[ August 12, 2015 ]

It’s here!

It’s finally here! At long last, I’m pleased to officially roll out the brand new overhauled!

BTO hasn’t undergone a visual update in many years. The website was originally born out of a desire to mirror and keep active a copy of Tom Greene’s “The Adventurer’s Guild” fan site. After keeping that mirror updated with some new archives, files and resources, it was redesigned and rebranded to the stonework design you’ve been seeing since.

Now, with the onset of inXile’s Bard’s Tale IV after a smashingly successful Kickstarter campaign, BTO has been redesigned to keep with the times and with the community!


You the community are an amazing group. It’s unbelievable how much passion there is out there for this classic RPG, and how many resources and interpretations of the games’ contents exists. We really love making lists! Thank you for your support over the years, and your feedback and questions. It’s kept me on my toes, and really hoping and trying to keep BTO helpful, relevent, and interesting. I hope this new website can serve as a more thorough resource for the many years to come!


The page structure and navigation of the old site should remain intact, so old links should still be active. Please, if you come across any 404 errors (or other errors), shoot me a message so I can fix it.

Game downloads that have been verified to work are now labeled as such - including the host OS and references to download the verified emulator, along with any essential setup options. If you have any other verified setups for the various versions of the games/app, please shoot me a message so it can be added.

Music! In an effort to reignite some of those old nostalgic goosebumps, many more game versions now have MP3s of their in-game tunes available for listening. Even the Construction Set! Bards rock.

Try printing some lists! Additionally, the new website is somewhat mobile friendly, but I’ll be continuing to tweet and optimize the UI for mobile devices and tablets. If you find any annoyances or issues, please send me some feedback.

Still to come

When it comes to the reverse-engineered lists of in-game data, there’s still a good amount of data absent. These will be added as they come in. For example, the BT1 bestiary includes portraits for each and every creature; BT2 and 3 do not (yet). The hacking guides for 2 and 3 are also sadly bare, just crying out for data; as are the original BTO dynamic maps for 2 and 3. In time, they will come. Oh yes, they will come.

Watch for PiecesOf8Bit - he’s on a roll recreating music from the games’ original MIDI. Some have been linked already on the site, but more is yet to come.

While most old page content has been ported, there are still some pages sorely lacking in content. Partly, this is where you come in! Do you have any BT-related links and content to share? Know of any resources that can be added? You know the drill - shoot me a message!

Continue to watch BTO for news, both in site content and regarding the progress of inXile’s Bard’s Tale IV.

psst… by the way, have you heard of Dragon Wars?

Be sure to follow @BardsTaleOnline on Twitter, Like Bards.Tale.Online on Facebook, and follow BardsTaleOnline on Tumblr.

Thanks once again. See you dungeonside!

[ June 10, 2015 ]

Brian Fargo Q&A #1

Here is a transcript of a few commonly asked questions, sent in to inXile Entertainment about Bard’s Tale IV, which Brian answers in the video above:

What’s a “blobber?”

It’s kind of funny, before I started this thing I wasn’t that familiar with the term, myself. It was always a dungeon crawl. But a blobber, when you hear that term, is when you’re basically a group of adventurers - of 4, 6, 7, whatever the number is - and you don’t see your person when you’re wandering around the environment. You’re sort of a “blob” and that’s where the phrase comes from.

And so, in the video, when we were first moving through the forest and moving through the dungeon, that is the perspective that you’ll be playing the game through when you’re exploring. You will not be seeing your party, you’re be completely immersed into just wandering around the universe.

There was no HUD on that video, so we’ll give you the option to bring up some HUD elements or take them down depending on your play style. But the general movement is that you are moving through this environment, sort of wholly, and not seeing your characters while you’re doing so.

What happens to the camera during the combat phase?

There’s basically two ways we’re looking at this. One is that we stay with a more traditional sense of you not seeing your characters represented. Perhaps we’ll bring up portraits, or there’ll be HUD elements regardless, to let you see your characters, see what their health is, and other attributes that you need to know about.

imageOr, we’ve considered bringing the camera back slightly, so you can then see your party in the camera. But it’s the same basic gameplay of me controlling a group of people, all attacking and going back and forth with the other side.

