XDM: X-treme Dungeon Mastery, 2nd Edition

Created by Howard Tayler

The Cure for the Common Game

Latest Updates from Our Project:

Status Update #2
4 months ago – Fri, Sep 10, 2021 at 09:34:26 AM

Greetings Backers,


We've now achieved three stretch goals netting a pdf copy of Quest for the Tavern, printed end papers, and opening up a new pledge level where people can buy a seat at Tracy's virtual game table. The next goal is making an audio book. We have plans for the goal after that, but are still nailing down some details. We're still working on the social media goal if this tweet from Howard gets 500 retweets before the funding period closes, we'll give everyone at PDF level or higher an additional pdf filled with printable stand-up character art. Thank you for your help in achieving these goals!

It is time for your second status update.


TL;DR: More than half of the book being in the  hands of copy editors for a first pass or waiting for notes merge. Within the next few days we may reach the 2/3 mark. 


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


Status by Chapter

  • Chapters 1-7: Waiting for notes merge
  • Chapter 8-9: With the copy editors
  • Chapter 10-11: In first layout
  • Chapter 12: Waiting for notes merge
  • Chapter 13-14: On deck for voice pass, notes and additions are in place. These should go quickly.
  • Chapter 15-18: Waiting for voice pass.
  • 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

Howard plowed through chapters this week moving more than 15,000 words through the voice pass where he goes over all the text, smooths transitions between topics, adds jokes, and makes sure that it all sounds cohesive rather than chunks of text written by different authors being smushed together.  Tracy and Curtis are focused on providing notes for the completed chapters so that those notes can be folded into the text at the Notes Merge stage. This is important so that the voice pass doesn't accidentally erase a joke they loved or change a point they wanted to make. Sandra spent most of her week on Kickstarter management and outreach to bring in more backers. She also tracked which chapter is in what stage of process and collaborated with Howard on the voice pass. 

Next week Howard needs to begin the transition to illustrating. He hasn't done any drawing in a month, so he needs to wake up the visual/kinesthetic portions of his brain that have been resting. It is akin to revving up a motor that has been sitting unused for an extended period of time, rough for the first bit and then smooth again. Revving the illustration engine will slow down the production of text, but we need Howard drawing and streaming those drawings during the final week of the Kickstarter because the visual interest of illustrations will help us get more backers on board to help us reach additional stretch goals. 


This is the current status of things. We may have additional updates  during the next week as we hit stretch goals or have things to announce,  but your next scheduled status report will come on Friday September 3.

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

Status Report #3
4 months ago – Mon, Sep 06, 2021 at 12:02:44 PM

Greetings Backers,

We're really close to our goal  of making an audio book. We might even hit that goal today, which would put the project in a fantastic position for us to promote it during the final week. As soon as we hit that goal, we'll create the add-on for people to add a copy of the audio book to their pledge if they wish. (Legendary XDMs get a copy included as part of their pledge.) We'll also create a new pledge level for people who only want the audio book. There is an additional stretch goal after the audio book, but our planning meeting for it got pushed to Saturday, so depending on when we hit the audio book goal in relation to that planning meeting, information on the next stretch goal may come as part of the audio book announcement or might be a separate announcement on Monday morning. Thank you to all of you who have mentioned the project on your social media feeds and to friends. Every bit helps.

Now on to your third status report.


TL;DR: Two thirds of the book has been through the first copy edit pass and is now waiting for notes merge. The final third of the text is in process and illustrations are going to start soon.


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 voice pass. 
  • Chapter 14-18: Waiting for voice pass, but we expect these chapters to go quickly since they will not have major restructuring.
  • 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

Our copy editors worked hard this week and moved most of the book into the "notes merge" stage. Howard did an art stream on Tuesday that helped him get back into a picture-making groove. The illustrations will move much more quickly when Howard doesn't have to split is attention between doing the voice pass and drawing the pictures. Tracy and Curtis are still focused on providing notes  for the completed chapters so that those notes can be folded into the  text at the Notes Merge stage.  Sandra had one of those weeks where she was busy all day every day, but somehow at the end of the week can't easily point to what she did. 

Howard and Sandra did spend a fair portion of time wrangling over the Path of the Player chapter that was formerly called How You Play the Game. Sandra had framed the chapter to talk to XDMs when they were playing in other people's games. Howard thought that creating a chapter which XDMs could hand to their non-XDM players was a better format. This sort of creative conflict (between two good options) triggers much discussion and the result is always better than either of the two individual approaches. The best aspects of each approach get folded in together. Thus a new Chapter 13 was born. 

