Daily Illuminator

January 25, 2013: Lynn Willis

Lynn Willis, co-creator of Call of Cthulhu and prolific author of brilliant roleplaying material, died on January 18. A full obit is here on the Chaosium site. Ken Hite discusses Lynn's influence on the hobby here.

My memories of Lynn stem mostly from Godsfire, a 1976 Metagaming release. If that wasn't his very first published work, it was one of the first, predating Lords of the Middle Sea. I remember Godsfire very well because I was both the text editor and (for the first edition) the layout artist . . . and there was a whole lot of layout, because Godsfire was a big game. I was new to the business – if I remember correctly, it was my second Metagaming assignment, after Monsters! Monsters! – so I didn't realize at the time just how easy Lynn was to work with. He was a faithful correspondent and obviously intelligent, but it was only later, with a lot more projects under my belt, that I realized how hard Godsfire could have been If Lynn had not been the man he was. Even at the start of his career, he was a pro.

Lynn designed two MicroGames (Olympica and Holy War) for Metagaming, the second of those in 1979. I remained a fan of his writing through the decades, met him briefly a time or two and thought "Nice guy!", and never got the chance to actually work with him again. My loss.

And a loss for the whole hobby, that there won't be any more Lynn Willis books. We're lucky to have had him as long as we did.

-- Steve Jackson

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