FAQ – Lost Worlds

Lost Worlds FAQ

revised from original by Dennis Greci.

Welcome to the Lost Worlds Sage Page, where we present all forms of errata and frequently asked questions about our favorite game.

Nova Game Designs, Inc.
First published the system. This company is no longer with us, but all the copyrights and patents for the system are still active and have been transferred from the designer, Alfred Leonardi, to his daughter Jill Leonardi.

Flying Buffalo Inc
Publishes Lost Worlds titles featuring characters from their Tunnels & Trolls universe and currently distributes what’s left of Nova’s original inventory. Also publishes the licensed KODT characters.

Chessex Manufacturing
Has published 4 titles.

Shadis Magazine
Published 2 characters inside the magazine.

Greysea, LLC
Also unfortunately no longer with us, but recently published many new Lost Worlds books and reprinted many of the Nova books.

Firelight Game Company
Current license holder for the game system.


Several of my Lost Worlds books have what appears to be typos in them. Instead of a result page, there is a 0 or 00 in the character grid. How do I find out what the correct number is? Most character have zeroes after certain maneuvers in their books. They’re maneuvers the character can’t do. For instance, if a character can’t do a maneuver 36, there will be a 00 after the 36 on each page of the character’s book.

I’m pretty amazed, at first glance, how similiar the characters are! They seem very unique, but the grids are a lot more similiar than they are different. Yes, there are some basic things that don’t change regardless of the character, like what happens when you jump up while someone is swinging down. (Can you say Ouch??) What will vary is the severity of the damage (Is the character agile enough to get partially out of the way) and the restrictions for next turn.

Were any characters besides the Samurai and Ninja released in the (in my opinion) horrible “2nd edition” graphics format used by Emithill? (used a graphical representation of prohibited manuevers) Were there any other foreign editions that used different graphics or format? Emithill published a number of the original Lost Worlds in the “Universal” format for use on the continent. They did poorly. Another company, Softbank from Japan, also published a set of 12 or 16 (I’ve forgotten which, now) with Japanese text and enhanced color covers. Both licenses ended many years ago, and you’ll probably only find the editions through collectors or old foreign hobby stores.

Some Lost Worlds books have an ISBN number on the back and some don’t. Is my assumption correct that the ISBN editions were later? Any idea when the change occurred? Yes they were later…I suspect the ISBNs came out around 1986, but I can’t be sure without a lot more research.


Are the characters truly well balanced? Characters with a size differential seem especially out of balance for one on one combat. But even without the size differential, certain characters don’t seem to fare well. Does the system favor the ‘better characters?’ Do you see the same few characters winning most of the time? Can the Skeleton truly compete against the Man in Plate, even with the added body points given by the tournament rules? Anything’s possible, and in my dozen or so years of running playtest for Nova Games, Nutmeg Games, Flying Buffalo, Chessex, etc., I’ve had dozens of people come up to me and tell me that character x is
a. unbeatable, or
b. a complete wimp
Strangely, someone has told me both things about almost every character. A great deal has to do with the person’s playing style, and how well you know your opponent. The best fun is when two of these people with opposite views show up at the tournament booth at the same time. Usually, about 20 – 30 minutes later, one of them comes back (after two or three battles) and buys the “wimpy” book, or the book that just beat the “unbeatable” character. Balanced? No, probably not in the exact statistical sense. Each character has strengths and weaknesses, and sometimes they take time to discover. The Halfling is short, but his daggers are deadly. Bith (Runesword) is physically weak, but she has a throat-cutting maneuver that catches people off guard (maneuver 38, if you really want to know), and on top of that, she casts minor magic in 2 different green maneuvers, and major magic with maneuvers 4 and 26. Someone with a good spell selection can clean up with her (and did at the a tournament at Gencon). It’s all in knowing what the character is capable of. The wraith was considered a wimp, and the unicorn unbeatable, until one convention a few years ago, when one wraith character discovered that ANY physical, bodily contact with the wraith caused a 2 point drain. All of a sudden, all those Unicorn players were hiding from this “wimp” who’d trumped their best play…
I could go on, but you get the idea. In general, to answer your question about balance, the “best” of the normal characters, judging by tournament results, would be:
The Samurai : Low swings go to body wounds
The Man in Plate : Most players don’t have the patience to wear him down
Flaming Cherry : Agility + luck = deadly
The new characters all come with special skills (i.e. Tactics, Luck, etc.). How do I convert my old characters to the new system? Statistics for all of the old characters were published in issue 1 of “Lost Manuscripts” from Flying Buffalo, Inc. The statistics are also listed with the errata on the previous pages here. Complete copies of “Lost Manuscripts” are available from Flying Buffalo through your local hobby store, or from their place in cyberspace.


