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TOPIC: Hellscape 2
#49456
Hellscape 2 1 Year, 9 Months ago  
Well, I'm still SUPER bummed about missing out on the first shipments of the Catacombs set.... I haven't missed a DF set since 2001! Sigh.

Anyhoo -- I haven't gotten my HS2 pieces yet, but I figured I'd start out the feedback by repeating what others have said: LOVE the new way the set is being offered! I know Stefan has said in the past that it's tough for DF to store individual pieces and keep an accurate inventory, and that makes sense to me. I'm not sure how or if they've solved that problem. But from a consumer standpoint, this is BEAUTIFUL!

The actual Hellscape 2 set is perfect for multiple purchases -- everything in the set works to build larger and larger arrangements. And then you can get as many stairs, or plumes, or other gewgaws as you see fit! For something like the Gate, it's a great way to get a piece like that without creating a perverse dis-incentive to buy multiples of the set. ("I'd love to have more, but I can't justify dropping $150-300 just to end up with two or three extra gates!") And for things like the plumes and stairs, it allows people to decide just how many of those special fancy pieces they want. And for things like the passage transition pieces, you can decide if you want them AT ALL! Which may be the best feature yet. You can far more easily customize your selection -- I ended up spending a little more than I might have spent on a single set had it been ordered differently, but I got multiples of just the ones I wanted, skipped out on the ones I didn't want, and I have the most "efficient" order I've ever placed. Very happy about that.

Now I just have to wait and see how long it will be before Catacombs comes back. Anyone? Anyone?
Law
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#49457
Re:Hellscape 2 1 Year, 9 Months ago  
Indeed.

Another advantage to the "set-and-individual-pieces" approach (S&IP) is that those who just want a natural volcanic environment can get one, without pieces that interrupt that effect. Only one of the individual pieces released with/for HellScape 2 (HellScape Plumes) is a completely natural sculpt -- all of the others include "constructed" elements.

The transition pieces will only appeal to customers who have (or want) sets from other lines, so including them in HellScape 2 would actually have reduced its appeal for many.

I do suspect, though, that the decision to sell some of the pieces individually had to do with their odd shapes and special packaging needs, which may not have been compatible with the HS2 Set packaging.
jackattack
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#49458
Re:Hellscape 2 1 Year, 9 Months ago  
I LOVE the new approach as it allows me to get EXACTLY what I want. I must say the conversion pieces are excellent for people like me that have multiple sets. I think they work perfectly as individual pieces and I hope DF plans to release more of these down the line. The Hellscape to cavern conversion piece completely eliminates the need to have a Hellscape cavernous passagway set which is also awesome. A Hellscape to RotA conversion piece would be pretty cool as well.

Im not sure how the selling of individual pieces works out from a financial perspective but from a customers perspective, its fantastic.

The new floors are excellent and really help to break up the pattern that the original set created if you had a large floor layout. My layouts just look better now so the money was well worth it.

The gate is excellent and a real centerpiece to any setup. I would love to see larger super premium pieces like this in the future for other sets.
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#49465
Re:Hellscape 2 1 Year, 9 Months ago  
Just when I thought I was done spending money on DF until this summer! I ended up ordering the single pieces of the HS2 set. Once I get a little more money, maybe when I get my tax return, I might order a set or two. I definitely like this release method, I don't know what it means from a business point of view, but I for one was coaxed into spending a little more than I would have as a result. I really like the idea of selling the unique pieces individually and having the more flexible pieces in the set. If DF was to adopt this scheme for all future releases, the production costs might go up, but if the sales go up simultaneously wouldn't that eventually become cost effective? I guess it would depend on how much sales go up. Only time will tell, I suppose!
Danarchy2020
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#49472
Re:Hellscape 2 1 Year, 9 Months ago  
I received my sets and the individual pieces. Wow, this is possibly their best work ever. The individual pieces are incredible. As with most, the setting, lava/hell-like, isn't encountered that often in play but I know when I run again their will be a volcanic adventure!
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#49482
Re:Hellscape 2 1 Year, 9 Months ago  
I recently used the Hellscape and Hellscape 2 set as the lair for my red dragon in my game at Tutu's restaurant....They loved it...well....sort of....
1 hp of heat damage each round while being in the hellscape environment...he,he...
Stefan
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Stefan Pokorny

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#49486
Re:Hellscape 2 1 Year, 9 Months ago  
Awesome, Stefan!

I got my pieces in the mail today -- one regular set, plus a couple of the stairs, the gate, and the big lava plumes. For now I'm passing on the transition pieces.

