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Volo's Guide to the North (2e)


Well met, traveler!

You hold in your hands the second travel guide penned by the insightful Volo. Following the awesome success of his guidebook to glorious Waterdeep, the wary wanderer has taken to the trails of the Savage Frontier, and this pouch-sized tome is the result. Most of the features and establichments of the North are here, ranked with the handy coin, dagger, pipe, and tankard ratings system.

Volo has experienced the worst so you don't have to. He's also found the best, so you need waste no time in discovering the best for yourself. Just heed the guidebook and you can't go wrong.  

  • Where to find the best wine in all of the North
  • The dark secret of the Weeping Witch of Amphall
  • The best place to buy boots north of Waterdeep
  • Where dwarves go to forge the best enchanted blades
  • Where to see drow maidens dance in the moonlight
  • The place where a god is said to sleep
  • Where mithral and magic lie unclaimed
  • Where the best hunting is, and where hunters become the hunted
  • How to get into Luskan without being noticed by the Arcane Brotherhood
  • And many more important details for travelers visiting the North!

Suitable for all levels of play.


Product History

Volo's Guide to the North, by Ed Greenwood, is the second book in the Volo's Guide series. It was published in December 1993.

Continuing the Volo Guides. Volo's Guide to the North continues Greenwood's in-character (and thus narratively unreliable) looks at the geography of the Realms, with the conceit of having been written by Volothamp Geddarm and edited (with copious commentary) by Elminster the Sage. As became typical with the Volo Guides, this book also contains a little bit of crunch, including several pages of NPCs, some rules on wards, and a few spells and items from the area.

Like Volo's Guide to Waterdeep (1993), this book was published in a digest size, something that was otherwise pretty rare at the the time.

Expanding the Realms. "The North" in the Forgotten Realms is a huge area. It includes all the lands North of Waterdeep, from the Sword Coast in the West to the border of the Great Desert, Anauroch, in the East. As Elminster warns, "The North is far too large a place for anyone to provide a proper guidebook." Nevertheless, Greenwood details the most important sites of the Northern Sword Coast, the Silver Marches, and the rest of the Savage Frontier. This coverage includes the important cities of Longsaddle, Luskan, Mirabar, Neverwinter, Silverymoon, and Sundabar, plus the infamous Icewind Dale (and lots more).

The Northern Sword Coast was literally the first area of the Forgotten Realms that Ed Greenwood described. In 1966, he began writing about a rogue merchant by the name of Mirt, who traveled through Waterdeep, Port Llast, Luskan, Mirabar, and Neverwinter, as well as a few lands further south. These northern lands all appeared on a map by 1967, after which Greenwood began to map inward, revealing the High Forest and the Spine of the World. In 1978, when he started to shepherd players through the Realms regularly in D&D, Waterdeep and these Northern lands were their first adventuring grounds; after adventuring in Undermountain, the characters took on caravan guarding duties that took them to Everlund, Silverymoon, and Sundabar.

Unsurprisingly, this extensive background showed up in dribs and drabs in Greenwood's Dragon articles, many years before the Forgotten Realms became a TSR campaign setting. The goddess Silverymoon was described way back in "Down-to-Earth Divinity" in Dragon #54 (October 1981). However, most of the northern cities weren't mentioned until Greenwood began writing articles on the histories of magic items in the mid-80s. Thus, Longsaddle and Luskan were mentioned in articles like "Pages from the Mages" in Dragon #62 (June 1982), "More Pages from the Mages" in Dragon #69 (January 1983), "Seven Swords" in Dragon #74 (June 1983), and "Pages from the Mages III" in Dragon #92 (December 1984). Amusingly, Mirabar was first referenced in "The Ecology of the Rust Monster" in Dragon #92 (December 1984).

Much more substantive information on the North appeared after Forgotten Realms became a TSR setting. This began with FR1: "Waterdeep and the North" (1987), which provided a broad overview of the area. However, Greenwood didn't have nearly enough room for all his material on the North. Some of it appeared in "Welcome to Waterdeep" in Dragon #128 (December 1987), while other material was handed to Jennell Jaquays as the basis for FR5: "The Savage Frontier" (1988).

Many more readers probably learned about the North thanks to the novels of R.A. Salvatore. The Crystal Shard (1988) provided the first-ever look at Icewind Dale and the Ten Towns, while Streams of Silver (1989) toured through many of the important locales of the Silver Marches, including the Evermoors, Longsaddle, and (of course) Mithril Hall.

In short, Volo's Guide to the North took the scattered details that had come before and provided more in-depth descriptions for many of the areas of the North, including smaller towns and villages that had previously received little attention.

Future History. Following "The Savage Frontier" and Volo's Guide to the North, the next major supplement covering the north was The North: Guide to the Savage Frontier (1996), a massive boxed set.

About the Creators. Ed Greenwood is, of course, the creator of the Forgotten Realms. In 1993, he was very busy with a massive revival of the Realms. This included the first two Volo Guides, the Revised Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting (1993), PG2: Player's Guide to the Forgotten Realms (1993), and a few others.

Two of the editors of the book are also of note, though: Victor K. Wertz and Lisa Stevens were both theoretically working for a small RPG publisher named Wizards of the Coast at the time. However, many of Wizards' employees were then looking for other work due to a lawsuit tying up all of the company's money. Ironically, Wizards would buy TSR just four years later.

We (Wizards) recognize that some of the legacy content available on this website does not reflect the values of the Dungeons & Dragons franchise today. Some older content may reflect ethnic, racial, and gender prejudice that were commonplace in American society at that time. These depictions were wrong then and are wrong today. This content is presented as it was originally created, because to do otherwise would be the same as claiming these prejudices never existed. Dungeons & Dragons teaches that diversity is a strength, and we strive to make our D&D products as welcoming and inclusive as possible. This part of our work will never end.

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Darrell L April 30, 2024 6:25 pm UTC
Yes, POD, please! Do you have no interest in expanding your portfolio without having to increase inventory?
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Brian Z March 30, 2024 6:14 am UTC
POD please
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Jay B July 21, 2022 6:09 pm UTC
Why is there no POD version of this book?
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KELLY P June 22, 2022 9:22 pm UTC
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Wesley H May 20, 2022 2:00 pm UTC
POD please
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David D April 27, 2022 5:07 pm UTC
Can we have this on POD please? like the rest of the series :)
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Peter B April 10, 2022 12:35 pm UTC
POD option please, the rest of the series has been great, would like to complete the set
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Thomas C March 31, 2022 11:10 pm UTC
would love a pod, please take my money
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File Last Updated:
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This title was added to our catalog on March 31, 2022.