TSR Ernie Gygax on New TSR, WotC Beefs, Trademarks, Licensees, 5E, & More

Status
Not open for further replies.
A YouTube channel, 'Live From the Bunker', interviewed Ernie Gygax about the new TSR. I've watched and decided to try to transcribe the most relevant parts of it, but the full hour-long video is below if you want to see the whole interview and full context.



Ernie Gygax is one of D&D co-creator Gary Gygax's sons, and recently announced that TSR, the company that launched D&D in 1974, and bought by WotC in the late 1990s, was returning.

All the below is Ernie Gygax's words as best I could transcribe. I'm posting the facts of what was said here, without commentary.

There's also talk about early TSR stories, Gail Gygax lawsuits and wills, etc. but I've tried to stay on topic. You can watch the full interview for more.

Why A New TSR?

TSR has been gone. There's a ton of artists and game designers and people that play..... and recently they were dissed for being old-fashioned, possibly anti modern trends, and enforcing, or even having the concepts of gender identity (laughs).

All I'm trying to do is fill in the stripmine, allow this old fertile soil to produce more games and products again. We're not gonna be able to get back the diamond that was Dungeons & Dragons. We'll be able to make things that might have chips of diamond material... we're never gonna see that great D&D diamond again, I don't think.

Why Two TSRs?

The other TSR is a licensee because [Jayson Elliot] let it lapse. But he had absolutely ... love for the game and the products. There was no reason to say 'oh you've screwed up, oh it's all ours, ha ha ha ha!' Instead, Justin [LaNasa] came to him and said ... we love that you're doing Top Secret things, we have a much broader goal for the whole thing. But there's no reason for you to stop or even have any troubles. Justin said, I'll take care of the paperwork, you just give me $10 a year, and you put out all this love for old school gaming that you can. And we appreciate that you were there to try and pick up things, and you produced Gygax Magazine, for in its time that you're also working on a game that you love to play ... because Top Secret was Jayson's love, as a young man.


On Gail Gygax, Wills, & Courts

We are in court right now with Gail Gygax, my father's last wife, who he impressed upon me, this is my wife, this was his last years, if you're going to deal with me, you're going to be dealing with my wife here. So 'OK father, understood'. And he said 'it doesn't matter what you think, because this is my wife'. That is important!

But he then did a will. The will was not put forth because the assumption was that there was not $50,000 in 19... or 2008, I should say, dollars worth of value in his estate. And right now though without that Gail had complete control of all the IPs and product, and she had pulled them all from the market hoping to sell them as one gigantic package to a large conglomerate, be it Pepsi or a studio or whatever.

Which did not happen, and at least in my opinion - and exactly that, an opinion - has lowered the knowledge and recognition of my father's name and his works. I think the best way to show and create value for anything is to have it in front of the public. And so in September there's going to be a couple of days where I get up really early - and it's not my style, like I said I was up until 6 in the morning - so by 8am I'm supposed to be bright and chipper and being questioned by lawyers as well as other family members.

Top Secret

[Top Secret] hasn't done real well, OK? But hopefully there will be a little bit of extra energy involved with Jayson and his material too, because we will be openly talking about them, and saying there's this fine gentleman, this ally. And there'll be other allies.

How Involved Are You?

With the two other gentleman as well as many volunteers and hopefully an ever expanding membership. This is kind of ... think of like an old British club where you know 'oooh, we sit around with our cigars'. This is gonna be hobby [champions?]

TSR Trademark

The TSR logo trademark was found in the dirt, by mistake, as we were setting up the museum. We were just looking for 'dungeon hobby shop', all that sort of thing, and Justin found, aching in the corridor, with the carcass of an old [counter?] this treasure. And instead of saying, like a thief and pocketing this, he said to Jeff and I, we have found this treasure. Let's make something of it!

Giantlands

Giantlands is a first licensee of a product that we are working with. I was involved with Giantlands just before Hobby Shop Museum became a reality. Jim Ward, he said, Luke and Ernie I would like either of you or both to be part of this project. So I said, well Jim Ward's got project, it looks like it was Gamma World, Metamorphosis Alpha, which I loved, and then I started reading more and said 'oh there's this other gentleman, Stephen Dinehart, and look at this, Aztecs flying around on hovercraft and beam weapons, alright, this is starting to look good.

I said I really don't want to get involved deeply with actually writing, having my name on the top, I would love to be involved in basically criticizing, modifying, and polishing the work for somebody else as well as trying to see what we can do to get this to not be just a concept...

How many original TSR people are part of this new TSR?

