Erasmus introduces the Hero to the Greece-like kingdom of Silmaria, whose king was recently murdered. The Rites of Rulership are about to commence, and the victor will be given the crown. The Hero enters the contest with the assistance of Erasmus, Rakeesh, and many old friends from previous entries in the series. The Hero competes against competitors Kokeeno Pookameeso, Magnum Opus, Gort, and Elsa Von Spielburg (who returns from the first game.)
As the Rites commence, however, an unknown assassin begins systematically picking off each of the contestants. Each contestant is murdered by a poison dagger, and they all are murdered near Dragon Pillars, the objects used to keep the Dragon of Silmaria locked up. After completing the third Rite, defeating the Hydra, Rakeesh is attacked by the assassin and, depending on the course of action chosen by the player, either lives or dies. The conspiracy is eventually unravelled and the Dragon, having been released due to the destruction of the Dragon Pillars, is defeated.
This installment also marks the return of Bruno, a character from the first Quest for Glory game. He is revealed to be the assassin who has been terrorizing the streets of Silmaria, characterized as a quiet, shady character until he reveals himself to the player.
The first four games were intended to indicate the four elements and the four wind directions: in the first game, the player is the Hero from the East, in the second, the hero from the North, etc. Dragon Fire was always planned to be part of the series (whereas Wages of War originally was not), but it would not have been produced if not for the pressure that fans put upon Sierra Entertainment.
Because of deadline issues and financial pressures, several features were dropped from the fifth game before release, such as the ability to use a bow, the ability to play as Elsa von Spielburg or Magnum Opus (two prominent non-player characters from the game), and multiplayer capability. Interestingly, a demo released in late 1997 contained a multiplayer game, but Sierra decided to remove it from the final product. Rumors about a post-release patch containing the multiplayer game abounded on the internet, but such a patch was impossible after the entire Quest for Glory programming team was laid off when Yosemite Entertainment was closed on February 22, 1999.
The fifth game is arguably a different genre from the first four; while the first four are mostly adventure games incorporating role-playing elements; the fifth game is a role-playing game incorporating some adventure elements. For instance, the fifth game has a wide variety of weapons, armor and magical items, whereas the first four do not. Also, in the fifth game nearly every major mission consists of going to some place and defeating some monster in physical or magical combat. Additionally, the controls and battle system are substantially different from those of the first three games and have taken the variations of the fourth game even further.
A CD soundtrack to Quest for Glory V was released, and some tracks were made available for free download from Mp3.com.