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Video Game / The Bard's Tale IV

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The Bard's Tale IV: Barrows Deep is the fourth installment of the until-recently-accurately-named "Bard's Tale trilogy", developed by inXile Entertainment — a studio comprised of many of the same people who worked on the original trilogy at Interplay Entertainment back in The ’80s.

150 years have passed since the defeat of Tarjan, and many things have changed in Skara Brae. Over a century ago, the town fell into ruin and was eventually rebuilt under the new direction of the Church of the Sword Father. This new, pious Skara Brae has outlawed magic and banished non-human residents, while the heroes of old have become half-forgotten heathen legends. But when the ancient monsters begin returning and citizens of Skara Brae start disappearing, only one group can stand in their way — the Adventurer's Guild, outlawed and driven underground (literally) by the Fatherites, but still fighting for the salvation of the land.

The game went to Kickstarter on June 2, 2015, and exceeded its funding goals. It is not to be confused with The Bard's Tale, a 2004 Spin-Off also created by inXile. A trailer with in-engine footage was released June 4th, 2015. In a trailer released on July 12, 2018, they revealed the release date: September 18, 2018.


Tropes to be found in the game:

  • Ascended Meme: The "Red Boots" DLC (available to anyone who backed the game) is a Shout-Out to a fake DLC that was supposedly released for Wasteland 2 (as a mockery of DLC practices by publishers). It has become an actual item that can be obtained and worn in-game.
  • Ban on Magic: The Fatherites have outlawed the practice of magic in Skara Brae and the surrounding Caith region.
  • The Bard: The Bard class buffs their allies by playing specific music pieces for various effects.
  • Bare-Fisted Monk: The Monk class grows in immediate power, the longer you go without rest.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Those haunting vocals in the background of the trailer? They're the poem the magic mouth recites translated into Scottish Gaelic.
  • Call-Back: The magic mouth in the first trailer is reciting the introductory rhyme from the first game.
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  • City of Adventure: Skara Brae returns as your main adventuring hub from the previous games, albeit as a new city, rebuilt from scratch long after the old Skara Brae was destroyed.
  • Character Class System: The eight base classes from the original games, Warrior, Paladin, Rogue, Bard, Hunter, Monk, Conjurer and Magician, return and are joined by the Cleric.
  • The Church: The Church of the Sword Father is an oppressive, anti-magic, anti-non-human religion that has taken control of Skara Brae during the Time Skip.
  • Class and Level System: Each player character has a class and gains new and evolving abilities as they progress in level.
  • Combat Medic: The Cleric class specializes in healing, but can also be quite effective at fighting undead and dark magic.
  • Dungeon Crawling: Dungeons are the main focus of the game.
  • Fantastic Racism: The Fatherites have banished elves, dwarves, and trow from Skara Brae and destroyed all portals to their realms.
  • Ink-Suit Actor:
    • High-level pledge backers on Kickstarter will have their faces digitized and placed into the game as tavern patrons.
    • Brian Fargo (the founder of InXile) also lent his likeness to the game as a DLC skin, "Bardic Brian", for anyone who supported the campaign.
  • Item Crafting: A crafting system was one of the stretch goals that were achieved.
  • Knight In Sour Armor: The Adventurer's Guild has been outlawed and driven underground (literally) by the Fatherites, who control the minds of the general populace, but still continues to fight for the latter against the encroaching evil.
  • Multi-Platform: The game is available on Windows, Linux, and OS X.
  • The Paladin: The Paladin class is a defender who serves as the Stone Wall while simultaneously buffing the party or debuffing enemies.
  • Player Party: The player can create a five-person party from scratch and supplement their skills with one recruited NPC.
  • Prestige Class: Like in the original, Conjurers and Magicians can eventually upgrade to the Archmage class, although this system also will be expanded considerably.
  • Public Domain Soundtrack: May be played straight or zig-zagged. There is going to be a soundtrack, with at least some songs in Gaelic, but whether they'll all be in the Public Domain, we do not yet know.
  • The Siege: The castle of the High Jarl of the Einarr is under siege by the selkies when you first reach it.
  • Summon Magic: Summons are available both to the player and to the enemies, with potential to drastically turn the tide of battle.
  • Time Skip: The fourth game in the series takes place 150 years after the third.
  • Trilogy Creep: The original trilogy remained thus for over a quarter century but now that seems to be over.
  • Turn-Based Combat: The "dynamic phase-based system" appears to be of the One Side, One Turn variety with a square grid (although it can be turned off) and immediate action resolution. It has an uncommon variation where you use Action Points, but they're shared between the entire party instead of an individual.
  • Weird Trade Union: The Adventurer's Guild.
  • Western RPG: And a successor to one of the genre's Golden Age highlights, to boot!


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