Paul Jaquays is something of a renaissance man in the world of fantasy role playing and gaming. First and foremost a fantasy illustrator, he is most familiar to old time gamers for having produced the red dragon art work used on TSR's 1981 D&D boxed edition (this is the version they released as a single 8 1/2" x 11" booklet with a blue monochrome cover, it's sometimes referred to as the D&D Basic Set, Second Edition).

Jaquays was pursing an art degree at Spring Arbor College in mid-'70s when he encountered the original Dungeons & Dragons. An avid board gamer, he was dissatisfied with the structured rules of play. D&D's open architecture hooked him immediately.

While most D&D fans are moved only as far as to create little adventures for Int((5 - 3 + 1) * Rnd + 3) friends, Jaquays wanted to share his new hobby with the masses. He started a fanzine called The Dungeoneer, which along with Dragon and the UK's White Dwarf are one of the top three greatest FRG magazines of all time.

Jaquays sold his magazine to Judges Guild and accepted a job as a one-man production shop: he wrote, edited, and illustrated all his own adventures. He created the classic Dark Tower module along with the highly respected whack-a-gnoll Caverns of Thracia.

Judges Guild was, unfortunately, a small time operation and wasn't able to pay talent what they were worth. It's great to be paid any money right out of college to do what you love, but as you age you begin to reassess certain priorities when you see your contemporaries pull down large G's in the staid yet lucrative world of commercial art.

Jaquays left Judges Guild and started doing freelance work for TSR as well as a host of smaller RPG companies such as Game Designers Workshop, Chaosium, West End Games, Iron Crown Enterprises, and the wacky-but-much-loved Flying Buffalo.

The microcomputer and console game revolutions of the early '80s also fired up Jaquays' imagination. His friend, Michael Stackpole (as in the Michael Stackpole), was working at Coleco and suggested he apply for a job. Jaquays took a position at Coleco and quickly worked his way up to being the Director of Game Design. At Coleco he brought his one-man shop approach. Jaquays had a heavy hand in the design of every game released for ColecoVision and the did-they-ever-actually-release-that? ADAM computer.

After the crash of the first console gaming wave (i.e., the Atari 2600, Intellivision, ColecoVision triumvirate) in 1984, Jaquays, who seems to have as many career regenerations as Doctor Who has lives, easily moved into PC gaming.

PC gaming, while paying well, proved to be a rocky, frustrating path for Jaquays as he saw most of his banner projects shelved. Jaquays created a massive, detailed world for Interplay's Lord of the Rings adaptation. He was disappointed when Interplay condensed his work down into what he refers to as the "Reader's Digest" version.

He created a massive multi-player world for defunct online service Prodigy. This project was killed when Prodigy balked at what it was going to cost to produce and host the game.

He created a massive multi-path story line for a shareware adventure based on Eric Goldberg's Tales of the Arabian Nights board game. This project was shelved.

The jewel in his phantom crown was one of the greatest computer adventure games that never was: Electronic Arts' Bard's Tale IV (a project that to this day fans lobby and petition EA to release).

Although Jaquays was contracted at EA to work on story lines for Bard's Tale IV he began to get involved building maps and encounters using their in-house editing tools. This led him to a job as a level designer at id software for Quake II. Jaquays was a guest at an RPG convention devoted to Runequest. As Dark Tower is well remember by D&D players, he is also known to Runequest fans for his tongue-and-cheek adaptation called Duck Tower (for reasons obscure to me, Runequest fans seemed to have a fascination with gaming involving anthropomorphic ducks ... freaks ... the lot of them ... freaks ... these might be the people who went on to spawn online furries societies after the collapse of the RPG industry ... freaks).

At this convention he met Sandy Petersen, an id game designer, and he offered him a job as a level designer in 1997. Jaquays worked on Quake II, Quake III, Quake III: Team Arena, and Doom 3. In 2002 he was lured away by Ensemble Studios and is now working on the Age of Mythology series.

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