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Marco Volo: Journey (2e)
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Marco Volo: Journey (2e)

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Marco Volo - Journey is the second volume of the Marco Volo trilogy, designed for four to eight player characters of 6th to 8th level. This free-wheeling adventure began in Waterdeep as the characters set out on an intrgiue-laden journey to Shadwodale. Accompanying them is Marcus Wands (also known as "Marco Volo"), a bothersome but likeable little rogue.

After leaving the Way Inn, the party heads for the Chauntean Monastery near Berdusk, where they have been promised safe shelter. Arrinving at the monastery. all seems pastoral and pleasant...but of course, things are never quite that simple.

After escaping from the monastery, the PCs run afoul of King Azoun's Purple Dragons on the lookout for the infamous thief, Marco Volo. Only the timely intervention of a band of wandering entertainers enables the party to continue on its way.

While on the road with Heino's Woodland Troupe, the characters learn the joys of being in a traveling repertory company, performing for a different audience each night. In the course of the adventure, the PCs also learn more about Marcus and his secrets - some of his secrets, anyway. There's still the matter of the mysterious letter, and that powerful artifact from another plane, the Dragonking's Eye.

The adventure ends with Shadowdale in sight not to be reached, however, without a final confrontation with the notorious mage-assassin Felibarr Blacklance.

This volume of the Marco Volo trilogy offers DMs the opportunity to run unusual encounters, and it calls for considerable role playing from all. Player characters cannot easily rely on their swords and spells to get them out of the brawls and misunderstandings that arise. What results is a dramatic but picaresque enterprise as the adventure continues!

Product History

"Marco Volo: Journey" (1994), by Anthony Pryor, is the second in a trilogy of Forgotten Realms adventures. It was published in July 1994.

Origins (I): The Realms Adventures. In May 1994, TSR kicked off a trilogy of Forgotten Realms adventures with "Marco Volo: Departure" (1994). "Marco Volo: Journey" (1994) directly continues the story begun in "Departure".

Origins (II): Sources. "Journey" continues to share the inspirations of its predecessor, including the writings of Alexandre Dumas (1802-1870) and Rafael Sabatini (1875-1950). However, "Journey" is not only the heart of the adventure's eponymous voyage, but also a rather unique one, as the party joins a traveling group of entertainers. So Pryor notes a few new sources that focus on "traveling players and their practices". These include Shakespeare's Hamlet (~1600) and Tom Stoppard's related Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead (1966). A third suggested source, Karl Wagner's Dark Crusade (1976), again touches upon bands of entertainers, but this time with a more swords & sorcery bent.

Adventure Tropes. The entire Marco Volo sequence is a series of linear and episodic encounters. The author describes them as picaresque, a style of fiction where episodic encounters occur as part of a journey between places; it's particularly apt for this middle volume.

Exploring the Realms. Ed Greenwood's Realms originally focused on a trio of locales: the Sword Coast, Cormyr, and the Dalelands. They'd all received some attention in previous TSR supplements, but they'd always been somewhat disconnected. One of the wonders of the Marco Volo adventures is that it portrays a journey through the locales — from Waterdeep to Shadowdale.

As the middle adventure, "Journey" puts it attention on the middle setting: Cormyr, recently featured in its own sourcebook (1994). It begins at the Way Inn, then moves on to Heartlands city of Berdusk. From there it dives into Cormyr, first journeying through the Stonelands, then moving to more civilized parts of the kingdom.

NPCs of Note. Marco Volo (Marcus Wands) of course continues to be the star of this adventure. Master Heino, a gnomish illusionist, is also of note, as the PCs take refuge with his band of entertainers.

About the Creators. Pryor had been writing for TSR since 1991, but 1994 was his most prolific year, with contributions to Elminster's Ecologies (1994) and solo authorship of the three Marco Volo adventures as well as Elves of Evermeet (1994).

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

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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File Last Updated:
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This title was added to our catalog on November 01, 2016.