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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Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Some of the timeline entries imply that these variations of TSR were themselves using "TSR2" or "TSR3" . . . all of that is editorializing from the ENWorld community.

No, it isn't editorializing. They are different things using the same name, which would be confusing if we didn't disambiguate. It is like calling the editions 1e, 2e, 3e, and 4e isn't editorializing. It is establishing a common nomenclature.
 

tenkar

Old School Blogger
C&D received by TSR 6/30/2021

TSR3 Abandoned most of its graphical marks in July and August of 2021. That includes Blackmoor, TSR (similar to the OSR graphic), the TSR Dragon Medallion as well as the Wizard logo.

Star Frontiers (RPG) filed for on 10/25/2020. Rots and expires on 12/22/2021 if no Statement of Use is submitted.

TSR - the actual three letters - filed for 8/16/2021 (yes, they never filed for the ACTUAL trademark they sniped).
 




Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen (He/Him)
No, it isn't editorializing. They are different things using the same name, which would be confusing if we didn't disambiguate. It is like calling the editions 1e, 2e, 3e, and 4e isn't editorializing. It is establishing a common nomenclature.
That is important, but he might have been referring to the November 2015 listing, which states that TSR2 continued selling Top Secret under the name "TSR2", when of course they were just using "TSR" as clarified at the top. Just a minor contradiction.

 


Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen (He/Him)
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.
At some point they publicly announced that they had actually put a Star Frontiers book (Star Frontiers New Genesis) on sale at The Dungeon Hobby Shop, but that it had sold out the same day. No ISBN # or other details were available, but the fact that they claim to have sold a product using this Trademark/IP is relevant to the saga. They still list it in the online store for the DHSM, but as Out of Stock.

Some details and witness comment in this linked post from @darjr:


Pictures of the coil-bound (looks like a Staples shop job) book and what appears to be a digital render/concept for a Star Frontiers boxed set, some character images, a character sheet and so forth are here, still on the DHSM website:
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
At some point they publicly announced that they had actually put a Star Frontiers book (Star Frontiers New Genesis) on sale at The Dungeon Hobby Shop, but that it had sold out the same day. No ISBN # or other details were available, but the fact that they claim to have sold a product using this Trademark/IP is relevant to the saga. They still list it in the online store for the DHSM, but as Out of Stock.

Some details and witness comment in this linked post from @darjr:


Pictures of the coil-bound (looks like a Staples shop job) book and what appears to be a digital render/concept for a Star Frontiers boxed set, some character images, a character sheet and so forth are here, still on the DHSM website:
Is there a date for this, or an announcement? I'm not sure where in the timeline it goes.
 


Jer

Legend
Supporter
To the best of my knowledge, TSR3 is not actually selling any type of gaming product.
They appear to be selling a $12 booklet for gaming with kids called "Tales and Tots" at their museum storefront.

Interestingly they sell it under 3 different trademarks - the "man in the moon" mark, the lizardman mark, and the word mark TSR:


I'm assuming this is so they can claim to be using all of these marks in commerce. They are also selling pre-orders for a Dungeon Crawl boardgame branded with a TSR mark and of course the Star Frontiers game that amazingly went from coming soon to sold out without anyone being able to find a copy to review.
 




Jer

Legend
Supporter
Trying to figure that out! :LOL:

Oh, while looking I spotted that SFNG is still listed as a product on the TSR-Hobbies.com website:

If you check out the product link you'll find that in the sample images for the product they have two images for a character sheet. From the character sheet it's pretty obvious that it's a 3e-era d20 or d20 modern hack.

Which is hilarious to me as they're using a license from Wizards to create a game to use to try to steal the trademark out from under Wizards.

Other ways it's hilarious to me - this is a game that already exists in that d20 Future had a Star Frontiers setting as part of itself, so anyone who wants this kind of game can already get it from Wizards themselves since d20 Future/d20 Modern is available on DriveThru. But of course getting it from Wizards wouldn't be making money by "sticking it" to Wizards which is the point of this exercise as far as I can tell.

(Also the character sheet has no space for "species". Who makes a Star Frontiers game and doesn't have the different species at the core of the game? This is what makes me think it's a d20 Modern rip off rather than a 3e d20 rip-off - the d20 modern sheet didn't have a species/race slot at the top because d20Modern mostly assumed you'd be playing humans.)
 





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