Characters may take a Background as presented in WoTC's Player's Handbook 2 and other supplements (note that Forgotten Realms regional benefits are not allowed), or alternatively characters may choose to be from an L4W region. Generally your regional choice will offer you two minor benefits, one that is a bonus of +1 to a single skill with little use in combat and another, which is a more significant bonus, but only applicable in a very limited circumstance. See below for examples.
Characters hailing from Daunton are urban and sophisticated. They can hail from any race and all walks of life; all of them have deep roots in the city to which they were born.
- Races: any
- Classes any
- However: to be from the main island your character must have a developed back story that includes a family, former employers, teachers, etc. If you just want to have been in town for a few years make your character from another region (one of the nearby islands or one that you make up)
Daunton: Regional Benefit Edit
Characters from Daunton receive a +2 on monster knowledge checks, reflecting their exposure to the diverse races that populate the city. When on Daunton they can gain access to the city library allow giving them to reroll a failed knowledge check at +2 once per day (a given roll can only be rerolled once). It generally requires 4 hours of research at the Daunton Library to reroll a check.
Characters who spend more than 4 hours seeking an answer to a specific question in a day find that they have trouble finding the proper books, are easily distracted by small sounds, and sometimes even fall asleep -- as if the library itself were resisting them. Whether this reflects some sort of defensive measure, a curse by the goddess of knowledge or something else entirely has never been proven.
While the trades plied by the some of occupants of the island are actually as illegal as the average citizen in Daunton believes under the firm thumb of the merchants legal trades now outnumber the illegal. Always a hub for woodworkers, wainwrights, sailmakers and others involved in the shipbuilding trade (who lived unmolested for generations under the unwritten code of pirates) Bacarte now hosts a whole range of industries either because they are frowned upon in Daunton as unclean (or eat least smelly) such as tanning, dying and smelting or simply because their owners are attracted by the cheap land, plentiful unskilled labor and access to the cheapest port in the isles.
While the poor have often eked out a living on the island they have, if not prospered, begun to live a more secure life on the island. The merchants have found that tending to these groups, initially a gesture to build credit with their neighbor and its powerful heroes, has paid unexpected dividends. Frustration with their more wealthy neighbors indifference on the part of local islanders has turned to a degree of pride with the "merchants". "A hob's good fer every copper" a local merchant might say. As their legitimate business increases working for the "merchants" is seen as a reliable and safe way to improve ones lot in life.
While gobliniods and other "monstrous" races (minotaurs, orcs, even kobolds) are common they still make up a minority compared with the more numerous "civilized races" particularly humans.
For the monstrous races part living on Bacarte proves in many cases, to be enjoyable. While they enjoy civility from most citizens on Daunton being a non-human actually grants them a degree of cache on the misty isle; most Bacartes presume members of the monstrous races are "someone of importance".
- Common PC Races: human, goblinoid (bugbear, goblin, hobgoblin), other monstrous
- Additional Major NPC races: genasi (air or water)
- Classes: fighter, rogue
Bacarte: Regional Benefit Edit
Characters from Bacarte receive a +1 on perception checks, reflecting an innate keenness honed on the dangerous, misty streets of the isle. When on Bacarte they also receive a +4 bonus to Streetwise checks, reflecting the natural relationships they've built up with normally suspicious folk who dwell on the island and if they roll lower than a 10 they may substitute a 10 instead (reflecting their ability to get access to basic information).
NOTE: The streets of Bacarte are full of information, but most of it about Bacarte, the merchants and the common underworld of Daunton/Bacarte (which doesn't include everything criminal on Daunton, just the segments that cross-pollinate with the misty isle). Pirates and others never let the truth get in the way of a good story and information on areas outside of Bacarte can be wildly inaccurate.
The Valley of Bone Edit
A far land where the living and the dead mix freely, characters from the Valley of Bone are often considered savage by others. Generally they value pride more than anything, including their lives.
- Races: dwarf, halfling, human
- Classes: fighter, ranger, warlock (starlock, feylock)
Valley of Bone: Regional Benefit Edit
+1 endurance checks, reflecting their resilience; The combination of respect and confidence they have in dealing with the unliving can be a potent tool... .they also receive a +2 bonus to monster knowledge checks involving undead and a +2 to diplomacy checks involving undead that they have correctly identified. These bonuses rise to +4 when dealing with undead that originate from the valley of bone (disposed as they are to interactions with mortals, they are more tolerant living who display the proper respect, often giving them an opportunity to speak when more typical undead would simply attack.)
The Kingdom of Jade Edit
A far land engaged in a desperate battle for survival against an apparently overwhelmingly powerful force of supernatural evil.
The kingdom of jade was once a grand empire, a bastion of honor and civilization but centuries of conflict with a race of powerful demons called oni has reduced it to a pale shadow of its former self. Lead for ages by the Jade Empire, ruled by clans of humans imbuded with the power of the elements and guided by powerful guardian spirits the Empire was nearly destroyed by the betrayal of the emperor himself.
