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.

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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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Russ Morrissey

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Sir Brennen

Legend
Did E.G.G. Jr really say that at any point, though?
In the interview from the closed thread, Ernie talking about "enforcing, or having, gender identities" in the original games and then laughing about the fact some took issue with such rules/behavior is misogynistic at best, trans/homophobic at worst.

If pressed, you'll find people who hold such views are not supportive of anyone but CIS heterosexual males when it comes to giving anyone else equal rights. And likely indifferent, at best, to the actual suffering of those other groups, up to and including beatings and death, caused by the lack of those rights.

Aside to another point - just having those rights, legally speaking, isn't enough either. It has to be made clear that the attitudes which ignore those rights, or call for their repeal, are simply not acceptable in a functioning society. Legalizing gay marriage, the 13th Amendment, other less prominent court rulings and laws... none of these ended the bigotry which required the laws in the first place.
 

Steampunkette

Rules Tinkerer and Freelance Writer
Supporter
We have child labor laws not because children are now "equal" to adults. We have child labor laws because people have shown they will gleefully abuse children for their labor with absolute disregard for their life.

The presence of laws or rules or organizations protecting the rights of minorities shows that harm would be done to them -without- those laws... and will continue to be done to them -with- those laws, but at least they have legal or civil recourse.
 


Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
I enjoy the study of history, both of our world and of my various hobbies. I appreciate having the old games available, and I can enjoy the old style of games. I don't think all members of the OSR see it as superior to modern gaming, and I think many of us enjoy a variety of games.
While appreciating history in whatever its forms, I can realize there were outdated concepts that we can hope the modern world has moved past. Some of these have crept into current games, and I think in those cases we need to exercise caution and be welcoming to others.
To me, the OSR isn't about playing the old games as they were, but taking what worked from them and making them better experiences for modern players.
If you go to a Ren Faire you don't want renaissance medicine. There are parts that are good and fun, but you don't want an authentic experience across the board.
Right, which is all well and good. But the fact that you, and I’m sure many others, have a healthy appreciation for history tempered with a modern perspective and can responsibly separate that appreciation from the regressive elements of history, doesn’t mean conservative movements don’t also attract regressive people. I appreciate history too. I do historical re-enactment for a living. But I recognize that the historical re-enactment community attracts some really toxic elements.
 

Bolares

Hero
Jennell, formerly xxx, 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!
I'm not well acquainted with Jennell's story, and I think you mean well, but using dead names is normally frowned uppon...
 

RFB Dan

Podcast host, 6-edition DM, and guy with a pulse.
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.



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 will really regressive ideas.



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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The back & forth between Jeff Dee & Ernie Gygax reminds me way too much of some of the asinine replies given by the members of Spinal Tap in the film. But at least that was intentionally comedic satire.

 

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.
Marvel and DC have corporate masters who want their comics to be fare for the movies. I suspect, absent that pressure, they'd be doing great. (And of course, some of the indies are also in the business of producing limited run comic books for Hollywood types to storyboard and concept out their ideas that they can then say "based on the hit comic book" once they're greenlit as films.)

I don't think Fox licenses coming to Marvel is a sign of fear, so much as bean-counters at corporate saying they'd make more money with Alien, etc., in house rather than licensing it to Dark Horse.
 


Sir Brennen

Legend
We have child labor laws not because children are now "equal" to adults. We have child labor laws because people have shown they will gleefully abuse children for their labor with absolute disregard for their life.

The presence of laws or rules or organizations protecting the rights of minorities shows that harm would be done to them -without- those laws... and will continue to be done to them -with- those laws, but at least they have legal or civil recourse.
True, and I think that came across in the rest of my post.

Edit: Or was that addressed to a previous post by someone else?
 
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Sir Brennen

Legend
What did he say that was regressive though? He talks about Alignment. And orcs being a recognizable villain. That's it.
Enough electrons have been spilt over this topic, but treating orcs - in particular - as a monolithically evil race is considered regressive by many.

Without delving into it in more detail, I simply, strongly recommend reading the following couple of articles if you, like me, are part of the privileged white male club and hadn't really given too much thought to it before. As others have put it, once you see it, you can't unsee it:


 

Gradine

Final Form (she/they)
I'm not well acquainted with Jennell's story, and I think you mean well, but using dead names is normally frowned uppon...
That is correct, and she has in fact stated that preference multiple times (such as when The Alexandrian wasn't sure how to credit her early dungeons.

We do not need to know what her name "formerly was" because it's no longer relevant.

People don't become trans; they are trans, and generally speaking live a fractured life until they realize they've always been trans. No matter what name and gender expressions I was using for most of my like; I have always been who I now know myself to be; it's just that I've finally given myself permission to be that person.
 

Dessert Nomad

Adventurer
Did E.G.G. Jr really say that at any point, though?

