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From the creators of Wasteland 2 and Torment comes the long awaited sequel to the Bard's Tale trilogy. Thank you for making this game a reality. The bard is back!
From the creators of Wasteland 2 and Torment comes the long awaited sequel to the Bard's Tale trilogy. Thank you for making this game a reality. The bard is back!
33,741 backers pledged $1,519,680 to help bring this project to life.

Let’s Talk Classes and Races

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Hello again Exiles!

First off, don’t forget today is the last day to take advantage of our inXile Loyalty Rewards promotion!

Before I jump into the meat of this update, we have an awesome new piece of concept art to show you:

The castle of the High Jarl of the Einarr. When you arrive, the selkies, corrupted by the skull of a dead god sunk deep in the waters of the firth, have laid seige to it, demanding from the Jarl an ancient reliquary that holds the rest of the old god's bones.

The housekarls have put up a valiant fight, but their ranks are thinning. Each night the selkies sing another one into the sea and lure him to his death. You could be next.

How long can you hold your breath?

Now, we want to take a moment to talk a bit of design in this update. One of the more interesting challenges in running a Kickstarter comes in talking about design and details of the game before we’re truly in production. Our goal in pre-production is to identify a unified core vision for the game, and then the details are hashed out and iterated on during the following months and years. That’s why Brian has always worked with vision documents as it gives your game a solid foundation.

One challenge in fully describing the game is there is no one game we can point to that says “it’s just like that”, as we could for Torment: Tides of Numenera in Planescape: Torment, for example. We're drawing from many, many influences which of course include the original trilogy, but also the many RPGs that have come since then.

For instance, to give you a better sense of the world, in exploration (the focus of our in-engine video), The Bard’s Tale IV will be reminiscent of Legend of Grimrock and other dungeon crawlers with a heavy focus on detailed and interactive environments, in-the-world puzzles, and blockades you have to pass. But, similar to the original Bard’s Tale series, we are designing our levels in a non-linear fashion so you might not always be able to pass an obstacle as soon as you come across it. We love the sense of discovery and challenge this provides.

In combat, The Bard’s Tale IV will have a similar feel to first-person phase-based combat games going all the way back to The Bard’s Tale I all the way up to Might & Magic X – Legacy. While we can draw a connection to the combat of those games, we’re going to heavily improve on many aspects of that style of combat system. One example of this is by decoupling the animations from the inputs. Once you’ve learned your characters, it will allow you to play at a quicker pace, without having to wait for the same 5 second fireball animation to finish before you can make your next move. We’ll have more to say on combat in future updates.

But let’s talk about one element of the game’s heart. What is your party made up of?

Character Classes

If you are unfamiliar with the original The Bard’s Tale trilogy, it used a class-based character system, meaning the “Class” or profession of your characters was one of the first things you could choose. There were ten different classes in the first The Bard’s Tale, eight of which could be picked from the start: Warrior, Paladin, Rogue, Bard, Hunter, Monk, Conjurer and Magician.

With Chris “The Director” Keenan taking point on all things design, we absolutely want to bring back each of these classes. Many of the character class concepts from the original trilogy serve as a great base to make them interesting and unique. Each character class will have a very distinct role that they play, with the ability for you to make decisions along the way on how you want to tweak and modify their core class abilities. We want to give you more freedom in how you put together a party, so you’re not dictated a specific balance in melee or ranged, in weapons or magic, and you’re not required to take certain classes. Of course, this doesn’t mean that every party make-up is as viable as the next. A healthy mix is encouraged.

Each class has a unique function within the party, though that comes with some flexibility depending on the class. Some, like Warrior, Monk or Paladin, are best taking the direct approach, jumping straight into the fray, but their particular role in that position is unique for each. Warriors can use just about any weapons or armor and do very well taking and dealing as much damage as possible. Monks will embrace a bit of a unique combat concept, where they will continue to get stronger as fights or even dungeon exploration progresses, making them more powerful the more you push on (incidentally discouraging rest spamming!). Finally Paladins (with requisite +1 Holy Sword) serve as your faithful shield, protecting the party and providing various status modifiers to your party or enemies. It will be fun to explore more of these concepts with you moving forward.

In addition to the starting eight classes, we will be expanding the class roster. For example: currently we’re adding a Cleric, who will be a master of the healing arts, able to use restorative blessings. While not usually one of the main damage dealers, they can be surprisingly effective when fighting the undead and dark magics.

