TSR Companies & Freelancers Distance Themselves From The New TSR

The new TSR (which I refer to as TSR3 to avoid confusion) has doubled down on its stance--which has been widely condemned online--via an ongoing series of tweets and replies from its TSR Games, Giantlands, and Dungeon Hobby Museum social media accounts (possibly operated by Justin LaNasa) in an astonishing PR campaign which makes the original interview which sparked off the controversy look mild in comparison. Various entities are moving to distance themselves from the company and its activities, including TSR2, the company founded in 2011 by Jayson Elliot, which has now declared that it will not be using the name TSR any longer. Other companies including Gen Con and freelancers such as Jeff Dee have also made statements.

For reference -- TSR1 is the (no longer existing) company which launched D&D in 1974, TSR2 is the company founded by Jayson Elliot in 2011 to create Gygax Magazine and which currently publishes the Top Secret RPG, and TSR3 is the newly launched company.

Catch up on my previous coverage of this story:

TSR3's social media accounts initially sought to distance the company from Ernie Gygax's statements, but within a few hours had reversed course and doubled down on his stance. Note that there have been dozens of social media posts from the company over the last few days, and still continuing as I type this, and I don't intend to share them all here.

(Thanks to Daniel Fox for sharing screenshots below via Twitter).

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TSR2 -- "Update to our earlier tweet - we will NOT be licensing anything from the new company claiming rights to the TSR logos. We are not working with them in any fashion."

Gen Con -- "Gen Con is not associated with TSR Games and we don't support their recent statements. While the foundation of Gen Con is tied with the history of TTRPGs, our goal is to build off the good, acknowledge the bad, and work toward a present free from racism, misogyny, and homophobia."

Gen Con has also indicated that they do not intend to allow TSR3 at the convention.


GAMA (the Game Manufacturers Association) -- "We’re aware of the appalling statements published by TSR Games and their founder - GAMA does not condone nor agree with any part of it. We pride ourselves on supporting and promoting inclusivity always. Our motto is “A game at every table, a table for everyone”. Transphobia, racism, and sexism will not be tolerated. That means that TSR is not welcome at Origins Game Fair, GAMA Expo or any event affiliated with our organization."

Jeff Dee -- "There is a rumor going around that I am part of this new TSR company. That is not accurate. I have done some work for them as a freelance artist. That’s how I make my living, and spreading the misinformation that I’m now employed full-time by one particular client could stop other clients from approaching me and hurt my business. So, please do not spread that rumor. If I ever become a full-time employee anywhere again, I will announce that myself. Thanks. UPDATE: After investigating reports about statements made by representatives of this new TSR, I have determined that I can no longer do business with them in good conscience. I've returned their downpayment on the next piece of art I was scheduled to do for them. And yeah, I could sure use some new commissions to make up for this big hit on my cashflow"

Jim Ward, an original TSR alumnus and who wrote Giantlands, TSR3's flagship product -- "At the present time I know little or nothing about the relaunch of TSR. Right now I don't see how anyone could pick up where the old company left off. Yes it's a name with some logos, that is all I know."

Luke Gygax -- "FYI- I am not involved with any TSR company nor is Gary Con nor anyone else in my family outside of Ernie. Full stop. That is all ... I have reasons for distancing myself. The way TSR treats people online in their public exchanges is rude. The museum is a for profit business and was asking for donations. Using names of people to promote without their knowledge. Going out of the way to talk gender/woke stuff ... Also basically jacking the TSR logo from Jayson Elliot. The bombastic press releases and claims to old IP. Making a quick nostalgia money grab based on my fathers name and not much else. So I’m making it clear I don’t like this style and I have ZERO to do with TSR"

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TSR3 responds to Luke Gygax

Tim Kask, an original TSR alumnus who worked at the company until 1980, spoke at length on this topic in a YouTube video (below). I've transcribed some bits, but he says a whole load more (ellipses represent sections I have not included, for reasons of brevity), so check out the video for the whole thing.

"There has been bandied about in social media over the last several days several claims about what's going on in Lake Geneva right now. Ernie Gygax made a most egregious mistake in an interview he did on a podcast. He basically waved his bare ass in front of everybody that's concerned about pronouns, and woke, and all that right now in the industry and thumbed his nose at them. The transcript of his podcasts are there for everyone to read. That they were men, and they didn't give a sh*t, and la la la.

