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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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Dessert Nomad

Adventurer
I dunno, I guess it depends on how closely one watches these things.

Exactly; most people don't watch these things all that closely unless there's a reason to. I'm not saying that their claims are legit, or even that I'd have bought stuff from them (I have a lot more 'oh that looks interesting' than actual purchases in my history), but the initial mention of 'TSR' and some of the old names was enough to catch my interest. And I think a lot of people wouldn't look any deeper than 'is this game good' after some initial interest sparked by the company name if they hadn't gone out of the way to make the name poisonous.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
Publisher
Justin’s PR style (and writing/punctuation style) really hasn’t changed much in the last year:

View attachment 139670
His website, which is pretty much used as his resume, is so riddled with errors and bad grammar it's unreadable. Now, I'm not busting on bad spellers (of which I am one), but if you're going to put something out there like a resume and try to be professional? Yikes. Just shows me that anything he does will be of shoddy quality (if he ever actually does do anything).
 

Black Dougal

Footpad
His website, which is pretty much used as his resume, is so riddled with errors and bad grammar it's unreadable. Now, I'm not busting on bad spellers (of which I am one), but if you're going to put something out there like a resume and try to be professional? Yikes. Just shows me that anything he does will be of shoddy quality (if he ever actually does do anything).
Exactly. I do marketing and branding for a living and have clients like LaNasa with the grammar/spelling, not his worldview, I'd never work with someone and be ok marketing like he does. It's disgusting and hurtful....and stupid.

There are a gazillion spell check and content improver apps out there. Why would I hand you money if you don't take your own professional self professionally?
 

Gnarlo

Gnome Lover
Supporter
What is the situation with James Ward? I’ve been out of TT RPGs for a loooooong time (joined here back in the 3rd edition days and then fell out of TT gaming before 4th came out due to obligations to family and work and etc) and with an increase in free time I’ve recently been bitten by the bug again and picked up the 5th core books and have enjoyed reading them.

I was a big fan of 1- and 2-edition Gamma World, and I’ve been looking at Metamorphosis Alpha recently as it was a setting I was fascinated with decades ago because of the mention in the 1e DMG and from reading articles about it in Dragon mag way back in the day, but back then I had far less disposable income than I do now as an old fart. I was looking at pulling the trigger on some of the stuff at Goodman Games and then all this came to light.

I know he’s a creator or co-creator of Giantlands, which has unfortunate attachments to people being discussed here. Is this a case of poor choice in business partners? I haven’t seen any comments from him personally that were repulsive. I know he’s a conservative and I’ve been to his FB page and doom scrolled through the last year or so of posts without any obvious red flag terms or slurs so if he does share his business partners’ views he’s at least keeping them close to the vest.

I don’t want to support people with viewpoints being discussed here or anything similar, so anything out there I’m not aware of?
 

TheSword

Legend
All we need now is a rival game company equally as nutty and we have the makings of Tiger King II.

Or perhaps Nu-TSR is the new enemy of Joe Exotic in Tiger King II. Following Carol Baskin’s sensible refusal to be in it?

We have an anti LGBT group, apparently right wing, failed electoral bid, crazy statements online, a bizarre interview, shady millionaires with tanks… and most importantly… ego’s so big you could drive said tank over them and they won’t crack. Now a theme park?!

As in Tiger King, if you didn’t show it, no one would believe you.
 
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Eubani

Adventurer
I think we are at the point where all the garbage in the dumpster has burnt out and all this will disappear in a slight whimper if that. The only real long term consequence to all this despite all the thunder and bluster will be the dirt left on the Gygax name.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
I know he’s a creator or co-creator of Giantlands, which has unfortunate attachments to people being discussed here. Is this a case of poor choice in business partners? I haven’t seen any comments from him personally that were repulsive. I know he’s a conservative and I’ve been to his FB page and doom scrolled through the last year or so of posts without any obvious red flag terms or slurs so if he does share his business partners’ views he’s at least keeping them close to the vest.
He wrote Giantlands a few years ago. He's not involved with TSR3.
 

About Jim Ward. He's already distanced himself from TSR in an announcement. This is what I know from Luke and other sources close to the matter:

Jim's in very bad health at 70 years of age; he had been approached by Dinehart to do GL and agreed; Dinehart did the KS but could not fulfill; Dinehart then either approaches or is approached by LaNassa to complete it (art, editing, etc.); Ward's OK with this up and until TSR implodes out of the gate. Jim was also mentioned (as was Frank Mentzer and Mike Carr) as potential Legendary DMs who would DM for profit at the DHS. I would be surprised at this point if Jim does so, same holds true for Mike Carr. As Frank Mentzer chose to make himself persona non grata with GaryCon and Luke he still might be behind LaNassa and Ernie in that Legendary DM pay to play part, and perhaps even in design thrusts, who knows?

Then there is the matter of Gail Gygax and the Gygax Estate that is simmering into this on the private level.

My final summary is this: Worse than a Greek Tragedy.
 

I think we are at the point where all the garbage in the dumpster has burnt out and all this will disappear in a slight whimper if that. The only real long term consequence to all this despite all the thunder and bluster will be the dirt left on the Gygax name.
Well the damage is done and the fall out is here and growing, This upcoming clarification video spot that they are hyping for the future can only make it worse. Their window of opportunity is long gone and shattered.

I'm getting back to work. I did what I could but you can't influence people focused on strife and intent on self-destruction.

I want to thank @Morrus and his crew for being so patient during this crash and burn episode.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
Well the damage is done and the fall out is here and growing, This upcoming clarification video spot that they are hyping for the future can only make it worse. Their window of opportunity is long gone and shattered.

