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

Actually, I like the article, except for the last sentence.

It should read: "Back then we did not know it could be seen racist. It was thought as a love letter to those cultures."

Today we know better, and it is easier today thanks to the internet and intercultural exchange, to include people of those cultures many of us want to hear about.

What I find irritating though is why someone can be offended by a disclaimer. Oh boy. If you recorded some things I said in school, this would terribly need a disclaimer...
it does not call the designers out as racist. It even gives them an excuse, that the cultural enviroment back then would not have seen this as racist at all...
 

log in or register to remove this ad


Back then it surely was not thought as hate. This is shooting way over the top and this is what people who wrote those settings to be rightfully offended.
Insensitive yes. Unintentionally racist, maybe. But most certainly not hate. I can't imagine that the intent was hurting people.

Don't let them get in your head. NuTSR wants to be martyrs. No one is actually attacking them about Oriental Adventures or Al-Qadim. NuTSR is being attacked for their very real racist, neo-nazi, and anti-LGBT stances. Bringing up old setting and the disclaimer is just an attempt to deflect blame and control the narrative. There is no victory in discussing these topics with them; even letting them pivot the discussion to these topics is a win for them.
 


Don't let them get in your head. NuTSR wants to be martyrs. No one is actually attacking them about Oriental Adventures or Al-Qadim. NuTSR is being attacked for their very real racist, neo-nazi, and anti-LGBT stances. Bringing up old setting and the disclaimer is just an attempt to deflect blame and control the narrative. There is no victory in discussing these topics with them; even letting them pivot the discussion to these topics is a win for them.

There is no doubt about that.
I think we should still watch our own language and don't give them fodder.

DnD and its settings in the past were not done out of hate. We should be sure to make it clear that their behaviour now is hatespeech.
 

There is no doubt about that.
I think we should still watch our own language and don't give them fodder.

DnD and its settings in the past were not done out of hate. We should be sure to make it clear that their behaviour now is hatespeech.
What Deset Gled is saying is don’t let them latch on to a cause to gain your sympathy. I can simultaneously believe those products aren’t racist but that LaNasa and his company are trash.
 

What Deset Gled is saying is don’t let them latch on to a cause to gain your sympathy. I can simultaneously believe those products aren’t racist but that LaNasa and his company are trash.

Believe me, they don't have my sympathy. Not at all. But I believe we need to be better. There is no need for ad hominenm attacks or calling something hate, that was not hate*.
We should stick to the facts and call them out for what they do now. This is sufficient.

*it would be hate, if you did this today.
 

lingual

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
This is such a straw man argument. Some older white people.in my gaming group have the same attitude towards the WOTC disclaimer..."Oh yeah. We're all such racists (in sarcastic tone)".

They can't get around the fact that some stuff made over 40 years ago didn't age well...and WOTC is merely admitting it. Or that the very first artwork or mention of a "black" person in DnD are Chaotic Evil Drow (I have to point out to some that the literal description of all the elves in the rulebook are "pale"). As a non-white, I did feel odd that I had to play a white character if I wasn't human. The common argument is "it's not even a real race! It can't be racist!"... Well that may not have been the intent, but the optics are bad...and just admitting the optics from something 40 years look bad today is not "wokeness". It's not even an admission of racist intent. Just an acknowledgement that society progresses over time. Sadly enough, some people don't.
 

This is such a straw man argument. Some older white people.in my gaming group have the same attitude towards the WOTC disclaimer..."Oh yeah. We're all such racists (in sarcastic tone)".

They can't get around the fact that some stuff made over 40 years ago didn't age well...and WOTC is merely admitting it. Or that the very first artwork or mention of a "black" person in DnD are Chaotic Evil Drow (I have to point out to some that the literal description of all the elves in the rulebook are "pale"). As a non-white, I did feel odd that I had to play a white character if I wasn't human. The common argument is "it's not even a real race! It can't be racist!"... Well that may not have been the intent, but the optics are bad...and just admitting the optics from something 40 years look bad today is not "wokeness". It's not even an admission of racist intent. Just an acknowledgement that society progresses over time. Sadly enough, some people don't.

Star trek did it right. Vulcans can be any colour. I remember some skeptisim back then, but today noone blinks an eye.
 
Last edited:

Tales and Chronicles

Jewel of the North, formerly know as vincegetorix
I love how they name-drop ''Gygax'' like some sacred explanation that makes everything okay.
I work for nuns, and each time they try to make some kind of moral analogy it ends the same way: ''and that guy from my story...was Jesus!'' as if it was a big surprising reveal. Wow, did not see that coming!

