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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Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
This topic is about how numerous companies and individuals are distancing themselves from EGG Jr. over political statements he made; it’s inherently a political topic that is only tangentially related to gaming.

The owner of the RPG gaming news site found it related enough to gaming to post a news article. It is about how a famous name in RPGs made a statement about his gaming company and the reaction of other game creators and publishers.

If that's too tangential for you, please find a different thread.
 


Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Mod Note:

I have had to say it two or three times now, so that's enough to make this more official:

If the purpose of your post is to say how this discussion shouldn't be happening, please just leave the thread, and find something you actually want to constructively engage with. There is no need for you to engage in threads that don't interest you, and there is no need for you to suppress this discussion.
 

Whizbang Dustyboots

Gnometown Hero
We could talk about the kickstarter he hasn't fulfilled for 5 years and which he made some inexplicable comments about?
We could talk about the copyright and trademark issues surrounding this topic?
We could talk about Star Frontiers?
We could talk about in general the Public Relations issues surrounding Indie companies and this companies general PR problems without getting into the political specifics of them?
We could talk about the Giantlands game they mention as their first product?
We could talk about how all this relates to the prior TSR company with the Top Secret game?
We could talk about how all this relates to the prior Gygax magazine?
We could talk about what all the prior original TSR members left are all doing these days, gaming-wise?
We could talk about all the things we'd want to see, as consumers, coming from a new TSR?
We could talk about who we wished had started a new TSR other than these guys?
There's a long trail of former threads on this subject which cover all but the last topic in detail, for those interested in seeing those discussed.
 

Gradine

The Elephant in the Room (she/they)
I do think there are a lot of things we could be talking about which are not about the politics of this thing. Not that the politics of this thing should not be discussed. But I do think it's a rather narrow (and somewhat beaten into the ground at this point) aspect of a much larger overall set of topics we could be discussing.
To clarify; Giantlands sharing news about their product is worth discussing here, but Giantlands calling a trans woman disgusting is not. Ernie Gygax announcing Star Frontiers is worthwhile, Ernie Gygax making a joke at the expense of non-binary folx is not. Got it.

I will make sure to run all future submissions to this thread by you for your seal of approval. Wouldn't want to appear too political now
 

Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
Most of the other points you raised are related to legal issues we have little information, and even less input on. No "progress" will be made in discussion on them, because we are not legally party to the issues. When someone issues a valid C&D or court case, Morrus will have a new item on it, I am sure.

If you are not interested in this discussion, by all means go take part in other threads. They're still going just fine.
Of my list, exactly ONE item was legal in nature.

It's OK that you didn't have the time to read the list I made. It's kinda not OK to be dismissive of it without reading it though?

Again, it's not that I am not interested in the topic. I was responding to the guy saying there is no way to talk about this topic without focusing on that one aspect. I gave him a big list of other things that could be said about the topic..and you're chiding me for what, responding to his claim by refuting it?
 

Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
Yeah, well, some issues are much more heated than others. Whether if 3SR put out a new version of Star Frontiers is a violation of IP or not is a question of tangential importance to most people. Curiosity at most. Trying to brush off issues about people's identities and their due equal rights gets at their lives.
OK so who is trying to brush off those issues?
 

Gradine

The Elephant in the Room (she/they)
Again, it's not that I am not interested in the topic. I was responding to the guy saying there is no way to talk about this topic without focusing on that one aspect. I gave him a big list of other things that could be said about the topic..and you're chiding me for what, responding to his claim by refuting it?
Not if you're cis!
 

Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
From your keyboard to Pelor's eyes.

That said, I think the "TSR" brand name has again become radioactive for the time being and as long as TSR3 is 95% bluster and 5% product, its going to be hard to use the term as anything more than a dogwhistle.
Agreed. I do wonder if some other name could be invented by someone else who doesn't have the "taint" of these issues which is evocative of the old school D&D but not itself "TSR"?
 

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