Five by Five 2 .5 (print).pdf

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Experience and Advancement


As players portray the same characters from
game session to game session, the GM awards
the players with Experience Points (XP). Players
use XP like money to purchase improvements
for their characters.

Participants in a combat are divided into sides.
All GM controlled characters comprise one
side, while the individual characters controlled
by the players comprise the other side.
Turn Order

To improve a Descriptor from its current value
to the value of the next higher rank costs a
number of XP equal to the value of the new

Normally the players take their turns after all
characters on the GM's side have taken action.
Standard Turn Order is:

For example: to add a new Descriptor with a
value of 2 costs 2 XP; to improve a Descriptor
with a value of 2 to a value of 4 costs an
additional 4 XP; etc.

GM controlled characters go first.
Player Characters go second.
However, particularly skilled or lucky characters
can sometimes slip in front of the GM and take
their turn first. This is called “stealing

Master and legendary Descriptor ranks (12 and
16) should be rare. A character cannot have
more than 2 Descriptors with a value of 12 and
may have only 1 Descriptor with a value of 16.

Players cannot improve their poor (–5)
Descriptor, but they can remove a poor
Descriptor from their character sheet by
trading it for a different poor Descriptor.

Stealing Initiative
At the beginning of combat before the GM's
side takes a turn, each player rolls to “steal
initiative”. This is a5x5 task roll and its success
or failure is determined like any other test.

Role play should be involved in overcoming
one weakness and in gaining a new one. Such
an exchange needs to be approved by the GM
and costs 5 XP.

A player who successfully steals initiative acts
before the GM takes a turn.

When improving HP remember that HP =
Descriptor value + 10, so reduce HP by 10
before determining the cost to improve it.

The combat sequence becomes:
Player Characters that steal initiative go first.
GM controlled characters go second.
Remaining Player Characters go third.

XP Awards
Each game session that a player attends and
plays their character is worth 1 XP for their

Making an Attack
Attacking requires a roll “to Hit” the target.
This is a 5x5 task roll. If successful, the target is
hit, but may have the opportunity to Dodge.

Optionally the GM may award players an
additional XP for a particularly difficult game
session or for reaching the end of a long story
arch that spanned several game sessions.