Classic BT1 weaponry questions

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ConjurerDragon
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Classic BT1 weaponry questions

Post by ConjurerDragon » September 22nd, 2018, 9:39 am

In my current game (the emulated old MS-DOS BT1 that came with backing BT IV) my party runs in the old problem that I already had when playing on the C-64 - lack of space for loot.

So I have to sell off (or outright drop) stuff that is not as good as the current equipment of my party.
I tried this list
https://bardstaleonline.com/bt1/library/items
to get an idea what to drop / sell and was under the assumption that more expensive = better stuff.

But in that list the Hawkblade I found is 200 gold more expensive than the Dayblade of my Paladin but has less damage (as the Dayblade has the +1) and lacks a magical function while the Dayblade at least creates a light.
The Mithril Mace is the only Mithril weapon that lacks the +1 as the other Mithril weapons in that list.

Is the list unreliable or are prices not always an indicator for the power of an item?

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Re: Classic BT1 weaponry questions

Post by _noblesse_oblige_ » September 22nd, 2018, 11:09 am

Price is a rough guideline, not an absolute indicator.

The Mithril Mace was a data quality issue in the originals, which is fixed in the remasters. Some of the items with magical functions are underpriced compared to their non-magical counterparts. And, not everything that drops at the same difficulty level is equally good. By the time you start getting adamant and diamond weapons, you'll find that they are totally outclassed, not only by other weapons being dropped at the current difficulty class but previous ones as well. (The difficulty class of the game advances every two dungeons with the exception of Catacombs 2, Catacombs 3, and Harkyn's Castle 1, which are all the same difficulty class.)

The original game manual hints that you should experiment with items to determine their abilities. I would just do that and then form judgments about what is worth keeping. Also, something to bear in mind is that selling items to Garth is not really a major revenue generator at later levels. And, one can often get two item drops per encounter in later dungeons. So, one needs to take a fairly aggressive stance about dropping even really good items later in the game.
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Re: Classic BT1 weaponry questions

Post by thebruce » September 22nd, 2018, 12:21 pm

The other issue with the list is that there may be slight differences between versions of the game on different platforms, and now we have the resmastered version as well. So it's growing more essential to look at the archives as a general guide rather than a 100% universally accurate data list :) But most it should be completely trustworthy.
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Re: Classic BT1 weaponry questions

Post by ConjurerDragon » September 25th, 2018, 4:54 am

thebruce wrote:
September 22nd, 2018, 12:21 pm
The other issue with the list is that there may be slight differences between versions of the game on different platforms, and now we have the resmastered version as well. So it's growing more essential to look at the archives as a general guide rather than a 100% universally accurate data list :) But most it should be completely trustworthy.
In the remastered version Armour class can go far below -10 as far as I have seen, while the original MS-DOS version is cut off at "LO" instead of -10.
Is that only a display limitation and having more armour does still provide a benefit? Or is "LO" the maximum achievable armour and adding any more by adding a shield ring or Elf Cloak simply wasted inventory space?

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Re: Classic BT1 weaponry questions

Post by jamespodesta » September 25th, 2018, 4:59 am

my understanding is that the LO is just a visual cutoff and the actual armor class continues. I've not delved into the emulator debugger to verify that but I've read posts by others that have done combat tests. I'm not sure if there is a cap... probably only really important for Monks, since they continue to get lower with level. Everything else will be capped at the best possible equipment.
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Re: Classic BT1 weaponry questions

Post by jamespodesta » September 25th, 2018, 5:01 am

also, given how quickly you can get to -10, and how tough monster attacks get, I think your armor would be useless against the tougher monsters if it didn't keep going down...
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Re: Classic BT1 weaponry questions

Post by Jamey » September 27th, 2018, 11:02 am

_noblesse_oblige_ wrote:
September 22nd, 2018, 11:09 am
So, one needs to take a fairly aggressive stance about dropping even really good items later in the game.
For me, the shared party inventory for non-equipped items is one of the biggest quality of life improvements in BT1 remastered. It means being able to deal with loot periodically rather than after pretty much every fight.

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Re: Classic BT1 weaponry questions

Post by _noblesse_oblige_ » September 27th, 2018, 6:41 pm

Jamey wrote:
September 27th, 2018, 11:02 am
_noblesse_oblige_ wrote:
September 22nd, 2018, 11:09 am
So, one needs to take a fairly aggressive stance about dropping even really good items later in the game.
For me, the shared party inventory for non-equipped items is one of the biggest quality of life improvements in BT1 remastered. It means being able to deal with loot periodically rather than after pretty much every fight.
I absolutely agree that the shared inventory in the remaster is a big QoL improvement. (This evolutionary improvement actually came from a fan suggestion during prerelease testing, though the intent was not to expand inventory capacity but eliminate the tedium of trading items around.)

The OP did mention playing the game in an emulator, though, so I was pointing out something to be mindful of when playing in original versions.
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Re: Classic BT1 weaponry questions

Post by ConjurerDragon » September 28th, 2018, 1:25 am

thebruce wrote:
September 22nd, 2018, 12:21 pm
The other issue with the list is that there may be slight differences between versions of the game on different platforms, and now we have the resmastered version as well. So it's growing more essential to look at the archives as a general guide rather than a 100% universally accurate data list :) But most it should be completely trustworthy.
I just sold a "Thief Dagger" at Garth’s which in the completely trustworthy library is a "Theif Dagger"
https://bardstaleonline.com/bt1/library/items#Weapon
so I’m not really convinced about that.

