The Bard is absolutely essential in all three of the original games, although not strictly required to win any of them (as it is possible to bypass bard-specific puzzles with various spells such as Phase Door and Apport Arcane). The Bard's special ability is playing songs. In order to play one and enjoy its special magic, the Bard must be equipped with an instrument. It is highly recommended that you look in the game manual to see what the songs do, because the songs are very good. Dependent on his experience level, the Bard can only play a limited number of songs before his throat runs dry. When this happens, the character must have a drink either at one of the taverns or from a container. Therefore, the Bard should be equipped with a Bardsword or some other piece of equipment that grants unlimited songs, since you will almost certainly need to play a lot of songs in the dark depths of dungeons where it is difficult to make it back to a tavern.
1. Falkentyne's FuryEdit
- This tune increases the damage your party will do in combat, by driving them into a berserker rage.
2. The Seeker's BalladEdit
- This song will produce light when exploring, and during combat it will increase the party's chance of hitting a foe with a weapon.
3. Wayland's WatchEdit
- This song will sooth your savage foes, making them do less damage in combat.
4. Badh'r KilnfestEdit
- This is an ancient Elven melody, which will heal the Bard's wounds during travel, and heal the party's wounds during combat.
5. The Traveller's TuneEdit
- This melody makes the members of your party more dexterous and agile, and thus more difficult to hit.
- This song sets up a partial "anti-magic" field, which gives party members some increased protection against spell casting.
The Bard as Party HealerEdit
While the Bard's songs provide reasonably stable "buffs" to party members, and having a Bard in the fourth slot allows for a reasonable fighter class to step in should one of the front line members die, one aspect of the Bard's powers is largely overlooked. The Bard, by use of the "Party Attack" command and a certain Bard Song in each game, can heal the wounds of the entire party. This is incredibly useful in the early stages of the game, where spell points (indeed, even healing spells) are scarce, and Temple healing is expensive. Use the following procedure to heal your party:
- Initiate a "Party Attack" by pressing "P" (you'll go to combat with the message "There is dissension in your ranks..."
- Have all characters other than the Bard in the first round select "Defend".
- Have the Bard in the first round play a Bard Song: in Tales of the Unknown, it's Bard Song #4, "Badh'r Kilnfest"; in Destiny Knight, it's Bard Song #5, "Zanduvar Carack"; in Thief of Fate, it's Bard Song #4, "Bringaround Ballad".
- After the first round, continue combat, although in this and subsequent rounds, have everyone (including the Bard) Defend.
- Continue combat and keep all members simply defending while the Bard song is playing, and each round, all party members will gain a hit point back. Keep going until the party's hit points are fully restored.
This is absolutely the cheapest healing available. While you may spend hundreds to mend lost hit points at a Temple, or even burn lots of spell points casting healing spells, (and then have to pay through the nose to regenerate spell points at Roscoe's Energy Emporium and/or wait during the daytime) the Bard can do all this for a song. Which he can then regenerate for the price of beer. Beer is a heck of a lot cheaper than Temples or Roscoe's, and your Bard deserves a good buzz for healing your adventurers. Remember: the Bard cannot cleanse members of status effects like insanity, poison, withering, possession, death, and the like: you'll need appropriate magics from your casters or curing at a Temple for those conditions. However, saving money by not having to pay for simple healing at a Temple will help to ensure you've got the cash to pay your medical bills.
Be aware that this method of healing does not function in the Apple //gs port -- which is also the version emulated on iOS, for people who purchased the Bard's Tale on the iPad or iPhone. The bard's healing song only heals on the round that the bard sings the song. Thus, unless the bard has unlimited singing ability from a Bardsword, it is impractical to use this form of healing on the //gs / iOS version of the game. (On this port, the bard has to sing every round and head to a tavern to get a beer every few rounds. Still, this strategy is useful and cost-effective at lower levels.)