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 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)

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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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

I suspect that the "no digital products" idea ...

It's my belief that the real reason for "no digital products" is that these products actually aren't intended to be played. There are two markets NuTSR wants to make money from. The first is die hard fans or nostalgia hunters who will buy anything with the name "TSR", "Gygax" or "Star Frontiers" on the cover. The second is people who show up at the DHSM and are sucked into buying an RPG product (as a souvenir, nostalgia piece, or similar). The actual quality of the content doesn't really matter that much to either group.

I came to this conclusion after getting the PDF of Cult of Abaddon and wondering who was seriously going to pay money for an adventure with such terrible editing, then seeing it being sold at TSR Con. It makes so much more sense in that context; NuTSR is basically printing $15 bills for people who stop by the museum and think they're walking out with a piece of history. Ditto for the re-branded dollar store dice. It's the RPG equivalent of a buying a history book at Plymouth Rock from someone who claims to be an ancestor of one of the pilgrims.

That's also why the release date of SF:NG simply doesn't matter. They hyped it for March to use as advertising for TSR Con. Once it became obvious that no one was paying $100 to play it at the con, the next date of any importance is Xmas.
 

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DLIMedia

Hero
From Discord...

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A lot to unpack here...
  • TSR accepts DaveJ as the author of Star Frontiers, despite all the terrible things he represents.
  • DaveJ is a "volunteer" who is likely writing it without getting paid.
  • Morgoth is definitely JustinL.
  • The Discord admin doesn't know anything about their flagship product, like when any part of it will ever be released.
  • We only want people that love us and sing our praises in the Discord. If you got a problem with anything we do, out you go.
I'll remind everyone that "RancidLord" is Michael Yach, the guy that has a Jefferson Davis avatar, so... yeah...

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Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
From Discord...

View attachment 249029

A lot to unpack here...
  • TSR accepts DaveJ as the author of Star Frontiers, despite all the terrible things he represents.
  • DaveJ is a "volunteer" who is likely writing it without getting paid.
  • Morgoth is definitely JustinL.
  • The Discord admin doesn't know anything about their flagship product, like when any part of it will ever be released.
  • We only want people that love us and sing our praises in the Discord. If you got a problem with anything we do, out you go.
I'll remind everyone that "RancidLord" is Michael Yach, the guy that has a Jefferson Davis avatar, so... yeah...

View attachment 249030
I think they’re confused about who was posting about nazis.

Hint: it was them.
 





Jer

Legend
Supporter
I think they’re confused about who was posting about nazis.

Hint: it was them.
Also I have to say - staking out the position that it's not okay to "post **** about Nazis" while waving away allegations that your friend has literally been posting Nazi stuff online is certainly a stance to take. There's even more "my 'don't talk about my Nazi friend' T-shirt is raising questions that have already been answered by my T-shirt" energy going on in that Discord post than we'd previously seen...
 



dirtypool

Explorer
Justin L: Okay guys thanks for coming to todays staff meetings about Discord handles. I've decided we have to make sure we represent ourselves accurately to our fans. In that spirit I've chosen to use the name of Tolkien's Lucifer analogue from the Silmarillion.
Michael Y: Excellent, I was thinking something like ExcrementWeasel.
Justin L: Too on the nose.
Michael Y: RottingMeatSmell?
Justin L: Too descriptive.
Michael Y: RancidLord.
Justin L: THAT'S IT! That's the one.
 

A lot to unpack here...

I see a lot of attempts to redirect attention away from Dave.

RancidLord has recently posted a number of things about the "Betrayal of Michael K. H.", calling him a "Traitor" and "gold-digger" (his capitalization). It feels a little odd to be defending someone that I was so openly critical of originally, but jeez, let it go. The guy left, and he did a pretty clean job of it. Don't try and throw blame at an employee who quit 5 months ago when your current writer is under fire for being a literal nazi. That's a really, really terrible way to redirect drama. Also, given that the Mario77 got really obsessed with Michael towards the end (I think that doxing Michael is what finally got the account banned), it definitely makes me wonder if that account was run by RancidLord.

RL also really, really wants people to get in on the Tenkar's Toilet channel, but it's just not happening. The only one there trashing Tenkar is RL himself.

Ernie Gygax is working on the redirect, too. The DHSM has had 8 FB posts in the past week (since Dave was exposed), without a single mention of Dave or anything related to SFNG. Before that, it took them 22 days to make the same number of posts. Their posting rate has tripled in a attempt to draw attention away. I think the only other time Ernie posted this much was during TSR Con. I find it hard to believe that is a coincidence.

Also, I want to point out that RancidLord is wrong to refer to everyone at NuTSR as "volunteers". IANAL, but my understanding is that you can only be legally considered a volunteer at non-profit organizations. NuTSR and the DHSM are private, for-profit entities. NuTSR has employees, they have investors, and they have contractors. They can also have members (and members with high ranking status, etc). But the people who work for them are absolutely not volunteers.
 
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DLIMedia

Hero
RL also really, really wants people to get in on the Tenkar's Toilet channel, but it's just not happening. The only one there trashing Tenkar is RL himself.
There aren't a whole lot of people left on that Discord server... Sure, they may have 100+ members but no more than a half dozen have ever said anything.

H... how can you be a gold digger if you're not being paid?
My theory is that Michael H. may have volunteered at first but actually wanted to get paid eventually. When JustinL would do no such thing and expected his indentured servitude, Michael left.
 

My theory is that Michael H. may have volunteered at first but actually wanted to get paid eventually. When JustinL would do no such thing and expected his indentured servitude, Michael left.

That's my best understanding of the situation as well. Before the account was deleted, Mario77 also made some bizarre comments claiming Michael was greedy because Justin paid his travel expenses when he flew from his home to visit the DHSM (and Michael may have refused to come to TSR Con unless Justin paid for that travel as well). The attempt was to make Michael appear bad, but it only made Justin sound like a villian to me. It should be understood that when an employee (or even a contractor) travels for work with a company, the company covers those expenses.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Also I have to say - staking out the position that it's not okay to "post **** about Nazis" while waving away allegations that your friend has literally been posting Nazi stuff online is certainly a stance to take.
Yeah that’s the long version of what I said. :)
 


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