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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.
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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 Chiefl Creative Officer and Public Relations Officer after 6 months in the position.
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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


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Jer

Hero
Also, has anyone ever decided what in particular makes a game "old school"? Is there a cut-off date (do late 80s count)? Is there anything ruleswise that's a necessary thing?
This is the great mystery of gaming. "Old School" mostly seems to mean "reminds me of how I played the game when I started" based on the games that label themselves as "old school".

I fully expect in 10 years to see a 4e retroclone labelled "old school" that was created by someone who was 10 when the 4e PHB came out and it was the first RPG they ever played.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
Publisher
This is the great mystery of gaming. "Old School" mostly seems to mean "reminds me of how I played the game when I started" based on the games that label themselves as "old school".

I fully expect in 10 years to see a 4e retroclone labelled "old school" that was created by someone who was 10 when the 4e PHB came out and it was the first RPG they ever played.
Oh, I don't know. I think it could be called "retro", but not really "old school". I mean, Classic Rock has a pretty clear umbrella of music it covers, no matter how many more years go by. The Killers and My Chemical Romance aren't really considered Classic Rock, while Scorpions, AC/DC, Journey, Boston, etc are.
 

Mezuka

Explorer
Oh, I don't know. I think it could be called "retro", but not really "old school". I mean, Classic Rock has a pretty clear umbrella of music it covers, no matter how many more years go by. The Killers and My Chemical Romance aren't really considered Classic Rock, while Scorpions, AC/DC, Journey, Boston, etc are.
Agreed. I'm sure someone will come up with a new taxonomy. People love doing that, putting things under labels.
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
Yeah, true. But I'd probably make my own system, because reasons. :D

Also, has anyone ever decided what in particular makes a game "old school"? Is there a cut-off date (do late 80s count)? Is there anything ruleswise that's a necessary thing?

I don't think I'd ever consider Star Frontiers old school. Metamorphis Alpha and Gamma World 1e on the other hand...
 


Cadence

Legend
Supporter
It’s like AD&D 2nd edition old school.

I know it’s old school but it never fits in that box in my mind.

When I got Star Frontiers new in either 82 or 83, it seemed so shiny. I don't remember it coming with crayons like were needed for the Moldvay Basic, and it looked a lot fancier than the Gamma World 1e box I had (which, granted, was 2nd hand and the book was held together in a folder).
 

darjr

I crit!
When I got Star Frontiers new in either 82 or 83, it seemed so shiny. I don't remember it coming with crayons like were needed for the Moldvay Basic, and it looked a lot fancier than the Gamma World 1e box I had (which, granted, was 2nd hand and the book was held together in a folder).
It did to me too.
 


Jer

Hero
When I got Star Frontiers new in either 82 or 83, it seemed so shiny. I don't remember it coming with crayons like were needed for the Moldvay Basic, and it looked a lot fancier than the Gamma World 1e box I had (which, granted, was 2nd hand and the book was held together in a folder).
I got my Star Frontiers box out again over Christmas and it still feels that way to me. Somehow Star Frontiers still feels like a very modern game despite the fact that it's 40 years old. For example - the skill group system in Star Frontiers feels like something a modern game might pump out.

Conversely the revised version of Star Frontiers from Zebulon's Guide feels actually old-school to me. Imagine having a colored chart to cross reference while looking up die rolls! Now that's old school ;)
 


Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
I mean, Classic Rock has a pretty clear umbrella of music it covers, no matter how many more years go by.
Not so much anymore.

The biggest baddest “classic rock“ station in the D/FW metroplex plays Metallica, Green Day, RHCP and U2, just to name a few of the younger bands.

I’ve also noticed a similar genre creep in the piped in music in stores. i was shopping for groceries last month, and they went from Pink Floyd to Soundgarden to The Offspring. The originals, not covers.
 

Yeah, Ernie partially blamed his Marmoreal Tomb Kickstarter SNAFU on both Kickstarter taking a cut of the money raised and having to pay taxes on the money raised.
Right. The interview that kicked off this trainwreck was a dumpster fire not just for the comment about "having or enforcing gender roles", but for his whining about having to pay Kickstarter, taxes, banks having fees... It just looks completely unprofessional to complain about fees he KNEW about ahead of time, especially considering that it's extremely implausible that he would have been able to raise $126k without that platform.
 


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