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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To me, tying things back to games, this feels like a danger of a True Neutral character - trying to keep a semblence of balance. Maybe when a Good alignment is ascendant, things are fine, there's harmony. But as things shift instead of having a more vocal stand, they tend to be welcoming in the sense of 'if everyone remains polite, things will go fine', but the problem is the other edges of the alignments won't let that happen
Well. You incidentally use Gary's alignment system to abstractly describe his first son's self imposed predicament. The irony continues...

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Dusty Dragon
The Thompson machine gun line was very... Interesting?

Is the desire to become school shooters much older and more ingrained in nerd culture than I ever imagined?

Because holy heck, what a statement.
There is a lot of frustration and anger when you are the nerd that everyone despises.

THANKFULLY most people in that situation grow out of it and don't mention it willy-nilly. It had nothing to do with what happened recently, so I'm baffled why he would bring that up.

... but I will mention that it does in part (and in part only!) explain the appeal of D&D and similar role-playing games. A game where you can be a powerful warrior, cunning rogue or reality bending magic user. Where you have agency, power. Where you are not someone to mess with. If you are oppressed, that sounds appealing right?


Dusty Dragon
I was bullied in school because I was different. But it taught me to not bully others and to be accepting of those that were different.
That is what one hopes will happen - but alas, it doesn't always.

And even those accepting of differences can have "blind spots" :(

the Jester

One can only hope that my telephone call to him after this non-apology, and the two longish e-mails that followed, will knock some sense into him. The idea that Umbrian and another posted that he is avoiding conflict was spot on. That's Ernie. I never thought that would stand in the way of him ending one he and his partner started.

I'm not giving up but I am not doing anymore. He doesn't need someone looking over his shoulder to instruct him in the right course to take. He is not infirm or stupid. This whole thing is becoming a tragedy. I get the sense that people want him to come clean, to start over, but even with that, with that hope, a little bit of synergy, it all hangs over a precipice. Makes one consider Fate if it wasn't so morbidly comedic at this point.

I need to take a large step back.
Thanks for trying. You've done what you can, the rest is up to him.

I grew up a D&Der in the kentucky bible belt.

For the record, I was targeted by a boyscout troop, aimed by satanic scare parents, and had the unholy carp beat out of me during those wonderful 80's.

I did not want people dead. I did learn the fighting style of "...and make sure they STAY down... And regret their life choices..."

I'm still rather colored by those experiences. Sadly, I don't feel they'll change much. My opinions keep getting reinforced by bad actors.


Golden Procrastinator
I'd say it's pretty amazing how many people there on YT are so dedicated to toxifying a sub-niche of a friggin' hobby, but I've watched Pundey go all the way down the rabbit hole trying desperately to be relevant and somehow monetize his micro-fame. I have to wonder if the net income per hour endeavored exceeds working at a coffee shop somewhere.
I think Pundit's case is especially egregious. As far as I can tell, he used to be far more moderate in the past, but he decided to carve himself out a market niche for his very bland RPG offerings by pandering to the alt-right. His videos are half rants about "evil woke socialist authoritarians" and half shilling for his books.

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