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Vale and farewell, Jennell Jaquays (1956 - 2024)

Posted by Michael O'Brien on 11th Jan 2024

Vale Jennell Jaquays

Since the 1970s Chaosium has had the good fortune of working with some of the most talented creators in the industry, often when they were just starting out. Jennell Jaquays was one such creator, who went on to make a long-standing and multi-talented contribution to the hobby games industry as a designer, writer and artist. It is with a heavy heart we say goodbye to her today.

While Jennell created material for a host of game systems, we of course revere her for her highly-regarded work for the RuneQuest TTRPG. She was one of our company's earliest artists, contributing her creative talents to some of our most iconic RuneQuest products. This includes Griffin Mountain, regarded as "a true masterpiece of the early days of gaming" (Grognardia). The original cover art was done as a painting and is one of the most cherished items in my personal collection – it hangs on the wall in my office, I'm looking at it now as I write this.

Cover painting for Griffin Mountain by Jennell Jaquays

Jennell not only illustrated Griffin Mountain, but co-wrote it with Greg Stafford and Rudy Kraft. It's rightly considered one of the greatest TTRPG campaigns ever written.

Other iconic RuneQuest titles Jennell was involved with include Cults of Terror. Jennell not only did the terrifying cover art, but wrote the Cult of Thanatar, one of the most fearsome and horrifying antagonists ever created for the game. Jennell's more recent work to feature in RuneQuest-Glorantha publications includes the covers for Wyrms Footnotes #15 and Greg Stafford's The Sea Cave, part of RuneQuest Classic's Old School RQ Resource Pack.

Cults of Terror

One subject near and dear to Jennell was Ducks! The earliest visual depiction of Ducks in a TTRPG context was her cover art for Wyrm's Footnotes #8, drawn in 1979. Jennell brought them to life in Glorantha, probably more than any other single individual, and we thank her for bringing more humor to our gaming table. In that vein, for Judge's Guild Jennell wrote and illustrated Legendary Duck Tower, a spoof on her own 1979 D&D module Dark Tower.

Wyrms Footnotes #8 and Legendary Duck Tower

As a talented sculptor of miniatures, she added another dimension to our gaming experiences, once again often with a bit of humor. Back in the early 1980s Jennell sculpted a series of Gloranthan miniatures for Martian Metals. Her love of miniatures carried on to this day, and some of the last TTRPG projects she was involved with featured or were inspired by her miniatures work.

We grieve with all of those who knew Jennell, especially her family. We are certain her work will live on and continue to inspire future generations of TTRPG creators. 

We at the Chaosium fondly remember all the wonderful works you created for us, and for others. You have earned your seat at the table of gaming greats many times over. Vale, and farewell, Jennell.

— Rick Meints, President Chaosium Inc.