One of the more interesting notions in the original trilogy was the idea of magic users starting out as Conjurers or Magicians but evolving into different types later on, like the Archmage. Never fear, this is another concept we fully intend to maintain and expand to cover more classes, but that’s a giant system that we will save for a later update.

Character Races

The original Bard’s Tale games also let you pick a race for your characters, a system we plan to return and expand upon. Your race choice will be represented in gameplay modifiers, though we intend to do so in a way that avoids forcing you towards a set of particular race/class combos.

One of those expansions will be that the races you pick will have an influence in certain spots in the game, with NPCs reacting to the presence of a Trow in your group in certain, perhaps not always favorable ways. Some options may open or close to you depending on who you have in your party. As you know, we're huge fans of reactivity in our games, and that's one way we can use the character system to add more depth.

Speaking of the Trow, we’re looking to make some new additions to the roster of races based on the specific lore of The Bard’s Tale IV. The Trow is one such example of a mythological creature from Orkney Island folkloric tradition that we’re making available as a playable race.

As you may be able to tell from all the above, we’re not looking to make The Bard’s Tale IV a simpler game than its predecessors. We’ll have clever ways to introduce you to the game’s systems and ease into it for newer players, but if you are the type who loves building a full roster of heroes, carefully going over the options and considering your possibilities and spending hours to craft your perfect party, then The Bard’s Tale IV is very much the game for you!

Shout-Out

We wanted to give a shout-out to the fascinating We Happy Few Kickstarter. Very close to funding with about a week left to go, We Happy Few is a game of paranoia and survival where you are trying to escape a drug-fueled town in an alternative history 1964 England, where the best way to survive is to conform to the drug-induced forced happiness of the townsfolk. With a fantastic art style and unique theme, this is one we think you'll want to check out.

And More

We are right on the edge of passing our next stretch goal: Enhanced Crafting! We’re excited to explore the possibilities of creating functional items through crafting, and that’ll be fun to talk about more later as well.

Your social media support has also continued to be epic, and you have unlocked more achievements! We have passed 20K likes on Facebook, unlocking yet another room in our dungeon. Views of our in-engine video are getting closer and closer, too, perhaps the next one to fall? Don’t forget to read the full story of our dungeon on our Tumblr, too!

But those social media likes aren't the only thing that you guys have been contributing. We've got some awesome new song submissions from some of our backers – with a cappella, folk instrumentation and some really great costumes, these guys are true bards! Check them out here:

Last, we've passed 30,000 backers, which is awesome! For reference, that’s nearing to half of what the record-holding Bloodstained Kickstarter ended up totaling. If you’d told me a year ago a dungeon crawler Kickstarter could do so well I would have called you as mad as Tarjan, yet here we are and still rolling forward. Keep kicking butt!

We have some big news cooking to kick off next week, so keep your eyes on our Kickstarter, and have a great weekend!

Thomas Beekers
Associate Producer/Designer – The Bard’s Tale IV
@thomasbeekers

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BrianFargo
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheBardsTale
Tumblr: http://thebardstalerpg.tumblr.com/

PerfectVirus, Nakano, and 102 more people like this update.

Comments

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    1. Missing avatar

      Chris on

      So again I have to point out, that with 9 (or potentially more) starting classes, and only four player-character slots, it's going to be super difficult to justify using any of the less-powerful, less-generic character classes. Five or six player character slots would go a long way towards improving this dynamic.

    2. Crosmando on

      Yep you're right.

    3. Missing avatar

      Tom Ostrowski on

      Neither was Sorcerer, was it? I thought you had to clear a certain number of spell upgrade levels from magician or conjurer before converting to sorcerer or wizard. For archmage, you had to clear a set number of levels from all 4. Geomancer you had to be a fighter to convert from in 3. I thought you could start as a Chronomancer in 3

    4. Crosmando on

      Oh scratch that, Wizard also wasn't available at the start either.

    5. Crosmando on

      For anyone not familiar with the class roster of BT1-3, it was this:

      Paladin
      Warrior
      Hunter
      Bard
      Rogue
      Monk
      Conjurer
      Magician
      Sorcerer
      Wizard
      Archmage
      Chronomancer
      Geomancer

      The Archmage, Chronomancer and Geomancer were not available at the beginning, but rather they were like "prestige" classes from which you could upgrade characters to later on.