Ernie sneered at people having non-binary identities or wanting specific pronouns used, and at them objecting to the game enforcing binary (and misogynistic) rules. And significantly, when pressed on it he and his friends have doubled down and refused to decry those statements. I'm not going to play some semantics game where we pretend not to know what his original statement meant; he spoke loud and clear, and making 'devil's advocate' arguments that he must have meant something other than what he did isn't something I'm going to play along with.

Coyly making comments about how bad it is that trans and non-binary want to treated as people who exist and are worthy of respect is aligning yourself with bigots. It doesn't matter to me whether someone manages to 'keep the quiet part quiet' or not, and an argument based on 'but they didn't literally say X' doesn't hold any water.
 

Wardook

Explorer
Having attended GenCon since the '80s, I had a few opportunities to be in Gary and his groups orbit. None of these experiences were positive. I will not speak bad of the dead, he was a very intelligent man in certain silos. I would venture that with Ernie that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. I believe there is psychology to support the supposition. I would caution Ernie not to watch Fox News all day next time he is sick and in bed.
 

I'm not going to play some semantics game where we pretend not to know what his original statement meant; he spoke loud and clear, and making 'devil's advocate' arguments that he must have meant something other than what he did isn't something I'm going to play along with.
I wasn't playing devil's advocate at all. It just seemed to me that someone here was implying Ernie Gygax wanted trans people dead. That's a bit of a stretch, don't you think?
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Enough electrons have been spilt over this topic, but treating orcs - in particular - as a monolithically evil race is considered regressive by many.

Without delving into it in more detail, I simply, strongly recommend reading the following couple of articles if you, like me, are part of the privileged white male club and hadn't really given too much thought to it before. As others have put it, once you see it, you can't unsee it:


Nice reads from those links.
 


Urriak Uruk

Gaming is fun, and fun is for everyone
I'm not well acquainted with Jennell's story, and I think you mean well, but using dead names is normally frowned uppon...
That is correct, and she has in fact stated that preference multiple times (such as when The Alexandrian wasn't sure how to credit her early dungeons.

We do not need to know what her name "formerly was" because it's no longer relevant.

People don't become trans; they are trans, and generally speaking live a fractured life until they realize they've always been trans. No matter what name and gender expressions I was using for most of my like; I have always been who I now know myself to be; it's just that I've finally given myself permission to be that person.

Just want to be clear here, as it seems my post is being misrepresented here, my intention for saying "formerly Paul," was not advocation of using that name, it was just meant to point out that Jennell is trans, and as an aide for people who want to web search her material.

Sadly, there is still a lot of material being attributed to the former name instead of Jennell. This is probably not intentional and is instead just legacy sites not yet catching up, but I did want folks to know Jennell's former name if they want to look up her work. The below is one such example that is on Amazon right now.

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Bolares

Hero
Just want to be clear here, as it seems my post is being misrepresented here, my intention for saying "formerly xxx," was not advocation of using that name, it was just meant to point out that Jennell is trans, and as an aide for people who want to web search her material.

Sadly, there is still a lot of material being attributed to the former name instead of Jennell. This is probably not intentional and is instead just legacy sites not yet catching up, but I did want folks to know Jennell's former name if they want to look up her work. The below is one such example that is on Amazon right now.

View attachment 139045
I'm not trying to misrepresent you or anything, just inform that, even if you were weel intentioned, dead naming some one is bad. There are a lot of ways to point out that Jennell is trans, like just saying, "Jennell is trans".

People who want to find old material written by her can easily find it online. There is no need to use dead names.
 

What I get from Mr. Kuntz statement is not that there are no attacks on transgender people (or any LGBTQ for that matter). It is that society does not approve of doing such hateful acts anymore. And that is a good thing.

I live in Canada, we do have laws against harrassing/brutalizing/stalking people of all kinds still, some are suffering from these. Heck, some mad men are even trying to remove abortion rights, gay adoption's rights and transgender transformations... But that does not mean that the society is systematically doing it. It is individuals which are doing this (or at least trying to convince the society to do it). These bigots wants to impose their views. And I/we, must fight these bigots. As our societies recognize that all people have the same rights, it is our job to ensure that it stays that way. Mr. Kuntz is right in his assessment but the fight is far from over. And at the same time, he/she/they who use cancellation instead of discussion are doing the exact same thing as the bigots are doing. And when you use the same weapons as your opponents, you become no better that they are. Let us not confuse our progressive society with misguided, brainwashed individuals.

Again and again I said it. D&D as always been inclusive with people of all walks of life. Or is it simply because I am from Canada in the only French speaking province? Do we have such a different mindset that we naturally accept anyone? Yes we have or bigots, but they are thining out and their political weight is fortunately going down (and for good). I will not buy anything from 3SR, but I do not wish them ill. Let our wallets speak out for us. This will speak louder than any demeaning words we might have.
 

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