“For every tyrant there are many under his boot. Those trapped beneath him are nothing more than ants until they learn to move between the treads and finally break free.”
– from The Path of Innocence
There is a world beyond our own steeped in darkness and struggling in the aftermath of a divine war; a world where its people fight not only to survive but to amass power, riches, and honour. A place of intense, high-octane wire-fu action set against the background of desert landscapes, high speed train robberies, and mutant warriors battling it out for supremacy.
Nothing is as it seems in this world, and everything is possible. We call it… High Plains Samurai.
High Plains Samurai blends the worlds of western gunslingers, samurai warriors, prohibition-era gangsters, savage barbarians, and more with the wild martial arts action of wire-fu. Visceral and aggressive tales of woe, vengeance, and bloodshed are created to either return The One Land to its former glory, or tear it apart into chunks of lifeless rock hurtling through space.
“All of this comes together beautifully in High Plains Samurai. The setting is varied quite a bit, but it’s done in a meaningful way, tied directly to the canon and in the flavor of each potential character type. It fully embraces the high, cinematic action style of ScreenPlay and can make for some very memorable gaming sessions.”
– Roleplayers Chronicle
The High Plains Samurai Roleplaying Game (HPS) is a storytelling game of extreme mash-ups battling it out in a post-apocalyptic fantasy world of gunslingers, gangsters, samurai, barbarians, and steampunk where the residual energies of a divine battle have bestowed superpowered abilities to a select few. Those with these incredible abilities are qi warriors; they are the lead characters of this setting.
Built using the ScreenPlay engine, HPS is a collaborative story game with all players taking an equal role in the storytelling process. Players take on the role of Writers working with the Director to draft complete stories of action, suspense, horror, and survival. Through their lead characters, Writers actively drive the story and create epic action sequences as the central storytellers; the Director reacts to their descriptions while simultaneously challenging their characters along the way. For every description moving the story forward, another player will deliver its outcome to push it further, react to events, and embellish details with camera angles, special effects, even a character’s demise.
In a world where everything is possible, dice rolls are not used to attempt success or failure, but as complications against your enemies… and death is the ultimate complication. Characters roll dice based on the number of details built into their descriptions against an opponent’s Defence for the right to choose their enemy’s fate or perhaps allow the enemy to choose their own. Each complication becomes incorporated into the story and can also be countered or removed by spending Stamina until there is none left to give or the battle is over.
“These mechanics are unlike anything I have ever seen before, and it makes for an interesting gameplay experience. High Plains Samurai is less of the tabletop gaming that I began with, and is closer to the rule-less story roleplaying on internet forums where I had some of my first Play by Post experiences.”
– The Independents, August 27, 2018
HPS is an open-ended setting and storytelling game where your group’s vision of the story is the main focus. Set in the scarred and bloody setting known as the One Land, your story could begin in:
- Serenity Falls, a desert-swept city of harsh depravity and lawlessness fuelling one warlord’s insatiable greed
- Yung Zhi, where swaying towers loom above overwhelming poverty and overcrowded streets controlled by powerful gangsters
- Monsoon, the samurai compound where strict order keeps back the surrounding poisonous jungle
- Khar’tep, home of magnificent heights encompassed by jagged peaks and frigid blizzards controlled by the barbarian tribes
- or Rust, a hidden city of wild inventions and rotting depths oppressed by a xenophobic cult
Sitting between them all, its very essence seeping into both the land and its people, are the Wastes. The source of wild and destructive powers, the swirling madness of the Wastes hides the truth behind a terrible apocalypse.
Living in these conditions requires a cold heart, quick reflexes, and amazing power, the kind of power you can only unlock from your inner qi (prounched “chi”). An unforeseen effect of the Wastes, these powers allow some to tap into abilities never thought possible: breathe fire, leap ten times higher, phase through walls, and perhaps even turn flesh to stone. These qi warriors remain spread out across the land, using their powers to survive or thrive, sometimes at the expense of others. They fill many roles, like:
- the Unstoppable Hunter, fulfilling the orders of the cities’ warlords
- the Deadly Shadow, unseen puppet masters pulling strings behind the curtains
- the Rogue Scholar, seeking truth behind the mysteries that could save the One Land
- and many more!
Will your heroes succeed or will they fall into the hands of Chaos? Only you and your friends will be able to tell this story!
Many years ago, there was the One Land. Forged by the fires swirling beneath the earth’s crust and cooled by the oceans of her shores, this paradise was carved out with love and respect by five Elemental Spirits – Honour, Innocence, Balance, Patience and Strife. It became a beacon of hope to all creatures searching for both home and purpose. For centuries, there was peace as all the world’s peoples thrived in its rich jungles, mountainous summits, and wide open plains.
Until one day Chaos learned of his children’s creation and was sickened by it. Seeing a landscape where all creatures could exist and multiply in harmony was a travesty for this Elemental elder. And so he lashed out with all his might. Without warning, the One Land suffered earthquakes, tornadoes, and fires of a magnitude never seen since the forging of the Land itself. As the smoke billowed into the sky, the Spirits were shocked by their creator’s homicidal anger and battled Chaos in an epic struggle for the fate of the One Land and its people. Triumphant, they locked him within the Shard of Hope.
The children of Chaos spared all life from mass extinction but the landscape was forever scarred with death and destruction from which it would never recover. The powerful energies of Chaos’s Wrath, as this moment came to be known, tainted the One Land with chaotic toxins that seeped into the very soil and blood of everything that made this world beautiful. The Spirits concealed the Shard of Hope within a spire of rock in the heart of the battlefield, now known as the Wastes, and sought out guardians to ensure the Shard would never break. Centuries have passed and what was once love and bounty is now struggle and depravity.
This is where our story begins.
The High Plains Samurai Roleplaying Game will be published as a PDF/POD/softcover release and released in Autumn 2018. Featuring everything you need to tell your own stories in this wild and crazy world on the brink of annihilation, the game will include complete rules for Writers and Directors, core setting material for the One Land, character creation guidelines, major supporting characters, original artwork by HPS lead artist, Kieron O’Gorman, a full colour map of the One Land by Jeff Brown, and more.
Begin your path to becoming a true qi warrior with High Plains Samurai: Legends, a one-shot/convention version of the game with 4 pre-generated lead characters and 3 exciting adventures you can direct within a single session. Available now as a free PDF or purchase your softcover copy, HPS Legends is the first step to unleashing your potential.
Explore the world of HPS like never before with our online Atlas of the One Land. Discover exciting new locations, meet new characters, unlock new creatures from the Wastes and beyond… plus this is your chance to share your version of the world. Submit new material based on the games you play and provide other Directors with quick and easy additions to the setting.
Follow Our Progress on G+
As the clock counts down to the next phase of HPS, be one of the select few to gain first access to playtest drafts, art previews, and more on our ScreenPlayers Guild G+ community.