The buyer’s guide to Fantasy Wargaming

I’ve posted a lot about my love for Fantasy Wargaming, the (in)famous book that dared to challenge D&D and made it into mall bookstores and the Science Fiction Book Club. The fact that it had such wide distribution means that copies are still pretty plentiful on the used book market, but I’ve noticed that the listings can be rather confusing.

There were three editions of Fantasy Wargaming, each with some interesting features. They vary physically and in content. I’ve included photos of my copies, which you can, as always, click to embiggen.

The UK edition, published by Patrick Stephens Ltd., in 1981, is identifiable by the fact that it has a unique ISBN (international standard book number) — 0850594650. Physically distinctive are the extent (222 pages, 25 cm tall) and the comparatively dark printing of both text and illustrations. The dust jacket also has the most vivid color of any edition.

Cover of the Patrick Stephens (UK) edition

The UK edition

Two editions were produced in the USA by Stein & Day. The US “trade edition” or “first US edition” (I use scare quotes as it is not a named edition) is a bit larger, such that it is about the same size an AD&D book. It also had an ISBN (0812828623) for ease of distribution. The extra height and width meant they could spread the content over slightly fewer pages — xii, 208 pages, 28 cm. The cover boards are printed with the jacket design, and it has the well-known tag “The highest level of all” included on the cover. The US publisher also took the trouble to index it, and introduce a few errors. The text erroneously states that the animal table at the end of the bestiary follows on the overleaf. More importantly the first printing (1982) lacks the second page of the weapons table and instead repeats the armor table; second printing (1984?) corrects this though. Otherwise the content is mostly the same. The publisher did change British spellings to those customary in the US, and made some revisions to the explanation of money conversions which I understand introduces some inconsistency because the editor didn’t understand the references to modern British coinage. From what I can tell, at some point Henry Holt & Co. must have been involved in the distribution, as used booksellers often list them as the publisher.

Cover of the first US (trade) edition

The US trade edition as seen in Waldenbooks, B Dalton, etc.

The “book club edition” also appeared in 1982. It has no ISBN, which is usual for book club editions. It is closer to the size of typical novel, at 300 pages and just 22 cm tall. Like the UK edition it has a dust jacket, and like the trade edition it has an index. There are several internal typos, such as sentences repeated or lines reversed here and there, but as far I as I can tell all printings are complete in terms of the tables. The print is noticeably fainter than that of the other editions, and the paper is rather thin. The dust jacket has the title in a box that takes up comparatively more “real estate” on the cover and Baphomet’s horns are covered by it (intentionally, perhaps, to downplay the image’s satanism in a time of Satanic panic?). Many popular magazines carried Sci Fi Book Club ads, and a thumbnail of the cover featured prominently for a while in the two-page spreads next to familiar fantasy, horror, and science fiction novels.

Cover of the Sci Fi Book club edition

The Science Fiction Book Club edition

When FW is offered for sale, the sellers may not be especially careful about which edition is on offer, at least between the US editions. It will be worth your while to ask for the page count or a photo as the speediest identifier. Otherwise note whether a dust jacket is mentioned, which points to the UK or book club edition, and the presence of “Highest level of all” either as part of the title or in the description will tell you it’s a US edition. Note also that booksellers may use the 13-digit ISBN, which technically would not appear on any printing as 13 digits were only adopted in the 21st century. But the US ISBN-13 is 9780812828627 and the UK ISBN-13 is 9780850594652. Most frustratingly, the ISBN may be on listings for the book club edition, perhaps because the seller can’t find an ISBN on it but sees the trade ISBN in some other source. (Here’s where I could write more about the dismal practices of used booksellers but that’s depressing.)

Prices vary widely. Right now the US editions can be had for under $10 but you can pay much more if you want. The UK edition is scarcer, at least in the US, but can be had for under $30 at the time of this writing. [These prices are based on a quick search at Bookfinder, an aggregator of Amazon, eBay, and various larger used book dealers. Depending on how saturated the market is, these prices can easily double or triple, at least temporarily.]

In my opinion the trade edition is nice to have as it uses larger print and some tables are more readable, but the UK edition has the most careful layout of the three.

