Signup
Welcome to... Canonfire! World of GreyhawK
Features
Postcards from the Flanaess
Adventures
in Greyhawk
Cities of
Oerth
Deadly
Denizens
Jason Zavoda Presents
The Gord Novels
Greyhawk Wiki
#greytalk
JOIN THE CHAT
ON DISCORD
    Literature in the Flanaess: The Travels of Marck Polstar
    Posted on Sat, March 19, 2005 by Dongul
    gvdammerung writes "Fraud. Liar. Thief. Conman. Marck Polstar has been called all this and worse. Deserved? Judge for yourself. Literature in the Flanaess: The Travels of Marck Polstar looks at the travel writings of one of the most infamous figures in the World of Greyhawk. Three travelogues by Polstar are presented. Travelogues are a highly specialized type of historic writing. They rely as much on an author’s personal experiences, recollections and descriptions as upon his ability to place these in a historic context. Or in Polstar's case, a fictional context? You decide.

    Literature in the Flanaess: The Travels of Marck Polstar
    By: Glenn Vincent Dammerung, aka GVDammerung
    Used with Permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.

    Travelogues are a highly specialized type of historic writing. They rely as much on an author’s personal experiences, recollections and descriptions as upon his ability to place these in a historic context. Often, no such context will exist. Rather, the author will simply record events or history in an almost inadvertent manner. Travelogues are in this sense a substitute for a true history or an adjunct to a true history. This does not mean that travelogues are inherently inferior, of no use, or unreliable. It all depends upon the author and his or her personality.

    It is true that travelogues are too often as much fiction as fact. It is, therefore, essential that the reader not accept any fact presented in a travelogue as more likely true or untrue. It is best for the reader to test an author in light of the reader’s own judgments and knowledge. Of course, if there is nothing else to go on, a travelogue may well be the best, and only, source of information.

    Discussed below is the most famous, followed by some of the most infamous, of travelogues. All are written by Marck Polstar. To call Polstar a complete fraud and self-serving conman would go too far. However, to imagine that he has been everywhere, seen everything and done all that he claims stretches credulity. Certainly, Polstar’s later work is most suspect. Readers must, however, ultimately reach their own judgments.

    The Travels of Marck Polstar
    by Marck Polstar (1 Volume)
    1st Edition - 556 CY

    Note - The author personally autographed all 1st editions, by which they may be known as genuine.

    The most famous of all travelogues is also among the most suspect. Marck Polstar, a merchant’s son from Verbobonc, recounts he and his father’s trek into the Western regions of Oerik. Specifically, he relates details of the Celestial Imperium, which is said to exist beyond the Tyurzi Mountains. Polstar meets the emperor, proves to be of service in various undertakings and returns home laden with riches. It is a fine adventure but the question remains whether any of it is true.

    There is no corroborating evidence that may be had. Baklunish oral accounts of the Celestial Imperium vary. Debates about the precise nature of the Celestial Imperium seem destined to continue. For practical purposes, the Travels are thus of little use to the scholar, save as a starting point for further inquiry. Would-be adventurers, who would venture forth in Polstar’s footsteps, are even more advised to make greater researches before setting out.

    Sailing to Fireland
    by Marck Polstar (1 Volume)
    1st Edition - 580 CY

    Note - The author personally autographed all 1st editions, by which they may be known as genuine.

    The eponymous and peripatetic author of The Travels of Marck Polstar returns, this time aboard ship and sailing for the mythical Fireland. Once again, the author finds himself in lordly, if yet strange, company. He has various adventures wherein he proves more capable than his hosts and the native inhabitants. He then returns home to the Flanaess laden with riches. It stretches credulity to imagine that the author has again ventured into the unknown to return crowned with success, but then stranger events have occurred.

    This volume trades heavily, and successfully, on the fame of the prior Travels by the same author. It is not nearly as precise in its details, charitably perhaps because the author, by his own admission, is not an experienced sailor. The similarities are otherwise striking. The dragons, serpent-men and cowled wizards of the Travels are replaced by giants, drow and fur-clad barbarians in Fireland. The book is, if possible, even more dubious than the first.

    Swamp of Death
    by Marck Polstar (1 Volume)
    1st Edition - 588 CY

    Note - The author personally autographed all 1st editions, by which they may be known as genuine.

    Once again, and finally, the author of Travels and Fireland returns. Now grown tired and old, both in years and as an author, this title is worthy of mention only because of the notoriety of the author’s prior two volumes and because the degenerate nature of Swamp of Death suggests strongly that the author’s talents may have been too much esteemed from the first. Now retired to the Yeomanry, Swamp of Death sees the author trekking into the fastness of the bogs, marshes and bayous that separate Keoland from the Hold of the Sea Princes. What transpires is amazing only in its vacuous and insipid telling.

    Nearly worthless as anything other than low farce, to scholar or layman, Swamp of Death is the worst sort travelogue that gives the genre a bad name. Polstar is almost single-handedly responsible for the near ruination of this type of writing, the wide notoriety gained only exacerbating the problem. Thankfully, earlier travelogues of substantial merit are not forgotten by sages. Swamp of Death thus stands as an ironic but fitting end to the Polstar contretemps. Future authors of travelogues owe Polstar little.

    Author’s End Note
    The four-entry travelogue subgroup of Greyhawk Bibliographica begins with Polstar. Travelogues are by their nature less purely reliable that general or petit histories. To drive this point home, Polstar appears in the first travelogue entry. At the same time, residents of the Flanaess would doubtless regard Polstar’s adventures as fantastic. From the worst of travelogues to the best in the next installment.

