The Return of Talking Time

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  #1  
Old 06-01-2008, 11:02 PM
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Default Let's Play: The Bard's Tale - Tales of the Unknown

The Legend of Skara Brae
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...
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Old 06-01-2008, 11:06 PM
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Yes, denizens of Talking Time, you read that right. In The Bard's Tale, you are the bottom of the barrel - the dregs of adventurers left over after Mangar has wiped most of the rest out.

The Bard's Tale was created in response to the popularity of Wizardry and thus is a fairly traditional dungeon crawl. You go into dungeons, move around in a first-person perspective, and randomly encounter groups of monsters who you fight with a standard medieval fantasy party. The Bard's Tale had two main innovations. The first was featuring a Bard as a major player character class to contrast with the standard Fighter/Thief/Mage/Cleric archetypes of previous games. The second was that the game was "real time". What this meant is that enemy encounters and the passage of time didn't occur for each "step" you took in the game, but rather as computer time passed. So if you just let the game sit without touching it, you would eventually wind up in a random encounter. Fortunately, this "feature" didn't occur during battle so they were nice, turn-based affairs.

But enough game mechanic talk, let's see it in action...

Loading the game, we find a bard at the intro screen singing this song:









We are then presented with our first choice:



One cool feature in The Bard's Tale is that you could load characters from other popular RPGs like Wizardry and Ultima III. This was a neat idea as it let you "continue their story" and it let you begin the game with some really powerful characters.

But we will not be doing that. As the intro on the box said, we are the remains of potential adventures and thus will be starting at the lowest possible level.

Moving on then, we start off our game in the Guild of Adventurers. Here is where our group will be recruited (and we will be returning here several times to get new members when our old ones die in the course of battle).

As an aside, another plus The Bard's Tale had going for it is that it had some of the best graphics around at the time. The Apple ][ version, which was released in 1985, pushed that system to its limits. The Amiga version, released a year later, showcased the new computer's graphical prowess. The Apple IIgs version, which is the one I'm playing, was released in 1987 and combined the great graphics of the Amiga version with the IIgs' amazing sound chip for a great experience.

Examples of the graphical feats this game pulled included simple scrolling in the first person segments and animation of monsters. Here is an example of the animation in the Guild of Adventurers:

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Old 06-01-2008, 11:08 PM
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The first order of business is to create some adventurers to make up our party and that is where I need your help. Who should make up our motley crew? What are their races, professions, and names?

We need six party members. Three of these will be on the front line. They can attack monsters in hand-to-hand combat (and, in turn, be attacked). Three are on the back line and can only attack with and be attacked by magic.

There are eight classes available at the beginning of the game (there are two additional classes, only available as a "multi-classing" option for high-level magic-users). Here they are with their description from the instruction manual. Once the party is chosen, I will provide additional comments on the choices made.


The base fighter-type in The Bard's Tale, warriors can use nearly every weapon there is. For every 4 levels of experience after the 1st, Warriors get an extra attack ability in combat.


Paladins are fighters who have sworn to abstain from all evil and to uphold honor and purity in all places. They can use most weapons and some that no other fighters can. They get multiple attacks at higher levels. They also have a greatly increased resistance to evil magic.


A martial artist, an almost inhuman fighting machine trained to fight without weapons or armor. The monk can use them, but, at higher levels particularly, often does better without.


An assassin, a mercenary, a ninja. The hunter can use most weapons, and has the ability (which grows with experience) to do critical hits in combat (i.e., to attack a nerve center or other vital area and instantly kill an opponent). A good skill. Editor's note: Apparently ninjas in The Bard's Tale are somewhat portly


The Bard is a wandering minstrel. You'll see him with a tankard of ale in front of him in the less reputable taverns - the rowdier the better. Bards were once warriors, and can still use most warrior weapons. But they turned to music instead and now play songs with an almost magical effect on other characters. Bards don't get the warrior's advantage of extra attacks in combat anymore - but their magic is so unique, it is almost impossible to survive Skara Brae without one.