But right there they alienated three quarters of the gaming industry. Probably more than that, I don't believe that there's a quarter of the gaming industry that still are the neanderthals that he would make us out to be.

That's another thing. This whole thing has brought the OSR (the old school revival) into serious disrepute. Now there are some little Karens going on some of the social media and painting with the same brush all of us that were there back then based on the stupid ass sh*t that Ernie just said. No. We weren't all like that. And we aren't all like that now. He's a troll, a troglodyte, a neanderthal, if he really means that. It's a foolish person that doesn't wet his finger once in a while and feel the wind shift.

Now there've been claims in a couple of posts, one of which is by Ernie, about how the stalwarts, the old TSR are flocking to the banner. Bullsh*t....

... There is no one of the creative side of TSR from the early days involved with the Dungeon Hobby Shop Museum. No one. Not one creative person. No matter who might be claiming what, they simply do not have the credentials. Being named DiMaggio does not mean you can hit a lot of home runs. Or that you even hit any home runs ....

... Just because you say you're TSR doesn't mean you are."

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Scion of Murgen (He/Him)
It's not just the osr; there are plenty of reactionary people among 5e players as well. What's frustrating to me about the OSR is the way that bad actors are tolerated in the name of creativity. For example, there are so many systems out there, so why are people still recommending and reviewing LotFP?
It's a good question. Some of it, I think, is reactionaries.

Some of it is just that for years it was one of the best retroclones, and rules-wise, it's still pretty darn good. A really solid package of smart house rules and adaptations to the B/X chassis, with some mild tweaks to the spell list to reduce the high fantasy aspect and increase the horror and mystery and weird aspects. Also with very respectable production values. A succinct, conveniently-digest sized hardcover book with good layout. Though I can completely sympathize with folks who don't like some of the art.

The modules are very much a mixed bag, but from what I've read the transgressive content in there wasn't bigoted or exclusionary, it was just horrific and explicit in ways designed to appeal to horror fans. Some of the better content was produced by people like Patrick Stuart, who's very much an inclusive and progressive person, as well as a very creative designer. I've often seen folks recommend his stuff while suggesting folks avoid other modules.

My perception is that LotFP only started really being embraced by edgelord/reactionary circles within the last couple of years, and that community inertia (and willngness to ignore/block the fashies) is such that the name hasn't been fully tarnished yet by that association.

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Whizbang Dustyboots

100% that gnome
one could argue that 5E is an OSR game
Eh, it wouldn't be a convincing argument. It took some inspiration and direction from the OSR movement that swelled in the backlash to 4E, but it's much more complex, with many more systems, than OSR games. Its connection to the mechanics and design style of the 1970s is mostly historical.

The fact that some people would rather 5E was more advanced in design doesn't make it OSR.


Staff member
@Rob Kuntz

"Why can't we all just get along?" they ask, as trans folx are attacked on the internet and in the streets and murdered in states where that's still legal, while their access to sports and bathrooms and necessary health care are under attack.

"No one is calling for your ruination." You want to bet? You want to see the death threats I've been sent since this all started?

You want to talk both sides? You know where the phrase "get woke go broke" started? But no, no, it's only us Twitter woke mobs and our cancel culture who are calling for boycotts and ruining lives.

Your ignorance is astonishing. "Gays have achieved equality." Have they? Really? More to point, why do you keep bringing up "the Gays" when all this started and has mostly gotten worse through attacks on trans and gender-noncomforming folx?

Our people are dying, and you want me to worry about Ernie's business? All due respect, but get some f***ing perspective. "But poor Ernie's business might fail!" GOOD. I'm GLAD. He deserves it. Maybe next time he crawls out of his hole he'll do it with dog whistling the dogpile out on me and my own.

I'm not going to speculate where you get your news, but transphobia is having a bit of a moment, especially in the US and the UK. Things are getting measurably worse for us. So you'll have to forgive me that I don't have a shred of sympathy for someone who's staked their business in throwing people like me under the bus. Whatever they get, it's less than they deserve.
I understand what you’re saying, but the “Your ignorance…” line. That’s personalization, don’t do it.
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I’m amazed at how naive Ernie seems to be. If we put the anti-trans comments he made aside for a second, Ernie seems to think that being a business partner with someone making horrible comments is fine because “it’s just business”.

