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2023 Character Creation Challenge Day 11: XD20 Second Edition

One of the kickstarters that I backed last year was the 2nd Edition of X-Treme Dungeon Mastery by Tracy and Curtis Hickman and illustrated by Howard Tayler. While the book is an excellent guide for Dungeon Masters, it also contains it’s own roleplaying game called XD20 Second Edition. Yes, the first XDM book also had an RPG in it. So for day 11 of the Character Creation Challenge, I’m going to make a character for this system. Just as I had to make a disclaimer for Fantasy Craft, I need to drop one here. I’ve known Howard Tayler for years and had no problem backing his kickstarter since I knew that I’d get what was promised. But I’m going to do this mini-review based upon what I read while creating the character without considering my relationship with the artist.

This system is generic and can be used for any genre. So for the purposes of creating a character, I’m going to pretend that an XDM is going to run us through a fantasy campaign. I’m going to create Blix the Barbarian.

The core mechanic when confronted with a challenge is to roll a d20, add a stat bonus and if you meet or beat a target number, your character succeeds. There are additional items (I’m not going to give away the whole system) but it is very rules-light system. The character creation rules start on page 120 and you start with five stats. TAC (Toughness and Constitution), PSYCH (intelligence, wisdom and smartness), WAH (mystical power, luck and karma), HEALTH (self-explanatory) and LEVEL (a class level basically). Roll a D8 three times for each stat and note it (not on the sheet yet). There is some stat adjustment if the character has any type of mystic power, but Blix is a big ox with a sword, so we can skip this. So the first three stats are TAC 18, PSYCH 13 and WAH 10. Next we take the two lowest stats and add 14 to the total, this is our HEALTH score. Since this is a starting character, his LEVEL is 1.

Now for the next step, we are going to draft a story. What is something they’ll fight about (Blix was always picked on as a child and he hates it when adults pick on children), what is something they’ll run from (Snakes? Why’d it have to be snakes?) and what is something they’d die for (Blix wants to recover his dead father’s stolen sword).

Next we get to pack some stuff. It’s actually a little refreshing to see an interesting equipment section like this. You decided on three things. What is something sensible (why would I be carrying this? Because I need a gem that lights up when I give it a command, just don’t ask me where I got it), what is something precious (don’t want to loose that, it’s the armor my father had when he was an adventurer and it was made out of the same metal as the sword) and something random (Where did this sealed letter come from? There was a fancy looking guy on that last boat ride, I wonder if he dropped it?) Then your other equipment is what a prepared adventurer would have (Backpack, bedroll, rations, etc.). So I wrote a few things down and called it good. For once I was glad that there was no, “lets be different for difference sake” when it came to the equipment. For the illustration, I’m mentally thinking of something along the line of The Legend of Bill. Unfortunately I can’t draw as well as my daughter.


I’ve seen some pretty complicated and crunchy systems in character creation and actual play. There is a reason that Pathfinder has the nickname of Mathfinder. I’m also worried about the GURPS character I’m going to be making later this month. But XD20 is very simplistic and gets the job done for what it’s designed to do, get a bunch of friends to throw some dice around the table while cracking Monty Python jokes and eating things that are not good for you. Character creation was quick and simple. I think the biggest concern would be making sure you are communicating with your game master and the other players in your group. This could easily be put together for a quick last minute game when half the players can’t make it to the table and you still want to play with those who showed up.

I may even try to run a game or two on this system. If I do, I’ll report it here.

Additional Notes:

I had one reader respond to me how much they had loved the D6 System that I used for yesterday’s Character Creation Challenge entry. I also have many good memories playing the Star Wars D6 Roleplaying Game from West End Games. I’ve even found my original character sheets from different SW sessions.

Coming Up Next:

Mutant Future

This article is open for discussion on the TardisCaptain dot Com Discord server. You can also email me at Carl (at) with any comments.

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