    6. Missing avatar

      Manalishi on

      Currently playing Might & Magic X and loving it... My first person RPG & blob combat revival has begun. Planning to work through the following while waiting for BT 4 :
      https://forums.inxile-entertainment.com/viewtopic.php…

    7. Joshua Rodman on

      The old games were definitely modeled on Dungeons & Dragons, but started to develop their own flavor. Go further with that flavor. Clerics are just generic D&D stuff. No thanks. I like D&D and play D&D, but this is boring.

      Also the party needs to be larger than 4 characters.

    8. WaltC on

      Some comments, reflections:

      *I think the idea of decoupling the animations is fine, provided it's only done by way of a user-defined preference...I mean, some of us never tire of seeing those five-second fireball animations as they scorch and sear and burn hundreds of undead ghouls (for instance)...;) That has got to be a glorious sight...!

      *30,000+ backers...If the game is good you can look forward to many multiples of that number purchasing! I've often wondered why publishers and developers these days seem to think that so-called Dungeon-crawling role-playing games won't sell--then comes Bethesda selling 11M (as in million) copies of Skyrim in just four years...! The pent-up demand for quality games of this nature is quite something to behold if a developer does it right! That's the thing, this kind of game isn't the simplest to design and create...but if anyone can get it right it will be Brian and company (all you guys!)...

      *What made the Bard's Tale games so great, and so memorable (it's kind of funny when I think of it, but I can recall with vivid clarity where I was living and what I was doing when I played the first Bard's Tale game, then later got my son involved), was the originality and the poignancy of the concept. When I began playing, what struck me forcefully--hooked me--was the incredible sensation of exploration--what monsters--what treasure--was around the next bend, or around the next corner? I was never sure *what* I would find, and that kept me perpetually enthusiastic about playing the game. I know that Brian did it not once--but three times--so I know he can recreate that sensation again...! (Other games in this "genre"--hate that word--often become monotonous and lose that aura of exploration and discovery.)

      *It'd be great if there was some overarching mystery behind the setting that players had to resolve to properly "win" the game--doubly great if there were lots of mini-mysteries spinning from the main setting that players needed to resolve, etc. (I don't mean "quests"...I mean mysteries that require exploration and discovery--inside the caverns, ruins, castles, and forest labyrinths, to resolve, etc.) OK, 'nuff said for the moment!...;)

    9. JeroenB on

      With TTON the inXile points system was introduced, with suggestions that these would be used across games and as a mechanism for 'loyalty rewards' going forward. (I certainly hope I will be able to transfer spare points across from TTON to BT4 to upgrade my pledge level or acquire add-ons.)

      Can we view the current promotion as, effectively, 1,500 inXile points to be spent in the post-KS BT4 rewards store? Or are they really specific upgrades?

    10. MikeHumphreys on

      @InXile. Any thoughts on allowing players to change the order of the party so it's not just a 2+2 party configuration?

      In other words, if I had 3 melee fighters and 2 spell casters, I would be able to organize my party so the squishy spellcasters were protected by the melee fighters.

      Different alignments might not be obvious while the party was moving around in first person exploring mode, but it would be obvious if the game shifts into an overhead view during combat. Even if it didn't shift views, then tactically, you could protect your weak or injured party members when you wanted to.

    11. MikeHumphreys on

      I second @Taziar's suggestion to make the party size 6 or more. Even if it's just taking the proposed 4+2 structure and making it 6 party positions.

    12. MikeHumphreys on

      @InXile Thanks Chris for commenting on the Clerics. I appreciate you taking the time to do so.

    13. Missing avatar

      Taziar on

      They could add a priest class. Cleric is a frontline healer, and a priest would be a backline healer that can double as a secondary caster.

      Also, I really hope they increase the party size to 6+, AND keep the frontline/backline mechanic BT had. That was the problem with Might and Magic X. What is the point of 'tanky' characters when everyone is in the front line? Plus pushing squishies in the front forced them to implement OP healing/shielding mechanics.

    14. Missing avatar

      taumel on

      Hmm, i never liked Clerics a lot, they are also so stereotypical for RPGs.

      I enjoyed that TBT allowed you to heal just with magic instead.

    15. Missing avatar

      draelix on

      One thing I always loved about TBT I-III were the animated character and monster portraits. They had a lot of charm and I hope that they'll be included in TBT IV.

    16. Lee Sweeney on

      Will the classes have skills that are used passively?

