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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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Tenkar did not insinuate this. He recounted an anecdote about an exchange in the past in which Mentzer expressed his confidence on Tenkar's ability in not violating laws about slander and libel.
There were two references to Mentzer. One was Tenkar saying Frank had confidence in him. The other was a reference to LaNasa having claimed that Frank was on board with the new company and would be one of their celebrity DMs.
 


Dessert Nomad

Adventurer
Consider the possibility that the plan was:
1) Get TSR trademark
2) Hype up TSR3
3) ???
4) Profit!

That sounds about right, which is just so dumb. If you add (in a positive way) to step 2), and make step 3) 'license the TSR/Gygax name for people to put on their games', then I'm pretty sure you'd get a decent amount of 4) without having to do a whole lot of work. I immediately had nostalgia feels when I first saw this, I don't think it would be very hard to parley that into money if TSR3 didn't just destroy their own name right out of the gate.
 

That sounds about right, which is just so dumb. If you add (in a positive way) to step 2), and make step 3) 'license the TSR/Gygax name for people to put on their games', then I'm pretty sure you'd get a decent amount of 4) without having to do a whole lot of work. I immediately had nostalgia feels when I first saw this, I don't think it would be very hard to parley that into money if TSR3 didn't just destroy their own name right out of the gate.
I dunno, I guess it depends on how closely one watches these things. I got some seriously bad vibes from as far back as the original press release (before the infamous interview), when the company tried to pass itself off as the original TSR using highly deceptive language. Things like "Tactical Studies Rules (TSR) was founded in 1973 by E. Gary Gygax and Don Kaye. Originally formed in 2020, TSR Games is officially back and under the leadership of E. Gary Gygax Jr." and "TSR was behind the original Dungeons & Dragons first released in 1974, now a worldwide phenomenon owned by Hasbro on its fifth and most popular edition yet. The team includes Justin LaNasa (CEO), Ernest G. Gygax Jr (EVP), Jeff R. Leason (COO, and Stephen E. Dinehart (CCO). LaNasa is a visionary and entrepreneur that has set out to reunite brands like TSR with the original talent behind them."

These statements are not outright lies, but by first saying a thing about the "real" TSR and then a thing about TSR3, they are trying to link the two in the readers' minds. They are trying to link back to a heritage that isn't really theirs. It is super shady, and triggered my scam sensors even before the people behind the company revealed their true colors.
 

cmad1977

Hero
That sounds about right, which is just so dumb. If you add (in a positive way) to step 2), and make step 3) 'license the TSR/Gygax name for people to put on their games', then I'm pretty sure you'd get a decent amount of 4) without having to do a whole lot of work. I immediately had nostalgia feels when I first saw this, I don't think it would be very hard to parley that into money if TSR3 didn't just destroy their own name right out of the gate.

These guys literally lost like… 12-20 potential players with me. I run 3(sometimes more) tables and I would have given them a shot if their stuff was decent.

Now…. No.
 

Riley

Adventurer
I got some seriously bad vibes from as far back as the original press release (before the infamous interview), when the company tried to pass itself off as the original TSR using highly deceptive language.

The first bad vibes I got from this project predated “TSR”(3).

The for-profit “Dungeon Hobby Shop Museum” seemed pretty sketchy, with its improbably high fees to play D&D with a “Unique” or “Legendary Dungeon Master” when Tenkar’s Tavern covered it last year:


LaNassa even turned up in the comments there to argue his case.
 


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