Monte Cook's Ptolus Kickstarter Has Launched

This is one of MCG's luxury products - at nearly 700 pages depicting a massive, detailed fantasy city, we're looking at $150 for the book, or $40 for the PDF, either for D&D 5E or Cypher System.

368bdca57043b7894c722d3b476987f4_original.jpg



"Monte Cook’s legendary campaign setting, Ptolus, is being updated for both Fifth Edition and the Cypher System.

At 672 beautiful pages, Ptolus: Monte Cook’s City by the Spire isn’t just huge. Top-notch art and abundant cartography grace virtually every page. Innovative features make the premium-quality book uniquely easy to navigate and use. Physical and digital extras include handouts, player maps, and posters, totaling hundreds of pages. Nearly 1,000 pages in all!

And that’s not all: Most backer levels include a massive library of every single existing Ptolus product. Get the original version of Ptolus plus 26 additional PDF titles—2100 pages of content worth over $250—so you can explore the city and plan for your adventures right away."

You can also download a free 32-page introductory Player's Guide.
 
Last edited:
Russ Morrissey

Comments

I've been running a Ptolus/Praemal game since backing the original one (even before getting the book itself). Happy to be, once again, among the first 1,000 backers.

That said, I'm really hoping we get a lot of folks voting to convert additional content. Although full adventure modules and supplements would be nice, just getting all the monsters from the supplemental material seems key.

In addition to the very generous list of 27 PDFs in the Kickstarter, some of which is fairly expensive to get a la carte, I'd love to see the Ptolus-related monsters, magic items and spells from the Complete Book of Eldritch Might converted. (My players are about to try and "liberate" the Black Grail from the Banewarrens soon, as part of a scheme by the Grailwarden Dwarves to reunite all three grails before shutting their doors to the surface forever, as they believe the apocalypse is imminent.)

I'd also like to see the Demon God's Fane, which is high level and thus tough to convert at home, updated.

My most pie in the sky dream would be to see Beyond Countless Doorways -- which includes one of the gods from the Ptolus book -- brought up to date, although it's mostly setting material and not a big challenge to use as-is.
 

Tallifer

Adventurer
Query for those in the know: how is this superior to Sharn or Waterdeep? Is it different enough from them to look into? Can it possibly measure up to the Emerald City?
 

Zaukrie

Adventurer
I've been running a Ptolus/Praemal game since backing the original one (even before getting the book itself). Happy to be, once again, among the first 1,000 backers.

That said, I'm really hoping we get a lot of folks voting to convert additional content. Although full adventure modules and supplements would be nice, just getting all the monsters from the supplemental material seems key.

In addition to the very generous list of 27 PDFs in the Kickstarter, some of which is fairly expensive to get a la carte, I'd love to see the Ptolus-related monsters, magic items and spells from the Complete Book of Eldritch Might converted. (My players are about to try and "liberate" the Black Grail from the Banewarrens soon, as part of a scheme by the Grailwarden Dwarves to reunite all three grails before shutting their doors to the surface forever, as they believe the apocalypse is imminent.)

I'd also like to see the Demon God's Fane, which is high level and thus tough to convert at home, updated.

My most pie in the sky dream would be to see Beyond Countless Doorways -- which includes one of the gods from the Ptolus book -- brought up to date, although it's mostly setting material and not a big challenge to use as-is.
I concur that monster conversions are key.
 
Query for those in the know: how is this superior to Sharn or Waterdeep? Is it different enough from them to look into? Can it possibly measure up to the Emerald City?
It's vastly more detailed than Sharn. I don't know enough about Waterdeep to do a one-to-one comparison.

But it's not just a city book. You also have a light sketch of the world of Praemal, lots of chapters devoted to the Dungeon below Ptolus, major adventure sites on/above the Spire -- one of them epic level.

Without dipping into any of the supplemental adventures, you have the equivalent of a full adventure path (or more) woven into the city and in later chapters.

From a "what you get" standpoint, it's probably closer to Waterdeep plus some of the more fleshed out Undermountain content over the years, all laid out in a hard-to-overstate better and more usable fashion than other setting books.

From a tonal standpoint, the setting is different than either Eberron or the Forgotten Realms:

The Tarsisian Empire is falling as the adventure begins, with three people claiming to be the emperor, with three different seats of power. The Emperor of the Church has chosen Ptolus as his seat.

In addition, the empire has just survived an invasion by barbarians from the east. (And in the Night of Dissolution adventure, which seems like a good bet for conversion during this campaign, they come back and you find out why.)

The Spire in the center of Ptolus has a supernatural origin, obviously, which is explored in the Banewarrens adventure (which I would bet is the first converted content they'll do, given how key it is to the setting). But two of the most evil beings in the history of Praemal (which is saying something) have their citadels on or in orbit around the Spire and not all of them are empty or quiet.

It's also a setting where technology existed but, as the empire falls into a dark age (even independent of what the various evil forces want to do, none of which is great), the ability to use it is being forgotten and there will soon be more unusable antiques than actual working technology, which allows DMs to customize how much or how little of it they want in their campaigns. (In mine, a working semaphore telegraph system is used for long distance communication, but the towers are breaking down, making it fallible and not a guaranteed way to get around the standard tech level of D&D adventures.)

Oh, and the dominant church of the land is a faux medieval Catholic church, with political and religious tensions between reformers and loyalists -- and it might all be founded on a lie about the church's predecessor version. And there's also the obligatory giant marketplace of other gods, so players who don't want to engage with that sort of stuff never have to. (I've found it a rich well to go to as a DM, but it wouldn't be all that appealing if someone just wants to murderhobo their way through the Dungeon.)

