Bard's Tale trilogy signature elements

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phimseto
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Bard's Tale trilogy signature elements

Post by phimseto » April 20th, 2017, 2:01 pm

Since landing a gig working at inXile and on Bard's Tale IV, a recurring comment that I have gotten from many friends is,

"Will the girls in the tavern still laugh at you if you order a ginger ale?"

It's funny what stays with you after all these years. What are some of the things that you first think of when you think of the original Bard's Tale games?

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Re: Bard's Tale trilogy signature elements

Post by thebruce » April 20th, 2017, 5:54 pm

Endless Sinister Street.

99x99x99x99 Berserkers. (sorry, obligatory :P)
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Re: Bard's Tale trilogy signature elements

Post by _noblesse_oblige_ » April 20th, 2017, 7:08 pm

Yeah, Sinister Street is definitely one of them for me.

Daring Skara Brae at night with low-level characters would be another - seeing monsters that I never saw in daylight, e.g., Jade Monks, Sorcerers, Swordsmen, Wolves, Zombies; the thrill of staying close to a temple and Roscoe's and still having close brushes with death; the pressing of '?' every minute to see if evening had advanced to night, night to after midnight... the long wait for early morning to come, to finally go visit the Review Board and Garth. Pure magic, that was. (And still is.)
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Re: Bard's Tale trilogy signature elements

Post by Gizmo » April 20th, 2017, 9:39 pm

phimseto wrote:
April 20th, 2017, 2:01 pm
What are some of the things that you first think of when you think of the original Bard's Tale games?
Constant forward game-world. ;)
(...and the ability of even a 1st level party to recruit their attackers.)

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Re: Bard's Tale trilogy signature elements

Post by Drool » April 20th, 2017, 10:38 pm

Laughing when you order Ginger Ale. Talking to the barkeep after the entire party is drunk and getting thrown out on the street. Also, the fact that both 1 and 3 had Sinister Street, and that their maps of Skara Brae were very similar, almost identical.

I'm going to assume that Skara Brae in BT4 will be bigger, but a similar layout would be nice. As would a couple easter eggs like Sinister Street, perhaps a hidden cache across from the entrance, and a credits screen across from the Adventurer's Guild.
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Re: Bard's Tale trilogy signature elements

Post by thebruce » April 21st, 2017, 5:42 am

Spinners. The mechanics and strategy of spinners. The beauty of grid similarity is what made spinners so dreadful. The delay of direction identification. Spinners in the middle of crossing hallways where each view looked identical... I don't know how a spinner with that same mechanic would translate to the more literal, gorgeous environments of BT4, if at all, but Spinners (not the spider creatures) were definitely signature of BT1-3.

Please don't be afraid of adding easter eggs - that is, hidden elements that can be discovered which may even break the 4th wall.
And on the flip side, please do not put easter eggs in the regular flow of the game... at least blatantly and unreconcileably non-gameworld stuff! Keep the game world the game world. Easter eggs are typically discovered when doing something that's already a little disbelief-suspendy, if not inside jokes/knowledge that can still make sense in the game world (their discovery doesn't pull someone out of it).
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Re: Bard's Tale trilogy signature elements

Post by phimseto » April 21st, 2017, 6:22 am

Holy cow...this was definitely a trip down the Sinister Street version of Memory Lane.
_noblesse_oblige_ wrote:
April 20th, 2017, 7:08 pm
Daring Skara Brae at night with low-level characters would be another - seeing monsters that I never saw in daylight, e.g., Jade Monks, Sorcerers, Swordsmen, Wolves, Zombies; the thrill of staying close to a temple and Roscoe's and still having close brushes with death; the pressing of '?' every minute to see if evening had advanced to night, night to after midnight... the long wait for early morning to come, to finally go visit the Review Board and Garth. Pure magic, that was. (And still is.)
It sounds so nostalgic when you write it that way...and you're not wrong, it was pure magic! However, I had somewhat forgotten the "magic" part of it and blocked it out because your post also had me remember all the times I *didn't* make it back to safety or died right at the steps out of the dungeon after desperately trying to escape. Those moments were pure pain and rage inducing! :-D

Apropos of Skara Brae's layout, Easter Eggs, and whatnot, I honestly am not sure what they may have planned or what is possible at this juncture, but I'll tell you what...if you folks want to use this thread to make a list of those callbacks you'd like to see, I will take it to the devs. You've already reminded me of a bunch of things I had forgotten and I thought that I remembered the game pretty well.