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Re: Classic BT1 weaponry questions

Post by thebruce » September 28th, 2018, 6:00 am

ConjurerDragon wrote:
September 28th, 2018, 1:25 am
thebruce wrote:
September 22nd, 2018, 12:21 pm
The other issue with the list is that there may be slight differences between versions of the game on different platforms, and now we have the resmastered version as well. So it's growing more essential to look at the archives as a general guide rather than a 100% universally accurate data list :) But most it should be completely trustworthy.
I just sold a "Thief Dagger" at Garth’s which in the completely trustworthy library is a "Theif Dagger"
https://bardstaleonline.com/bt1/library/items#Weapon
so I’m not really convinced about that.
Thank you for bringing the typo imported from an external data conversion to my attention. It's been fixed. If you find others, please let me know. And go tell all your friends that BTO is 100% typo-free! :lol:
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Re: Classic BT1 weaponry questions

Post by HawkSlayer » October 23rd, 2018, 6:41 am

jamespodesta wrote:
September 25th, 2018, 4:59 am
my understanding is that the LO is just a visual cutoff and the actual armor class continues. I've not delved into the emulator debugger to verify that but I've read posts by others that have done combat tests. I'm not sure if there is a cap... probably only really important for Monks, since they continue to get lower with level. Everything else will be capped at the best possible equipment.
I disagree with this. I would bet you could just ask Micheal or PM him. But BT 1 was very close to official Dungeons and Dragons rules on experience, classes, to hit roles, armor, etc. Having more than a +2 weapon was very rare. A +1 or +2 wasn't really considered 'magical' and often was just made by a master smith.. +3 to +5(almost impossible) were the high magic stuff.

Given the fact that by the time you could actually get most of your party to LO in BT1 -10 is the maximum armor in Bard's tale 1 and D&D. there was a full TO HIT table based on class in D&D and there was almost nothing that could hit you if you achieved it.

Now, once they got the wheels turning. Video game balance issues would have been tough to tune and balance for BT 2 and 3 because BT1 took you all the way there when you got to the last dungeon. So, they changed the code as most modern games do to just keep making players and creatures absurdly more powerful so you can keep buying expansions and leveling up. An example of how obvious this change is was Warcraft. Eventually they got to the point of you hit for a MILLION damage.. which was stupid. But instead of doing the very complex high end game balancing they just 'SQUISHED' stats after a few expansions so you can keep getting absurdly more powerful upgrades and KEEP CLICKING!!!!

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Re: Classic BT1 weaponry questions

Post by Zadkiel » October 23rd, 2018, 1:47 pm

HawkSlayer wrote:
October 23rd, 2018, 6:41 am
I disagree with this.
And I'm afraid you would be wrong, it's been confirmed by multiple people over the decades who have reverse engineered the game code and most recently by Krome themselves that LO is just a visual effect and that the AC continues much much lower. It was probably just a compromise that due to old 40-column displays simply not having enough pixels they were restricted to only 2 letters/numbers in the AC column, which broke as soon as they hit -10

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Re: Classic BT1 weaponry questions

Post by HawkSlayer » October 23rd, 2018, 6:48 pm

Aye, I concede. Perhaps too much nostalgia. I firmly recall only the monk surviving several battles in BT2, however I do not for BT1. Having that said there are very few creatures that can really crush a well equipped character.
Simply loading the burger fight shows that -10 is not a limit even in BT1.

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Re: Classic BT1 weaponry questions

Post by gibble_fenwick » October 25th, 2018, 4:49 am

HawkSlayer wrote:
October 23rd, 2018, 6:41 am
... But BT 1 was very close to official Dungeons and Dragons rules on experience, classes, to hit roles, armor, etc. Having more than a +2 weapon was very rare. A +1 or +2 wasn't really considered 'magical' and often was just made by a master smith.. +3 to +5(almost impossible) were the high magic stuff.
It's funny how fallible memory can be at times.
The only time I recall bonuses to weapons or armour being non-magical was in D&D 3e (long after the BT series).
3e introduced the concept of "masterwork items"; exceptionally well crafted with a small bonus.

If I remember correctly (and acknowledging my own fallibility):
* Masterwork weapon gave +1 to attack roll (and didn't count as magical for the purposes of harming certain creatures).
* +1 magical weapon was +1 to both attack and damage.
* MW armour gave +1 AC
* +1 magical armour gave +1 AC and reduced encumbrance penalties.

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Re: Classic BT1 weaponry questions

Post by Drool » October 25th, 2018, 1:21 pm

gibble_fenwick wrote:
October 25th, 2018, 4:49 am
The only time I recall bonuses to weapons or armour being non-magical was in D&D 3e (long after the BT series).
3e introduced the concept of "masterwork items"; exceptionally well crafted with a small bonus.
Well, Dark Sun (I believe) introduced the concept of different materials giving different bonuses back in 2nd, and my group had used homebrew masterwork/exceptional rules for years.

That was still long after BT1, though.
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