The Fifth World

Roleplaying Game

How to Roleplay

We play roleplaying games with our friends. Gather two or three of your friends and get comfortable. Our game will take 15-20 minutes.

It lets us explore interesting scenarios. Tell your friends that you’ll take on the roles of a band of hunters in the Fifth World.

It gives us a chance to put ourselves in someone else’s life. Take turns asking each other three questions about your hunters. Which of you has the most experience? Which of you has the most to prove? Which of you has the most to learn?

It thrives on sticky situations. Start things off as you find yourself unexpectedly between a baby elephant and its mother. Which of you led the group into this situation? How and why? The biggest bull in the herd trumpets and charges at you!

It unfolds as a collaborative waking dream. Pick one player to take the focus. She can only tell us what her hunter thinks, says, and does. The others can say what their own hunters say and do, as well as what happens in the rest of the world (like what the elephant does).

It gives you the chance to express your own sense of drama. When the player in focus says that she does something that sounds difficult (perhaps “I dodge out of the way of the charging elephant”) say, “That sounds difficult.” If she describes something that sounds dangerous (perhaps “I stand my ground and stab the charging elephant with my spear”) say, “That sounds dangerous.” She might even say something that sounds both difficult and dangerous (perhaps “I dodge out of the way at the last possible second to stab the elephant in its chest as it charges past me”), in which case one of you should say “That sounds difficult” and someone else should immediately say “That sounds dangerous.”

It helps create something more interesting than we would on our own. If the player in focus said that she did something difficult, a third player describes what she’ll need to do to succeed. If she did something dangerous, a third player describes who gets hurt and how badly.

You’ve done it all along. When you get out of one situation, pick another player to take the focus and set up a new one. Keep playing until your hunters return home.


We copied shamelessly from Epidiah Ravachol’s game, “What is a Roleplaying Game?” to create this. We skinned it to better match the Fifth World, but all credit for the ingenious idea and simple design go to him.