I'm getting back to work. I did what I could but you can't influence people focused on strife and intent on self-destruction.

I want to thank @Morrus and his crew for being so patient during this crash and burn episode.

Ernie didn't listen?
 

Ernie didn't listen?
I covered this in one of my earlier updates/responses here or in one of the other threads. Yes, he initially agreed over the phone then backed out in his e-mail response. I pasted the relevant quote from his e-mail to me June 29 in the "Who is Running TSR's Media Accounts" thread.

Ernie's washed his hands of responsibility and thrown the future, his family, his father and all decency and such under the bus. What he reaps from it will now be his, entirely, even if LaNassa is involved in influencing and grooming him. One must be a ready (or weak-minded, or both) adherent in any case. This is all on Ernie in the end as we all have to answer for our individual actions. Karma. I've seen it in action and I sense it is not too far removed from this; in fact, their Karma appears to be happening in real time.

But I must step back after my charge into this and recharge my batteries. I will keep track of it; and Luke and I are in constant communication. I might even call LaNassa, but have been self-debating how to approach a man who sets family against family and just doesn't seem to care for anything but himself. Soon as I settle on that I'll face the source, if he'll face me.
 

Gnarlo

Gnome Lover
Supporter
Thank y’all for your input there on Mr Ward; sounds like he’s more a victim of “lying down with the dogs” :( Sorry to hear he’s in declining health; starting to have those issues with my parents as well. I’ll head back to his stuff over on GG with less trepidation now.

Oh, and thank you Mr Kuntz for your efforts trying to bring Ernie bac from the abyss :( I’ve lost two old friends last year to the conspiracy faction, and watching people you care for ignore their education and throw away how they were raised to treat people in the quest of “secret information you’d understand if you’d just open your eyes” is very painful. Sorry things went the way they did for you :(
 
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Marc Radle

Adventurer
About Jim Ward. He's already distanced himself from TSR in an announcement. This is what I know from Luke and other sources close to the matter:

Jim's in very bad health at 70 years of age; he had been approached by Dinehart to do GL and agreed; Dinehart did the KS but could not fulfill; Dinehart then either approaches or is approached by LaNassa to complete it (art, editing, etc.); Ward's OK with this up and until TSR implodes out of the gate. Jim was also mentioned (as was Frank Mentzer and Mike Carr) as potential Legendary DMs who would DM for profit at the DHS. I would be surprised at this point if Jim does so, same holds true for Mike Carr. As Frank Mentzer chose to make himself persona non grata with GaryCon and Luke he still might be behind LaNassa and Ernie in that Legendary DM pay to play part, and perhaps even in design thrusts, who knows?

Then there is the matter of Gail Gygax and the Gygax Estate that is simmering into this on the private level.

My final summary is this: Worse than a Greek Tragedy.

“ Frank Mentzer chose to make himself persona non grata with GaryCon and Luke”?

I think I missed this. Did this happen during this current situation, or is this older news?
 


Older.

To be fair, Frank had his special guest title removed but was not banned from Gary Con. He could still attend. But I think Frank believed that in doing so it would be an admission that he was wrong on the issues he was called out on, so he dis-invited himself and became, from what I'm told, acrimonious towards Luke. It's all rather convoluted but Luke has expressed that it was the correct choice.
 


Reality always seems to find a way to disappoint.
Not all reality. But historically humans have been at each other's throats. Enlightenment has been way past its due time even though there are still those who claim we've passed it or in fact are in it.

I create and do fun things. In concentrating on that, in my case, I harm no one and propose in so doing to help make things in my limited surround more positive.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
I covered this in one of my earlier updates/responses here or in one of the other threads. Yes, he initially agreed over the phone then backed out in his e-mail response. I pasted the relevant quote from his e-mail to me June 29 in the "Who is Running TSR's Media Accounts" thread.

Ernie's washed his hands of responsibility and thrown the future, his family, his father and all decency and such under the bus. What he reaps from it will now be his, entirely, even if LaNassa is involved in influencing and grooming him. One must be a ready (or weak-minded, or both) adherent in any case. This is all on Ernie in the end as we all have to answer for our individual actions. Karma. I've seen it in action and I sense it is not too far removed from this; in fact, their Karma appears to be happening in real time.

But I must step back after my charge into this and recharge my batteries. I will keep track of it; and Luke and I are in constant communication. I might even call LaNassa, but have been self-debating how to approach a man who sets family against family and just doesn't seem to care for anything but himself. Soon as I settle on that I'll face the source, if he'll face me.
Mr. Kuntz, we have a saying in my family we call the lesson of the airplane mask. When you travel by plane, they always tell you that, in the event a plane loses cabin pressure, oxygen masks will drop from the ceiling. And you are directed to put YOUR mask on first before helping others. Otherwise, you may become incapacitated, and unable to help anyone…yourself included.

Analogously, there are many other situations in life where, if you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t help anyone, and may even become hurt in the process.

Right now, this particular metaphorical plane has lost cabin pressure. You have to make sure you’re in a position and condition to help Ernie out of this mess if/when he asks. Take care of yourself. Keep talking to Luke. But let Ernie do his thing.
 
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Take care of yourself. Keep talking to Luke. But let Ernie do his thing.
Appreciate your time and concern! Yes. Ernie will do his own thing, it seems rather fated at this juncture. But I have a personal angle in this re, LaNassa. He's parked himself in my home town, lied repeatedly about the company that I was a first-wave employee of, divided a family I love and was ceremoniously, though not legally, adopted by, etc. So, you will understand if I metaphorically pursue the matter to his doorstep whether he answers the doorbell or not.
 

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