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.”

C2F6E07C-6CD1-4820-A85E-A395717B3A29.jpeg
 
Russ Morrissey

Comments

Aldarc

Hero
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).
Jein. This is one of the things that leads the Cypher System to feel a bit more like OSR. There is not necessarily low HP, but there is a resource management game involving the risk/reward spending of your stat pools. IME, this leads to players being more cautious about combat, exploration, and other encounters that may deplete their pools. A lot of the Numenera game does entail dungeon-delving, as your are exploring lost ruins or exotic locations in search of numenera, such as cyphers, artifacts, and schema for devices. This goes back to the prior point as the XP incentives in Numenera is not around defeating monsters or combat, but in making discoveries, uncovering artifacts, and so on.
 

ruemere

Explorer
Jein. This is one of the things that leads the Cypher System to feel a bit more like OSR. There is not necessarily low HP, but there is a resource management game involving the risk/reward spending of your stat pools. IME, this leads to players being more cautious about combat, exploration, and other encounters that may deplete their pools. A lot of the Numenera game does entail dungeon-delving, as your are exploring lost ruins or exotic locations in search of numenera, such as cyphers, artifacts, and schema for devices. This goes back to the prior point as the XP incentives in Numenera is not around defeating monsters or combat, but in making discoveries, uncovering artifacts, and so on.
I see your points, it's just that paying stats to just try something, with the payment stat being also your hitponts, does not sit well with me.

It really turned me off.

Yes, there is the option of not paying but unless your character is extremely experienced, you will be seriously handicapped.
 
I would love to have this, but I can't afford $150 and I don't want it in PDF.

Maybe I can convince one of our DMs to buy it instead :)
At this price point (kind of like Beadle & Grimm's stuff), this feels like a joint table purchase kind of Kickstarter.

I am not kidding when I say I've been using the 3E edition for 14 years. I've also been a player in a related campaign for most of that period. So for me, it definitely is worth its very high sticker price.
 

Aldarc

Hero
I see your points, it's just that paying stats to just try something, with the payment stat being also your hitponts, does not sit well with me.

It really turned me off.

Yes, there is the option of not paying but unless your character is extremely experienced, you will be seriously handicapped.
If you don't like it, then you don't like it. That's okay. I have found that reception of the Cypher System tends to be more divisive than other games.

However, I have not really experienced much of an issue with what you describe either as a player or as a GM running the game. This difference, in part, may stem from differences of experiences between the TTRPG and the computer game. For example, you don't have to really pay stats to try something unless you are expending Effort or using an ability that has an associated pool cost. But typically the cost comes either from a pool that your Type excels at or from a pool that you are not using as much, such as a Glaive using Intellect-based powers.
 

ruemere

Explorer
If you don't like it, then you don't like it. That's okay. I have found that reception of the Cypher System tends to be more divisive than other games.

However, I have not really experienced much of an issue with what you describe either as a player or as a GM running the game. This difference, in part, may stem from differences of experiences between the TTRPG and the computer game. For example, you don't have to really pay stats to try something unless you are expending Effort or using an ability that has an associated pool cost. But typically the cost comes either from a pool that your Type excels at or from a pool that you are not using as much, such as a Glaive using Intellect-based powers.
I agree that my experiences may be skewed by cRPG.
Question - is there any online play example of Cypher-based dungeon delving?

Note: The reason for my interest is that I would love to invest in Ptolus Kickstarter, however I would hate to purchase an elaborate paper press. And the Kickstarter lacks Cypher-related details. I am also not a 5E person (more a PF1, quite a lot 13A, quite disdainful of PF2's "combat mode, interact/manipulate action" tag-tag-tag festival).
 

DragonBelow

Explorer
I agree that my experiences may be skewed by cRPG.
Question - is there any online play example of Cypher-based dungeon delving?

Note: The reason for my interest is that I would love to invest in Ptolus Kickstarter, however I would hate to purchase an elaborate paper press. And the Kickstarter lacks Cypher-related details. I am also not a 5E person (more a PF1, quite a lot 13A, quite disdainful of PF2's "combat mode, interact/manipulate action" tag-tag-tag festival).
You might be better served by the 3.5 version then, which you can buy at drivethru and what not
 

Aldarc

Hero
Question - is there any online play example of Cypher-based dungeon delving?
Not that I am aware of, but a substantial portion of official Numenera adventures are fundamentally dungeon-delving bizarre science-fantasy ruins: e.g., crashed spaceships, space stations, science facilities/labs, the remains of an alien biomechanical creature, etc. However, I would say that Numenera leans more heavily on the Exploration pillar of dungeon-crawling, whereas (again, IME) D&D leans more heavily on the Combat pillar of dungeon-crawling. Numenera is less about fighting monsters in dungeons and more about recovering numenera in dungeons.

The Jade Colossus is a dungeon-delve centered around a mysterious jade structure that randomly burst from the ground beside a town five years ago. The book includes resources for making randomly generated maps and various encounter tables.

---------

I would be curious to see how the Cypher System handles the playable fantasy bioforms of Ptolus. The Cypher System is more anthropocentric, with most of its fantasy settings presuming that you are human. Alien and fantasy species exist for Numenera, the Strange, and Gods of the Fall, but they are not entirely satisfying as it requires your Descriptor, whereas humans get to be an Intelligent Jacks, a varjeen only gets to be a Varjeen Jack. However, I would probably prefer having species/race being mostly cosmetic and then letting players have the option to choose from species/bioform-based themes. I'm not sure if this is the route that Monte & Co. will go.
 

Mistwell

Legend
For reference, the book was $120 14 years ago. 30 dollars more in that time isnt bad
I am not saying it's an unfair price. I am saying I cannot justify that expense for this product for my family.

