When it comes to your tabletop role playing games (TTRPGs), you’ve got a choice of how to run your games. If you’re just starting out, prebuilt modules and adventures are a solid way to go – it builds a framework and story for you that you can riff on (or follow to the letter) as you need to. Alternatively, you can go completely freeform. That’s fun if your imaginative, but it can talk a lot of prep work. If you want to fall somewhere in the middle, then something like Ptolus could serve you well.
If you’re even remotely familiar with Dungeons and Dragons, you’ve probably heard of the name Monte Cook. Well, he designed the original Ptolus source book back in 2006 (so, 3rd Edition DnD) out of the campaign he was actually running at the time. This time around, things have been updated for 5th Edition DnD, as well as being adapted to the Cypher system as well.
Myself, I’m not terribly familiar with this campaign setting, but given that the book (in PDF or hard copy) runs to 672 pages, this is something that you’ll be committing to for the longer run. In other words, if you’re using modules to supplement the campaign you’re running every now and again and then diverting back into your homebrew world, this may not be for you. If you want a longer-running and immersive campaign world, then something like Ptolus may be right up your alley.
When it comes to fiction (be it fantasy or otherwise) world-building is a big part of what can solidify the story and really make it hum. Here, if you’ve got 672 pages of source material, I think you could say the world building is done for you. The studious Dungeon Master will want to study up, of course, but this could be a great way to launch your party in a new direction.
If you’re interested, the campaign for Ptolus is currently running (and super over funded) and ends on March 20th, with delivery a year out (so you’ve got time to get things positioned in that direction). Pricing starts at $40 for the PDF version ( you can print and bind it locally, easily enough); hard-copy versions start at $150. Those are the high-level rewards; check out the full campaign page to get the details on what all comes in those pledge levels. campaign page