Over the weekend one of my physical Kickstarter rewards came in the mail. I contributed to the 2nd edition of X-treme Dungeon Mastery book by Tracy & Curtis Hickman when the campaign was running in 2021. This book is illustrated by Howard Tayler (who did a portrait of me at a convention in 2007).
The first X-treme Dungeon Mastery book was published in 2009 and became an instant hit. Not only did it give advice about running games and handling the various types of players, but it also talked about the Killer Breakfast. This last item is something you should really look up if it happens at a convention near you. If you look on Amazon the physical copy of the first edition book runs between $150-200. I was lucky to find a copy at a Westercon in 2019.
The shipping box was very well secured. The book was in a padded section with paper taking up any excess space to keep things from moving around. I knew instantly what it was when I picked it up off my porch.
Under the paper I discovered the signed bookplate that was included with my level of contribution. While I had Howard’s autograph on several art books, this was the first time I was able to get an autograph from Tracy and Curtis Hickman. Oh, if those names don’t sound familiar, turn in your geek card. Tracy Hickman is one of the co-authors of the Dragonlance books and games, the Ravenloft game books and a ton of various fantasy novels. Curtis Hickman is the son of Tracy and is also a magician an co-founder of The Void, a virtual reality experience.
Tracy & Curtis Hickman’s X-treme Dungeon Mastery 2nd edition. Illustrated by Howard Tayler, edited by Sandra Tayler with an introduction by Jim Zub. ISBN 978-1-945120-11-4. Like the first edition, this version is hardbound. There are 190 pages (compared to 158 in the first edition) with illustrations on almost every page (check out the lower right corner on each page).
After I had opened up the box and took the photos I did a quick glance at the contents of the book. While I did have access to a PDF version of the book for several weeks (another benefit from participating in the Kickstarter) I wanted to wait until I had the dead tree version in my hands. I enjoy reading a new book this way with the electronic copy being used for quick reference searches. I noticed that there were some items that had been carried over from the first edition, but there was also a lot that was added to the second edition. A lot more. I’m planning to do a deep dive later, but I wanted to drop a blog post since I was excited to get the book in my hands. There were several chapters where I had to stop and read immediately. And there are some other chapters that I’m going to have to go over later. I can see where some of the value for Dungeon Masters can be found in this tome.
I’m also interested in taking a deeper dive in the second edition of the XD20 roleplaying system. Don’t be surprised if I use this as one of my entries for the 2023 Character Creation Challenge. I also have another set of blog posts that is currently boiling in a pot that I can use this system for as well. More on that later.
I did notice that the method of printing on the cover held my fingerprint smudges more than the first edition book. However this doesn’t bother me that much since I purchased this book to use, not to keep as a collector’s item.
Other Kickstarter bonuses that I received included two adventure modules (PDF) and several color illustrations in JPG format. One of these illustrations was also sent to me in a postcard.
Overall I am very pleased with the material I received for my Kickstarter backing. This book will look very nice next to my first edition copy in my gaming library. I can’t wait to delve into the wit and wisdom of the book’s contents. If you didn’t get a chance to participate in the Kickstarter, you can still pick up the book in various formats from Howard Tayler’s online store. I would recommend picking up this guide to being an X-treme Dungeon Master.
(Damn I need to hear some dice rolling soon)