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Personality[]

Witty, phenomenally talented, and devastatingly handsome (in his own mind), Scanlan Shorthalt is a mutant of a thousand stories, a hundred thousand songs, and more improvised tales (lies) than there are stars in the sky.  He has a ready sense of humor, always poised to coax a punchline from even the direst circumstance--and he doesn't shy away from poking fun at himself, either, when it's warranted.  Indeed, there doesn't seem to be much Scanlan can't make into a joke (or a dirty limerick), and while that can be endlessly frustrating on a day-to-day basis, in a tight spot it can be just the thing to distract his friends and allies from the imminence of their own mortality.

As a master of spin and the creative interpretation of the truth, Scanlan often acted as the spokesman for hiscohorts in Vox Machina.  It was a role he embraced with characteristic flair, and he was able to talk his way out of more than one potentially troublesome imbroglio with his silver tongue and disarming appearance.

In fact, his appearance is a bit of a sore spot.  Though Scanlan would contend to the death that he is among the most dashing of rogues ever to have padded quietly through a dark alley at night (most likely with somebody's stolen take-out in hand), his ... stature is a bit of a sore spot.  Or, rather, his lack of it.  At barely 4' tall (and even attaining that altitude requires a fair bit of straining and stretching, on his part), he's one of the shortest members of Vox Machina--as a matter of fact, he's one of the shortest people he knows.  It hardly seems fair, for a personality so large to be contained in such a diminutive housing, but he tries to make the most of it.  If nothing else, his childlike proportions often work in his favor, when it comes to making people want to believe some of his more obviously whole-cloth lies.  Or getting away, when they don't.

Scanlan quietly pines for something a little more substantial in his life--and he'd thought he'd found it, with his street friends in their abandoned warehouse.  But since they've gone their separate ways, he's taken up the search again.

Powers[]

Scanlan recently manifested the mutant gift of reality-warping--albeit in fairly qualified kind of way.  First of all, it has to be something he can imagine he can do.  Second, he has to believe he can do it, which sounds similar to the first thing, but is really totally unrelated.  Finally, his power must be actualized through some auditory means--a song, music, or even a dirty joke or inspirational quote.  Among the abilities he has demonstrated so far are:

  • Bardic Inspiration: Scanlan influences probability so that it works in a particular friend's favor in a relatively small but significant way.
  • Cutting Words: He does pretty much the opposite of that, nudging chance against an enemy.  This effect is typically actualized as a stream of polished insults.
  • Dimension Door: This lets him teleport from here to there, up to a range of about 500 ft.  The hitch is, it has to be a place he can see, or visualize, or at least vaguely describe (for example, 300-feet straight up).  He can carry things and people with him, the catch is they have to be around his size.  Which is pretty much nobody.
  • Bigby's HAAAAAAAAAAAAAND: Conjures a gigantic hand of shimmering purple energy, capable of punching things, throwing things, or carrying things through the air.  An extremely useful emergency lift for the vertically-challenged.
  • Dispel: Scanlan wills another effect to simply not be.  Granted, this is of much greater utility against other mutants, but it will mess up a human assailant's day, too.  Who wants their gun to just randomly ignore the usual rules of thermodynamics, combustion, velocity, et al?
  • Polymorph: Transforms Scanlan into something else, whether a bug for infiltration purposes or a triceratops for demolishing somebody's dining room.  Bigger shapes tend to take a lot more out of him, though.
  • Crotch Lightning: ... exactly what it sounds like.  Look, it's part of the canon, okay?

Talents[]

Lies, flattery, charm, the flute, the shawm, singing, jokes.  Some experience as an amateur footpad and sneak, but he'll be the first to tell you he's no Vax.  Or even a Vex.  He's worth about two Percys, in that department, though.  Scanlan's working on devising a scale for measuring these things based solely on members of Vox Machina.

Interests[]

Women, music, women, flutistry, old stories, new stories, celebrity gossip, women, discovering new and interesting kinds of vices, spice, women, performing, the Burt Reynolds fanclub, women, and women.

History[]

Born to a poor single mother in the suburbs of London, Scanlan learned early how a winning smile and a flattering word could make things a little easier, and that practically everybody loves a good song.  The former, he used to keep bill-collectors and social services placated.  The latter, he used to make a bit of coin.  It wasn't exactly the high life, but he and his mum got by more or less okay.

Until his mother was killed during a home invasion gone wrong.  Scanlan doesn't remember much about the time immediately following.  He just sort of ... wandered off.

It wasn't long before he fell in with a shabby but nonetheless good-natured group of musicians: Dr. Dranzel's Spectacular Traveling Troupe.  Of course, the places they actually traveled to were all in and around the metropolitan London area, so the name was a bit of a grandiose misnomer.  Still, it was a good time, and Scanlan even managed to polish his musical skills a bit by learning from the eponymous Doctor himself.

To this day, Scanlan could not tell you exactly how he managed to get into the good graces of the other runaways and orphans that made up Vox Machina.  Oh, he's got a dozen or so different stories about it, each as entertaining as the one about how he bluffed his way past a bunch of credulous gangsters using a tin star he made himself, or that time he slayed a for-real, actual king--and each about a fraction as genuine.  The truth is, he was enjoying himself after a set in a seedy dive in one of the city's less-savory neighborhoods.  He'd already had a few, and had fallen in with a genial giant and a seedy, sullen, dark-haired sort, both of whom seemed like they knew how to have a good time.  Several rounds and all his wages for the evening later, he found himself waking up inside an abandoned warehouse surrounded by strangers.

But, despite--or possibly because of--that nagging voice in the back of his head that told him it was foolish to get too attached, Scanlan kept coming back.  Eventually, the strangers became his best friends, and he stopped pretending he had any reason to leave.

The time with Vox Machina was, by far, the best of Scanlan's life.  It wasn't always smooth going by any means--not with the kind of personalities they were working with.  They quarreled and teased, there were occasionally hurt feelings and bruised egos.  But they always made up again, their ties stronger for having been tested.  The motley group of unruly teens soon became a makeshift family, and Scanlan was attached to them in a way he hadn't really thought possible, in light of his past.

Still, nothing good ever lasts, and eventually the group found itself tugged inexorably apart.  Not one to drag things out--or risk his secret, sentimental side coming to the forefront in such an emotionally-charged time--Scanlan was one of the first to actually take his leave.  He returned to Dr. Dranzel and the Troupe, and began working on forgetting that he'd ever wanted (or had) anything more.

Which was all fine, well, and good, up until the night he manifested a giant purple disembodied hand in the air over a pub full of inebriated Londoners ...

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