THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS, or How I Learned to Win (or Lose) with Almost any Lost Worlds Character.
Strange as it may seem, most of the Lost worlds books are roughly balanced against each other. (OK, so we’re not including the Cold Drake). Each of the books has its strengths and weaknesses, and the key to winning is to use that information better than your opponent does. With that in mind, let’s take a look at our contenders, from the original books to the present. Books that are “out of print” are marked with a star (*).
Man in Chain with Sword and Shield: The first book of the series is a fairly well balanced character. He doesn’t have any great weaknesses, except for the one that most characters in the system share: a vulnerability while doing orange maneuvers. Other than that, the standard man is a good character.
Skeleton with Scimitar: At first glance, the skeleton seems weak. With only 7 body points to the man’s 12, it looks to be a short, unsuccessful battle for the undead. Looks, however, can be deceiving. The skeleton is less vulnerable to thrusts than most characters. The skeleton is also able to restore body points by Ducking and picking up its bones. Most importantly, the skeleton is faster and therefore gets hit less often. Avoid trying for the big kill (stay away from Orange maneuvers), and slowly pick your opponent apart.
Dwarf with Two-Handed Axe: The first rule of playing the dwarf against most characters is “Stay at Extended Range!” This character has no decent short-range combat skills, and will be subject to the height penalty (-1 to your Red and Orange damage modifiers). The second rule is “Never Jump Away if your opponent can Downswing”. This particular combination of maneuvers leaves you holding the short end of the stick (your weapon breaks!) at which point, you might want to look up the rules on Escaping.
*Giant Goblin with Mace: The goblin’s great weakness governs the entire strategy for winning with him. Strong plate on the body reduces body wounds to mere scratches, but look a little lower and the goblin’s great weakness becomes apparent: unarmored legs. If you’re using the goblin, play blue maneuvers if possible. If you’re fighting the goblin, low sideswings and low thrusts are the best strategy. Remember that although the goblin is slightly slower than the man, it has more body points and more powerful maneuvers.
*Woman with Sword & Shield: At first, the complaints about the woman centered on her lower body point total (only 10). Slowly, people discovered that she was faster than any of the other characters. Using the basic sideswings and thrusts, this character can stand up to most of the others in the series.
*Hill Troll with Club: You’d think that, with 35 body points, this character would maul most everything else. Well, it can. As always, there is a need to resist using the heavy-duty maneuvers, and also to regenerate at every chance. Rage is a good set of maneuvers until your opponent gets wise to you. The biggest problem is that the troll is slow. You’ve got to play it that way, and let your opponent make the mistakes. When fighting the troll, the best maneuvers are going to be thrusts, both to keep him at close range as well as to keep him off balance.
*Barbarian with 2-handed Sword: The barbarian can learn from the dwarf regarding the benefits of extended range. Don’t get close unless your opponent has a long-range weapon. Further, use the combination moves to keep your opponent from gaining the edge.
*Fighter-mage with Magic Sword: High speed maneuvers plus magic! How can you go wrong? Well, relying on the magic to save you against a well-armed opponent will get you toasted really quick. Unless you’re fighting a slow opponent, magic is a once-or-twice-per-game event. (Using the new magic rules helps this character a lot!) Against the mage, use no orange maneuvers. The light armor means that even fakes will score some serious damage if you connect. The mage needs to cast a good protection spell early (while at extended range, if possible) and then use the fast maneuvers to whittle down his opponent’s strength.
*Wraith with Sickle: Look! Don’t Touch! should be the watchword on wraith (kicks, punches, bites, etc) automatically drains the attacker of 2 body points and adds it to the wraith. For this reason, this character is the absolute bane of the Troll, Unicorn, and several other “natural weapon” characters. When in the wraith’s position, use “Touch” liberally. It’s a killer, and against some heavily armored opponents, it’s the only real way of scoring damage.
The Cold Drake: No, this character wasn’t designed to be a one-on-one opponent. There was a great cry for a “real” monster, one that would oppose a dungeon party of four or five characters. And here it is. Unless you make coordinated attacks with multiple characters against this one, or get some special spell or effect (sleeping powder works nicely) count on losing most of your characters. To beat the beast, use three or four adventurers, and make sure at least one thrusts and another sideswings each turn. If done properly, the damage restrictions will keep the Cold Drake off-balance long enough to dispatch it.
*Halfling with Short Sword: This is one of those characters that should have been easy to defeat: light armor….average speed…short…and then we added those ‘deutronium’ daggers! Yes, rule number one with the halfling is to throw those daggers. Because of where the “Throw Dagger” maneuver falls on the matrix, the halfling’s little pigsticker is capable of breaking shields! Conversely, the best way to beat the halfling is to 1. use the height rule, and 2. Don’t let him throw those daggers! Short, quick maneuvers will dispatch him easily enough.