“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 struggle. It is a world where the manifest essence of destruction wrought wrath and nearly wiped the world from existence; a world where its people fight not only to survive but to amass power, riches, and honour. Nothing is as it seems in this world, and everything is possible with mind bent toward will. 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.
Built using the ScreenPlay engine, High Plains Samurai (HPS) allows players to take on the role of Writers working with the Director to draft complete cinematic stories. They craft tales of heroic struggle against the machinations of the mysterious bandit known as The Black Scorpion and his bloody plot for revenge that threatens to crack the Shard of Hope.
In addition to being a world open to your group’s interpretation, dotting the landscape of the world of HPS are the Five Cities. Your story could begin in:
- Hunan, a desert-swept city of harsh depravity hidden under a mask of debauchery;
- Yung Zhi, where swaying towers loom above overwhelming poverty and lawlessness;
- Monsoon, where strict order keeps back the surrounding poisonous jungle;
- Khar’tep, magnificent heights encompassed by jagged peaks and frigid blizzards; or
- Rust, a hidden city of wild inventions and rotting depths.
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. An unforeseen side effect of The Wastes’ influence, these powers allow some to tap into abilities never thought possible: the ability to breathe fire, leap ten times higher, phase through walls, and perhaps even turn flesh to stone. These qi warriors remain spread 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 bhind the curtains; or
- the Rogue Scholar, seeking truth behind the mysteries that could save the One Land.
- and many, 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 people of all creeds and beliefs 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. Sparing all life from mass extinction, 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.
HPS will launch its Kickstarter campaign on May 30, 2017 with its sights locked on raising $3,000 (Canadian) to fund the core version of the game. If we reach this first target, High Plains Samurai will be published as a 96-page PDF/POD (print on demand) product featuring everything you need to tell your own stories in this wild and crazy world on the brink of annihilation. But it doesn’t end there.
At $7,000 CDN, we will instead release High Plains Samurai: Black Scorpion’s Revenge, a 160-page PDF/POD version of the game with an enhanced section for directing HPS and detailed chapters on all six major locations featuring the major supporting characters and a list of scenarios for telling your group’s story of how the most wanted man in the One Land could single-handedly turn the world to dust. This version of the game is everything you need to tell the ultimate version of HPS that will shake this world to its very core.
At $10,000 CDN, we will create a high-quality offset softcover print run of High Plains Samurai: Black Scorpion’s Revenge for retail distribution and automatically upgrade all appropriate backers (meaning those who back the project at print levels) to these upgraded versions of the game. (Hardcover backers will receive both offset softcover and hardcover.) This version of the game will feature an updated cover and will packed so full of material to create your version of the One Land, you’ll wonder how the binding holds it all together.
To give you a preview of how you could back this project, here are the current backer levels for High Plains Samurai. These amounts and rewards are subject to change leading up to the launch of the Kickstarter.
- Raw Apprentice ($1): You gain immediate access to the Kickstarter Draft of HPS and credit as a Raw Apprentice backer in the final product
- Rogue Scholar ($5): You will receive a 48-page PDF copy of Legend of the High Plains Samurai, everything a Writer needs to tell stories in the One Land, plus immediate access to the Kickstarter Draft and credit as a Rogue Scholar in the final product
- Noble Warrior ($10): You will receive a PDF copy (and discount code for a POD softcover copy from DriveThruRPG) of the final product, plus immediate access to the Kickstarter Draft and credit as a Noble Warrior in the final product
- True Believer ($25): You will receive a softcover copy of the final product as well as a PDF copy, immediate access to the Kickstarter Draft, and credit as a True Believer in the final product
- Hardened Outsider ($50): An exclusive hardcover copy of the final product as well as a PDF copy, immediate access to the Kickstarter Draft, and credit as a Hardened Outsider in the final product
Additional backer levels and add-ons will be made available or unlocked during the Kickstarter. All rewards tracking and details will be handled by BackerKit. Please note this Kickstarter will not include shipping costs and will be paid by backers once all factors (product weight, shipping rates at the time of release) are 100% secured.
Additional Stretch Goals
All money raised in this Kickstarter campaign will go towards additional artwork, writing (as needed to suit and finish the end product), editing, layout, and final production. Along with way, we will unlock special material to make HPS even better than ever, including…
- a full-colour map of the One Land by digital artist, Jeff Brown
- a serialized short story on the rise and fall (and rise again) of Black Scorpion, by Fraser Ronald
From now until May 14, 2017, you can download an 84-page PDF copy of High Plains Samurai: The Rehearsal Edition as part of a 10-week public playtest leading up to a Kickstarter campaign beginning May 2017.
Stay tuned to this site for previews and updates on what you can expect from this ultimate mash-up of awesomeness where the fate of an entire world will rest in your hands.
Preview: Rehearsal Edition/Kickstarter Art
If everything you’ve read so far hasn’t worked you into a frenzy, then gaze upon these interior art pieces from HPS’ lead artist, Kieron O’Gorman.
Preview: Rehearsal Edition Layout
Constantly evolving, this work-in-progress layout for HPS seeks to push the boundaries of our previous games by mixing in elements from the various genres found throughout the One Land.
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.