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Remade and distributed by Electronic Arts, and commissioned by Interplay Productions in 1991, The Bards Tale: Tales of The Unknown was also created for the NES. However, much of it's gameplay, mapping, and combat differ from it's original counterparts.


Down with Mangar the Wicked

It is the time of swords and magic. In a distant world there is a town called Skara Brae. The town had prospered, thanks to many years of peace, and the lively voices of the people enjoying a rich life could be heard throughout the town.

Mangar, the evil sorcerer, came, and with his strong magical power turned the town of Skara Brae into a world of winter. The town that had been so peaceful suddenly turned into a town gripped by fear, with monsters lurking. Many people were annihilated, and of those who survived, most abandoned the town.

But the brave ones who remained in the town were courageous. They came in one after another and gathered at the Adventurer's Guild on Main Street to fight against Mangar's evil power.

The Elder said to the brave ones, "My people: Kylearan, the virtuous, legendary wizard who protects this town, tried to fight Mangar. But Mangar's evil power locked him up in the tower in the northeast of town.

"Kylearan has the key to the tower where Mangar lives. If we could find Kylearan and get the key, we could slip into the tower without Mangar even knowing. Maybe then we could reopen the town."

The brave ones were inspired. They would band together to save their town, and some challengers were ready to rush the beleaguered town.

But beware! There are very few safe places in Skara Brae: the pub, protected by the Bard's mysterious voice, and the temple, which is protected by the Deity.


You find yourself in the Adventurer' Guild. Here is where you will assemble your party of up to six members. (excluding the special slot for summons) In the NES version, There are no choice for Races, and only six of the original Classes. Those classes consist of:

  • Warrior - He is a soldier, proud of his extraordinary physical strength and muscular power. He can use every weapon and defense tool, but he has no magical power.
  • Rogue - His special qualities are quick movement and skillful hands. For this reason he only carries lightweight weapons and defense tools. He can't use magic but is good at removing traps.
  • Hunter - He is a master swordsman and tactician, most reliable in times of battle. Because of his quick movement, he doesn't use any especially heavy weapons or defense tools. He cannot use magic. (He also has the 'Critical Hit' ability)
  • Bard - He is a poet who loves poems and peace. Given a musical instrument, his voice takes on a mysterious magic. He is an important character who could be called the hero of this story.
  • Sorcerer - He is a magic specialist. Since he has little strength, the only weapons he carries are a staff and robe, but his spiritual power is a great help to the challenge.
  • Wizard - He is also a magic specialist. He mixes things and creates many kinds of super-magic. Like the sorcerer, there are only a few weapons or defense tools he can carry.

                          The Paladin and Monk classes were omitted from the NES port. The NES Sorcerer learns spells that originally belonged to the Conjurer and Magician classes, while the NES Wizard learns spells from the original Sorcerer and Wizard.


"After you have selected the character's profession, push button A, and the screen displays the character's traits. The traits measure the character's ability, but the values of these traits are randomly determined each time by the system. Therefore, the values of the same profession can vary. Double-check the traits and values for the characters you want to use."

Traits Description of Traits
Strength (STR) Character's physical strength. Related to ability to defend against attack.
Inteligence (INT) Character's Intelligence. Affects ability to use magic.
Dexterity (DEX) Character's swiftness. Affects ability to attack.

Vitality (VIT)

Character's survivability. If he is attacked when this value is 0, he will not survive.
Luck Character's amount of luck. Related to percentage of attacks engaged in.

- The Bard's Tale Nintendo Manual

Keep in mind that stats gained at the Review Council are also randomly determined, (Wizards can gain STR, Warriors can gain INT) and that all stats are capped at 24, meaning that if your Warrior has 24 STR and earns another stat towards STR, it will have no effect. INT and VIT stack up cumulatively, meaning that a Warrior who has 24 VIT will continue to gain 24 max HP per level up. or a Wizard with 24 INT will continue to gain 24 max MP per level up as well, so it is best try to raise these first.


Whether by random encounter or predetermined battle, you will engage in combat at one point.

Enemies fight in a maximum of 3 ranks of 9 monsters, with the leader of the rank conducting the attack.

Your party can choose to Attack, Guard, Cast Spell, Sing Song, Use Item, and Equip Item. The surviving members of the party gain experience and split the gold.

Treasure Chests may be found after battle, containing useful items depending on the difficulty of the dungeon floor.

Skara Brae[]

Skara Brae NES

Skara Brae is noticeably different in the NES version. Streets are unnamed, and streets that did exist are halfed or gone altogether. The town of Skara Brae is home to:

  • Adventurer's Guild - The guild hall where adventurers modify their parties.
  • Review Council - Gain levels, earn stats, and aquire spells when you are ready for advancement.

  • 4 Taverns, used to help the bards voice, and hear rumors in the town.
    • Drawnblade Tavern
    • Dragonbreath Tavern
    • Archmage Inn
    • Scarlet Bard, popular for its Wine Cellar...

  • Harkyn's Castle - A once thriving castle, "Now a shadow of its former glory..."
  • Kylearan's Tower - The tower of Kylearan the Archmage, a test those brave enough to fight their way towards Mangar's Tower.
  • Mangar's Tower - The tower where Mangar the Dark and his strongest creatures reside.