This is truly a beautifully put together set. The design of the pieces complements what we already had very efficiently -- new floor designs allow us to break up the otherwise monotonous grid that was the only real drawback of the original Hellscape set. And the new walls and corners give more flexibility as well.

But there's little point in reviewing the obvious, things I could have said before I even had the set. Here are some things I wasn't expecting:

The gate is freaking HUGE. Has there ever been a DF piece this big? I am fairly sure there hasn't. The special entrance to the Realm of the Ancients was nice, but this is bigger and more elaborate. Plus, it has an opening gate! It's just amazing. I love what it looks like from the back, too -- the cavernous opening. I want to take out my classic Master Maze dungeon pieces to have a proper Hellscape entrance.

The single-piece lava plume piece is also HUGE, way bigger than I realized it would be. Very awesome.

As far as the pieces in the set itself -- the flowing lava is amazing, as always. I love the piece that has it cooling off into a "rock pool" -- the paint effect is brilliant, it looks glowing, with the bright red underneath the ashen grey, and the brighter orange higher on the lava flow. The paint really sells this set -- the bright orange and white, and the gloss, really makes the lava seem to glow.

Once again, DF knocked it out of the park. Classic, fantastic stuff...
Law
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"In every real man a child is hidden that wants to play."

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#49490
Re:Hellscape 2 1 Year, 9 Months ago  
The UNBELIEVABLE happened! My wife was walking into my game room when I was storing my new Hellscape 2 gate in the bin. My wife said,"Now THAT's a cool piece!" It ma seem to you all that doesn't seem to be a big deal, but I have a huge collection of DF, miniatures, outdoor terrain, and MBA. My wife has "zero" interest in my gaming items and has never commented on them before. Needless to say, but I'll say it anyway, " I WAS STUNNED by her comment!"
Way to go DF you made the impossible happen! My wife loved the Hellscape 2 gate!

I can't WAIT for my gaming group adventurers to get to the volcano to use my Hellscape sets. ARGGGHH, it going to be about a year before they get through my story line to the volcano!
monkplayer
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#49493
Re:Hellscape 2 1 Year, 9 Months ago  
Monk,
Have them accidentally come across a malfunctioning portal somewhere along your storyline that temporarily takes them to the Volcano gate and back after just 1-minute...that should keep em motivated to push forward and whet your whistle! ;>)
dndgamer
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#49497
Re:Hellscape 2 1 Year, 9 Months ago  
@DnDGamer

ohhhhh, I have those Hellscape teleporter tiles too! Ohhhoho!
monkplayer
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"Keep the Dice Rollin,"
 
#49502
Re:Hellscape 2 1 Year, 9 Months ago  
Hahahaha! A similar thing happened to me -- but it was what started all this! My wife tolerates my collections and D&D interest, but she's not particularly interested. But when we first saw DF, back when hobby shops still sold it, she admitted that she thought it looked awesome, and she bought me the mermaid fountain to get me started!

Eleven years and *mumble-mumble* dollars later, here we are! ;)

Anyhoo. . .

having tinkered with the HS II set now, I have to say -- the new pieces are even more helpful than I expected at breaking up the old "grid" design. It makes SUCH a huge difference. I don't even know how I can stress this enough. With the original HS, there was pretty much nothing you could do to avoid the inevitable grid of lava streams running through a layout. Sure, the central volcano piece broke it up, but that's just one piece. For the most part, you were stuck with this glowing neon grid, and it was a shame. Especially in a terrain that was meant to look chaotic and (super)natural!

That is so thoroughly a thing of the past now. The new layouts you can do don't even have a hint of that -- and now the concept of the Hellscape itself can really shine. So awesome. I just posted pics in the Cool Photos thread, including some overhead "layout" shots, so you can see what I mean...
Law
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"In every real man a child is hidden that wants to play."

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#49625
Re:Hellscape 2 1 Year, 9 Months ago  
I've taken some time (too much?) to get my thoughts together about the HS2 Set, and here (at last!) they are...

Floor 1 & Floor 2
At last, the lonely floor piece from HS1 has some backup! Both are nicely done, and each features a "square" that is artfully warped, implying former or current melting. The straight lava stream on Floor 2 has a couple of isolated stones near the edge which might suggest that the floor is crumbling.

Floor 3
This piece has a winding lava stream along one edge and a single red stalagmite. The lava makes a decent obstacle to movement if the DM institutes jumping or damage-from-environment rules. The stalagmite is a nice bit of cover, breaks up a flat landscape, and makes a nice transition if you choose to group all of the stalagmite pieces in one section of your setup.