You are the friends you keep and working with people with views like that is implicitly saying you are ok with those views.

I don't think he's naive I think he's willfully ignorant at best and possibly worse. He somehow thinks that Gygax as a last name equals millions.


Not your screen monkey (he/him)
I don't think he's naive I think he's willfully ignorant at best and possibly worse. He somehow thinks that Gygax as a last name equals millions.
I get the impression that's not limited to Ernie. There are others who were around in the early days who seem to think their name and pedigree in the hobby is more powerful than it really is. These names may still hold sway among the OSR crowd, but I don't think they mean a lot to Millennials and GenZ players because they all came to the hobby when those names were no longer at the pinnacle of the industry.


Final Form (she/they)
Alright, let's talk stakes.

CW: Suicide
The Brilliant SNES Emulator Author Known As Near Has Died

The cyberbully headquarters KiwiFarms has a 90+ page dedicated to Near, full of insults, slurs, mis-gendering, and mocking them, both pre- and posthumously. Calls for harassment abound. Their entire site is currently replaced with a page stating that have been a target of DDoS but conveniently is able to use that space to further mock, insult, and misgender Near, call them a liar, and their death a hoax. Prior to this, the site's users were bolstered by the openly transphobic statements of Gygax Jr. and LaNasa, and Dineheart et. al, and they are not the only dark corner of the internet who were, either. At this point, 3SR and Giantlands finding success in spite of these statements would further embolden others to take their transphobia mainstream, and use their access to the internet to hunt, stalk, doxx, harass, and threaten us just because of who were are.

So when you say "no one is hunting us", that is demonstrably false. When you say "no one is calling for our oblieteration", that is demonstrably false.

You can either challenge bigots in the public square and ensure they do not succeed, or you can allow them go unchallenged and make this hobby, the internet, and the world a less safe place to be transgender or gender non-comforming in.

There isn't a fence, with two equally valid and precious lawns on either side. This is a moving walkway, running against progress, and if you aren't actively pushing forward it's because you're fine letting it slide backward.


No one should bleed, no one should suffer, and until we can get past this us and them attitude we will remain unprogressed humans, sides drawn, fingers pointing, teeth gnashing. The worst elements from both of these sides will prevail as has always been the case in human history. I do not hear in these threads the calls for the ruination of Gays; but I have heard for the call for the ruination of Ernie Gygax. For those who ask not to be judged the judgments flow quickly from.

No one is calling for Ernie Gygax to die or to have his life ruined (at least on ENWorld). There is quite a bit of anger--particularly, but by no means exclusively, from the people at whom his hurtful statements were directed--but anger is not inherently wrong or a bad thing. It is often justified and a powerful force for change.

Unjustified anger, that is a bad thing, and especially so when it crosses the line into hatred. And there is plenty of that in this whole sorry business... but it's coming from the folks with whom Ernie has chosen to stand. I hope your efforts to convince him to change that stand are successful.


Limit Break Dancing
I wanted to follow up on this. Comic Sales, up until the Pandemic shut things down in 2020. Comics are not "dying off""

Thanks for linking this. When @Professor Murder posted that comics were dying off, I was all like "wait, what? Since when?" and started to panic a little bit. But no, comic book sales are at an all-time high--or were, at least until Covid-19 threw everyone's charts and graphs out the window. Practically every summer blockbuster for the past 20 years has been based on a major comic book franchise (maybe longer; time has been especially wibbly-wobbly this past year.)

I admit that I don't read as many comic books as I used to, but that's on me.

Thanks for linking this. When @Professor Murder posted that comics were dying off, I was all like "wait, what? Since when?" and started to panic a little bit. But no, comic book sales are at an all-time high--or were, at least until Covid-19 threw everyone's charts and graphs out the window. Practically every summer blockbuster for the past 20 years has been based on a major comic book franchise (maybe longer; time has been especially wibbly-wobbly this past year.)

I admit that I don't read as many comic books as I used to, but that's on me.

Well that depends on what you define as "comics". If you mean "Marvel and DC" then the picture might not be so bright. If you're including Manga, children's books (like Raina Telgemeier GoRaina!) and other stuff, then the picture looks brighter.

And while the MCU is doing great, it doesn't translate into more comic sales.