Well, it's an ever expanding list as we go along. A lot of it are let's say it's involved in projects, so it's not like you're hired on a wage situation, it would be more like royalties, or potentially a job or an occupation. Sometime, though I doubt it will happen because my friend [couldn't make out words] I would love to have him as something to do with our shipping department. He was the longest lasting TSR employee ever, and he was a good buddy, he bought me beer when I was underage.

We have Larry Elmore, particularly interested in Star Frontiers... and he is ready to maybe actually be a [one?] project art director.


On Wizards of the Coast, Lorraine Williams, & Original TSR

They just took as all corporate raiders do the treasures and then tried to make them their own. American Indians did the same thing they would, um, wipe out another tribe many times take the women and children and murder off everything else and leave to make your tribe that much better, room to grow.

On Star Frontiers

It would not be the same game. It would be a complete remake, sadly, or at least enough, as they told my dad when they did 2nd Edition, that I'm sorry you don't deserve any royalties from this because we changed it more than 10%. We're just a small company, we're defiantly not going to go to bat against WotC, that would be a stupid move, we'd just lose.

This is to fill in, and take all those holes where they've thrown back and said 'we don't want that'. So, OK, we're picking up apple cores and panting seeds.


On Cooperating with WotC

I would hope so but they just put out a big disclaimer recently trying to divorce themselves from the ethics and style of play that was involved in the origins of the game. They're basically trying to say 'we're a better company and a better type of person' than those who started playing. At least that's somewhat of the impression they've given and 'please switch over and be part of the new wave'. You know. Join the pack of lemmings, oh yeah!

.... and the problem is my fighter returns antagonism for antagonism. So that's where we start getting into some difficulties and I'm having to throw a protection from evil up. [Can't make out words] here and there, end of the party, and hopefully someday I'll be able to throw a fireball [can't make out words].

The Future of TSR

Justin is extremely interested in dealing with a Swiss firm .... this would just be a licensee .... but it's very possible that I may be taking some of my dungeon features from the old hobby shop dungeon and putting them into a game where it's virtual reality.

On [Online Theories That This Is A Test For?] 6th Edition D&D and WotC

I wish that I had better contacts with Wizards, and some of them probably would like to talk to me at some point too, because almost anybody that plays the games have been and are fans of older material. Though every edition, everybody that got involved somehow was taking their ideas and tried to make them canon, and that's been very interesting, so I guess we all like to own our own property, and I still feel that the best game I ever played in was my father's, probably followed by Rob Kuntz, and then Dave Arneson.

More on Star Frontiers

Unless for some reason they will allow us play royalties and things. We would still like to be friends with WotC for old things. We want to pick up things that were tossed in the dirt, brush them off, but if needed we are not incapable of creation. We'll create and we'll allow people to have things that aren't the method they are prescribing for people, it is not happiness for everybody, though it is happiness for many millions.

The 2019 Giantlands Kickstarter

That was individual. Stephen [Dinehart] is a licensee and my friend, and I'm part of it, but it's not TSR as the company and the people that have the museum. Those are two separate entities, which Justin is the first licensee in that we actually expect to have glorious things occurring.

On Crowdfunding & Late Kickstarters

I had a problem because when I did a crowdfunding on something called the Marmoreal Tomb, we are now just starting to deliver five years late ... its an incredible work! But I brought in an artist, a man of great talent, and more ambition than possibly foresight at the time. He's still cracking the whip, we have received years of hate from some people [can't make out words] Marmoreal Tomb, but not the whole thing, we don't have all the stretch goals, I'm saying that I have a burned hand from Kickstarters. But they do work. The reason that they really work is not just the money that they bring in, because you don't get all of it, maybe 7-10% of gets stolen by banks and other people, because that's why they do this crowdfunding thing, they say 'oh great, yeah, we'll handle your money' but it's gone.

But the idea is that we are going to be doing a membership drive, and a membership will be for playing at the museum, for buying products, and also conventions, probably having conventions where we have no fee, or a very reduced fee, if you're a member. And memberships will be lifetime memberships. A copper membership for like $50, there's a mitral or something for a grand. I don't know. That's something I don't have to worry about.

... [can't make out words] about $64,000 out of 125 or whatever they started with. I think I got 113 or something after Kickstarter peeled off their top. I've been paying for artists, I've wasted money on some accountants, I've got a gamer accountant now to help, and governments, and some people say 'oh you've got to pay tax on this, and oh no we didn't have to, the federal returned some money, the state said you give me money [laughs].

