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Nov 19, 2019 11:55 AM ET

Big Dumb Objects: Schlock Mercenary Book 16 256 glossy, full-color pages of Schlock Mercenary, plus a slipcase for books 12-16

Big Dumb Objects: Schlock Mercenary Book 16 256 glossy, full-color pages of Schlock Mercenary, plus a slipcase for books 12-16

iCrowd Newswire - Nov 19, 2019



 BIG DUMB OBJECTSSchlock Mercenary Volume 16 

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.

  • $45,000: FUNDED! (This includes the book AND slipcase)
  • $50,000: FUNDED! Warning Sign Stickers available as add-ons (image coming soon.)
  •  $60,000: FUNDED! Our first two enamel pins available as add-ons. The Landon pin will be 2 inches tall and the Tenzy pin will be one inch.
In this updated proof you can see that Landon’s wrist computer has data on it!

Still Pending:

  •  $75,000: The Planet Mercenary Stretch. If we hit this goal, we’ll make the Planet Mercenary adventure “Escape from the Friggen Jungle” PDF available as an add-on. 

 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.

  •  $90,000: R&D Space Ships! We’re partnering with Jeff Zugale of Starshipwright to create hand-cast models of the Kitesphere. This qualifies as an R&D goal, because this functions as a test run for possible future combined projects. If we hit this goal, you can add on a Kitesphere ship to your order for $10. We will also purchase an iPad Pro for Howard, so that he can experiment with art in new ways, which will likely result in new awesome things.

 (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.)

  •  $105,000: More Pins and R&D! (designs TBA), if we hit this goal, we’ll release a minimum of two additional enamel pin designs. We will also replace Sandra’s seven-year-old desktop computer which has taken to occasionally making a noise rather like a blender. This is the machine she uses to process Kickstarter orders so replacing it is a really good idea.
  •  $125,000: Special pin for everyone! As a thank-you for hitting this level, each backer with physical rewards gets a pin for free. We have a cool idea for this special pin, we hope to have an image soon. 
  •  $150,000 Fix the Broken Things!  If we reach this goal the Taylers will fix their broken kitchen, and Sandra will document the process with regular updates, including spreadsheets, photos, and even some video! We will also post a video tour of the Hypernode Media warehouse where all the Schlock is stored and mailed. Also, Howard will video himself doing a happy dance, or will perform some other act of whimsy as a huge thank you to all of you for making things possible.
  • And beyond?? Speaking from experience, at this level of over-funding we’ll have our hands full delivering the promised goods, so further stretch goals will likely be of the R&D variety. 

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 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. 


  • We like Kickstarter’s system for communication between us and you, our backers.
  • Kickstarter delivers a great pre-order experience for backers, and  with Backerkit we get very robust fulfillment tools, making the job of  shipping thousands of books much easier on us than it’s been in the  past.
  • Kickstarting this print run lets us offer you more than we’ve been able to offer in the past.

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.

Risks and challenges

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.

Contact Information:

Howard Tayler

Tags:    Reward-Donation, Wire, United States, English