D&D General Industry Veteran Jennell Jaquays Passes


Jennell Jaquays was an important figure in the development of Dungeons & Dragons and the tabletop roleplaying game industry. She passed away today at the age of 68. Known for her work on Dark Tower and Caverns of Thracia, she was a game designer and artist; she was responsible for many RPG covers, including Dragon Mountain. Jennell worked for TSR, Judges Guild, and Chaosium, amongst others, as well as video game companies, working on Quake and Age of Empires, and was also an activist for trans rights, instrumental in bringing about important legislation as creative director for the Transgender Human Rights Institute. Jenny had been suffering from Guillain-Barré syndrome in recent years.

Our condolences go out to Jennell's friends and family. The industry lost a legend today.

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I think Dark Tower was my first experience with her work and I loved it. The reincarnated version kickstarter is in proofs right now. It would be nice if they found a way to put a memorial in before the final printing, but I'm not expecting they'll have the opportunity.
Caverns of Thracia will be up next. When that campaign runs, I’d bet there’ll be a tribute, as well as sth in the actual books.

Dark tower is beyond proofing stage for the books, in fact, the slipcases are in the final proofing stages now.

Regardless, the three book set will be the ultimate testament to her work,

RIP Ms Jaquays.

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I was introduced to her work a LONG time ago when I was 13 or so, joining my first D&D campaign outside of my house with people I met on a BBS. Every Saturday, we'd play and have the best times.

Part of what made that campaign so amazing was the use of her Central Casting: Heroes of Legend book. It's a very thorough and full lifepath system for various systems including AD&D. My ranger had a very full background, including being blessed at birth by Sif to have ... unearthly beautiful hands?? It doesn't make sense probably but...

Thanks for the memories.


Frumious Flumph (Your Grace/Your Eminence)
Griffin Mountain (for RuneQuest 2nd edition) is still an incredible piece of work, in a library of incredible works. But that one taught me a lot about designing a plausible-feeling region for a campaign. It's not a superficial travelogue, or a dry academic text, it's exactly what a GM needs to bring the location alive to a degree that has rarely been matched. When RuneQuest 3rd edition came out, Avalon Hill redid it as Griffin Island, stripping much that made it unique and flavorful in favor of putting in orcs and common fantasy tropes. Regardless, the original is a bright light in gaming that few people have really given a chance.

RIP, she will be long remembered in our hobby, and her spark will have given wings to many worlds and adventures!

Jennell Jaquays was one of the true giants in our hobby, and an inspiration for so many. She is (AFAIK) the only trans person in the Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts & Design (aka Origin Awards) Hall of Fame, and her impact on me, and millions of other gamers as both a contributor to the hobby and as a person, will never be forgotten.

You were, and always will be, a legend.
Jaquays partner is also trans and I believe a big part of the original Bard's Tale game, so I'd be surprised to have them not recognized as well.


People mention Quake and later games, but before those she played a huge role in pretty much every game from Coleco for the ColecoVision. That was my #1 console as a kid and my life would have been very, very duller without her


I'm so sorry to hear this. She was an amazing designer and had such a tremendous influence on the entire industry. I'll always have tremendous respect for her.

Saw it on Facebook. I know she had been in bad health recently, and it's sad to see it end this way. An important and iconic pioneer of the industry in more ways than one.

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