XDM: X-treme Dungeon Mastery, 2nd Edition

Created by Howard Tayler

The Cure for the Common Game

Latest Updates from Our Project:

Status Report #5
4 months ago – Sun, Sep 19, 2021 at 09:52:34 AM

Greetings Backers,

We've been busy this week both recovering from that final Kickstarter push and working on pushing the project forward to get it complete.  We have images and updates for you in the detailed sections down below.


TL;DR: Howard has been working on illustrations and livestreaming some of them on his twitch account. Sandra is still setting up the Backerkit surveys, it'll be another week or so before the first surveys go out. On Monday we have a team meeting to talk about the XD20 chapters. Details below.


For a detailed listing of process and stages, read the "How our process works" section of this update.

Status by Chapter

  • Chapters 1-12: Waiting for notes merge. Did a second layout pass on all completed chapters to adjust font size and leading, also to lock down the page count for each chapter.
  • Chapter 13 In first copy edit
  • Chapter 14-18: These are the XD20 chapters and we're discussing adjustments to the mechanics to make the system more intuitive.
  • Appendices: X-tremely Cool Trick for Conversational Storytelling. In first copy edit.
  • Appendices: Secret History of XDMs, DIY initiation rites, Random Story Generator: in voice pass.
  • Appendices: QUIRk Generator, NPC generator:  In second revision. We have notes for these. Mostly  they need to be tightened up and given a voice pass to add jokes.
  • Appendices: About the Contributors, Accessibility, Bibliography,  Adapting for one shot play:  In first revision and  collection. These are in the process of being drafted. 

Deliverables List

This is the comprehensive list of things we owe to you as part of this project.

  • XDM2e Hardback book: This is the core project,  the one that most of our status reports will center around.  It  includes the printed end papers and spot gloss.
  • XDM2e PDF: This will release to backers at  about the same time we send the book off to print, hopefully by  November, but watch the status report for details.
  • XDM2e audiobook: Tracy has blocked out a space  in his schedule to record and produce this next February. Well before  the April 2022 deadline we set in the Kickstarter
  • Signed Bookplates: We'll need to design these, that is likely to happen concurrently with cover design and book interior design.
  • Streamed book Illustrations: Howard plans to stream most week days.  Follow Howard on Twitch to be alerted when a stream goes live. You can also click that link to view recordings of past streams.
  • Quest for the Tavern PDF: We should be able to have this ready for you to download as soon as we've got surveys to send.
  • Attack on Santa's Workshop PDF: We should be able to have this ready for you to download as soon as we've got surveys to send.
  • Desktop Backgrounds: We have the first of these ready now! After this status report I'll post a second, Backers Only, update with a downloadable zip file containing your first desktop background. More will be coming as Howard makes art.
  • PDF of printable character stand ups: Howard is working on these as he creates illustrations. The full PDF will available shortly after the book goes to  print.
  • Sketches in books: These will be hand drawn by  Howard Tayler. We can't get started on these until after the printed  books arrive in our hands. Though we do have some logistical planning to  do in order to figure out how to let people pick some customization at  the "answer surveys" stage of this project.

I think that is the full list. If I've missed something, now is a  great time to mention it so I can add it. This list is how I make sure  we don't lose track of anything we promised to all of you.


How this week went

Howard started working on illustrations in earnest this week. He started with re-drawing some of the earliest illustrations in the book, the types of player. 

One of the changes we've made to the book is instead of calling them player types, we now call these the Spirits of the Player. Because sometimes you as a player might just want to roll and smash ala the spirit of the Warrior. Other times you may want to have a long and social conversation with an NPC ala the spirit of the Bard. It is a more nuanced take on the concept. Howard is also making the art a bit more nuanced as well. 

As Howard examined the existing art he discovered things like the dice that the Calculator is throwing in the air, which aren't really dice at all, but scribbles.

Instead Howard gave them a nice book to hold with a bit of an homage to the 1978 Trampier cover of the Player's Handbook. Howard then took that scribble drawing and refined it into your very first desktop background.

As soon as I'm done posting this update there will be a Backers Only update that lets you download this desktop wallpaper.

Howard also started work on creating character stand up art.

Howard intends to create a diverse library of characters that he can quickly reference as he's creating new illustrations and comics for the book. Composing a new image goes much faster when he can grab a gnome he's drawn before and an astronaut he's drawn before then put them into the same panel to have an argument.

Progress on text was a bit slower this week. Tracy had some preliminary work to do on his next Kickstarter commitment. Howard was getting the art rolling, and Sandra was still recovering from that last Kickstarter push and putting energy into setting up the Backerkit. Also we got a bit stuck on the XD20 chapters because twelve years have exposed some flaws in the mechanics of the XD20 system. We're having discussions about how to fix those flaws and make the system more intuitive to use while still maintaining the core simplicity and purpose of the system. Our next meeting about text is on Monday and hopefully it will allow us to move full steam ahead on the remaining text portions of the work.


Thank you so much for backing our project. We are so excited that we get to make this book!

Sandra Tayler and the XDM2e Team


PS: As a reward for reading all the way to the bottom, here is a brand new comic that Howard drew for the opening of the book.

Dave Trampier Homage Desktop Background
4 months ago – Sun, Sep 19, 2021 at 09:51:33 AM

This post is for backers only. Please visit Kickstarter.com and log in to read.

