Alas for the Awful Sea

A roleplaying game of myth, mystery, and the complexities of the human heart. Set in 19th century rural UK.

Dive deep into the world of Alas for the Awful Sea


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Alas is a story-focused roleplaying game set in a grim world of suspicion, sadness, and desperation.


Be dragged into the current of a powerful story

Unnatural storms and terrifying waves forced your ship to shore. Now you’re stuck here, in this dirt poor town, drenched in the smell of cheap whiskey and rotten fish.

As poverty and politics consume the town, and folklore tales come to life, you will face harsh realities and even harsher choices. You and your crew must make deals, find answers, and pick sides. But believe me, you won’t all pick the same one…

What will you do when the sea itself turns against you?

Alas for the Awful Sea explores the bitter dilemmas facing starving towns torn apart by crime and loss. To tell this story, it delves into the fantastical, weaving in folktale elements that mirror the beliefs and struggles of the town. 

Based on the rich myth of the Scottish Hebrides, this folklore springs forth from the same desolate coastal landscapes that dominate the atmosphere of the game.

Actual Play

Find out what it’s like to play Alas for the Awful Sea.


Listen to our scenario, the Wind and the Waves, create two very different stories.

On She’s A Supergeek:

Silver Fish – Part 1

Silver Fish – Part 2

With the Storybrewers Crew:

The Lover and the Kinsman 

Ready to Create

The book of Alas guides you though creating  your own characters, encounters and narrative material.

Ready to Tell Tales

Alas contains dedicated chapters on setting, folklore, and historical context, to help create unique stories.

Ready to Adventure

The heart of Alas for the Awful Sea is a self contained adventure that takes three to five sessions to play.

The System

The rules of Alas have their origin in the award-winning Apocalypse World system. However, we have modified and stripped these rules down to their core to create a raw, narrative focused and unforgiving system almost as harsh as the world of Alas itself.

In Alas, players influence the world by making moves, either from the core rules, or individual character playbooks. Every move is significant. Success gets the player what they want, while failure will turn the characters, environment, and forces of myth, against them.

Centered on Story

In Alas for the Awful Sea, story takes primacy over everything else. The needs, desires, and feelings of the player characters drive the action, and transform the narrative. The role of the GM is to create an emotional and immersive world for the players to interact with.

To keep the focus on story, the core adventure of Alas for the Awful Sea uses a flexible modular encounter system that fuses player agency and narrative depth. This system allows the game to be highly responsive to player attitudes and actions, while also giving GMs the narrative support they need to create compelling and multifaceted stories.

In AlasGMs custom pick encounter order depending on events, relationships, and character goals. While every story shares the same beginning, how it unfolds will depend entirely upon the players and their actions. However, the game’s storehouse of narrative content will allow GMs to weave a complex and emotive story with ease.

“it’s that awful sea. it takes what it likes and it don’t give nothing back.”

With Art by Stephanie Lam


Got Alas for the Awful Sea? Leave a review and tell us what you think!


3.0 rating
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Novel Idea

5.0 rating
February 15, 2019

I enjoyed reading through the rule book and character and setting materials. I haven’t had the chance to play as of yet but from the play through I’ve seen looks like a well thought out system for creating the nuance of Jane Austen’s novels. I think this would be good for Austen fans who are looking at create Regency-era fan fiction as well. Thank you for creating this wonderful resource.

Todd Plunkett

Immersive, mysterious, enthralling

5.0 rating
April 3, 2018

The world of Alas is complex and intertwined, where the players can pick at any thread and unravel it to their curiousity. It’s a world where the supernatural brushes up against the reality, and you’re not sure which one is more dangerous…or interesting. This is a compelling and fascinating game and I look forward to more from the Storybrewers.


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