Low Rostrans are an ethnic group within the Rostran species of humanoid. Most Low Rostran population centers either lie on low islands or on the coasts adjacent to the mountain-dwelling High Rostran ethnicity; indeed, the 'Low' appelation stems from the low altitude liviing arrangements of the Low Rostran people, rather than any value judgement relating to their standing in greater Rostran society.
Major language groups and dialects
Like other major Rostran cultural groups, Low Rostrans speak one of several dialects of Iuxat, with Guild Pidgin becoming an increasingly common second language. As the Low Rostran peoples have been more spread out over their development than the High Rostran peoples, they are also more diverse in terms of dialect than their High Rostran counterparts.
Culture and cultural heritage
Low Rostran culture has largely been shaped by the realities of island living, frequent conflict with Native Ovinex slave raiders in times past, and periods of wide-scale migration through the oceans of Rostral C. Of the High Rostrans, Low Rostrans, Native Ovinex. and Civil Ovinex present in their home cube, the Low Rostrans are by far the most well-traveled and exploratory ethnic group. While this would normally predispose Low Rostrans to service in the Navigator's Guild, the fact that many have a culture-driven fear of heights (a result of being kept from high vantage points by competing High Rostran or Native Ovinex settlements in the mountains) prevents many from capitalizing on their heritage of navigation in this regard.
Shared customary codes and values
Low Rostrans favor strict adherence to local laws established through tradition. Oral histories and taboos learned through close interaction with sea have a strong influence on the mores of each Low Rostran village, sometimes outstripping the influence of larger political connections (i.e. membership in the Rostran Archipelago Confederacy).
Average technological level
While they once lagged behind their High Rostran counterparts in terms of certain technological developments (i.e. mechanics), the Low Rostrans have since caught up due to the formation of shared regional polities. Low Rostrans now have access the full fruits of overall Rostran scientific and technological expertise, including dieseltech devices and vehicles; indeed, many Low Rostrans live in work in heavily industrialized coastal districts in places such as Eudoxia. One place where Low Rostrans were always more advanced was the study of meteorology, with Low Rostrans being intimately acquainted with the natural cycles of the ocean (i.e. currents and tides) as a matter of survival during their migrations.
Common Dress code
Low Rostran dress is typically more revealing than High Rostran dress, with shorts or skirts and open-toed clogs being appropriate for both genders. With increasingly close cooperation with Native and Civil Ovinex populations becoming the norm, wool and associated products are gradually replacing the traditional wood, frond, and shark leather of Low Rostran tailoring. While traditionally both men and women were permitted to go about bare-chested, short-sleeved shirts and bathing attire have been added to the Low Rostran repertoire in response to the discomfort of outsiders upon seeing such nudity. In any event, the dress code among Low Rostrans becomes more and more revealing the further one strays from major trade centers or High Rostran settlements.
Art & Architecture
Low Rostran architecture makes heavy use of bamboo and burnished hardwood (especially ironwood), with the tolerances becoming ever-more precise and the decorations becoming ever-more intricate with the introduction of increasingly advanced construction tools. Low Rostran culture places an emphasis on form over color or embellishment, with traditional woodworking methods having been eroded very little due to the ravages of time or exposure to foreign cultures. For example, though they are outlawed in the Rostran Archipelago Confederacy, Low Rostran villages still sometimes create intricately 'furnished' stippling cages for display on the coastlines as a way of showing off their carving skills rather than with any intent to actually use them for punitive purposes. Low Rostrans insist that they are the original inventors of the armos nonengu, a combination string and precussion instrument, and the numerous intricately-carved antiques in their possesion lend some credence to this insistence. Many of the best armos players in the Manifold today are Low Rostrans.
Common Customs, traditions and rituals
Low Rostrans have a plethora of customs relating to ones conduct at sea, whether as an individual, as part of a crew, or as a member of seaman's family. For example, it is believe that failing to recover a lost seaman - or, failing this, to conduct the appropriate funerary rites to propitiate the spirits of the dead - will draw the cursed ire of the dreaded Ixulova Tun.
Coming of Age Rites
Like their High Rostran counterparts, Low Rostran boys are expected to complete an unassisted journey of at least 10 miles before they can be considered adults.
Low Rostrans, being outdoorsy types on the whole, regard dark or reddish skin to be a beautifying trait. Facial structure is less important for the assessment of physical beauty than the appearance of a person who frequents the shore: sleek, lean body forms baked under the warm island sun of the Rostral Tesseract. Even leaders are expected to retain a lean appearance, as Low Rostrans have little use for someone who does not work and percieve a 'thick' leader as one who is not closely connected to the work of maintaining a coastal settlement.
Low Rostran culture is notably more focussed on gender roles that High Rostran culture, with men and women tending strongly towards different spheres of work. Low Rostran women are more likely to perform the basic functions of the household, though they are also the ultimate arbiters of what may go on within a household. For example, a man - even the woman's spouse - must meet the woman's approval to enter the threshhold of his own house. Men are more likely to carry out activities requiring fighting or extensive travel, such as travelling to treat with neighboring High Rostran settlements or conduct blue-water fishing. Both genders can be found in green water professions, such as coastal fishing or kelp cultivation. These gender roles have loosened in more modern times, though their presence in Low Rostran tradition still shapes gender relations to this day.
Low Rostran culture values directness in romantic expression more than High Rostran culture does, though it remains more surreptitious than most human or verdial cultures in this regard. Low Rostran courtship involves a degree of reading past outward intentions, as Low Rostrans often act aloof or even mildly antagonistic towards potential romantic partners as a way of gauging their degree of committment to pursuing a relationship.
The Hermitage Island Fellowship is a mostly Low Rostran polity, with other humanoid ethnic groups being rare in the extreme within Fellowship territories. Many Low Rostrans who have moved into the Fellowship have come to reject land-based settlement altogether, choosing instead to construct floating municipalities out of privately- or communally-owned seagoing vessels bounded by sea walls and accessible via intra-ship 'canals' instead of roadways. Still Atoll is a notable Low Rostran settlement in Fellowship territory.
Most Low Rostrans who chose to remain within the confines of the Rostral Tesseract have citizenship in the Rostran Archipelago Confederacy, a cosmopolitan nation comprised of High Rostran, Low Rostran, and Civil ovinex populations. Low Rostrans in the RAC continue to live along the coasts and in the isles surrounding formerly exclusive High Rostran sites, as is the case with the capital city of Exivaun