In my Maldene series, The Farlands almost becomes a running gag. An out of the way little continent so backwards that a crossbow is considered a major artifact and the only natives are for the most part descendants of someone that got shipwrecked there long ago. So, why bother having a place like that? What was my inspiration for this set-up?
When I was designing my map of Maldene- something I did long before I even started working on the plot- I wanted a world big enough so I could have some high-tech culture on one side while a bunch of primitives lives somewhere else, and yet the world big enough that they might not even know about one another. A world large enough to cover all the possibilities. The Farlands was where I wanted the primitives, and being far off the beaten path, the name just followed.
The Farlands is not on any trade routes, has no real resources that anyone would want to go out of their way for, and about the worst threat there might be an old goblin with a limp. Being such a Nothing of a place, you would think it has little to no reason for even being in the story, right? Well, it does pop up a few times in references, much in the way of a joke at someone else's expense. "Oh, he's so stupid he must be from The Farlands," that sort of thing. Later in the series, however, I do have a main character originate from The Farlands, and at some point we even discover the joke behind the joke: the reason why The Farlands exist. So, what purpose did some ancient deity have for creating a far away backwards land? There actually is a reason, and it's an amusing one.
Of course, to discover that reason you've just gotta keep reading the series.