide +7, Intimidate +2, Jump +7, Listen +2, Move Silently +3, Spot +2, Tumble +7; Deflect Arrows, Diehard, Endurance, Improved Grapple, Improved Initiative, Improved Trip, Persuasive. Grubby Garrin speaks Common and Orc.Improved Evasion (Ex): When Garrin makes a successful Reflex save against an effect that normally deals half damage on a successful save, he takes no damage on a successful save. On unsuccessful saves he takes only half damage.Ki Strike (Su): Garrin’s unarmed attacks are tread as magic and lawful-aligned weapons for the purpose of bypassing damage reduction.Orc Blood (Ex): Grubby Garrin is considered an orc for all effects related to race.Purity of Body (Ex): Garrin is immune to all diseases except magical or supernatural diseases.Slow Fall (Ex): When within arm’s reach of a wall, Grubby Garrin can use it to slow his descent. When using this ability, he takes damage as if the fall were 50 feet shorter than it actually is.Still Mind (Ex): Monks gain a +2 bonus on saves against spells or effects from the school of enchantment.Urban Camouflage (Ex): Because of his dirt-like rash, Garrin can blend well into urban settings. His grey and brown coloration grants him a +4 bonus to Hide checks in urban settings.Wholeness of Body (Su): Garrin can heal 20 hit points of damage to himself each day, and can spread this healing out among several uses.Possessions: Amulet of natural armor +2, monk’s belt, ring of protection +3, slippers of spider climbing.

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