An outcast is an individual that is not welcomed among the common folk of Arelith, this can be for a variety of reasons, and requires some explanation.
The Common Folk
Arelith is an island, and rumours and gossip travel quickly. From fireside tales, to anecdotal accounts or wanted posters, there are those people who are known to almost all, and even if not immediately recognised, the whispers as to their identity and background follow close behind them as they travel.
Unlike the standard adventurers on Arelith, who are mostly presumed to have arrived in Arelith from elsewhere in Faerun, the Outcast is (normally) a native of the island. Driven from the surface world they begin by arriving in the Underdark city of Andunor.
The Truth of the Matter
Redemption for outcasts is mostly impossible, as whether innocent or guilty (in the cases of those outcasts accused of having done something) their notoriety is such that the populace is convinced of it. While an outcast may be able to convince an individual character of their good nature, they cannot easily manage this in the eyes of every NPC in the game.
Outcasts, and how to treat them.
As stated above the adventurers (other characters) generally do not have their origins in Arelith, and as such need not share the view of the common folk. Those living in one of the larger settlements will quickly learn to recognise an outcast based upon how they are treated, but may not know the reasons for this, and are under no obligation to judge them in accordance with the local populace.
Outcasts are expected to have 'normal' names by the standards of Arelith, but among the populace many are likely to be known as by a title. Examples such as the 'The Benwick Strangler', the 'Albert the Hunchback', or 'The Witch of Nexus' – Players need not select such a name, but it may help them establish the role-play and background for their outcast status.
Outcasts in Andunor
Andunor is a largely lawless city, with little to no common cause among the various races dwelling there. While an outcast is able to fit in a little better due to their ability to speak the language, they are in effect no different to anyone else in the city, 'monster' or 'surfacer' – all are simply potential resources to be exploited. Irrespective of one's background, survival in the city is often based upon how one conducts oneself.
Outcasts and 'monsters' are shunned on the surface because, generally, the commoners of the surface settlements are presumed to have some degree of civility and concern as to the reputation and morality of those who visit. The same is NOT true of Andunor. Do not expect the roles to be reversed in the Underdark.
This is not 'surfacer' vs 'underdarker' but rather a morally permissive/cruel society (Andunor) with very few standards, and those on the surface where standard cultural and moral conventions apply.
Removal of Outcast Status
A player who wishes to have their 'Outcast' status removed at a later time may appeal to the DMs. They will be expected to give a careful explanation as to why the stigma has been overcome, and if successful will be given the 'Mark of Despair'. Having obtained the feat 'Epic Reputation' will be considered a great advantage in such cases.
Players are free to write their own background for their outcasts, and are encouraged to have one prepared before embarking on their life as an adventurer.
The following D20 listing is purely an optional way of arriving at that background, and to serve an example of some of the many reasons a character can find themselves an outcast.
1 Hapless - Akin to the lead character in a classic farce, you were once dogged by a series of deeply unfortunate and embarrassing coincidences that left you the subject of shame and widespread ridicule.
2-3 Disgraced Family - A member of your family committed a crime so grave as to earn a notoriety that cannot easily be avoided, and led to your clan being shunned by all who recognise them.
4 Disfigurement - By accident or by birth, you bear disfigurements that are hard to conceal. Shunned due to superstition or a fear of a tainted bloodline, you were forced to live among the monsters of the Underdark
5 Prophecy of Doom Your character is the subject of a grim prophecy. Driven from your home and abandoned by your family, you were left to fend for yourself since childhood and are greatly feared as a harbinger of some terrible event to come.
6 In Hiding - You previously belonged to a criminal syndicate that suffered total defeat at the hands of a rival. Having fled to Arelith, you must live at the fringes of society or face the prospect of detection.
7 Plague Bearer - Your character suffers from an incurable (and highly recognisable) disease.
8 Influential Enemies - Your character has earned the animosity of a powerful family or organization. Able to frustrate your every ambition. they are capable of making your life intolerable wherever you travel
9 Guinea Pig - A poor unlucky soul, by some malicious experiment in their past, the individual is horribly scarred mentally. Resulting in various worrysome behavior.
10-11 Cultist - Your involvment in an active cult is well known. Whether it was attempting to summon some great malevolent being, or simply indulging in human sacrifice, the cult was extinguished and its members driven into the Underdark.
12 Grave Robber - Among the more nefarious spellcasters there is often a demand for human cadaveours. Unfortunately as you have learned the people of Arelith do not, as a rule, enjoy seeing the remains of their loved ones disturbed. You have earned a reputation for doing this all too often, and people fear for their beloved dead whenever you are present.
13 Devil/Demon Pact - It is widely believed that you have sold your soul to a devil or demon in return for some dark power. Whether or not this is true, the common folk consider you an agent of an altogther darker force.
14 Mistaken Identity - The crimes that are you accused of are all too real, however you are not the one responsible. Possibily due to a similar name or appearance, you are forever tarnished by the association to someone potentially far worse than yourself.
15-16 Horrendous Crime - You are thought to have committed the very worst of crimes. Such crimes as infanticide, genocide, or pillaging innocents or much else - there are many possible examples. Players choosing this option should bear in mind the PG13 nature of Arelith in deciding the exact details.
17 More Orc than Man - While many half-orcs live within the human populace, others are thought to instead hold allegiance firmly to orcish society. Your human side is barely recognised by the locals, and you are considered an enemy when travelling among them. (Half Orc Only)
18 Turncoat - You are forever associated with an act of grave betrayal to your own kind, one that likely resulted in considerable loss of life. The least trustworthy of individuals, it is believed by many that you routinely conspire with the enemy, whoever that may be.
19 Necromantic Urges - Necromancy is not uncommon among many spellcasters, though most do so discreetly and away from the eyes of the common-folk. You however, are widely known as one who routinely experiments on, and animates the bodies of the departed.
20 Arch Villian - The populace of Arelith has taken to casting you as as one of the primary antagonists of the archipelago. The blame for crimes large and small are often laid at your door, and your next masterplan is often the subject of idle gossip.