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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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

Well, I want to talk to this guy, serious talk. I have no expectations other than saying my say and noting his reactions, words vs, actions. When rather than if. Robilar, as noted in my PC description (which I wrote) for the REAL TSR's Rogue's Gallery is that "He is not at all pleasant if tricked." Sounds melodramatic. But then his early fictional journey to Lynn (i.e, in Gary's conception of Oerth, Lynn = modern day France), saw me finally living in France. Sometimes life is stranger than fiction, sometimes it's the same... ;)

I know somebody with a washtub, 100 pounds of cement, a working knowledge of the deep spots of Lake Superior, and an alibi...

(DISCLAIMER: This post may contain humor, sarcasm, parody, and/or flatulence.)

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For some reason my browser is blocking this. What's this link to/of?
It's a Twitter screencap, of James M. Ward posting and someone responding. (I added the asterisks to comply with the "Eric's grandmother" rule; otherwise trying to copy the text as written, including typos.)

James M. Ward
Great questions. GiantLab is not an OSR anything and does not have an OGL inside. It's an original role playing game with a great many original concepts. It is the first fantasy/apocalyptic rpg on the market. It uses an amazing amount of monsters historically interesting and never before seen in any type of monster manual. The game doesn't use magic, it uses Ley energy and Ley amulets to throw power around. The rules are simple. An attacker has a "to hit" percentage that increases as they gain experience levels. They subtract the armor class percentage of their opponent to get a number needed to role to strike the foe. No matter what the armor class is a "to hit" roll of 1-10 always strikes. After 45 years of game design with numerous successes I think this is one as well..

Reply from Richard, Werewolf/Swearwolf Multiclass
"It is the first fantasy/apocalyptic rpg on the market."

What total fabulist ****ery is this?

Sir Brennen

Ah, that tweet was already thoroughly refuted in one of the other threads. I guess either Jim or the Giant Lands account (not sure who's posting for them) then refined their criteria ("but see, ours is set on Earth!") to no avail.


Sorry, it's basically Jim Ward claiming that giantlands is the "first fantasy/apocalyptic rpg on the market" and raving about how innovative a percentile dice system is. It's like he was cryogenically frozen for the last 30 years
It actually reminds me of "Roleplaying Mastery" by Gary Gygax, where he writes, among other things, about designing your own game. Regarding morality/alignment when making your own game, he writes: "The AD&D game uses a spectrum of nine different alignments, ranging from lawful good (the goodest of the good guys) to chaotic evil (the baddest of the bad). Your system may be this complex, or your game milieu may be such that fewer shades of gray need to be defined between the extremes of black and white."

I mean, I've heard the D&D alignment system described as many things over the years, but "complex" is rarely what people say about it. In Gary's defense, that's in a book released in 1987, unlike Ward who should have 34 years of experience over that to fall back upon.

I mean, I've heard the D&D alignment system described as many things over the years, but "complex" is rarely what people say about it. In Gary's defense, that's in a book released in 1987, unlike Ward who should have 34 years of experience over that to fall back upon.

IMO the alignment system is very complex, but not in a good way. It describes all sorts of people who basically just don't exist, or at least not in a rigid, permanent sense. True Neutral? Or really any of the neutral choices? GTFOH.


IMO the alignment system is very complex, but not in a good way. It describes all sorts of people who basically just don't exist, or at least not in a rigid, permanent sense. True Neutral? Or really any of the neutral choices? GTFOH.
I wouldn't call it complex, it's just nine pigeon-holes after all. Even something as nonsensical as Myers-Briggs at least gives you 16 combinations (though that's personality type, not morality). If you want to have morality and personality mechanically defined, look at something like Pendragon for a complex system. There you have thirteen different trait pairs, like Chaste / Lustful, Energetic / Lazy, or Forgiving / Vengeful, where opposing traits combine to 20. Different cultures in the game value different traits, and having values that align with your culture or with the chivalric tradition can give you various bonuses. In addition, there's a system of Passions that are more focused on a particular thing, like Love for someone, or Loyalty to someone.

If you want to make D&D's alignment work, I think Keith Baker's interpretation makes the most sense. Law/Chaos determine whether you primarily care about a particular organization, nation, or other meta-structure, or if you primarily care about individuals; and Good/Evil are essentially what you're willing to do for the things you care about. So by this token, James Bond would (in most of the movies) be Lawful Evil: he is loyal to MI6 and/or Britain, and he's willing to do pretty much anything to advance its interests. The Doctor, on the other hand, would (mostly) be Chaotic Good with some tendencies toward Neutral Good: they care little for organizations (but realize they can occasionally be useful tools), but they do care deeply for their companions and for most of the people they meet in their travels, and seek to uplift them and make them better.

I like this better than the altruistic/selfish interpretation of good/evil, because you can do enormous evil without being selfish. One might even argue that that's the most efficient kind of evil you get.

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