Whether we pull that camera back just a little bit is very much dependent on the budget of where we finally end up, because in order to create the graphics for all of those characters, and then also create all the graphics for all the armor, the swords, the shields, and all the things that you can get, that’s a pretty expensive proposition; and so we’re not going to commit to that until we know where we’ll end up at the end. Regardless, the flow of the combat’s going to work either way, the same way.

What is “phase-based”, and how does that relate to Wasteland or the original Bard’s Tale?

Typically speaking, and people use a lot of different semantics for describing the same things in this business, but the way we look at phase-based is basically that our entire side makes its decisions, and then the other side goes after that and we go back and forth. In the original Bard’s Tale, you would attack, attack, use, evade - whatever it was, you’d go through your party, you’d hit return, and you’d wait for those results to happen.

That isn’t really what we want to do. We want to make it a little more dynamic than that, so the difference being - we’ll still choose our side, all of the commands for our side, whether it’s attack or use or defend, or whatever the case may be, but there may be things that are happening on the playfield that make me want to change it up.

So, for example, if I attack and I kill the guy, my second guy who would have normally attacked is now going to change the thing that he was going to do. The third one, based upon whether he maybe interrupted a spell, now that might make my cleric, for example, take a different tactic for what he was going to do, based upon what happened with the first two people, so that you’re not waiting until the very end of the turn in order to see what happens. You’re sort of dynamically deciding what you want to do during combat.

How many party members will there be in the game?

It really wouldn’t be a classic Bard’s Tale type dungeon crawl if you weren’t representing an entire group. And so you’ve got, whether it’s your bard or your conjurer or your rogue or your priest, whatever it is that your party makeup is, there’ll be 4 slots for that.

Then there’s a 5th slot for CNPCs that you meet and can join the party during your travels. And then the 6th slot is for summoned creatures. So if you want to summon a wind ogre into the party, you can do so.

And so basically, at max capacity you’ll be controlling 6 different character types and people during combat.

Will the game be featuring wandering monsters like the old games (random encounters), or will the battles take place only in predefined situations?

There will absolutely be random encounters. We don’t like to throw a lot of trash mobs at you so we kind of keep it so at least we’re being smart about it; but there will be predefined situations for sure that require a lot of strategic effort, and then there’s going to be random encounters to keep you on your toes.

Can you save the game anywhere, or can you only save it in the Adventurer’s Guild?

In the original Bard’s Tale, one of the tensions that was created was that it was a long way between you and the Adventurer’s Guild. You could travel for five or six hours and then die and lose all of your progress. I think that’s a little too punishing for this day and age. But we’re not going to go to the other side of it where you can just save your game anywhere you want.

imageWe’re going to create that sort of time tension. And on top of that we’re sort of working on some mechanics, so we don’t have all the answers for you yet.

The overall concept - if I’m going to spend some time taking a risk and I’m going to go further into the world beyond what was safe to do, if there’s a reward for doing that then we want to put it there. On the other hand, if you put a couple of hours extra in and you get killed, and you have to then lose that time, that you blame yourself, because fundamentally you made the decision to probably push on further than you needed to.

So I think that tension of time and risk and reward is something that we still want to keep, but we’re not going to be so draconian as to make it where you have to go all the way back to the Adventurer’s Guild just to save.

Can you use your spells outside of combat?

Very much so. One of the things that you heard us talk about in the pitch was there was a little game called The Room, which we really loved on iOS; big plug for those guys, check it out if you haven’t. And then also, we had our little GIF you saw of a sword, where you could manipulate the thing.

The whole idea about manipulating both your inventory, but also the environment itself is going to be done primarily with your spells, so the very same spell which is used to, say, levitate which you’ll use in combat to float people up so they perhaps miss an attack is the exact same spell you would use to help solve a puzzle by lifting something over another thing for example and solving it. So absolutely you’ll be using the spells within the environment, in addition to combat.

