Okay, I think we can make this work without me completely reinventing the background I already have and starting from scratch. How close to the village (or how far removed from it) your character is located might depend a bit on what other characters will be in the group. If half the group ends up being rangers and druids, and the other half bards and village guards (for example) things might get tricky, but that's a bridge we can cross when we reach it.
Guess it's time to take a look at the setting I could offer for this:
I'll provide a world and region map if we start this; for the moment it might be enough to say that the region is called the "Frontier Baronies". The area is about 250x150 miles, with about 15-20 small baronies dotted around the area, but each of them has only a few thousand people at most. To the east are the Wildlands, populated by barbarians and orc tribes, to the west is the kingdom of Lancrest, to which the baronies legally belong, as Lancrest claims the whole area. Only that Lancrest never had the manpower or resources to really develop the frontier, but for about 200 years now, titles and lands have been granted to rich or powerful individuals to develop parts of the frontier, to reinforce the Lancrestian claim to those lands and set up a buffer zone between Lancrest and the Wildlands. Over the years many settlements have been established, only to fail after a few years or decades, nothing left of them now but a few overgrown ruins in the forests that cover much of the region. Other settlements have lasted longer, but none of them has grown into more than a large town.
One of the settlements that survived for a good while was the small outpost of Goodsford, at one of the few crossings over the river Thane and a waystop along one of the few established trade routes in the Frontier Baronies. About 12, maybe 15 years ago, the king of Lancrest granted Goodsford and the surrounding lands to an adventuress who was looking for a place to build a home. (Granting lands in the Baronies to adventurers isn't all that rare. The theory goes that anyone who makes a career of fighting monsters might maybe not make a great ruler, but should at least be able to keep their lands reasonably safe.)
Over the years, Kirborg (as the Baroness called her new holdings) has grown into a small but prosperous village of about 600 adult inhabitants, thanks, in part, to generous contributions from the baroness's personal coffers. The whole barony covers about 20x20 miles, with half a dozen thorps and hamlets in addition to the main village. Together with a few outlying farms and assarts the whole population of the barony is perhaps somewhere around 1,200 to 1,400. Of the 400 square miles of the barony, only about 20-30 square miles are really settled, leaving much of the area to hills and forests. The settlements and main road are relatively safe, but travelers are advised not to stray from the beaten paths. Large groups of humanoids are rarely seen in the area, but the forests are home to many a dangerous creature and one can easily get lost in the forest.
This is how the village proper looks:
Within the town walls (earthworks and a palisade, actually) there are about 250 adults. The homes, farms, and shops within a stones throw from the wall add another 100. There are a bunch of farms close to the village (within an hour's walk) that add maybe 150-180 people, and the baroness's keep adds about 100 more people.
The village population is split into several groups along historical and religious lines. There are the old villagers who were here when the place was still called Goodford, the new settlers who arrived in two waves (the first wave about 10-12 years ago, the second about 5 years ago), and the followers of the baroness, most of whom arrived when she did, but tended to keep themselves a bit aparts from the villagers initially. Along religious lines you have followers of Pelor (who has a small chapel in the center of the village that goes back to the early days of settlement), followers of Ehlonna (many of the farmers, but also some village folk), and followers of the Norse gods (a religion the baroness brought with her). (A few people worship other gods, but not in an organized fashion with adepts or clerics leading any church services.)
And that's about it for the moment. If we decide this is a setting suited for roleplaying together I'll add a few more maps and some NPC descriptions, but it should be enough to get a good idea what I have in mind.
I know the presence of a high-level NPC like the baroness can look like a problem, but I don't think it has to be. I can find more than enough reasons why she would leave small problems to the PCs or just won't be around. And the different religions are bound to lead some people to look for help from followers and priests of their own religion, instead of trusting someone who might be more powerful but worships some strange foreign gods.
So, what's the verdict? Is this something we can build on?