A professional thief with so-so combat ability, the rogue can hide in shadows, search for traps and disarm them. Without a rogue your party will pay very dearly for the booty it wins.


One of the 4 classes of Magic Users, Conjurers deal in the physical creation and manifestation of real things (like fire, light, healing).


Another of the 4 classes of Magic Users, Magicians deal with magic as it affects physical objects (i.e., enchanting a sword, making armor stronger, making a dungeon wall disappear).

Each character needs a race in addition to a class. Races affect your characters' starting attributes, what classes they can be and... nothing else.


  • Human: While possibly being of hardier stock, this character is nonetheless like you or me. [All classes available]
  • Elf: Patterned after the Tolkien elf, the elf is slight of build, frequently taller than a human, and very inclined to magic. [Classes not available: Hunter]
  • Dwarf: The Dwarven people are short and stout, extremely strong and healthy, but not amazingly intelligent (i.e., excellent fighters). [Classes not available: Conjurer, Magician]
  • Hobbit: Hobbits are slightly smaller than Dwarves but are nimble and dexterous. Just the right make-up for a rogue. [Classes not available: Paladin, Hunter]
  • Half-Elf: These crossbreeds are usually blond and fair-skinned, like elves, and get some added size and strength from their human ancestry. [Classes not available: Paladin, Hunter]
  • Half-Orc: An orc is a large, goblin-like creature often found working for evil wizards. The Half-orc, being half human, is not quite as despicable as his orc parent, but you wouldn't want to date one. [Classes not available: Paladin, Bard, Monk]
  • Gnome: Gnomes closely resemble dwarves, but have less hair and even shorter tempers. They are also more magically inclined, as a rule. [Classes not available: Paladin, Bard]



Okay, so what should my starting party be?

To let everyone get a voice, each person should select one character and then I'll use these suggestions to make up my party. Give me a class, race, and name (up to 15 characters) for your person. Also, I feel like our adventuring group should have a name as well (even though there's no way to specify it in-game). Give me suggestions for that as well!
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  #4  
Old 06-01-2008, 11:17 PM
Ample Vigour Ample Vigour is offline
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Hobbit Bard, if'n you please!
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  #5  
Old 06-01-2008, 11:44 PM
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No elves.

NO ELVES.

I hate me some elves something fierce.

We also need a bard and a rogue. No monk, no hunter. Divide the rest as thou wilt!
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  #6  
Old 06-01-2008, 11:50 PM
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Doctor Orpheus, the human Paladin, has joined the party!

It'd technically make more sense to make him a Magician, but I think the Paladin vaguely looks like him, it fits within the character limit, and I like Paladins in almost every game that has them. So that's my idea.
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Old 06-02-2008, 12:11 AM
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Dwarf Monk.

Gimmel. I'll probably think of a name I like a lot better when I can't post it, and forget it when I can. I'm sure everyone knows how that is.

I didn't really know anything about this game before, but just from this first post, I can say with certainty that I'm excited.
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Old 06-02-2008, 12:24 AM
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Put me down for a Half-Elf Conjurer named Grissom.
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Old 06-02-2008, 12:31 AM
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Hobbit bard named Pants.
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  #10  
Old 06-02-2008, 12:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crested Penguin View Post
Hobbit bard named Pants.
You cannot ignore the harmonic resonance of the crested one and I.
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Old 06-02-2008, 12:38 AM
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We're going to need a Warrior, I presume. Let's make him a Half-Orc and call him Hforc.

It's clever because...well, it's not actually clever. I just can't think of a better name right now.

EDIT: I just realized that The Venture Bros. has already given me a superior name: Truckules. The mighty fusion of Hercules and a Mack truck.

Truckules.

