Bard's Tale Official Clue Book
The Adventurers' Guild The Bard's Tale: Tales of the Unknown
Official Clue Book
Typed by Tom Greene (firstname.lastname@example.org) http://www.yoda.com/~cowgod/ag/
Tales Of The Unknown
THE BARD'S TALE(tm)
Long have I awaited thy coming of age. Our town of Skara Brae doth
slowly wither under the cursed sorcery of Mangar, spawn of demons. Many hath
challenged his power, only to encounter their doom.
One man didst nearly succeed. Lord Garrick, the viscount of our
sister city Hamelon, became imprisoned here through Mangar's evil spell of
winter. He failed, but in his failure lies the way to thy victory. Lord
Garrick did keepeth a journal, and Mangar is either unaware of its existence,
or believes it to have perished along with the impudent viscount. But the
tome didst survive, and came into my keeping.
Thou art a brave warrior in thy fashion, and a scholar passing fair.
Yet if thou wouldst accept this quest thou hast need of assistance. Look to
the following pages for further counsel and aid.
The path thou must follow doth with danger abound. Go, and take with
thee the journal of a brave knight, and the prayers of an old man.
It isn't to be tolerated! I refuse to kneel to the evil that has
made its home in Skara Brae. All of the brave knights who protect this town
have vanished, leaving frightened serfs, women and children to face
unprotected the hordes of strange beasts and ruffians that now inhabit the
streets. My brave party and I can do little to reduce their seemingly
infinite numbers. We must destroy the wizard Mangar, surely the source of the
evil invasion, and of the ungodly and impenetrable winter that imprisons Skara
My old friend Pellis tells me that my servants, however valiant, are
yet no match for Mangar, and advises me to let them gain battle experience
before we enter any of the dungeons. I am further advised that to enter a
dungeon prematurely is to court destruction. I accede to the wisdom of this
counsel, and will seek out the innkeeper of the Scarlet Bard, who may be able
to assist me in my quest. The inn is convenient to my lodgings at the end of
The barkeep requires gold to loosen his tongue, and delights in
pouring forth cryptic drivel. I knew already the importance of the Review
Board, and its location. Journeying south on Trumpet Street, it is the second
building on the left. As for gates that cannot be stormed, it is a well known
habit of wise men to have concealed entrances to their strongholds. But I
thank the gods that my taste in drink is of a higher nature than that of my
companions. Had I ordered ale instead of wine we would be there still,
carousing and wenching in the Inn until Mangar himself came to join us. But
the barkeep is overworked, and sent me down into the cellar after my own wine.
No mere cache of fine drink in dusty bottles and skins in this cellar -- 'tis
rather an extensive maze of corridors oozing niter and slime. We will return
with our gear, and the remainder of our party.
The Wine Cellar
Ah, the rising stench of blood mingles with the cries of our fallen
foes! We were set on immediately by groups of dwarves and kobold, and
acquitted ourselves with honor. It is difficult to put pen to vellum, the only
illumination being that from enchanted weapons.
One of our knights has been slain by mad dogs, but our party continues
in a sobered states, our blood lust diminished. We will exact full recompense,
There is a set of descending stairs in the northwest section of the
cellar. The magician's spell "Scry Site" caused the walls to speak, revealing
to us our location in the labyrinth. Here we rest, and prepare for the morrow.
We are in a muck-drenched stinking sewer, and the beasts and
blackguards who attack us here are too numerous to be described. Here we gain
much wealth, and our skills are honed like fine steel blades. As we explore,
we discover strange writings on the walls of this foul hole. I will record
them faithfully here -- their value will perhaps become clear later in our
"Pass the light at night." A cryptic verse indeed. This sewer
conveys shadow messages, as does the fat barkeep above.
"IRKM DESMET DAEM." I am no scholar, but neither am I a stranger
to lore and letters. I can perceive no sense here.
"Golems are made of stone." Is this meant to lighten our hearts
against a fear of encountering a golem made from rice pudding?
This sewer abounds with sorceror's tricks. We were teleported to
different locations and spun about unknowing, all at the whim of foul magic.
I am told that we are indeed fortunate to have among us the last of the great
sage-sorcerors, for he can divine our location at all times, and has even
provided us with rough maps of each wretched dungeon as we enter it.
