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Jennell Allyn Jaquays was an artist and writer whose works appeared in numerous Dungeons & Dragons products published by TSR. She was credited in most of her works under the alias Paul Jaquays.

The name Jaquays is pronounced "jake-ways".[2]

Life and career[]

Early life[]

From 1972 to 1980, Jaquays lived in Michigan, attending high school and college there.[3] In 1976, the first ever issue of Dragon magazine listed her PO Box address in Spring Arbor.[4] The second issue advertised her as a contact for the Spring Arbor College Dungeoneering Society.[4] Her college D&D games consisted mainly of dungeon crawls, based around a small town which the players once burned to the ground.[5]

In 1978 she attended Origins convention, where she encountered the RuneQuest setting. She continued to play in several AD&D games.[6] Later she ran RuneQuest campaign in an original world, which was more fleshed out, but later would have a lack of time to develop her home campaign.[5]

She graduated from Spring Arbor University with a Bachelor of Arts.[1] She was listed as a Dungeon Master again in Dragon between 1978 and 1980, at that time based in Jackson, Michigan, where she ran D&D, Gamma World, and Starships & Spacemen.[7][8]

In December 1979, Jaquays was invited to the first D&D Masters Tourney, held January 6-7 1980 at TSR's Winter Fantasy convention.[9]

Early RPG and games industry work[]

Jaquays served as editor for the first six issues of fanzine The Dungoneer from 1976-1978, before the position was taken over by Chuck Ansell. She was subsequently hired by Judges Guild, who effectively published the magazine from that point on; Chuck Ansell also later joined Judges Guild.

In summer 1979, Jaquays was contacted by Rudy Kraft to work on the Judges Guild adventure module Adventures Beyond the Pass, contributing writing and maps. The draft was shown to Chaosium founded Greg Stafford and adapted into the RuneQuest sourcebook Griffin Mountain (1981).[2]

She left Judges Guild around 1979 or 1980, leaving her notes for unfinished works with the company. From these notes, the company was able to complete the RuneQuest adventure module Duck Tower. Most of her roleplaying gaming was with the RuneQuest system at this time, and part of that also went into Griffin Mountain.[10]

In 1980, Jaquays was recommended by designer Michael A. Stackpole to join the video game development group at Coleco, working her way up to Director of Game Design. The company would subsequently hire several former TSR employees.[2]

From 1987 to 1993, she once again lived in Michigan, working freelance at the time.[3] In 1987 she began work on an adaption of The Enchanted Wood as an AD&D setting for TSR, but this was ultimately cancelled. However, it went on to inspire DQ1 The Shattered Statue (1987), and parts of the Enchanted Wood appeared in FR5 The Savage Frontier (1988).[10]


In Dragon #203 (Mar 1994), it was announced that TSR hired Jaquays as a staff artist, replacing Gerald Brom.

In 1995, Jaquays was invited as Guest Artist at Glathricon, held on June 9 to 11.[11]


In 1997, during the TSR decline, Jaquays returned to the video games industry. She was recruited by id Software by Call of Cthulhu designer Sandy Petersen, going on to design levels for Quake II and Quake III.[2]

Later life[]

In December 2011, Jaquays came out as a transgender woman.[12] She changed her first name to Jennell.

Around this time, she took part in a homebrew RPG in Atlanta, run by Ryan Dancey.[13]

In August 2012, she moved to Seattle to live with her partner Rebecca Heineman, and establish a game company.In January 2013, Jaquays took part in a Dragonsfoot forum Q&A, where she described working on an RPG sourcebook.[14]

On November 8, 2013, Jaquays married Rebecca Heineman, a veteran programmer in the video games industry.[15]

On October 15, 2023, Jaquays fell ill with Guillan-Barré Syndrome and was hospitalized.[16] On January 10, 2024, Jaquays passed away at the age of 67.[1]


Original D&D[]

Dragon editor Tim Kask would recall that Jaquays' first submission to Dragon was an unsolicited art piece of a wizard reading an inscription, which Kask used for filler art.[17] This may refer to the illustration accompanying Languages, Dragon #1 (Jun 1976), p.3, which was initialed "P.J." Kask and Jaquays would subsequently become good friends.

