Minimum Party required to actually win

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Maven
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Minimum Party required to actually win

Post by Maven »

So we need at least three characters to pass the door with the three shapes.

We need one of the characters to be a Warrior, Paladin, Bard, or Hunter, to wield the Crystal Sword.

Any other hard limitations?
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Flanimal
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Post by Flanimal »

In the castle only a bard can sit on the throne to permit access to an area. Hiwever, this is not a necessity as my bardless party simply cast Phase Door to get into the area.

I would say that you certainly need at least one magic user who can cast beyond death otherwise the party might have to abort outings.
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Darendor
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Post by Darendor »

The door with the three shapes is passed so long as the silver items are being carried in the party (i.e. Silvr Square, Silvr Circle, and Silvr Triang).

It doesn't have to be specific party members/classes so long as all 3 items are present.

Same thing with the Crystal Sword; it just needs to be present in order to prevent the golem from reappearing. Give it to your mage and have him stare at it blankly while the rest of the party pummels the golem and see for yourself.
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Darendor
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Post by Darendor »

Flanimal wrote:In the castle only a bard can sit on the throne to permit access to an area. Hiwever, this is not a necessity as my bardless party simply cast Phase Door to get into the area.

I would say that you certainly need at least one magic user who can cast beyond death otherwise the party might have to abort outings.

If you have the ability (and desire), you can simply APAR to 5N, 12E, 2Up and bypass the entire Castle.
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Post by Maven »

Darendor wrote:The door with the three shapes is passed so long as the silver items are being carried in the party (i.e. Silvr Square, Silvr Circle, and Silvr Triang).

It doesn't have to be specific party members/classes so long as all 3 items are present.

Same thing with the Crystal Sword; it just needs to be present in order to prevent the golem from reappearing. Give it to your mage and have him stare at it blankly while the rest of the party pummels the golem and see for yourself.
This may be implementation dependent. I seem to remember that in the Amiga version I could bypass the shape door just by having the items in inventory, but in the MSDOS version, they all need to be actually equipped.

Ditto the Crystal sword. I fought the crystal golem a few times before I remembered to equip the sword.

Maybe it's possible to do the whole game without any casters at all.

I can't remember if you actually need the levitation spell in the sewers, or if you can just jump down the hole and take damage. I realize there are brooms and magic carpets that can levitate, but they don't show up until what, the castle? Of course you can bypass the sewers altogether if you know the name of the Mad God, so maybe that isn't a big problem. There are places in the tower where you need levitate, but you can get those items by that time.

Hunters can use the Death Ring.

Once you get a Troll Ring, I guess you could use the Party Attack trick to regen all your characters up to full health. Between encounters.

You need someone who can dispossess in order to get past the possession trap on the last level of the tower. I guess the exorwand could do that, but only magic users can wield that. Or, I guess you could just kill the one who got possessed.
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Darendor
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Post by Darendor »

My knowledge about Bard's Tale is pretty much confined to the Commodore 64 version.

I don't think you could start a brand new party fresh from the AG at level 1 without spellcasters. I mean, there's the problem of simply going without that extra ARFI poke at that Barbarian who picked a fight with you outside Garthe's Shop.

And then there's dungeon exploration. Until you got a Bardsword you'd be stuck using torches and Lightwands to navigate, and how would you know if you hit a teleport square? Or worse, a teleport square in darkness?

I think it'd be pretty much impossible. But then, who knows?
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Darendor
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Post by Darendor »

As for navigating portals, you can go down them and take damage, but you cannot go up them without LEVI or MALE active.
Maven
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Post by Maven »

So, it can definitely be done with 3 characters -- one Bard and two Archmage Wizards. Well, that and the extra character used to haul the party to the Temple after total party wipeouts.

It really isn't very hard at all if I am willing to grind the characters up high enough to run from all encounters and get in first hits during the final confrontation with Mangar. The biggest pain was the Possession trap, and that was only because my Bard who got possessed whacked the Titan in the special slot, and the Titan got mad and killed one of the Mages.

So I'm going to try it with no magic.
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Post by Maven »

Well, it can be done with three non-magic users, but there were some unexpected hurdles.

I did it with a Monk, a Hunter, and a Bard.

Darendor, you were right about the beginning party being hard. I had seven characters that didn't make level two before I finally got a couple to the point where they could survive running around in the daytime. The Sewers were pretty easy. One thing that was hard was disarming traps. Those Poison Needle traps are expensive when you don't have a Conjuror to cure the poison.

The Catacombs were difficult to start. Until I killed enough monsters on the top level to get Mthr Scale and Mthr Shields. It took a a long time to get a Fire Horn, but once I got one it was a lot easier. Then I dared go down and beat on the Wights and stuff on the bottom level. Disarming Traps was still a problem, with the Gas Cloud being the expensive one.

The Castle was the part that took the most time. I had a Bard to sit on the throne, but I had to kill that Captain of the Guard every time on the way in and on the way out. With no magic users to cast Phase Door or Apport Arcane, I had to actually go through all the mazes. The Crystal Sword wasn't a problem, but the Barracks were! Those Berserkers can still hit me sometimes, even at Armor Class of LO. I was lucky my Fire Horn held out. I think there's supposed to be a way to bypass the Barracks, if you get robes for all your characters, but I'm not sure it works in the PC version. I seem to remember special Green Robes on the Amiga version, but I only got normal Robes when I killed the guards.

Disarming traps was an even bigger problem in the Castle, because not only were there Gas Cloud traps, but Crazycloud and Mindtraps as well. Insane or Possessed party members are difficult to get to survive any encounter. I had no way to heal them except the temple. And if I got any encounter on the way out (like that doggone Captain of the Guard encounter) I usually didn't survive. Possibly it would be easier if I had a Paladin instead of a Hunter, so I could use a Pureblade. I'm not sure if it cures NUTS or POSS party members, though.

