Saturday, October 24, 2020

RIP Lenard Lakofka (1944-2020)

Several people have contacted me to let me know that Lenard Lakofka died yesterday morning. 

Lakofka is, to my mind, one of the most underappreciated contributors to the growth and development of Dungeons & Dragons. His friendship with Gary Gygax predates the game's publication, owing to his involvement with the International Federation of Wargamers, of which he would eventually become president. Just as significantly, he produced a Diplomacy fanzine called Liaisons Dangereuses, in whose pages appeared multiple articles about D&D that were co-authored with Gary Gygax. As Gygax began working on AD&D, he frequently turned to Lakofka for aid and assistance and the final shape of the game owes a lot to their exchanges. 

In Chicago, Lakofka's home campaign was set in a location known as the Lendore Isles. The Lendore Isles were later incorporated into the published version of the The World of Greyhawk and served as the setting for the adventure modules he wrote for TSR. One of these, The Secret of Bone Hill, is a classic and arguably one of the best starting modules ever produced for the game. Lakofka also wrote a regular column for Dragon magazine entitled "Leomund's Tiny Hut." Leomund had been the name of his player character and is associated with numerous magic-user spells Lakofka created.

Back in 2009, I interviewed Lakofka, the results of which appeared in three parts. I'd recommend taking a look at them, if you haven't done so before. Lakofka had a lot to say about the early days of the hobby and the development of Dungeons & Dragons that I think are still quite fascinating today. In recent years, he had returned to writing and was a frequent guest at conventions.

He will be missed.


  1. This is a great tribute to a talented, and as you said, underappreciated talent of the gaming community. Those of us of a certain age who had subscriptions to Dragon Magazine wondered who was "this man," when issue after issue, Leomund's Tiny Hut introduced us to a new pantheon of gods, spells by the dozen, and charts galore!
    I was fortunate to be introduced to him in the final months of his life, thanks in no small part to Jay Scott (Lord Gosumba) and his Twitch channel, and although I only knew him in passing, I enjoyed what little time I had with him there, and on Facebook. He will be missed.

  2. He really was one of the quiet creators of the classic feel of D&D and AD&D.

  3. I had the great pleasure to play in a few games of D&D with him in the late 70's courtesy of our mutual friend Jacob Farber. Lenard had an amazing ability to improvise, and many of the adventures grew out of random encounters that he rolled and just kept embellishing on the fly. Felt like improv theater of the best kind. I'm sorry to hear he's gone.