Jaquays also submitted a color artwork which illustrated Hints for D & D Judges, Dragon #2 (Aug 1976), p.12.

Basic D&D[]

Jaquays contributed the cover art of Mystara sourcebooks Glantri: Kingdom of Magic (1995), Hail the Heroes (1994), Karameikos: Kingdom of Adventure (1994), and Night of the Vampire (1994). She provided interior art for Jeff Grubb's fast-play adventures Eye of the Wyvern (1999) and Wrath of the Minotaur (1999)

She both wrote and provided interior art for the Master module M5 Talons of Night (1987).

She served as graphics coordinator for Mark of Amber (1995), and invented the cover concept which was drawn by Den Beauvais. She served as editor of PC2 Top Ballista (1989). She also contributed additional development to M3 Twilight Calling (1986).

AD&D 1st edition[]

Jaquays contributed art to Deities & Demigods (1e) (1980).

Jaquays wrote FR5 The Savage Frontier (1988), to which she also contributed cartography; and DQ1 The Shattered Statue (1987), which she also illustrated. She co-wrote I12 Egg of the Phoenix (1987), which she developed alongside Frank Mentzer.

Jaquays also contributed sections to a number of AD&D books: the griffons and frost giants ancounters in REF4 The Book of Lairs II (1987), the ghouls, ghosts and mummies sections in REF5 Lords of Darkness (1e) (1988); Level 4: There's No Place Like Up in WG7 Castle Greyhawk (1988), and the adventure Terror in Skyrumble Tor in I13 Adventure Pack I (1987).

She contributed art to Dragon #51 (Jul 1981), Nibar's Keep, Dragon #118 (Feb 1987), The Prince's Birthday, Dragon #122 (Jun 1987), Dragon #124 (Aug 1987), and The Visitor, Dragon #139 (Nov 1988).

AD&D 2nd edition[]

Jaquays contributed the cover art to Country Sites (1995), Cormyr (2e) (1994), WGM1 Border Watch (1993), the Dragon Mountain (1993) boxed set, GA2 Swamplight (1993), Evil Tide (1997), the Savage Coast Campaign Book (1996), Temple, Tower, & Tomb (1994), Howls in the Night (1994), and the Spelljammer product SJR4 Practical Planetology (1991).

She contributed interior art to Encyclopedia Magica Volume Two (1995), Castle Spulzeer (1997), Villains' Lorebook (1998), Volo's Guide to the Sword Coast (1994), Fritz Leiber's Lankhmar: The New Adventures of Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser (1996), Lankhmar: City of Adventure (1e) (1985), and Van Richten's Guide to the Ancient Dead (1994).

She also contributed card art to the Dragonlance Fate Deck for the Saga Game Rules, and several cards in the Blood Wars card game.[18][19]

She provided the cover art to several magazine issues: Dragon #152 (Dec 1989), Dragon #175 (Nov 1991), Dragon #182 (Jun 1992), Dungeon #7 (Sep/Oct 1987), Dungeon #13 (Sep/Oct 1988), Dungeon #18 (Jul/Aug 1989), Dungeon #24 (Jul/Aug 1990), Dungeon #28 (Mar/Apr 1991), Dungeon #36 (Jul/Aug 1992), Dungeon #39 (Jan/Feb 1993), and Dungeon #49 (Sep/Oct 1994).

