In The Fifth World roleplaying game, you and 2-5 of your friends take on the roles of people living in a neotribal, ecotopian future. Together, you’ll uncover a story about their lives — about their ambitions, their hopes, their troubles, and above all, about the web of kinship that binds them together. How will they balance the conflicting demands of the people they love and respect? What kind of person will they choose to become? What kind of world will they leave for their own descendants?
We play the game like a board game, except we spend a lot more time focused on story and characters. We play the game like a troupe of improv actors, except we perform only for one another. We play the game like musicians having a jam session on the front porch, except we compose a story instead of music. We hunt a wild story — a unique thing with a life all its own that could not exist anywhere else but here, with us, right now.
You’ll usually want to play around a table where you can arrange pieces of paper, playing cards, and tokens, which will help us track the story. Along the hunt, you’ll shift between four different roles: playing your character, playing other characters, asking questions, and answering them.
You can play a single story of The Fifth World in two to four hours, depending on how long you’d like to play. You might decide to make a regular event of it, continuing the story of your family and the characters in it as an ongoing saga. If some of your friends can’t make it sometimes, though, don’t worry. Their characters can simply fade into the background as the family’s life goes on.
Download PDF (30.2 MB PDF)
However, playtesters have reported that creating a family presents a significant barrier to entry, and since that’s the very first thing you do, that’s a big problem. The new version will use a community creation system that we’re developing for the website. This will have consequences for how characters are defined, too. We’re also not so sure that anything in the Sagas section (p.43 onward) really works very well.