Published in: on October 25, 2022 at 6:00 pm  Comments (1)  
Tags:

The Necromancer’s Bane

I stumbled across this very reasonably priced booklet on Wayne’s Books when I was looking at some other stuff. I’d never heard of it, but I have been getting more interested in the history of fantasy wargames so I figured I’d check it out.

I found almost nothing else about it, apart from seeing that there were two supplements shown on BoardGameGeek: The Necromancer’s Spell Book and The Necromancer Besieged. As pretty much nothing else seems to be recorded about this game online, I thought I’d record what I’ve found out.

The introduction is sparse but claims that the rules were published in 1988 “at the request of Wargamers via Irregular Miniatures,” a company that is still around. It says the rules are meant for battles in a fantasy world like Middle Earth, Hyboria, or other mythical worlds (the text later references Andelain as well), but the army & creature lists are very Tolkien-centric. The main addition to the usual Tolkien-inspired bestiary of elves, dwarves, orcs, and so on is the Unicorn, a singular creature that occasionally joins the forces of Light against the Necromancer’s forces of darkness.

The mechanics of the rules are very calculation-driven, with small “random factors” added at various points in the calculations give variable outcomes. Each race (elves, men, dwarves, orcs & goblins) have a few special characteristics, such as elves never routing from combat. They also have various defense and attack ratings, which are used to determine casualties in combat. The points value of a creature is the defense value, which ranges from 5 (for a lesser orc or a halfling) to 1000 (for wizards, demons, dragons, and the singular Unicorn, more on that later). Being armored adds 5 points to the defense score (and points cost). This is probably ok, though I can’t help but notice that different races have features that vary considerably in power. For example goblins can only fight in two ranks while most others can fight in 3 or 4,  and are much slower to change formation than other infantry, which will put them at a bigger disadvantage than their slightly reduced attack values would suggest. I’ll need to play out some combats to see how hopeless the forces of darkness really are.

The Unicorn is singled out as a unique creature and is in fact the “Necromancer’s bane” of the title. It appears in 10% of battles (randomly determined, with no points cost) on the side of the forces of Light.

The rules give basing conventions for 6mm, 15mm, and 25mm miniatures, noting that Irregular’s 6mm figures are precast on the correct sized base. I checked with Irregular for more information about the rules and their relationship to the company, and learned that the publisher at “Brigade Games,” was Brian Gregory who also sculpted their 2mm figure range. Mr. Gregory passed away a few years ago; Michael C. Thompson, the author of the rules, was a friend of his. I haven’t been able to track down any further information about either. The acknowledgements thank Thompson’s wife Sharron and the Newton Aycliffe Wargames Group who play-tested the rules. (This group doesn’t seem to be around any more, but I did find an announcement of game shop opening in the area called “Brigade Headquarters.” So maybe there is some continuity there?) The “further reading” just lists Tolkien, Howard, and Donaldson — the mythical worlds already mentioned in the introduction and text — and the first expansion, The Necromancer’s Spell Book. No one is credited for the illustrations. The cover is ok, but the internal illustrations are even more amateurish line drawings.

I heard from another collector who has the expansions, and he reports that they add a bunch of spells, rules for single/personal combats, and rules for additional races including the undead (in the case of the Spell Book) and rules for sieges and naval combat, along with a wind spell (in Besieged). These would likely make the game seem more complete.  I only have the core booklet, and immediately wondered why a game named after a necromancer* had no undead troops, and also noticed a lack of chariots and various creatures that are mentioned in the first rule book.

The only other information I’ve gleaned is that the rules are regarded as unplayable. I’m not sure if this is true, but the long lists of factors that adjust melee and morale are daunting. Moreover a great deal is left to the players’ discretion, such as how many spell points a wizard should get, magic items for heroes and wraiths, and most importantly how orders (which are to be written before the game for each unit) are to be interpreted and applied. It’s clearly meant more for friendly games than competitions. The fact that the game was play-tested before publication seems to argue it is in fact playable, but the wargames of today and those of the 1980s are vastly different, and I’m not really tempted to try these out. Although it is just 22 pages long, I can’t help but think the time investment to figure out the rules would be pretty big.


