TSR Darlene tells NuTSR NO!

The artist Darlene, who designed one of the original TSR logos that TSR3.5 is currently using, has emphatically and publicly refused to endorse the company's use of the logo.

Darlene's work appeared in early Dungeons & Dragons materials, and included the full-color map in 1980's World of Greyhawk.

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In December, I finally reviewed the contract Justin LaNasa (JL) wanted me to sign. That’s when I took a stand and gave this answer: “I prefer not to be directly involved in any way with your lawsuit against WOTC. Therefore, I do not give permission to use the Wizard-head logo."

For the longest time, I tried to remain neutral, aloof, and unaffected. I wanted to avoid being associated with the bombastic claims of the new TSR.

JL first responded with a denial: “We were not planning on having you in the lawsuit this is why we ask for your permission.” Then a guilt trip: “We really tried to bring back something good with TSR.” Then played the underdog card: “it seems like WOTC and their supporters have a lot of fear and sway amongst the industry.”

It’s upsetting if JL thought I would be stupid enough to sign a contract without reading or comprehending it. In my response, I referred him to item #3 which obligates me to defend his position in his WOTC lawsuit. 


The pressure they are putting on me to reconsider has increased. Ernie Gygax thinks granting my permission for them to use the logo—which, btw, they are already using anyway—is key for their successful arbitration. He intimated if I don’t give in, sign away my rights and take their money, I’d be hurting some people I really care about. He also suggested I can “up the ante” for double the amount initially offered.

JL has since amicably proposed to work out a contract that excludes me from the lawsuit. He’s been very nice and cordial to me throughout. Nevertheless... The contract will most likely retain the first sentence where I declare that I have “not previously transferred my rights to any entity or party.” What? As I understand it, logos don’t work that way.

The most important thing to me has not been addressed. As a visual thinker and logo designer, I am very particular about the nuances of what I create. Yes, I designed the original wizard-head logo back in the ’80s. That is not in dispute. However, the logo produced as “Exhibit ‘A’” in JL’s contract is not my logo. It’s a bastardization—a greyed-out, fuzzy, lesser version—of what I designed. I detest the spindly letters used for "The Game Wizards." Ugh!

Therefore, I cannot honestly take money for it because I do not and will not claim it as mine. I’m extremely picky about choosing my clients. Before I would consider designing a new logo for the new TSR, they would have to demonstrate ethical behavior as a business entity.

Ever since they appeared on the scene, the new TSR has been plucking the heartstrings of those who fondly remember the good ole days when the hobby was in its infancy. JL’s lofty words: “to honor and remember TSR, the Dragon, Gary and all the alumni of the old days of gaming” sound inspiring. But I remain unmoved. I never want to return to Lake Geneva to relive those “good old days."


If I were to endorse the new TSR, they have to correct the mistakes of the old TSR. They must be kinder and more generous to artists and authors in their employ. They would show proper respect, listen to, and honor women, both within the gaming field and as consumers. They would be more inclusive and sensitive enough to address the needs of individuals beyond the white male demographic. They would be fair to their customers and transparent in their actions.


Besides, the idea of me endorsing TSR—new or old—is laughable. Not always, but in general, I did not have a positive experience freelancing for TSR. Looking from the outside in, I witnessed how the growth spurts of TSR turned it from being an “all-for-one; one-for-all” company into an uncaring corporate entity with an “us vs them” mindset. With few exceptions, success brought out the worst in those TSR people given positions of authority. I witnessed how the creatives got the brunt of TSR’s unfair predatory policies. No, I do not yearn to return to that stressful, hostile, and toxic atmosphere.


My memories of TSR are clear because they are frozen to the time I needed to leave Lake Geneva for my own mental health and well-being. I turned my back on the growing number of small-minded TSR people who created and spread malicious rumors and hurtful lies about me, made me feel unwelcome whenever I visited the building, told me my art was not very good and caused me to doubt myself and my abilities.

I left to pursue knowledge, my MFA, and the prospect of new beginnings with no intention of returning. Gary Gygax contacted me in 2005 and coaxed me back. That’s when he and I became fast friends. In the years since, I’ve discovered—for the most part— nothing much has changed for females in the gaming world (ie: gamergate). TSR’s unfair internal practices (abusing creatives financially) seem to have followed the RPG industry. How do I know? Having worked as a professional in the “real world” since 1984, I’m aware of the many disparities.


Today, I decided to publicly share my “power of no” because I recognize this as a teachable moment for the dispossessed. Charged with 42 years of suppressed emotional pain, my “no” is big and empowered. It includes “no” to bullying and unethical business practices; “no” to the unfair treatment and compensation of artists, creatives, and women; and “no” to taking advantage of the disadvantaged to profit at their expense.