      Like walking by a statue, would a class get a knowledge roll to see if they knew about it with out the player clicking?
      Or a Secret Door, Trap, Magical Field those sorts of things?
      The Amiga had Dragon Wars which was very Bard Taleish some of the same folks I think, it did a great job allowing each class to notice and comment on things.
      Different parties would get info based on the party choices that way.

      Would like to see the cleric have a unique set of buffs, things that add Positive Damage to strikes, so very good against undead, and things like that.

    17. Daniel
      Superbacker
      on

      Regarding classes and "the bards tale".
      I played 1 alot, 2 quite a bit, and 3 sparingly (a friend had it and I only played it at his house).

      My feeling/experience was: 3 spellcasters (most powerfull class if leveled correctly), 1 paladin (I seem to recall he was required for the crystal golem in 1, and I just carried my party into 2), 1 bard (just because), 1 random class.

      Spellcasters just felt like THE class to blast enemies with, especially with that room in the castle where there was 4 groups of 99 barbarians. (which I farmed endlessly the moment I got enough AoE and the ability to teleport around. I must have done that battle thousands of times, while exploring very little else of the castle, and it was pure luck I stumbled into it with a random teleportation the first time). I think my bard character got bugged in 1, so he got a warriors amount of attacks, otherwise he would have been pretty useless in most of the game.
      Actually, aside from the early game where I couldn't even leave the first street before needing to head back to the tavern, my melee characters ended up being somewhat useless compared to my spellcasters.

      In 2 and from what I managed to see of 3, this issue was increased as spellcasters became ever more powerfull and versatile, while the other classes became more and more useless as anything but meatshields for the spellcasters as levels went by.

      I hope this perceived issue of mine will be rectified in this latest instalment?

    18. inXile entertainment 3-time creator on

      I've seen a few comments here regarding the Cleric and wanted to clarify a bit. The Cleric won't be the only class that has access to healing. Other classes will be able to provide healing to the party, but not as a central foundation to their class. One of my design goals is to not have a single class that you'll NEED to pick in order to have a solid party make-up.

      As well, part of the evolution system we're working on makes it so that within each class, you'll be able to customize and spec different focuses for their core abilities. This could include moving the cleric away from healing focus and into something more damage or buffing focused.

      Chris

    19. MikeHumphreys on

      @InXile. Great update guys!

      I am curious on the addition of a cleric as TBT-1 had made healing spells available to all spell casters. I think it would be nice to have the flexibility of choosing to either have a cleric in your party or not without crippling your party's ability to heal itself. In other words, Clerics might have healing spell levels 1,2,3, and 4 but other spell casters could build up to healing spell level 3 which could still get the job done when needed.

      I'm really happy to hear the Monk is back!

      One of my favorite things about the original BT1 game was that if you stuck with a Monk class character through the early growing pains, then they were an awesome melee fighter. My favorite BT1 party had two monks which was awesome to watch in battle.

      The problem I've seen in other RPG games since then is that Monks were made pretty much useless for both melee and range fighting.

      So please don't make the Monk become a useless party member in Bard's Tale IV.

    20. Dennis Danelia on

      In regards to the inXile Loyalty Rewards and the promotion:

      I am excited to be a backer of the Bard's Tale, and where I wasn't a Kickstarter backer of Torment: Tides of Numenera on Kickstarter I am a pledger for the Collector's Edition of the game on the official site through Paypal, and that's only because I really only discovered 2-3 months ago, otherwise I would have been with you guys from Wasteland 2! At least I can back you guys on this one here on Kickstarter, and yes it is over the $33 mark. =)
      Anyway, my question is am I part of the inXile Loyalty Rewards program and do I qualify for the promotion?

    21. Nathan Schmuck on

      Hey inXile devs, this is gonna be my first dungeon exploring Bards Tale game (played the top down action one, guitar axe best weapon)

      Will there be custom portraits in this one? I always like the ability to give the party that extra touch.

    22. Missing avatar

      Dustin_00
      Superbacker
      on

      I loved how the spell casters were broken in Bard's Tale 1: The Arch-mage had powerful spells... that never changed with level. So the best class path was Magician (get all spell levels) -> Arch-mage (get all spell levels) -> Conjurer, which had level 1 ARFI that did damage * level. In the final levels, having 3 excessive high level Magicians => burn it all down!

    23. Sir Eyeball on

      Yah for a good gaming update thx. Remember it is not too late to make it 6+2(8)�

    24. Leetcat on

      Nevermind scratch that last clarification. I read further and understand what you wrote.

