Ouranos Dur, or Sky Dwarves, are the maverick sub-species of the Dur. They are the airship aces, the steam tech savvy. Ouranos Dur are easily the most well-liked of the Durrish amongst the other intelligent races, even considering their bitterest rivalry with the Vand Nisse, but they hold no smugness over this fact. So long as the wind is in their beard and the machinery is chugging merrily below deck, they are content to simply be.
Note: Please remember that all of the information provided herein is an overarching synopsis of the species- a stereotype, if you will. That means that in most cases, you are free to tweak your character away from the generalities listed here. If your character concept does not quite match up with a bullet point below, that's fine! If you're still concerned it might not be acceptable, please contact a staff member. Thank you!
The Bloodless War
The Ouranos Dur have existed as their own culture for only 68 years, prior to that all of the great houses of The Ouranos Dur claimed membership in the nation of the Vuono Dur. Their separation and insistence on being their own sovereign nation within the Forged Kingdom came as part of the Bloodless War of 1799. The Bloodless War was so named because it was fought fiscally rather than physically. It was started by house Ayanz and some of its lesser allies, who had grown tired of the heavy taxes levied on steam technology and Aurum ore. Many of those supporting the cause of house Ayanz began to remove the heavy metal adornments of their beards and replacing them with feathers instead, to symbolize the removal of a great burden for a symbol of freedom. The year long period of boycotts, company espionage, and raucous pub crawl protests eventually lead to the signing of the Brass Accord between the Ouranos, Vrachos and Vuono leadership. Though the Ouranos are the more brash and hasty of the Durish people, the seeds of discontent that lead to the Bloodless War were sewn over 200 years prior, with the invention of the very first steam powered machine in 1606. Jethro of house Ayanz invented a machine that used steam in order to pump water from underground lakes and rivers throughout Mount Grausaule.
The technology was quickly developed to pump water for mining purposes, which catapulted Ayanz and its allied houses into prominence. Over the course of the next 190 years, the technology was refined by House Ayanz with the invention of the steam locomotive engine in 1781 and the first sky ship in 1796. This progress came with a price, which was the ire of both the older Vuono Noble houses and the Vand Nisse shipping conglomerates.
The Zerbitzari Piloting and Engineering Aethership School (Z.P.E.A.S.)
Aetherships are a fairly modern invention, one that the Ouranos are quite proud of. Early on, engineers who were perfecting the technology realized a need for an official school that not only researched and developed the technology, but also trained Dur in how to pilot and navigate the vehicles. The Patriarch of house Zerbitzari used his influence with house Ayans to procure funding and establish his youngest son, Ortzi Zerbitzari, as Chief Engineer and Headmaster (a position he still holds today). Construction for the school was completed in 1798, and for the past 70 years the greatest pilots and Aethership engineering miracles have come from Z.P.E.A.S.
The Cirrostratus Correctional Facility
One of the things that defines the Oranous is their penchant for excess. It’s evident in a lot of their approach to problem solving. Nothing in the world exemplifies this like the Cirrostratus Correctional Facility, or as it is known by the prisoners, The Grindhouse. The C.C.F. is a massive structure floating in the skies of the south Calydon ocean. The entire facility is designed so that the passages between the cell blocks are in a constant state of flux, as giant gears whir and shift the passages in patterns that are chosen by the warden every day. From the outside, the entire structure (with the exception of the Aether landing pad on its roof) seems to be shifting and rearranging itself constantly. Steam vents empty themselves at regular intervals, and the noise from those vents and the shifting gearwork can be heard for leagues. Additionally, this intricate building is further designed to only allow exit of the facility when workshifts begin and end, and for only a very short amount of time. The engineering further reduces the chance of prisoner escape, as if the plummet to icy depths below wasn’t chance reduction enough.
Government and Politics
All Dur follow a family or clan-like society, though some Ouranos employ a bit looser of a definition than their brethren. In most cases for Dur, only blood members are considered Family. In other cases, usually among those who own airships and run a crew, family may mean those they spend the vast majority of their time with.
Ouranos Dur follow the standard economy and use of Kroner for trade purposes. They do not have limitations on who they are willing to trade with, though they are least likely to trade with Vand Nisse.
Ouranos Dur adore steam technology, especially things involved in flight. The wealthier may value larger ships with flashier sails and larger bays for holding aurum. The seedier may value stronger guns and faster, more efficient engines. Those who do not own ships, or are not interested in the airship business at all, may collect or covet steam tech baubles, mechanic bits and bobs, and so on.
The Ouranos mostly inhabit the sky and refrain from living underground, but overall they can be found anywhere in Sha'uru.
The Ouranos are very welcoming to the ways of other intelligent species; the vast majority of outsider organizations and ways of trade are recognized in Ouranos territory.
Culture & Traditions
Ouranos Dur don't acknowledge any true hierarchy amongst their people. Hierarchy reminds them too much of Vrachos and Vuono ways and though they are kindred, that kind of thinking never led to anything innovative or, well, fun. The only thing resembling a hierarchy would be their ship crews, but that is more for reasons of efficiency than anything else.
The Ouranos Dur delineate roles based on who possesses the skill or aptitude needed to best complete the role.
Despite the estrangement between the Vuono and the Ouranos, Ouranos still recognize and celebrate The Feast of the Solstice on December 21 each year. It is a celebration involving food, gifts, and story-telling that lasts well into the evening.
Ouranos value freedom above all else, hence the decoration of feathers in their beards and hair. It is very rare to see an Ouranos take on a Homunculi slave, and this is partially why.
