Monte Cook Games’ Next Kickstarter Is Ptolus (for 5E and Cypher)

Monte Cook Games’ February Kickstarter (they tend to operate on about two per year) is Monte Cook’s massive city setting Ptolus. It will be available for both D&D 5E and for their own Cypher System.

The original was a nearly 700-page book which came out in 2006.

“The critically-acclaimed Ptolus: Monte Cook’s City by the Spire is a 672-page hardcover with additional physical and digital content and premium production values. It details the fantasy city of Ptolus, an adventurer’s haven built atop vast underground dungeons and adjacent to a massive, mysterious spire. The book is lavishly illustrated and contains scores of detailed maps, along with uncountable NPCs, creatures, locations, and items. The original printing sold out upon release, and is one of the most highly sought-after RPG titles on the collector’s market. It has since been available as a print-on-demand title, but in a two-book format that lacks premium features.

The new Ptolus will release in two versions: one for 5e, and another for the Cypher System. The book will follow the format of the original as closely as possible, and retain all of its premium design features. The Ptolus Kickstarter campaign launches in February.”

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Russ Morrissey

Comments

Oh, and worst case scenario, just start the Banewarrens adventure once they get inside. It's partly set in the city, and partly set in a dungeon adjacent to it, and gets you right into the action pretty fast, as well as barrelling the group straight at the thematic heart of the setting.
Or if you have access to the dungeon adventure mad gods key, you can start at the docks....
 

BenTheFerg

Explorer
I bought the book with the PDFs when it originally came out. It is a beautiful book, and really well organized in terms of how they use sidebars.

However, it is lacking in random tables and I would argue use-abilty...

The good news is, since then, OSR folks have been trying to help make urban crawling more doable on the fly. I know the author is now disgraced, but the Vornheim book does illustrate how to make a city book more user friendly. Less is more.... I sincerely hope random tables are added to this work. But I doubt it.

I also hope ideas from Stormreach (for Eberron) are used: getting more adventure hooks for each section of the city. With that book I managed to create a massive table of possible inciting incidents for each sector, giving PCs a treasure trove of options to explore.

Likewise, the Razor Coast does really well in creating mini encounters and inciting incidents to give pcs options..... Different choices lead into different aspects of the campaign.

At the moment, in Ptolus, all of the encounter zones are there, waiting. But other than running the linear campaigns - Nights of Dissolution and The Banewarrens - there is a lack of help for helping the GM mine the book and a lack of inciting incidents which can slowly pull PCs into various events.

There are loads of interesting factions but again, beyond a simple relationship map, not much is done with them in the core book.....

I sincerely hope these are worked on..... I'll certainly keep my eyes on the KS and see how it develops. I would love it if these concerns are addressed..... Fingers crossed!
 
The good news is, since then, OSR folks have been trying to help make urban crawling more doable on the fly. I know the author is now disgraced, but the Vornheim book does illustrate how to make a city book more user friendly. Less is more.... I sincerely hope random tables are added to this work. But I doubt it.
I have game designer friends who hate random tables. While they're definitely huge in the OSR community -- I've got a copy of the Dungeon Dozen and have Kickstarted all three volumes of Goodman Games Dungeon Alphabet series, myself -- I don't think they're universally seen as a must-have.

That said, it would be amazing if Monte created some sort of license to allow people to create content for Ptolus. Even without it, though, it's not hard to find urban random tables to use with it. (Heck, you could use the 1E DMG charts, if you wanted to, and I'm guessing most OSR fans know and have access to them.)
 
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BenTheFerg

Explorer
Well I didn't mean replace content with random tables but add them. And not any old table but bespoke ones for each section of the city. As a gaming aid to the time pressed GM.... At the moment for me, it is not usable without a ton of work unlike Stormreach.

With you in the open content for DMs guild!👍
 
Are you really arguing that without random tables it doesnt have use ability?

You might have purchased it, but you couldnt have read it very well. Has tons of use ability and hooks if you read it. Each section has hooks in it.