In related news, the Killer Breakfast chapter got pushed to after the XD20 chapters since a Killer Breakfast is a specific form of XD20 game, so it makes sense to outline the XD20 system before giving instructions on how to run a specific type of XD20 game.

Tomorrow morning is our final mid-funding project meeting where we meet together and discuss promotion for the final few days of the Kickstarter. We're all feeling promotion fatigue and so we'll be very glad to reach the point where we know how much funding we have, exactly what deliverables we owe to backers, and we can focus on getting the work done without being distracted by trying to acquire additional funding.


This our report for the week. We will send an update as soon as we reach the audio book goal to let people know that the options are available, that announcement might also include the final stretch goal announcement. Your next scheduled status report will come on Friday  September 10 after the Kickstarter funding period closes. 

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

Status Report #1
4 months ago – Mon, Sep 06, 2021 at 12:00:16 PM

Greetings Backers, 

Thank you so much for helping us reach our first stretch goal! We're excited to give a pdf copy of Quest for the Tavern to each of you. Our next goal is adding printed end papers, which we're really excited about because Howard has already thought of several cool design elements that depend upon having printed end papers. After that we're headed for an audiobook version, which we really want to get to do. 


You were promised award winning status reports, though the awards are still pending (Howard, I'm still waiting for my certificate!) it is time to give you your first report. I intend to do these reports each Friday during the funding period and until everything in the book is ready for print. The reports will slow down for a time while the book is in the hands of the printer, then we'll be back to weekly updates once we're shipping out packages.  The goal of these reports is to give you crunchy information on how the project is progressing. 


TL;DR: The first 3rd of the book is in the hands of copy editors for a first pass. We've been working on text for the second third of the book. The final third has notes, but hasn't been revised yet.


How our process works

  • First Revision: Read through and make notes about what needs changing. This includes pulling information from chapters to expand into new chapters, realizing that three chapters need to be reorganized into two chapters, or sending pieces of information to go live in the appendix. Making notes about what additional information we need to put into the book. Large-scale reorganization.
  • Collection: Gather additional text from Curtis and Tracy.
  • Second Revision: Sandra goes through and puts new text into place, shifts organization, moves sections so that information flow works well, sometimes drafts connecting material.
  •  Voice Pass: Howard blends the differences in writing voice together, tightens wording, and adds jokes.  Sometimes during this stage sections get redrafted or completely reorganized. 
  • Preliminary Layout: Sandra plunks the text into place with footnotes and the images we're re-using from the first edition. Space is left for new images, we'll have a minimum of one illustration per page spread, just like the first edition.
  • First Copy Edit: PDF of preliminary layout is sent for a copy edit pass and for approval by all authors.
  • Notes Merge: Sandra inputs changes from the copy editor and any notes from the authors along with any other changes or corrections we've discovered. Text will sit in this stage until all of the text reaches this stage.
  • Illustration pass: Howard goes through the book and decides what visual jokes to add to each page. This process will change the layout significantly. 
  • Design pass: Concurrent with illustration pass we make changes to the interior design of the book adding new graphic elements to the top and bottom of each page. We also finalize the look of each page spread to make sure that text flows correctly around illustrations and that we don't have any visual errors on the pages.
  • Cover design: Also concurrent with Illustration and design, we'll be finalizing the cover and printed end papers (assuming we reach that stretch goal.)
  • Final Copy Edit: Text and illustrations are sent for a final copy edit and final approval from all the authors. 
  • Final Notes Merge: Last check to make sure all visual and textual elements are in their proper place.
  • Off to Print: The book goes to print.

Status by Chapter

  • Chapters 1-7: In first copy edit pass
  • Chapter 8: In voice pass, likely to finish today so it will go into preliminary layout to prepare to hand off to copy editors.
  • Chapter 9-11: Waiting for voice pass. First revision touches have been done, notes are accumulated. As soon as 8 is done, these will get plowed through.
  • Chapter 12: In first copy edit pass
  • Chapter 13-14: Waiting for voice pass, notes and additions are in place. They just need a voice pass before heading to layout/copy edits.
  • Chapter 15-18: In first revision and collection. We have notes for these and additional material, but haven't yet determined what structural changes might be needed to make the chapters flow better.
  • Appendices: Random Story Generator, Secret History of XDMs, Waiting for Gygax, 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

