The Bard’s Tale (RPG) Series was my first official introduction into the world of computer gaming. They were the best games I can ever remember playing.
List to other related sites :
The Bard’s Tale Compendium – The best of the best Bard’s Tale sites. Has all documents, maps, and info you could want.
The Compendium Community – Yahoo Groups Forum
Bard’s Tale Novels – Listing of soft cover books that were inspired by the game.
Beyond Bard’s Tale –
Icewind Dale – Contraband (Bill ‘Burger’ Heineman)
Baldurs Gate – Contraband (Bill ‘Burger’ Heineman)
NeverWinter Nights – Download DemoGrabbed from The Bard’s Tale Compendium : (Thanks – great site!)
From Bard’s Tale Compendium (Data Mirror) :
The Bard’s Tale series of games were created by Michael Cranford, pictured at left. He has an elegant programmer’s touch. You can’t see it in this picture of him, but you can see it in The Bard’s Tale series. Before launching The Bard’s Tale phenomenon, he had previously programmed the Apple version of the classic Donkey Kong arcade game, the Commodore 64 version of Super Zaxxon — not to mention a Commodore 64 game entitled Maze Master which plays like a “beta” version of The Bard’s Tale.The Bard’s Tale was the fourth game created by Interplay Productions, and it was distributed by Electronic Arts. As “Burger” Bill Heineman explains,
“Brian Fargo was the main guy, he and Jay Patel, Troy Worrell and myself were the first 4 people who were Interplay… In 1984, Mike Cranford suggested that Interplay Productions should do a fantasy role playing game (Wizardry was hot at the time). However the game’s name was ‘Tales of the Unknown’… Mike never ‘worked’ for Interplay. He was an independent contractor. he was able to do this since he was an old high school buddy of Brian Fargo. Cranford worked in an office at Interplay up until the completion of Bard’s Tale I. He did Bard’s Tale II from his home.”
Many fans of the Bard’s Tale series don’t realize that its creator has a very strong Christian faith which is even evident in the games-for example, there are direct references to Jesus and His crucifixion in The Bard’s Tale, and all but one of the city names from the second game are taken directly out of the New Testament of the Bible. (In fact, the power of the Destiny Knight in The Bard’s Tale II is clearly stated to actually be that of the Holy Spirit.) When I asked Michael why he was not directly involved in The Bard’s Tale III, he told me that,
“The reason I wasn’t involved in BTIII is complicated. Part of it was that I wanted to leave Interplay so that I could go back to school. I was pretty burnt out on D&D game programming . . . and wanted to pursue studies in philosophy and theology. I also thought I didn’t need Interplay at that point, and had a falling out with Brian Fargo. It turned out to be a good decision spiritually, though not financially!”
And he wasn’t kidding-after leaving Interplay, Michael earned a bachelors degree in philosophy from the University of California, a Master of Divinity from Talbot School of Theology, and a Ph.D. in Religion and Social Ethics from the University of Southern California with a disertation focus on ethics and technology. He has taught both graduate and undergraduate courses in ethics and theology, and has publications in several New Testament journals and in scholarly journals of ethics and contemporary postmodern culture.
Michael is also founder and senior designer of the Irvine, California web site design company, Ninth Degree.
Not surprisingly, his very first Internet web design project was a web site for Christian outreach called Sundoulos, “the web’s premier forum for discussions on theology, ethics, and culture.”
I found a humourous WAV file on the Sundoulos web site from a lecture Michael Cranford gave on fasting where he talks briefly about how “Burger” Bill Heineman got his nickname. (Bill is the fellow responsible for Thief of Fate.)
Of course, many other talented folks were involved in the creation of The Bard’s Tale series, and, not surprisingly some of them have gone on to have extremely successful careers. Just to name a few:
* Brian Fargo helped create maps for the first two games, and served as director on the third. He was CEO and Chairman of the Board of Directors for Interplay (Interplay grew to make its IPO in June 1998 and listed assets of more than $65 million in the year 2000, employing over 400 people). In 2002, Brian Fargo left Interplay to start a new company, inXile Entertainment – their first project was a new game entitled, you guessed it, “The Bard’s Tale.” (This new Bard’s Tale is an irreverent console-style top-down action game.)
* Michael A. Stackpole, Todd J. Camasta, Bill HeinemanMichael A. Stackpole (pictured at right) created the basic storyline of the third game, and made maps for it. He has since become a successful author, and recently penned a many novels in the hugely popular Star Wars and BattleTech series.
* Lawrence Holland composed the music and programmed the music interface for the first game. He went on to create the famous Star Wars: X-Wing series of games for LucasArts, and is now running his own game company, Totally Games, formed from the team which created the X-Wing games.
* “Burger” Bill Heineman (pictured at right) filled Michael Cranford’s shoes on the third game, designing and programming it. His new company, Contraband Entertainment, once tabled a proposal for another trilogy of Bard’s Tale games.
* Dave Warhol composed the music for the second game. He founded Realtime Associates in 1986, which created console games for platforms like the Nintendo N64, Sony Playstation, and Sega Saturn.
* Feargus Urquhart, a play tester for The Bard’s Tale Construction Set, went on to found the influential RPG game developers Black Isle Studios in 1998, and Obsidian Entertainment in 2003.
The Bard’s Tale
and Lead Programmer
Roe Adams III
Package and Manual Copy
Author and Screen Photography
(The Bard’s Tale Construction Set credits can be found on the Construction Set page.)
The Destiny Knight
Game Concept, Design,
and Program Design
Todd J. Camasta
Nancy L. Fong
Jonny C. Kwan
Lagoth Zanta’s Name by
David K. Simerly
Thief of Fate
Michael A. Stackpole
Michael A. Stackpole
Todd J. Camasta
Playtest & Development
Nancy L. Fong
Front Cover Art
Inside Package Art
Zina J. Yee
Acknowledgements from the Bard’s Tale manual
Michael Cranford wishes to acknowledge:
The great illustrator David Lowery, for fantastic monster pictures, city buildings and dungeon walls; my buddy Lawrence Holland, for such great music; the devious Brian Fargo, for the treacherous design of Harkyn’s Castle and Mangar’s worst two levels; Bill Heineman, for data compression routines that allowed me to pack so much graphics and animation; and the following play-testers who helped this program be its very best: Caren Edelstein, Jay Patel, Philip Ybarra, Ayman Adham, Carl Ybarra, Mike Easting.
Acknowledgements from the Thief of Fate manual
I, Bill Heineman, wish to acknowledge that Thief of Fate couldn’t have been done without the help and the long hours of work from many people. Thanks to these people for helping me bring this game to life: Brian Fargo for having the vision to let me begin this project. Michael A. Stackpole for coming up with the basic storyline, the maps and the text found throughout the game. Todd J. Camasta, whose artistic talent knows no bounds. Kurt Heiden who spent many days composing the music that the famous Bards now sing. Bruce Schlickbernd for composing additional text, for the songs sung in the Bard’s Halls, and also for finding all those nasty little bugs that seem to create themselves. Dave Albert, Chris Wilson, James Bailey, and Jennifer King for playing the game until their fingers fell off… These people helped make Thief of Fate into a masterpiece of role- playing fantasy. I hope you will enjoy our work.