1. Piers Anthony
As much as I wanted to read real fantasy fiction as a lad, the local library left much to be desired. Of your fantasy mainstays, seems like they never had more than one or two of any given series, and never the first episode. Except for the Xanth books. Think this is where I decided a little bit of silly anachronism is ok in fantasy.
When Marvel comics reprinted this under the epic imprint, in color no less, I was lucky enough to stumble onto the first issue. I was just strolling through the local drug store, when BAM! I espied a first issue of a new series. I spouted "Wow! This looks just like dungeons and dragons!" From there on I was hooked. Took periodic three mile walks to the local comic store to try and snag the current issue. If I missed an issue, hunted for it in the back issue bins of whatever comic store we might visit on family vacations. I'm still missing one issue, which I have sort of avoided finding. I like having that quest unfinished.
My brother had the board game, which came with little resin figures of The Prince, and The Beast. They found their way into the first couple of sessions I ran, along with whatever half painted mini's of my bro's I could scrounge up.
Not the computer game, we were too poor for that. Nope, the What-do-I-do-now books. Good stuff, picked them up at school book fairs, when I could beg the change for them. Still have a copy of #4 Conquest at Quendor. Bivotaur and Juranda have to face down a riddle talking cat head on the end of a tentacle. The demon Jeearr!
5. Dr. Frankenstein's Haunted Castle
Awesome attraction at Indiana beach. Just really think a good dungeon should kinda be like a haunted house ride. Like the intro to the DnD cartoon. Rat tails tickling at your feet, drop away balconies, false doors, all kindsa tricksy fun.
images I am inflicting on my students in ~10 minutes
13 hours ago