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The Bard's Tale (NES)

by Miketopus

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Original Thread: Thou Art in the Guild of Lonely Virgins: Let's Play The Bard's Tale!



The song I sing
Will tell the tale

of a cold and wintery day;

Of castle walls
And torchlit halls

And a price men had to pay.

When evil fled
And brave men bled

The Dark one came to stay,

Till men of old
For blood and gold

Had rescued Skara Brae.

Welcome, travelers, to The Bard's Tale: Tales of the Unknown! I'm your possibly suicidal host, Miketopus, as we travel the length and breadth of Skara Brae.

Loosely based on classical Dungeons and Dragons, as well as electronic games such as Wizardry, The Bard's Tale (TBT for short) is first and foremost a dungeon crawler. Now, since this game was made in 1985, there's a few rough edges to it. Well... more than a few. But for its time, the game displays a stunning variety of options. More on those when we get to the classes.

The storyline of TBT is simple:

Long ago, when magic still prevailed, the evil wizard Mangar the Dark threatened a small but harmonious country town called Skara Brae. Evil creatures oozed into Skara Brae and joined his shadow domain. Mangar froze the surrounding lands with a spell of Eternal Winter, totally isolating Skara Brae from any possible help. Then, one night the town militiamen all disappeared. The future of Skara Brae hung in the balance. And who was left to resist? Only a handful of unproven young Warriors, junior Magic Users, a couple of Bards barely old enough to drink, and some out of work Rogues. You are there. You are the leader of this ragtag group of freedom fighters. Luckily you have a Bard with you to sing your glories, if you survive. For this is the stuff of legends. And so the story begins...

In other words, we have to assemble a group of misfits to find and defeat Mangar. Simple, no?

This is the basic format of the game. A picture of the immediate vicinity is available in the upper left corner of the window. The upper right displays our menu options, and changes depending on the situation... for example, combat. The lower middle portion of the screen is reserved for our eventual party. Here's a breakdown of all that stuff down there:

Character Name is... well, you know. Your character's... name.

AC is Armor Class. It determines how difficult the character is to hit. In true early D&D fashion, a [/i]lower[/i] number is better.

Hit is short for Hit Points. If a character reaches 0 Hit, they die. Restore hit points at a temple.

Cnd is Condition. Status ailments will be shown here.

SpPt is Spell Points. Magic users will want to pay attention to this number, as spells require a certain amount of SpPt to be cast. You can restore points by simply resting on a screen or visiting Roscoe's Energy Emporium. Resting is definitely cheaper, but much more dangerous since you can be ambushed almost anywhere. The Guild of Adventurers is, fortunately, always a safe place to rest.

Cl is Class. More on this soon.

Okay, time for the juicy part of the LP: Making characters!

When you create a member of the party...

First you must pick your race. The only thing that I'm certain is affected by race is the classes available to you. I'm not sure if it affects your initial stats, but stats are randomized each time you try to create a member. Characters will not change appearance based on race; a dwarf warrior looks the same as a half-orc warrior. Think of this as an aesthetic choice, as this game will be based heavily on imagination.

Speaking of stats, here's what they do:

St is Strength. It affects how hard you can hit the enemy, primarily.

Dx is Dexterity. It primarily affects turn order.

Lk is Luck. It's one of those vague stats that doesn't have a clear role in the game, but it never hurts to be lucky.

IQ is, naturally, your intelligence (Intelligence Quotient). Spellcasters will need a high IQ to get the most out of their magic.

Cn is Constitution. It affects hit points and overall durability.

HP is your hit points. Old news.

All right everyone, did you get all that? D&D and/or veterans of Wizardry or Ultima should feel at home with this system, but the rest may need to go over that again.

Here's where the fun begins: I'm going to accept user requests for characters. We're going to do the character creation process in two phases: Generation and Order.

The first phase is Generation. This is where everyone will pick their race, class, and name. I'll take care of stats, since it's randomized. Don't worry, I'll do my best to give you a favorable set of stats for your character choices. If you have a particular stat you'd like to favor, let me know and I'll see what I can do. No promises, however.

The next phase will be Order. Since a party can hold up to six party members, and since only the first three can attack or be attacked physically during battle, that means we should ideally have three fighter types and three magic types. The Bard technically counts as both, but due to general squishiness, he will be fulfilling the role of a magic user unless a particularly suicidal goon requests otherwise. So, a typical party will have three fighters, two magic users, and a bard.

In that venue, Order will randomly group six corresponding characters into a party. That's assuming that more than six people post characters, anyway. And, if someone dies, we'll distribute their equipment as ideal to the survivors, and the leftovers will go to the character that replaces them.

Are you all with me so far? If this seems clunky, annoying, or otherwise silly, feel free to comment and post suggestions to revise the general rules; I'm open to new ideas on this, especially since I'm still relatively fresh-faced in the LP world.

Okay, here we go. If you picked Human, here are your class choices:







Here's a breakdown of all the classes:

The Bard will be a required party member; not only is he a versatile character, but some parts of the game will only be passable with a living bard in the party.

The Conjurer is one of two primary spellcaster types in the game. They mostly use offensive magic. Both the Conjurer and Magician can eventually ascend to the Sorcerer and Wizard classes, which will lead to more spells available to that character.

The Hunter is one of five melee classes. They present no special abilities that I know of, and are mostly there for being there. Feel free to try one if you like; I'm not sure how good they are.

The Magician is one of two primary spellcaster types in the game. They mostly use enchantment magic. Both the Conjurer and Magician can eventually ascend to the Sorcerer and Wizard classes, which will lead to more spells available to that character.

The Monk is one of five melee classes. In true monkish fashion, they do the most damage unarmed, and their AC steadily improves as they level without the need for armor. Quite powerful at higher levels, but very easy to kill initially.

Paladins are another melee class. If I recall correctly, they tend to have similar stats to the Warrior. Feel free to post in here if you know more about them.

The Rogue is yet another melee class. They tend to favor dexterity above other stats, which makes them quick to move in battle but also slightly weaker than most of the other classes.

The Warrior is the fifth melee class, and is similar to the Paladin. Again, if anyone has more info on either of these classes, their input is welcomed.

I know we have a lot of unknown factors here, but wouldn't you say that spices things up a bit? In total, we'll need at least one bard, three melee classes, and two magic classes.

The Generation phase begins now and ends in one to two weeks, depending on interest and revision. Post your character as a reply to this topic. Remember, you need a race, class, and name. Feel free to throw in additional details in true D&D style, such as a history, personality, relations with other goon characters (As approved by both parties of course) and tidbits like phobias. They won't technically apply in-game, but the LP might be a little more interesting for the effort!

May fortune smile upon thee!

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