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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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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Sir Brennen

Legend
And the “TM” by the Star Frontiers name. That’s not even part of the current lawsuit, is it? Is this another preemptive attempt to say “Look! We plan on making product someday, so the trademark is ours!”
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
Publisher
And they don't even have original art.

View attachment 149987
I won’t ever bust on a company, especially a small one, for using stock art. That’s what it’s there for. Heck, I’m just a small indie publisher myself and I heavily used stock art in the past, and still do to a lesser extent. The project I’m working on now has a $20,000 art budget, and what small time companies can afford that? And that will STILL have some stock art usage in it or it would probably top $40,000.

These guys like to pretend they are an important company, that they are somehow part of THE TSR, but the reality is it’s one or two people with no products or real revenue
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
Publisher
And the “TM” by the Star Frontiers name. That’s not even part of the current lawsuit, is it? Is this another preemptive attempt to say “Look! We plan on making product someday, so the trademark is ours!”
Well, they have registered Star Frontiers, but one thing of interest is that in those filings, LaNasa is the sole member of TSR LLC. Which means Michael Hovermale is not a member, which means his titles of CCO were just bogus. Like LaNasa calling himself “Sir Justin LaNasa.” They just give themselves titles Willy nilly cuz they feel like it I guess.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Oh my god... where to begin...

Yes, this really was posted on Facebook.

View attachment 149986

Probably uses the innovative G.R.I.T.S. (Grabbing Rolls In The Slurry) task resolution sytem, which is just like D20, but all the dice are thrown in a wading pool of grits at the beginning of the session, and you have to get in and grab an appropriate die to figure out what your results were.
 






darjr

I crit!
Edit: note he responded to the allegations in a interview by Tenkar further in the thread.

Apparently the designer of Dungeon Crawl may be a fraud?

 
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jdrakeh

Hero
Apparently the designer of Dungeon Crawl may be a fraud?


Well, that's another interesting development.
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
Well, they have registered Star Frontiers, but one thing of interest is that in those filings, LaNasa is the sole member of TSR LLC. Which means Michael Hovermale is not a member, which means his titles of CCO were just bogus. Like LaNasa calling himself “Sir Justin LaNasa.” They just give themselves titles Willy nilly cuz they feel like it I guess.
Can't an LLC give it's members and employees pretty much any titles they want (as long as they fit with the LLC operating agreement)?

But if someone isn't a member and has a job description that sound like they're doing work and not like they're being trained, then they need to be paid and have withholding and all of the stuff like that, right?
 



Maggan

Writer of The Bitter Reach
One thing I've been wondering about is the appeal of a new Star Frontiers game.

If we set all else aside, Is there a big group of gamers yearning for Star Frontiers? And a new Star Frontiers at that?

Is the game a sleeping giant, is there fertile soil waiting to be exploited? My impression is that it had its fans, but that they aren't really keen on a new version with all new design and rules.

Am I missing something about the appeal of Star Frontiers?
 

darjr

I crit!
There are Starfrontiers fans. There exists a fan magazine in Drivethru.

But I think this grift was one of perceived opportunity. For a while WotC let a third party “publish” Starfrontiers and remasters of Starfrontiers. Then a real rpg company registered the trademark but soon gave it up, some think because WotC objected. Anyway WotC brought Starfrontiers back in house and published on Drivethru.

The old remasters are pretty great but no longer available.

Note the magazine continues with WotC blessing, in fact that group just released a new SF adventure and have big plans for 2022, the 40th anniversary of SF

Here is a recent cover of that magazine.

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