We have found our way through devil darkness that no spell or flame
can penetrate. There is a stairway in the midst of this darkness leading down
into further stench and blackness.
Sewer, Level Two
Cunning and deadly traps have claimed the lives of two gallant
paladins. We have been constantly besieged since our entry into this noisome
pit, and have borne many injuries. Corfid op Orfin, our noble bard, stepped
into a ray of light, burning both of his hands and one side of his body. I
feel responsible, for now the meaning of the inscription, "Pass the light at
night" becomes clear. We waited until the setting of the sun and the beam
faded, allowing us to pass unharmed. Corfid will, under the protection of two
warriors, retire from these dungeons to seek aid for his injuries.
There are scrawled messages here:
"Heed not what is beyond understanding."
"Thor is the greatest son of Odin."
We encountered filthy sorcery in the form of a vile set of disembodied
lips which speak to us these words; "Know this, that a man called Tarjan,
thought by many to be insane, had through wizardry powers proclaimed himself
a god. His image is locked in stone until made whole again." I forbade our
magician to take the obscene thing with us, as it would serve no purpose.
The only apparent means to descend to the level below is through the
use of portals that reek of sorcery. The magician will levitate our party
down through the portal.
Sewer, Level Three
"The hand of time writes and cannot erase."
"Seek the snare from behind the scenes."
There is an evil place here at mid-point along the eastern wall that
we must eschew as if 'twere the Plague. Men pass and vanish, condemned to
haunt an endless void till life itself begins anew. Ghaklah, our magician,
scryed it as he meditated, proving yet again his usefulness.
We came upon a long set of stairs continuing on to further upward
passages, but battle and trickery have rendered us too weary to go on. We will
return to the light, and Skara Brae.
We emerge at last into fresh air and open space, which is welcome,
and into night, which is not. The priests in the temple exacted usurious fees
to attend to our wounded. They care not that we risk our lives for their
unworthy skins as well as for the rest of Skara Brae. I am grateful that their
doors were open to us, e'en at night. Suck was not the case with the Review
Board and Garth's equipment shop, no matter how we cursed and pounded the
'Twas a fair dawn. Garth has deigned to open his establishment, as has
the Review Board. Furthermore, we were pleased to find that Roscoe's Energy
Emporium was still to be found at the corner of Grey Knife and Serpent
Streets, northwest of the Gran Plaz.
Pellis tells me that we were fortunate to have departed from the
sewers when we did -- to have continued would have meant our doom, for those
stairs are the secret entrance to Mangar's courtyard. He extracted this
information from a captured minion of the wizard's. I hope the gods will
forgive Pellis the method he used to gain this knowledge. Even the permissive
gods of learned men do not smile upon torture.
Some of the streets of Skara Brae are under a strange enchantment. We
travelled south on Sinister Street to explore a back gate of the city, and
found ourselves endlessly walking past silent houses, through eerie stillness
in which no human stirred, no bird uttered forth the slightest song. We
hastily returned to our lodgings, to prepare for our next task, to challenge
the Mad God in his lair.
The Temple Of The Mad God
We blundered for a day, wasting precious time trying to gain
admittance to the temple before I realized that we had been given an important
clue in the sewers. The message spoken by the disembodied lips! No sooner had
I uttered the name than we found ourselves in a catacomb. Dark and twisting
tunnels lay before us like a maze of hardened entrails, and human bones
reached out from the hard-packed earth like ghastly pallid fingers. I wish
myself back in my castle at Hamelon. We move on.
Night and day flow together. We battle constantly endless numbers of
the Devil's horde, undead creatures vomited from the depths of Hell. Weapons
fall from our nerveless fingers, the screams of slain comrades filling our
ears until we who remain can bear no more.
And now a message, scrawled in blood. "The ancient witch King yet
lives." Are there greater terrors yet to be encountered? Etched into the wall
we find this:
"Fifteen doors east and thou art there,
On souls they feast in the Dark One's lair."
Hope trickles from us like blood from a wound that refuses to heal.
We have found a stairway leading down. Three men have bolted in panic,
mindless dread overtake their senses. Eight remain -- myself, Cofid the Bard,
Ghaklah the magician, Isli the paladin, Soriac the archmage, and three serf
warriors. We go forward, not through courage, but because the thought of
going back the way we have come cannot be borne.
