Return to Perinthos honors Jennell Jaquays’ queer activism and her dungeon-breaking legacy

The game jam-turned-megadungeon includes nearly 90 one-page dungeons donated by the TTRPG design community. 

Return to Perinthos honors Jennell Jaquays’ queer activism and her dungeon-breaking legacy
Credit: Violet Ballard

When Jennell Jaquays, a pioneering roleplaying game designer known for her intricate levels and novel dungeons, passed away early this year, various members of the tabletop roleplaying game community immediately organized a tribute in the best way they knew how; a game jam.

The Jennell Jaquays Memorial Game Jam sought to honor the artistic pioneer and queer activist, and was open to the public. The indie game distribution site has facilitated a forum for these sorts of events, where TTRPG designers can create these easily-accessible, typically lightweight, themed game design events. The jam closed to entries on the first of February, and now the crowdfunding campaign, Return to Perinthos, is currently raising funds for a print run. (The title is a nod to one of Jaquays’ seminal works, the 1979 D&D supplement, The Caverns of Thracia.) Any additional profit will be donated to the charity Trans Lifeline

Jaquays was in many ways a pioneer. Beyond just game design, her life and legacy as a queer activist and visible trans woman was deeply impactful. Violet Ballard, who organized the jam and the crowdfunding campaign, spoke admiringly and effusively in an email to Rascal about the impact Jaquays has had as an out and proud queer trans woman. “Jennell’s activism, mentoring, and teaching are what have been most inspiring to me,” said Ballard. “After watching the stream of her funeral, I became even more dedicated to providing mentoring and building real community… A lot of this is because of Jennell and what she has given to the tabletop gaming community, bringing kindness and support instead of negativity.”