If it were $8.33/month for 18 months...naw I still couldn't justify that recurring payment for a single product like this. Because it's not something I share with my entire family, like a movie or amusement park visit or bike or netflix subscription. Nor is it something useful for my ability to bring in more money, like work clothing or gas for my car. It's pure entertainment and of the "just me and not the entire family" type. I can justify $30 for something like that, but not $150 in one shot.
 

teitan

Adventurer
As much as I love the Ptolus campaign, I would have rather seen an updated Arcana Unearthed setting/ruleset for either the Cypher system or 5e. My favorite setting for 3.x, only because it was a unique take on the fantasy genre, magic and races. Sigh... I just need to do myself, don't I?
I'd buy that. I am kind of working on a 5e setting myself with some similarities because I loved Arcana Unearthed so much. Diamond Throne was a wonderful setting. I'd back Ptolus as well if we could afford it.
 

Eyes of Nine

Everything's Fine
Thats something id like to see. Its whats missing in the 5e era. Variety of settings.
So at first I was like - what do you mean, we've got Ravnica, Eberron, Chult, the Underdark, and the entirety of the Sword Coast!

But then I thought about it - I'd love to have more official content that takes place on Faerun that isn't Sword Coast. Moonshae Isles; Sea of Fallen Stars (that's where one of my current campaigns is set); Calimshan; Amn; Tethyr - so much. And that's just Faerun!

Therefore, I guess I agree with Carmen Sbordone here...
 
So at first I was like - what do you mean, we've got Ravnica, Eberron, Chult, the Underdark, and the entirety of the Sword Coast!

But then I thought about it - I'd love to have more official content that takes place on Faerun that isn't Sword Coast. Moonshae Isles; Sea of Fallen Stars (that's where one of my current campaigns is set); Calimshan; Amn; Tethyr - so much. And that's just Faerun!

Therefore, I guess I agree with Carmen Sbordone here...
3 of those listed are same setting world. 1 of those JUST came out recently.

There are so much that could be but isnt.
 

jhilahd

Explorer
True enough.
But we actually have quite a few to choose from.
Here are a few off the top of my head and in no particular order(these are either on my shelf or hard drive, supported in/on kickstarter or seen on drivethrurpg/dmsguild):
  • Forgotten Realms,
  • Eberron,
  • Ravnica,
  • Ravenloft,
  • Exandria,
  • Midgard,
  • Seas of Vodari,
  • Odyssey of the Dragon Lords,
  • Dark Matter,
  • Esper Genesis,
  • Adventures in Middle Earth,
  • Primeval Thule,
  • The Spy Game,
  • Humblewood,
  • Pugmire/Monarchies of Mau,
  • Scarred Lands,
  • Filbar,
  • Mist of Akuma,
  • Ultra Modern 5(more toolkit but has some setting material),
  • 5th Evolution from Limitless Adventures (micro settings - supers, 80's horror, and ww2)
  • Arcanis
  • Lost Lands
  • Zodiac Empires
  • Carbon 2185
  • Ponyfinder
  • Genefunk
  • Whispers in the Dark(amazing)
  • Zeitgeist
  • War of the Burning Sky
And I'm sure there are more. I'm 99% sure I'm missing stuff.
The point is, there are alot of options available right now.
What else would you like to see?

The reason I pointed out the Arcana Unearthed was that it was the first time I saw a unified spellcaster system for D&D, player managed (not spell points) spell slots, non-standard races and classes that weren't traditional fantasy races.
And that whetted my imagination like no other setting has in awhile.

And when I get over my "burn-out" slump, I'll have a hard time picking a campaign setting or making my own.
I'm telling ya a Ghosts of Saltmarsh/Seas of Vodari/Ptolus campaign could work.

**edited because I'm an artist not a writer. le sigh
 
Last edited:
I'm telling ya a Ghosts of Saltmarsh/Seas of Vodari/Ptolus campaign could work.
If my dad wasn't planning on making Ghosts of Saltmarsh the first campaign he'll DM (they grow up so fast!), I was going to run it, using the towns north of Ptolus. It's a really good fit, although I seem to recall a reference somewhere in the big book to sea elves not existing in the world of Praemal (which, of course, DMs are free to ignore or to replace the sea elf in Saltmarsh with something else).
 
You know what settings I'm surprised we haven't seen relaunched for 5E? Midnight, Dawnforge and Morningstar. All of them made a big splash in the 3E era, as two of them were developed for the same competition that gave us Eberron.

I know FFG is going through some stuff, but it surprises me they didn't sell the rights to Midnight somewhere along the line, even if they didn't want to develop it themselves.
 

Aldarc

Hero
You know what settings I'm surprised we haven't seen relaunched for 5E? Midnight, Dawnforge and Morningstar. All of them made a big splash in the 3E era, as two of them were developed for the same competition that gave us Eberron.

I know FFG is going through some stuff, but it surprises me they didn't sell the rights to Midnight somewhere along the line, even if they didn't want to develop it themselves.
The primary issue with Dawnforge, IMHO - and I say this as someone who loves the setting - is that it requires either removing classes or heavily tweaking them to work. The cleric and druid were replaced with the disciple and shaman, respectively. Even with these changes, I don't think that it did as good of a job at selling the D&D before D&D vibe that it was going for, because I would have also tuned-down the other spellcasters such as wizards and sorcerers. But creating a setting like Dawnforge has been on my to-do list for finding a good system that could convey the intent and feel of its original setting. Possibly a system like Dungeon World or Fantasy AGE/Blue Rose.
 
I'm happy that Green Ronin has been able to make a go of their Fantasy AGE system, but man, I would grab a 5E Blue Rose campaign setting book -- or even just a system neutral one, like the Freeport book they released back in the 4E era -- in a heartbeat.
 

Advertisement

Latest threads

In Our Store!

Advertisement

Top