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Ptolus: Monte Cook's City by the Spire

Ptolus: Monte Cook's City by the Spire

Watermarked PDF

As part of our May D&D sale, this digital title has been marked down by up to 40%. To unearth more savings, visit our May D&D Sale page.

Explore a sprawling fantasy city, presented in amazing detail and steeped in lore and atmosphere. Delve into the extensive dungeons beneath its streets. And maybe, when you’re ready, ascend the Spire that looms overhead, the heart of an ancient and restless evil.

In Ptolus, the supernatural is expected and treachery lies around every corner—or is it that the supernatural lies around every corner and treachery is expected? Either way, the city of Ptolus abounds with danger, magic, intrigue, and above all, adventure.

Ptolus: Monte Cook's City by the Spire is available in two versions: One for 5e and one for Cypher System. With this purchase, you get both versions of the 672-page book, plus 300+ pages of extras.

Explore Ptolus

An Incredible Setting

Welcome to Ptolus. A city of mysteries, secrets, and dark histories. Ptolus lies forever in the shadow of a towering stone spire reaching impossibly high into the sky, an enigma and a reminder of evil long past. And it sits atop a seemingly endless network of ancient dungeons that draw adventurers from all corners of the Empire.

An Immersive World

Ptolus isn’t just big—it’s alive. It’s a place you can inhabit—a place with atmosphere you feel. It’s fantastic, with page after page of amazing sights and ideas. It’s dynamic. Throughout Ptolus, wheels are in motion and new discoveries are being unearthed. But the story is yet to be told, and Ptolus is set up to make it your story.

An Amazing Product

Ptolus: Monte Cook’s City by the Spire is an astounding 672 pages. And that’s not all: It also includes a poster map and dozens of handouts, plus another 300 pages of bonus content—all included with the book. The layout is uniquely accessible and easy on the GM, with multiple indices, heavy cross-referencing, hyperlinking, and bookmarking, and quick-access tables and summaries. And premium features include top-notch art and abundant cartography.


1000 Pages—the Greatest RPG Supplement Ever

The original version of Ptolus was released in 2006 for Third Edition and the d20 System. It was met with critical acclaim and intense praise for its depth of detail, breadth and volume of material, ease of use, staggeringly imaginative content, and groundbreaking production values. It sold out immediately, and physical copie remain a highly sought-after collector’s item. At the time, Ptolus was the most ambitious single-author RPG project ever—and that’s still the case.

A single author means a singular vision. Ptolus: Monte Cook’s City by the Spire was derived from Monte’s personal campaign, which ran for nearly a decade and through the development and early days of Third Edition. The players (two groups, playing simultaneously on different nights of the week) were all coworkers of Monte’s—the designers, developers, editors, and marketers of 3e Dungeons & Dragons. With Monte at the helm, and so many inventive players driving the events of his game, the campaign showcased the most exciting and creative ways the game could be used to build a vivid, exciting, and unique fantasy world.


Welcome to Ptolus

Historians measure Ptolus’s age in centuries, but every resident knows that the fortress atop the impossibly tall Spire is far more ancient still. Recently, explorers also discovered extensive catacombs beneath the city’s streets. When word spread of the treasures and magic to be discovered in this labyrinthine undercity, adventurers flocked to Ptolus. The enterprising folk of the city quickly adapted to this influx, adding a boom-town atmosphere to the age-worn streets.

But the dungeons aren’t Ptolus’s only secret. First and foremost is that which hangs above every head in the city. The ancient fortress of Jabel Shammar was not built atop a rocky spire—in fact, the fortress came first. The vaunted spire resulted from the very earth attempting to thrust the evil within that dread place as far from it as possible.

Care to come to Ptolus, City by the Spire? Dare to try your luck in the catacombs below the streets? You might find great treasure, but you will almost certainly encounter deadly danger as well. Perhaps you’d rather pursue intrigue and adventure in the city’s streets, alleyways, pavilions and temples—for there’s plenty to be experienced there. No matter what you choose, you’ll likely find something far more intricate and complex than you ever expected.

And should you survive it all, will you hone your skills and find power and knowledge that might allow you to explore the infamous Jabel Shammar at the top of the Spire itself? Such an undertaking would certainly be the most epic of all—and it seems as if the road of any truly great hero ultimately points in that direction . . . .


