The Lowerlanders (also called “The Savages” or “The Cannibals” by Middlelanders, Outerlanders, and Upperlanders) are a mysterious, largely uncontacted culture that resides primarily in a region of The Continent that lies far South of the Middlelander homeland of Samma Valley. They are separated from the Middlelanders by the Samma River, the Empty Forest which lies South of that, the Great Dividing Gorge which lies South of that, and the Great Southern Mountain Ridge which lies South of that.
This current no man’s land was once collectively inhabited by the common ancestors of the Lowerlanders and Middlelanders in prehistory. Over time, for unknown reasons, both populations retreated from each other, leaving a conspicuously wide (and possibly intentional) buffer zone between them.
They are also further divided by Middlelander religious customs, as most Middlelanders are too superstitious to cross the Samma River. Rumors that the Lowerlanders savagely cannibalize outsiders also deters any would-be explorers of any religion.(Ironically, all of the cultures on The Continent engage in cannibalism to some extent, even if in more subtle ways: Upperlanders regularly compost the dead bodies of humans and animals to serve as soil to grow mok; Outerlanders traditionally consumed the organs of the dead during famines, though the Middleland government now discourages the practice; and while illegal, some Middlelanders eat the body parts of people who have died from overdosing Samma Flower. It is more the threat of upfront, overt cannibalism that frightens them.)
Most people on the larger, Northern section of The Continent believe the Lowerlanders to be primitive people. Rarely seeing even smoke erupting from the treeline South of the Samma River, the Middleland government’s educational materials indicate that Lowerlanders have yet to discover (or have lost knowledge of) the use of fire. Most Middlelanders deny any possible genetic relationship to the Lowerlanders.
Based on limited, no-contact trade between Southern Outerlanders and Lowerlanders (the goods are passed along temporary bridges over narrower portions of the Samma River, without either group crossing), at least some Lowerlanders appear to be able to consume yaw root without toxic effects. However, unlike Middlelanders, they do not appear to farm it.