Ancient Arenas

Adventures in the Lost Worlds
A Roleplaying Game

The Premise

If you do not know Lost Worlds order a couple of books from Flying Buffalo
The Lost Worlds game was inspired primarily by Early D&D. The core game can be learned in moments by anyone with basic reading ability and seriously kicks! The game does not require any massive prep time. The pure pick it up and play fun with visual results and walk around useability just cant be matched. It has an ongoing appeal that dice roling can't touch, it is the sense of personal control.

Lost Worlds was orignallly concieved to be but never really managed to be a Roleplaying Game combat system, it never the less manages to be a good Diceless Gladiatorial Combat System. One of the beauties of LW has historically been its portability and to a certain extent the extensions to the core game using cards(luck, tactics, spell and item) reduce that considerably. Never the less they add a flexibility which LW needs to perform as the center to a roleplaying game....And they also add to the games complexity but in a modular fashion which is manageable quite similar to the feats of modern D20 Roleplaying they make characters more unique and model combat in more advanced fashions.

The Roleplaying Rules I am presenting, extend but maintain consistancy with the core methods already existing in Lost Worlds. Although some of the basic elements have to be used somewhat differently to support  roleplay (see luck rules)  it is basically backwards compatible to the booklets (and to an extent the cards are compatible as well -- though there are balancing issues that have to be addressed in the card area of Lost Worlds a major one being the magic system)

NOTE: That which follows is incomplete mostly untested musings although I eventually hope to have a full and functional system. I will be adding to it on a regular basis. We also chat about it sometimes on the yahoo group devoted to Lost Worlds. So sign up and give me feedback.

The Game

Traits, Skills and Flaws - customizations for your characters
Multiplay Tactics and Traits
Luck and the Luck Deck Rules- visualizing chance in on going roleplay.
New Tactics - new special moves and tricks for battle
New Items - mythic magic devices
Movement Rules - moving in combat
Death and Dying  or Recovery
Controlling the Healers Gifts
Rune Magics  Magic System Modifications  - <Page> including components, spell preparation and spell specific casting moves
Common War Magics <Page>- stylized re-balanced magics for lost worlds.
Highlander Meets Lost Worlds Conversion Rules <Page>
Character Previews <Page> The character images on this page are preview images of characters I am designing for Lost Worlds and  I also have a listing of basic character ideas and the names of various characters whose development are in progress. Also included a link to Peter Charltons massive character set in pdf format.

Nakradan in the Arenas <Page>short fiction/blurb from Nakradans point of view.
Raw Humanoid Character Matrix <MS Word>  close range matrix only- created by Peter Charlton

Unicorn Prestige Cover Art - by Lance Dyas - This graphic is designed to replace the standard LW unicorn book cover and may at some point be offered on reprints of the unicorn character.

Lost Worlds d20 Conversion Notes. Yes the its Lost Worlds' grandaddy which makes it perfect for borrowing from ... this is a few guidelines.


Trait cards are a new concept analogous to the campaign:items they are a way to differentiate your character from the archetype that the books present and will be given a point cost that is directly related to experience points - but normally they are only acquired during character creation Your character begins the game with a number of Development Points these are spent on various traits.Some traits may be pre-requisites for other traits sometimes these traits can be aquired later in life.

Broad Shoulders or Chiselled Back: +1 to orange maneuvers If you also have a matching number of broad shoulders and big biceps you get +1 to wild swing as well.

Big Biceps: +1 to red maneuvers. If you also have a matching number of broad shoulders and big biceps you get +1 to wild swing as well.

Strong Forearms: Subtract 1 from opponents score when they see you parrying may improve disarm attempts

Great Thighs: -1 to damage you take if you just jumped back +1 to kicks

Hewn Calves: +1 to damage you deal if you just jumped up.

Rippling Abdomen: -1 to damage if you just ducked +1 bonus on your setup state if opponent sees you ducking.

Young and Adaptable: you may replace this cheap trait later with a more expensive one essentially the young are adaptable and this allows characters to aquire traits that are normally outside of the there reach in terms of development points. (you may also gain 1 luck pt because of this trait.)

Hard Skull: Reduce damage taken on page 7 by 1.

Reflexive Dodger: Reduce the damage of you take by 1 on any attack but any leg wound will knock you down turn to page 41(in addition to the leg wound).

Defensive Combatant: Reduce the damage of all attacks you make and the damage of all attacks you take by 1.

Agile : Unless taking 2 or more damage you may do manevers your pages restrict you from doing. If you do, you have a mod penalty of 3 if you are hit while doing so you take an additional 3 pts of damage.

