This wraith, by Grenadier Miniatures, is an old nemesis from my early years in the hobby.
I bought it sometime ago on Ebay. Before that, it’d been at least 20 years since I’d seen it. It belonged to my best friend back in our middle school years, and it was destroyed along with all of his D&D books.
See, my best friend’s parents hated Dungeons & Dragons, they thought it was Satanic.
But, for some reason, the boardgame HeroQuest was okay.
So we played a lot of HeroQuest over at my friend’s place. And he would inflict this wraith upon us in his games. Being weak in combat, it attacked like a goblin, but it could paralyze your hero if it hit. Then it would move on to another hero while letting any other monsters get free attacks on the paralyzed victim.
Only the Elf was immune.
Were there any rules for the Wraith in HeroQuest? No.
But my friend liked taking stuff from D&D and putting it into his games. He also had a death knight, a gnome, some Dragonlance Draconians, and a Cyclops Dragon. Each had their own abilities loosely based on their D&D counterparts.
My friend had painted the Wraith black with glowing red eyes. I still love the coffin lid for a shield. It always fell over because of its narrow metal base. So when I purchased it I mounted it on a solid 25 mm base.
Some of these miniatures, like those from Ral Partha, were “official D&D miniatures.” But did this didn’t seem to bother his parents. (Or maybe they just didn’t know). He’d buy the figures, paint them up, and develop his own rules.
Oh sure, we still played D&D, specifically AD&D Second Edition at his place.
But you learned to keep your school backpack handy, and recognize the sound of his parents’ car pulling up into the driveway. Suddenly, it could be game over. Hide everything. Stash it, quick, in your backpack with your school books.
Once we got our Player’s Handbooks mixed up. Another time his Dragonlance Adventures copy wound up in my bag. And for some reason, I remember hiding some of his D&D stuff in his HeroQuest box. We’d sort it all out and return the books to their rightful owners later.
During summers, we kept the HeroQuest board on the table while playing D&D, all decked out with the miniatures and little furniture, just in case.
But it his parents did find out he was playing D&D, and it all had to go.
They wanted to go after my gaming collection, too.
They wouldn’t let him hang out with me afterward.
Those were tough times. A lot of drama. A lot of accusations.
Somehow things calmed down (well, at least went from boiling to a simmer).
My friend’s parents allowed him to hang out with me again, even letting him play RPGs. Star Wars, by West End Games was fine. Middle Earth Role Playing, by Iron Crown Enterprises, was all right. But not D&D.
But the miniatures, the books, even his copy of HeroQuest were gone. A few months ago I got the itch to track down some of the stuff that had been lost in the “Great Burning.”
When I saw the wraith on Ebay for a really good price, it had to be mine. I’m still looking for a few of those other figures–especially that Cyclops Dragon.
Yet now the wraith is back, ready to terrorize my players in my games.