Solo Play: Ptolus, Part 2

So a monsoon finally hit the area I’m in and made doing anything here a little tricky for a bit. Thankfully everything’s fine; so today I’ll pick up where I left off and finish my skim-over of the Ptolus player’s guide.

Races come after the timelines; they differ from the D20 defaults to a small degree, mostly with the addition of Harrow elves (twisted by magic centuries ago, scared and stained by evil, and prone to producing magical effects. Kind of half-drow, in essence), aram (centaurs; do not take into a dungeon), assari (lizardfolk, disliked by most non-outcast races), and litorians (lion-people who are very proud and noble and should probably be an EL+1 race by even Pathfinder standards). There are also cherubium elves, who are frail and graceful with a set of functional wings. Ptolus has some of all of these; the only humanoid race flat-out outlawed in the city are dark elves, with it being a death penalty if you’re a dark elf caught inside the city limits.

There’s a list of thoughts for players to consider while making their characters, which won’t come into play during this game because there’s only one person as a player. The backgrounds list is covered by the traits of Pathfinder well enough; they’re a nice prototype of how traits and backgrounds work, even. We get a list of suggestions for how player characters might come to Ptolus, based on the character’s class, and an explanation of what classes will work with what races. Barbarians probably came from the recent invasion of Tarsis, clerics are probably Lothianites, paladins might come looking to join one of the Orders that are based in the city. Given that we’re going with Pathfinder, this is only partly useful, but it provides a decent template to work from.

With magic, the guide encourages players to rename and reskin their spells if they’re spellcasters; one person’s magic missile may be the traditional bolts of arcane force from a fingertip, while another might cast is as a spectral raven striking from nowhere. More importantly, we get the note that the planar structure of the world is different here. Nothing gets to leave the world of Praemal, other than hopping into the Ethereal and faffing about over there in the coterminous segment. It also covers that good-aligned summons can call on anti-undead called blessed souls, and that there are a handful of primal undead from the early days of the world called the Wintersouled.

Equipment follows up; the direct value you can buy and sell in Ptolus is a whopping 100000 GP of gear, which means some pretty nice equipment can be had if you can cover the cost. The city has firearms and other bit of technology available, although they’re a little rare and the guns require an Imperial license to carry openly.

And that wraps it up, with the remaining part being a character sheet; it’s not as gorgeous as the ones for the Cypher System games, but for a 3rd edition character sheet it’s clean and effective. That alone puts it above most other 3rd edition character sheets, which were often clunky, messy, and loaded with rubbish extra junk.

Okay then. So, we’ve decided on Ptolus. What does that mean, exactly? We’ve gone through the basic part of reading the Player’s Guide, and I need to read the full book more thoroughly to refresh my memory of what I once read. My wife has decided on a paladin, probably devoted to Lothian, which in turn means the character will likely be human. Given the deep and ancient evils in Ptolus, I intend to tap into Paizo’s latest supplement, Horror Adventures, to give me some additional material to work with.

She’s agreed to let her character be partially amnesiac; the span from mustering out of the Imperial Army, when the character was still a warrior and showed no signs of divine power to a few years later when they woke up a paladin, is shrouded. They can remember doing things – battles against enemies that they can recall only vague details about, allies they can’t remember as anything but humanoid figures at their sides, and so on – but they can’t remember the intervening period with any clarity. Encountering someone, something, or someplace from the shrouded period may restore clarity, at least about that specific part, but not always.

The only thing absolutely clear? The Spire looms large in those hazy memories. No fog can truly shroud it, rising into the sky like a dark needle stabbing at the heavens themselves. So, in a city where mystery is already as thick as mud in every corner, now there’s the added mystery of what happened in Ptolus, as well as why and how it stole the character’s memories – and when the divine power of a paladin  became theirs to wield.

I’ll post more about this in the future, sometime soon! Until next time, though, keep gaming and have fun!

Solo Play: Ptolus, Part 2

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