    "
     
    Related Links
    · More about The Library
    · News by Dongul


    Most read story about The Library:

    Edel in Greyhawk and the Flanaess: An Overview of Psionics

    Article Rating
    Average Score: 3.44
    Votes: 9


    Please take a second and vote for this article:

    Excellent
    Very Good
    Good
    Regular
    Bad

    Options

     Printer Friendly Printer Friendly

    The comments are owned by the poster. We aren't responsible for their content.

    No Comments Allowed for Anonymous, please register

    Re: Literature in the Flanaess: The Travels of Marck Polstar (Score: 1)
    by Scottenkainen on Mon, March 21, 2005
    (User Info | Send a Message)
    Travels - Perhaps not surprisingly, Marck's account is mostly accurate if you also accept my "Overview of Oerik" article.

    Fireland - I generally dislike any mention of drow, the most overhyped monster in the history of D&D, but it is important to note that drow are meant to be regarded as fictional in the Flanaess, so it doesn't hurt that Polstar's travelogs are not believed to be authentic.

    Swamp of Death - I wonder if Randy Richards will wince when he reads this one?

    ~Scott C.



    Re: Literature in the Flanaess: The Travels of Marck Polstar (Score: 1)
    by GVDammerung on Mon, March 21, 2005
    (User Info | Send a Message)
    Hi Scott,

    You are as they say, "a Gentleman and a Scholar." :D This particular article has an interesting genesis, as you may have surmised.

    I was going to do an alternate write-up of Polstar, as I liked your version and I wanted to perpetuate it (given that Dragon 253 was some time ago). Then, a funny thing happened on the way to the word-processor.

    I attended a Thursday Greychat and a "GH Personage of Note" told one of the funniest and most fascinating stories I can remember hearing. It involved two feuding Greyfans and ended with one of the great punchlines I can recall hearing. (I understand Greychat protocol to be "what happens Vegas stays in Vegas" or I would elaborate).

    With that recounted story, Marck Polstar got his own entry and changed personas. And it works within the context of the series as you have noted.

    If the "GH Personage of Note," might read this and wished to elaborate that would be fine, or if either Greyfan wishes to elaborate that would be fine. Otherwise, I'll have to leave it that the Thursday Greychat is often fascinating (particularly if you are new to online fandom such as myself). :D



    ]


    Re: Literature in the Flanaess: The Travels of Marck Polstar (Score: 1)
    by Serolf on Mon, March 28, 2005
    (User Info | Send a Message)
    Hello GVD,

    Is this Marck Polstar related to the Marek Polstar of Scott Capser Dragon #253 article ?
    A great grand son or something like ? Writing in the same way as its ancestor some 158 years later ?
    Could it be simple forgery to gain wealth in selling these books to "collectors" ?

    Just wondering.
    By the way, i think that your books serie is fantastic, great work man.

    Cedric



    Re: Literature in the Flanaess: The Travels of Marck Polstar (Score: 1)
    by GVDammerung on Tue, March 29, 2005
    (User Info | Send a Message)
    Thank you. :) I was wondering if someone was going to catch that. Good eyes! Actually, the variant spelling started out as a tribute to my inability to spell. :) I caught it. Then, I got to thinking. My take on Polestar is different in its tone than Scott's in Dragon 253. The accidental misspelling allows both to exist or to be "true" or they can be the same, except one uses a variant spelling - DMs choice. I ended up liking the ambiguity and left the mistake in place.


    ]


    Re: Literature in the Flanaess: The Travels of Marck Polstar (Score: 1)
    by Serolf on Tue, March 29, 2005
    (User Info | Send a Message)
    I think i will introduce both in my next campaign library, to confuse a bit the PCs, as actually they speak of an expedition to the Suel waste, and as i have nothing prepared on that subject. Some mislead could be good.
    Speaking of libraries, in which ones will you have a copy of the books of your serie (greyhawk, chendl, rauxes, ... ?) ? Some suggestion could be a nice bit of information.
    Also, have you thought of some benefits in game terms, for reading the books, or having them handy for reference, in the way of Scott's article ?


    ]


    Re: Literature in the Flanaess: The Travels of Marck Polstar (Score: 1)
    by GVDammerung on Tue, March 29, 2005
    (User Info | Send a Message)
    Hi Serolf,

    Most large libraries would have a 50/50 chance of having a copy of these books (but probably not the rarer early editions), as they are fairly well-known. Certainly, the large libraries in Greyhawk and Rel Astra and the university libraries in Rel Mord and Niole Dra would have a very good chance of having a copy.

    I've thought about doing an article on libraries as institutions but there are several pretty good d20 or other game books on libraries available.

    Scott's article is great for "in game" benefits. I thought about going that route but decided against it for two reasons:

    (1) IMC, the books have never had these kinds of benefits; it has more been about just the information in a particular volume; and

    (2) I wanted to distinguish books from magic items etc. and have books be interesting and valuable for their own sake.

    Scott's approach is certainly a good one and would be an excellent source for ideas if you wanted to provide particular "in game" benefits to any of these volumes.


    ]



    Canonfire! is a production of the Thursday Group in assocation with GREYtalk and Canonfire! Enterprises

    Contact the Webmaster.  Long Live Spidasa!


    Greyhawk Gothic Font by Darlene Pekul is used under the Creative Commons License.

    PHP-Nuke Copyright © 2005 by Francisco Burzi. This is free software, and you may redistribute it under the GPL. PHP-Nuke comes with absolutely no warranty, for details, see the license.
    Page Generation: 0.56 Seconds