Chaos cults, hunger swords, druid center in the center of cemetary, etc.....
 

pogre

Adventurer
Had the original and it was a well made and very well organized book. Sold it for good cash. If they have a limited, luxury edition I might be tempted. I can usually cash those books out for near purchase price later if I don't use it. If I do use it - it is worth every penny. I have bought and sold so many books I just did not get mileage out of...
 

BenTheFerg

Explorer
Are you really arguing that without random tables it doesnt have use ability?

You might have purchased it, but you couldnt have read it very well. Has tons of use ability and hooks if you read it. Each section has hooks in it.

Chaos cults, hunger swords, druid center in the center of cemetary, etc.....
Thanks. I can read perfectly well.

Running Ptolus worked for you. Good. But not for me. And not for the want of trying. Thus my post and suggestions!

I have run monster campaigns including Masks of Nyarlathotep and Stormreach (urban Eberron city adventuring)..... Plus recently the Curse of Strahd and the Darkening of Mirkwood... Currently running a Sharn city urban-crawl ..... I read lots! Am educated to MSc level YET I find Ptolus hard to mine.... & Construct a sandbox for beyond running the official adventures... And I'm not alone. Thus my suggestions at adding random tables, more inciting incidents, mini adventures which help busy GMs (I am time poor) bring such a massive setting alive at the table.
 
Thanks. I can read perfectly well.

Running Ptolus worked for you. Good. But not for me. And not for the want of trying. Thus my post and suggestions!

I have run monster campaigns including Masks of Nyarlathotep and Stormreach (urban Eberron city adventuring)..... Plus recently the Curse of Strahd and the Darkening of Mirkwood... Currently running a Sharn city urban-crawl ..... I read lots! Am educated to MSc level YET I find Ptolus hard to mine.... & Construct a sandbox for beyond running the official adventures... And I'm not alone. Thus my suggestions at adding random tables, more inciting incidents, mini adventures which help busy GMs (I am time poor) bring such a massive setting alive at the table.
The fact is you claimed it didnt have usability might be the reason i asked.

Setting is quite alive without those tables if you read it. I played a 5 year campagin and dont think we hit even a fraction of whats it the book. Hell i bet we could play 3 more 5 year campaigns and not deal with same iems.

I know i wasnt alone in that. Hell i remember the old forums and the ideas that came just from the book.
 

scruffygrognard

Adventurer
I'd love to buy this for 5e, as I have and love the 3e version, but it's a bit pricey for the option that I'd like. I wish there were a cheaper option for just the main book and 5 Player's Guide in print (with no PDFs).

Pledge $220 or more
HERO
OUTFIT YOUR GAME GROUP! You get Ptolus in print, for either 5e or the Cypher System (you’ll tell us which after the campaign), along with FIVE copies of the Ptolus Player’s Guide in print. You also get Ptolus in PDF for 5e, Cypher System, and the original 3e version, along with a number of related titles (27 products—over $250 in value!), delivered just a few weeks after this campaign ends.
Shipping is charged at the time we fulfill your reward. See Shipping on the main Kickstarter text.
INCLUDES:
  • Ptolus for your choice of 5e or the Cypher System in print
  • 5× Ptolus Player's Guide in print
  • Ptolus for 5e in PDF
  • Ptolus for the Cypher System in PDF
  • Ptolus for 3e in PDF delivered early
  • Collection of additional 3e Ptolus titles delivered early
 
The current version of the Players Guide is available to download free from the Kickstarter page. I don't think it's worth paying additional money for at this point, as your players can just use the PDF instead.

As it is, you're going to have to hand over the full campaign setting to help people making characters if they're playing lizardfolk or Litorians or the like, making each of those Players Guides a very expensive item of medium-at-best value.

If they change direction and make the Players Guide more robust, just picking up a single copy is probably sufficient for that side of the screen.
 

ruemere

Explorer
How do you put d20 into Cypher system?

I feel that design premises, heroics, adventure design (encounters) work differently (and I am really uncomfortable about same stats / pools used for actions and damage in a fantasy system created for dungeon delving).

I played Torment, and really hated random fights eating up my stats regardless of whether I attacked or defended.
 

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