    25. Leetcat on

      If you already got the $20 early bird discount. It is cheaper not to spend the $33 extra to be qualified for the 1&2 Ultima Underworld. Together they cost only $5 on GOG.

      Just a clarification. I backed in the first 24 hours. That mean I get to a free copy of Wasteland 2 and I can choose the The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings, correct?

    26. ampoliros on

      Still confused on the Loyalty Rewards... This update makes it sound like there's something we backers need to do. However, the explanation below makes it sound like the reward is automatic provided you meet the condition.

    27. Davide Rubiconto on

      It would have been cool to see some concept arts for the classes and the races, just to have a glimpse of where the art direction is heading to.
      On the bright side, great update as usual and we're very close to hit the next stretch goal.

    28. inXile entertainment 3-time creator on

      Whoops, realized that was a little bit unclear, so hopefully to make it 100% crystal: You do qualify for the loyalty rewards offer if you backed Wasteland 2 or Torment AND The Bard's Tale IV.

      However, it doesn't apply if you ONLY backed The Bard's Tale IV before the start of the promotion as Terry Ash asked. But you still of course get all the other bonus stuff, like the free Bard's Tale trilogy games.

      Need more coffee. ;)

      - Eric

    29. inXile entertainment 3-time creator on

      Thanks to our backers who jumped in to answer those questions. Just to confirm:

      - Returning backers get the bonus offer. It's one per-backer, not per-game you backed.
      - The bonus offer doesn't apply if you bought the game on Steam/GOG.com, etc.
      - The bonus applies only to backers who backed either Wasteland 2 or Torment on Kickstarter or PayPal/our backer sites directly. You don't get it if you backed The Bard's Tale IV as the offer is intended for backers returning from our previous games.

      It's possible if the reception to the promo is good that we'll look at expanding it in the future to something a bit more elaborate or more universal, rather than this one-time bonus. We'll see!

    30. TrentJaspar on

      @draelix: I don't disagree. It looks like you'll have the flexibility not to play with a cleric, though. I doubt they'll be the only class with healing abilities.

    31. Missing avatar

      Becky Cunningham on

      Love non-linear dungeons, but please please please let us take notes on the map! Nothing worse than figuring out how to get past that barrier, getting all excited, then realizing that you don't remember where the heck it was!

    32. TrentJaspar on

      @Nathan: as I understand it, if you already backed TToN, then you will get your Loyalty reward...I believe you choose your reward after the TBT4 KS ends. I don't think you need to "do" anything except show your loyalty. =)
      @Terry Ash: I don't think so-- the loyalty rewards are for *backing* their products. You didn't *back* Torment or Wasteland 2, you merely received them (or will receive them) as a backer reward for backing The Bard's Tale IV. At least, that's what makes sense to me...but maybe they'll clarify if they haven't already.

    33. Nakano
      Superbacker
      on

      @Terry Loyalty bonus is for backers of previous campaign.
      @Nathan Since you're a returning backer and back before the deadline, you get loyalty bonus. Everything is explained behind the link:
      "Anyone who backed Wasteland 2 or Torment: Tides of Numenera previously, who also backs The Bard’s Tale IV at $20 or above, will get a FREE bonus reward (listed below) containing items from either Torment, Wasteland 2 or The Bard’s Tale IV!

      Additionally, any returning Wasteland 2 or Torment backers of The Bard’s Tale IV at $33 or above will also receive FREE copies of Ultima Underworld 1 & 2 from GOG.com, a special offer from our friends at OtherSide Entertainment."

    34. Anaxphone
      Superbacker
      on

      @Nathan: If you've backed Torment, then as long as you've pledged at $20 or higher, you're good to go. The extras will be hashed out after the campaign ends in their Backerkit system if I recall the announcement correctly.

      Also, I'm very happy to hear that we will be getting the classic classes back.

    35. Missing avatar

      draelix on

      I'm puzzled by the inclusion of clerics...it's an addition makes BT4 feel more like a generic fantasy game. I preferred the original games where healing magics were spread amongst the spellcasters, rather than having a designated healbot.

    36. Nathan on

      Am i missing it? The loyalty reward ends today?
      I backed Torment: Tides of Numenera but this promotion ends today? Do i need to do something to make sure i get the Loyalty reward or do i just back both projects? I'm really confused as to how I make sure i get my Loyalty reward...

    37. Terry Ash on

      So I didn't back Wasteland 2 and torment before. But am backing them on this KS. Which was previously to your update at least.

      We should get the bonus here too. Right?