Breathe the Air of Ptolus

Ptolus isn’t just big. It also feels alive. It’s a city you can inhabit—a place with an atmosphere you feel. Many places, actually, because the city itself contains numerous quarters, each with its own nature. And that doesn’t include the sprawling underground regions or the seemingly unreachable fortresses of the Spire. Every page of Ptolus—every district, character, faction, and location—is bursting not just with information, but with flavor.

The world of Ptolus was built with the assumptions of classic fantasy gaming in mind. Everyone knows that monsters and wizards are not only real—you might see one on your way to the market. Humans strolling down the street rub shoulders with elves, dwarves, halflings, and half-orcs, as well as leonine litorians, winged cherubim, and even centaurs and lizardfolk. Laws and traditions dictate when and how magic can be used in commerce, legal affairs, gambling houses, and other everyday transactions. These considerations aren’t tacked on to the setting—they’re baked into its foundations.

Ptolus, and the world around it, is dynamic. Three different people lay claim to the Imperial Throne. A myriad of factions pursue their goals, often with secrecy and skullduggery. The Holy Emperor clashes with adherents to a multitude of other faiths. Merchants and cityfolk pursue their day-to-day lives, while delvers continue to unlock the secrets of the vast dungeons recently discovered beneath the city. These things have life—throughout Ptolus, wheels are in motion. But the story is yet to be told, but Ptolus’s greatest story will be your story.


A Massive Resource—That’s Easy to Use

Ptolus: Monte Cook’s City by the Spire is 672 pages—in addition to the handouts, maps, and props, and roughly 300 pages of additional bonus content. The art, maps, and production values are astounding in their breadth and consistent in their top-notch quality.

But that’s not all. That amount of content, in a conventional book, would be a challenge to manage. So Ptolus is carefully organized, and has dozens of thoughtful features, to make it easier to use than even a typically-sized game book. Multiple indices and glossaries help you manage all the content. The margins contain page references linking to more information about what you’re reading, or the map for the location being described. Quick-to-use tables and summaries indicate what’s in each district, who lives there, and even the mood of the place—you’ll never be caught flat-footed when the PCs stop a random person on the street for a quick chat.

Throughout, careful design and thoughtful layout make everything easy to digest, manage, and access. And the unique presentation doesn’t just make it easy to use, it also imparts flavor to virtually every page—and every district, location, NPC, faction, and mystery.


Your Ptolus Adventures

Ptolus is an urban campaign setting, but it’s also a setting of dungeon delving and subterranean exploration. Your own Ptolus campaign can run the gamut between dungeon adventures and urban adventures, in whatever mix you choose. The latter involve a surprising array of organizations and individuals that live in this less-than-typical fantasy city.

In addition, this tome contains scores of creatures, magic items, spells, and character options that are unique to Ptolus. Along with new character species, such as the noble leonine litorians and the winged cherubim, plus rules for dangerous soul magic, the bizarre abominations of chaositech, useful innovations of technology, the fearsome wintersouled, and much more.

Ptolus gives you more than enough material to take a campaign with starting characters all the way to epic play—and you’ll have so much content left to explore you could go back and do it again.

Your purchase of Ptolus: Monte Cook's City by the Spire includes both versions of the 672-page book (5e and Cypher System) plus all the extras!



 Customers Who Bought this Title also Purchased
Reviews (1)
Discussions (14)
Customer avatar
Charles L February 16, 2022 9:05 pm UTC
I have really enjoyed Arcana of the Ancients and Where the Machines Wait. So I saw this and thought, yay, more Cypher D&D. I noticed it had a 5e version and a Cypher system version. And then I noticed it doesn't quite seem to have a 5e Cypher System version. Its a big book, and I am old and disinclined to read through both of them. Theres not much mention of Cyphers in the 5e version. I have not yet downloaded the Cypher System version. If I want to run this city in a campaign that included Arcana of the Ancients, which book would have the more appropriate fluff?
Customer avatar
Gareth J October 21, 2021 1:55 pm UTC
I bought the hardback on the MCG site and downloaded the extra content as well. The 3.5E version had The Banewarrens, Night of Dissolution and Chaositech pdfs included but I am not seeing them here. Am I missing something?
Customer avatar
Erik Z June 16, 2021 6:33 am UTC
Buying the hardcover is A LOT of money. Does that at least include the above PDF, as well?
Customer avatar
Kristin H May 13, 2021 10:28 am UTC
Is ther a difference between the 3.5 version and this one, or is it only stats?
Customer avatar
Josh H June 15, 2021 2:27 am UTC
I have the 5e version in print and both the 5e and CS versions in pdf. the difference is that since the 3.0/3.5 system works a bit differently than the 5e version, they went over the files, updated, and added to the references on the sides of the pages. Basically, most of the fluff is still there, but some of the crunch has had to change, since 5e and CS both don't have prestige classes, the spells work just a little bit differently etc.
Customer avatar
Christopher J May 01, 2021 5:16 am UTC
The main books are out but the digital extras packets seems to be missing.
Customer avatar
Christopher J May 01, 2021 11:58 am UTC
Okay, so the MCG website says the digital extras are coming mid-May. But there isn't even a map included with these files. At least the map should be part of it, right?
Customer avatar
Christopher J April 30, 2021 11:23 am UTC
So, today is the last day in April. Will we see Ptolus, per the description above?