Why do certain characters have limitations on which Luck cards they can use? Ignore any reference on the new character cards to limitations on the fantasy card numbers (i.e only cards #1-#10). We were going to restrict the characters to the type of cards they could use, but decided it was too cumbersome and annoying. If a character can use Luck cards (or magic cards, etc.) they can use any cards that fit the category. Of course, this doesn’t mean that characters with red magic skill can use green magic cards…we’re not that liberal.

Why are there gold point values on the item cards? The gold point values for items are a relative worth for trading, role-playing, and acquiring specific cards through Flying Buffalo. They’ll be awarding “gold coin” cards as well as packaging them in with some of their books. See their home page for more details.

The tactic cards from the Rune Sword books are a little different than the new ones. How do you choose them by points? (ie. There are now two Sideslips, and they are different). You can use which ever one you have, although I expect to be republishing all of the old ones in the new format. When that happens, we’ll declare the old ones “collectible” or “obsolete”

Can I get hold of “complete” sets of the fantasy cards? Unfortunately, no. There have been three publishers of fantasy cards: Flying Buffalo, Inc (FBI), Greysea, and Chessex. You can get all of the FBI cards from your hobby store or directly from Flying Buffalo. There are 5 sets of 15 cards which sell for $5 each. Each set contains specific items (for instance, one set is just purple spells and something else). Each set also contains one “chase” card which may be different from pack to pack. Chessex is no longer selling their cards and of course Greysea is no longer in business. Flying Buffalo may reprint the other cards at some point.

Are the old and new tactic cards considered equivalent? In my mind, the older cards are a bit more powerful? As with the magic cards, the new cards are gradually replacing the old ones. Where two of the same name exist, the newer one takes precedence. But as always, until specifically eliminated, you can use whatever card from the original system you want.

Are campaign items considered general items? The rules in the books say that these earned after gaining experience. But, for example, would these items be allowed in a tournament? No, they aren’t general items. We use the campaign medals to award to players at tournaments after a certain number of victories, or to balance a weaker character (or inexperienced player) against stronger or more experienced foes.

What exactly is Standard Gear? I have all sorts of things that might be considered “standard gear”. Are there any restrictions on what characters can use what items? Where do scrolls fall? I have seen Medallions, Wands, Stones, Gauntlets, Amulets, Rings, Potions, Scrolls, Boots, and Powder. If I understand your question correctly, the answer is that the items listed below that wording on the character sheet IS the standard gear. For example, Chiron’s standard gear includes an axe, chain mail, helm, shield, red spells, and up to three general items. The latter is part of your question, though. Our “general” ruling is: A general item is one that doesn’t fall into the specific listing elsewhere (i.e. if your weapon is a sword, you can’t use an axe), and will fit normally on your anatomy (a.k.a. Unicorns don’t wear rings, not even on their horns. Nor do they wear boots on their hooves. They may wear an amulet.) Be reasonable, but creative. The only place any rule like that holds is where the players agree on the rules. When in doubt, the home player gets the advantage (“Its my house and I make the rules here”) When it’s one of my tournaments, I make the rules, and vary them to suit the playing atmosphere.

Certain items seem useless: Gunnars Kreig, Sword, Dwarves add +2 to sword attacks against giants and trolls. What is the point? The only Dwarf in the system uses an Ax. There is a second one (Gildersleve) designed, which Greysea LLC published in July 1997. And there may be others in the future.

What exactly is a “special case”, in regards to spells? I have a player who was hit while casting, and did not end on the spell-casting page. He did end on a score page, does his spell go off even though he was hit? No spell goes off… a spell CANNOT go off unless the other person sees the spell being cast. In this instance, our rationale is that the spellcaster (who normally has a high dexterity or reaction) aborted his or her spell and made a normal attack with a 0 damage modifier. The other player hit him normally. The “special case” rule (there are several) that I think you are referring to is when two spellcasters both cast at the same time. They both see each other on a casting page, but (of course) neither one is on a Score page. In this case, both spells DO go off. This rule exists on the back of the original 32 spell cards (red magic).

Laura’s Brooch is a bit confusing as some of my players don’t know if it means their page one or their opponents page one and how to get there. Was the intent behind it to have it heal the person as if he did a jump with out being scored on? For clarity, you may assume it says “…when your opponent sees you on Page 1.”