Floor 4
This piece has red stalagmites in one corner with lava flowing into the center. In addition to the lava flowing from the top of the widest stalagmite, the bases of the others are deformed, and this is what sold me on the new red stalagmite feature -- this piece (and Curved Wall 2) actually show how these structures form, and that is simply brilliant sculpting. Choosing to color and sculpt the lava flow in a way that suggests rapid cooling, rather than another bright yellow and orange lava stream, was another nice choice that lends variety to the set overall. The stalagmites, flow, and pool are barriers and obstacles that may force players to make some interesting choices during play.

Straight Wall w/ Lava
This is actually a fairly busy piece, although it doesn't look it. The wall is slightly convex to the floor, which ties it to walls in HS1. The three lava flows from the wall feature the same rapid cooling as seen on Floor 4. The ubiquitous lava stream is present, but doesn't meet any of the three lava flows from the wall, which surprised me. Finally, there is an incipient caldera forming in one corner -- I think this feature is too subtle (it may disappear in dim lighting) and perhaps slightly misplaced (at the juncture of four squares, where a miniature placed in any of them will lean). One (perceived) flaw does not keep it from being a beautiful piece.

Curved Wall 1
The skeleton half-consumed by the lava stream is a delightful surprise, an understated but explicit indicator of the environment's inherent lethality. The small calderas and stone melt along the base of the wall add some nice detail without impinging on floor space, nor detracting from the simplicity of the piece.

Curved Wall 2
Another busy piece, with red stalagmites and rapid cooling calderas and lava flowing from the walls. This is the piece that finally gives us a proper source for the lava streams running across all the floor pieces. There are only three squares to put miniatures on, but it is a beautiful and complex piece that makes a great cornerstone for an HS2 setup.

Small Stalagmites
If you want to add some HS2 flavor to your HS1 pieces, or if you feel that one of the HS2 pieces just doesn't have enough red stalagmites, this piece is for you. The silvery sheen may be used to offset the treasure-light nature of a natural environment by allowing PCs to scrape metallic dust from the stalagmites, or to entice them to remain in the HellScape longer than might be wise.

Overall
This is an excellent follow-up to HS1. Frankly, I can't imagine having the first set and not getting this one, and once again just one is not enough. Sticking to only "natural" pieces (without worked stone or statuary) preserves the set's appeal to those looking for a volcano or center-of-the-earth environment. The sculpts are well conceived and beautifully executed.


But wait, there's more!
On to the Individual Pieces...


Large Stalagmites
A beautiful piece, possibly the center of a large open space, or a barrier that characters must negotiate to enter/exit chambers. The silver deposits at the top of the flat stone protrusions is a nice touch. The lava inside the stalagmites makes me think I might use them as mortars, either as a random natural hazard or as a spell effect. I do wish that one of the flat stones was large enough to place a miniature larger than a DDM Imp, as this would be a great place to put a demon, elemental, or archer.

HS/DoE Transition & HS/Cavern Transition
("S-Shape"?) I dearly love transition pieces, and these are great! The HS/DoE Transition features the natural stone encroaching on the finished stonework, with some nice heat-coloring on the DoE floor. The HS/Cavern Transition has very even blending from one environment to the other, so that neither is overwhelmed. These practically have to be sold individually, and I personally think that everyone with sets from both sides of these pieces desperately needs to order at least two of each.

Straight Wall w/ Devil
For those who want to emphasize the hellish aspects of HS over the volcanic, this is the piece to have. It features the red stalagmites behind natural stone steps (although they are suspiciously symmetrical, like a double curved staircase). At the top of the stairs are two carved (?) dragon heads spewing lava down the stairs, another good source of the lava streams. Between the curved steps is a half-submerged, semi-metallic demon or grotesque with graceful horns and folded wings. The three figures can easily be used as monsters by a DM -- the dragon heads might move and/or extend to target PCs, while the demon/grotesque might pull itself free from the lava. Unfortunately, the only place on the entire piece that you can put a full size miniature (without leaning) is on the top step in the center of the rear wall, making it a display piece rather than functional piece. But if you want to turn your volcano into a hellish temple, one to four of this piece will absolutely do it.

HellScape Gate
No one can deny that this is a beautiful, striking piece -- the towering red stalagmites, the pool of lava, the dragon heads with chains coming out of their mouths, the demon/grotesque pushing through the red stone above the gate, the new dark stonework, and the little arch over the lava running down the edge of the piece inside the gate are all very well conceived and very well sculpted. However, this piece is much more decorative than practical. It is also massive compared to any other HS pieces, so it will absolutely dominate your setup if you use it. Finally, I don't like pieces with working bits, and the HellScape Gate hasn't changed my mind on that point.
jackattack
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Last Edit: 2013/03/09 20:27 By jackattack.
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