Do we need to know the stories from the original games to know what’s going on in Bard’s Tale 4?

image For the storyline, first you do not have to have played the original trilogy to go from where Bard’s Tale 4 starts. However, if you did play it, we’re very much going to recognize everything that’s been done before and we’re going to play on all the themes and all the people that were there.

This takes place about 150 years into the future. It’s a return to Skara Brae. The first fundamental question is Why were these wizards so obsessed with Skara Brae? There must have been a reason for it. So there’s going to be some exploration of that, but that’s just kind of the tip of the iceburg of where it’s going.

So absolutely it’s going to retain all the things from the Bard’s Tale trilogy universe and expand upon it and answer a bunch of questions that were not really answered in the first ones.

How will classes and character customization work?

Character customization will be similar to the first Bard’s Tale; that’s a big part of this kind of role playing game. You’ll choose your class, you’ll choose your race, you’ll choose your gender, you’ll create your character from scratch - all your characters from scratch if that is what you wish to do, and then in addition, one of the things we really liked about the original Bard’s Tale series is not everything was available in the beginning either.

For example the archmage, you had to master 3 levels of spells from other magician classes before you could switch over to an archmage. We like that kind of thing, that not everything’s available. Like I said at launch about creating your character, and so we’ll be doing the same thing, not just with the magician or spell casting classes, but also with the warrior classes, and some of the other ones.
From the BT4 blog: (link)

Stretch goals: Where are they?

We certainly have a number planned and ready but it just doesn’t feel right to put them out before we know we’re going to fund. Now that we’re comfortably heading to being fully funded we can no longer resist sending the first of these your way!

At $1.3 million, we will add an enhanced companion NPC system and add 2 more CNPCs, including Lioslaith the Shadow, a legendary Spear Daughter of the matriarchical Fichti people, the dark haired, woad-painted nature worshippers who live in the deep forests far to the northwest of Skara Brae.

With this enhanced companion NPC system, all recruitable NPCs will have unique personalities and backstories which will open up interesting side content and add rich and surprising reactivity to your adventure. In addition, these CNPCs will voice their thoughts and asides, giving their take on the people, places and events that you encounter as your party moves through the world. No two CNPCs are alike and they carry their own reputations with them. While they can add some additional firepower to your party, some might even get you into more trouble than you were expecting.

[ June 2, 2015 ]

Help revive the dungeon crawl: The Bard’s Tale IV is on Kickstarter now!

It’s live! Get over there and show your support. Lots of goodies and tiers - digital and physical, and in the game proposal!

~follow thebardstalerpg

[ June 2, 2015 ]

Twas the night before Christmas in June...

Monday, June 1st - hours before the grand launch of the Bard’s Tale IV Kickstarter Campaign!

This beauty of a box posted below is a sample of the extremely limited Reliquary edition - a high level physical tier to be expected in the crowdfunding campaign just for the hard-core Bard’s Tale fan.

Will you be Kickstarting this classic RPG revival sequel? Will you become a Reliquary owner?

Visit and sign up if you want to get a reminder, or just set your alarm for 9 AM Eastern and be one of the first to nab one of the Early Bard tiers!

See you on the other side!



We were so excited about how well the special Bard’s Tale IV reliquary box came out that we had to share a photo of it now. You’ll get your chance to pledge for one this next Monday June 2nd!

In the meantime, help us spread the word on The Bard’s Tale IV by lending your voice to our Thunderclap!

[ January 27, 2015 ]
Source Article

Brian Fargo Announces First Bard's Tale Sequel in 27 Years - IGN

This week, Brian Fargo made a HUGE announcement!

This year also marks the 30th anniversary of Tales of the Unknown: The Bard’s Tale (BT1). Stay tuned for more details soon!

/via @BrianFargo and IGN

[ October 1, 2013 ]
Source Article

RPG Codex Retrospective Interview: Michael Cranford on Bard's Tale, Interplay, and Centauri Alliance

Check out this great interview with Michael Cranford - creator of Tales of the Unknown: The Bard’s Tale. Lots of chatting about Bard’s Tale, Interplay, Wizardry, and where he’s at now with Ninth Degree.

/via @RpgCodex