She contributed interior illustrations to The Dragon's Bestiary, Dragon #149 (Sep 1989), Ivory in the Blood, Dragon #158 (Jun 1990), Magic Gone Haywire, Dragon #163 (Nov 1990), Harpers Bold, Dragon #168 (Apr 1991), The Only Good Orc, Dragon #196 (Aug 1993), The Black Pegasus Trading Co., Dragon #199 (Nov 1993), Getting Back to Nature, Dragon #205 (May 1994), Blood on the Snow, Dungeon #3 (Jan/Feb 1987), The Wooden Mouse, Dungeon #11 (May/Jun 1988), The Wererats of Relfren, Dungeon #13 (Sep/Oct 1988), Chadranther's Bane, Dungeon #18 (Jul/Aug 1989), Pride of the Sky, Dungeon #20 (Nov/Dec 1989), Old Sea-Dog, Dungeon #23 (May/Jun 1990), Legerdemain, Dungeon #29 (May/Jun 1991), Moving Day, Dungeon #43 (Sep/Oct 1993), and Welcome to the Krypthome, Dungeon #52 (Mar/Apr 1995).

Her art was featured in The Worlds of TSR artbook. She provided dice art on TSR's Dragon Dice game.[20] She would later describe this as her favorite piece of art, which would be mounted on the wall of her studio.[21]

She served as graphics coordinator on the AD&D Dungeon Master Screen & Master Index (1995), Player's Option: Combat & Tactics (1995), the Birthright products Player's Secrets of Ariya (1995) and Player's Secrets of Tuornen (1995), FOR9 Wizards and Rogues of the Realms (1995), the Ravenloft product A Light in the Belfry (1995), Van Richten's Guide to the Vistani (1995),

She is credited as an editor on the Spelljammer sourcebook SJR1 Lost Ships (1990). She contributed to The North: Guide to the Savage Frontier (1996) sourcebook The Wilderness.

As a writer, Jaquays co-wrote DMGR1 Campaign Sourcebook and Catacomb Guide (1990) with William W. Connors. Jaquays wrote the sections on campaign creation and DMing, amounting from Chapter 1, "Logistics of Play", to Chapter 9, "Making NPCs Live". The section was originally written for inclusion in the Dungeon Master Guide (2e) (1989), but was cut for space. The book was completed by Connors, who was given the task on his first day of work at TSR.[22]

She wrote the RuneQuest article When Gods Walk the Earth, Dragon #144 (Apr 1989).

She recieved an acknowledgement in a long list of names in The Magic Encyclopedia Volume One (1992), and again in Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting (2e) (1993), which identified has an artist, cartographer, and game designer. She was thanked in City of Splendors (1994) as one of the people whose works paved the way for that product, and likewise thanked in the Realms products Demihuman Deities (1998), Drizzt Do'Urden's Guide to the Underdark (1999), Forgotten Realms Adventures (1990), and Spellbound (1995). She received special thanks in Masque of the Red Death and Other Tales (1994).

D&D 3rd edition[]

She is credited as interior artist on the Monster Manual (3.0) (2000), and the Monster Manual (3.5) (2003), specifically the art of the sahuagin which appeared in both books.

D&D 5th edition[]

Jaquays is cited in the Forgotten Realms sourcebooks Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide (2015) and Storm King's Thunder (2016), both for her work on FR5 The Savage Frontier (1988).

Third-party works[]

Jaquays designed and provided art for numerous third-party D&D adventure modules, most notably Judges Guild's Caverns of Thracia (1979) and Dark Tower (1980).[2]

Between 1976-1978, Jaquays published adventures in The Dungeoneer fanzine: Issue #1's F'Chelrak's Tomb, Issue #3's Borshak's Lair, Issue #5 and #6's Night of the walking Wet, Morkendaine Manor (following the magazine's acquisition by Judges Guild), and the V&V superhero adventure Cyberdum.[23]

Non-D&D gaming works[]

In 1978, Jaquays contributed art for the counters of sci-fi microgame Olympica, sold by Austin, Texas game company Metagaming.[24].