We'd hoped to move more text into first copy edit this week, but when Howard went to work on the chapter on preparing for game night (formerly Thou Shalt Prepare and now called Some Assembly Required) he discovered that a large portion of it was really about using maps as a worldbuilding tool and using good worldbuilding to make good maps. All this information needed to be pulled into its own chapter and tucked in next to the information on designing for story. So we acquired a new chapter four The Territory of the Tale. Since this chapter was created out of bits pulled from other chapters, it took more work to pull it together. Then the Some Assembly Required chapter needed to be revised to smooth over the crater made by pulling maps information out of it. Fortunately we already had a lot of things we intended to add to the chapter, so that filled things in nicely. 

Tracy is traveling this week and Curtis has some high pressure meetings, so notes from them are still incoming on chapters 1-7.  Sandra finished a first pass on the player chapter and conflict at the table chapters so that they're both ready for voice pass. Her next task is diving in on accessibility learning to make sure that the accessibility appendix is up to date and as useful as it can be. 

We'd really like to be heads-down and focused on making the book, but we all also have to spend time marketing the Kickstarter and spreading the word so that we can hit additional stretch goals. We also want to make sure we get the word out so that people who want this book don't miss the change to get a copy. This week the Kickstarter marketing had a big footprint because we had to deal with the inevitable energy crash after hitting funding. Fortunately we've run enough Kickstarters to know that this happens every time. We just had to recuperate for a couple of days and then we had renewed energy to work on the project and to work on marketing the project. Hitting our first stretch goal was very reinvigorating and now we're excited to reach for the next goal. We're also excited to make solid progress on the text of the project itself so that next week all of you wonderful backers can see how much we've gotten done.


This is the current status of things. We may have additional updates during the next week as we hit stretch goals or have things to announce, but your next scheduled status report will come on Friday August 27. 

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

Sandra Tayler and the XDM Team

New Stretch Goal: Story Time with Tracy!
4 months ago – Mon, Sep 06, 2021 at 12:00:03 PM

Greetings Backers,

Thanks to all of you, we had a fantastic first week reaching fully funded by the weekend. That means it is time for us to talk about stretch goals.


We've almost reached our first stretch of $60,000, which means everyone at PDF level or higher will get a PDF copy of the XD20 Adventure Module Quest for the Tavern,  by Tracy Hickman.  This adventure  was originally published in 2010 as a GenCon Exclusive, and includes  rules for Sock Puppet Theater, and eleven pages of construction notes  for a devious trap.


$75,000 lets us upgrade the book with printed end papers.  Printing the end papers lets us  add four pages of artwork to the book. We'll also provide XDM2e desktop  wallpapers and phone backgrounds for all backers at every pledge level.


New Stretch Goal!

A backer joked "how much to have Tracy read the book to me?" Well, when the project reaches $90,000, we will produce an audio book for X-treme Dungeon Mastery Second Edition where Tracy narrates the book. This audio book will be automatically included in the Legendary XDM pledge level and will be available as an add-on for all pledge levels. We're still doing math on the pricing for the audio book add-on, but we should have that number for you soon. 


Moving Forward

This week Tracy and Curtis are going through text for the first third of the book to supply notes and additions. Howard is charging forward through the second third of the book yoinking and yeeting to organize the thoughts, find spots for new text from Tracy & Curtis, and insert funny footnotes. Sandra is doing audio book math, coordinating with copy editors, drafting our accessibility appendix, and monitoring schedule to keep everyone on track. In fact Sandra will post a status report on the progress of the project every Friday during the funding period so that you can see how things are going. All of us are making noise about the project on social media to bring in more backers and help us meet these stretch goals. That's where we could use your help.


If you're excited about this project, please spread the word! Tell your friends and family. Post to groups or forums where you think the project is relevant. Talk about the things you think are cool about the project. You can reach people and places that we can't and one mention from you is worth seven or eight social media posts from us. Help us reach our goals to make the book shinier and better for everyone.


Thank you so much for being part of our project! We couldn't do this without you.

The XDM Team

We've Funded!
4 months ago – Mon, Sep 06, 2021 at 11:59:50 AM

Greetings Backers,

Our project has funded! Many thanks to all of you for joining us and making our launch week amazing. We're going to take the rest of the weekend to breathe, but we'll be back Monday morning with announcements about stretch goals and ready to do everything we can to make XDM2e amazing.

Thank you so much for backing our project!

The XDM Team