Character Bio – Aurelius Oranus


Aurelius Oranus - PortraitAurelius “Scaurus” Oranus
Male, Human, 24

Aurelius Oranus is my second character for Hârn: Genisis. He is a professional Gladiator and brother to Ran. Using the GM’s flavor text about a piece of Ran’s soul landing elsewhere in the world after his death, I ran with it as a piece of Ran’s soul trying to sustain itself and complete his task assigned by Agrik.

Scaurus represents the new battleground, a war between the souls of Ran and his brother Aurelius. If Ran can permanently gain control of the body from his brother, he will again walk the world and can continue to serve his god, Agrik, and raise an army to threaten Genisis and the world.

As a character, Scaurus represents a very difficult character to balance with the party. I worked with Fabrizio’s player, Tony, as he developed a character to use as a control and focal point for Scaurus’ violent tendencies that would have made him unplayable with the party. Instead he is wildly violent, but safe around the other players, with moments of clarity and wildly swinging goals from moment to moment that can be challenging but fun as a player. He serves as the berserker warrior of the group, constantly begging to be let off leash, for just a few moments, to destroy things. His combat style swings just shy of suicidal, placing more emphasis on doing damage and dramatic, aggressive attacks than on his own personal safety. In the HârnMaster combat system, this makes for a fun style if potentially short lived should a few rolls go the wrong way.

Summary: The younger twin brother of Ran, Aurelius Oranus similarly found tranquility in violence. Though their blood lust is similar, Aurelius was not able to shed his morality through the Church. Instead he found a moral outlet for his death dealing in the fight pits of Rethem and abroad, where his savage tendencies could be pointed at criminals and fellow sport fighters.

Even though he has not seen or heard from his brother in many years, he felt a connection the night Ran died. For whatever reason, a shard of Ran’s soul found purchase in Aurelius and the conflict between their two souls has ravaged the gladiator’s mind. While the souls battle for control, the body acts out the chaos and internal struggle with violence and savagery.

His destruction has only recently been constrained by a Cleric of Larani who, having heard of the crimes being committed, hunted him down and trapped him. Bound and held by a magic collar, the chaos in Aurelius’ mind is only barely contained. While the two souls continue to struggle for control of the body, the Cleric seeks to make good use of him as an instrument of his god.

Description: Aurelius Oranus is a lean and strongly built instrument of battle. His dark complexion, flaming red hair, and slate gray eyes bear uncanny resemblance to his older brother in many ways. His body has been hardened and sharpened through constant battle and training to survive in the fight pits. Though not as learned as his older brother, natural instincts and common sense have served him well in his life.

Personality: Aurelius is now a man of two souls and three personalities. In addition to his own natural soul, which continues to vie for dominance, Ran’s also struggles for, and occasionally assumes control of, his mind. To protect itself from the conflict, his mind developed a third persona as an outlet for all of the violence and chaos resulting from that struggle. When neither Ran or Aurelius have control, the persona of Scaurus, Aurelius’ pit fighter persona, comes to the fore and, unless controlled, unleashes all of the rage, hate, confusion and violence his mind is suffering on anything around him.

Scaurus feels no remorse for his actions, being the only way his mind can survive the conflict, and indeed there is little there to even term “human” in his behavior. He maintains a semblance of language, enough to communicate when necessary, but he mainly acts on instinct and to satisfy primal needs and pleasures. Scaurus is both an expression of Aurelius and Ran as well as of the conflict between the two. Both of his other minds are generally aware of what is happening, even if they don’t totally understand why. While Scaurus is in control, he often seems on edge, twitchy and itching to act and move.

When Ran’s soul gains dominance, the other two personalities recede and he seems somewhat calmer. Ran does not remember everything from his past life, though he has intermittent flashes and feelings when he encounters something familiar. He does have some idea of what is going on, certainly more so than Aurelius does. He deeply resents the Cleric of Larani who has come to control him and though the collar he wears does not restrain him like it does Scaurus, he keeps up the guise until he can permanently establish control of this body and use surprise to his advantage. Until that time, he seeks to use his periods of control to subvert the Cleric’s plans and guide him either off course or in pursuit of Ran’s own goals.

On the occasion that Aurelius’ soul is able to claim control of his own body, he becomes much more calm and even introspective. Prior to recent events, he was already deeply conflicted about the morality of, and his desire for, inflicting violence and death. While he found solace in the fight pits, where he hurt only criminals and others who chose to risk death, he is vaguely aware of his recent actions, though he does not know why he looses control, and he is racked with guilt. Though while the collar does not control him the same way while his soul is in command, he follows the directions of the Cleric of Larani out of a hope that the divine god will see fit to cleanse him of whatever has afflicted him and to make retribution for the terrible acts he knows he has performed while lost to the chaos.

History: Aurelius was the second born son of the Oranus family and younger twin of Ran Oranus. Though they were twins, the labor that birthed them was a long and strenuous one that lasted almost three days and saw a full day pass between Ran and Aurelius’ birth. That divide persisted throughout their young lives. Though the two children looked similar and had many of the same desires and tendencies, they largely came to ignore or argue with one another until the day Ran was sent away to the Church.