It is taboo for Gnomes to be in any floating city.
Ouranos Dur may wear metal jewelry or decor, but specifically will not wear any metal in their beards or hair as this is seen as "weighing down" their feathers and thus dooming them to a life bound to the land.
Most Ouranos Folklore overlaps with Vuono lore, as they are descended from Vuono.
There is a story going around amongst the Ouranos of a huge, malevolent aether-being that makes its home in the upper stratosphere of Sha'uru. Though a few have come forward saying they have seen it through Aether goggles or have been on shipwrecks caused by the being, there is no other evidence of its existence or whereabouts.
Corporal Yulia Windchaser is a retired, ludicrously wealthy Ouranos who currently lives a life of solitude. She was a brilliant scientist with the Ouranos Military during her time and upon her retirement became so enamored in her private study and inventions that she is hardly seen or heard from. She is one of few Ouranos with a Homunculi, Verdelin, who in many ways is more of a steward than a slave. Corporal Windchaser is rumored to have constructed a functioning automaton, a copy of the philosopher's stone, and is trying to create a man-made material that is more energy efficient than even aurum in an attempt to usurp the iron first the Vuono currently hold on the economy.
Other Dur—The Vuono Dur still harbor some mutual ill will toward the Ouranos for the Bloodless War and subsequent Brass Accord which banned heavy taxing on steam technology and aurum ore. Due to the unfortunate circumstance that the Vuono have vast sums of Kroner and control the aurum mines, and the Ouranos as the best and most efficient airship manufacturers, an uneasy relationship has been built between the two subspecies. However, this relationship is not without too-tight handshakes and whispered insults barely out of earshot. Vrachos Dur find their obsession with airships and air cities to be deranged. The Dur are from within the earth and should remain directly on top of it, though ideally they would remain within it.
Nisse—Though the Vand Nisse and Ouranos are bitterly competitive, the Ouranos and other Nisse get along well enough. The Afsla Nisse generally like Ouranos, respecting their engineering, craftsmanship, and aerial skill. It is seldom that an Ouranos would seek out the services of a Slagte and, in fact, they often prefer the Slagte keep off their ships and cities, as Slagte presence often has an uncanny correlation with untimely or mysterious deaths in the area. The Slagte hold no ill-will against the Ouranos, finding the feud between them and their cousins (Vand Nisse) laughable. The Ouranos are viewed as immature and much, much too loud.
Humans—Ouranos and Humans generally get along very, very well. The Imperial Humans often line the pockets of commercial Ouranos airships, reserving the most lavish cabins and alehouse rooms, buying out the best food and drink. Their demeanor detracts from their likeability for the Ouranos, but Kroner speak soft words into the ear of these Dur just like any other. Imperials appreciate the speed, extravagance and smoothness of airship rides over water craft and find the raucous brashness of Ouranous to be amusing in its own. The Wayfaring Seekers may not line the pockets quite as well as an Imperial, but they do utilize airships for their travel often enough and are much more gregarious and lighthearted than their Imperial kin. The Ouranos Dur and Tribes of Barlethan do not often come into contact; Dur prefer spending their time in the bustling city and most Tribals stay far away. Additionally, with Ouranos' being credited with catapulting steam tech into the mainstream, Tribals harbor a particular distrust toward them over other Dur.
Goblinites—Ouranos ownership of Homunculi is not very common except on privately owned airships. In most cases they are given menial work away from the machinery, protective measures and navigation—Ouranos would much prefer their own kind do that—so Homunculi are usually relegated to cooking, light repair or cleaning. It is rumored that kinder-hearted Ouranos have even paid their Homunculi, significantly less than real crew members, for sure, but enough that a Homunculus could save and use for something nice every once in a while. Ouranos are the least likely to mistreat a Gnome for no reason in public, but they are certainly not often employed or allowed on private ships, in most Ouranos businesses, or even allowed in Ouranos cities. Though Ouranos are the most likely to sympathize with the Gnomish plight, all Ouranos cities still strictly follow the "kill on sight" order for all gnomes. Kobolds are a bit of a headache unlike their Nisse kin, in that they often put on airs when out of sight of other Nisse. Ouranos are typically too laid-back to react much to it, preferring instead to gently poke fun at a Kobold who has become too portentous for their britches. Ouranos are very fond of Halflings, though not enough to employ them or do much business with them. They are more than willing to grab a drink and engage in a light-hearted battle of barding at a nearby establishment.
Goblins—The relationship between Goblins and Ouranos Dur can only really be described as neutral. There is no particular like or dislike amongst the species as a whole. They both willingly patronize each other's businesses and cities, and may even engage in trade agreements.
When in one of their settlements away from home, Ouranos are know to avoid procuring lodging in the groundling sister towns, preferring the lodgings above;the ones in town beneath the flying cityscapes may be cheaper, but they're cheaper for a reason. And it's certainly not a good reason.
There is a very serious Gnome "infestation" in the underbelly of most Ouranos cities. Because of the kill order on them, Gnomes who are born or were trapped on floating cities when the law was enacted scattered into pipes, vents and other hiding places where they have lived ever since. Due to the labyrinthine nature of the ships guts, it is incredibly difficult to try and catch the Gnomes and so they live on within the city-ships.
Ouranos do not have a typical time, age, or date that they must begin wearing feathers, though around the age of 20, Dur who have not donned their feathers will notice the gentle nudge of shunning and pushing them toward the lifestyle of the Astegos Dur.