Also, just to wrap up my own thoughts: my single biggest and fondest Bard's Tale series memory was successfully porting my BT1 party into BT2. That was absolutely mind-blowing stuff. Wandering around a new game with my old party was its own kind of pure magic...at least until whenever the first time it happened that they all died right before I got to safety. Then it was back to business as usual! :-D

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Re: Bard's Tale trilogy signature elements

Post by _noblesse_oblige_ » April 21st, 2017, 9:40 pm

phimseto wrote:
April 21st, 2017, 6:22 am
However, I had somewhat forgotten the "magic" part of it and blocked it out because your post also had me remember all the times I *didn't* make it back to safety or died right at the steps out of the dungeon after desperately trying to escape. Those moments were pure pain and rage inducing! :-D
Haha - yeah, there were those moments when I would sit in shock for five minutes after a party wipe, feeling a combination of rage, disbelief, and self-loathing all rolled into one. Getting party wiped by 4 or more Barbarians at early levels, wandering into the Soul Sucker in the Catacombs, etc.... But, it was those things which made everything else sweeter.
phimseto wrote:
April 21st, 2017, 6:22 am
Apropos of Skara Brae's layout, Easter Eggs, and whatnot, I honestly am not sure what they may have planned or what is possible at this juncture, but I'll tell you what...if you folks want to use this thread to make a list of those callbacks you'd like to see, I will take it to the devs. You've already reminded me of a bunch of things I had forgotten and I thought that I remembered the game pretty well.
Here are some that come immediately to mind:
  • Definitely agree with thebruce's mention of the spinner tiles and how they were placed. (Would also like to see the Spinner spiders make a return too. ;)
  • The various puzzles, a number in the form of rhyme or verse.
  • The ability to swap party members in and out at the Adventurer's Guild.
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Re: Bard's Tale trilogy signature elements

Post by Zadkiel » April 22nd, 2017, 10:58 am

thebruce wrote:
April 21st, 2017, 5:42 am
even break the 4th wall.
There's even plenty of precedent. Such as the Silver Square, Circle & Triangle from BT1 being a nod to the EA logo.

Image

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Re: Bard's Tale trilogy signature elements

Post by Gizmo » April 22nd, 2017, 11:23 am

thebruce wrote:
April 21st, 2017, 5:42 am
Spinners. The mechanics and strategy of spinners. The beauty of grid similarity is what made spinners so dreadful. The delay of direction identification. Spinners in the middle of crossing hallways where each view looked identical... I don't know how a spinner with that same mechanic would translate to the more literal, gorgeous environments of BT4, if at all, but Spinners (not the spider creatures) were definitely signature of BT1-3.
It could actually be good, or perhaps better if the two (or more) hallways looked very close, but not flawlessly identical. A player could miss it happen, but be able to identify it when looking closely.

It's the same way with secret buttons and switches... They could be perfectly hidden, but it plays better if instead they are just easy to miss.

** I would really like to find that the party can [with at least a slim chance] recruit from some of their would-be attackers.

Image

And also I hope we see a conversation interface that's intentionally akin to [and a seeming evolution from] the earlier games;
Image
...the way InXile seems to be doing in WL3.

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Re: Bard's Tale trilogy signature elements

Post by Drool » April 22nd, 2017, 8:36 pm

Zadkiel wrote:
April 22nd, 2017, 10:58 am
There's even plenty of precedent. Such as the Silver Square, Circle & Triangle from BT1 being a nod to the EA logo.
Never noticed that. Nice!
_noblesse_oblige_ wrote:
April 21st, 2017, 9:40 pm
[*] Definitely agree with thebruce's mention of the spinner tiles and how they were placed. (Would also like to see the Spinner spiders make a return too. ;)
Not to mention spinners on sticky tiles. Those were the worst. Until you got the super-useful nospin ring. Which, for years, I read as "nose pin".
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Re: Bard's Tale trilogy signature elements

Post by ZiN » April 23rd, 2017, 3:37 am

The ones that are really unique to BT for me are:

- The Bard Songs
- 4 letter spell codes
- PHDO spell for shortcuts and secret areas
- SPBI spell, allowing you to recruit almost any creature in the world
- Chronomancer and Geomancer from BT3


Other notable features (also in other old-school dungeon-crawlers, such as Wizardry and M&M):

- The Adventurer's Guild
- Well drawn and animated portraits (cough...)
- Devious mazes (trap, spinner, darkness, anti-magic, silence, HP decrease, SP decrease, stuck, odd...)
- Very powerful magic spells
- Instant death critical hits and spells

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Re: Bard's Tale trilogy signature elements

Post by Ether » April 23rd, 2017, 10:24 am

Yeah, I remember a promo magazine that EA put out mentioning the coincidence of the silver circle, square, and triangle to their logo.