So, it shares some of the fantasy tropes in both Waterdeep and Sharn, but develops them in different ways, while also pulling in other tropes those two don't touch, to my knowledge. (You can do the whole Misty Mountain unworthy dwarves trying to reclaim their lost home in the Dungeon underneath Ptolus, for instance, which is something I've strangely rarely seen done in D&D.)
 
Last edited:
From what I remember it’s high fantasy, and the rules of D&D are taken into account. For example assassination doesn’t work good in a world where bringing back the dead is a thing. Also Adventurers are very uncommon in the world in general, so the way the players make a living is more of a unique feature of that local area. They are more like Gold Rushers in the context of the setting.

But the main draw is your basically getting Guildmasters Guide to Ravnica times two or three worth of setting fluff. Plus the Waterdeep Heist and Dungeon of the Mad Mage worth of adventure, plus Xanathars Guide worth of crunch, plus the Ravnica map pack and other handouts, all in one huge book.

the original was impressive, it was very well written, and even though I never ran it I stole large chunks of it for several campaigns I ran.
 
For people who own and love Eberron, incidentally, Ptolus is a very good fit, tonally, with stuff from that setting. We had a changeling running around in our game and it wouldn't be hard to say that warforged were created by Ghul (the evil wizard who created most of the Dungeon), which would mean you wouldn't even need to change how ordinary people are often nervous around them.
 
Last edited:

Todd Roybark

Adventurer
Query for those in the know: how is this superior to Sharn or Waterdeep? Is it different enough from them to look into?
An emphatic YES, from my perspective. I have ran 3 campaigns in Ptolus, a total of 10 years of real time play, and each campaign has been very different...from High Fantasy anything goes, power game involving Ancient Evils, to PC driven Godfather-esque crime drama, to a gritty, violent Delvers Guild- deep expeditions to conquer subterranean realms style romp.

Even, with this there are still areas I have not used yet. Not because of lack of desire, but due to lack of time. This is a Fantasy City, that players really seem to enjoy, and engages their imagination, which as a result leads to very player driven campaigns, which are super easy to run, as the book has a superior layout, that is conducive to helping the referee run “On the Fly Encounters” easily.
 
Last edited:
I do recall there was some kind of special release. I know it was limited.
Pretty sure it was a pay up front pre-order iirc, could be wrong. Think the first 500 or 1000 copies were signed. I pre-ordered it but we never got around to running a game there. In 2008 or 2009 we got as far as to do a session zero and create characters for the kick off adventure the following week. The DM mysteriously disappeared, literally, stopped returning phone calls, emails, IMs, and wouldn't answer his door. Saw him once in 2015 then he disappeared again and I'm wondering if he's even still alive. Aside from reading the book in bits and pieces here and there, I'm left with memories of the campaign that could've been. Hoping I can scrape together the money to buy it again and get a shot at redemption.
 

TarionzCousin

Second Most Angelic Devil Ever
I own the original book although I've never run anything in the city/world.

I would definitely buy a new version of the huge city map. I expect they'll reprint that as it requires no conversion.
 

eyeheartawk

Works 60% of the time, every time
Yikes.

Even if you back at $400 the GM screen stretch goal is still a paid add on? That tier is also the only way to get the vinyl map?

I'm not so sure about this one.
 

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
I've been cutting back on Kickstarter and RPG materials in general, but I've long been interested in this book. For someone who has already sunk a lot of money into FGG's various Lost Lands materials, I'm not sure I have a need or use for another massive city setting. For fans of Ptolus, what do you think sets it apart? Even if I don't rune games in it, is it a fun read?
 

Todd Roybark

Adventurer
$40 for the PDF is reasonable given the page count of the book. The 4th edition Warhammer FRPG is $49.

Taking a digital file and having it printed on vinyl is something any print shop can do now. I printed the map of Ptolus from the Banewarrens adventure over a decade ago, before the Ptolus book even came out.

Backing the higher levels of Kickstarter seldom seems cost effective...see the $10k level pledge for Hero Forge 2.0. Backing at those levels is more a labor of love.
 
I've been cutting back on Kickstarter and RPG materials in general, but I've long been interested in this book. For someone who has already sunk a lot of money into FGG's various Lost Lands materials, I'm not sure I have a need or use for another massive city setting. For fans of Ptolus, what do you think sets it apart? Even if I don't rune games in it, is it a fun read?
It is, but it's a very different flavor from what Frog God/Necromancer does. They're most interested in 1E flavor, whereas Ptolus is literally one of the testbeds for the 3rd Edition. It's gritty, but it's a higher powered gritty than the Lost Lands.

If you like Third Edition, you're likely to find the flavor to your liking. If, on the other hand, you gave 3E a pass or are glad to see it and its dungeonpunk "back to the dungeon" aesthetic dead and buried, Ptolus may not be for you.
 
same here. no doubt it would be worth it, but $150? too much. :confused:
Honestly having seen the quality of the original I can say that $150 although expensive is worth it. The pdf probably wont do it justice, but I'll settle for that if I cant afford the hard copy.
 
I'm intrigued to see how Ptolus is rendered using the 5E rules. I bet we'll see some very creative uses of the rules.

My Ptolus hardback could use a friend on the bookshelf to hang out with, too. :)
 

Advertisement

Latest threads

In Our Store!

Advertisement

Top