*To be fair, it’s probably more of a reference to the necromancer in the Hobbit — which most readers of LotR identify with Sauron.

Published in: on October 7, 2022 at 6:00 pm  Comments (2)  
Tags: ,

A few weirdos

Here a few more things I painted for Ral Partha Legacy, just for fun. Not sure if they’ll ever make it to their web catalog but they were neat minis to paint. They’re from the “Savage and Sparkle” line, originally released by Thunderbolt Mountain. The story appears to be that Tom Meier had his kids design some figures.

First up is “Slug Eat-Your-Face.” I think that’s both his name and what he does. The model is based on an original idea by Meier’s son.

I painted him like a banana slug. They really made an impression on me when I visited Humboldt County, California, years ago.

RPL asks that all their models for the volunteer painting project be undercoated in black. This absolutely improves how they photograph, not least because areas that are inadvertently missed by the paintbrush show as black (rather than white, as is the case with my own figures).

Nest up are a small family of “Woolies.” Unnatural fur colors made sense to me — they remind me a bit of Muppets.

I’m happy with how their eyes turned out, especially the one with an open mouth. Its eyes are kind of rolling back, like a shark’s.

Published in: on September 26, 2022 at 6:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: ,

Chaos horde for Ral Partha Legacy

These were also painted for Ral Partha Legacy. Assorted Chaos Warriors.

Three knights, mounted on elephants.

The elephants were originally used for an ogre/giant rider, but these knights fit nicely.

Jacob at RPL was so happy with their look that he asked me if I’d do more in the same color scheme: black, red, and gold. I made the gold reddish by glazing it with some thinned down Citadel “speed-paint.”

Unfortunately, I couldn’t quite replicate the process and I feel like these turned out a bit drabber. I must have undercoated the elephants’ armor in white, which I did not do for the rest. (To be fair, RPL does ask for black undercoating as it makes for better photos and a consistent look to their armies.)

Most of the figures he sent were Tom Meier sculpts I recognized from the later period of the original Ral Partha, obviously influenced by Tom’s time in England with Citadel and the market trend of scale creep, but still distinctively Meier sculpts.

I have to admit that I never liked the wide stances on some of these, as you can’t really fit them onto standard bases (1″ round or square for RPGs, or 20-30mm deep stands for WRG type games).

The axe-men kind of grew on me, though, and could be perfect Chaos Thugs for Warhammer.

My favorites are guys with the spiked mace and the ones with the horned helmets. The mace-men look like serious villains. The axe-men remind me strongly of Peter Mullen‘s illustration style — stark, angular, and lanky rather than bulky even in armor.

The “command” group are a bit smaller than the knights, but have their own baroque charm.

This pair seems to be loosely based on Frazetta’s Death Dealer. I have the much older “Superhero” that was based on another version of the Death Dealer, though the detail is not very crisp. Beyond Ral Partha’s two versions, I think there are at least a half dozen other figures based on him as well.

This one was a big surprise. The Black Prince, a familiar Ral Partha character, but mounted on some kind of brontothere.

The whole horde arrayed.

Published in: on September 25, 2022 at 10:00 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: ,

New recruits for the Army of Darkness

The very first miniature I remember buying was a skeleton. A hobby shop in town had several of the Grenadier large boxed sets open under the counter, and you could buy a loosey for $1. I picked the skeleton with a sword raised over his head — a very simple sculpt, and, it turned out, very fragile. But I had loved skeleton decorations at Halloween, and was kind of obsessed with drawing them and so on to the extent that my parents briefly thought I wanted to be a doctor when I grew up. Anyway I have slowly been working getting all my undead figures painted, and earlier this year I hacked away at the cavalry and a few other larger pieces. Photo dump!

These ghostly riders are a pair of Prince August undead riders I cast from a mold and a Heritage undead rider from the Knights & Magick range.

Since I have the mold and lots of metal, I made a handful of riders to fill out the ranks. These are painted more like traditional skeletonmen. The shield for the rider is, unfortunately, where they decided to place the main sprue opening (where you pour in the molten metal) so so several of them I just added a plastic shield rather than try to reconstruct the demon face that is supposed to be on the small heater shield.