While working for Judges Guild she wrote and/or illustrated various books, including Hellpits of Nightfang (1979), Book of Treasure Maps I (1979), Dark Tower (1979), Legendary Duck Tower (1980), and The Unknown Gods. She subsequently illustrated and co-authored Chaosium's 'Griffin Mountain (1981), authored SPI's The Enchanted Wood (1981).[23]

She provided art for Traveller supplement 9. Fighting Ships.[25] She was both an author and interior illustrator for Avalon Hill's RuneQuest product Griffin Island (1976).[26]

In 1988 she contributed to Citybook III: Deadly Nightshade, a generic RPG product by Blade/Flying Bluffalo;[27]; the Top Secret accessory TS3 Orion Rising;[28] and interior illustrations for the TORG RPG.[29]

In 1990 she wrote Mutants in Avalon, a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles RPG set in a post-apocalyptic England where mutants recreate the Knights of the Round Table.[30]

In 1993 she provided additional design to the RuneQuest supplement Shadows on the Borderland,[31] and in 1994 contributed illustrations to the Earthdawn gamemaster Pack by FASA.[32] She contributed illustrations to West End Games' Star Wars supplement Classic Adventures: Volume Three.

She wrote Central Casting: Heroes of Legend, a book which would be in high demand by 2005, and similar books for modern and future RPG settings.[33].

Video game works[]

While working at Cocelo between 1983 and 1984, Jaquays designed the Roller controller and worked at project lead on Coleco games including Donkey King, Turbo, Carnival, Mousetrap, Ladybug, Omega Race, Blackjack/Poker, and Wargames.[23]

Jaquays contributed art and level design to various video games, most notably Quake II and Quake III. In Quake II, she designed the singleplayer maps Lost Station (train), Outer Courts (city1), Lower Palace (city2), and Upper Palace (city3); and the multiplayer map city64. In Quake III: Arena she designed Q3DM8: Brimstone Abbey, Q3DM11: Deva Station, Q3DM12: The Dreadwerkz, and Q3CTF2: Troubled Waters, and in Quake III: Team Arena she designed MPTEAM5: Teamwerkz, MPTEAM8: Assassin's Roost, MPTERRA2: Distant Screams, and MPQ3CTF2: More Trouble. Her level design ethos was to create locations which felt like real places, rather than just dungeons to test the players' combat skill.[34][35][23]


  • "For many types of games, I believe that random elements or random combining of elements makes things particularly interesting. Combining things in unexpected ways can create freshness and stimulate creativity."[36]
  • "I think character names should roll of the tongue AND be obviously pronounceable. They should have a certain rhythm to them, a flow. I even used those criteria when selecting my own name. Did I also mention that I like alliteration? Finally, I'm also not beyond making them a teeny bit humorous (such as Grisson Oyl in the Egg of the Phoenix)."[37]

Reception and influence[]

Jaquays-style dungeon design[]

Jaquays' early Judges Guild adventure modules introduced a style of dungeon design which featured complex interconnections. She described early D&D adventures as "little more than monster hotels", and sought to create dungeons conceptualized as "world-spaces built by people (or monsters) for a purpose, not just a random set of rooms and halls occupying all available space on a letter-sized sheet of graph paper."[2]

This style of non-linear dungeon design is referred to as "Jaquaysing the Dungeon", following Jason Alexander's 2010 blog post which analyzed this design philosophy.[38] Jaquays-style dungeons feature non-uniform design, multiple entrances and paths, changes in elevation, and multiple connections between different locations.[39]

This style of dungeon aims to feel authentic and realistic, giving players the feeling of exploring a real location and slowly understanding its sense of place. Players have more organic and meaningful choices when exploring, and enjoy discovering secrets or alternative paths.[39]

Praise and criticism[]

In Dungeon #22 (Mar/Apr 1990), letters page contributor William Vernon from Venezuela praised Jaquays' art in the magazine, especially interior illustrations.

In Dungeon #65 (Nov/Dec 1997), letters page contributor Jason Alvesteffer of New Jersey particularly praised Jaquays' cover of Dungeon #49 (Sep/Oct 1994).

In Dragon #56 (Dec 1981), Tony Watson praised Jaquays' Traveller art as "nice", but inferior in his opinion to that of fellow Traveller artist W. H. Keith, whose sensibility in starship design the reviewer prefers.

