Communities in the Fifth World take many forms. When you play The Fifth World tabletop roleplaying game, you play either a single tale or an ongoing saga — in either case, the story centers on one, specific community. All of your main characters belong to this community. Each community has a territory made up of the places that it holds dear. Communities understand themselves, first and foremost, as the web of relationships that connect their members, the places in their territory, and the other communities (human and otherwise) that neighbor them. Our
community creation tool will step you through the process of creating a community that you can use for the game — or for a story, novel, or any other artistic endeavor. It will let you fill in important decisions about where it starts, and then fill in the last two centuries of personal and communal histories. Until we finish the tool, though, creating a community will involve a good significant background in anthropology. Unfortunately, this makes our game difficult to get into until we’ve finished that tool. We’ll update this page when we’ve finished it, with more detail on how to use it for your game.
At the beginning of any tale, you must have a
looming question about this community. If you don’t have one, come up with one as a group.
Playing Somewhere Else
The game expects that you’ll play where you live, but that might not always work. For example, what happens if you live somewhere that will lie under the ocean in the Fifth World? In that case, you’ll probably want to play a coastal
squidding village, located on the nearest coast. You may find that certain hills and other high points will still break above the waves as islands. Or you might even imagine your community as living most of their lives at sea, like the modern Sama, Orang Laut, and Moken of the Malay Archipelago. Indigenous people who make their living at sea distinguish between different places in their territory — some have lots of squid, while others have none; some present grave challenges to sailors, and others hint at secrets far away or deep below. So everything we’ve said about places and how to play them applies just as much at sea, even if it might take someone well-versed in the ocean’s secrets to notice them.
On the other hand, what if you play online? If you can find some place that you all know and have some familiarity with, then set your game there. But in many cases, you might not find such a place. In that case, try
Kalaallit Nunaat (a.k.a., Greenland). Though few people live there now, the Arctic becomes one of the most populous areas of the Fifth World. You’ll have to play places that you’ve likely never visited, which will make it hard to heed its spirit, but you can still channel some place that you know and love, guessing that a place like it may yet lie beneath the ice. Like Italo Calvino’s Marco Polo in Invisible Cities, telling Kublai Khan that, “Every time I describe a city I am saying something about Venice,” we can know that in the places we speculate about beneath the Greenland Ice Sheet, you’ve channeled the spirit of some real place that you know and cherish.