Hellbound: the Blood War
Author: TSR staff
Page count: n/a
Capsule Review by C.H. Gallant on 05/08/98. Genre tags: none
As the initial boxed set for Planescape established the beauty and wonder of the planes, "Hellbound" the Blood War" boxed set added the element of violence, evil, and chaos. It's a fine adventure supplement that may or may not be where a DM would want to take a campaign.
The Blood War set includes a 96 page book with three adventures, an 80 page book of DM information on the Blood War, a 32 page booklet of info that characters would and should know about the war, a booklet of images that correspond to scenes in the adventure book, a Planescape conspectus poster, and a short comic book set in the lower planes. It's obviously a pretty substantial package. The conspectus is an odd addition to the pack, since few people who buy the Hellbound set will be unfamiliar enough with the setting to gain anything from the glossy poster.
The adventures are quite fair, if a little too violent for my plane-hopping tastes. If your players have been jaunting around the plane of air and taking in the culture of Sigil, the violence and misery present on the lower planes might be too much of a shock. DMs: make sure the Blood War fits your own campaign. It could likely change the way your characters look at the planes. There are issues of morality, which fit well into the theme of the Blood War. The last adventure has an impressive result in campaigns where it is successfully completed. They are for moderately high level characters (around 6-10th level).
"Visions of War," the color booklet of images, is a nice idea. The comic, "The Bargain," is colorful and good looking. Illustrated by Tony DiTerlizzi and Robh Ruppel, it's looks were assured. Unfortunately, it didn't add anything to my knowledge or attitude towards the Blood War. On the subject of art, what do a bowie knife, a pilsner glass, and a pair of work boots have in common? All of them were elements of book covers in the boxed set. They were gross anachronisms that spoiled the cover images.
The DM's and players' guides set the tone and listed the ways in which the characters could take part in the Blood War. A history of the war is given in the DM's guide. Information is plentiful and most of my questions were answered. With information as plentiful as it is, and the role of the Blood War in Planescape, this set is recommended for all Planescape DMs. Again, though, how much of the information they'll want to incorporate is another matter.
Style: 4 (Classy and well done)