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)

  • 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”.

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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Meanwhile, the DHSM reacts to recent events by posting a comment on Tenkar's last video. It was... how should we say... not well received.

They've been spamming this across many places on FB as well. The feedback there has been mixed. Some people are calling them out on the hypocrisy, but it's clear they still have a network of support there.

It's enraging to hear the claims that their non-inclusivity problems are somehow "made up". No matter how much proof you show these guys they will never take responsibility, which makes it highly unlikely the situation will get better.

It's sad to think that Ernie is the one preaching so hard to claim this isn't all a big grift, when he's probably been taken for more than anyone else. If rumors are correct he gave $20k to Lanasa. I can't imagine he'll get any of that back when the lawsuit is finished. I know that it's common for victims of scams to have difficulty coming to terms with the truth, and it looks like he's in denial right now.
 

Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen (He/Him)
It's sad to think that Ernie is the one preaching so hard to claim this isn't all a big grift, when he's probably been taken for more than anyone else. If rumors are correct he gave $20k to Lanasa. I can't imagine he'll get any of that back when the lawsuit is finished. I know that it's common for victims of scams to have difficulty coming to terms with the truth, and it looks like he's in denial right now.

Yup. Some of it seems like genuine dishonesty from Ernie, though.

Ernie: "For all who believe this, we would like you to know that the Dungeon Hobby Shop and TSR has always been a love project. We have personally put hundreds of thousands of our own money to work on both projects.”

Wut.
 

Yup. Some of it seems like genuine dishonesty from Ernie, though.

Ernie: "For all who believe this, we would like you to know that the Dungeon Hobby Shop and TSR has always been a love project. We have personally put hundreds of thousands of our own money to work on both projects.”

Wut.

Absolutely, there are no excuses for him at this point. But blame and pity don't have to be exclusive.
 


Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
It's enraging to hear the claims that their non-inclusivity problems are somehow "made up". No matter how much proof you show these guys they will never take responsibility, which makes it highly unlikely the situation will get better.

From our perspective, it might get better when they have lost in the lawsuits. When they can't stand on the IP of others to give them relevance, they can continue squawking to the aether, but we won't care about it.
 

It seems like the TSR crew has been enjoying Facebook a lot lately.

Yesterday, they spammed their "We're not grifters!" message across various pages. If you read it now, it seems like they have a lot of supporters. But that may be slightly distorted by the fact that they deleted ~50 posts by anyone who spoke against them. Most surprisingly, Erika Lanasa (Justin's spouse) joined in, asking why everyone was being so negative.

Today, they tried promoting their meter system again ("Multiple school boards are looking to adopt this meter for library use." Yeah, I doubt that). Then they followed up my announcing that they're finally getting around to shipping out the reward memberships from people who donated on the Indiegogo campaign:

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I don't know what silliest about this. The fact that their "cards" are nothing more that a laminated piece of paper, the fact that they're somehow prideful about shipping them out 6 months after the campaign, or the fact that they used the original TSR Game Wizards logo. Wouldn't it be great if WotC claimed this as an unauthorized use of the logo, and managed to take the profits from the campaign as damages?

Finally, just to round things out, today Lanasa posted a faux-painting of himself, his wife Erika, and his kid (!) to the DHSM page and various other OSR pages. Every time I think Lanasa has hit rock bottom he surprises me; dragging his family in to promote this mess is a new low.
 

Minor lawsuit update: It looks like both parties (LaNasa under various names, and WotC) want to have a Protective Order. It was filed on June 15. My understanding is that this means certain information that comes out as part of the discovery phase of the lawsuit will not become public knowledge. This includes things like confidential business information and personal information (addresses, etc) about people involved.

The filling looks pretty boilerplate; I haven't seen anything that stands out to me. It's understandable that some of this info will be kept out. Kinda sad that we won't get the full scoop on NuTSR's financials, but I'm sure enough info will come out eventually.
 

Attachments

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Another boilerplate lawsuit update: STIPULATION REGARDING DISCOVERY OF ELECTRONICALLY STORED INFORMATION. Basically just some details about how to deal with digital data. The only notable part I can see is that we will should have a list of data sources in 30 days. It will be interesting to see who's on that list. This also goes to show how legal costs will start to add up over time.

On the social media front, there have been more appearances from family members. Erika (Justin's wife) showed up during a live stream on Tenkar's channel and William Gentry (Justin's father) joined Tenkar's FB group. Some people are guessing this may be Justin in disguise. 🤷‍♂️
 

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MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
Another boilerplate lawsuit update: STIPULATION REGARDING DISCOVERY OF ELECTRONICALLY STORED INFORMATION. Basically just some details about how to deal with digital data. The only notable part I can see is that we will should have a list of data sources in 30 days. It will be interesting to see who's on that list. This also goes to show how legal costs will start to add up over time.

On the social media front, there have been more appearances from family members. Erika (Justin's wife) showed up during a live stream on Tenkar's channel and William Gentry (Justin's father) joined Tenkar's FB group. Some people are guessing this may be Justin in disguise. 🤷‍♂️
Judges hate discovery disputes and lawyers conducting discovery on discovery, but I would bet my license to practice that Lanasa and crowd can't help but spoliate evidence and run afoul of preservation requirements.

Also, folks, this is where litigation gets very expensive. Once things go into discovery and the legal bills get real, the posturing and fighting "on principle" melts away into settlement discussions.
 

Announcement about SFNG on Discord:

DavefilmsUS — Today at 2:21 PM
Press Release!!
The SFNG layouts are finally finished and being reviewed.

Yes, that is the Nazi sympathizer Dave Johnson. No, no one from NuTSR including Dave has acknowledged the evidence of his white supremacist behavior in any way.

As a reminder of timelines, the last press release was an announcement on April 4th that the books were at the printer but there would be a 7-10 day delay due to a family emergency. And, of course, we were shown "photos" of the books on January 31st, and told they would be available at TSR Con on March 22. I can't help but feel that SFNG is aging backwards, like Merlin.
 



ko6ux

Adventurer
Announcement about SFNG on Discord:



Yes, that is the Nazi sympathizer Dave Johnson. No, no one from NuTSR including Dave has acknowledged the evidence of his white supremacist behavior in any way.

As a reminder of timelines, the last press release was an announcement on April 4th that the books were at the printer but there would be a 7-10 day delay due to a family emergency. And, of course, we were shown "photos" of the books on January 31st, and told they would be available at TSR Con on March 22. I can't help but feel that SFNG is aging backwards, like Merlin.

Except, these approved layouts are apparently for a playtest version.
 

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Faolyn

(she/her)
Except, these approved layouts are apparently for a playtest version.
I admit to being somewhat curious as to what the playtest version will actually look like. I can't imagine that it will be a good system, but will it be OK, kinda meh, amusingly bad, fun to rip apart, or too dreadful to even look at?
 

Emrico

Adventurer
I admit to being somewhat curious as to what the playtest version will actually look like. I can't imagine that it will be a good system, but will it be OK, kinda meh, amusingly bad, fun to rip apart, or too dreadful to even look at?
Well, not sure on the system itself, but the fluff they've previewed shows it's gonna be full of old school racism and alt-right bs. Which is not surprising since a lot of it is coming from the mind of Dave "Naughtzee Worshipper" Johnson.
 

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