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

Russ Morrissey


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Catulle

Hero
I listened to what Jim was sat by in the video.

The idea was good always wins.

Linked video not my idea. Big difference between what Jim was saying and Ernie.

It's like nuance or something.
No... Jim speaks for Jim.

My point being, his distancing himself from the regressive mess that nu-nu-TSR is by no means a badge of merit given the regressive views he espouses on-camera and to a receptive audience.
 

Abstruse

Legend
Ernie claimed in the original interview that Larry Elmore might become one of their Art directors. I haven't seen any comment from Elmore himself about that claim, and I would very much like to do that.
I'm honestly not expecting one. Elmore isn't a very "online" person. He doesn't have a Twitter account and as I recall is Facebook is more like a business contact page. So it's very likely he has no idea about this whole fresh hell and his only thoughts on TSR Games and LaNasa/Gygax is if the check cleared, like any other freelance gig. The only reason we're seeing comments from a lot of people is because they ARE relatively online. Ed Greenwood posts regular Forgotten Realms lore dumps on his Twitter account, Jeff Dee posts regularly on his Facebook about politics, Tim Kask has a weekly YouTube vlog series, and most other people either also have large online presences or are involved with groups that do (Jayson Elliot via TSR Games, Luke Gygax via GaryCon, etc.)

If we do get a statement from Elmore, it will likely be a press release style statement on his website sometime next week, and even that may not happen.
 

Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
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.
Well OK choosing to work in a small business with someone like that I can see implies you're OK with those views. But if you work for a much larger company, inevitably there will be people whose views you strongly differ from. And it's a bit of privilege to tell people they need to quit their jobs if they discover someone, somewhere in the midst of a larger company, has views that are vastly different than their own.

I am not suggesting you said that, but I did want to clarify. You mean a small company like this, not a much larger one where you don't really choose who you work with, right?
 

Are we not to buy or play the game that the company makes based on the views of the top brass? I most likely not bother even looking at it more for time restraints than who makes it, but I think I can find other companies that have politics different than mine if that is the standard.

Is their product any good?

They don't have any games released at the moment. They announced two: Giantlands, which is original material; and Star Frontiers, with the legal situation surrounding it being an absolute mess given that WotC is still distributing Star Frontiers on DriveThruRPG, and TSR3 does not have access to any of the original Star Frontiers IP.

Given Ernie's failure to deliver Mamoreal Tomb in a timely manner, and Justin LaNasa's... "eccentricities," I don't have much confidence in their version of Star Frontiers releasing any time soon. From what I hear, Giantlands started as an independent project and was well on its way to being finished when TSR3 picked it up, but given the complete lack of professionalism and common sense displayed by TSR3's management, I'm strongly suspecting that progress on Giantlands will be derailed.
 






Ulfgeir

Hero
I'm honestly not expecting one. Elmore isn't a very "online" person. He doesn't have a Twitter account and as I recall is Facebook is more like a business contact page. So it's very likely he has no idea about this whole fresh hell and his only thoughts on TSR Games and LaNasa/Gygax is if the check cleared, like any other freelance gig. The only reason we're seeing comments from a lot of people is because they ARE relatively online. Ed Greenwood posts regular Forgotten Realms lore dumps on his Twitter account, Jeff Dee posts regularly on his Facebook about politics, Tim Kask has a weekly YouTube vlog series, and most other people either also have large online presences or are involved with groups that do (Jayson Elliot via TSR Games, Luke Gygax via GaryCon, etc.)

If we do get a statement from Elmore, it will likely be a press release style statement on his website sometime next week, and even that may not happen.
Fair enough.
 


RFB Dan

Podcast host, 6-edition DM, and guy with a pulse.
The thing that bothers me is that, from a business perspective (putting on my MBA hat, I gotta use that for something), these types of unprofessional comments are (technical term coming) really really stupid. You don't successfully operate a wide-reaching business very long this way. That makes me wonder if some of this corporate trolling was planned in a way. And maybe it's just me being really tired because my sump pump decided to die at 4AM (and it's right under the bedroom) but I almost feel like the 3SR (or TSR3 if you prefer) and Justin LaNasa are enjoying all this pot-stirring.
 

I mean, the content of the video might be benign, but showing up to hang out with three unabashed racists and misogynists for their podcast is a bad look, James.
Ok, that may be my ignorance there as I don't really pay a lot of attention to OSR stuff and don't have much of an idea of who the other 3 guys are.

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Zardnaar

Legend
The thing that bothers me is that, from a business perspective (putting on my MBA hat, I gotta use that for something), these types of unprofessional comments are (technical term coming) really really stupid. You don't successfully operate a wide-reaching business very long this way. That makes me wonder if some of this corporate trolling was planned in a way. And maybe it's just me being really tired because my sump pump decided to die at 4AM (and it's right under the bedroom) but I almost feel like the 3SR (or TSR3 if you prefer) and Justin LaNasa are enjoying all this pot-stirring.

That's my suspicion. Probably be more productive to just ignore them. 2015 comes to mind;).
 




The thing that bothers me is that, from a business perspective (putting on my MBA hat, I gotta use that for something), these types of unprofessional comments are (technical term coming) really really stupid. You don't successfully operate a wide-reaching business very long this way. That makes me wonder if some of this corporate trolling was planned in a way. And maybe it's just me being really tired because my sump pump decided to die at 4AM (and it's right under the bedroom) but I almost feel like the 3SR (or TSR3 if you prefer) and Justin LaNasa are enjoying all this pot-stirring.
Same. I'm even speculating on if LaNasa doesn't actually have any plans to see TSR3 through long-term; maybe he's just milking this entire situation for controversy and plans to abandon the company when he loses the spotlight or if the heat gets too hot for him to handle.
 

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