Here’s one I hadn’t heard of until I saw it recently. Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: Role Playing Dioramas (NSI, 1983) is related to those wood burning kits that were the rage back in the Eighties. NSI in fact still makes those sets.

This  diorama set was officially licensed from TSR, complete with the angular logo on the box.


AD&D Role Playing Dioramas box set
Set of Printed Wood Figures and Backgrounds to Color and Decorate with Gemstones.


AD&D Role Playing Diorama in the shop


The Box




Strongheart “Good Paladin” and Warduke “Evil Fighter”!  (Note the gemstones)


Set contains 12 figures diecut from birch hardwood, cedar wood slats, 6 marking pens, gemstones for decorating, 3 printed backdrops, and instructions.


My particular set for sale: Box is square, with moderate wear. All 12 figures present, and colored by former owner. 11/12 bases present. All the weapons appear present. Also contains the 3 art backdrops, gemstones, even the mostly-dry pens and completely dry glue container, as well as the cedar wood slats. No instruction sheet.


The Figures

One can spot many of the iconic early characters here: (l-r) [Unnamed] Good Fighter MAGE Elf, ELKHORN Good Dwarf Fighter, ZARAK Evil Half-Orc Assassin, STRONGHEART Good Paladin.


Former owner colored all the figures. (l-r) KELEK Evil Sorcerer, HELAYNE Evil Illusionist, SKYLLA Evil Magic User, GARN GRAY GAZE Good Gnome Illusionist Thief.


One base is missing. (l-r) WARDUKE Evil Fighter, MERCION Good Cleric, FIGGEN Good Halfling Thief, FOXFINGERS Evil Thief.


See also: The Shady Dragon Inn (D&D accessory AC1), which also features the iconic toy characters.


The figures can wield their weapons… mostly.




Other Contents



I only saw one artist signature. Don’t know who. (EDIT It’s Ken Kelly, Frank Frazetta’s nephew by marriage. Thanks to commenter “Matakishi”. I looked it up online, and it’s definitely Kelly’s.)


Cedar wood slats


Glue container, I believe. Long since dried up.


The pens are mostly dried up, but not completely.


The “gemstones”. At first I thought they were Pop Rocks! (Edit: Aquarium gravel?)


AD&D Role Playing Diorama in the shop


See Also: GATEWAY TO ADVENTURE: TSR’s Classic Games Catalog (1980 & 1981)

A Paladin in Hell: Plate Armored Holy Warrior versus Barbed Devil

AD&D Monster Cards: Some favorites