The Bard's Tale IV Update 45: Backer Beta Update & New Website!

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The Bard's Tale IV Update 45: Backer Beta Update & New Website!

Post by phimseto » May 26th, 2018, 8:06 am

Image

In this latest Bard's Tale IV backer update, we share a quick update on the backer beta timeline, hand out some backer goodies, and delve a bit into some in-game lore.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/in ... ts/2197359
The Fire Horn is a relic from long before the days of the Three Great Evils. It was forged by the dwarven smiths of the Haernhold, having been commissioned by King Aildrek of the Baed to make for him a battle horn that would set aflame the ships of Gotten raiders before they could enter Skara Brae's harbor.
All that and more in the link above! Enjoy!

- The inXile Team

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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 45: Backer Beta Update & New Website!

Post by ZZGO » May 26th, 2018, 8:35 am

Huh. I guess the Fire Horn fluff settles the age-old question if Baron Harkyn was a good guy suborned by Mangar's rule, or a villain. Now we know.
Oh my. Skara Brae had quite a history for a small country town...

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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 45: Backer Beta Update & New Website!

Post by _noblesse_oblige_ » May 26th, 2018, 9:01 am

One Fire Horn? One Kael's Axe? The original game was littered with them.

And the Fire Horns starting dropping in Sewers 3, not the depths of Harkyn's Castle, unless the sewer system is somehow being regarded as the depths:
Kickstarter Update #45 wrote: The legend goes that the brave adventurers discovered the horn in the depths of the castle and used it to defeat the baron's corrupted berserker horde.
These attempts at retconning to provide a "richer lore" are slightly nauseating.

Also, I thought inXile wasn't into selling in-game items, but it is sure looking like they are.
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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 45: Backer Beta Update & New Website!

Post by Serjo » May 26th, 2018, 9:19 am

_noblesse_oblige_ wrote:
May 26th, 2018, 9:01 am
Also, I thought inXile wasn't into selling in-game items, but it is sure looking like they are.
They already did it with Torment:

https://store.playstation.com/en-gb/pro ... RGED000001

It would be foolish for a modern game developer to release a game without microtransactions. The profit margins are much better than for the base game, and plenty of people are willing to pay for it.

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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 45: Backer Beta Update & New Website!

Post by _noblesse_oblige_ » May 26th, 2018, 10:12 am

Serjo wrote:
May 26th, 2018, 9:19 am
It would be foolish for a modern game developer to release a game without microtransactions. The profit margins are much better than for the base game, and plenty of people are willing to pay for it.
I don't think they said anything about microtransactions. They're baked into the pre-order tiers. Not reading anything about the in-game items being available for separate purchase. That's not to say that they won't make them available via microtransactions at some point....
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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 45: Backer Beta Update & New Website!

Post by ZZGO » May 26th, 2018, 11:27 am

_noblesse_oblige_ wrote:
May 26th, 2018, 9:01 am
One Fire Horn? One Kael's Axe? The original game was littered with them.
That comes across as unneccessarily confrontational.
Kael's Axe sure sounds like it should be a unique item, even 30 years ago. Yes, on my C64 I could amass Kael's Axe(s)in any number I wanted. And silver squares, Tarjan statue eyes, Ybarrashields and specter snares as well. Nobody complained that you could kill Harkyn's 396 berserkers over and over again. Heck, the original game was littered with Mangars, too: virtually same party could go and slay Mangar as often as they wanted.

I'm not sure if there is only one Fire Horn. There is wriggle room in the description and there could be more; the name does sound like a generic.

For the record, as far as I remember Fire Horns became available in the Catacombs. I don't recall ever getting one in the Sewers but found oodles of them in the Catacombs. My memory is hazy though.

(Fun fact: Back in the 80s when I played BT as a kid, I was so dead set on creating my own party that I never once wasted a look on the pregenerated party. I only learned on the internet this year that there was a Fire Horn to be had in the starter party's inventory. Oh my, that would have made the game easier had I known...)

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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 45: Backer Beta Update & New Website!

