I have not yet fully completed Bard's Tale as of today, but I'm pretty close. Levels 4 and 5 of Mangar's Tower plus the final battle with Mangar himself are the final challenges that await me. The third level has a lot of darkness, traps, and spinners that make navigating the dungeon challenging even if you have a map. I've got to say from a modern perspective that I question the fun and entertainment value of that design. Wandering around in darkness and bumping into things doesn't feel particularly rewarding and is not my idea of a good time. To be honest I wouldn't mind a few more battles than I've been seeing so far and a little less darkness.
As far as the next game to tackle goes, I'm considering Bard's Tale 2, but strongly leaning towards picking up Forgotten Realms: The Archives - Collection Two on GOG1 because Pool of Radiance is one of the CRPG Addict's top 3 classic CRPG games based on 10 years of reviews. The other highly interesting title in the collection is Forgotten Realms Unlimited Adventures, which is basically a toolkit for building your own game using the Gold Box engine. I'm a complete sucker for game construction sets and the whole thing is so inexpensive it ends up being an amazing value just for the six other games in the series.
FRUA has a big following and modding scene across the last 25 years with extra tools and ways to overcome some of the original limitations. Additionally there's a modern FRUA inspired fan remake of the editor and engine called Dungeon Craft. Dungeon Craft is even more flexible and powerful, but it has the drawback of beeing Windows only. There's a dedicated forum with a ton of good information on both the FRUA and DC systems and I look forward to exploring them further over the next couple months.
Only $9.99 for 8 games even when it's not on sale.