Very Agile: Unless taking 2 or more damage you may do manevers your pages restrict you from doing. If you do, you have a mod penalty of 2 if you are hit while doing so you take an additional 2 pts of damage.

Extremely Agile: Unless taking 2 or more damage you may do manevers your pages restrict you from doing. You do so with a mod penalty of 1 if you are hit while doing so you take an additional 1 pt of damage.

Adept: You are more adroit at working spells under the stress of combat you may cast a spell even when wounded while preparing it. Increase the casting cost of such a spell by the amount of damage you recieve but the spell continues and you can maintain a spell normally broken when you are wounded by spending the extra mana.

Pain Resistant: You move and think gracefully even when wounded increase the amount of damge which you can take without losing your concentration for spell preparation if a Combat Caster(normally zero)  or to perform gracefully (normally 2 --> see Agile trait / if you are neither Agile nor )

True Cats Grace: Whenever your opponent sees page 41 you are considered instead on page 19.(unless the page 41 result was due to magic)

Very Hard Headed: Reduce Damage on page 7 by 2 if you are a mage... reduce mana by 1 if not reduce tactics by 1

Enduring/Flexible Grip: You are resistant to being disarmed versus one of the two new disarm tactics (coming soon)

Wildly Lucky: Gain X extra Luck Points Cost Opponents get X extra Luck Points to divide between them.

Durable - You are unusually hearty and resilient with enhanced stamina as well as toughness this is perhaps the most useful trait in the game (non combatants only get 1/3 the benefit and non heroic characters typically get 2/3 - This is because  body points represent not  only real damage you can take but to a certain degree defensive capability granted by the greater stamina)

Somewhat Tough: +3 body
Tough +6 body
Very Tough: +9 body
extremely Tough +12
Incredibly Tough +15

Mult-player-Luck Traits

Normally luck is a personal thing in lost worlds atleast but these traits make luckiness a team issue In general multiple opponent fighting in LW is a bit problematic.. its a bit easy to keep most adversaries in a very bad state.... so many of the ideas should be ways to stop this from happening.. just as many tactics allow you to overcome those bad states.

"The Hobbits Gift"

l those with this trait are usually quite lucky and may play their luck cards > in the name of companions.

"Lucky Number 14" - pre-requisite trait "The Hobbits Gift"

for each 2 companions with which you travel up to 14 you gain one additional luck point.... perhaps this trait could have a prequisite trait of "The hobbits gift" I'm still thinking about this and some more team fighting traits and

Thrice-fold Luck for each companion who also has a Lucky number trait up to 3 you gain one extra luck point

Thrush This luck card allows you to pass tactic points or luck points from an unengaged character to another players character who is engaged.... inspired by Tolkein's "The Hobbit." Bilbo allowed Bard to slay smaug by passing tactical tidbits about Smaugs vulnerable spot by way of a talking thrush.

Mutli-Fighting Tactics

"You have managed to allign more than one enemy up for attack, a single attack will harm both"

Ducks in a RowTwo adversaries showing damage? Your attack wounds both.

Skewer Two or more adversaries taking damage from a thrust attack? your attack damages as many as three

Leadership gian 1 tactic point per 3 allies who have team fighting skill.

Team Fighting may play tactics to aid your allies?

Back To Back if two characters with this card in play cannot get "turned around if your opponent sees you on a yellow page switch adversaries and turn to page 45.


Monster Slayer : your effective height is 1 greater than normal for defensive purposes

Assassin/Bane: You have specialized fighting skill or magical gift and know how to exploit special vulnerabilities of opponents of a specific type and get bonus damage against a type of opponent depending on the rarity of the opponent kind in question => common : +1, uncommon +2, rare +3, very rare +4, extremely rare +5. Those of common or uncommon rarity may be taken 3 times and 2 times respectively. (these are advanced and very advanced options)

Cat Fall: actually you are unusually graceful when landing and take 1 less damage on page 41.

Acrobatics: This skill allows one to employ a special set of tactics called acrobatics

Berzerkergang: This skill allows you to employ a special set of tactics called berzerk


Flaws are really just a type of trait which are primarily negative. The extra challenge they provide generally results in more capable characters.

Unlucky: Opponents gain extra luck points to divide between them... you are compensated with experience you have undoubtably gained trying to cope with all the bad stuff that seems to come your direction.

Style Flaws: These tend to make you more predictable... 