The yellow spell cards don’t say anything about what the opponents restrictions are next turn – my suggestion and what I have been doing at my tournaments is that since most of the yellow spells are defensive and cast on the caster rather then the opponent is that the opponent has no restrictions next turn ? Correct. In the absence of any other restrictions, the correct response is “No restrictions next turn” or “Do only extended range next turn”. The restriction and score from the score page are ignored.

Yellow spell ” Magic Egg ” when it says weapon attacks does that include kicks and hand to hand or hoof and horn attacks ? I assume that it does not protect against poison or spells or the wraith’s touch or other similar attacks ? The only damage affected is that done by Weapons; i.e. swords, shields, etc. Claws, teeth, magic and so forth are unaffected.

For tactic and luck cards that say you can only use them when being scored on can they also be used if your opponent is scoring negative damage? I assume that you’re looking at cards like “Wrist Lock”…in cases like these, any score page is sufficient to trigger it.

For any of the characters that can poison – does the poison start on the first turn or does it start on the next turn ? It starts on the turn it is inflicted, unless the instructions specifically state otherwise.

Card # 136, Yellow Magic, Valki’s Dance, 3 points, says that “Opponent’s weapon is out of reach until they do 2 successive jumps”. Does successive mean you just have to do two jumps in a row, or does it mean you have to do two jumps in a row WITHOUT being scored on? In all such cases (as far as I can remember) the intent is two in a row without being scored upon (That is, on two consecutive turns, your opponent sees you on one of the Jump pages, i.e. Up, Duck, Dodge, Away)

Does poison and disease affect undead? No, poison and disease don’t affect undead. It can only affect living tissue (which they don’t have).


Often, your restrictions say: Do no Thrusts, or Do no Side Swings, or something similar. Does DO NO THRUSTS include moves such as: 6-Protected Attack Thrust 38-Protected Attack Thrust? If you are told “Do no Thrusts” it means ANY maneuver with the word Thrust in it, including Fake Thrust.

If a page tells you “if on p.x goto p.x” is the second page for more damage, different damage, or different restrictions only? When you’re redirected to another page, ALL effects (score, restrictions, etc.) are taken from the new page, unless specifically informed otherwise. The original page is ignored. This includes the effects of magic spells.

Most characters can also do a Kick when they’ve lost their weapon. Kick translates to move 56. So can a character without a weapon or shield, but HAS move 34, kick, do move 56 (Block & Close)? No, although it will appear that he is blocking and closing to an extended range opponent if he kicks a second opponent at close range.

If a weapon is broken, like the dwarf’s axe or the wraith’s sickle, can it still break shields? There’s nothing in the game mechanics to prevent but I thought the whole idea of smashing shields was for heavy ended weapons. Once a weapon is broken, it’s no longer heavy ended. Perhaps once a weapon is broken it should no longer be able to do 36 bash? Broken weapons cannot break shields. Allow the Bash move, but ignore the “Shield Broken” or “Weapon Broken” results.


I’m very confused on this issue of resistance, what does magic resistance or fire resistance mean, and what do the numbers of resistance mean? Examples: Bith has those stones of amber which increase her fire and magic resistance by 3. Endril just has a magic resistance of 2. The Cold Drake has cold resistance of 1 and magic resistance of 2. The Manticore has magic resistance of 1. The Unicorn has magic resistance of 3. Brimstone subtracts 3 from fire based attacks. Please respond to a lost ones cry for help and wisdom. Don’t feel bad…it’s really quite simple. You’re dealing with two different types of effect here. MAGIC resistance causes spells cast at the character with resistance to cost extra…hence, Bith’s Amber stones mean any spell cast at her will cost three magic points more than normal…and resistances ARE additive. If Endril had the Amber stones, his magic resistance would be 5 (3 + 2).
Now, resistance to a type of attack serves to lessen the damage that the person suffers from that attack. So resistance to cold or fire attacks will reduce the damage by that amount. Here’s the tricky part: Magic resistance doesn’t reduce the damage from a magic attack. Sorry, we should have given the two characteristics different names, but we didn’t. (Hindsight = 20/20)


Is maneuver advancement completely scrapped? Why? Too powerful? The character advancement system was changed for simplicity’s sake. Personally, I liked the older system, but it was a little more complex mathematically, and required more record keeping. By the way, the newer books published by Greysea LLC have a newer character advancement system in them.

Can someone who can’t cast magic at start build up points and eventually be able to? No. Sorry, if you don’t have the skill in your starting book, you can’t ever have it.

Can anyone put points into magic resistance; or anything else for that matter? No. Special attributes like magic resistance are inherent in the character, and can’t be “improved” like skills can.