Your Game with Tracy Hickman
4 months ago – Fri, Sep 17, 2021 at 10:19:33 AM

This post is for backers only. Please visit Kickstarter.com and log in to read.

Funding Celebration, Deliverables List, and Status Report #4
4 months ago – Sat, Sep 11, 2021 at 11:27:10 PM

Thank you Backers!

We've funded to the stretch goal we didn't think we would be able to reach, but you helped us do it. We're so grateful to you for supporting our project. Now that the funding period has closed we can focus on delivering things to you instead of spending energy on marketing to bring in more funding. 

Next Steps

Today Howard is going to celebrate by doing an art stream where he re-draws the picture of Gollum holding a precious precious lightsaber. You can follow Howard on Twitch to be alerted when that goes live.

Sandra will get started on setting up the Backerkit surveys. You can expect to get your survey in a couple of weeks. It will let you select any available customization for your order. (We're still figuring out what level of customization we'll be able to offer for sketches in books.) You will also be able to add on items from the Schlock Mercenary store or increase your order. We'll have more details on this before we send out the surveys.

Over the weekend we'll all slump into puddles of non-productive goo, but by Monday we'll be back to work earning the trust you've placed in us to get this project done.


Deliverables List

This is the comprehensive list of things we owe to you as part of this project.

  • XDM2e Hardback book: This is the core project, the one that most of our status reports will center around.  It includes the printed end papers and spot gloss. This week's detailed report is below.
  • XDM2e PDF: This will release to backers at about the same time we send the book off to print, hopefully by November, but watch the status report for details.
  • XDM2e audiobook: Tracy has blocked out a space in his schedule to record and produce this next February. Well before the April 2022 deadline we set in the Kickstarter
  • Signed Bookplates: We'll need to design these, that is likely to happen concurrently with cover design and book interior design.
  • Streamed book Illustrations: Howard plans to stream most week days. He's already streamed the first two days and plans to stream again later today. Follow Howard on Twitch to be alerted when a stream goes live. You can also click that link to view recordings of past streams.
  • Quest for the Tavern PDF: We should be able to have this ready for you to download as soon as we've got surveys to send.
  • Attack on Santa's Workshop PDF: We should be able to have this ready for you to download as soon as we've got surveys to send.
  • Desktop Backgrounds: Howard will create these as part of the cover design and book design process. We should be able to get them into your hands around the time the book goes to print.
  • PDF of printable character stand ups: We didn't quite reach the social media goal for these, but we over-reached some funding goals, so we're going to give them all to you anyway. We'll put this together and have it available shortly after the book goes to print.
  • Sketches in books: These will be hand drawn by Howard Tayler. We can't get started on these until after the printed books arrive in our hands. Though we do have some logistical planning to do in order to figure out how to let people pick some customization at the "answer surveys" stage of this project.

I think that is the full list. If I've missed something, now is a great time to mention it so I can add it. This list is how I make sure we don't lose track of anything we promised to all of you. 

Status Report #4

TL;DR: Much of our energy went into marketing pushes during the last week of the Kickstarter to push the project to meet final goals. It worked! We get an audiobook, spot gloss for the cover, and bonus pay for our contractors.

For a detailed listing of process and stages, read the "How our process works" section of this update.

Status by Chapter

  • Chapters 1-12: Waiting for notes merge
  • Chapter 13 In first layout
  • Chapter 14-18: Waiting for a meeting to discuss the angle of revisions. Meeting scheduled for Tuesday.
  • Appendices: X-tremely Cool Trick for Conversational Storytelling. Waiting for layout
  • Appendices: Random Story Generator, Secret History of XDMs, DIY initiation rites:  In second revision. We have notes for these. Mostly they need to be tightened up and given a voice pass to add jokes.
  • Appendices: About the Contributors, Accessibility, Bibliography,   several other ideas we're kicking around:  In first revision and collection. These are in the process of being drafted. Some of them can't be finalized until after all the chapters are finalized and we   stop saying "Hey, we should make an appendix for  [cool thing.]"

How this week went

This week was Very. Distracting. Unsurprising for the final week of the Kickstarter when we have to throw a lot of energy into promotion. We're incredibly pleased that you all helped us hit that So Shiny stretch goal. We didn't think it would happen, but many of you showed up at the last minute and put us over the top. Thank you!

At this point we are a bit exhausted and brain mushy, so I don't have as much detail about the week as I usually would because I honestly don't remember a lot of it right now. So I'll settle for saying thank you and I'll have more information and details for you next week.


Your next scheduled status report will come on Friday September 17 at which point we should have more information on surveys and sketch customization. 

Thank you so much for backing our project. We are so excited that we get to make this book!

Sandra Tayler and the XDM2e Team

X-Stream Success!
4 months ago – Sat, Sep 11, 2021 at 08:32:45 AM

Greetings Backers,

Thanks to all of you, we've achieved yet another stretch goal. Howard will now be streaming his creation of the art for XDM2e. In fact he ran the first stream yesterday and you can view a recording of it. If you'd like to watch some of the live streams, the best way to do that is to click over to twitch.tv/howardtayler and hit the follow button. Then you'll get a notification any time Howard goes live. We don't yet have a schedule for when the streams are likely to go live, but we'll alert you when we do.


Thank you all so much for making this project possible. We have one day left in the funding period during which we can reach for the final stretch goal and stare longingly at the clown shoes ridiculous goal. Your next Status Report will come tomorrow after funding closes.

Thank you for being part of XDM2e!