Originally when it was founded back in the mid-70's White Dwarf was a good general role-playing game's magazine. It covered D&D, AD&D, Runequest, Traveller, Call of Cthulhu, and many more. This was back when Games Workshop was a company importing and selling all these in the UK. Ian Livingstone was the editor.

It was well enough regarded that they were allowed to print the AD&D combat tables from the Dungeon Master's Guide in issue 13 some 6 months before the guide was published (they were also printed in Dragon Magazine). This issue sold out very quickly.

It also used to some fun comics including "Thrud the Barbarian" and "Travellers" (my favourite). The first comic (whose name I can't remember) was a very early example of the work of David Lloyd (who drew V for Vendetta).

As well as scenarios, reviews, and little games it also used to publish fiction. This included some very funny columns etc. by Dave Langford (editor etc. of the Hugo winning fanzine Ansible).

One high point was that they brought out a set of lead figures to commemorate their fiftieth issue. This included Thrud and Ian the Editor.

Unfortunately when Citadel Miniatures bought Games Workshop they turned White Dwarf into a monthly catalogue for their miniatures with no other real role-playing content at all.

When this happened the editorial offices were moved from London to Nottingham and I believe that basically none of the editorial staff moved. Their last issue (ninety-something with the old Heavy Metal poster as the cover) is interesting. I suggest reading the first letter of each line of the article subtitles on the title page (it is a personal message for the new owner).

Dense dead stars.

White dwarfs are stars that have consumed all the fuel normally used for fusion. Most are earth sized objects with at least half the mass of the Sun. About 94 percent of all stars become white dwarfs.

At one time scientists believed that as they cooled, white dwarfs would get redder and redder. However Brad M. S. Hansen of Princeton University and Saumon of Vanderbilt University independently predicted that white dwarfs should get bluer as they cool because of the hydrogen molecules that form in the stars atmosphere as the stars cool, would absorb infrared light from the surface and re-emit it as blue light.


White dwarfs are the final stage of low-mass stellar evolution.

Low-mass stars, those of roughly 1 to 4 solar masses, undergo a series of evolutionary steps. The evolutionary step right before the star becomes a white dwarf is the ejection of its unfused Hydrogen envelope which then becomes a planetary nebula, which removes ~ 60% of the star’s matter. The remaining core, made up of Carbon and Oxygen then cools and condenses, as it was never massive enough to reach the temperatures required for Carbon fusion.

This core must be under the Chandrasekhar limit of 1.4 solar masses. This is necessary, because the star’s shape is maintained, against the pull of gravity, by something called degeneracy pressure that would not be able to support a more massive star. (The more massive stars become black holes.)

The white dwarf maintains its same size as it cools (remember: degeneracy pressure is fighting gravity which wants to contract) but its luminosity and surface temperature decrease with time, tracking it further and further to the lower right hand corner of the HR diagram. And thus, it simply fades into obscurity.

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