Post by _noblesse_oblige_ » May 26th, 2018, 11:42 am

ZZGO wrote:
May 26th, 2018, 11:27 am
_noblesse_oblige_ wrote:
May 26th, 2018, 9:01 am
One Fire Horn? One Kael's Axe? The original game was littered with them.
That comes across as unneccessarily confrontational.
Whatever. I can point out lore discrepancies if I choose. You can also interpret my doing so however you choose. Isn't going to change what I say.
ZZGO wrote:
May 26th, 2018, 11:27 am
For the record, as far as I remember Fire Horns became available in the Catacombs. I don't recall ever getting one in the Sewers but found oodles of them in the Catacombs. My memory is hazy though.
They became available at difficulty level 2, which was Sewers 3 / Catacombs 1. I've definitely picked them up in Sewers 3 and data dumps around the Internet support what I say.
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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 45: Backer Beta Update & New Website!

Post by demeisen » May 26th, 2018, 1:31 pm

ZZGO wrote:
May 26th, 2018, 11:27 am
For the record, as far as I remember Fire Horns became available in the Catacombs. I don't recall ever getting one in the Sewers but found oodles of them in the Catacombs. My memory is hazy though.
Personally I hope they'd have only one instance of specially named items in the game. It doesn't seem so interesting / special any more when you can find many of them, so it devalues the items. It seems OK to have multiple generic but high quality items. Generic is the key word. Plus, otherwise it often leads to less party variety, when there's a clear "best" armor so you get one for everybody. I'm OK with having the same "Excellent Leather Armor" on several PCs, but not the same "King Bob's Custom Leather Armor made for King Bob personally in the War of Smiting Everybody Else Down in 845". That should be bespoke, and I want it to be something rare and valuable, not something I'm gonna find 6 more of.
ZZGO wrote:
May 26th, 2018, 11:27 am
Heck, the original game was littered with Mangars, too: virtually same party could go and slay Mangar as often as they wanted.
Well, OK, I'll complain about it :D. IMHO, fighting the same named creature or clearly special group over and over was cheesy, and a byproduct of technical limits of the game rather than a good dynamic. A lot of old dynamics are good dynamics, sometimes better than what's in modern games... but this is not one of them. It's immersion breaking ("wait... I just killed that guy! What do you mean I pop out the front door, come back, and he's alive again?"). It was a side effect of early CRGPs not storing the whole game state. I think dungeon repops of generic creatures are OK though, especially if they're done in an interesting way which fits the game world. Perhaps you clear a group of wolves from a cave, and some time later it's been taken over by spiders or a local band of ruffians or something. Or there are some random wandering things that werne't there before. Just not obviously special enemies.

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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 45: Backer Beta Update & New Website!

Post by _noblesse_oblige_ » May 26th, 2018, 2:30 pm

demeisen wrote:
May 26th, 2018, 1:31 pm
Personally I hope they'd have only one instance of specially named items in the game.
What constitutes a specially-named item? More people than just Kylearan could cast Kylearan's Invisibility Spell. Just because something has someone's name on it doesn't mean that is has to be unique to the named person. A name can refer to a "brand" or a "recipe" for making something rather than personal ownership. I personally have no problem with multiple Kael's Axes - I see them simply as a kind of axe and the name actually sounds classier than the "Axe of Poison", which would be a more objectively-descriptive name for it.

But, now, due to retconning, it seems like there will only the The Axe of Kael, Himself in BT IV, which is inconsistent with previous lore in the series. And, while Fire Horn sounds generic, the KS update makes it sound like there is only one, which was commissioned to be made, according to retcon lore.
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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 45: Backer Beta Update & New Website!

Post by Drool » May 26th, 2018, 3:45 pm

Kael's Axe doesn't particularly bother me. It always struck me as a named item that probably should be unique, so it being turned into an artifact doesn't especially bother me. And while the backstory is a little... pedestrian... it's nice to have. "Who's Kael?" was actually I question I asked as a twelve year old playing the games.

No, my issue is really more with the artwork. It's like the fantasy version of Tacti-Cool. Considering the artwork for the ridiculous sword in the alpha, it seems like the Elves didn't know when to stop fiddling with weapons. I mean, how would you even use that thing? Axes work by having a small strike space compared to concentrate the force of the blow. They chop, hack, and, to a lesser extent, slice. Those wing-like blades mean only those points are going to make contact, and the ancillary, downswept blades aren't going to do anything. It's basically an over engineered piercing weapon.