 

I also decided to repair and touch up some skeleton cavalry I painted in the early 1990s. These are all Grenadier — the first two from boxed sets and the others from Fantasy Lords blister packs.

This big fellow I painted for Ral Partha Legacy. They sent me another as payment, but I haven’t decided if I want to use undead crew or not. Since this one has skeletons crewing it, I tried to make the mammoth look like he’d been revived from the dead too — hence the bluish skin on the trunk and eyelids and blood seeping from the ear. I probably should have added some gore or ribs poking through the coat, but I didn’t want to aler the model in case they use it in their catalog rather than just for convention games.

These next ones are all Grenadier — two zombie riders and good old Napoleon Boneyparts on the litter. I have a second Napoleon with a bunch of other skeletons added to a large base for use in wargames, but I when I chanced to get this copy I decided to try to leave leave him as cast. Like the Prince August riders above, I went for “speed painting” on these.

The rest of these are conversions and kitbashes. First up, a Dragontooth figure, called “Rictus, the zombie king.” Mine was lacking his sword and head. I gave him a Citadel plastic head and left his hand empty, as if he’s waving his troops onward.

I have very, very few Dragontooth minis in my collection. I never saw them in stores and the company folded in the 1980s. The few I have turned up in assorted job lots. They are certainly crude, but have a ton of personality. Tom Loback, who did most of the sculpts, was a serious artist and worked on all kinds of things after he got out of miniatures, including building driftwood statues that he left, unsigned, along the river near his home.

Next up is a kit bash using a Grenadier horse, Rafm shield, Maurauder rider, and an arm supplied by figure from the Lionheart game. He was also speed-painted and the photos show a lot of imperfections, but at least he’s not a pile of loose bits any more.

The last was a very long term project. The cart driver is a Citadel figure I chanced to pick up in a bag of bits at an Origins convention in 2003 or 2004. I’d been planning to build my own version of the plague cart since I first saw it in a white dwarf in the 80s or 90s, but the kit was so expensive. A year or two ago I realized I finally had all the bits I’d need.

The horse is a Eureka mini from their Chaos Army line. The bottom of the cart was a partial wagon from a Heritage kit for an orc war-drum. I scratch-built the yoke and poles, rather crudely. The sides of the wagon are from a skeletal dragon. I had just the tail, neck, and ribs from a job lot I  bought online.

The banner is from a Reaper kit — it was to be carried by a wraith, who I instead armed with a sword. The additional bits (skulls, heads, etc.) are from Games Workshop and Zvedza plastic kits.

The cargo is a coffin from a Minifigs kit — I built mine using the pile of bones instead, so I had this loose coffin.

I did eventually finish the bases on these with flocking and grass tufts, not pictured.

Published in: on September 23, 2022 at 5:30 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , ,

More orc & goblin cavalry

Still terrible photos from my phone but here are the rest of the orc & goblin cavalry I’ve finished.

First up: some boar riders. These are some Citadel figures — an orc and a goblin.

The next two are from a company I have found very little about. They were called Enigma, naturally. They had a short run in late 1990s, making figures that were chunky knock-offs of Citadel’s Warhammer Fantasy and 40k lines. They always came with solid metal bases that were separate from the figure, but with no slots or points to attach them. These two are a leader/boss type and a shaman.

Net up various conversions. The first two are Milton Bradley/Games Workshop BattleMasters figures mounted on toys — in this case a chicken and a rat. They were pretty fun to do.

The next two are Ral Partha hobgoblins which were meant to ride boars as well. I used one boar to draw my Grenadier orc beer wagon, and the other I use without the rider, so these two needed mounts. I used some home-cast horses from Prince August molds for them, and I think they look pretty good.

 

This next figure was really beast, both to assemble and to paint. It’s a very old Grenadier war mammoth. The mahout is original (I think it’s an orc or hobgoblin?) but the two crew are from the AD&D Orcs Lair set. The axe-man in that set breaks easily and mine has a pike to replace it.

Here’s a look at the crew before I glued them into the howda.

Lastly, an orc riding a dragon from the Grenadier Fantasy Lords line. I repainted this one as the paint was worn off in several spots.