Last edited by mr_bungle700; 06-02-2008 at 12:55 AM.
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Old 06-02-2008, 12:56 AM
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A human warrior named Mcnabb. You know why.
Man, this LP is gonna be fun.
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  #13  
Old 06-02-2008, 01:00 AM
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Let's have a human monk called "Chow-Yun Phat"... or "Mister Fister" *cough*


My standard reflexes for the Bard's Tale lead me to always include a rogue, bard, conjurer and magician. That surely makes the choices small...
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Old 06-02-2008, 01:27 AM
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Pants the Hobbit Bard is pretty much a requirement.
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Old 06-02-2008, 03:50 AM
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I wanna see a rogue, preferably small in stature. Gnome?

The party should be named something like Pants' Funtime Express or Pants and the Murder Men.
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Old 06-02-2008, 04:00 AM
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You can't make a gnome illusionist in this game? Then what's the point in having a gnome as a race?

Seconding a hobbit bard, a real one-two punch of uselessness. He should of course be named PANTS as the bard is the main char.

Also requesting the LPA to be written as a bard's song.
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Old 06-02-2008, 04:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thinaran View Post
Also requesting the LPA to be written as a bard's song.
Oh my God.

Thread potential +1000
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Old 06-02-2008, 04:14 AM
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I want a Gnome Hunter, and I want him gnamed Chomsky.

Clever, no. But I want to see it dagnabbit!
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Old 06-02-2008, 06:39 AM
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Human Paladin named Giacomo because that's such a rad name.

Also, I think this guild should either be called Wizardry's Might (best take on Metroidvania I could think of) or Fite an 'eal.
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Old 06-02-2008, 07:05 AM
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I like how elves can't be hunters. That makes so much sense MY BRAIN JUST MIGHT EXPLODE.

Human Monk named Alena. We'll just pretend she's a pretty princess whose lovely earrings help her beat on things harder.
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Old 06-02-2008, 07:08 AM
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Quote:
Editor's note: Apparently ninjas in The Bard's Tale are somewhat portly
It ain't just the ninja's, brah - the menacing fat man in the Bard's story could give Karnov a run for his money. That's one burly troubadour, too - I think he'd break a man for calling him "spoony."

Edit: I think I just unwittingly cross-referenced three threads. That's either awesome or pathetic.

Last edited by KCar; 06-02-2008 at 08:32 AM.
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Old 06-02-2008, 07:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KCar View Post
Edit: I think I just unwittingly cross-referenced three threads. That's either awesome or pathetic.
Welcome to my private hell.
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  #23  
Old 06-02-2008, 07:11 AM
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A human Warrior named Loto or Erdrick.
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Old 06-02-2008, 08:24 AM
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I don't care about race, but this is called "The Bard's Tale" for a reason, dammit.
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Old 06-02-2008, 08:40 AM
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Elf Magician

Usually, I'd vote for Monk, but that base appears to be covered. I'm no good at naming, so nothing from me on that end.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brickroad View Post
I like how elves can't be hunters. That makes so much sense MY BRAIN JUST MIGHT EXPLODE.
My first thought, too: "wtf, no Elf Rangers?!"
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Old 06-02-2008, 08:43 AM
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Also, reviewing the screenshots, it has become obvious to me that the Monk, Magician and Conjurer are all the same guy, I mean what the hell man.
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Old 06-02-2008, 09:03 AM
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You need a Gnome Conjurer named David.
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Old 06-02-2008, 09:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brickroad View Post
Also, reviewing the screenshots, it has become obvious to me that the Monk, Magician and Conjurer are all the same guy, I mean what the hell man.
Not only that, but the Paladin, Hunter and Bard all look the same as well. Creeepyy.
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  #29  
Old 06-02-2008, 09:29 AM
Ample Vigour Ample Vigour is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PapillonReel View Post
Not only that, but the Paladin, Hunter and Bard all look the same as well. Creeepyy.
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  #30  
Old 06-02-2008, 09:38 AM
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you should name the party after prominent TTyrants.
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