And let's not even get into how you're going to be exhausted after about three swings of that thing. It must be heavy as hell. It's like a holy water sprinkler with wings.


Edit: Also, are these backstories just rough drafts? "This was before Aildrek became known as the Witch King, so the dwarves did not yet know of his villainy. They were soon to learn," is just clunky writing. I mean, it's no Eye of Argon, but it gives me distinct Paul Clifford flashbacks.
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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 45: Backer Beta Update & New Website!

Post by demeisen » May 26th, 2018, 5:18 pm

_noblesse_oblige_ wrote:
May 26th, 2018, 2:30 pm
What constitutes a specially-named item? More people than just Kylearan could cast Kylearan's Invisibility Spell.
Well true about Whoever's Spell, but spells are intangible. It seems like the convention in most RPGs is that "Joe's Item" is a unique thing, and more generically named items are replicated.

I don't have much opinion about the Fire Horn though. I can see some gray area in the middle, for rare things which may have more than one instance, but aren't totally generic.
Drool wrote:
May 26th, 2018, 3:45 pm
No, my issue is really more with the artwork. It's like the fantasy version of Tacti-Cool. Considering the artwork for the ridiculous sword in the alpha, it seems like the Elves didn't know when to stop fiddling with weapons. I mean, how would you even use that thing?
I'm inclined to agree, it's too fanciful. But... that's also an objection I have to about 90% of CRPGs to some extent. That's doesn't even get into absurd armors and so on. If equipment was more realistic, you wouldn't see all that much item to item variation (which might actually be OK, if it was differentiated by colors and nonfunctional style). The axe example is a little too ornamental, but as long as they don't go headlong down the JRPG sword path, I'll live.

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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 45: Backer Beta Update & New Website!

Post by Drool » May 26th, 2018, 6:02 pm

demeisen wrote:
May 26th, 2018, 5:18 pm
I'm inclined to agree, it's too fanciful. But... that's also an objection I have to about 90% of CRPGs to some extent. That's doesn't even get into absurd armors and so on.
Yeah, I don't usually go down that rabbit hole (eg: I'm fine with the Bard's outfit despite it making absolutely no historical or protective sense), but that axe was just a bridge too far. The elven weapons we've seen so far are both massively overdone. They just look excessively unwieldly and out of place for the property.

I mean, yeah, it's all magic and monsters and fantasy stuff, but the Bard's Tale series always seemed a little more grounded than some others. There's no interstellar intelligences like Might and Magic, for instance. I mean, the insane Buster Sword works in Final Fantasy, and the even more ridiculous Keyblades work in Kingdom Hearts, they don't really fit here.

I'm looking at the Bard in top banner here, and I really can't see that axe or the elven sword meshing with his Scottish-themed outfit. And it works even less with how the rest of the people in the banner look. All the rest of the items and weapons we've seen fit nicely and are grounded (aesthetically), but the elven puzzle weapons really do look like something from a completely different game. I'm sure it's way too late now, but...
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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 45: Backer Beta Update & New Website!

Post by demeisen » May 26th, 2018, 6:26 pm

Drool wrote:
May 26th, 2018, 6:02 pm
Yeah, I don't usually go down that rabbit hole (eg: I'm fine with the Bard's outfit despite it making absolutely no historical or protective sense), but that axe was just a bridge too far. The elven weapons we've seen so far are both massively overdone.
I also get a bit of "MMO-ish" vibe from several of the creatures, such as the initial interaction guy who was stabbed through the head. It's not that it's bad art per se, it's just not quite the right style for a BT game, IMHO. (On the other hand, the interiors and environmental objects I've seen so far are really quite nice, and so is the forested outdoors). I'm wondering if some of these style mismatches are due to asset sharing from MT, or buying 3rd party assets, which are part of the deal in exchange for getting BT4. It's not the ideal situation, but it's not near the top of my list of desires, either. It won't make or break the game for me.

As far as weapons go, I'm OK with some ornateness for the puzzle weapons - e.g, intricate drawings on hilts, and so forth. And I like the puzzle weapon idea in general - it's pretty cool. Best if the puzzle weapon still makes some sense as a weapon, though.

