High Plains Samurai


Success! Thanks to all 273 backers on Kickstarter who helped us raise $6,411! 

“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.


HPS_KickstarterCover_7x10_webHigh Plains Samurai (HPS) is a storytelling game of extreme mash-ups battling it out in a post-apocalyptic fantasy world of gunslingersgangsterssamuraibarbarians, and steampunkwhere 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.

Together, you will create tales of heroic struggle against the machinations of the mysterious bandit known as Black Scorpion and her bloody plot for revenge that threatens the return of Chaos incarnate.

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!


Never underestimate the barbarians of Khar’tep.

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 – HonourInnocenceBalancePatience 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 Salvation stops for no one, no matter how hard they try.

HPS-Kickstarter_banner_EnterOneLandHigh Plains Samurai will be published as a PDF/POD/softcover release and released in late 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.

HPS-Kickstarter_banner_StepBeyondAll money raised in this Kickstarter campaign will go towards additional artwork, writing (as needed to suit and finish the end product), editing, layout, and production costs.

HPS-Kickstarter_stretch_BalladYou have unlocked a short story by Fraser Ronald detailing the rise and fall (and rise again) of the Black Scorpion. This completed version will recount how the One Land’s most wanted fugitive rose to power as leader of the Desert Sun Gang, found herself under the care of the monks of Heavens Peak, and faced the full force of the Five Cities to become the Scourge of the One Land. (PDF only)

You can read the first four chapters of Ballad right here on the Broken Ruler Games website.

HPS-Kickstarter_stretch_AtlasYou have also unlocked the Atlas of the One Land, a living document detailing the lost sites scattered across the world of High Plains Samurai… as discovered by you! Backers (and only backers) will be able to provide Broken Ruler Games with updates on unique locations their players create in their renditions of the game and we will place them into a living document detailing your accounts of the discovery and position them on the map of the One Land to be completed by Jeff Brown. This is your chance to help other players populate their version of the One Land! (PDF only)


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.

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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.

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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.





6 thoughts on “High Plains Samurai

  1. […] The last couple months have been the art direction and preparations for the release of both Ironbound and ScreenPlay’s core rulebook. An eye opening experience. Truthfully, the entire process was extremely educational but I’ll get into that another time. When the public playtest began back in October 2015, my plan was to pocketfund the game. After the positive results from that playtest, I toyed around with the idea of crowdfunding before considering the risks for putting out an unknown, universal system without some kind of track record first. Use that early momentum to prepare something else that could be funded with a possible fan base. (Hint: High Plains Samurai) […]


  2. Andrew here one your 6 “One land” map backers. For the 200+ backers if you ever make a Gramora, Dangers, or monster book. Maybe each backer can Contrubute a creature of each of Six paths/ Guardians. Just a thought

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good idea, Andrew. I’ve been giving some thoughts to using the Atlas of the One Land as more than just new & unique locations but a tool to expand on numerous discoveries possible, including beasts and monsters. It’s something we’re working on in the New Year.


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