Combat in The Bard’s Tale IV: Barrows Deep takes place on a 4×4 grid, with your party standing on one side and the enemy standing on the other. Gameplay is turn-based, with your side and then the enemy trading off turns with each other. The total amount of moves you can make is determined by how many opportunities you have.
First Strike is displayed when you engage the enemy, giving your party the first attack. When approaching the enemy, your cursor will change from the standard arrow to Charge. Using Charge allows you to close distance and get that first attack.
If the enemy sees you first, Spotted will be displayed before combat, and the enemy team will have the first attack.
Attacks, Items & Abilities
In order to attack, use an equipped item, move, or activate any other ability simply: Select the character you want to use, press their Ability button, and then select your target. Who an Ability will hit depends entirely on where your adventurer stands on the battlefield and the targeting pattern of the Ability they’re using. Keep an eye on the damage previews provided so you don’t attack the wrong target. That’s embarrassing.
Some items and Abilities can be used at any time out of combat. Abilities that do not grey out during exploration can be used at any time out of combat from the Ability Bar. Items like food and torches may be selected from the Inventory.
Enemies and adventurers Focus when preparing powerful Abilities or while they’re in powerful combat stances.
To execute a Channeled Ability a combatant must Focus for one or more turns. You can stop an enemy from Focusing by dealing Mental Damage. When the Focus meter is completely drained the Ability or stance is canceled. If a channeled Ability is not broken in time, it’ll execute automatically at the start of the turn. Abilities that deal mental damage are often purple and will glow while an enemy is Focusing.
Spell points can be generated by using Abilities like Chug or Meditate. Practitioners also passively generate Spell Points. These can be used to fuel magic spells and bardic songs that can’t be activated using Opportunity. Spells are easy to spot because of the spell gems on their Ability icon.
When a party member’s Health reaches zero and they are incapacitated, their portrait will be greyed out and unavailable. You cannot use or select the party member in this state. If you win the fight, any unconscious party members will stand back up with a quarter of their maximum Health restored.
If you’ve used all your Opportunity and have no Spell Points to spend, press the End Turn button to let the enemy’s turn proceed. When their turn ends, you regain your Opportunity, Ability cooldowns progress, and any channeled Ability from the previous round will activate, starting your next turn.