I wonder if there will be puzzle armors, or if it's just a weapon thing.

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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 45: Backer Beta Update & New Website!

Post by _noblesse_oblige_ » May 26th, 2018, 6:56 pm

demeisen wrote:
May 26th, 2018, 5:18 pm
_noblesse_oblige_ wrote:
May 26th, 2018, 2:30 pm
What constitutes a specially-named item? More people than just Kylearan could cast Kylearan's Invisibility Spell. Just because something has someone's name on it doesn't mean that is has to be unique to the named person. A name can refer to a "brand" or a "recipe" for making something rather than personal ownership.
Well true about Whoever's Spell, but spells are intangible.
So are brand names, as I mentioned earlier, but that doesn't stop tons of items (in the real world) from being produced with a particular brand or trade name. That said, I wouldn't have a problem with Kael's Axe being treated as a unique item if there wasn't already precedent for it not being a unique item. People can applaud inXile all they want for making a backstory around the weapon, but that backstory is in conflict with already established lore in the series, i.e., there are/were multiple Kael's Axes.
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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 45: Backer Beta Update & New Website!

Post by ZZGO » May 27th, 2018, 6:29 am

_noblesse_oblige_ wrote:
May 26th, 2018, 6:56 pm
That said, I wouldn't have a problem with Kael's Axe being treated as a unique item if there wasn't already precedent for it not being a unique item. People can applaud inXile all they want for making a backstory around the weapon, but that backstory is in conflict with already established lore in the series, i.e., there are/were multiple Kael's Axes.
We'll have to agree to disagree on this one (and sorry if my earlier post was a bit harsh). You call it established lore, I call it the limitations of 1980s computer game design. There simply were no unique items, yet a number of items were named af if they should have been unique. Lak's Lyre or the Ybarrashield spring to mind. Not to mention plot items like the Eye, keys, or silver shapes.

I get what you're saying about brand names - we have a historical example in the Ulfberht swords, or the general "me fecit" maker's marks. But that's not how I understood these items back in BT1.

That said, I agree about the design of the axe being way over the top, to the point where it's unrecognizable as an axe. Me, I've never been a fan of those fancy overarticulated MMO-style things.

And, without all the fire and brimstone, I also agree that the fluff showcased has a somewhat shallow feel to it, in the sense of name-dropping Kael, Harkyn and King Aildrek for no reason other to tie back to the old BT and without actually delving into the old lore too deep.

Kael - interesting story, but it doesn't jive with his personal special axe being a standard drop item in treasure hoards across several dungeons; and it feels strange to connect him to the quest against Mangar (who was really only a small-time villain terrorizing a small country town) in the fashion done. Speaking of which, the fluff seems to blow the relevance of Mangar and Skara Brae out of proportions in the bigger picture, when the original game depicted it all as more of a low-level local conflict.

King Aildrek - Needed his backstory filled in. It never made sense to have a Mad God temple on top of vast catacombs and the tomb of the "old Witch King" right there at town square. That made me go Huh? even back as a kid. So I'm actually fine with that bit of new fluff. I never considered the Fire Horn a unique item though.

Baron Harkyn - Was an interesting mystery, because it was left open who he was, what side he was on, and what had happened to him. In my head-canon he was the town's ruler but had been captured or suborned by Mangar who then desecrated the castle and put that big honking Mad God statue there. Painting Harkyn as a plain villain here who was somehow complicit in Mangar's scheme is underselling the character's potential imho.

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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 45: Backer Beta Update & New Website!

Post by ZiN » May 27th, 2018, 7:17 am

Centuries before Mangar encircled Skara Brae in ice, the great bard Kael, one of the founders of the Adventurers Guild, had been given foresight of the city's peril in a dream. Kael thought to kill the Dark One before he struck, so he commissioned from the elves an enchanted axe. Weapon in hand, he then sought Mangar's tower, which manifested like a cancer in many realms throughout the ages.
That "writing"... Whoever wrote this, has clearly no idea about writing and Bard's Tale. It matches the awful design of the weapon model itself.

The fire horn looks better, but its story is also BS, that doesn't make any sense.