Light was a minor problem. I found a Dayblade that I used until it gave out. After that I just used the Seeker's Ballad. By this time I had decent enough gear that everyone was a LO Armor Class even without using the Traveller's Tune or the Ybarrashield.

The Levitation was a problem as well, because Ali's Carpets don't drop until the second level of the Castle. Luckily, that's the first place where you actually need it. I had to run around fighting stuff there until I got one to drop. Luckily, my Monk could use it, and it has more that one charge. Which I didn't know, but I was glad to find out.

The only other pain in the patoot was spinner squares. It's difficult when you don't have any Magic Compass spell.

The Tower was pretty straightforward. No problem wielding the Crystal Sword. The Spinner square in the big room was a minor annoyance, but I was able to avoid all the other spinner squares.

The Big Castle had a couple of unexpected problems. Disarming Traps continued to be a problem, although I was able to make it back to the Temple more easily. The Spinners were a major annoyance. Especially the ones in the darkness with the hallways. I hadn't realized how useful the Magic Compass is.

The other major problem was the Possession trap. I had to kill my Bard. Not as bad as I thought, because I was able to pass the Shape Door with three party members, even though one of them was dead, because he equipped the shape before he died. Probably it was a good thing it was my Bard that got possessed, although the rest of the trip was harder because I didn't have any healing or light. Luckily, I have really good maps, and my Monk was high enough level that he could run from anything.

The final encounter was easier than I expected, with only two party members left. It could have been a lot worse. I think I was lucky that the Demon Lord stoned my Titan and not my Monk or my Hunter. Next round, I used the Spectre Snare to capture Mangar while my Monk killed the new Demon Lord he summoned. The Vampire Lords promptly killed Mangar for me. I basically ignored the Vampire Lords until everyone else was dead. Again, I was lucky that they only drained my levels and didn't kill me.

So that was fun. Now I know it can be done.
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Darendor
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Post by Darendor »

I'm having a hard time believing it took you less than 12 hours to escape the teleportation trap at the very middle north of level 2 of Harkyn's Castle without using SCSI and MACO.

Also, level 4 of Mangar's Castle would have killed you completely. There's traps on like 75% of the squares there.
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Post by Maven »

Darendor wrote:I'm having a hard time believing it took you less than 12 hours to escape the teleportation trap at the very middle north of level 2 of Harkyn's Castle without using SCSI and MACO.
Well, like I said, I have really good maps. That and the fact that there's no spinner there. If there had been a spinner, it would have been a case of just try it over and over until you get lucky. As it is, as long as you keep good track of which direction you're facing, the teleports don't mess you up as much.
Darendor wrote:Also, level 4 of Mangar's Castle would have killed you completely. There's traps on like 75% of the squares there.
I hearya, although that might be a little bit of an exaggeration. And yeah, I hit a significant number of them. But fortunately, in the IBM PC version, trap squares don't really poison you or drive you insane the way the ones on trapped chests do. They just diminish your health. So when I got low on health, I could just stop for a little while and sing the heal song during a party attack to get my health back up.

It seems like I get better at avoiding trap damage as my level goes up. I'm not sure exactly how that mechanism works, and I don't think I've ever gotten to the point where they never hurt, but after I get high enough in levels I pretty much ignore them except for just watching my health to make sure it doesn't get too low.

The Bard song does take a long time to do any significant healing, but it's better than nothing. It's easier when there are Magicians so you can just toss in a Restore spell when the need arises. I considered using a Paladin instead of a Hunter, so I could use a Pureblade. I thought I might be able to have my Hunter use the Deathring, but after dealing with a couple of Possessed party members, I don't think that will be useful.
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Post by Darendor »

Yes, I was mistaken about the teleport bundle on level 3 of Harkyn's Castle.

I think I was thinking of the spinner field guarding Tarjan's statue.
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Post by Maven »

Darendor wrote:Yes, I was mistaken about the teleport bundle on level 3 of Harkyn's Castle.

I think I was thinking of the spinner field guarding Tarjan's statue.
Yeah, that one could have been harder, except all I had to do was hug the wall and I was OK.

The really bad one was on level 3 of Mangar's Tower. Those spinners you can't avoid, and there isn't any really easy way to tell which way you end up facing. So it was step on the spinner, go one step forward, turn left and see if there is a door there. If not, go back and start again. If so, go back out the door, turn left, go several squares and check for another door... even that didn't work quite right for me. I went too far when I was facing the wrong direction and hit the other spinner in the other direction. That one took a while to get through.
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Darendor
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Post by Darendor »

Sounds like you had a good time.
Maven
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Re: Minimum Party required to actually win

Post by Maven »

Interestingly enough, everything after the Crystal Golem can be done with one Archmage if he is high enough level.

Darendor was correct, you don't have to actually have the silver shapes equipped (on the IBM PC version at least), so one character can make it past the door if he has the all three shapes. With that and the Onyx Key it doesn't leave a lot of space in his inventory, but after level 36 or so you can always run from any encounter so you don't have to fight anything you don't want to.

The Possession Trap is a problem. However, there is a way to sometimes get the party attack to end, at least on the IBM PC version. I did it with a wind giant in the special slot. Sometimes it let me end the attack after the first round, and sometimes it made me continue until I killed myself.

The other problem was the final battle. It takes some luck. After level 36, you don't have to worry about anything except direct attacks, so if you and your Thor can kill the two Demon Lords in the first round, you have a better chance of surviving. Just two other bits of advice:
1) Don't get hit by a summoned Wraith. If you go NUTS, your chances of winning go way down.
2) Don't equip the Spectre Snare. If you do happen to go NUTS, and you also happen to attack yourself, that will not end well.
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