Pit Fighter
Your character was trained to fight in the pits of Ra'Len and is most uncomfortable fighting at extended range. You take 1 pt additional damage on each of the "extended range" body, leg and arm wounds and have a minus 1 penalty mod on your extended range attacks.
Gain 100 xp

Vulnerability Flaws:  The reputation for having one of these flaws can make your opponents somewhat predictable...isnt that a good thing? Head wounds or leg
wounds have substantially greater impact on your state of conciousness than for most of your make.

Glass Jaw
increase damage of any head wound by 2 and by 4 with respect to retaining conciousness only.
Gain 200 xp

Achilles Heal
increase damage you recieve from any legwound by 3.
Gain 200 xp

Innexperienced Combatant : generally speaking this is covered by reducing body by 4 (this gives them 6/8 body in humans you are not necessarily young, you may be fully trained but the situation of your life has left you little cause to use the training till now)

NonHeroic: (normally an npc trait) If your current body is four or less you immediately panic, and do only green or yellow until you escape or are cut down. Conditions could theoretically modify this. Non Heroics can be inspired by heroic leadership(those with leadership may spend 1 tactic point to prevent a non-heroic ally from paniced withdrawal) Non-heroic sometimes have the trait "takes courage in numbers" and decrease the threshold by 1 per 2 companions directly engaged against there common enemy.

Non Combatant (humanoid)...  your base body is 4... further you deal -1 on any attack, non combatants usually need to be supernally lucky to be effective in combat

A non heroic, non combatant runs from combat immediately...


In Lost Worlds Luck in the form of cards are used to help visualize the sometimes dramatic swings of happen chance... not really to simulate them.

Luck Deck

Luck I assume generally comes back between scenes however without this idea standard Lost Worlds will feature very boring luck... boring and wierdly efficient. Essentially whenever a card is played a new one is drawn(if the card costs more than your possible luck return it to the bottom of the luck deck and draw a replacement). Also any card may be discarded between scenes and replaced.

Luck Deck related items

Item : Horn of Fate

Draw six luck cards and choose from 1 amongst them put the rest on the bottom of your luck deck... to draw the horn of fate, do a dodge without being scored on.

Item : Wheel of Doom

Each turn draw a luck card if the situation occurs for you or your opponent you must play it.

Movement Rules

Movement rules exist in the LW Adventure sets and may work within the context of them but a couple of details are over-looked. The basic rule is when un-engaged you move a number of board spaces based on the characters height. Trolls lack the agility of smaller folk and their longer strides should be just enough less frequent to make up for the length of those strides and larger creatures navigating through smaller doors and tunnels are restricted.

Movement rate is highly dependent on timing. In fencing they have what is called the two second rule. Essentially the two second rule says it generally takes even a quick fencer two seconds to go from the decision to make a maneuver (which may indeed be multiple actions - such as a flurry or a feint and followup strike etc) to the actual performance (It also points out that GURPS is a bit over optimistic about reflexes with their 1 second round) This works rather well within Lost Worlds.  And can serve as the basis for LW Movement. So we have 2 seconds of movement a human a full blown run can cover quite a distance in that time but... with the direction changes and burst movement of combat we are looking at a much more restricted distance.
More details coming...

Since posting this the official move card... describing LW rules were posted on FB's site here is a local somewhat more accessible copy in html format.

Death Dying and Recovery

Recovery Rules

Revery 3 rounds an unconcious character without regeneration gets to roll a d6 and subtract three (if the result is positive double it)...this amount is used to adjust current body. The roll may be modified by acts of allies and current conditions.

The above averages to 1 point of recovery every three rounds. And for those who do not like random and die rolls it might be used instead. (It also has the advantage of avoiding accidental death). But is has the negative of making recovery too reliable and predictable.

Luck points might be spent to accelerate/ensure this recovery... (still thinking about the details may not require a luck card for instance)

Regenerators are way more certain... and get a regeneration of an amount appropriate to their abilities each round unconcious. but will normally remain unconcious 3 rounds minimum. Similarly if your mage has the ability to recover magic points they recover that amount each round of unconciousness or when not engaged in battle.

Dying rules & Gradual Death

Adopt a more flexible buffer-zone at -5 to -9 characters are now dying and if completely immobile will loose 1 body per 6 turns until -10 isreached and they are dead. Optionally they may roll d6 subtract 4 and add that amount to their current body points.

Stun Points

Some attacks may cause unconciousness without any great threat of killing, these non-deadly weaponry.. damage is half stun points and half body points.

Healing Magics - reigning it in.

The combination of healing magics cost effectiveness and magic point recovery rates can result in incredible rates of character recovery and all wounds are insignificant in face of this overwhelming magical healing. A partial solution is presented here.

