You hold in your hands the fourth popular - nay, indespensible! - travel guide penned by the indefatigable, all-seeing Volo. The tireless traveler has seen the sights of the beautiful Forest Kingdom, and he offers this pouch-sized tome so your own visit to the fabled realm of shining knights may be a carefree success. Many of the finest establishments and most striking sights and landmarks of Cormyr are featured here, ranked with the handy coin, dagger, pipe, and tankard ratings system. No visitor to Cormyr should be without this peerless guidebook.
Discover, for instance:
- where to dine on the best wyvern tail in all Cormyr;
- the rules of the games most favored by Purple Dragons at play;
- state secrets about the war wizards of Cormyr;
- where the elusive ghost stag prances - and all about the exclusive royal hunting lodge from which a lucky few guests hunt it;
- the lyrics of Cormyr's most popular drinking song;
- where Tempus speaks directly to warriors; and
- what powerful magic the mysterious Sword Heralds have left behind for only the wisest, boldest adventurer.
Suitable for all levels of play.
Special Note: This edition of Volo's Guide, intended for travelers from beyond the borders of Faerun, contains notes, commentary, and substantial revisions by the famous sage and archmage Elminster of Shadowdale.
Volo's Guide to Cormyr, by Ed Greenwood, is the fourth book in the "Volo's Guide" series. It was published in August 1995.
Continuing the Volo Guides. Volo's Guide to Cormyr continues the series of travel guides that began with Volo's Guide to Waterdeep (1992). Like its predecessors, this book is full of in-character, in-depth discussions of a specific area, written as if by Volothamp Geddarm, edited and commented upon by Elminster the Sage. As in the earlier Volo's Guides, author Ed Greenwood takes full advantage of his unreliable narrator to create a singular and slanted view of the Forgotten Realms.
This book was also published as a digest-sized release, a rarity for the time period, and has a few bits of gaming material in the appendix - including some character overviews and some specifics on Cormyrian magic.
Expanding the Realms. Cormyr is one of Ed Greenwood's most detailed areas of the Forgotten Realms. That's because one of his longtime adventuring companies was located there (while others were found in Waterdeep and in the Dalelands). Starting in 1979, Greenwood also used the Cormyrean town of Eveningstar as a launching point for "mini-campaigns" run in local public libraries.
Greenwood brought Cormyr to the attention of the wider world in Dragon #69 (January 1983). In "More Pages from the Mages," he offered the following details concerning the kingdom:
The third [passage of note within a book] is a detailed inventory of the dowries of the princesses Elmyra and Hlassela of Cormyr, which Thorstag took part in guarding on an overland journey from Suzail, the capital of Cormyr, to Arabel, a city some distance to the north and east. The journey was safe, the princesses married, and set out forthwith eastward with their (royal, but not identified by Thorstag) husbands. Neither Thorstag nor this writer (the sage Elminster) has heard of their fate, but in some eastern tomb or treasury the greater part of these dowries must now lie.
Cormyr frequently appeared in Realms publications in the early '80s, but most of it was pretty scattered info; unlike Waterdeep and the Dalelands, Cormyr wasn't developed into a full adventure setting. Nonetheless, it got a few pages of description in the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting (1987). Cormyr also appeared as a small element of several adventures, among them FRC2: "Curse of the Azure Bonds" (1989), which visits Tilverton; FRE1: "Shadowdale" (1989), which stops in Arabel; and FRE3: "Waterdeep" (1989), which is set in both Eveningstar and Wheloon.
Cormyr only started to come together as an adventure setting in the 90s, primarily thanks to the direct intervention of Ed Greenwood. Alongside Jeff Grubb, he described many "Cities of the Heartlands" in Forgotten Realms Adventures (1990). He then prominently featured King Azoun IV in the Crusade novel (1991); and then wrote the first adventure set entirely in Cormyr, FRQ1: "Haunted Halls of Eveningstar" (1992).
This attention on Cormyr became even more focused (and coherent) in 1994, thanks to Eric W. Haddock's Cormyr (1994) sourcebook, which extensively detailed the Forest Kingdom, and also Greenwood's own Elminster's Ecologies (1994), which included extensive details of the Cormyrean Marshlands, the Stonelands, and the central farmlands. Volo's Guide to Cormyr was a strong addition to those previous books, which together brought Cormyr together as never seen before (outside of Greenwood's own games).
Future History. Cormyr was used much more extensively in the later history of the Realms, thanks to adventures like Four from Cormyr (1997) and Cormyr: The Tearing of the Weave (2007), and also thanks to numerous novels, mostly by Greenwood, including Stormlight (1996), Murder in Cormyr (1996), Cormyr: A Novel (1988), Beyond the High Road (1999), and Death of the Dragon (2001).
Greenwood was still hoping to write a Cormyr sourcebook of his own when the transition to 4e D&D updated the classic Realms. According to him, "I wasn't FINISHED!"
About the Creators. Ed Greenwood is the creator of the Forgotten Realms and the alter-ego of both Volothamp Geddarm and Elminster the Sage. His Volo's Guide series ran five books from 1992-96. It got a Magical supplement that last year, then returned a few years later for an encore with Volo's Guide to Baldur's Gate II (2000).
About the Product Historian
The history of this product was researched and written by Shannon Appelcline, the editor-in-chief of RPGnet and the author of Designers & Dragons - a history of the roleplaying industry told one company at a time. Please feel free to mail corrections, comments, and additions to firstname.lastname@example.org.