Oddity about monster encounters

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Marco
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Oddity about monster encounters

Post by Marco »

I have made a spreadsheet of all monsters according to the levels where they are found and discovered an interesting oddity, which I have confirmed on the Apple IIe and DOS versions. I was wondering if someone could tell me if this is true about other versions, at least the C64.

Beginning with Sewer L3, all levels draw their random encounters from a roster of 32 monsters. Every other level (except between the Catacombs and Castle), 16 harder monsters are introduced, and 16 easier monsters are phased out.

However, the roster used for Mangar's Tower L4-5 has 33 monsters (monsters #80-112 if you look at the monster list extracted from the DOS version, which you can download from this site). Random hostile encounters come from the first 32 monsters in this roster, while random friendly encounters come from the last 32 of the roster. Thus, the master wizard, monster #112, is never encountered as a hostile monster -- only in friendly encounters. The L11 conjurer (monster #80) is never friendly in Mangar's Tower L4-5.

The L11 conjurer is also on the the roster used for Mangar's Tower L2-3 (which has 32 monsters). On these levels, the L11 conjurer can be friendly.

Marco.
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Re: Oddity about monster encounters

Post by Maven »

I don't think this is quite correct. Today, using the DOS version, I encountered hostile Master Wizards on both levels 4 and 5 in Mangar's tower, multiple times.

I also encountered hostile Conjurers on levels 2 and 3. They hit me with shock spheres and poison strikes.
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Marco
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Re: Oddity about monster encounters

Post by Marco »

You are correct about the Dos version. I spent almost all of my time playing the Apple IIe version, where I never once saw hostile Master Wizards. I didn't spend as much time on the Dos version, and jumped to the conclusion when I went monster-hunting for a while and found plenty of friendly ones but no hostile ones. But I tried it again last night and I was able to run into some in a hostile encounter.

Hostile conjurers are everywhere -- it's friendly L11 conjurers that I have never met on Mangar L4-5, after spending a lot of time monster-hunting in the IIe version and encountering every other monster at least 3 times in a friendly encounter. On Mangar L2-3, friendly L11 conjurers are present. There are also L9 conjurers, so you have to kill them to differentiate one from the other and see how much experience they're worth.

So it may be that what I said is only true of the Apple IIe version. Or maybe it isn't true at all, and I was getting misled by an oddity of the game's method for generating random numbers. Bard's Tale's random number seed seems to depend on what your last keypresses were: while I was monster hunting, I found that if you sit still and accelerate the emulator speed to force frequent random encounters, you always seem to encounter the same creatures. If I just held the 'K' button on an endless route (like on Mangar's Tower L4 after you turn all the walls into doors), I seemed to encounter a greater variety of creatures, but still not that many different ones. I saw the most variety of different monsters when I just wandered around aimlessly. I'd be curious if someone around here who knows something about how the game was coded can shed some light onto this.

Marco.
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Darendor
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Re: Oddity about monster encounters

Post by Darendor »

I'll spend a few hours wandering around Mangar's level 4 and 5 tomorrow I guess and log my monster findings for you.
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Darendor
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Re: Oddity about monster encounters

Post by Darendor »

So a quick trial....

I wandered around Mangar's level 5 for a bit, and logged the following encounters:

- 4 War Giants, 1 Golem
- 24 Gimps, 7 Titans, 6 Vampires
- 24 Gimps, 7 Titans, 6 Vampires
- 24 Gimps, 7 Titans, 6 Vampires
- 1 Sorcerer
- 43 Maze dwellers, 5 Sorcerers, 9 Evil eyes
- 16 Mind shadows, 6 Bone crushers, 12 Mind shadows, 1 Mind shadow
- Wander: Warrior elite
- 9 Bandersnatches, 4 Vampire lords, 1 Ghost
- 6 Golems, 7 Conjurors
- 2 Vampire lords
- 7 Master sorcerers, 19 Mandar guards, 3 Master magicians

All encounters were fought and defeated, except the last one where I shut the emulator off. The Warrior elite was accepted into the party's ranks (and met a very swift end thanks to the 4 Vampire lords in the following encounter).

