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Lynn Willis
DiedJanuary 18, 2013
OccupationGame designer, writer

Lynn Willis (died January 18, 2013) was a wargame and role-playing game designer, best known for his work with Metagaming Concepts, Game Designers' Workshop (GDW), and Chaosium.


Willis began by designing science fiction wargames for Metagaming Concepts, starting with Godsfire in 1976.[1]:78 He designed the MicroGames Olympica (1978) and Holy War (1979).[1]:79 Chaosium published Lords of the Middle Sea (1978),[1]:82 and Willis joined Chaosium in 1978.[1]:83 GDW published Bloodtree Rebellion (1979). Willis's relationship with Chaosium proved the most enduring; he would turn to role-playing games. He helped founder Greg Stafford trim and refine the RuneQuest rules into Basic Role-Playing, the rules that would serve as the base for many of Chaosium's RPG lines.[1]:85 He wrote the Call of Cthulhu campaign The Masks of Nyarlathotep (1984) with Larry DiTillio.[1]:86 He was included in the design credits for Worlds of Wonder (1982) and the Ringworld RPG (1984).

With other members of Chaosium, he co-wrote the Ghostbusters RPG for West End Games, which won the H.G. Wells Award for Best Role-playing Rules of 1986.[2] Willis co-designed the fifth edition of Call of Cthulhu with Sandy Petersen, and replaced Keith Herber as line editor of Cthulhu when Herber left Chaosium in 1994.[1]:90 He worked with Petersen again for the sixth edition of Call of Cthulhu.[3] Willis created the game Elric! with Richard Watts as a new Basic Role-Playing version of Stormbringer.[1]:91 After Greg Stafford left Chaosium in 1998, Willis stayed on as editor-in-chief.[1]:94

Willis left Chaosium in late 2008 due to ill health; at the time, he was the longest serving Chaosium employee, with 30 years of experience with the company.[1]:95


On September 11, 2008, the President of Chaosium, Charlie Krank, informed the public that Willis had been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.[4] Krank later reported that Willis died on January 18, 2013.[5][6]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Shannon Appelcline (2011). Designers & Dragons. Mongoose Publishing. ISBN 978-1-907702-58-7.
  2. ^ "Charles S. Roberts/H.G. Wells Award Winners (1986)". Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts & Design. Archived from the original on 2008-04-15. Retrieved 2008-09-25.
  3. ^ "Chaosium Inc.(Nameless Cults: The Cthulhu Mythos Fiction Of Robert E. Howard)(Secrets of Japan: Surviving the Mythos in Present-Day Japan)(Call Of Cthulhu, 6th ed.)". Library Bookwatch. May 1, 2005. Archived from the original on March 29, 2015. – via HighBeam Research (subscription required)
  4. ^ Archived 2013-01-19 at WebCite
  5. ^ Lynn Willis: Rest In Peace Archived 2013-01-22 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Harris M. Lentz III. Obituaries in the Performing Arts, 2013. p. 401. ISBN 978-0-7864-6953-6.

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