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Of the words “goodwill” and “mission,” which one suggests opening fire on the way in?
No, this is NOT the final cover image. Why do you ask?
Big Dumb Objects is a five-part story set against some of the largest artificial structures found in the universe of Schlock Mercenary. It is a story of tragedy, triumph, and the strategic application of high explosives. It asks deep questions about the nature of intelligence, the age of the universe, and the role of a bailiff in the presence of well-armed justice. It is social satire, political farce, and—we hope—extremely funny.
The term “big dumb object” comes to us from those who analyze classic science fiction, and who needed a category for things like Dyson spheres and Death Stars (only one of which appears in this book, and when it does appear, it’s in pieces.)
This comprehensive print collection is 256 pages long, perfect-bound in full color, with 12 pages of all-new story and additional margin art.
This slipcase will be designed to hold books 12-16. We’ve done slipcases before, for books 1-5, and 6-11, so we’re confident this one will turn out great. We’ve engaged one of the Planet Mercenary designers to ensure a beautiful case. For now, here is a Sharpie drawing from Howard that explains how a slipcase be.
NOTE! To simplify rewards selection (those things to the right→) the slipcase is ALWAYS AN ADD-ON. Check out the Add-ons section below (past the stretch goals) for details.
We’ll be replacing this bullet-list with a handy infographic in the next few days. For now, here are our stretches by the bullets.
We’ll also partner with Gallant Knight Games to release a Tiny D6 version of Planet Mercenary. GKG’s Tiny Dungeon line is for people who want ultra-simple rule sets to use for fast-paced adventures and group storytelling. The Tiny Planet Mercenary book will be released to stores through GKG’s usual channels, but you have your chance to get it first. (At a discount!)
Tiny Planet Mercenary will be approximately 200 pages long, will feature some new content (possibly new sophont types) and will have a re-designed Mayhem deck to compliment it. $25 gets you the 200 page, black and white softcover book and PDF combo, as well as the PDF of the mayhem deck. $15 gets you the 200 page, black and white PDF of the book and new Mayhem deck. Physical Mayhem decks can be added on for $10. Fulfillment for Tiny Planet Mercenary PDFs will be done via DriveThruRPG. Physical copies fulfilled with the other items in your order.
In addition to these Planet Mercenary related goals, the Confelicity/Shadenfreude coin will be available to purchase as an add-on.
(Note: Jeff Zugale is the artist responsible for the Planet Mercenary cover art, as well as for the starship designs used throughout the book. He’s had a big influence on the Schlock Mercenary universe.)
Speaking of R&D, Howard has been experimenting with streaming lately. Here’s a video of him creating that initial draft of the Big Dumb Objects cover art! He’ll be working on finishing the cover over at twitch.tv/howardtayler in the next couple of weeks. We’ll put the schedule in our updates.
An “add-on” is additional merchandise that you can purchase after the Kickstarter closes to add to your package. We’ll be using Backerkit to manage surveys, collecting address, and allow add-on ordering. About two weeks after funding closes, you’ll get an email from Backerkit to allow all of this. In Backerkit you can purchase additional items that aren’t automatically included in your pledge. You don’t have to wait, though! If you increase your pledge to cover the cost of add-ons while the project is still running, you help us reach our stretch goals more quickly.
Example: You’ve pledged for $45 to get a sketched book, but you also want three coins. Just increase your pledge by the cost of the coins ($45 + $30 = $75). When the project closes, you’ll be sent a survey which will show you how much you pledged, and which will allow you to specify exactly what you want your additional pledge money spent on. Please see the shipping section to learn about additional shipping costs for add-ons.
All previously published Schlock Mercenary books will be available as add-ons. Here are the prices on previous Schlock Mercenary books:
There is a fixed shipping cost per pledge level based on your location and pledge level. This is handled automatically by Kickstarter’s system. If you are not adding anything to your order, you do not need to look at this chart. It is only meant as a help for people who are trying to increase their pledges to account for add-ons. Add-ons of physical items will have additional shipping costs, particularly for international backers. Adding in your expected shipping cost to your pledge can also help us reach stretch goals. You can calculate your add-on shipping costs using this chart. Please note these are actual costs for shipping items internationally. In some cases we are losing money by setting these price points.
This project’s funding period ends just before Thanksgiving. There is a two week waiting period until the project’s funds are released to us. At that point (about two weeks after U.S. Thanksgiving) we’ll send surveys to all backers, which is when you’ll be able to finalize your order with add-ons, etc.
Shortly after that, we will send the books and slipcases off to print. Once we have accurate counts for add-ons, we’ll send those items into production.
When we say “offer more,” we don’t mean “more pages.” The book is essentially finished, and we’re all better served if we don’t mess around with that part. We’ll be offering additional merchandise, both physical and digital, that we wouldn’t otherwise be able to produce. You’ll find those in the Stretch Goals.
We are aware of Kickstarter’s position with regard to unionization. We support the unionizers at Kickstarter United, and agree with them: boycotting Kickstarter will hurt all the wrong people. Please follow those links for complete statements, and the latest information.
We’re really excited to run this project. Thank you for your support.
We’re launching this project earlier in the design process than we usually do, but we’ve calculated the delivery dates carefully based on 15 books of prior experience. We intend to deliver on time or early. As soon as the funding period closes and we have the funds, we will send files off for printing.
One possible complication with this project is that we’re also producing a slipcase. We’ve made slipcases before and so we’ve added time into the delivery schedule to account for delays that producing and/or packing the slipcases might introduce.
One risk is that shipping costs will increase unexpectedly between closing the project and shipping the project. This is of especial concern for international orders. We’ve done our best to anticipate and calculate, but there are regulations which may change and affect shipping costs. If there are changes in shipping price, we will absorb the cost difference.
Every project brings surprises, but we’ve run enough Kickstarters before that we believe we’re prepared to adapt. We’ve adapted swiftly in the past, and have consistently delivered the promised rewards to our backers. We always do all we can to make you happy you supported us.