Perhaps they could have visited a History Museum or two in Scotland, instead of the pubs and actually played Bard's Tale.
demeisen wrote:
May 26th, 2018, 6:26 pm
I also get a bit of "MMO-ish" vibe from several of the creatures, such as the initial interaction guy who was stabbed through the head.
Felt more like those retarded Bethesda NPCs, with their idiotic dialogues, trying to be funny.

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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 45: Backer Beta Update & New Website!

Post by _noblesse_oblige_ » May 27th, 2018, 2:42 pm

ZZGO wrote:
May 27th, 2018, 6:29 am
_noblesse_oblige_ wrote:
May 26th, 2018, 6:56 pm
That said, I wouldn't have a problem with Kael's Axe being treated as a unique item if there wasn't already precedent for it not being a unique item. People can applaud inXile all they want for making a backstory around the weapon, but that backstory is in conflict with already established lore in the series, i.e., there are/were multiple Kael's Axes.
We'll have to agree to disagree on this one (and sorry if my earlier post was a bit harsh). You call it established lore, I call it the limitations of 1980s computer game design. There simply were no unique items, yet a number of items were named af if they should have been unique. Lak's Lyre or the Ybarrashield spring to mind. Not to mention plot items like the Eye, keys, or silver shapes.
With regards to items dropped by specials, I completely agree that they should be unique (the Eye from Aildrek, the silver EA logo shapes, the Onyx Key, the Spectre Snare, etc...). However, I wouldn't call it a limitation of 1980's computer game design. Maybe a limitation of the BT1 design, but BT3 did treat specials as a one-shot thing, by and large.

And, yeah, we'll have to agree to disagree on stuff like Kael's Axe, Kiel's Compass, Ali's Carpet, Fin's Flute, Lak's Lyre, Pipes of Pan, etc.... The Ybarrashield, I'm actually on the fence about, since it is first dropped as a special in Harkyn's but can later be dropped in the upper levels of Mangar's from normal encounters, iirc. The thing about all of these is that they may be great items, but they aren't artifacts or "legendary items" in terms of their stature or capabilities.

I mean, Kael's Axe does 5d4 damage with poisoning, a side effect that may not even work on monsters anyway. (People who have monitored memory in emulated games have reported that neither WIST nor POST actually affected monsters adversely. If POST doesn't adversely affect them, then I doubt poisoning from hits does either.) Want to know some other non-unique weapons that also do comparable or superior damage? Dayblade (3d8 and casts a light spell), Hawkblade (3d8), War Staff (4d8), Thief Dagger (5d4), Blood Axe (6d4), Mournblade (2d16, drain attack).
ZZGO wrote:
May 27th, 2018, 6:29 am
And, without all the fire and brimstone, I also agree that the fluff showcased has a somewhat shallow feel to it, in the sense of name-dropping Kael, Harkyn and King Aildrek for no reason other to tie back to the old BT and without actually delving into the old lore too deep.
I'm not sure what fire and brimstone you're referring to, but I do agree about the name-dropping. I don't think that building up weak lore around names out of the previous games is a particularly good move, given how far they've already alienated the new game from the previous ones. If the name-dropping is a fan appeasement exercise, we'll have to see how that turns out, but it certainly doesn't appease me. (Doesn't look it appeased ZiN either. :D)
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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 45: Backer Beta Update & New Website!

Post by Drool » May 27th, 2018, 2:46 pm

_noblesse_oblige_ wrote:
May 27th, 2018, 2:42 pm
Mournblade (2d16, drain attack)
Man, if anything should be a unique weapon...
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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 45: Backer Beta Update & New Website!

Post by _noblesse_oblige_ » May 27th, 2018, 2:58 pm

Drool wrote:
May 27th, 2018, 2:46 pm
_noblesse_oblige_ wrote:
May 27th, 2018, 2:42 pm
Mournblade (2d16, drain attack)
Man, if anything should be a unique weapon...
...then the Spectre Snare should be: 4d16+1, AC bonus: 8, critical hits, casts Baylor's Spell Bind

Now that's an artifact.
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Re: The Bard's Tale IV Update 45: Backer Beta Update & New Website!

Post by Drool » May 27th, 2018, 3:24 pm

I was more thinking of the fact that it's Stormbringer's brother...
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