Published in: on September 22, 2022 at 5:30 pm  Comments (2)  
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Wolf riders

Long time no posts. I have been painting here and there though. Here’s a photo dump of some orc and goblin cavalry — all wolf riders. Assorted other mounts to follow.

First up, some really old Custom Cast figures: Warg Riders from the Der Kriegspielers line. I had a few from an earlier lot, and they were bolstered by a set of someone gifted to me. They have a mix of bows, axes, and spears.

The giant pumpkin heads on them are great.

I also painted a bunch of wolf riders for Ral Partha Legacy. Below are some archers (the ones I sent in to RPL; they sent me a set of similar figures as “payment” but I haven’t taken pictures of them.

There were the first wolves I really tried to give something approximating a realistic coat to. In the past I always just did them uniformly black or grey, but for these I checked a reference photo of a wolf and tried to follow that.

 

Before I did the archers, I did a group with hand weapons. I don’t seem to have photographed them, but here are the “payment” set. I based them on 1.5″ poker chips, and later added flocking.

Here’s a group shot with a few that I didn’t photograph separately, and a couple of oddballs on nonwolves.

Finally, a line up of wolf riders showing some variations. The far left one is a Tom Meier sculpt, recently released by Ral Partha Legacy. I think they may have been originally intended to be part of his Thunderbolt Mountain line, before it shut down in 2017.

The next one is a Nick Lung wolf rider from Grenadier’s Fantast Warriors line.

Next to him, with the axe, is a very early Ral Partha wolf rider, also sculpted by Tom Meier decades before the Legacy one, perhaps around 1978. He is also re-released by Ral Partha Legacy, though my copy is from the 70s.

And last is one of the Custom Cast again, from about 1976 I think.

 

Published in: on September 21, 2022 at 5:30 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , ,

“I did my own research!,” or, Lead rot by any other name

In an online forum*, there was some discussion of the best storage methods for older metal figures. They’re usually made of a mix of an alloy of lead, tin, and various other metals such as antimony, bismuth, zinc, and so on. Many collectors have noted that some figures begin to show signs of corrosion where the metal begins to “rot” away turning into a powdery, greyish dust. Hobbyists have long called this “lead rot” and discussed the best ways to prevent it and whether it is possible to salvage miniatures with signs of lead rot. The consensus has been that lead reacts, particularly in the presence of moisture and/or extreme temperature, with acid vapors to start a self-sustaining** process of corrosion. That is, the products of the corrosion include more acid vapor that in turn corrodes more of the lead. The main culprits most often cited are wood and wood products like carboard “outgassing” acetic acid and tannins. PVA (“white”) glue, certain other materials possibly including the foam used in miniatures packaging, and so on are also implicated. The most frequent advice is to discard affected miniatures, although some will describe a process of neutralizing the acids and scrubbing away the corroded lead as a fix, with a more involved process using mineral spirits and other chemicals described by some toy soldier enthusiasts. Prevention measures are priming and/or sealing the miniatures, storage in plastic or metal containers, and good ventilation and/or desiccants in the cases.

Indeed there is a pretty well-established folklore about these topics, so I was surprised to see one commenter argue pretty strenuously that “lead rot” is not a real thing. The commenter has a history of working with various manufacturers. I can’t tell if they were ever an employee of them or more on the periphery as a consultant, freelance, etc. — they do however seem to have real contacts going way back and some insider knowledge. I am not naming them because some of their comments seem to have been deleted and their profile  seems to indicate a preference for privacy.

But the gist of their comments were that:

  1. the scientific literature does not describe “lead rot” or use the term, and even Wikipedia has no article on “lead rot
  2. zinc pest” and “tin pest” on the other hand are well-known in the literature (and on Wikipedia) and have similar presentations (metal corroding into a white powder/dust in a self-sustaining and irreversible process)
  3. in fact all cases described as lead rot are really zinc pest or tin pest, due to poorly made alloys and bad advice on cost-savings in the mixture of metals
  4. the original source for all the folklore on lead rot was a retracted article that is no longer published on the site it first appeared on

I am not a chemist and don’t pretend to be one. I am however a librarian and take an interest in rooting out disinformation and finding sources. So while I am not really competent to evaluate the chemistry involved, I am able to examine the four claims. I went with the easiest first: 4, the retracted article.

