TSR NuTSR Sells Rebound 1E Core Rulebooks For $650 Each

Despite being embroiled in ongoing legal disputes with WotC regarding use of the TSR trademark (amongst other things), NuTSR has posted images of leather-bound compilations of AD&D 1E books they say are rebindings of old material, complete with the disputed logo. They're selling these books for $650 each.

The Deities & Demigods book (middle top in the image) has a typo on the front cover.


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About these books, NuTSR says "Look what just came in. Sorry, we didn't have these in for TSR CON. (in the beginning, WotC said similar to what people below are saying. We said they are rebound of old material. Long story short, WotC said ok no problem, we have it in writing)"

As rebindings, these would be existing books simply being resold. However, the covers with the disputed logo are new.

In early March WotC launched a lawsuit -- (PDF attachment of filing) -- naming TSR, TSR CEO Justin LaNasa personally, and the Dungeon Hobby Shop museum. WotC seeks a judgement that TSR hand over all domains, take down all websites, pay treble damages and costs, hand over all stock and proceeds related to the trademarks, and more.

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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

We can note how it, and the PHB, though rather analogous in positioning, use different construction. That leaves us with two choices:

1) One is correct, the other is not.
2) There is no single correct way to title such a book.

What are the odds that folks here will choose the former? I mean, if they choose the latter, the argument is over and done, isn't it?
Given that I have argued the latter, and was told that I was incorrect to do so, the former seems to be the preference of at least a few posters. The (grammatically uncontroversial) statement that in Players(') Handbook, Players can be either a possessive or a descriptive adjective was met with pushback. Anyone who did choose (1) is demonstrably incorrect.

If the form is possessive, it is a book that belongs to players. If it is descriptive, it is a book that pertains to players.

Umbran's Handbook is a handbook that belongs to you. The Umbran Handbook is a handbook pertaining to you.

Players' Handbook is a handbook that belongs to the players. The Players Handbook is a handbook pertaining to players.

Since descriptive adjectives ending in -s are relatively uncommon, many people make the mistake of thinking that the latter Players must be intended to be possessive, since most of the time when then see an adjective in front of a noun like that it is intended to be a possessive. This mistake is common enough that it has a name: a false possessive.

If one insists that Players must have an apostrophe, this can only mean that one does not accept that plural adjectives can be used in this form, because the apostrophe necessarily indicates a possessive. This stance would necessitate the rejection of, for example, Data Handbook as an acceptable form, since Data is plural. But I don't think anyone here would claim that Data Handbook, being a book pertaining to data, is grammatically or orthographically incorrect. Players Handbook is in the same form.

The fact that TSR changed their chosen style between 1E and 2E (in fact, they changed it between the Companion Rules - which still used the descriptive form - and the Master Rules which used the possessive form) certainly seems to have added to the confusion. But the former style is perfectly valid, as is the latter style.
 

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Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Since descriptive adjectives ending in -s are relatively uncommon, many people make the mistake of thinking that the latter Players must be intended to be possessive, since most of the time when then see an adjective in front of a noun like that it is intended to be a possessive. This mistake is common enough that it has a name: a false possessive.
Well it's perfectly understandable. Possessive is how that form of title is usually used. Usually you'd have an Employee Handbook, not an Employees Handbook. So you'd expect this to be a Player Handbook not a Players Handbook.

A quick google image search for handbook shows none that follow the PHB pattern, and tons that don't. It's pretty unusual to say Players Handbook like that.

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Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
If one insists that Players must have an apostrophe, this can only mean that one does not accept that plural adjectives can be used in this form, because the apostrophe necessarily indicates a possessive. This stance would necessitate the rejection of, for example, Data Handbook as an acceptable form, since Data is plural. But I don't think anyone here would claim that Data Handbook, being a book pertaining to data, is grammatically or orthographically incorrect. Players Handbook is in the same form.

The fact that TSR changed their chosen style between 1E and 2E (in fact, they changed it between the Companion Rules - which still used the descriptive form - and the Master Rules which used the possessive form) certainly seems to have added to the confusion. But the former style is perfectly valid, as is the latter style.

Great post. A quick check on google ngram to verify usage shows that while Player's Handbook was the the predominant usage since 1844, Players Handbook was a lesser-known but accepted usage.

The use by TSR of the plural adjective (cf. Teachers Union, High School Girls Basketball) caused a spike in usage, making it the dominant form until 1991.

As for Morrus and the employee handbook example, that is also a more recent thing. Until about 1975, there was no dramatically preferred usage; now, while the possessive is predominant (both singular and plural possessive), the plural adjective still exists.

It's complicated, because as you correctly note, people naturally want to make it possessive- which it is sometimes, but it doesn't have to be.
 




J.Quondam

CR 1/8
Welll…maybe yes, maybe no.

IF those books survive this kerfuffle, it’s possible they could become collectibles in their own right, kind of like how certain counterfeited instruments, furniture, and other collectibles have. Now, such knockoffs are seldom anywhere near as valuable as the originals, but they can still command eye-watering prices.

Part of how this happens is the quality of the knockoffs. That’s not a factor here.

But they’re evidence of the existence of a controversy, and as such, might be collected by those who want to commemorate the event.
I believe I've figured it out: All this legal kerfuffle is intended to drive up the resale value of those rebound D&D manuals.
Pretty clever!
 



Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
As for Morrus and the employee handbook example, that is also a more recent thing. Until about 1975, there was no dramatically preferred usage; now, while the possessive is predominant (both singular and plural possessive), the plural adjective still exists.

I'm just quoting myself, because I realized that I referred to something that has developed since 1975 as a "more recent thing."

Isn't that just the bee's knees?
 


Well it's perfectly understandable. Possessive is how that form of title is usually used. Usually you'd have an Employee Handbook, not an Employees Handbook. So you'd expect this to be a Player Handbook not a Players Handbook.
Absolutely understandable. Human cognitive biases in general are perfectly understandable. They remain biases, though.
 




Great post. A quick check on google ngram to verify usage shows that while Player's Handbook was the the predominant usage since 1844, Players Handbook was a lesser-known but accepted usage.
Possibly the best-known example on my side of the pond is Veterans Affairs, which is used by both Canadian and US government departments. They deal with the affairs that pertain to veterans.
 





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