On D&D 5th Edition

The idea is let's share. The idea is there isn't a bad roleplaying game. 5th Edition to me is kinda like drinking light beer, when you could be having a Guinness. It's still cold ... has calories, some.

And more!

The above is selected quotes -- probably about half of the interview, but I tried to focus on new information. I've transcribed those as best I can, but there are a couple of bits where I couldn't make the words out. There's lots more (chat on gaming generally, old TSR stories, etc)! Watch the video for the full thing.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Sorry, I meant genre, about sci-fi as a (speculative) fiction genre. And I was too distracted when I said "Final Frontiers" instead "Star Frontiers". I was a lapsus. What was I would thinking about?

I don't want to imagine the day when Games Workshop to be asked a politically correct version of Warhammer 40.000.

TSR is a brand, and I guess the goal is the fandom market who wants something with a light retro/vintage touch.

Intercompany crossovers are rare because trade agreements aren't easy to be reached, but this is a good reason to be bought by speculators to be sold to collectors later. WotC should test the idea of some intercompany crossover with other publishers. For example Pugmire, by Onyx Path, as a cartoon serie and toys.

* OH MY GOD! I haved forgotten today the players will want mind-transfer and digitial inmortality (as in Altered Carbone or Eclipse Phase RPG) in the new sci-fi RPGs.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

MGibster

Legend
Why is it that US citizens demand that the ONLY people on the American Continents that can be called Americans are US citizens?
I'm not sure we make that demand. If we hear an Argentinian refer to himself as American it'll sound odd to our ears but I suspect most of us will just shrug our shoulders and move along.

I know many who consider themselves Americans, but are NOT US citizens. When a paragraph addresses all who are Americans in a derogatory way, perhaps it should look at the history of other nations and locations beyond that of the United States.
We don't use the word American the same way others do. I don't expect other nations to change how they use their language to suit my preferences and I don't expect to change how we use our language to suit their preferences.

AS you so nicely demonstrate, it can be infuriating that there are those that assume that American equals US citizen, when in truth, the term applies to ALL Americans whether they are in the US or not.
And for most Americans this is not at all an issue. We simply do not use American to describe anyone living in the Western Hemisphere.
 

If this was a recording of Ernie Gygax in 1950's Germany, then we could say "he is reflecting the norms of his time."

But Ernie Gygax recorded this interview in 2021.

Also, the gender roles you are citing are all from Western cultures. If you expand your view more globally, you will find many different examples of gender roles.

1970's... It is not that long ago... Hard to believe...
I think it is out of question, that he failed to evolve. I just wanted to give some context that it was not so long ago that women and men were treated differently by law.
So you should not blame them for creating the game as it was.
You SHOULD however blame him for not aknowledging that the game as it was is in no way acceptable today.

And yes, roles in different cultures were different, but still, women got children and in most cultures they cared for them after that in some way.
 


Urriak Uruk

Gaming is fun, and fun is for everyone
I don't want to imagine the day when Games Workshop to be asked a politically correct version of Warhammer 40.000.

This shows a MASSIVE misunderstanding of the current climate...

No one wants GW to whip around and make Warhammer 40k representative of ideal modern society (it's literally supposed to represent the worst impulses of dictatorship and endless war).

All some folks want is more racial/sexual diversity in the lore and products GW issues out. Which we are getting, as shown by the expanded support for Sisters of Battle, and the expansion of options for Imperial Guard.

So when bad folks lose their minds over "Waaah, I don't like having women in my Imperial Guard! Stop making Warhammer 40k so political!" I laugh, as 40k was always a political critique of fascism and xenophobia... but those folks never separated the parody from their own terrible opinion.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
Toxic masculinity was widespread back then and even girls liked the naughty words. So it was natural to try and be that way too. It was in some way expected...
Sad... but that was my experience.
This has never been true. Girls didn't like the "bad boys". They like a partner they can be bad with. There's a big difference. As someone in HS who fully believed the whole "why do girls always go to the jerks instead of nice guys", I know where that argument is coming from, and how it's flawed. People are drawn to confidence, and many of us "nice guys" back then were also shy and didn't have the best confidence. We also had this weird notion of white knighting and let me tell you, every woman I've spoken with hates that. All it does is reinforce gender stereotypes of women needing rescue.
 


GreyLord

Legend
Whatever interest I had in this TSR reboot died when reading this. What an absolute moronic opinion to have on WotC's generic response to Black Lives Matter...

When folks read a statement like the ones WotC wrote and decide to read it as a personal attack on themselves, that's fairly revealing of their own character.