No wizards deigned to challenge my party, sadly. :roll:

An interesting side note is that I believe that "Mandar guard" is supposed to be "Mangar guard". Is this apparent blooper present in the MS DOS version?
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Marco
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Re: Oddity about monster encounters

Post by Marco »

Darendor wrote: Fri May 28, 2021 10:32 pm An interesting side note is that I believe that "Mandar guard" is supposed to be "Mangar guard". Is this apparent blooper present in the MS DOS version?
No, the Dos version fixed it. I believe the Apple IIgs version did as well, but don't quote me on that (it's been a very long time since I played it to that point on the GS). The Apple IIe version, on the other hand, also called them "Mandar Guards".

Marco.
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Darendor
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Re: Oddity about monster encounters

Post by Darendor »

Well, yeah, the 8-bit versions were/are identical, so that figures.

I'll try again later on and see if I can't find any Wizards.
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Marco
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Re: Oddity about monster encounters

Post by Marco »

Darendor wrote: Sat May 29, 2021 1:13 pm Well, yeah, the 8-bit versions were/are identical, so that figures.
Barring the ZX Spectrum version. I tried playing that for a few minutes once and it was horrible. Half the monster/character portraits seem to be missing -- the Stone Giants, Ogre lords, Golems all use the same portrait that, ironically enough, the Demon Lord uses (in the Apple IIe or C64, you have to wait until almost the end of the game before you ever have a chance to see this portrait; on the ZX, you can see it almost right away). The viking portrait used for Nomads and Berserkers seems to be gone. All spellcasters use the same portrait. And these are only the deficiencies I found just from wandering around Skara Brae.

I wonder what the Amstrad CPC version is like? Never tried it on emulator.
I'll try again later on and see if I can't find any Wizards.
Remember, it's not hostile Wizards that I couldn't find in the Manger L4-5 monster roster. There are plenty of those. It's hostile Master Wizards.

I never understood the point of having a Master Wizard monster, since presumably this would be the same thing as the Archmage (which is fought in exactly one place in Mangar's Tower L5).

Marco.
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Darendor
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Re: Oddity about monster encounters

Post by Darendor »

Round 2 before I couldn't stand it anymore.

Code: Select all

Mangar Level 5
- 1 Basilisk, 6 War giants
- 5 Storm giants
- 2 Red Dragons, 8 Magicians, 1 Red Dragon, 7 Master sorcerers
- 1 Vampire, 4 Wizards, 6 Magicians
- 6 Demons, 3 Beholders, 2 Titans
- Wander: Master sorcerer
- 1 Vampire lord
- 8 Demons, 12 Evil eyes, 3 Wizards
- 19 Bandersnatches, 2 Greater demons, 7 Golems
- 1 Beholder, 17 Mandar guards, 7 Golems, 16 Bandersnatches
- 2 Cloud giants, 3 Conjurors, 7 Master ninjas, 1 Ghost
- Wander: War giant
- 4 Cloud giants
- 1 Bone crusher
- Wander: Ghost
- Wander: Sorcerer
- 6 Greater demons
- 21 Maze dwellers, 12 Warriors elite, 1 Golem
- 7 Magicians
- 8 Basilisks, 15 Warriors elite
- 12 Warriors elite
- 3 Golems, 6 Basilisks
- 8 Magicians
- 1 Vampire, 8 Master conjurors
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Darendor
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Re: Oddity about monster encounters

Post by Darendor »

Marco wrote: Sat May 15, 2021 11:46 am However, the roster used for Mangar's Tower L4-5 has 33 monsters (monsters #80-112 if you look at the monster list extracted from the DOS version, which you can download from this site). Random hostile encounters come from the first 32 monsters in this roster
In my attempts to dissect Bard's Tale II I seem to recall seeing that each dungeon file had a maximum number of monsters it contained - 32.

A 33rd entry would be invalid, if this is the case, meaning you cannot encounter monster #112.
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Re: Oddity about monster encounters

Post by Twoflower »

Sorry for the necroposting, but...

On the C64, all the levels have a "monster hardness"-setting that changes just like described above. In theory you could enable a start setting that would be EASY / INTERMEDIATE / HARD. Right now, it's starting on intermediate. The hardest level in BT1 is currently last Mangar, if I remember correctly. The value is stored at zeropage $78 ($0078) in memory - using an emulator the hardness-setting is easy to follow.
/Twoflower
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