Monday, September 25, 2006

Why such a love for Ptolus?

Before getting into any specifics of the Ptolus campaign we are presently starting me and my friends of Bella Bella, British Columbia, I have to explain a few things about my own relationship with the City by the Spires.

To understand what Ptolus is, you can visit its official website. Let's just say that Ptolus: Monte Cook's City by the Spire is one of the best developed gaming product ever designed. It's a book of nearly 700 pages describing a fantasy city which embraces the style and feel of Dungeons & Dragons.

What does that means? It means this is a city where magic can be found at every corner, where the most unusual people, like minotaurs and lizardmen, dwarves and elves, walk the streets, where the adventure can be found above and below the city level.

But beyond the sheer greatness of the Ptolus book and its amazing production, it is a campaign which was run by Monte Cook, designer emeritus of D&D's Dungeon Master's Guide, since before the Third Edition of the game was born. To make a long story short, Praemal, the world at large, and Ptolus, its adventuring focus point, evolved through the playtests of D&D's Third Edition, and later grew up with it.

For me, running Ptolus, it's like playing with a bit of gaming history, using the works of a good friend of mine, and using the most incredible role-playing city book available at this point. Running Ptolus is nothing short of a privilege and a real treat for my imagination.

When I look at the contents, Ptolus for me has it all: conspirations, exotism, dungeons, dragons, the whole package, really. It's sort of a challenge too, when I see the amazing possibilities the setting provides. At nearly each page I turn, I find new ideas I could use to run a campaign or write a story.

I just referred to Monte Cook as a friend, and he is. I have been involved with other friends on Monte's forums one can reach through his website. This community of gamers is one of the most amazing I have had the chance to meet. This too is important regarding the Ptolus campaign we are about to play, since the community is a constant source of inspiration, excitement and advice regarding this game.

Running Ptolus in this context becomes even more of a privilege, since I am running a special campaign and have the chance to share my enthusiasms with like-minded people who share the same tastes and influences as I do. Together, we have been excited about Ptolus for years, reading Monte and his friends talking about what fun they had using this setting, and when the actual book was announced more than a year before it became available, the amount of raving anticipation had reached a breaking point. We all wanted to run Ptolus, we all were ready for it.

This explains this very opinionated, very hyped post I am writing here. If you ever get the chance to get Ptolus: Monte Cook's City by the Spire, by all means buy it, read it, and enjoy every minute of your ride. You won't be the same gamer afterwards.

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