Almost all of the common people and other folk that one might encounter along the Sword Coast or in the North have one thing in common: they live out their lives without ever traveling more than a few miles from where they were born.
You aren’t one of those folk.
You are from a distant place, one so remote that few of the common folk in the North realize that it exists, and chances are good that even if some people you meet have heard of your homeland, they know merely the name and perhaps a few outrageous stories. You have come to this part of Faerûn for your own reasons, which you might or might not choose to share.
Although you will undoubtedly find some of this land’s ways to be strange and discomfiting, you can also be sure that some things its people take for granted will be to you new wonders that you’ve never laid eyes on before. By the same token, you’re a person of interest, for good or ill, to those around you almost anywhere you go.
Any one musical instrument or gaming set of your choice, likely something native to your homeland
Any one of your choice
One set of traveler’s clothes, any one musical instrument or gaming set you are proficient with, poorly wrought maps from your homeland that depict where you are in Faerûn, a small piece of jewelry worth 10 gp in the style of your homeland’s craftsmanship, and a pouch containing 5 gp
Feature: Why Are You Here?
A far traveler might have set out on a journey for one of a number of reasons, and the departure from his or her homeland could have been voluntary or involuntary. To determine why you are so far from home, roll on the table below or choose from the options provided. The following section, discussing possible homelands, includes some suggested reasons that are appropriate for each location.
Feature: Where Are You From?
The most important decision in creating a far traveler background is determining your homeland. The places discussed here are all sufficiently distant from the North and the Sword Coast to justify the use of this background.
Evermeet. The fabled elven islands far to the west are home to elves who have never been to Faerun. They often find it a harsher place than they expected when they do make the trip. If you are an elf, Evermeet is a logical (though not mandatory) choice for your homeland.
Most of those who emigrate from Evermeet are either exiles, forced out for committing some infraction of elven law, or emissaries who come to Faerun for a purpose that benefits elven culture or society.
Halruaa. Located on the southern edges of the Shining South, and hemmed in by mountains all around, the magocracy of Halruaa is a bizarre land to most in Faerun who know about it. Many folk have heard of the strange skyships the Halruaans sail, and a few know of the tales that even the least of their people can work magic.
Halruaans usually make their journeys into Faerun for personal reasons, since their government has a strict stance against unauthorized involvement with other nations and organizations. You might have been exiled for breaking one of Halruaa’s many byzantine laws, or you could be a pilgrim who seeks the shrines of the gods of magic.
Kara-Tur. The continent of Kara-Tur, far to the east of Faerûn, is home to people whose customs are unfamiliar to the folk of the Sword Coast. If you come from Kara-Tur, the people of Faerûn likely refer to you as Shou, even if that isn’t your true ethnicity, because that’s the blanket term they use for everyone who shares your origin.
The folk of Kara-Tur occasionally travel to Faerûn as diplomats or to forge trade relations with prosperous merchant cartels. You might have come here as part of some such delegation, then decided to stay when the mission was over.
Mulhorand. From the terrain to the architecture to the god-kings who rule over these lands, nearly everything about Mulhorand is a lien to someone from the Sword Coast. You likely experienced the same sort of culture shock when you left your desert home and traveled to the unfamiliar climes of northern Faerûn. Recent events in your homeland have led to the abolition of slavery, and a corresponding increase in the traffic between Mulhorand and the distant parts of Faerûn.
Those who leave behind Mulhorand’s sweltering deserts and ancient pyramids for a glimpse at a different life do so for many reasons. You might be in the North simply to see the strangeness this wet land has to offer, or because you have made too many enemies among the desert communities of your home.
Sossal. Few have heard of your homeland, but many have questions about it upon seeing you. Humans from Sossal seem crafted from snow, with alabaster skin and white hair, and typically dressed in white.
Sossal exists far to the northeast, hard up against the endless ice to the north and bounded on its other sides by hundreds of miles of the Great Glacier and the Great Ice Sea. No one from your nation makes the effort to cross such colossal barriers without a convincing reason. You must fear something truly terrible or seek something incredibly important.
Zakhara. As the saying goes among those in Faerûn who know of the place, “To get to Zakhara, go south. Then go south some more.” Of course, you followed an equally long route when you came north from your place of birth. Though it isn’t unusual for Zakharans to visit the southern extremes of Faerûn for trading purposes, few of them stray as far from home as you have.
You might be traveling to discover what wonders are to be found outside the deserts and sword-like mountains of your homeland, or perhaps you are on a pilgrimage to understand the gods that others worship, so that you might better appreciate your own deities.
The Underdark. Though your home is physically closer to the Sword Coast than the other locations discussed here, it is far more unnatural. You hail from one of the settlements in the Underdark, each of which has its own strange customs and laws. If you are a native of one of the great subterranean cities or settlements, you are probably a member of the race that occupies the place but you might also have grown up there after being captured and brought below when you were a child.
If you are a true Underdark native, you might have come to the surface as an emissary of your people, or perhaps to escape accusations of criminal behavior (whether warranted or not). If you aren’t a native, your reason for leaving “home” probably has something to do with getting away from a bad situation.
Feature: All Eyes on You
Your accent, mannerisms, figures of speech, and perhaps even your appearance all mark you as foreign. Curious glances are directed your way wherever you go, which can be a nuisance, but you also gain the friendly interest of scholars and others intrigued by far-off lands, to say nothing of everyday folk who are eager to hear stories of your homeland.
You can parley this attention into access to people and places you might not otherwise have, for you and your traveling companions. Noble lords, scholars, and merchant princes, to name a few, might be interested in hearing about your distant homeland and people.
|1||I have different assumptions from those around me concerning personal space, blithely invading others’ space in innocence, or reacting to ignorant invasion of my own.|
|2||I have my own ideas about what is and is not food, and I find the eating habits of those around me fascinating, confusing, or revolting.|
|3||I have a strong code of honor or sense of propriety that others don’t comprehend.|
|4||I express affection or contempt in ways that are unfamiliar to others.|
|5||I honor my deities through practices that are foreign to this land.|
|6||I begin or end my day with small traditional rituals that are unfamiliar to those around me.|
|1||Open. I have much to learn from the kindly folk I meet along my way. (Good)|
|2||Reserved. As someone new to these strange lands, I am cautious and respectful in my dealings. (Lawful)|
|3||Adventure. I’m far from home, and everything is strange and wonderful! (Chaotic)|
|4||Cunning. Though I may not know their ways, neither do they know mine, which can be to my advantage. (Evil)|
|5||Inquisitive. Everything is new, but I have a thirst to learn. (Neutral)|
|6||Suspicious. I must be careful, for I have no way of telling friend from foe here. (Any)|
|1||So long as I have this token from my homeland, I can face any adversity in this strange land.|
|2||The gods of my people are a comfort to me so far from home.|
|3||I hold no greater cause than my service to my people.|
|4||My freedom is my most precious possession. I’ll never let anyone take it from me again.|
|5||I’m fascinated by the beauty and wonder of this new land.|
|6||Though I had no choice, I lament having to leave my loved ones behind. I hope to see them again one day.|
|1||I am secretly (or not so secretly) convinced of the superiority of my own culture over that of this foreign land.|
|2||I pretend not to understand the local language in order to avoid interactions I would rather not have.|
|3||I have a weakness for the new intoxicants and other pleasures of this land.|
|4||I don’t take kindly to some of the actions and motivations of the people of this land, because these folk are different from me.|
|5||I consider the adherents of other gods to be deluded innocents at best, or ignorant fools at worst.|
|6||I have a weakness for the exotic beauty of the people of these lands.|