Bard's Tale 2: Destiny Knight: Game breaking bugs

For all discussion on all the previous Bard's Tale games: the classic 1980s games (Bard's Tale, II: Destiny Knight, & III: Thief of Fate) & the humorous Bard's Tale (2004) spin off.

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Bard's Tale 2: Destiny Knight: Game breaking bugs

Post by Falkentyne » November 26th, 2017, 12:22 am

Hi, I kept this pretty secret for years, although some of the high school friends I played with saw these bugs back in the day. Basically, the Commodore 64 version had a very serious bug with summons, while the Apple II version had another bug due to it not having a RTC.

On the Commodore 64, the summoned monsters would NOT use "Breath weapons" or use special attacks when in your party. I don't remember if they would cast spells or not either, but I only think Melee with on hit effects worked. However if you entered "There is dissention in your ranks" party attack mode, they didn't hesitate to use all their abilities on your party members.

Naturally no such bug happened in the original BT1. The Apple II version of BT2 did NOT suffer from this almost game breaking bug.

However the "Snares of Death" were MUCH easier on the Apple II version than the C64, because the Apple 2 did not have a RTC. Thus if you sat in 1 spot and didn't move, you could stay in a snare for hours with no time limit. The time limit only applied when you actually MOVED a square in the maze. I think this also affected random encounters in both BT1 and BT2 on the Apple II. The C64 had a RTC, so you would die if you took too long even by not moving.

Both versions had a very serious--I call it gamebreaking--design flaw. I tested this extensively back in highschool. Bard's Tale 1 had a classic D&D type system with an AC starting at 10 (bare skin) to -10 (titanium super tank). Any monster with an AC of -10 was completely unhittable, while AC-9 would also be 95% unhittable. The most a high level warrior could hit with at least some frequency was AC -8. Your party members with an AC of -10 were not so lucky, however, since monsters could get much better to hit rolls than humanoid party members. This could be circumvented by a spell most people forgot existed by that late point in the game: FRFO, which if cast enough, would allow you to even hit the "LO" (AC-10) monsters like a Demon Lord, Vampire Lord, Black Dragon, Soul Sucker (forgot if this was AC -10), and a few others. Overall, besides BT1 getting too easy once you reached high level (1 hitting everything if you could hit, or just spam nuking), the system worked well for its time.

Unfortunately, Bard's Tale II increased the AC levels from -10 to -21, which was now L+. However, the to hit abilities for HUMANOID PARTY MEMBERS was NOT adjusted whatsoever, meaning, no matter what level your characters were, you would miss AC -10 monsters literally 100% of the time! The FRFO spell was still in the game, and I remember when I completed this game, that Melee characters like the Paladin and Warrior were completely useless except as meat shields, as they could not hit anything. You either had to spam FRFO multiple times (sometimes as much as 8 times before you could hit anything later in the game), or use that one spell which turned your characters into Gods, and let them hit anything (Was it the Dream spell or something? I forgot). But it was this bug with not adjusting the to-hit system for players, to adjust for the lower AC, which turned this into a pure magic spamming game.

This could have been fixed by simply adjusting the to hit levels, so that AC of L8 to L+ would be unhittable unassisted by magic, while L0-L7 would be hittable, with difficulty. This was just a big design blunder, by using the To-Hit tables for Bard's Tale 1 for party members, not adjusting for the lower AC levels, while monsters could just rip through party members that had "-10" AC in BT2.

And the Special Monster breath weapon/spell bug on the Commodore 64 (after all we loved the C64 music) was really bad too. I'm sure the Amiga didn't have this bug.

I do not know of any version of the C64 where this summoned party monster bug was ever fixed. I don't ever even remember it being discussed anywhere. Was anything done about the To-Hit issue with AC -10 - AC-21 on the Amiga version? Or the PC version? Does anyone know or has anyone actually tested this?

The Bard's Tale 3 did away with the legacy system and made a much better system, not only could party members hit low AC monsters properly now if they were strong enough, but they could actually miss part of their multiple attacks.

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