Martin Ralya has a review of the Ptolus Player’s Guide over at Treasure Tables and I think, maybe, he kinda liked it:
The idea is that once a player has read this book, they’ll have a good feel for the campaign world, know what it looks like — and most importantly, be able to create a character that has ties to the setting, connections within the city, etc.
As a GM, I love this idea. (Not just love, but italicized love, baby. )
Me, I’m a touch skeptical that players are dying for a 28 page read before jumping into a new campaign. I love that kind of background work, but will most players really take the time to go through it all? I could be wrong, and if I am, then I completely agree with Martin: this is a wonderful idea, and I hope it catches on. I think this is one of those products where art is of the utmost importance. Brevity is key, and art can convey the look and feel of a setting much more succinctly than text. I think others might offer such products for free as a piece of marketing. I imagine many people will base their decision to buy Ptolus upon their reactions to the player’s guide. I also think DMs trying to sell their groups on a setting other than Forgotten Realms or Eberron wouldn’t mind a little help from the publisher or designer.