Urriak Uruk

Gaming is fun, and fun is for everyone
All I want to say has largely been said... but if you are a big fan of OSR content and also want to support LGBTQ+ creators, one of your best options is probably Goodman Games and their flagship product DCC. I'm not aware of any LGBTQ+ folks on their staff, however they have committed to updating the Dark Tower to 5E and DCC, in partnership with its original creator, Jennell Jaquays.

Jennell is LGBTQ+ and the creator of some of the best old-school material that exists, including the Dark Tower, the Caverns of Thracia, and Griffin Mountain. Her style is now well-known enough that designers tend to call non-linear dungeons "Jaquayan Dungeons."

Anyway, if you want to support Goodman Games and DCC, check out their kickstarter for DCC Dying Earth!

EDIT: I've decided to remove reference to Jennell's dead name. My intent was to avoid confusion for folks looking for Jennell's legacy content, but I have decided to err on the side of caution here.
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Limit Break Dancing
gets to page 13 of comments ...Man, I need to sit down.
Here's a page-by-page recap for anyone who needs to pace themselves.
Page 1: @Morrus introduces the topic, provides list of linked articles. ENWorld readers respond with "Ugh, seriously?"
Page 2: Speculation of the fallout.
Page 3: Myself (and others) express our disappointment.
Page 4: Some pretty awesome book cover art is posted.
Page 5: I get up to take some Excedrin.
Page 6: More discussion of the fallout, mostly noise.
Pages 7-8: difficult to read. TW: abuse, hate speech, transphobia, etc. Maybe skip these.
Page 9: The worst of it. Definitely skip.
Page 10: Thread temporarily locked. Everyone needs to read the moderator warnings here before posting.
Page 11: Discourse improves. I express even more disappointment over TSR3's alleged business plan.
Page 12: Discourse gets warmer, but continues to improve.
Page 13: This page.
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Rules Tinkerer and Freelance Writer
Did E.G.G. Jr really say that at any point, though?
Nah. He just parroted transphobic speech used by a wide variety of people who do, showing that even if he claims to disagree with their more violent tendencies he shares common ground on the basis of their beliefs. Sort of like a guy who totally isn't a Nazi but definitely thinks Jewish people control too much of the world's economy and a nebulous "Something" should be done about it. Or that individual black people are peachy keen, but is ever-ready to quote crime statistics by race. Or someone who claims to "hate the Sin love the Sinner" and it's various "What you're doing is evil and you're evil for doing it but why are you getting mad at me just for loving you?" claptrap variations. Or that guy at work who is all for feminism and women voting or whatever but do we -really- need to be concerned about the pay gap?

Lie down with dogs and you're gonna get fleas.

Black Dougal

Pauli Kidd is great, one of my FB friends as well as Jeff. I actually found the OSR on FB years ago when I was watching Jeff do his other thing, and then realized he was the artist from my childhood.

I do believe the OSR is full of all types but as usual, the loudest are the ones who are insecure which is usually followed by throw crap all over the "room".

They also get attention, I think trainwrecks are what media picks up on more so than "not trainwrecks". But again just an opinion.


I wanted to follow up on this. Comic Sales, up until the Pandemic shut things down in 2020. Comics are not "dying off""

I was going to post the same chart. The narrative of comic books dying is very false. While Marvel and DC have seen some struggle to maintain their sales levels Indy publishers have grown like IDW and Boom Studios. Marvel and DC have had negative impact on their sales due to events and too much of a good thing or status quo changes that were too much too soon too often or poorly conceived and cost people their jobs. Other publishers are doing consistent work and have developed reputations based on that consistency. Marvel has pulled Fox licenses from Indy publishers to play catch up.

Jeff Dee's explanation is so eloquent and yet it just seems to slide off of Ernie. "I'm sorry that you feel that way" is such a non-apology.

Jeff Dee also went a step further since the screen grab above.

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Me too! Pretty much the only places I go to talk gaming are there, the Chaotic Good Tabletop Roleplaying Memes group, and here. Pretty much every other space I used to frequent has managed to be devoured by the people with really regressive ideas.

Oh Cool! I'm in that group!

At this point, I'm really wondering how much longer it will be until Wizards' lawyers decide to get involved.

And it looks like Origins just banned them, too:

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