A composite image with a wrapping paper background that says "Local Gift Ideas" and features three photos of The Legendarium, Dragon's Keep and Dr. Volt's.

Local Gift Ideas for the Main Character who Always Crits on their Wisdom Saving Throw

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Illustration by Brighton Metz
Illustration by Brighton Ballard

In a city ravaged by frigid tundra, the inevitable holiday festivities have come creeping in to take control once again. Through these trying times, a hero must rise to purchase the greatest nerd paraphernalia for the geekiest of their friends and family! Vanquish the Amazon overlords and shop locally this season at some of SLC’s best gamer hotspots. If you’re in the market for trading cards, comic books or tabletop gaming gear, these mythical emporiums come bearing gifts. Adventure awaits!

The Legendarium

349 E 900 S, SLC, UT | Tues., Thurs., Sat: 10 a.m.–6 p.m., Wed., Fri: 10 a.m.–10 p.m., Sun. 12–4 p.m. | 801.474.6159 | legendariumbooks.com 

Orion Enceladus holds up a few staff picks at The Legendarium.
Bookstore co-owner Orion Enceladus suggests Legends and Lattes as a great fantasy starter. Photo by Chay Mosqueda.

The warm glow of The Legendarium invites patrons to a day of escape and wonder. Its cottage-core aura provides a world of acceptance which is exactly what siblings and LGBTQ+ owners Orion Enceladus and Raelle Westwind aim to do. “Primarily, we are a safe and inclusive space … we’ve put a lot of heart in the [bookstore’s] detail,” says Enceladus. Having been open for merely a year, The Legendarium—as a joint bookstore and RPG cafe—stands as an ideal place to daydream and role play.

First-timers to the store will likely feel enchanted by the main entrance that spirals into bookshelves (and even fireplaces) full of books, but the good folks at The Legendarium offer to be your literary guide. As personal picks, Enceladus suggests Legends and Lattes ($17.99), a fantasy starter about an orc who ditches their barbaric past for baristas. For science fiction, Westwind picks The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet ($19.99)—a galactic epic on social commentary. Westwind says that the book, “stretches your mind in ways that just reading a story about the current day might be hard to do.”

If you’re still racking your brain on whether to buy their books, tarot cards or gaming gear, The Legendarium also supplies gift baskets ($30–150) that can cover gifting essentials. No amount of care and personality will be found in a regular Amazon purchase, so go to the place that brings spirit. Just look for the severed dragon head out front.


Dragon’s Keep

189 E State St, Lehi, UT | Mon.–Thurs., Sat. 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Fri. 11 a.m.–11 p.m. | 385.352.7544 | dragonskeep.com

Multiple sets of many-sided dice at Dragon's Keep.
Dragon’s Keep is a little nook provid- ing a space for anyone, no matter how avid a role player you are. Photo by Chay Mosqueda.

Since the 1980s, the mythical and quaint emporium Dragon’s Keep has steadily built a reputation for shelling out tabletop games and trading cards. With four Utah County stores under their belt, it’s their Lehi location that brings the basement aesthetic that’s inspired young “dungeon masters” for the last 40 years. “As a fat, nerdy kid growing up in the ‘80s, I had nowhere [I felt I belonged] but a gaming store,” General Manager Jeff Dodge says. Dragon’s Keep is a little nook providing a space for anyone, no matter how avid a role player you are.

For those wanting to sink their teeth into the gaming world, Dodge says the best gift to start with is trading cards because you can buy boxes upon boxes. “If you buy a board game, you’re only buying one copy,” he says. Dragon’s Keep holds a plethora of big names including Pokémon, One Piece, Yu-Gi-Oh! and, coming soon, Disney’s Lorcana. Dive in with booster boxes ($20–50) or opt for a single 10-card deck ($4–10); either way Dragon’s Keep has you covered!

Dragon’s Keep tries to stay away from anything too exclusive—think less collectibles and more “everything you need.” It’s these little items such as their many-sided dice ($2.05) at the front counter or their abundance of tabletop figurines that lets patrons know they care. Just like a traveling merchant from Dungeons & Dragons or Magic: The Gathering, Dragon’s Keep is here to bear its many wares.

Dr. Volt’s Comic Connection

2043 E 3300 S, Millcreek, UT | Mon.–Tues., Thurs.–Fri. 12–7 p.m., Wed. 11 a.m.–7 p.m., Sat. 11 a.m.–6 p.m., Sun. 12–5 p.m. | 801.485.6114 | drvolts.com 

Dr. Volt's Manager Jeff Bell holds up two comics in the shop.
Dr. Volt’s Manager Jeff Bell believes that comics are the best present for both avid and first time readers. Photo by Chay Mosqueda.

In a vast galaxy of multiverses and overlapping continuity errors, it’s hard to find a good comic book series. Fortunately, the shiny beacon of Dr. Volt’s Comic Connection has come to save the day. This geeky hub has been supplying SLC with the best in comic books since the late ’80s when professional-wrestler-turned-business-owner Dr. Volt opened it in Millcreek. Now under the ownership of Charles Prows, the spirit of Dr. Volt’s continues to welcome eager comic customers. Whether you’re looking for major names such as Marvel or DC Comics or seeking to expand through indie publishers like Mad Cave Studios or Dark Horse, Dr. Volt’s comes strapped.

Their wide selection of comics offers picks for intense readers like myself who might load up on complete lore-building omnibuses such as The Walking Dead ($32.99) or King Tank Girl ($17.99). For the average comic collector, you could get a deal on the new Rorschach #4 ($4.99) or, for the kids, Looney Toons ($2.99) is a great throwback. Perhaps you could take out a mortgage to purchase the sealed-behind-glass first edition of X-Men ($15,999.99).

At a mecca like Dr. Volt’s, they understand that comics are the best present for both avid and first time readers. “It’s literature and high art,” says Manager Jeff Bell. “Honestly, [comic books] transcend two different art forms working together in collaboration to tell a story.”

Read more on local shopping for the holidays:
Commerce & Craft: A Bit of Magic in Sugarhouse 
Golden Braid Books: Compassion, Community and Consciousness