Erick Wujcik, 1951-2008

Erick Wujcik Passes Quietly 

Beloved role-playing game designer, Erick Wujcik, passed away Saturday evening, June 7, 2008. He died from complications related to pancreatic and liver cancer. Kathryn Kozora, his sweetheart of over 30 years, and other loved ones were at his side.

Erick was diagnosed with cancer in late November, 2007 and given 6-8 weeks to live. True to Erick’s indomitable spirit and zest for life, he proved the doctors wrong by lasting more than six months. Most of that time was spent with friends and loved ones.

Erick Wujcik’s accomplishments are many. 

To the role-playing game community, Erick is best known for his many RPG games and contributions to Palladium Books®, including The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles® RPG, several TMNT® sourcebooks, After the Bomb® RPG and sourcebooks for it, Ninjas & Superspies, Mystic China, Rifts® China One and Two, Revised RECON®, Wolfen Empire™ and many others. He is also famous for Amber® Diceless, the first truly “diceless” role-playing game, published under Erick’s own label, Phage Press. Erick also published Amberzine® and founded Ambercon™, a series of conventions celebrating gaming, friendship and the world of Amber, hosted at numerous locations around the world. 

Erick Wujcik was also the founder, heart and soul of the Detroit Gaming Center, served as Adjunct Assistant Professor of Game Design at Hong Kong Polytechnic University (2003-2008), and worked in the videogame industry for the last several years, including UbiSoft China and most recently, as Senior Game Design/Writer at Totally Games, Novato, California.

Erick Wujcik’s greatest accomplishment, however, is his contagious joy for life and love of ideas and imagination that inspired people around the world. Whether they were his students at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, fellow game designers, or fans sitting in the audience at a convention or seminar listening to Erick speak, to those who had the pleasure of gaming with Erick (he loved to run games at conventions and everywhere he went), to those who knew him best, they couldn’t help but to love him. Even the millions who only knew him through his published works or communicated with him online, considered him a friend.

Erick is survived by Kathyrn Kozora, Kate’s granddaughter – his beloved Sara, mother Nora, sister Peggy, his Aunt Mary and Uncle Sam and Nancy, along with dozens of aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews.

Erick’s last months of life were the same as he had always lived, full of friendship, joy, grace and beauty. He went quietly into the night, like a snowflake falling gently from the heavens.

– Kevin Siembieda, Palladium Books®

© Copyright 2008 Palladium Books Inc. All rights reserved.
Rifts®, The Rifter®, RECON®, Splicers®, Palladium Books®, Phase World®, The Palladium Fantasy Role-Playing Game®, Megaverse®, Nightbane®, The Mechanoids®, The Mechanoid Invasion®, Coalition Wars® and After the Bomb® are Registered Trademarks of Palladium Books Inc. Heroes Unlimited, Beyond the Supernatural, and other published book titles, names, slogans and likenesses are trademarks of Palladium Books Inc., and Kevin Siembieda.
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Comments (16)

  • God, I’ loved TMNT…my first and still favorite character from that game was a Black Panther fighting violently for the rights of himself and other animal-human hybrids. I also may be one of the whitest people I know.

    He was the first author of any role-playing game I became familiar with and who I would actively seek out. Because of him I bought Mystic China, Ninjas and Super Spies, and a host of other books. His books introduced to me some of the truly fascinating things about our larger world, and I honestly believe that without those books I would not be the person I am today. I would definitely not drive my wife insane with my crazed determination to see every Chinese Film ever subtitled into English, I know that for sure.

    It was my then keen interest in Asia that got me to buy, as my friend Jason put it, “A strange sounding game,” called Legend of the Five Rings. “What you’re a goldsmith telling stories about jewelry?” Jason quipped a second time. But soon we were all enjoying Rokugan with gusto. I have to thank Erick Wujcik for writing games that were fun and at the same time enlightening that inspired so many other people to do so as well.

    The roaring fire I have for gaming, game design, and game writing started with a little spark named Erick Wujcik.

    ~Ben Woerner~

  • Goodbye Erick, you will be missed immensely.

    I am so fortunate to have worked under your direction at Ubisoft China. The lessons you taught us in your Game Design program were invaluable, and the time we shared will be cherished always.

    You were a great mentor and friend to me.

  • Rest in peace friend.
    I loved your games and spirit.
    Never had the chance to meet you but I loved all that you wrote.
    You will be missed much.
    Condolences to your family and friends.

  • Goodbye Erick. I wish I had the chance to game with you again, and I know the others at Gamescape North do as well. You will be missed and thought about a great deal. We raised a toast to you last night. It was a small gesture in the face of something as deep as the passing of someone we knew, but it was what we had to offer. Thank you for all you have given us and have given the gaming community. My prayers will be with your family and close friends as they grieve your passing, and I know the community I call home will be grieving as well.

  • It’s a shame I never got to meet this wonderful man and thank him for making some of the most entertaining things in my life. Well at least I can do it here in spirit.

    So, Thank you Erick.

  • The world will be colder, drearier and more lackluster for your passing, Erick. With luck, the spark of your life shall kindle in those you have touched an abiding desire to stoke the embers within themselves and within others until are lit a thousand new fires as testament to your inspiration. Peace…

  • Thank you Erick for all the years a fun you helped provide to me and my friends. You helped open our minds and imaginations.

    Goodbye and again thank you.

  • Just a few days ago I checked if there was anything new with Amber DRPG, and came upon Erick’s blog, where I found out he had cancer. I wanted to send him a mail, but I did some more searching just now and found this post.

    It’s sad to have anyone die before his time. I’ve never met Erick, but I corresponded with him by international snail mail (at a time before the internet was everywhere) about the Amber DRPG. That was a long time ago, and I’m sorry that I didn’t get a chance to say anything more to him before he died.

  • I started re-reading the wonderful Amber DRPG and decided to look up information about its current status, quickly finding the news about Erick’s death. He was a great designer and, although I never met him in person, was a very friendly and passionate. He never knew me, but I learned a lot from his works. I’m glad that I was able to find his work, thankful for his existence in this world and sad because the world is smaller without him.

  • I just read about Erick’s passing and I am devastated. I met Erick in 1997 and I had the privilege of spending a Weekend at MAICON in Montreal with him. It is one of my happiest memories.

    I was in charge of organizing a RPG convention in my college. I was 17 and had been playing Amber DRP for 5 years. As I was in charge of the budget and of choosing one guest of honor, I contacted Erick and asked him if he would come to montreal for a weekend. He gladly accepted. That weekend, I was amazed at the person and the game master. He spent the 2 days GMing Amber short campaigns, and I remember thinking at the time that he was the best storyteller I has ever encountered.

    But my best memory was not there…see, Erick admitted to me after we met that the real reason he accepted to come to Montreal was because he knew we had great food and international cuisine. So on friday night, after the first day of the convention, we decided to go out to a Tibetan restaurant. The minute we entered the restaurant, Erick said “do you guys want to play a game?”. We spent the whole dinner playing an RPG he created, using characters we thought up right there and then, and for 2 hours were literally transported in another universe. It was one of those moments where you were transported, like the first time you read your favorite book or you saw your favorite movie. He was that good.

    The next day, he GMed an amber campaign with 12 enthusiasts.At about midnight he said “So can we eat somewhere this late in Montreal?” We said sure, and went on to chinatown to eat dumplings. Erick wanted to order everything on the menu and share, and since most of the guys and gals there were students, Erick said to everyone “don’t worry about anuthing, the tab’s on me!”

    Good bye Erick and say hello to Roger

    A fan and a friend

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