Module XL-1 Quest for the Heartstone came out in 1984. I turned 11 years old in 1984 and had already been gaming for maybe three years. I was a total D&D junkie. And not just the D&D roleplaying game. I was into the whole experience. I watched the cartoon, owned the action figures, and was generally into the whole D&D Boom experience. Hell, I had the official D&D woodburning kit, which consisted of an electric woodburner (it burned flesh too, as I quickly discovered by accident) and some cheap planks of wood with orcs and such printed on them.
When I saw Quest for the Heartstone at the B. Dalton Bookseller in Bloomington, Illinois, I knew I had to own a copy. The cover featured two characters, the paladin
Zarak is my favorite guy from the AD&D figure line. He's the only action figure I still have from the toyline and nowadays I display him in my gameroom almost like an icon of a patron saint. The packaging he came in said "Evil Half-Orc Assassin" under his name. He's not a badass warrior like Warduke, but a nasty little fucker with a poison dagger and an almost Quasimodo-like build. The blue hood has always struck me as an odd fashion choice, though. Some folks might remember that over at RPGnet and still in a few other places I've used a close-up on Zarak's face as my avatar. Later I had a little pixellated cartoony version of the dude.
So what was the big deal with the Heartstone stats for my beloved Zarak? According to the book, he wasn't an Evil Half-Orc Assassin. He was statted up as a Chaotic [Human] Thief. A few more moments of bewildered flipping around revealed the problem. The toyline had been billed as Advanced Dungeons & Dragons figure. Hence the assassins and paladins and barbarians. But module XL-1 was written for Menzter Basic/Expert/etc.
Most of the other characters were fine as written. You can't really screw up the stock wizard, the cleric babe, the silly elf, or the grumpy dwarf.
I asked my folks to turn the car around. I went back to the store and I returned the module.