A seven foot, three hundred pound half-orc, Sura is a ludicrously strong physical specimen, stern but polite, abnormally good-looking for a half-orc, and, having been raised in a desert wasteland where the environmental dangers trumped petty racial prejudices, lacks the chip on his shoulder that many others of his kind acquire in their youth, instead being possessed of a blunt self-confidence that puts others at ease.

A tragic birth like most half-orcs, Sura was raised in the southern wastes by his late mother’s brother who, while not kind-hearted in the traditional sense, was a man of harsh fairness who would not see a child punished for the crimes of its forebears. As a boy, his unusual strength and stature became apparent and led to his training with the paladins of Ao, the judge of the sky, who passes judgment on all in its sight, deciding who lives and who dies, and as a man, he underwent the trials of Ao’s Judgment as his uncle had before him, walking into the wastes for three days without food or water to be judged worthy and spared, or be judged lacking and perish. He survived, and was thus ordained a full member of the Judged, the ancient order of paladins and clerics who serve Ao in the southern wastes.

As such, Sura has trained himself to be stern and unyielding, fair but merciless, both bestowing light and life on the virtuous and meting out fire and death on the corrupt like his uncle and the sun god they both emulate. Like all members of his order, Sura is an implacable foe of the undead and all those who would prey on the honest and just, and as a pilgrim scours the north for eldritch abominations and shadowy threats that have escaped the attention and ensuing judgment of his brothers to the south… and if, on the way, he happens to come upon lesser evils that make life difficult for honest folk, Ao does not cast a blind eye, and as its servant, neither does Sura. When word reached his ears that the denizens of Evermore had been attacked and were seeking aid, he set out at once, both to help those innocents who might be in need of protection, and those guilty who might be in need of judgment.

Sura’s deity and order:

Ao, the judge of the sky, is the local god of the sun in the southern wastes and the patron deity of The Judged. Stern, unyielding Ao holds court in the skies during the day, passing judgment on all in its sight, deciding who lives and who dies. A much more evenhanded and severe deity than the magnanimous sun gods of colder cultures, Ao is seen as the uncompromising guardian of the natural order, and as such is aligned against all those who violate the rules of life and death (particularly the undead), aberrations, the dishonest or deceitful, and all creatures who cannot bear the light of the sun. It is sometimes represented as a golden lion, sometimes a warrior in golden armor whose face is never seen, and most often simply as a glowing ball of light and unbearable heat. The symbol its followers carry is either a golden lion’s face or any flat golden or brass disc, often fashioned by simply buffing out any relief images on a single golden coin and polishing it to a mirrorlike sheen.

To be initiated into The Judged, an aspirant must first voluntarily undergo Ao’s judgment, spending three days out in the wastes without shelter or water. Those deemed unworthy are slain, while those Ao deems worthy will survive to be nursed back to health and take their place among The Judged. While death is a possibility, heatstroke is a certainty, and it is a rare member of The Judged who comes back from his judgment exactly the same.

Once a member, an acolyte’s primary responsibility is military; as constant guardians of the surface against all incursions by the unclean or unnatural, patrols and missions to support the endless war effort are paramount and unending. On uncommon occasions individual acolytes or small groups are dispatched to hunt down and deal with problems beyond the desert, or to collect information on larger threats of an undead or demonic nature elsewhere in the world. It is not, after all, only the abominations of the desert that Ao would see destroyed, but all such monstrosities that plague the living world, though it is in the desert where the order was founded and remains most active, and where every initiation takes place.

Ao’s alignment is Lawful Neutral and its domains are Fire, Glory, Law, Strength, and Sun.

The colors Ao’s paladins favor are bronze or brass-colored armor and browns or pale beiges for cloth. For the general look of Sura’s armor I’m picturing something a lot like the Idris Elba version of Heimdall, with a less ridiculous helmet, and with the approximate proportions of Shaquille O’Neal. He wields a massive curved greatsword but carries a bow for when he can’t reach stuff that needs killing.


The Wanderers tonytron