TSR The Full & Glorious History of NuTSR

Because the Saga of TSR3 has been ongoing for a while, with many landmarks, I thought I'd do a quick timeline for those who haven't had the time (or, frankly, inclination) to keep up with the whole palaver. As multiple entities refer to themselves as TSR, I will use the nomenclature (1), (2) etc. to distinguish them. However, all the companies below simply use the term "TSR". The principle...

Because the Saga of TSR3 has been ongoing for a while, with many landmarks, I thought I'd do a quick timeline for those who haven't had the time (or, frankly, inclination) to keep up with the whole palaver.

As multiple entities refer to themselves as TSR, I will use the nomenclature (1), (2) etc. to distinguish them. However, all the companies below simply use the term "TSR".

The principle people involved with this story are Ernie Gygax (one of Gary Gygax's children), Justin LaNasa (a tattooist, weapon designer, and briefly a politician who refers to himself as Sir Justin LaNasa*), Stephen Dinehart (co-creator of Giantlands with James Ward), and -- later -- Michael K. Hovermale, TSR3's PR officer.

Also linked to TSR3 is the Dungeon Hobby Shop Museum in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. Much of TSR3’s commercial business appears to be conducted via the museum.

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  • Late June 2021. TSR3 embarks on an astonishing social media campaign where they tell people who don't like Gary Gygax not to play D&D, call a trans person on Twitter 'disgusting', thank the 'woke' because sales are up, insult Luke Gygax, and more. They also block or insult those who question them on Twitter.
  • Late June 2021. Various companies distance themselves from TSR3, including Gen Con, TSR2 (who rebrand themselves Solarian Games), GAMA, and various individuals such as Luke Gygax, Tim Kask, Jeff Dee, and more. TSR3 responds to being banned from Gen Con by claiming that they created the convention.
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  • June 30th 2021. TSR3 blames the widespread pushback it is getting on WotC, accusing it of mounting a coordinated assault on them. In the same tweets they claim that they created the TTRPG business. Ernie Gygax and Stephen Dinehart then deactivate their Twitter accounts. Months later it transpires that this is the date they received a C&D from WotC regarding their use of their IP.
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  • December 11th 2021. The president of the Gygax Memorial fund publicly declares that they were never consulted, and would refuse any donation from TSR3's crowdfunding campaign. TSR3 quietly removes the references to the GMF from the IndieGoGo page.
  • December 29th 2021. TSR3.5 refiles its lawsuit, this time in the correct jurisdiction. LaNasa and TSR ask for a trial by Jury.
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  • January 8th 2020. Wonderfiled[sic]'s Stephen Dinehart threatens to sue Twitter user David Flor for his negative review of Giantlands on the platform.
  • January 10th 2022. TSR3's Justin LaNasa sends TSR alumn Tim Kask a profane message, telling him to "Go suck Lukes/wotc/balls you f*****g coward" and accusing him of having been fired from TSR for stealing.
  • January 11th 2022. Michael K Hovermale claims that the first edition of TSR3's Star Frontiers: New Genesis game was released and has sold out. He says “It was a very small limited run released and sold on the DHSM [Dungeon Hobby Shop Museum] website. It is no longer available, and probably won’t be reprinted.” As yet, nobody has publicly revealed that they bought a copy.
  • January 14th 2022. Michael K. Hovermale resigns as TSR3's Chief Creative Officer and Public Relations Officer after 6 months in the position.
  • March 4th 2022. WotC strikes back with a lawsuit naming TSR, 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. TSR has 21 days to respond.
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  • March 22nd 2022. TSR gets an extension on that WoTC suit. Two waivers of service of summons granted to both Justin LaNasa and the Dungeon Hobby Shop Museum. He now has 60 days from March 4th to serve an answer or motion, or suffer default judgment.
  • March 26th 2022. TSR CON takes place at the same time as Gary Con. TSR claims " lol, actually we asked just about every one of the 800 people stopping by, TSR CON, and about 60% had no idea Gary con was going on, and we tried pushing them to go over and attend."
  • March 28th 2022. TSR3 posts images of 'rebound' copies of AD&D 1E books it is selling for $650 each.
  • May 17th 2022. Evidence emerges of Nazi connections via TSR3's Dave Johnson. Public Twitter posts include concentrated hateful imagery and messages over a long period of time.
  • May 17th 2022. DriveThruRPG removes all Dave Johnson Games titles from the platform.
  • May 17th 2022. A jury trial date is set for the TSR/WotC lawsuit for October 2023 (few suits like this actually make it to trial in the end).
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  • July 19th 2022. A leaked version of a beta version of TSR's 'Star Frontiers: New Genesis' game emerges on the internet. The content includes racist and white-supremacist propaganda, including character races with ability caps based on ethnicity, and various homophobic and transphobic references. Justin LaNasa immediately threatened to sue blogger Eric Tenkar, who shared the information publicly ('Mario Real' is one of LaNasa's online pseudonyms). Various evidence points towards the document's genuine nature, including an accidentally revealed Google drive belonging to NuTSR.
  • July 22nd 2022. A video shows a Google Drive that appears to be owned by nuTSR, which contains a list of enemies of the company, usually with the word "WOKE" in caps being used as a pejorative.
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(screenshot courtesy of the @nohateingaming Twitter account)