It's too bad, as I would be interested in a new Star Frontiers.
Edit: To be clear, this is just using your post as a jumping off point to something I am posting, but not necessarily a direct reply to your post.

There is another way to interpret that statement other than what those in this thread have been stating...BUT...I have not listened to the full youtube video and do not have the insights of what he has said in other videos and items recently.

I would hope so but they just put out a big disclaimer recently trying to divorce themselves from the ethics and style of play that was involved in the origins of the game. They're basically trying to say 'we're a better company and a better type of person' than those who started playing. At least that's somewhat of the impression they've given and 'please switch over and be part of the new wave'. You know. Join the pack of lemmings, oh yeah!

.... and the problem is my fighter returns antagonism for antagonism. So that's where we start getting into some difficulties and I'm having to throw a protection from evil up. [Can't make out words] here and there, end of the party, and hopefully someday I'll be able to throw a fireball [can't make out words].

Also this

TSR has been gone. There's a ton of artists and game designers and people that play..... and recently they were dissed for being old-fashioned, possibly anti modern trends, and enforcing, or even having the concepts of gender identity (laughs).

All I'm trying to do is fill in the stripmine, allow this old fertile soil to produce more games and products again. We're not gonna be able to get back the diamond that was Dungeons & Dragons. We'll be able to make things that might have chips of diamond material... we're never gonna see that great D&D diamond again, I don't think.


It doesn't necessarily sound as if it is what people are commenting on in this thread, but rather he is having a problem with the accusations levelled against him and other gamers from the beginning of the game.

Suppose someone called everyone on ENworld racists bigots? Would you be offended by that? How would you argue against it?

All his statements point to them being dissed and a conclusion that everyone was racist and that they were all old fashioned and just like others have been accusing him in this thread.

What if that isn't what he feels though?

What if he is saying (And this is a viewpoint I could see him saying) is that he IS NOT like that and did not feel that the players were like that either. He does not appreciate being typecast in that light, nor the assumptions placed against them that they played, acted, or did things like that?

IF the same accusations were levelled against us at Enworld, how would we say it in our defense?

I'm not saying he IS saying this, but I think this is also a way to read what was posted and an interpretation of his words that is being completely overlooked here. IF he is as liberal as his voting tendencies seem to indicate from others, and his views are generally liberal, it would seem his statements MAY be more of a defensive against attacks on the character of those who were the original players (aka...he is saying they were not as prejudice as things make it sound and are pretty open minded, or as open minded as they can be) rather than saying what people have been thinking in this thread.

That said, I have NOT watched the video interview (not wanting to take the time...which is my bad I suppose) nor seen anything with him in it recently...so I do admit a limited point of view in this.
 
Last edited:

Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen (He/Him)
This shows a MASSIVE misunderstanding of the current climate...

No one wants GW to whip around and make Warhammer 40k representative of ideal modern society (it's literally supposed to represent the worst impulses of dictatorship and endless war).

All some folks want is more racial/sexual diversity in the lore and products GW issues out. Which we are getting, as shown by the expanded support for Sisters of Battle, and the expansion of options for Imperial Guard.

So when bad folks lose their minds over "Waaah, I don't like having women in my Imperial Guard! Stop making Warhammer 40k so political!" I laugh, as 40k was always a political critique of fascism and xenophobia... but those folks never separated the parody from their own terrible opinion.
This exactly. A tangent, of course, but 40k was originally deeply political. A satire of fascism and authoritarianism. As they got more mass-market in the 90s and later they made the setting less satirical, but still clearly a dystopia, with implicit commentary on authoritarianism and religious fanaticism running through virtually every bit of fluff about the Imperium.
 

This has never been true. Girls didn't like the "bad boys". They like a partner they can be bad with. There's a big difference. As someone in HS who fully believed the whole "why do girls always go to the jerks instead of nice guys", I know where that argument is coming from, and how it's flawed. People are drawn to confidence, and many of us "nice guys" back then were also shy and didn't have the best confidence. We also had this weird notion of white knighting and let me tell you, every woman I've spoken with hates that. All it does is reinforce gender stereotypes of women needing rescue.
That is what I know now. But that was not my perception back then. And it was not helpful that you were ridiculed by those confident boys because of your looks or what you like.
You tried to adapt and it did not help.
Noone came and said that it was ok to like things that girls like. It was boys play with x, girls play with y. How can you become confident in such an enviroment?
 

Status
Not open for further replies.
Remove ads

Remove ads

AD6_gamerati_skyscraper

Remove ads

Recent & Upcoming Releases

Top