Friday, August 12, 2011

Ptolus - Take Two

Monte Cook's award winning D&D campaign setting Ptolus is returning to print form.

Ptolus was originally released in 2006 as a single 672 page hardcover volume weighing 6lbs (yes, six freakin' pounds!), plus extras on CD and some stuffed in an envelope. There was also, for those that pre-ordered, 5 copies of the 32 page players guide, and some adventures.

The truely amazing product won 4 Gold Ennie Awards in 2007 for: Best Production Values, Best Setting, Best Cartography, and Product of the Year.

At the time it really helped push the bar for third party products very high, and I'm happy to say since then other companies have risen to the occasion in some areas of production, etc.

Besides the incredible quantity and quality of material encompassed by this monster of a game book, what shocked a lot of people was the price. The hardcover retailed for a whopping $120 and the PDF was $60. Many people remarked that a game book couldn't possible sell for that price and Monte, much to his credit (and happily for his bank account I'm sure) proved them wrong.

Originally I was one of the skeptics, however Monte's production journals and enthusiasm won me over and I became one of the 1,000 that pre-ordered the enourmous tome.

For details on Ptolus I recommend checking this link:

I may be wrong on the total number of print copies produced, however I believe it was over 10,000.

The book sold out long ago and occasionally a copy can be found on Ebay for upwards of $300.

Well, now after a nice long wait, Ptolus is making a return to print instead of remaining PDF only. (boy are the folks trying to sell their copies potentially going to be disappointed)

It will return in a print on demand format comprising not a single 6 pound goliath, but two smaller volumes. For proof, see this tiny picture of Monte at GenCon 2011 holding them up. You can thank the folks at Paizo for this pic.

Some of my usual suspects, er, I mean gaming group were part of the Ptolus campaign I was running a few years ago. They periodically voice the request for a return to the City By The Spire. I'm not yet ready to dive back into it despite my great appreciation for the setting.

Part of my reasons for holding back is the system is one I as a DM no longer feel comfortable running.

It was written for D&D 3.5 and while it is a playable system, I find the work required by that set of rules cumbersome when it comes to preparing monsters.

By that same token I don't feel converting it to 4th edition would work either. Too much up-front effort to convert and the character side doesn't feel right to me. The monster part is very much to my liking, but I can take what I get from that and port it back into the old-school game.

That leaves deciding on a format and converting. I'm pretty content to wait for now while I run the Lost Baronies campaign. Especially since scheduling is a major issue. Ptolus would demand an even stronger commitment from the players and right now that isn't going to happen.

What I would love though is for someone else to run Ptolus so I could be a player in that grand environment. Anyone? Beuller?


StevenWarble said...

I regret not buying Ptolous back when...

I;ld sure like Monte Cook to come back to the fold and write somemore game stuff...

OSRbaron said...

At least you'll have a shot at the two volume version in print if you so choose. Well worth it in my opinion even at $150.

I miss Monte's game stuff too. Cancelled my Dungeon a Day sub a bit after he stopped being the lead writer on it.