After Ran left, Aurelius never heard from or about his brother. His parents either never told him, or didn’t care about what had happened to their other child and Aurelius learned quickly not to ask. Though much of their personality was different, much of the upbringing of the two brothers was the same. They were born to a wealthy trade family in Rethem. Their father was the figurehead of the business, but in reality their mother was the more willful, independent, intelligent and driven of the pair. She controlled her husband, the business and the family in most things. During their childhood, their father never regarded either Ran or Aurelius with much attention. Often he seemed to avoid contact and interaction with them at all, turning his attention to either his work or the younger fair skinned children that followed them several years later. Their mother, while much more involved, always held some level of resentment towards them both that she never explained.

Several years after Ran was sent away to the Church of Agrik, the Oranus family sent Aurelius away at age 13 after a fight in town left another teen crippled. Though their mother had always tried to teach her oldest sons a sense of strong morality and strict discipline and redoubled her efforts with the remaining child after Ran had left, Aurelius always felt the pull of violence deep within him. Without the justification provided by the Church and with his own mother’s constant pressure, he constantly felt conflicted and out of place as he tried to reconcile his desire to do right with his need for violence.

After the incident, his parents sent Aurelius to live with his uncle in a large city. His mother’s brother ran a branch of the family trade business providing wares, weapons and other goods to the coliseums and fighting pits of Rethem. Initially Aurelius served in whatever thankless and grungy task his uncle required of him, however, he eventually was able to barter for jobs that took him to the closest coliseum and there witnessed his first blood sport. He visited time and again, whenever he could find reason to go, to watch the gladiators fight or train.

Eventually, as his uncle allowed him to handle more and more of the deliveries to the competitors, he was able to build a repertoire with the gladiators and trainers and began spending much of his off time as a sort of “squire” for up and coming gladiators. He would carry and prepare their gear, help them to dress for battle, arranged for meetings between the victors and women who wished to reward them and a growing list of other duties, eventually serving as a training partner.

When he reached the legal age to enter the games at 17, Aurelius left his job working for his uncle and lived in the gladiator barracks and began training for his first match. The man was older. He had been sentenced to the pits after committing some acts of rape and murder against someone too important to let that slide without suffering. The man had won his first few matches and hoped to soon earn his freedom. In the pit, Aurelius’ heart thundered in his throat while his training kicked in. Many days afterward, he received a fine sword from a noble who felt proper suffering had been served to the old man in the lopsided battle.

Aurelius knew he had found his calling, one that finally allowed him to succumb to his need for violence without the moral quandaries presented in civilized society. The opponents he faced in the pit over the next several years were comprised of criminals, the deranged, enemies of the state and the occasional volunteer like himself. None of these people would be missed, he was often even thanked and applauded for his work in the ring seeing justice done.

He built a following for himself and, under the guidance of a representative that helped build legends out of stars, created the pit persona of Scaurus and toured far and wide to coliseums and fighter pits throughout Rethem and other nearby lands. He began developing his own fighting style, under the same name, which made use of two weapon techniques and, as his riches grew, bought his own land to establish a training school for gladiators, bodyguards, military and swords for hire to train. Though the need to kill always persisted, he had found an outlet and, finally, satisfaction in his life.

On the day Ran died, and his soul entered the Fire realm of Agrik, his god saw to it that his deeds and plans for this life were not wholly wasted. He broke off a piece of Ran’s soul and planted it in a body that was most susceptible to integration with the fragment spirit. That of his brother, Aurelius. When Ran’s soul was introduced, Aurelius’ body was familiar enough that it could not immediately reject it. The two souls immediately locked in conflict for control of the body. Aurelius had the advantage of time and familiarity in his body, but Ran’s was a powerful mind and backed by the bidding of a god.

When the souls locked in conflict for control of the body, Aurelius’ mind shielded itself and reverted to the training it knew and the primal desires and motivations present in every man. The true expression of Scaurus was born in the night and his chaos and violence was spilled upon the land. Scaurus came to in a blind rage in his bed. As he fled his home and training grounds, he left the bodies of six concubines, eight servants, his apprentice, four students, nine towns people and three guards from the local city.

Scaurus traveled at large for some time, the dueling minds occasionally taking hold for brief, strained periods. Many guards and bounty hunters scoured the land for him, tracking him through the wilds. Many who hunted him also died at his hands. One, however, did not.

A Cleric of Larani, named Echo, tracked him through the forests and eventually found and subdued the deranged man. As he stood over him, preparing to release him, the Cleric saw an opportunity in the twisted husk of a man. He used a magical device, a collar, to control Scaurus’ rage and channel it to the will of Larani. It took many days to do so, but eventually the Cleric’s task proved successful. Finally, he traveled with the tamed man to the isle of Genisis to test his new servant in helping the people of the troubled land.

While Scaurus’ rage is contained, the two souls trapped in the same body continue to vie for control. The fate of Aurelius and those who find themselves his traveling companions could very well hinge on the outcome of that duel.


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