My “no” is also cathartic for me. With it, I officially reclaim those lost parts of myself I abandoned so long ago. To have the courage to take this stance, my desire for money had to be relinquished. Only then could I clearly understand the implications of what saying yes meant. As tempting as a yes would be, it is ultimately disempowering.


Compromising my integrity for money is the same as selling my soul.

Therefore, I choose to continue living like I always have, modestly. I choose not to allow temporary feelings of desperation or depression to rule me nor compromise the greater truth of who I am. Perhaps I should credit JL for catalyzing my healing process and helping me demonstrate what feminine power looks like.
 
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I'm seriously tempted to go on their Discord and post a review of Star Frontier, with made up excerpts showing how much the system or layout is borked.

They could not say: ''this is a false review! Look, the game does not even exists!''
If you published that on a blog (they would just delete from their Discord) you would get lots of traffic. Could be really well done... I would read it.
 


lingual

Adventurer
Just like a real landlord :whistle:

Anyway, this whole scheme seems to be all over the place. Who will they alienate tomorrow? Another original TSR person? Some random minority? The judge in their case? One of their own supposed people? Who knooooows? 🤷‍♀️
Very few landlords fit your stereotype. Most landlords are paying a mortgage, insurance, upkeep, taxes, etc. on the home they are leasing out.
 




see

Pedantic Grognard
This argument is so bizarre to me. It's like saying 'You haven't been using your beach house so I moved in and it's mine now. You have no one to blame but yourself that it's mine now.'
Well from a lawyer-advising-client perspective, it's saying "You numbskulls, if you'd just kept the registration up this LaNasa idiot wouldn't have gotten even this far. Sure, renewing the registrations cost money, but it would have been less than you've already paid the lawyer on your TTAB filing."

That is, you can simultaneously believe that someone who was strolling through a dark alleyway after midnight in the bad part of town wearing a diamond-studded Rolex was being an idiot and that the guy who mugged him for it was in the wrong.
 



Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
Well from a lawyer-advising-client perspective, it's saying "You numbskulls, if you'd just kept the registration up this LaNasa idiot wouldn't have gotten even this far. Sure, renewing the registrations cost money, but it would have been less than you've already paid the lawyer on your TTAB filing."

That is, you can simultaneously believe that someone who was strolling through a dark alleyway after midnight in the bad part of town wearing a diamond-studded Rolex was being an idiot and that the guy who mugged him for it was in the wrong.

I mean ... yes and no. The problem with all of this is, again, that trademarks follow use. And, of course, copyrights (which are separate and distinct) can't be violated either.

So ... sort of? Obviously, best practices and all that is they should have kept the registrations active. But they didn't absolutely need to if they were continuing to use the marks.

So I don't think your analogy is correct. It's the same as saying, "Look, if you didn't have a gold fringe on your flag, you wouldn't have stupid legal filings by stupid people." Sure, you might not have that stupid argument, but it would just be something else. Have you seen anything (anything?) that leads you to think that LaNasa has even the slightest concern for the ethics of the situation, or, for that matter, what is legally correct?
 



see

Pedantic Grognard
I mean ... yes and no.
No, not "yes and no". Just "yes".

If the registration is kept up by WotC, then any attempt by LaNasa to register the trademark immediately and automatically bounces. And then WotC wouldn't have had to file the TTAB action, or pay for that filing by that very expensive law firm that filed it. It is an automatic result, with LaNasa's ethics or concern for law being entirely irrelevant. Just as if my Rolex owner was sleeping in Hinsdale, he automatically isn't going to be mugged in an alley on Chicago's South Side.
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
No, not "yes and no". Just "yes".

If the registration is kept up by WotC, then any attempt by LaNasa to register the trademark immediately and automatically bounces. And then WotC wouldn't have had to file the TTAB action, or pay for that filing by that very expensive law firm that filed it. It is an automatic result, with LaNasa's ethics or concern for law being entirely irrelevant. Just as if my Rolex owner was sleeping in Hinsdale, he automatically isn't going to be mugged in an alley on Chicago's South Side.

No.

Look - as I hope you know, you can register the TSR trademark in a number of caregories- right now, there are a ton of registered TSRs.

It wouldn’t have “automatically” bounced. And none of this would have stopped the use of copyrighted images and materials.

You can’t stop people from doing dumb things. And you can’t stop dumb people from inflicting legal costs on others. It’s nice to dream in your reality, though.
 

darjr

I crit!
How often does it need to be registered? Every year? Would the same lawyers from WotC done it and charged nearly the same amount? Or a lot in any case, every time?
 


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