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TSR Did TSR Sue Regularly?

Shannon Appelcline (Designers & Dragons) talks about it here! With infographics!

"Every company interacts with the rest of the industry in a different way. For Chaosium it's been more than 40 years of licensing, while Target Games created and defined roleplaying in its home country of Sweden. Dave Nalle's Ragnarok Enterprises instead influenced designers and publishers through interactions in A&Eand Abyss. As for TSR, the founder of our industry: as wags have put it: they sue regularly."


They also sued WotC once!
 
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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey


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Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
I owned a copy of Cyborg Commando. Sometimes I wake up in cold sweats during the middle of the night shouting about cyborgs and Xenoborgs.

When I think of Cyborg Commando, two words come to mind:

Crushing disappointment.

Rarely have I bought an RPG with such high expectations, only to have those hopes dashed upon the hard rocks of the reality of the product.
 


I owned a copy of Cyborg Commando. Sometimes I wake up in cold sweats during the middle of the night shouting about cyborgs and Xenoborgs.
Believe it or not Tom DeSanto (having not read either the game or the novels by Mohan, et al) thought that this Gygax property was prime for development (there's a follow-up to the story of how he was dissuaded from that route). The best product put out by NIPI was Bob Blake's Town of Baldemar.
 
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MGibster

Legend
If TSR had taken a cooperative approach to the D&D line, they might have kept their product. 3PP is not a bad way to do business. Coopération is always better than confrontation IMHO.
TSR's business model was deeply flawed but their gaming books were selling fairly well. I really doubt allowing third party publishers to produce D&D gaming material would have made much of a dent in their financial woes which were largely caused by mismanagement.
 

TSR's business model was deeply flawed but their gaming books were selling fairly well. I really doubt allowing third party publishers to produce D&D gaming material would have made much of a dent in their financial woes which were largely caused by mismanagement.
I fully agree. It would also have helped them sell even more books and to reduce the bloat they tried at the end in favor of better and more polished products.
 

TSR's business model was deeply flawed but their gaming books were selling fairly well. I really doubt allowing third party publishers to produce D&D gaming material would have made much of a dent in their financial woes which were largely caused by mismanagement.
As I note in the semi-biopic novel that I'm finishing, Lake Geneva Days, TSR's business acumen was zero. IP theft (WotC instituted a relief/settlement program for such claims many years ago), lawsuits, backstabbing among themselves and others, broken contracts, nepotism, and the list goes on with over confidence (LJN fiasco, movie venture, et al), some embezzling stories, etc. That they lasted so long speaks to the strength of their primary property D&D. For how, given that monumental breakthrough. could have anyone dropped that large a leap? TSR: "Hold my beer."
 


IP theft (WotC instituted a relief/settlement program for such claims many years ago), lawsuits, backstabbing among themselves and others, broken contracts, nepotism, and the list goes on with over confidence (LJN fiasco, movie venture, et al), some embezzling stories, etc.
This is still common! I've had the opportunity to work with both Fortune 500s (main job) and a few big name RPG titles (not D&D), and it genuinely surprised me how some of the biggest names in RPG games today are barely functional friend groups with a few really capable people sprinkled in. It sounds like I'm casting aspersions, but I'm trying to convey how even in 2021 the difference in business practices is like night and day.
 
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MGibster

Legend
That they lasted so long speaks to the strength of their primary property D&D. For how, given that monumental breakthrough. could have anyone dropped that large a leap? TSR: "Hold my beer."
TSR really managed to captured lightning in a bottle. I have to admit that I do feel a bit badly for piling on to TSR all the time. Running a company isn't easy and I imagine finding such great success so quickly can make things especially challenging. i.e. It's hard to learn from bad business decisions when they don't seem to be affecting your bottom line. For all the hate Lorraine Williams gets, she was a financial planner who knew what she was doing and may have saved the company when she took over following the exodus of the Blums and Gygax.
 

MGibster

Legend
This is still common! I've had the opportunity to work with both Fortune 500s (main job) and a few big name RPG titles (not D&D), and it genuinely surprised me how some of the biggest names in RPG games today are barely functional friend groups surrounded by a tiny number of really capable people. It sounds like I'm casting aspersions, but I'm trying to convey how even in 2021 the difference in business practices is like night and day.
That makes sense. A lot of game stores are run like that instead of a proper retail business.
 



This is still common! I've had the opportunity to work with both Fortune 500s (main job) and a few big name RPG titles (not D&D), and it genuinely surprised me how some of the biggest names in RPG games today are barely functional friend groups with a few really capable people sprinkled in. It sounds like I'm casting aspersions, but I'm trying to convey how even in 2021 the difference in business practices is like night and day.
I suspect there a lot of businesses like that. To the outside they look like a solid professional organisation, but on the inside they are a bunch of regular folk bubbling along outside of their competence zone pretending they know what they are doing.

Come to think, I have worked in schools like that.
 

TSR really managed to captured lightning in a bottle. I have to admit that I do feel a bit badly for piling on to TSR all the time. Running a company isn't easy and I imagine finding such great success so quickly can make things especially challenging. i.e. It's hard to learn from bad business decisions when they don't seem to be affecting your bottom line. For all the hate Lorraine Williams gets, she was a financial planner who knew what she was doing and may have saved the company when she took over following the exodus of the Blums and Gygax.
Well. It's mostly a matter of historical recounting at this point; there is some unfinished business out there for some, and for some who never recovered from being run over by them. There was a lot of "sweeping it under the rug" with the thought of, well, it'd remain there. Karma's a thing though. The truth always comes out. The Blumes were eager investors but at some point lost the plot; Gary wanted it all back, lock, stock and barrel, after he'd lost control due to Don Kaye's untimely death; and Lorraine, for all of her warts, was probably the best for the company, but too little too late. There's a lot of complication and skewed perceptions driving the whole tragic mess, and everyone I've listed had a hand in it. But bad juju is bad juju, Business, at least good or even fair business, is not about stealing, cheating and destroying.
 

SkidAce

Hero
Supporter
@Rob Kuntz

Ever read this one...its one of my favorites.

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