I don't really find the Chronomancer and Geomancer all that unique. Ok, I guess they are but there's nothing really special to them. I view their existence as a way for people using imported characters to learn new spells. That and, in the case of the Geomancer, a way to make an obsolete Warrior somewhat relevant.

As for my unique feature, it's the five spell icons (for light, carpet, compass, eye, shield, sometimes song) under the text. As someone who has spent a while thinking how to remake the series and would have been quite willing to change some things, I still wanted to see those icons, even if I do think some of the spells were unnecessary.

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Re: Bard's Tale trilogy signature elements

Post by Ether » April 23rd, 2017, 10:26 am

Gizmo wrote:
April 22nd, 2017, 11:23 am
thebruce wrote:
April 21st, 2017, 5:42 am
Spinners. The mechanics and strategy of spinners. The beauty of grid similarity is what made spinners so dreadful. The delay of direction identification. Spinners in the middle of crossing hallways where each view looked identical... I don't know how a spinner with that same mechanic would translate to the more literal, gorgeous environments of BT4, if at all, but Spinners (not the spider creatures) were definitely signature of BT1-3.
It could actually be good, or perhaps better if the two (or more) hallways looked very close, but not flawlessly identical. A player could miss it happen, but be able to identify it when looking closely.

It's the same way with secret buttons and switches... They could be perfectly hidden, but it plays better if instead they are just easy to miss.

** I would really like to find that the party can [with at least a slim chance] recruit from some of their would-be attackers.

Image

And also I hope we see a conversation interface that's intentionally akin to [and a seeming evolution from] the earlier games;
Image
...the way InXile seems to be doing in WL3.
Is that scene with the Sage actually in the original bt 2, and if so where?

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Re: Bard's Tale trilogy signature elements

Post by Gizmo » April 23rd, 2017, 8:42 pm

Ether wrote:
April 23rd, 2017, 10:26 am
Is that scene with the Sage actually in the original bt 2, and if so where?
The text statement? Not that I know of.
I wrote it for the example gif.

(Otherwise, I would have had to go find the Sage, and/or read through the DK executable for something accurate,
and probably less interesting. ;) )

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Re: Bard's Tale trilogy signature elements

Post by Ether » April 24th, 2017, 6:18 am

Gizmo wrote:
April 23rd, 2017, 8:42 pm
Ether wrote:
April 23rd, 2017, 10:26 am
Is that scene with the Sage actually in the original bt 2, and if so where?
The text statement? Not that I know of.
I wrote it for the example gif.

(Otherwise, I would have had to go find the Sage, and/or read through the DK executable for something accurate,
and probably less interesting. ;) )
Ok.....what I figured.
Still pretty cool though.

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Re: Bard's Tale trilogy signature elements

Post by thebruce » April 24th, 2017, 6:27 am

Drool wrote:
April 22nd, 2017, 8:36 pm
Zadkiel wrote:
April 22nd, 2017, 10:58 am
There's even plenty of precedent. Such as the Silver Square, Circle & Triangle from BT1 being a nod to the EA logo.
Never noticed that. Nice!
Ditto, that never clicked until just now! :D

Drool wrote:
April 22nd, 2017, 8:36 pm
_noblesse_oblige_ wrote:
April 21st, 2017, 9:40 pm
[*] Definitely agree with thebruce's mention of the spinner tiles and how they were placed. (Would also like to see the Spinner spiders make a return too. ;)
Not to mention spinners on sticky tiles. Those were the worst. Until you got the super-useful nospin ring. Which, for years, I read as "nose pin".
I still say noss-pin ring by habit. I only got the no-spin meaning after the BT4 campaign began, lol.
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Re: Bard's Tale trilogy signature elements

Post by thebruce » April 24th, 2017, 6:30 am

Ah yes, 4 letter spell codes - please no forced scrolling! After a while, as a player, you eventually do memorize the spellbook so it should be possible to 'recall' the spell and just cast it.

Oh,and the undocumented dreamspell! Learning and discovering the code for that was an accomplishment too :)
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Re: Bard's Tale trilogy signature elements

Post by thebruce » April 24th, 2017, 6:35 am

Also! Just remembered via a different thread - using unlimited bard songs to cast a light and map out darkness regions by the split second flicker before the flame was immediately snuffed out. :)
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Re: Bard's Tale trilogy signature elements

Post by phimseto » April 24th, 2017, 6:48 am

These are all great so far (and stellar work on the gif, Gizmo)! Keep 'em coming!

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