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

  • 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.
FYDaZwYXkAsdjW0.jpeg

(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)
 
Last edited:

log in or register to remove this ad

Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey


log in or register to remove this ad

Emrico

Adventurer
Very true. It'll be interesting to see if Justin decides to start calling Ernie a traitor or if he still "needs" Ernie enough to hold his tongue.
I would think that Justin still needs him for now. Without the Gygax name recognition, what else does he have except a couple of stolen trademarks and copyright theft? Once Justin attacks Ernie and Ernie is no longer available to run over-priced nostalgia sessions at the DHSM, whatever is left of his grift completely falls apart. And I'm sure that at least 2 or 3 of the remaining half-dozen members of the NuTSR Fireteam would side with Ernie. Can you really afford to lose 3 customers when you only have 6?
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
I would think that Justin still needs him for now. Without the Gygax name recognition, what else does he have except a couple of stolen trademarks and copyright theft? Once Justin attacks Ernie and Ernie is no longer available to run over-priced nostalgia sessions at the DHSM, whatever is left of his grift completely falls apart. And I'm sure that at least 2 or 3 of the remaining half-dozen members of the NuTSR Fireteam would side with Ernie. Can you really afford to lose 3 customers when you only have 6?
Agreed. But the real question is, does LaNasa have enough self-control? He rarely seems to think things through properly and he's shot himself in the foot plenty of other times by posting stupid things.

Well, we shall see. Although if he hasn't posted anything nasty about Ernie yet, he probably won't in the future.
 

Emrico

Adventurer
Agreed. But the real question is, does LaNasa have enough self-control? He rarely seems to think things through properly and he's shot himself in the foot plenty of other times by posting stupid things.

Well, we shall see. Although if he hasn't posted anything nasty about Ernie yet, he probably won't in the future.
Yeah, if you're looking for someone to bet on Justin having enough self-control to not lash out at Ernie, you will need to find another sucker. That would be akin to me betting that it won't snow in Minnesota this year. I do try to not just throw money away. 🤣🤣
 

J.Quondam

CR 1/8
Agreed. But the real question is, does LaNasa have enough self-control? He rarely seems to think things through properly and he's shot himself in the foot plenty of other times by posting stupid things.

Well, we shall see. Although if he hasn't posted anything nasty about Ernie yet, he probably won't in the future.
I wonder if he's been "advised" to keep his trap shut, by his lawyer, perhaps, or even by his family who will share in his financial ruination no thanks to his shenanigans.
 






DLIMedia

David Flor, Darklight Interactive
This all would have been fine, maybe even admirable, to say... but they had to kind of ruin it by trying to explain out of the blue that products that are arguably racist - such as Al-Qadim and Oriental Adventures, who carry the content disclaimers they are fighting against - are OK and totally not inappropriate because they're "homebrew"... as if labeling something "homebrew" makes it OK no matter how hateful of a product it may be.

1660098451761.png

1660098458360.png
 

vecna00

Speculation Specialist Wizard
This all would have been fine, maybe even admirable, to say... but they had to kind of ruin it by trying to explain out of the blue that products that are arguably racist - such as Al-Qadim and Oriental Adventures, who carry the content disclaimers they are fighting against - are OK and totally not inappropriate because they're "homebrew"... as if labeling something "homebrew" makes it OK no matter how hateful of a product it may be.

View attachment 257101
View attachment 257102
Yep, totally gonna believe someone by the name of checks notes "Anonymous Joe." Whelp.
 

adamantyr

Adventurer
This all would have been fine, maybe even admirable, to say... but they had to kind of ruin it by trying to explain out of the blue that products that are arguably racist - such as Al-Qadim and Oriental Adventures, who carry the content disclaimers they are fighting against - are OK and totally not inappropriate because they're "homebrew"... as if labeling something "homebrew" makes it OK no matter how hateful of a product it may be.

View attachment 257101
View attachment 257102
I just saw this myself... someone new there at nuTSR? They at least can write articulately.

What strikes me as hilarious about their ire about the content warnings is:
  1. They put it on ALL old products, not just problematic ones.
  2. If they truly thought a product was bad, they'd not offer it on OBS/DTRPG at all. "Songs of the South" anyone?
  3. The content warning never says "This is racist." It's just boilerplate coverage that anyone does to offer a fair warning. They don't know who will be offended by what, so it's a catch-all umbrella. Read the content warnings on the Muppet Show (which when they have them, ho boy are they necessary) and it's the same approach.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
This all would have been fine, maybe even admirable, to say... but they had to kind of ruin it by trying to explain out of the blue that products that are arguably racist - such as Al-Qadim and Oriental Adventures, who carry the content disclaimers they are fighting against - are OK and totally not inappropriate because they're "homebrew"... as if labeling something "homebrew" makes it OK no matter how hateful of a product it may be.

View attachment 257101
View attachment 257102

And no one said they were made with hate in their hearts. Just like no one thinks Peter Pan or Dumbo was made with hate in hearts of Disney.

But, the part of Anonymous Joe's story where he sat down with his kids? Where they went over the mistakes he made in trying to create worlds he didn't understand? That's why we have looked back at Al-Qadim and Oriental Adventures and said "You know what, they made something with good intent. But they made mistakes. Mistakes we don't find acceptable today, and we have to acknowledge that, because only when working together with the people who do understand the material, and ironing out those mistakes, can we make something truly amazing."

But much like a homebrewer clutching their "magnum opus" and refusing to allow anyone to criticize it, many people can't stand the idea that mistakes were once made, and that they should be acknowledged. And that doesn't help anyone make a better version.
 


adamantyr

Adventurer
I did find that particularly amusing given that it was posted directly from the DHSM account... and, as far as I know, there are only like three people that can actually do that.

And let's be honest: it's too well written to be Justin.
Agreed, can't be Justin. Maybe Jeff Leason?

Also, as usual, they posted it on the Oerth FB group. I'm tempted to post "This post has nothing to do with Greyhawk" but with Ernie as an admin there I expect it will get deleted. Plus it seems most of the people in that group just ignore the noise from DHSM anyway.
 

I just saw this myself... someone new there at nuTSR? They at least can write articulately.

What strikes me as hilarious about their ire about the content warnings is:
  1. They put it on ALL old products, not just problematic ones.
  2. If they truly thought a product was bad, they'd not offer it on OBS/DTRPG at all. "Songs of the South" anyone?
  3. The content warning never says "This is racist." It's just boilerplate coverage that anyone does to offer a fair warning. They don't know who will be offended by what, so it's a catch-all umbrella. Read the content warnings on the Muppet Show (which when they have them, ho boy are they necessary) and it's the same approach.
Yeah its even on the "hexagonal mapping booklet", which curiously didn't originally had it. I think people realize its not much more than a CYA to keep twitteratti off their back. In my opinion, least worst option, I see no reason to go on about it.
 


adamantyr

Adventurer
On a related note, I finished Benjamin Rigg's book "Slaying the Dragon" last week. It's definitely a must-have. (Unlike Empire of Imagination, which was a rather poorly written biography. Little hint; biographers aren't supposed to project what the subject is thinking.)

The key takeaway was that after the boom years in the early 80's, the sales of TSR products were always dwindling and they were desperate to get new players. While the OSR was a resurgence of interest in the older rules sets, it's never going to return to the numbers of the early days. So trying to appeal to a dwindling audience (of which a significant portion do NOT agree with their narrow-minded gatekeeping views) to fire up controversy is just pathetic, really.
 


Visit Our Sponsor

Dungeon Delver's Guide

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top