Similar to the Warlords series but earlier
My first encounter with hybrid gaming was Warlords Battlecry, a game that packed both strategy (real time strategy in the vein of StarCraft) with a bit of RPG delivered via the development of the game's heroes. I can't say that it was any jewel of a game but it sure it kept me involved with its campaign, and, I can say, it turned me on to strategy more than more consecrated titles. Anyway, Conquered Kingdoms packs in just as similar a gameplay combination, and the meatier portion is the strategy one, though the RPG bits are not bad either (just very skim, though). The game's heroes are creatures that pack in a combination of abilities based on classic statistics (strength, dexterity, mana, etc) while also having a propensity towards a certain type of weapon or a personal perk. It packs a meaty campaign with a story that will see you jump from skirmish to skirmish, with the occasional different mission. It's, nevertheless an approachable combination of strategy with RPG elements, worth playing without question.