Defeated by his loyal dragonborn general, the remnants of the Kingdom have regrouped under the leadership of this Iron General and his descendants who have developed a hybrid philosophy of devotion to atheistic culture and rigid military discipline in an attempt to stave of the touch of the shadow.
Even so the empire struggles as it turns more and more to the same dark forces for the power to hold off the oni; and more children tainted by the touch of fiends are born each year.
- Races: dragonborn, human, teifling
- Additional Major NPC Races: genasi (5 elements: earth, metal, wood, fire, & water)
- Classes: fighter, rogue, warlock (fiendish)
Kingdom of Jade: Regional Benefit Edit
+1 on insight checks; individuals from the restrained culture of the Kingdom show very little emotion; a social response to fear that powerful emotions open the way to corruption by the shadow. While this bottling up of emotion doesn't seem to actually be particularly effective in resisting corruption non-members of their culture often find them excruciatingly difficult to read in social situations. They receive +2 on social bluff checks against individuals who are not from their region*.
(*)For the avoidance of doubt we reiterate that this bonus only applies to social situations. Uses of the bluff skill to Gain Combat Advantage or Create a Diversion to Hide (phb 183) do not receive the bonus.
Mykonos' Sanctuary Edit
These simple folk tended their fields and worked in the small iron mines that dot the island. Then the Brotherhood of the Bright Eon turned their home into a hell. A handful of them escaped to Daunton to warn the surrounding isles, others were only freed by the Five when they returned. Initially resettled in hovels in Daunton most have returned to Mykonos' Sanctuary now that the Imperium has developed it into a base of its own.
Their strong simple culture where doors were left open and neighbors knew each other for generations has not been wiped away, but they've been abruptly shoved in a vastly more hostile world. A number of youngsters have decided to take up arms either to protect their families or avenge themselves upon the evils that beset them
- Races: overwhelmingly dwarven
- Additional Major NPC Races: none
- Classes: Any (the older generation are not adventurers)
Mykonos' Sanctuary: Regional Benefit Edit
+1 endurance checks, reflecting the toughness they developed working as slaves in the mines over their year of torment; the constant psychic bombardments suffered by the survivors has also granted them a degree of resilience, in times of extreme exertion they can sometimes shake off debilitating mental effects. When a player character from Mykonos' Sanctuary spends an action point they may immediately make one save against a any effect with the psychic keyword that a save could end.
The Imperium Edit
Imperium characters come from all walks of life; having been stranded in the Shifting Seas by the portal's failure. Bureaucrats and nobles rub shoulders with Imperium legionaries on vacation as well as messengers and laborers (some of whom thought they would only be Nova Imperium for a few hours working). And no small number of scholars, priests and holy warriors have traveled to the lands as well, for glory of god or learning. The priests of Poseeydus (who the locals insist on calling Netari) are also numerous, drawn to their gods "holy land".
- Races: Eladrin, Half-elf (Temperavir), Human, Elf (Veritas)
- Additional Major NPC Races: none
- Classes: Cleric, Paladin, Wizard
The Imperium: Regional Benefit Edit
+2 diplomacy checks, oratory is an artform in the Imperium (or at least an obsession); even the most inept Imperium citizen can turn a phrase better than most.
Isle of the Laughing GallowsEdit
- Main article: L4W:The_Near_Lands#Isle of the Laughing Gallows
Many wild rumors stir about this wicked island but a few things remain certain: It’s a haven for many exotic avians, it has deadly reefs that frequently retract and extend like the claws of a beast, and some of the most notorious pirates gather here at its infamous black market, the Nest. The island is particularly elusive and drifting throughout the Shifting Sea.
There is a saying... Dauntonians are afraid of Bacartes, and Bacartes are afraid of Gaolers... in Bacarte the best way to stay out of trouble is to avoid it; on the Isle of the Laughing Gallows you can't avoid trouble, your best recourse is to look as tough as you can. The bright clothing that the pirates wear, their elaborate mannerisms and booming voices, everything is designed to project an aura of invulnerability; unless you want someone to underestimate you...
- Races: Any, large populations of orcs, gnolls and kobolds
- Additional Major NPC Races: none
- Classes: Rogue, Pirate, Cutpurse, Scallywag, Grifter, Rapscallion (Any)
Isle of the Laughing Gallows: Regional Benefit Edit
Gaolers project an aura of confidence as a way of life, +1 to bluff checks; in addition you receive +4 to any athletics checks when on a ship, sailboat or other seafaring vessel* when its in the water.
- =Truly unusual "vessels" such as mobile islands, immense floating turtles and other strangeness your DM may concoct probably doesn't apply (though your DM has the final word on what "constitutes a ship").