Catacombs, Level Two
Insane Tarjan, who in his beneficence shares his malady with us all!
We crawl forward, attacked at every turn, sustaining many injuries from
There are places here where magic dies -- would that we could battle
Mangar in one of those regions! An inscription warns us to beware of Bashar
Kavilor, High Priest, but the warning affects us but little. We are fey, and
the blood lust lies heavy on us. Come, Priest Kavilor, we await thee. Lay on!
The High Priest proved a mighty foe, and one of our warriors lies dead
We dispatched the dragon that guarded Bashar Kavilor's treasure and, though
such gitter means little to us now, we plundered his horde.
A bodiless voice uttered these words: "To the tower fly, a mad one
die, once lost the eye." Loss of an eye (or both) would be a gift from the
gods in this hideous place!
Ghaklah has scryed a place of danger here where men stay frozen in
time with no chance of escape. It is to the extreme southwest of the contorted
tomb- we will avoid the area.
We descend the stairs in the southeast quadrant of these catacombs.
Catacombs, Level Three
We have become accustomed to the legions of undead, and doing battle
with them holds no special terror. While exploring the north wall, we stumbled
by chance into the chamber of King Aildrek. It was as if we expected to meet
him, having been warned of "the dead witch king's" existence. But to say that
he lives! Evil had bound his long dead sinews together, and it was with savage
glee that we assigned him to Hell. We found in his possession a bauble made in
the likeness of an eye. Verily, this must be the eye of which we were told on
the previous level, and is of some hidden import. Soriac will pocket the
Teleportation magic enabled us to leave the witch king's locked
There are no lower levels here. We avoided a large dragon, and
discovered another cryptic message: "Seek the Mad God's stoney self in
We will return to the town.
Our spirits are healed by the feel of sunlight on our faces. Rumor of
our quest has spread through Skara Brae like a fire through the dry grasses of
summer. Many seek to join our party, yet our number has not greatly increased.
We separate the wheat from the chaff, and send packing those who lust after
gold and not freedom, and thieves and assassins who would add to their purses
by pillaging a murdered comrade. I have been advised to allow at least one
rogue to accompany us -- he will be of use in disarming traps and detecting
danger. I give my reluctant consent. One of our number will keep watch on him
at all times.
Our next task will be the invasion of Harkyn's castle in northwest
At last we have breached the defenses and entered the castle from the
courtyard on the east wall. The guardians were fierce fighters, but we proved
A jabberwock! Such a magnificent beast -- surely the last of its kind.
We skirt its lair with caution, and move on.
I notice from the maps provided me by Ghaklah that all the underground
complexes in Skara Brae are roughly of a size. Was Skara Brae perchance built
over the ruins of an ancient single complex, the like of which does not now
exist, save in the minds of men?
We found a sword wrought of a crystal substance as near to perfection
as we are ever likely to see. The rogue's nose twitched when we discovered it.
I trust not this man. The sword is entrusted to the care of the paladin Isli.
She will guard it well.
We have done battle with golems, and discovered a throne. No doubt
'tis Harkyn's. We were asked if any of our party wished to sit on this throne,
and before I could stop him Corfin, impetuous as bards are wont to be, jumped
onto the dais and planted his arse upon the seat. We waited, horrified, for
him to be transmogrified into a wart-faced, slimy swamp creature. Instead, a
secret door opened to reveal a passageway. Why do the gods indulge in these
curious humours, and reward and punish at such chaotic random?
We have just done battle with six men garbed in green robes. We will
don their robes, as it is apparent that they are of some considerable value.
We waited not long to discover that value. Many guards have passed us
by without notice, for they are garbed in green robes identical to those we
have donned. The smirk upon the face of our ignoble bard is too much for
mortal man to bear!
We find here a wasteful illusion. The stairs at the norther section
of the west wall appear to lead down, but actually they ascend. We will follow
them, pausing only to remove our cumbersome robes.
Harkyn's Castle, Level Two
We encountered another bodiless floating mouth uttering an incomplete
poem. When the magician shouted out the word that completed the rhyme, an
Ybarra shield appeared from out of the ether, a powerful protective gift
indeed. We will make haste while the gods yet smile upon us.
