The Bard's Tale Wiki

The Bard's Tale: Tales of the Unknown is largely operated by keyboard commands.  While the mouse can be used for some functions, using the keyboard shortcuts can be much faster.


  • V: Turn sound on/off
  • Esc.: Pause/Resume the game


  • [Arrow Keys]: Up = go forward; Left = turn left; Right = turn right.
  • [K]: K(ick) a door open.
  • [1-6]: View Character Statistics
  • [C]: C(ast) a spell. You must type in the spell's four-letter code in the prompt. (Spellcasters only!).
  • [B]: Play a B(ard) song (Bards only!).
  • [U]: U(se) an item (item must be equipped!).
  • [P]: Party attack (useful for healing the party for the mere cost of a beer via Bard Song #4 "Badh'r Kilnfest")
  • [N]: Establish a N(ew) order for the party. Useful for moving dead front-line characters back to the front line after being resurrected.
  • [?]: Find out the name of the street the party is on, the direction you're facing, and the approximate time of day.
  • [A](MS-DOS) or [E](Apple): Go up a portal (dungeons only - must have a levitation spell active)
  • [D]: Go down a portal (dungeons only - if no levitation spell active, party takes damage)


  • [A]: A(ttack) foes in the first two ranks (A & B), hand-to-hand. Only available to first three party memebers.
  • [D]: D(efend) yourself. This lessens the chance of damage from a monster in that round.
  • [U]: U(se) a magic item. The item must be in that character's inventory and equipped.
  • [B]: Sing a B(ard) song (#1-6). Note that the effect will be the combat effect of the Bard Song, not the traveling effect, and the effect will end when combat does. This option is only available to Bards with an equipped musical instrument.
  • [C]: C(ast) a spell. You must type in the spell's four-letter code in the prompt. (Spellcasters only!).
  • [H]: H(ide) in the shadows. Available only to Rogues.
  • [Left Arrow] or [Right Arrow]: Slow down or speed up the combat message scrolling rate. (does not work.)