  • August 30th 2022. Wizard Tower Games announces that they have received a subpeona from WotC regarding TSR and Justin LaNasa. Former NuTSR employee Michaal K Hovermale confirms that he has also received a subpeona.
  • September 5th 2022. Justin LaNasa sends out customer data, including addresses and credit card numbers. LaNasa responds by publicly claiming the evidence is photoshopped and slandering those who revealed it as liars.
  • September 8th 2022. WoTC files an injunction to prevent LaNasa or his companies from “publishing, distributing, or otherwise making available Star Frontiers New Genesis or any iteration of the game using the Marks”.
  • June 8th 2023. NuTSR files for bankruptcy. The case between WotC and NuTSR is postponed until March 2024.

Have I missed anything important? I'll continue updating this as I remember things, or as people remind me of things!

To the best of my knowledge, TSR3 is not actually selling any type of gaming product.

*if anybody has any link to LaNasa's knighthood, please let me know!

Websites
Various websites have come and gone. I'll try to make some sense of it here so you know what site you're actually visiting!
  • TSR.com is the original TSR website. For a long time it redirected to WotC. The URL is no longer in use. (WotC)
  • TSRgames.com was TSR2 until summer 2021. The site is still running, although TSR2 is now called Solarian Games. (Jayson Elliot)
  • TSR.games was TSR3 until summer 2021. It now goes to Wonderfiled(sic)'s website. (Stephen Dinehart)
  • TSR-hobbies.com is TSR 3.5, launched summer 2021 by Justin LaNasa and Ernie Gygax. (Justin LaNasa)
 

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Faolyn

(she/her)
One thing that I found adequately bizarre, is with how Justin acts. What made them pick a Quaker ran school to send their kid too? I grew up Brethern so I'm fairly familiar with their beliefs.
I've read that Quaker schools are expensive, which would make them seem prestigious to some. Or the Quaker school might have been a cheaper and/or academically better option than other private schools in the area.
 

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Or the Quaker school might have been a cheaper and/or academically better option than other private schools in the area.
Justin is (oddly) very loudly a Mason, and they don't tend to make Masonic private schools - so it wouldn't be unusual for him to have picked another slightly non-mainstream but very Christian school with prestige and tradition for his daughter.

LANASA V TENKAR - ROUND 2

I figured the appeal docs would be available in PACER and enough of them to be worth looking at by now, and hand a look in LaNasa v Tenkar, ROUND 2. (Unfortunately they don't seem to be on CourtListener yet, so I've put some key documents in a Google Drive.)

Initially we have three issues: the parties, the caption of the case and the timeline.

Longtime fans are probably not surprised that these all tie into the bizarre arrogance of Justin's lawyer.

The Parties
The appeal names both Rachel (who was never served) and TSR LLC (who Justin no longer has authority to act on behalf of).

This means it's an inaccurate reflection as its being presented, and that's generally bad.

The Caption
ie the longer version of "Party A v Party B". These are kind of a big deal in courts as they are used for citation, referencing, understanding who is involved etc and various courts have rules on how it works, and adjusting/updating them must be approved by the court - but it is also the duty of the lawyers to apply when it becomes applicable.

Justin's lawyer argues that he just used the caption as it was when it was dismissed and well it's not his fault the District Court put that on the document at the end.

The Timeline
Unsurprisingly, in order to avoid appeals being used as a vector for harassment there are pretty tight timelines on when you have to raise your appeal etc. Justin's lawyer lodged the appeal with a timeline that is well and truly outside the standard timeline, giving him a lot more time than he should and drags it out a much longer timeline.

Justin's lawyer's explanation for this is well he's got stuff to do so he doesn't have time to deal with it, so justice just has to wait on when he's available. (As a side note, I am not an expert on US legal ethics - but in New Zealand it is considered unethical for a lawyer to accept a case they do not have time to deal with and not having time is one of the few basis under which a lawyer can refuse to represent a client).