A search of the Retraction Watch Database (admittedly not comprehensive, but a good start) didn’t turn up any retracted scientific articles on lead corrosion. I was pretty sure I knew the article the commenter was talking about: a museum conservator’s report on the corrosion of lead components of ship models. It was formerly hosted here: http://www.dt.navy.mil/cnsm/lead_01.html but is now here: https://www.navsea.navy.mil/Home/Warfare-Centers/NSWC-Carderock/Resources/Curator-of-Navy-Ship-Models/Lead-Corrosion-in-Exhibition-Ship-Models/. That the old link is broken is no surprise to librarians, we’ve been discussing “link rot” since the world wide web debuted. I could find no evidence that there was any effort to “retract” this article, and suppose that the fact that the original link is most commonly given on web pages discussing lead rot, the commenter simply misunderstood the situation.

Point 1, that “lead rot” is not part of the scientific lexicon, is technically true. A federated search of many databases available through my university library*** turned up no articles using the phrase “lead rot”. However it should be noted that it’s often the case that popular usage and technical jargon is not always the same. Searching instead for articles about lead corrosion in the presence of acetic acid led me to a host of articles discussing the phenomenon, how to measure it by various methods, and most address conservation issues specifically. To be fair, the focus for these articles tend to be organ pipes and museum artifacts like lead seals. However, the articles do tend to confirm that that acetic acid (and other organic acids such as formic acid, a product of formaldehyde reacting with other chemicals in the air) catalyze lead corrosion. At least one paper does describes the reaction: Misallamova et al. (2019):

Lead and acetic acid, in the presence of oxygen, produce lead acetate and water; lead acetate reacts with carbon dioxide and water to produce another lead compound (some kind of lead carbonate — presumably known as the lead rot) and acetic acid. However this only described as “active corrosion,” and a chemist friend points out that this doesn’t qualify as autocatalytic, just catalysis, as the first equation produces one molecule of the lead compound and the second requires three molecules. I think that since the second shows three acetic acids, in the real world we could expect the reactions to be self-sustaining provided there is enough humidity and carbon dioxide present, and no ventilation, but again, I’m not a chemist.

As an aside, I’d also note that the existence or lack of a Wikipedia page is doesn’t carry a lot of weight in this controversy. I suppose this was just a simple way to show that there is not much use of the term “lead rot” outside the hobby.

Point 2 seems correct. Cornelius et al. (2017) notes that lead-tin alloys are resistant to tin pest, and indeed lead-tin solders are used in electronics for this reason (they are no longer allowed in plumbing due to toxicity). However tin pest can still occur in lead-tin alloys, so extremes of cold should be avoided. However as tin pest is supposed to occur at very low subfreezing temperatures, I find it hard to believe it’s an issue outside the arctic and Antarctic. Moreover tin pest is more of a crumbling as the tin molecules form a fragile crystalline structure, so it would not look much like lead rot.

I didn’t find much about zinc pest, but it does occur here and there in the literature.  Zinc pest hand just needs water so that could certainly form in damp places which would also be prone to lead rot.

Point 3 seems partly true. Plumbridge (2008) notes that lead-tin alloys were especially resistant to tin pest (no pest after 4 years at -18 Celsius, but another sample at -40 Celsius did show changes). Moreover the tin pest shown in his alloy tests are more of a disintegration into pieces rather than dust. But it seems likely that various alloy mixes will show different kinds of corrosion. Anecdotally, however, lead rot is not claimed to occur in lead-free alloys, but I’d expect that if folks really didn’t know the difference we’d be hearing about lead rot in them.  Interestingly, Gibson and Watt (2010) report that even a small tin content (1.2% or more) increases the resistance to lead corrosion by acetic acid, so lead/tin miniatures which may have 30% or more tin seem to be poor candidates for lead rot. Anecdotally, early miniature manufacturers were using anything they could find cheaply — a newspaper article on Ral Partha quotes the owner saying they used an alloy consisting of 80% lead before switching to the almost pure tin Ralidium.

