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.

65B1E080-EEE9-45DD-AC2C-C55BD9DB6104.jpeg

gencon.jpeg
  • 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.
tsr_tweets.jpg
  • 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.
dineharttweet.png
dinebreakup.jpeg
concon.jpg
fr.jpeg
1639501994946.png
  • 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.
lanasa.jpg
  • 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.
lawsuitwotctsr.png
  • 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).
Screen Shot 2022-01-14 at 10.10.12 AM.png

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)
 
Last edited:

log in or register to remove this ad

Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey


log in or register to remove this ad






I am not surprised that Michael left. As others have pointed out, there can't be that much money in the work to justify the losing battle that is doing PR for this company. Even if a person believed 100% in the company vision and how they are, ahem, expressing it, that doesn't put food on the table and money in the bank account.

Also, dang, TSRMichael does it again:

1642186700909.png
 



@Grendel_Khan what happened there? Isn't he scheduled to run at their con?

Venger is still going to the Con though yes?

Sorry, I don't have any inside info about anything. Didn't mean to imply he was cancelling. I just mean that he could be shouting about nuTSR from the rooftops, amplifying them non-stop, or at the very least dropping by the Indiegogo comment section to stir things up. Instead he's just doing his normal right-wing trolling and pushing his own con.
 

Nikosandros

Golden Procrastinator
Sorry, I don't have any inside info about anything. Didn't mean to imply he was cancelling. I just mean that he could be shouting about nuTSR from the rooftops, amplifying them non-stop, or at the very least dropping by the Indiegogo comment section to stir things up. Instead he's just doing his normal right-wing trolling and pushing his own con.
He's also running something at "TSR Con", IIRC.
 

DLIMedia

Adventurer
For the record, it was my understanding that Michael was a VOLUNTEER, not a paid employee. I could be wrong on that.

I'm tempted to apply for the PRO position myself... but either the TSR Discord server has ceased to exist or I've been kicked from it. I have nowhere to apply!

Can anyone confirm the Discord server is still out there? Can you send me an invite? ;)
 

darjr

I crit!
For the record, it was my understanding that Michael was a VOLUNTEER, not a paid employee. I could be wrong on that.

I'm tempted to apply for the PRO position myself... but either the TSR Discord server has ceased to exist or I've been kicked from it. I have nowhere to apply!

Can anyone confirm the Discord server is still out there? Can you send me an invite? ;)
Is still there
 

Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen
For the record, it was my understanding that Michael was a VOLUNTEER, not a paid employee. I could be wrong on that.

I'm tempted to apply for the PRO position myself... but either the TSR Discord server has ceased to exist or I've been kicked from it. I have nowhere to apply!
Volunteers don't usually have titles like Chief Creative Officer. Although it's not uncommon for a not-yet-profitable company to not really pay its principals/executives/partners, until it actually gets off the ground.

When TSR1 was first in operation, for example, Gygax, Kaye and Blume didn't draw salaries or anything until they had been going a couple of years and actually had some sales that could support someone. Before that, the money they made pretty much just went back into the company. I think Gygax actually started drawing a paycheck as an employee in Summer of 1975, which he became in part to take the weight of accounting and shipping off Kaye's widow's shoulders (she had been doing those things on top of her day job). That autumn they hired Tim Kask as their first official full time employee, to run periodicals.
 



Jer

Legend
Supporter
Isn't that an intern?
Interns in the US should either be paid or not do the work of an employee. By law the work an unpaid intern does is supposed to complement not replace the work done by a paid employee and must also provide significant educational benefits to the intern.

Many companies in the US regularly flout the regulations on unpaid interns, but that's at least what the law says internships are supposed to be.
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
Isn't that an intern?

Now you're making me google.

Trainees:
Courts have used the “primary beneficiary test” to determine whether an intern or student is, in fact, an employee under the FLSA. In short, this test allows courts to examine the “economic reality” of the intern-employer relationship to determine which party is the “primary beneficiary” of the relationship. Courts have identified the following seven factors as part of the test:
  1. The extent to which the intern and the employer clearly understand that there is no expectation of compensation. Any promise of compensation, express or implied, suggests that the intern is an employee—and vice versa.
  2. The extent to which the internship provides training that would be similar to that which would be given in an educational environment, including the clinical and other hands-on training provided by educational institutions.
  3. The extent to which the internship is tied to the intern’s formal education program by integrated coursework or the receipt of academic credit.
  4. The extent to which the internship accommodates the intern’s academic commitments by corresponding to the academic calendar.
  5. The extent to which the internship’s duration is limited to the period in which the internship provides the intern with beneficial learning.
  6. The extent to which the intern’s work complements, rather than displaces, the work of paid employees while providing significant educational benefits to the intern.
  7. The extent to which the intern and the employer understand that the internship is conducted without entitlement to a paid job at the conclusion of the internship.
Courts have described the “primary beneficiary test” as a flexible test, and no single factor is determinative. Accordingly, whether an intern or student is an employee under the FLSA necessarily depends on the unique circumstances of each case.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
Publisher
Volunteers don't usually have titles like Chief Creative Officer. Although it's not uncommon for a not-yet-profitable company to not really pay its principals/executives/partners, until it actually gets off the ground.
Yeah, this is tricky. If he was the CCO, that implies he was part of the LLC and held office in that company. Normally you'd expect procedures on how to handle a member leaving for whatever reason in the LLC's Operating agreement. In most cases, members of the LLC all maintain a share in the company. So if Michael leaves, does that mean LaNasa has to pay him for his shares (since they are the only two people I know of who were part of the LLC)? With this group, I wouldn't put it past them that they didn't have an Operating Agreement in such detail. After all, LaNasa has a history of creating a lot of LLCs (and letting them expire, including one he currently has set up as his payment company for the Dungeon Hobby Shop (Port City Kava) and still has an office open in NC with that name, but the LLC expired over a year ago).
 


Visit Our Sponsor

Latest threads

Level Up!

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top