The singular problem
As you might have guessed, all of these are a little more complicated than black and white, and there's an expectation that if there is a complication you will proactively bring it to the attention of the court and opposing counsel, humbling requesting that you be allowed to vary the standard approach.

Justin's lawyer does the opposite - he simply assumes he can do whatever he wants and then writes these weird, snide responses in reply where he not only dismisses the idea it was his responsibility to be clear but insists it was the other side's job to ask him to explain himself before they assert their rights under law.

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To be charitable, I theorize that this is another hold over from him being used to being a criminal defense lawyer where the state is obligated to bend over backward because they have the burdens of Proof Beyond Reasonable Doubt and Requisite Mental State. Also given that the defendant generally does not enjoy being prosecuted and/or detained/bailed they are usually eager to progress things (especially if they're at risk of incriminating themselves).

This is a civil appeal, where his singular goal is to convince a panel of three judges that one of their peers came to the incorrect conclusion - a tough task at the best of times. I humbly submit, that arrogance and demonstrating that he tends to just leave things unexplained and ignore expectations to be proactive in explaining himself is not going to help him here.
 
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Justin is (oddly) very loudly a Mason, and they don't tend to make Masonic private schools - so it wouldn't be unusual for him to have picked another slightly non-mainstream but very Christian school with prestige and tradition for his daughter.
Freemasonry has a strong track record of supporting public schools. So, a private "Masonic" school would be an odd duck. Not saying it couldn't happen, but it would be strange. Nothing preventing a Mason from utilizing a private school, however. There are also many Masons who are not Christian.
 

Freemasonry has a strong track record of supporting public schools. So, a private "Masonic" school would be an odd duck. Not saying it couldn't happen, but it would be strange. Nothing preventing a Mason from utilizing a private school, however. There are also many Masons who are not Christian.
Yeah, as I said Justin is oddly loud about his membership and status in his Lodge. I can't find anything else about his Lodge, so I can't say if it is an usual Lodge itself or if its just Justin acting in an odd manner. The way he posts about it seems to imply he's one of the rare Freemasons who wants to advertise it in hopes it will improve his image.

Not all Quakers are "Christian", they have groups of them who are deists but they are generally understood to be quirky but respectable Christians by wider community. Justin's campaign material has said he supports traditional Christian values etc. So there's a bunch of reasons why he'd be comfortable sending his daughter to a private Quaker school.
 

Yeah, as I said Justin is oddly loud about his membership and status in his Lodge. I can't find anything else about his Lodge, so I can't say if it is an usual Lodge itself or if its just Justin acting in an odd manner.
It's just Justin being odd, and, I believe, him trying to impress others who really don't care. I'm pretty sure he doesn't pick up on that. He certainly doesn't pick up that some Masons might be offended by his actions.
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
Supporter
This is a civil appear, where his singular goal is to convince a panel of three judges that one of their peers came to the incorrect conclusion - a tough task at the best of times. I humbly submit, that arrogance and demonstrating that he tends to just leave things unexplained and ignore expectations to be proactive in explaining himself is not going to help him here.

While you have to wait for the initial brief to determine what the exact arguments will be, the "issues to be raised on appeal" (appendix B) does not inspire confidence.
 


I don't see how where his daughter goes to school is in anyway appropriate.
One thing I would like to clarify is nobody has actually confirmed, nor wants to confirm, it is actually his daughter's school. I'm personally going out of my way not to mention her by name.

They could have been there for any number of reasons, fundraisers, interschool events, visiting a friend nearby, whatever.

The main point is that a lot of people thought it was a weird location, inconsistent with his behavior etc, the main point is that it's really not that inconsistent or special. There are plenty of perfectly valid, normal reasons for them to be there that fit in with Justin's public persona that he has insisted on inserting into his nuTSR business.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Supporter
LANASA V TENKAR - ROUND 2

(edit)

This is a civil appeal, where his singular goal is to convince a panel of three judges that one of their peers came to the incorrect conclusion - a tough task at the best of times. I humbly submit, that arrogance and demonstrating that he tends to just leave things unexplained and ignore expectations to be proactive in explaining himself is not going to help him here.
This post…that attorney…

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I’m not a trial attorney by trade, but I am an attorney who has been in trials, hearings and other judicial proceedings. This sounds nuts to me.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Supporter
One of these days, I’m going to have to give a con another chance. The only time I’ve ever been was way back in the 1990s, and this con ^ is in my backyard.
 

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