Wound Intensity Limitations

A healer has a maximum wound intensity their magics are capable of dealing with. Essentially each wound is recorded separatelly. And a suitable spell is required to fully heal it. A 7 pt wound cannot be properly healed using glennas healing which only heals 5 pts normally. Lesser magics may prevent wounds of greater intensity from worsening or have some other minimal effect. One effect of this is that healers have reasons for learning less magic point efficient but more powerful versions of healing.

Component Limitations

The other thing to do is require components for many healing magics especially those very efficient ones. The most current mages do not have spell point recovery and limit the ability of mages to choose on the fly what magic they will use their spell points for, Essentially this later element is now specific to a spell assuming the spell requires components limits.   Even those mages with spell point recovery now have a limit on recasting.

"Preparing a spell" can allow ones whose casting cost is 4 or less to be cast with very great frequency since effectively they have a casting cost of 1 (essentially spending extra time)

Components are ingredients of limited availability which must be hunted up between battles and are expended during the working of a magic. How limited that availability is can be managed in a roleplaying fashion but guidelines to work with while catching your roleplaying stride will be presented.

The combnation of mana point recovery and spell preparation almost demand the use of components particularly for healing magics.

The two above can make healers a little more humble.

New Luck Cards

Inspiration cost 1pt
It isnt just prophets and seers who get inspired in combat..."

This turn your opponent must tell you the color category of the maneuver they are selecting ( green and yellow are a single catetegory) before you select yours... inspiration can also counter inspiration.

Bleeding Leg Wound
- cost in luck points (8 - intensity of injury)
Play with a leg wound till the amount of damage taken in this injury is healed (ie so long as this wound remains) the subject takes damage1 damage each time they perform a yellow or orange maneuver.

min. injury intensity 4 pts damage.

Belly Wound - cost in luck points (8 - intensity of injury)
play with a body wound till the amount of damage taken in this injury is healed (ie so long as this wound remains) the subject takes damage1 damage each  time they perform a blue or green maneuver.

min. injury intensity 4 pts damage.

Bleeding Arm Wound - cost in luck points ( 10 - intensity of injury) play with a arm wound till the amount of damage taken in this injury is  healed (ie so long as this wound remains) the subject takes damage1 damage each  time they perform a red or orange maneuver.

min. injury intensity 4 pts damage.

Bleeding Head Wound - immediately and the next x turns blood gets in your eyes blinding you to do only yellow. Where x is 1 per 3 points of damage in the injury.

Lucky Slip 2pts opponent doing a head wound? misses when you slip and fall turn to page 45 opponent turns to page 41, well it isnt a head wound.

Slipped in Blood : this variant of any "slipped" luck card and requires that someone have taken atleast 8 body of damage, naturally the luck card is cheaper in luck points in compensation for its limitation, perhaps 2 points cheaper?

New Tactic Cards

Acrobatic Escape (Back Flip) cost 1
Opponent sees you jumping up.  New Restrictions do only Extended range next turn and modifier +1, Opponent does only extended range.

Beldon's Roll or The Cats Landing:  2
Opponent sees you on page 41 regain your feet with a swift fluid move and have no restrictions next turn.

Embrils Rolling Escape: 2
Opponent sees you on page 41 regain your feet with a swift fluid move and  you and opponent do only extended range next turn.

Riposte cost 1
Play when opponent sees you parrying You get a +3 modifier on your attack next turn.

Disarm(twisting) cost 4
Play when opponent sees you parrying Your opponent is disarmed.

Dive Over cost 5
Opponent sees you jumping up....  turn to page 21 opponent turns to page 23

Plunge In Close 2

"Every weapon has its reach... being at your proper reach can win the fight"

If you score on your opponent with a shorter weapon... they recieve a penalty of 2 on their next long weapon attack and you recieve a bonus of +2 with your next shorter weapon attack (Exception this doesn't work against staff users)

Pressing Close  2

"Every weapon has its reach... keeping at your proper reach makes all the difference"

As plunge in close except mods are +1 and -1 but this lasts until opponent next scores on you or you reach extended range.

Roll With the Impact ?
Receiving a body wound reduce the damage by three but do only jumps next turn

Using Their Power Against them 1
scoring on your opponent with a negative move modifier? add your opponents positive damage modifer to your modifier.

Galeveks Reverse Thrust - Allows one to do a most unnexpected thrust against opponents to the rear... requires a sword, stave or spear.

Deloks Braced Counter Thrust - "who said being on the ground was a disadvantage..." fallen? you may do a thrust this turn at +4. Or is it the ground doing the thrust.. well you drop a long weapon.. sword spear or staff in order to do this trick... but hey.