Lastly, another commenter on the thread pointed out that the phenomenon of lead rot is remarkably similar to the manufacture of “white lead.” This is well-known process of exposing lead to vinegar fumes in order to produce a white compound for use as a pigment in paint. Vinegar after all is mostly water and acetic acid.

My hunch is that the original commenter was trying to point out that zinc pest and tin pest are problems that can present as something a lot like lead rot, and that it is the cheapest metals (high lead alloys or even pure lead) that are prone to lead rot. Moreover, tin pest is considered autocatalytic in the sense that the reaction will continue using only its own products, while lead rot is more dependent on the continuation of favorable conditions. (Good news! Ish.)

I’ll write up something a bit more thorough at some point in the future, but my references below should be a good starting point for anyone else interested in “lead rot.”

=======

*more specifically, a Facebook group; yes I know I should probably get off Facebook and social media generally

**Apparently the correct term is “autocatalytic” — the reaction products include a catalyst for the same or a related reaction

***My university is pretty strong on chemical engineering, and even has a corrosion engineering program, which the library supports as best it can by buying access to relevant resources

=========

Selected References

Cornelius, B., Treivish, S., Rosenthal, Y., and Pecht, M. (2017). The phenomenon of tin pest: A review. Microelectronics Reliability 79: 175–192.

Deflorian, F., and Fedel, M. (2013) Electrochemical analysis of the degradation of lead alloy organ-pipes due to acetic acid. Journal of Cultural Heritage 14: 254–260.

Gibson, L.T., and Watt, C.M. (2010). Acetic and formic acids emitted from wood samples and their effect on selected materials in museum environments. Corrosion Science 52:172–178.

Misallamova, S., Kouri, M., Strachotova, K.C., Stoulil, J., Popova, K., Dvorakova, P., and Lhotka, M. (2019) Protection of lead in an environment containing acetic acid vapour by using adsorbents and their characterization. Heritage Science 7(76). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40494-019-0317-3

Niklasson, A., Johannsson, L.-G., Svensson, J.-E. (2008) The influence of relative humidity and temperature on the acetic acid vapour-induced atmospheric corrosion of lead. Corrosion Science 50: 3031–3037.

Plumbridge, W. J. (2008) Recent Observations on Tin Pest Formation in Solder Alloys. Journal of Electronic Materials 37 (2): 218-223.

Plumbridge, W.J. (2010) Tin pest in lead-containing solders. Soldering & Surface Mount Technology 22 (1): 56–57.

Published in: on January 9, 2022 at 10:48 am  Comments (8)  
Tags: ,

Visit scenic Omegakron

Omegakron was published in 1984 as the third adventure module for Lords of Creation. The previous adventures were set in more contemporary milieus, but Omegakron is set hundreds of years in the future after a series of disasters leave Akron, Ohio (and presumably the entire Earth) a mutant-haunted ruin. Tom Moldvay lived in the Akron area for years, and the illustrator, Dave Billman, is a University of Akron alumnus. The module is packed with Akron in-jokes and references, and the illustrations feature many recognizable Akron landmarks.

The module’s player handouts are pretty cool, and include a detailed map of Glendale Cemetery and the pamphlet “A brief history of Akron, Ohio” by Tom Moldvay. The pamphlet is intended to give the players both an overview of Akron’s history and clues for the adventure. The history presented is mostly true, with perhaps some elaboration here and there. My favorite tidbits are a macabre incident in Akron’s history (the coffin of a member of an important family was moved, and witnesses reported that it had a window which showed the corpse to be remarkably well-preserved) and some trivia about local woodchucks. I was most delighted by the inclusion of my workplace in the adventure (the University of Akron’s Bierce Library) and that the library is still staffed by librarians despite the apocalypse.

I donated a copy of the module University Archives, because of the Akron connections, and even managed to secure some ephemera related to the module (a soundtrack CD and movie poster for an imagined film of Omegrakron called Novos Akros, 2012 project of a local record store and an bunch of local bands for “free record day”). I put them all in a display at the library, with blown-up images from the module next to photos of the real places as they appear today. You can take the tour here: https://tinyurl.com/TourOmegakron.