In Dragon #129 (Jan 1988), Ken Rolston praised Jaquay's Terror in Skytumble Tor for its clever plot devices and unique setting of a derelict floating tower.

Jaquays' Dark Tower (1980) was listed at #21 in The 30 Greatest D&D Adventures of All Time, Dungeon #116 (Nov 2004). It was the only module not published by TSR or Wizards of the Coast to appear in the list. Reviewer John Rateliff described it as a work which "raised the bar on dungeons".

In 2007, former TSR employee Dennis Sustare described Jaquays as a joy to work for, caring for staff well-being, passionate for game quality, and involved in the creative process.[40]

Following her death in 2024, former Dragon editor Tim Kask said, "This past week, we lost one of the brightest stars in the firmament. So bright that upon closer inspection, you might find a little constellation there."[17]

External links[]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Jennell Allyn Jaquays Obituary
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Gaming's Renaissance Man. Allen Varney, Dec 3, 2009.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Q&A with Jennell Jaquays, page 3. Dragonsfoot, 2013.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Mapping the Dungeons, Dragon #1 (Jun 1976), p.20.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Q&A with Jennell Jaquays, page 1. Dragonsfoot, 2013.
  6. Q&A with Jennell Jaquays, page 3. Dragonsfoot, 2013.
  7. Dragon #22 (Feb 1979), p.23.
  8. Dragon #33 (Jan 1980), p.29.
  9. The First Official Invitational Advanced Dungeons & Dragons® Masters Tournament, Dragon #22 (Feb 1979), p.31.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Q&A with Jennell Jaquays, page 3. Dragonsfoot, 2013.
  11. Polyhedron #106 (Apr 1995), p.31.
  12. https://jaquays.com/jennell/index.html
  13. Q&A with Jennell Jaquays, page 1. Dragonsfoot, 2013.
  14. Q&A with Jennell Jaquays, page 1. Dragonsfoot, January 15, 2013.
  15. https://mastodon.gamedev.place/@burgerbecky/111376382379930706
  16. https://mastodon.gamedev.place/@burgerbecky/111267141420072081
  17. 17.0 17.1 Curmudgeon in the Cellar #293, 30m35s. Jan 13, 2024.
  18. The Game Wizards: How to build the BLOOD WARS™ deck from heck, Dragon #215 (Mar 1995).
  19. The Game Wizards: Let Loose the Gods of War!, Dragon #221 (Sep 1995).
  20. Dragon #225 (Jan 1996), p.93.
  21. Q&A with Jennell Jaquays, page 1. Dragonsfoot, 2013.
  22. Q&A with Jennell Jaquays, page 3. Dragonsfoot, 2013.
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 23.3 https://web.archive.org/web/20100921123924/http://jaquays.com/paul/product.htm
  24. Olympica: A Game Review, Dragon #21 (Dec 1978), p.13.
  25. Dragon #56 (Dec 1981), p.66.
  26. Dragon #126 (Oct 1987), p.8.
  27. Dragon #129 (Jan 1988), p.87.
  28. Dragon #135 (Jul 1988), p.52.
  29. Dragon #166 (Feb 1991), p.74.
  30. Dungeon #23 (May/Jun 1990), p.5.
  31. Dragon #200 (Dec 1993), p.116.
  32. Dragon #202 (Feb 1994), p.82.
  33. Dragon #329 (Mar 2005).
  34. https://www.mobygames.com/person/1068/jennell-jaquays/credits/
  35. http://www.quake2.com/qworkshop/features/interviews/jaquays.htm
  36. Q&A with Jennell Jaquays, page 2. Dragonsfoot, 2013.
  37. Q&A with Jennell Jaquays, page 3. Dragonsfoot, 2013.
  38. Jaquaying the Dungeon. The Alexandrian, July 23rd, 2010.
  39. 39.0 39.1 Engaging Dungeon Design for D&D Dungeons and Overland Travel
  40. Jennell Jaquays at the Pen & Paper RPG Database (archived)