Note to the DHSM: Dropping the name ''Gygax'' is not an auto-win (maybe at Scrabble?), it's lost most of its luster in the past year due to your action, and let just say that it was pure god to start with.
 

Steampunkette

Rules Tinkerer and Freelance Writer
Supporter
So... here's a thing I'm not really proud of, but it's a true story.

When I was first creating my Aetherstorm setting as a climate change allegory, I included a way to "Deal" with gnomes. As a DM I dislike gnomes 'cause of reasons I'd rather not get into that are largely covered in other threads fairly well. So in the setting, I had the evil deity Tzernobog kill the gnomish pantheon and turn the gnomes into goblins as a result. The dwarves, who shared their lands with the gnomes ('cause the gnomish and halfling pantheons were the result of the dwarven pantheon doinking the elven pantheon and hauflin lived in elven lands) turned against their "Now Corrupted" former allies because the Trow deity had made them into something 'else'.

When I was going through the entire "History and Cosmology" of the world with a potential player, she literally hung up the Discord call we were on when I got to this point and I could not figure out why. I thought maybe the call got disconnected, but she explained she was angry 'cause this part of the story was deeply antisemitic.

In my ignorance, I had played into an antisemitic trope about jewish people being "Lesser" or "Wrong". I don't remember the specific details of the trope right this moment, but it was -very- unintentional.

And that was a wakeup call for me. Unaware of the story or the tropes that went with it, I had absorbed this antisemitic narrative at some point in my life unthinkingly, else recreated it whole-cloth without such influence. Didn't help that I turned the gnomes into goblins which are often how jewish people are presented by antisemites. I was pretty shocked and could've gone immediately into defensiveness, like NuTSR.

Instead, I apologized, changed the story, and ran with it. She still didn't want to play, because it put a bad taste in her mouth about the setting, but at least it wouldn't hurt anyone -else- in that way.

Homebrew doesn't have to Hate to Hurt.
 
Last edited:

Don't let them get in your head. NuTSR wants to be martyrs. No one is actually attacking them about Oriental Adventures or Al-Qadim. NuTSR is being attacked for their very real racist, neo-nazi, and anti-LGBT stances. Bringing up old setting and the disclaimer is just an attempt to deflect blame and control the narrative.
Would be hard for it to be any other way. Their entire strategy from day one has been leaning into the self-declared victimhood of people that consider others disliking their positions to somehow be a form of oppression.
I love how they name-drop ''Gygax'' like some sacred explanation that makes everything okay.
I work for nuns, and each time they try to make some kind of moral analogy it ends the same way: ''and that guy from my story...was Jesus!'' as if it was a big surprising reveal. Wow, did not see that coming!

Note to the DHSM: Dropping the name ''Gygax'' is not an auto-win (maybe at Scrabble?), it's lost most of its luster in the past year due to your action, and let just say that it was pure god to start with.
That's all the more fascinating because -- even amongst the die-hard OSR fans, Gygax himself is an... let's say individual towards which people have complex feelings. Think George Lucas or Gene Roddenberry to their IP's respective fandoms--even the superfans (and those who think their era of controlling the IP was the best era) find half their positions or opinions on the IP eye-rolling. Heck, given how many times he reversed himself on aspects of the game, Gygax Sr. himself often wouldn't value a Gygax name-drop of the Gygax from 2 years previous.
 


RealAlHazred

Frumious Flumph
Homebrew doesn't have to Hate to Hurt.
That story reminded me about the Dwarves in the Eberron setting. Keith Baker wanted the setting to be very mercantile, and the Dwarves made obvious bankers -- they're supposed to be dour and have strongholds deep underground, they're a natural fit. So in the newer books, writers have to tread very carefully about a current "corrupted Dwarf" trope, because that automatically makes them potentially an antisemitic analogue. It's why I've never used the Dwarf corruption plot thread in my Eberron games.
 



Vaalingrade

Legend
Believe me, they don't have my sympathy. Not at all. But I believe we need to be better. There is no need for ad hominenm attacks or calling something hate, that was not hate*.
We should stick to the facts and call them out for what they do now. This is sufficient.

*it would be hate, if you did this today.
They're the ones that used 'hate' for their dumb tagline?
 




Visit Our Sponsor

Latest threads

Dungeon Delver's Guide

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top