Heritage Company has marketed a series of boxed game sets specifically designed to hook prospective figure-using role game players into the hobby. Each box includes a complete short game with the referee’s map and attendant data, a box of lead figures (there are 8 in the Crypt of the Sorcerer set), and a box of paints and a brush. If one of these sets doesn’t get you completely engrossed in fantasy role-playing, nothing will!
— John Eric Holmes, Fantasy Role Playing Games.
Maybe Holmes garbled the packaging a little (the map and rules don’t require a referee, and everything was in one box) but The Crypt of the Sorcerer and the Cavern of Doom sets from Heritage USA were pure awesome. My brother and I each got one (I got the Crypt, because it included my three favorite monsters — an orc, skeleton, and troll!) and we played the heck out of them, adding rules for other miniatures and dreaming up new adventures. We had already been playing AD&D when these came out but to us they were all part of one hobby and we briefly tried to reconcile the differences (“why is the Black Pudding called a Slime monster in the Caverns game?” etc.)
Anyway I got into blogging and the OSR because I discovered Scottsz’s Sorcerers of Doom project (the current link goes to what I think is the third incarnation of the site*). At the time I was working on some games for my niece and some nephews (the boys will getting theirs a year late, because we did not see them last xmas) but the final product, I hope, will have something like the effect Holmes described.
*I guess it’s ok to move the SoD out of Valhalla now!
I hope everyone reading this has a great holiday. If you feel like leaving a comment, tell us about a gift you got that introduced you, or lead you deeper into, in the hobby, or else just a favorite dorkery-related item from yesteryear. Maybe something you’ll find in the “Wishbook“.