Game designer and D&D adventure writer Jennell Jaquays has died at 67

An image of Jennell Jaquays shared on her GoFundMe page.
(Image credit: Jennell Jaquays / Rebecca Heineman via GoFundMe)

Game designer Jennell Jaquays, who was a level designer on Quake 2 and 3, the writer of notable Dungeons & Dragons adventures and more, has died at the age of 67. 

As TimeExtension reports, in a post made on Jaquays’ GoFundMe page, her wife, Rebecca Heineman, announced yesterday (January 10) that Jaquays’ heart had stopped four times, and she didn’t recover. “I’ll be paying down her medical bills and will be making funeral arrangements,” Heineman said. “I will be grieving for a while. Thank you for coming out to help Jennell in her time of need.”

Jaquays had previously been undergoing treatment for Guillain-Barré syndrome - a rare condition which affects the peripheral nerves. Heineman, who originally organized the GoFundMe page to help with Jaquays’ medical costs, explained last year that her wife had fallen ill on October 15, “and [within] 36 hours she was barely alive and hooked up to a respirator.” At the time, it was expected that Jaquays was facing between six and 12 months of rehabilitation.

Throughout her lengthy career, Jaquays wrote the 1979 Caverns of Thracia and 1980 Dark Tower adventure modules for Dungeons & Dragons and Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, respectively. She was also the cover illustration artist for the 1993 adventure Dragon Mountain, which was published by TSR. 

In the video games industry, she worked for Coleco for several years in the 1980s, where she converted classic arcade titles including Donkey Kong and Pac-Man for the company’s home arcade system, the ColecoVision. She went on to earn credits on a variety of games at different companies, notably including her level designer role on Quake 2 and Quake 3 Arena. In addition, she wrote out a number of project proposals for ideas to sell to game publisher and developer Epyx. 

Following Jaquays death, over on Twitter / X, Heineman wrote: “To paraphrase Dr Seuss: Don't cry because Jennell is gone. Smile because she touched your life. I wish that one day, she may touch my life again.”

Catherine Lewis
News Writer, TechRadar Gaming

Catherine is a News Writer for TechRadar Gaming. Armed with a journalism degree from The University of Sheffield, she was sucked into the games media industry after spending far too much time on her university newspaper writing about Pokémon and cool indie games, and realising that was a very cool job, actually. She previously spent 19 months working at GAMINGbible as a full-time journalist. She loves all things Nintendo, and will never stop talking about Xenoblade Chronicles.