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‘Quake’ and ‘Halo Wars’ RPG Designer Jenell Jaquays to Be Honored at Nebula Awards

2 Minute Read
Jun 7 2024

Jenell Jaquays will posthumously receive the 2024 Kate Wilhelm Solstice Award at this year’s Nebula Award Ceremony.

It is hard to overstate the tremendous impact that designer, writer, and activist Jenell Jaquays has had on gaming and science-fiction/fantasy. So much so that it’s little wonder the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writer’s Association (SFWA) has selected the late Jaquays to be the recipient of the 2024 Kate Wilhelm Solstice Award.

The Solstice Award is handed out to those who have made “significant contributions to the science fiction, fantasy, and related genres community.” That distinction suits Jaquays to a tee. Her work on the Dark Tower and Caverns of Thracia modules helped shake up D&D.

Her work in video games spans genres and gameplay types, from Quake II and III, to Halo Wars and Age of Empires III.

Jenell Jaquays to receive 2024 Kate Wilhelm Solstice Award

Here’s a look at the announcement from the SFWA, who call out Jaquays work both as a designer and an activist:

A multi-award winning and honored artist, game designer, editor, and activist, Jennell Jaquays left an indelible mark on the gaming industry and SFF community for nearly fifty years. Ms. Jaquays’ career began in college, when she and her friends created “The Dungeoneer,” one of the first licensed Dungeons and Dragons fanzines.

Now, from magazines to books, Ms. Jaquays’ art can be seen on multiple covers and throughout the pages of the many different forms and iterations of Dungeons and Dragons’ media. Having designed two modules of her own, “Dark Tower” and “The Caverns of Thracia,”  her writing was celebrated by players for eschewing traditional and linear game mechanics and are not only playable today–but continue to inspire game designers and GMs.

Past honorees include Cerece Rennie Murphy, Greg Bear, Petra Mayer, Arley Sorg, Troy L. Wiggins, Ben Bova, and Rachel Caine, so Jaquays will be in good company.

But it isn’t just her incredible work that helped earn this distinction. Calling her a “beacon of hope and inspiration”, the SFWA’s Director-at-Large, Monical Valentinelli spoke about the honor:

“A beacon of hope and inspiration, Jennell Jaquays worked tirelessly in the spirit of community while gifting us with her art, her games, and her stories for almost fifty years.


The Board is honored to commemorate Jennell Jaquays and her indelible legacy as an artist, writer, and game designer in the video game and tabletop roleplaying industries.”

Jaquays passed earlier this year, and the award will be accepted by her wife, Rebecca Heineman.

Author: J.R. Zambrano
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