To wit: Ptolus: Monte Cook's City by the Spire releases in April. Your copy of Ptolus (both versions) will be added to your library as soon as it's available, which we anticipate will be a couple of weeks ahead of street date.
Customer avatar
Vhayjen . April 30, 2021 4:13 pm UTC
Doesn't look good from here. An update would have been nice.
Customer avatar
Miroslav B April 30, 2021 9:55 pm UTC
Indeed. I am looking for any update as well.
Customer avatar
Paul L March 11, 2021 6:55 pm UTC
I have the original in hardcover. What a great book. It pretty much covered everything.
Customer avatar
Alex D January 29, 2021 7:18 pm UTC
What I'd like to know is what kind of character options it includes. I was a bit disappointed in Arcana of the Ancients lacking Numenera-themed subclasses.
Customer avatar
Elton R January 23, 2021 5:22 pm UTC
I got my copies.
Customer avatar
Christopher J January 25, 2021 6:03 pm UTC
The only thing the pre-order currently gives is a Placeholder document. Not sure how you got the full set of books this early, but more power to you if you did.
Customer avatar
Elton R January 28, 2021 1:31 am UTC
I was being positive. I know it's a preorder document.
Customer avatar
Patrick M January 22, 2021 9:24 pm UTC
With the size of the whole package I need to ask: will there be pdf navigation elements such as bookmarks (Which should be taken for granted) and Hyperlinks?
Customer avatar
Pete R February 01, 2021 12:40 pm UTC
Its all detailed in the description above.
Customer avatar
Sándor L January 22, 2021 8:40 pm UTC
Will this new edition contain any new material that wasn't in the original 3e release or will it be "just" a restatted and updated version for 5E and Cypher System?
Customer avatar
Luc L January 21, 2021 6:28 pm UTC
pre-order on a PDF ???
Customer avatar
Brian Z January 22, 2021 3:29 am UTC
Yes. Why the surprise? If you think it's silly, don't click the "Add to Cart" button.

If I hadn't already backed this on Kickstarter, I'd be preordering the PDF. It's a good deal considering the size of the book, and you get both the D&D and Cypher versions.
Customer avatar
Chad H January 26, 2021 9:40 pm UTC
Just in case they run out of pixels.
Customer avatar
Michael T January 20, 2021 8:50 pm UTC
Is the preorder for the PDF or for a print version?
Customer avatar
Darren C January 20, 2021 9:15 pm UTC
At this price is has to be the PDF version.
Customer avatar
Brian Z January 22, 2021 3:27 am UTC
This is clearly labeled as a Watermarked PDF. You can order the print version directly from Monte Cook Games, but it's going to run you a lot more than $60. It's a big book.
Customer avatar
Ken W January 20, 2021 8:41 pm UTC
Will there be a POD version?
Customer avatar
Darren C January 20, 2021 9:14 pm UTC
You can order this directly from the montecook website for the physical version. It is a LOT more money.
Customer avatar
Ted B January 20, 2021 9:25 pm UTC
It's $150 on Kickstarter for the hardbound (though that also includes the pdfs)
Customer avatar
Ken W January 21, 2021 6:32 pm UTC
Thanks! Especially when you include shipping to the UK. I could probably build Ptolus in my back yard for less! ;-)
Customer avatar
Ken W January 21, 2021 6:34 pm UTC
Bit beyond my pockets when postage to the UK is added in! A POD would be good, but I'm not sure if Lightning Print could cope with such a big book.
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This title was added to our catalog on January 20, 2021.