I have gone with the "Ebonians" mentioned in passing at times (e.g., in connection with Nekhara and Arabya).
My take on them, some lost-world stuff but an African culture not a spin-off, lost Reman or Nekharan group etc. (those can also exist):
"Ebonian" is the name given to black-skinned humans of the Southlands by northerners. They are actually three tribes who share a common culture and language: the Baalwari, Mehngara and Kai'itano. There were once three other tribes. One did not come south and instead migrated to what is now the southern Arabyan territory and was effectively absorbed into that culture. A second was separated from the others coming south and is lost to memory and a third perished in a great plague (skaven doings).
This human culture has ancient roots, once living south of Nekhara as a client people. They fled south to escape the doom that came to Nekhara from Nagash. This was an arduous journey but they believe it was actually "the journey home" and that their god blessed their path. They live primarily on the west coast, south of the great inlets and bays, in grasslands. They are skilled with metallurgy though have little access to iron and thus work mostly copper and bronze.
They are a cattle-herding, warlike folk who deal harshly with intruders - be they beastmen, greenskins or lizard men. They believe themselves the creations of their god, who lives on a nearby mountain called the Throne of God in their language - Kohl N'gai. The mountain is taboo, no one goes there.
Ebonians are often hired, as troops of mercenaries or individuals, to assist northerners in the Southlands. They are less prone to heat-stroke or falling ill to the sweating sickness. Ebonians are also skilled in the herb and leechcraft of the Southlands, knowing the best remedies to many illnesses or poisonous bites etc., thus highly prized as barber-surgeons.
They have some traces of Nekharan influence, including mummifying their dead, but are not the same culture. The lizard men of the Southlands (whose numbers are affected by low Saurus spawning) sometimes try to raid them for slaves - something they are vigilant against and which fuels great hatred for the scaled humanoids.
Some mongrelmen/intelligent apes and some "serpent people" are both bubbling in my head with Lovecraftian imagery.
The Old Ones created Saurus and Skinks manipulating various reptiles, they may have experimented with other "baselines" as well. Paizo's jungle setting has "swarming mad chimp-people", I think that would be sort of like a goblin waaagh. In Paizo they're pretty much that way all the time, which is a bit over the top, something more rare (a flaw that is the reason the Old Ones decide not to "go with that model").
I'm thinking that one particular city, perhaps an unmarked one, was the "testing lab" for these sorts of things and had lots of "samples" preserved. The fall of the Old Ones saw its keepers lost and eventually "some of the samples" got out.
Yes much of this influenced by Dwellers of the Forbidden City (see Emirikols post, one of my earlierst D&D experiences) - that's where yuan-ti first showed up and it's a nice "hidden/sealed city map"....
I know that there are later generation Slann in the Southlands but I really want to minimalize them somehow, perhaps they're all mostly busy maintaining the spell that keeps the south pole from becoming just as much of a mess as the north (it's a mess just not a tainting the whole world mess). I want this because proper Slann (even later generation ones) strike me as just too powerful to have PCs even brush up against in an adventure (at least that's my take - drawn from Burning Shore novel). The Southlands slann had to actually use Ibn Jellaba to get back one of their own mummies - that's not something that the Lustrian crowd would stoop to (in my view of things).
Serpent people could be something else entirely - survivals of the pre-Old One World whose civilization was destroyed when the Old Ones "cleaned house to make way for their grand plan" and of which only the faintest traces remain. They were entombed deep underground but the earthquakes of -1500 IC (dwarf Time of Woes, Slann adjusting planet a tad) released/awoke them. Here again I'm thinking more Lovecraftian in tone.
Biloko are cannibal halflings (imagine a tribe of little hannibal lectors with filed teeth, skin dyed red, and paralysis darts - who like to ride around on giant flying - still working what flying mount they use out). They mark their territory with preserved shrunken heads, and talk with drums (Fear check!). No one who comes back from the Southlands ever looks at a halfling sausage-maker the same again.....
Edited by valvorik, 15 May 2014 - 04:35 PM.