An old man accosted us with this riddle; "Once man alive, now living
death, it drinketh blood, and stealeth breath." Soriac knew the answer, and it
was with a bloodless visage that he responded to the old one's verse.
"Vampire," he whispered, and we were allowed to pass. Need I relate that we
continue, very much on our guard?
We were teleported to a room where we found a flat square of silver,
an odd device of which we will take possession.
A portal in the northwest section will, I am told by my magician,
enable us to ascend to the uppermost rooms. We press on.
Harkyn's Castle, Level Three
We encountered a doddering old fool who barred our path until we told
him the name of the tavern on Archer Street. The answer, Skull Tavern, was
found to be disquieting to some members of our party.
Teleport traps abound, and we shrug them off like so many buzzing
Ah, pride before a fall. Once again we are challenged to the utmost
of our abilities, and emerge not unscathed. The berserkers! They attacked
in an endless flowing stream, to slay them akin to holding back the tide with
a bottomless bucket. We found out (too late!) that our recently abandoned
green robes would have rendered us immune to attack. At last we stumbled,
blind with weariness, over hundreds of corpses, four of our slain warriors
lying hidden beneath stinking mounds of Baron Harkyn's dead legions. We can
spare no time to hunt for them -- may the gods forgive us.
I write from within the gates of the wizard Kylearan's Tower, where
we were teleported after the battle. AS we approached an old statue in the
uppermost level of Harkyn's domain, the eye shaped bauble we had collected
floated from Soriac's belt pouch, up, up..... and the statue became animate!
We fought, desperate for our lives, and finally bested the foul thing. The
archmage tells us that this dreadful foe was Tarjan, the mad god. It is little
wonder that the battle cost us dear. We are now but seven in number.
And now the mad Tarjan, our fallen comrades, our surroundings -- gone.
We will enter the tower and demand an explanation for our presence here.
Soriac told us of a ritual that must be followed to enter the tower.
We took one step west, one step south ... only then were we able to enter the
We received two messages here:
"Made of earth, without soul, as living statue, he is whole," and
"As a guardian he must walk, the first part of his name means rock."
Remembering the message from the sewers, we approached the magic mouth
(as Ghaklah is now calling them). It challenged us to answer the riddle: "Name
the one of cold, foretold, twofold," and, because we were forewarned, we did
so with ease.
We were teleported to a vast dark area where we stumbled upon a second
magic mouth. "Name the endless byway," it demanded of us. I shuddered and
answered, remembering that eerie, enchanted street of Skara Brae. But although
our answer was correct, it appeared to have no immediate effect. It was not
'til later that we found a door in another part of the maze, a door that had
hitherto been invisible.
We found a triangle of silver, akin to the silver square discovered in
Harkyn's castle. I have given them to the rogue to carry. Perchance he will
return our trust with his loyalty. And then perchance he will not -- the
silver is of little value, and I am sure he knows this best of any in our
An inscription warns us to beware of the sting at the end of the
serpent's tail. Ghaklah tells us this refers to a room at the end of a
snake-like maze of corridors. We will avoid this area.
We have done battle with and slain a golem of crystal. The melee went
ill for us until the paladin Isli stepped into the fray, wielding the crystal
sword. A few blows and the golem splintered into tinkling shards.
We stumbled upon three rooms, all identical, all with doors leading
in every direction. One of these led into a small hallway. Exploring this, we
were teleported, to confront the wizard Kylearan. We readied for battle, but
his intentions were peaceful. He approves of our quest, and offered us aid in
the form of a key wrought of shining onyx. A noble gift indeed, none other
than the key to Mangar's front door! We take our leave of the friendly wizard.
Mangar, Level One
And now the final test. We are healed, and rested, and our fighting
strength is again a fair number. We are ready to challenge the vile wizard in
his lair. Only one thing rankles -- the rogue has disappeared, taking with him
the silver shapes. We searched for him, but to no avail. There is no more
time -- we leave now for the wizard's castle.
