Volothamp Geddarm, or Volo for short, was a legendary traveler and storyteller, and was most famous for his guidebook published by Tym Waterdeep Limited.
He was oft portrayed as the quintessential "go-to guy" of the Realms even if his information was, at best, half-accurate. He was too curious for his own good.
While Volo's reputation was well-earned and well-kept, there were others who tended to profit from it, the most well-known being Marco Volo, as he styled himself when it suits him, also known as Marcus Wands, of the famous Wands family of wizards. A trouble-making bard, Wands gained Volothamp's moniker after he stole an artifact from a powerful wizard, and laid the blame on the far more infamous scapegoat of the real Volo. Pursued by the mad mage and his forces, and protected by adventurers hired by his father, Marco came into his own at the finale, when the artifact was revealed as containing a god from another world, who had come to Toril along with Marco's family. The Sunstaffs, as they were known then, had, through the generations, been destined to keep the god imprisoned. Marco awakened to his destiny with the help of the adventurers, his own intuition, and the gods Tyr, Sune and Corellon Larethian.
- Volo's Guide to All Things Magical
- First notable work. Written c. 1356 DR with a reprint (with the help of Elminster) published in 1367 DR.
- Volo's Guide to the Bloodstone Lands
- Unreleased. Written between 1360 - 1362 DR.
- Volo's Guide to Calimport
- Notes and a copy of an old draft can be found in Candlekeep, all final drafts were destroyed by Calishite pashas or Rundeen agents. Written between 1364 - 1365 DR.
- Volo's Guide to Cormyr
- Written between 1367 - 1368 DR.
- Volo's Guide to the Dalelands
- Written between 1368 - 1369 DR.
- Volo's Guide to the Lands of Intrigue
- Written in 1369 DR with an abridged version (which was much more widely distributed) released by Elminster the next year.
- Volo's Guide to the Moonsea
- Unreleased. Extant copies were suppressed by the Zhentarim. Written between 1357 - 1358 DR.
- Volo's Guide to the North
- Written between 1365 - 1366 DR.
- Volo's Guide to the Sword Coast
- Written between 1366 - 1367 DR.
- Volo's Guide to the Vast
- Unreleased. Original is owned by a resident of Raven's Bluff. Written between 1358 - 1360 DR.
- Volo's Guide to Waterdeep
- Written between 1363 - 1365 DR.
- Volo's Guide to Westgate & the Dragon Coast
- Commissioned work. Original is held by a noble of Yhaunn. Written between 1362 - 1363 DR.
- Volo's Complete Guide to the Behaviour of Nymphs
- A work mentioned briefly in Storm of Zehir. Volo reluctantly agreed not to publish it after Elminster deemed it 'too naughty'.
- Volo's Guide to Monsters
- A treatise on monster lore, with annotations and comments by Elminster. Sometime in the late 1480s or early 1490s DR Volo sold autographed hardcover copies to travelers and nobles in Port Nyanzaru for 50gp.
Sometime in the late 1480s or early 1490s DR Volo stayed in Port Nyanzaru to visit taverns to promote his new book and to set up audiences with the seven merchant princes. He gladly shared the latest rumors and information he overheard since arriving in town with adventurers.
Volothamp Geddarm—"Volo" for short—, along with Elminster, is arguably one of the two most lasting fictional characters created by Ed Greenwood for the Forgotten Realms Dungeons & Dragons campaign setting.
It is through Volo's perspective that Greenwood authored his detailed Forgotten Realms lore-books of the Volo's Guide series: Volo's Guide to Baldur's Gate (note that this, and its sequel, relate to the city and not the computer game), Volo's Guide to Cormyr, Volo's Guide to the Dalelands, Volo's Guide to the North, Volo's Guide to the Sword Coast, Volo's Guide to Waterdeep, Volo's Guide: the Sword Coast No 2, and Volo's Guide to Baldur's Gate II.
In fact, it was his assembling his "first" guide—Volo's Guide To All Things Magical—that put him on the "path" to making his other guides. As for Elminster, it is he who edits every guide that Volo has published, as evident in the many footnotes in each, including Volo's Guide to All Things Magical, which almost got Volo killed making it.
"Volo" is not to be confused with "Marco Volo", real name Marco Wands, of the Wands family of Waterdeep.