A Roleplaying Game about Loss and Hope from the Ashes


Can a house be haunted even while it burns down?

A not-so hypothetical question in a world with Embergeists – spirits so mournful or vindictive that their very ectoplasm combusts, setting their haunts ablaze. Players enter the scene as a brigade of Burnaways – mercenaries who must act as fire fighters, detectives, and ghost hunters to stop the Embergeists by means of force or empathy.

BURNAWAY is a game about making tough choices in the literal heat of the moment, and coping with the consequences when the ash has settled. A near-future retropunk setting and “grimhope” tone puts focus on narrative growth, contrasted with a unique “burnout” advancement mechanic in a lightweight, accessible system geared toward one-shots and short campaigns.


Kickstarter Funding Success!!

Our October 2023 Kickstarter campaign reached its funding goal (thank you for your support!), and production of digital and physical copies of BURNAWAY is underway in 2024. If you didn’t get a chance to back the project, there will be some copies for sale after all pledges have recieved their copies!

You can also stay current with our project updates,  concept art reveals, and gameplay events  on our Tumblr, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts.


Jump into the world of BURNAWAY right now with the a FREE character creation sampler,

as well as a “micro-rpg” setting sampler for solo players (a full experience in under 15 mins!)


What makes Burnaway unique?

Burnaway’s mechanics are easy to pick up for first-timers, while still offering depth and detail in skilled hands. The hit-based system allows the use of any type of dice, so bring your favorite mix to the table! Each mission is a unique puzzle with many different solutions, though not all of them are satisfying, and the puzzle is constantly on fire. Characters’ decisions are the greatest determiner of their fate, with no railroading to hamper their actions (or to protect them from fatal disaster). Who said anything about getting stronger? BURNAWAY eschews traditional TTRPG power up mechanics. In a line of work where retirement or death are the only prospects, it’s up to the characters to process their own Grief and avoid suffering permanent Burns at the end of each session. Acknowledgement of hope is just as important as the acceptance of Grief. Characters may Bonds with each other, relationships forged in literal fire, and gain mechanical benefits from their evolving interpersonal dynamics. BURNAWAY adapts to how your group wants to game, providing a full ruleset for traditional, GM-lead or collaborative GM-less play.



Burnaway takes place in a near-future world crafted from the warnings and anxieties of our present time. Late-stage capitalism still dictates while it crumbles, ecological disaster is a numbing fact of life, and cities have somehow become bigger, dirtier and more hostile to their inhabitants. Despite all the other troubles, fire is still a common cause of lost homes and tragic deaths. However, not every spark is started by a flicked cigarette or a faulty wire. Some wandering spirits, whose sorrows lash them tight to this world, can become so distraught that their very ectoplasm combusts, starting a blaze wherever they seek to haunt; we call these troublesome phantoms Embergeists. Regular firefighters aren’t trained to deal with this supernatural threat; extinguishing one fire means little when an irate ghost kindles many more at the same time. The science behind their inception is a mystery, while the best method for their elimination is a topic of contention. Only those who care about their property values find it worth paying to remove them, but despite the constant on-call hours, miserly rates, and ever-present threat of death within an inferno, desperation can always innovate a labor market.

Who are the Burnaways?

A Burnaway is a professional, for lack of any other unifying factor, contracted by a private company to swoop in as soon as a report of an embergeist comes through. Burnaways come from all walks of life, though most are trying to leave dark pasts behind. Exceptional danger for unexceptional pay is a hard sell to anyone save those individuals motivated by desperation, personal atonement, or something else that’s worth walking through fire for. Disparate backgrounds bring together a team with all the skills needed to maneuver through blazing buildings, locate and rescue victims, and even exorcize an arson-inclined specter. As a Burnaway, you are a thief entering the house of Death and snatching back its claim. However, what you leave behind is just as significant as what you choose to take. This is a game about choices; do you rescue the executive or the janitor? The priceless hard drive or the poodle dog? Do you leave your comrade bleeding out to banish the geist and save many others? Or do you leave it all in order to save yourself?