We entered Mangar's domain by ascending the stairs in the third level
of the sewers, and using the key of onyx. Hordes of creatures abound here,
protecting their master from intruders. They fall before us like wheat beneath
a scythe. There are tricks and illusions, but we expect this from a wizard. We
smell his vile stench, and his nearnes lends us wings.
A magic mouth lectures to us on the virtue of perseverance. I was
angered, thinking this to be the evil wizard's mockery, until Soriac informed
me that the actual words uttered by the magic mouth are the means to unlock a
door in the northeast section of this level, and be teleported to the next
Mangar, Level Two
A magic mouth assailed us with a riddle: "Two shapes yours, and one's
around, speak the shape, and final found." This gave us pause until Soriac,
who is of a scientific bent, gave the answer: "Circle." He was provided with
a flat, silver circle that matched the ones stolen by the cursed rogue. Could
it be that the shapes are of some great import? May the evil, villianous rogue
burn in Hell!
The demons, vampires, and furies that are here unleashed take their
toll on our party. The plunder here is wondrous beyond compare, yet we gather
it quickly, reluctantly, resenting the time it steals from our real purpose.
We are attacked without respite, and our spirits decline as do our
numbers. It is with leaden feet that we proceed. We find the door to the next
level in the southeast section of this area.
Mangar, Level Three
One by one our noble group falls prey to the wizard's servants. Magic
mouths and disembodied voices assail us at every turn, their messages too
numerous to be set down here. I fear this may be the end of our glorious
quest, to be doomed to wander in this hellish place until the last of us is
slain, or driven mad by the ever-present mouths.
We have encountered a merchant, a filthy merchant who tried to sell
us a key! The absurdity of finding suck a one in such a place overcame us all,
and we collapsed in laughter. The old man claimed that the key would gain us
admittance to both the gates of Kylearan's abode and to Mangar's. Knowing the
nature of merchants, it would not surprise me to discover that the key was to
a rusty, empty chastity belt in a deserted lady's chamber! We paid his high
price -- the lift he gave to our failing spirits was beyond gold.
Soriac, wisest of the wise, has answered the riddle of magic mouths.
He tells us we must seek the mouth that asks us to reveal the answer and say
this: "Lie with passion and be forever damned." To find a moral proclaimation
in this place is obscenity, and I am ever more determined to lay the wizard
and his works to ruin. We find the mouth in the southwest section of this
level, and utter the answer. Stairs are revealed slightly to the northwest
of the mouth, and we ascend.
Mangar, Level Four
We have entered Hell, and the demonspawn and mutant brood of undead
things that do battle with us freeze our souls. Grimly we fight on, the five
of us who remain. May the gods pity us, and grant us e'en the slightest chance
to complete our task.
We are asked to name the greatest son of Odin and we answer correctly,
pleased to be rewarded for our time in that cesspool sewer. From the ether is
given us a small statue, and Soriac tells us that it will aid us in battle.
Have our prayers been answered?
We are teleported to the northwest region of this level, where
suddenly all the walls turn into doors and all the doors into walls! We
proceed west and are teleported once more. We try many doors until we find the
portal in the extreme southwest of this level, and it is here we find the
entrance to the uppermost level of Mangar's castle. We commend our souls to
the gods, and for the final time, ascend.
Mangar, Level Five
We are defeated at the last. The silver shapes were the key to
entering the main chamber wherein resides a gloating Mangar. We are trapped
like rats in a tiny room where even now the wizard sends his minions to storm
But we are given wise counsel by Soriac, who advises us to try to get
this journal to Pellis, in the hope that he will pass on the experiences
written here to one capable of defeating Mangar. One final spell, using the
life forces of Soriac, Corfid, and myself, will render Isli invisible for a
time, enabling her to escape this place with the journal. Yet it is evil
magic. Everything we have accomplished will be rent from the fabric of time
and destroyed, and as the spell burns itself out Isli will be consumed.
I embrace my companions, and taste the salt of Isli's tears. Ghaklah
has asked for my dagger -- he has no wish to be captured alive. As he prepares
the spell, I can but reflect that no man could wish to die in better company.
Ghaklah begins. They come.
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Software (C) 1985 Interplay Productions
Clue book by T.L. Thompson
With research by John P. Manley and Maryrose Doherty
Edited by Nicholas Lavroff
(C) 1986 Electronic Arts
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