A Plague Among Us, by Moyra Turkington

An Annal of London’s Dreadful Visitation as recorded by the Searchers of the Dead

1665: London’s population swells uncontrolled. Houses jetty over the streets, blocking out the sky over the laneways of the poor. From the Thames to the city walls, rats from merchant ships introduce The Great Plague. Spreading hungrily, it will devour a quarter of the city’s souls.

You play poor, elder women: pensioners living off the charity of the church. You have been pressed to serve as a Searcher of the Dead, assessing the living sick and the decaying dead to identify plague and invoke quarantine. Your life is isolated under constant threat of death, punishment and retribution.

This gritty kitchen sink drama helps us explore how pandemics diminish us: withholding joy, reducing our dreams, and revealing how labour defines our whole lives. You will unwind the ever-reducing story of your Searcher, and help construct scenes for others to do the same.

A Plague Among Us is set in pre-modern London, but it’s also about us, right now – about how everything has changed, but nothing has.


  • Players: 3-5
  • Time: 4-5 hours
  • Genre: Historical Drama
  • Tone: difficult, grim, yearning
  • Format: Character-focused, GM-full.
  • Difficulty: The game asks players to create scenes for one another with the help of game materials. Play groups with experience in player-powered storygames (e.g. Dream Askew) should find it very accessible, but groups with less experience should plan for an extended play time to account for a learning curve. For a tight game experience, it is recommended that one player read the text of the game in advance, and act as a player-facilitator to teach others the game. 
  • You do not need to know anything about The Great Plague to play this game.

The game is available in a 4 player version to play online right now at StorySynth. It will be available for print-on-demand in summer of 2024.


This game is about plague and pandemics and the difficult and dangerous conditions that occur in them. It also takes place in pre-modern times where the lives of the poor were dangerous and short. Death, disease, and vulnerable living conditions are themes in the game, and this includes their effects on all people of the city, including children. While this content is ambient, players have control over what their stories will focus on.


A Plague Among Us premiered at Denmark’ premiere scenario event Fastaval in 2022 . It was nominated for three awards and took home the Otto Award for Jury’s Special Prize. This is what the judges had to say: 

We have now lived for more than two years in the shadow of the covid-19 pandemic. We give the special award to a scenario that mirrors the loneliness we all suffered under because of lockdown, disease, and isolation. It reminds us of the connections and companionship we have missed for far too long.  It moved us deeply.”