- Main article: L4W:Far_Lands#Ea
Ea was once a pillar of civilization, a great continent located far off in the Shifting Seas. Dauntonians hoped and perhaps even enviously thought upon Letheon, its dominant kingdom, would replace or even eclipse Allaria. Only distance, close to six treacherous months in many cases, kept Daunton from growing closer.
Ea was suddenly, inexplicably, wracked by vicious war almost a decade ago after the sudden invasion of the Gith races.
- Races: Human, Githyanki, Githzerai
- Additional Major NPC Races: none (possibly psionic races later)
- Classes: Fighter, Wizard (possibly psionic classes later)
Ea: Regional Benefit Edit
Eans are quite sensitive to small changes around them, they receive +1 to insight checks; in addition Eans are unusually deft at instinctively taking advantage of psychic attacks to gain mental impressions about their foes. Whenever an Ean suffers an attack from a creature using the psychic keyword they may, as an immediate reaction, make a monster knowledge check. This power can only be used once per specific sort of creature* per encounter; it does not preclude the use of monster knowledge normally.
- =A specific sort of creature means -> creature with the same stats. So if Rondal an Ean, is fighting a kobold mindeater, a goblin thoughshredder, and Roz the half-goblin half-kobold psychic lurker he could potentially make three of these special monster knowledge checks over the course of the encounter (one for each specific creature type, following all the usual rules for monster knowledge checks and immediate actions).
- Main article: L4W:Far_Lands#Surtyr
Surtyr is a northern nation located on Ea that shares much of the Norse-inspired culture of Valhyr. The war that has engulfed Letheon has impacted Surtyr as well, but some of its settlements still survive intact.
- Races: Goliath, Dwarf, Human, Bladeling
- Classes: Barbarian, Bard, Cleric, Druid, Fighter, Ranger, Warden
- Suggested PHB2 Backgrounds: Mountains, Poor, Omen, Prophecy, Farmer, Mariner, Military
Characters from Surtyr, particularly its southern reaches, may choose the regular Ea regional benefit, or the Surtyr regional benefit:
Surtyr: Regional Benefit Edit
+1 to Nature: Most folk of Surtyr make their living off the land; even those that do not must learn the ways of the rugged terrain or perish.
They also gain a +4 to Endurance checks made to endure extreme weather conditions.
- Main article: L4W:Far_Lands#Valhyr
Valhyr, the Frozen Continent, is a Norse-inspired land of warriors and tribesmen. A ruinous madness has more-or-less destroyed the nation, but refugees have made their way to Daunton. The earliest of these refugees brought their ways with them, but later arrivals were born aboard ship and know little of their homeland.
- Races: Bladeling, Goliath, Half Orc, Dwarf, Goblinoid, Deva (?)
- Classes: Barbarian, Bard, Cleric, Druid, Fighter, Ranger, Rogue, Warden
- Suggested PHB2 Backgrounds: Forest, Mountains, Among Another Race, Poor, Omen, Curse, Prophecy, Farmer, Mariner, Military
Valhyr: Regional Benefit Edit
+1 to Endurance: Valhyr's harsh climate breeds hardy folk. The skalds of the Frozen Continent bring brave deeds to life through song and story; Valhyri also receive a +1 bonus to saving throws against fear effects.
The Seaborn: Regional Benefit Edit
+1 to Endurance: life on a refugee ship is very tough. The Seaborn also receive +4 to any Athletics checks when on a ship, sailboat or other seafaring vessel when it's in the water.
- Main article: L4W:The_Proximate_Isles#Kythira_the_Living_Isle
Kythira, the Living Isle, is a self-contained tropical mangrove forest rumored to rest on the back of an enormous living creature. The Living Isle is bisected by the Shadowrift, a point at which the boundary between the Proximate Isles and the Shadowfell is unusually thin. Ruins of an ancient Eladrin civilization dot the interior of the isle around the border of the Shadowrift.
Adventurers hailing from Kythira are highly attuned to the primal forces of nature, having lived under the canopy of giant mangrove trees their entire lives.
- Common Races: Gnomes, Shifters, Humans
- Less Common Races: Half-Elves, Half-Orcs, Shadar-Kai, and other denizens of the Shadowfell
- Classes: Any Primal
- Suggested PHB2 Backgrounds: Wetlands, Forest, Omen, Prophecy, Among Another Race, Moonspeaker
Kythira: Regional Benefit Edit
+1 to Nature, escalating to +3 when actually on the Isle of Kythira. Kythiran characters also receive +3 to all knowledge skill checks concerning the Shadowrift, Eladrin ruins, and the historic Eladrin courts on the Living Isle.
For people, usually Eladrin, who have grown up in the feywild.
Arcadia: Regional Benefit Edit
+1 nature and +2 to perception in wooded sections of the feywild.