The Bard’s Tale IV – Gameplay Tips and Tricks

This game kinda drops you in the deep end so here’s a list of not-immediately-obvious tips that may help people out, culled from reading various forums etc.

Tips & Tricks

  • When given the choice of which party member to send off solo at the beginning, you probably want to send the Green Lady, as you get another mage character almost immediately afterwards. If you send Dalgliesh or Wringneck you may want to replace them with a merc. Whoever you send, don’t count on seeing them again.
  • The game assumes you’re going to do an immense amount of backtracking. If you can’t get somewhere after digging around a bit, you probably don’t have the tools to unlock it yet – move on to something else for a bit and you may find what you need.
  • Plot out your skill choices in advance, it will make the game a lot more manageable. The little arcing bands on the [K] screen tell you how many points you need to spend to unlock the next tier [arcing chain], which you do by going to the Review Board after spending that many points.
  • Because you can only use four active skills at once, it makes sense to put most of your points in passive boosts, with only a few specific active abilities per character.
  • Think about which capstones you want to unlock and make sure you get the prerequisites before about level 15, so you can unlock the capstones as soon as the Review Board allows.
  • The armor and shield skills make a big difference; you want at least one frontliner with strong defenses, and at least one party member who can strip armor (easiest way is via the two-hander tree)
  • Weapons and weapon skills are somewhat counter-intuitive. You do not need to have that kind of weapon equipped to use a given active weapon skill, but equipping a weapon may help use that skill – for example, you can use the “loose arrow” skill without a bow equipped, but equipping a short bow will let you use “loose arrow” more often. Make sure you’re using the right weapon for the skill, though – equipping a Long Bow helps Rain of Arrows, not Loose Arrow! 
  • Weapon skill passives do, however, effect weapon types – if you take sword passives they only work if you use a sword, etc.
  • Therefore, If you attack with weapon skills you probably want to use purchased weapons (bows, longswords, maces, etc.) for the skill bonuses they give. If you do not attack with weapon skills or if you plan on using artifact weapons (spectre snare, etc.) you may be better off not taking weapon skills and using elven weapons or artifacts as stat sticks.
  • For mage spells, Fan of Flames, Conjuror’s Mark, and Arcane Barrage are all you really need (especially if coupled with Falkentyne’s Fury).
  • Max level is somewhere between level 24 and level 28 or so depending on how much side content you do. Level 30 may be possible but I have yet to hear of anyone actually hitting it.
  • Emphasize strength over most other stats for damage characters. Due to the opportunity system it’s ok to have specialist characters who do most of the damage and others who reserve / support them.
  • The companions who join you late game (Fiona the Harper, Bryan of Dorn, Lioslath) are unfortunately either going to duplicate the skills of party members you already have OR have a bunch of random crap you don’t want.
  • Because of the way the “cleric” class tree adds on to an existing class, and because you must “finalize” all skill points of a new mercenary hire before they join your party, you may want to purchase some mercenaries early and then “park” them for a few levels, recruited but inactive, before you make them a cleric, so they can then immediately fill out the tree. A fighter class cleric will have powerful heals due to high Strength, but will need to raise Max Spell Points with items and will likely never be able to cast the 6-pt capstone Resurrect power from the tree; conversely, a caster or bard cleric can reach the 6-sp cost of Resurrect more easily, but may have weaker healing due to lower Strength. 
  • Because pure Fighters don’t really have a good way to get spell points, the Veteran capstone isn’t that great for non-clerics. If you have a fighter-cleric, you will probably want them to use swords, for the Spell Point boost (may want to also consider Elven armor, but it’s too fragile for a frontliner). It may help to have a bard with the pipes line in the party to boost mana generation. 
  • You can find a homebrew respec mod in this thread on the official forums.
  • Each of the little green runes you see scrawled on the walls around Underbrae have a nearby hidden switch; hit all switches to unlock a door in the bottom left corner of the map.
Volodymyr Azimoff
About Volodymyr Azimoff 13573 Articles
I love games and I live games. Video games are my passion, my hobby and my job. My experience with games started back in 1994 with the Metal Mutant game on ZX Spectrum computer. And since then, I’ve been playing on anything from consoles, to mobile devices. My first official job in the game industry started back in 2005, and I'm still doing what I love to do.

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