Volo's Guides for Forgotten Realms
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Post Posted: Wed Mar 15, 2006 10:36 am 
 

Can someone tell me how these books read?  Are they structured to help a DM or Player.  Do they read like novels?  As I am gearing up to DM the Realms next year, I would like to know if these books would help me with writing adventures and so forth.

Thanks for the help.

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Post Posted: Wed Mar 15, 2006 10:56 am 
 

Prufrock wrote:Can someone tell me how these books read?  Are they structured to help a DM or Player.  Do they read like novels?  As I am gearing up to DM the Realms next year, I would like to know if these books would help me with writing adventures and so forth.

Thanks for the help.

Martin


They are both for DM and player. Actually, you might imagine them to be available INSIDE the campaign (with some slight modifications, of course, especially when they come to describing stats). For the most part, they're like a Michelin guide (do you have that outside Italy?): they describe a specific area, alogn with local lore and personal comments by Volothamp Geddarm (and a few critical footnotes by Elminster), then go on describing the places of interest, inns, taverns, shops that Volo found worth mentioning. Every place is described colorfully, stating how a traveler feels like, notes about the bartender and waiters, prices, food/wine quality, and so on.

They are especially useful to a DM to present a certain place to the party, but a player might have a use for them, too ("Hey, we've reached Elturel... I heard that Volo recommends the Black Antlers here!").

There is also Volo's Guide to All Things Magical. It's a REALLY interesting reading (one of the best, actually), but I used it in a campaign only a couple of times. The geographical guides are much more practical and useful.

Volo's Guides are fairly easy to find. Probably the most difficult ones are the North and the Dalelands, and you might have to pay a bit more for them (maybe around 20 dollars), but within a couple of months you may find all them. Be careful when looking for Waterdeep, it should have a large fold-out map included, but most copies you find around don't have it anymore. I made that mistake when I first purchased a copy, so now I have two copies, one with the map still attached, the other without the map. Do you want it? If you are interested, I will make you pay only the shipping and packaging cost.

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Post Posted: Wed Mar 15, 2006 11:24 am 
 

Thanks guerret,

For the reply.   These sound very good to me.  I like to present alot of local color to my adventures, make the NPC's real and engaging.  

In one adventure that I created I had a Lich send the party and invitation to join him for dinner.  The invitation came with his personal guarentee of safe passage to and from his lair.  The lich wanted a certain magic item the party had just come into possetion of.  I made the lich Lawful-Evil and presented him as a NPC that was not "deeply evil in intention"  the dinner was fun to role play.  The party declined his offer to buy the item.  He accepted their decision but stated to the party that he really wanted that item and might have to go about getting it in a more heavy-handed way.  Made for a great running subplot for the party.  

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Post Posted: Wed Mar 15, 2006 12:48 pm 
 

Prufrock wrote:Thanks guerret,

For the reply.   These sound very good to me.  I like to present alot of local color to my adventures, make the NPC's real and engaging.  

In one adventure that I created I had a Lich send the party and invitation to join him for dinner.  The invitation came with his personal guarentee of safe passage to and from his lair.  The lich wanted a certain magic item the party had just come into possetion of.  I made the lich Lawful-Evil and presented him as a NPC that was not "deeply evil in intention"  the dinner was fun to role play.  The party declined his offer to buy the item.  He accepted their decision but stated to the party that he really wanted that item and might have to go about getting it in a more heavy-handed way.  Made for a great running subplot for the party.  

Martin


I love the Volo's Guides, and use them all the time.  Ed Greenwood has his faults (long winded, characters ridiculously overpowered,  his adventures always snap the plot handcuffs on right away, etc) but I really enjoy his descriptive talents.  If you can keep the guy down to a page or even a couple of paragraphs, his talents really shine through.  He manages to embue even a short description with enough interesting details to make the place really come alive.  I am always stealing his tavern and inn descriptions for my own campaigns. He describes a lot of small hamlets, towns, and villages in just enough detail that you can plug it in for almost any type of adventure if you need a place for the party to spend the night, or if you want to expand on the place a little, he always includes one or two little quirky details that make the place a little less boring than, say, a lumber village of 250 people out in the woods should really be.
  I always thought his short series of articles on the village of Maskyr's Eye (in Polyhedron mags of the 50's, don't remember the exact articles) were a masterpiece of restrained design genius.  In just a few articles (either two or three) he describes a small village, the history, and a few intriquing adventuring ideas and plotlines built around the location....that he can apparantly do this as offhandedly as getting out of bed in them morning while stuff I work on for weeks reads like crap tells me a lot (not just that I suck at original ideas, thanks very much).  I got more good plot ideas out of these 2-3 articles than some 300 page hardback supplements that cost $30.  
 I would recommend Volo's Guide to Waterdeep if you are doing some city adventuring, The North, Dal;elands and Sword Coast seem to be the ones I use the most. Cormyr is the most structured so I use it the least.  All are very useful though.

Mike B.

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Post Posted: Wed Mar 15, 2006 1:15 pm 
 

Thanks Mike,

My plan is to buy the ones you have in your store sometime in late April or May.  Got to do a little saving, first.

Your description has cemented in my mind that I need these to help me in developing my adventures/scenarios.

Martin

  

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Post Posted: Wed Mar 15, 2006 6:14 pm 
 

I got the Waterdeep one in a large lot recently and was pleasantly surprised. It is good read and I think solid DM resource. As a plug, that very book is going up on ebay either tonight or tomorrow. It does have the large fold out map.

If I were still playing, I would use it. Definately one of the better items post first edition.


And I could've bought these damn modules off the 1$ rack!!!

New modules for your Old School game http://pacesettergames.com/

Everything Pacesetter at http://pacesettergames.blog.com/

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Post Posted: Wed Mar 15, 2006 7:31 pm 
 

I got Volo's Guide to the North in a lot last summer.  I have not opened it up yet.  Maybe I ought to.   :?


Mark  8)


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Post Posted: Wed Mar 15, 2006 10:34 pm 
 

My Waterdeep is up on ebay now.

Again, I was pleasanty surprised by how nice the product reads. I am going to make it point to grab some of the others.


And I could've bought these damn modules off the 1$ rack!!!

New modules for your Old School game http://pacesettergames.com/

Everything Pacesetter at http://pacesettergames.blog.com/

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