Novos Akros is another story. The poster incorporates the characters and monsters in the module, and looks pretty convincing. The CD includes liner notes with a fictitious history of the eccentric filmmaker and his uncompleted film. The CD tracks all evoke the module, with titles based on encounters and events in the adventure; the bands are mostly electronic dance or spacey rock music which would fit pretty well into a science fiction soundtrack. You can give it a listen, and buy the files, here: https://tinyurl.com/NovosAkros.

Published in: on November 6, 2021 at 8:00 am  Comments (5)  
Tags: , ,

BF update: Dyson’s Deathtrap*

The last few Basic Fantasy sessions have bene brutal. A harpy killed the henchmage Brown Julius, along with the torchbearer and pack-bearer. Then the elf was killed by a hell hound — which also brought two other PC’s to death’s door. This week, a medusa surprised the party, stoning the half-ogre, his young ogre apprentice, the gnome MU who was the elf’s replacement, the cleric, and the fighter/bard. Only the dwarf and halfling, and the halfling’s and bard’s retainers, made it out.

This reminded me that there really aren’t any guidelines on the cost of getting spells cast, but Flesh to Stone (and its reverse) is damn high level. They do know of a few higher level NPC magic users (the masters of the late elf and Brown Julius, and also Brown’s older and more popular brother Orange Julius) so that is not totally out of the question, but the players seem content to roll up new characters.

————-

*I wouldn’t really call Dyson’s Delve a deathtrap BTW. It certainly poses some tough encounters but most of the deaths were due to failed saving throws. It’s been fascinating to see how challenging some of these have been, while other encounters that looked like potential TPKs to me were defeated handily. There is definitely a shift in the dangers posed by monsters around the 4 HD mark. Armor Class protected the front line against the lower level foes but area effects, saving throw attacks, and so on make a big difference.

Published in: on September 10, 2021 at 6:30 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: ,
Wayne's Books

Game Gallery ~ Photo Blog

Ann's Immaterium

Mostly physical culture but also writing, gaming, and other dark procrastinations

Skarloc´s

Collecting, modelling, painting and wargaming in 28mm

Dragons Never Forget

What were we talking about again?

This Stuff is REALLY Cool

Young scholars enthusiastic to tell you about COOL RESEARCH STUFF

Fail Squad Games

Tabletop games and adventures

Chuck Wendig: Terribleminds

Hey Did You Know I Write Books

Save Vs. Dragon

"We are here on Earth to fart around. Don't let anybody tell you any different."--Kurt Vonnegut

POWER WORD KILL

Old School Roleplaying and related musings

Hobgoblin Orange

My return to the world of miniature figure painting and RPGs

booksandopinions.com

The Book Reviews You Can Trust!

Dawn of the Lead

Miniature wargaming and the occasional zombie

WordPress.com News

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.

hosercanadian

Miniature Motivation

Take On Rules

Jeremy Friesen - a poor soul consumed by gaming.

Age of Dusk

Roleplaying, reviews and associated paraphernalia.

Roll to Disbelieve

"We are here on Earth to fart around. Don't let anybody tell you any different."--Kurt Vonnegut

A Book of Creatures

A Complete Guide to Entities of Myth, Legend, and Folklore

Making the Past

Diary of an apprentice swordsmith

Ancient & Medieval Wargaming

Using De Bellis Antiquitatis, with the odd diversion...

Riffing Religion

Prophets should be mocked. I'm doing my part.

Cirsova

Magazine of Thrilling Adventure and Daring Suspense

2 Warps to Neptune

Surveying the Gen X landscape and the origins of geek

Dagger and Brush

Miniature painting, wargaming terrain tutorials, reviews, interviews and painting guides

Fractalbat

A lair for gaming, sci-fi, comics, and other geekish pursuits.

tenfootpole.org

I bought these adventure and review them so you don't have to.

9th Key Press

Maps, supplements, and inspiration for roleplaying games.

The Rambling Roleplayer Archives

This site is no longer being updated. Check out the new site at www.rpgrambler.com

The History Blog

History fetish? What history fetish?

Sheppard's Crook

The occasional blog of a closet would -be wargamer and modeller

Yesterweird

A catch all of books, games, and sundry other interests

The Weekly Sift

making sense of the news one week at a time

%d bloggers like this: