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).
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.
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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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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

adamantyr

Adventurer
I wrote this.

I sent it to Justin LaNasa, Ernie Gygax, and Stephen Dinehart IV on 7/5/2021. I’ve now forwarded that original email and attachment to members of the YouTube press that are covering NuTSR for verification.

I'm not surprised that Justin is still using my work, even after libeling my Son Logan and I.

I wrote this mostly for Ernie, when we were trying to get a handle on a lot of hate coming our way about his father.

I never met Gary Gygax and I have no idea what his beliefs were. Based on what I am told by those that knew Gary well, he was not the hateful things some people claim he was based on forum posts, old articles, etc... I'm NOT defending Gary or anything he wrote, what I am saying is based on what I am told by the people that knew him, is he was not any of those things.

Did Gary make mistakes, yes he was a human, and last time I checked we all make mistakes. He did the best he could with the information at hand, and I don’t read any hate in his gaming materials, inaccuracies, sure, but not hate.

When I create adventures set in any culture, even the one I grew up in, I do research to try to get things right. My goal is always to try to show off the awesome things within them. I believe this was the intent of settings like Oriental Adventures etc… to bring to light things that are cool, fun, and give players options to play them.

This is a very deep personal story for me because it touches on my dreams of being a creator. Not just creating games, but also books, films, media and entertainment to enrich and inspire people and bring joy to their lives. Help children learn important lessons, and help people connect through a mutual love.

When Jim Henson sang, life’s like a movie write your own ending, keep believing keep pretending that became my mantra. It’s what I have always wanted, making the rainbow connection with the lovers, the dreamers, and me. That’s what I always thought getting involved in making media was all about, people coming together to make magic.

If Justin LaNasa, NuTSR, The Dungeon Hobbyshop Museum or anyone affiliated with them uses my work, letters, writings etc… I will post about it.

I am NOT affiliated with nor do I support NuTSR, or The Dungeon Hobbyshop Museum in any way!

This is because they are owned by Justin LaNasa. If the Dungeon Hobbyshop Museum came under new ownership I’d love it.

Sincerely,

Michael K. Hovermale, not Joe. Anyone who wants a forward of the original document to do cyber forensics on it for validity I will provide it.
Thank you for clarifying, Mike! I should have realized that anything written so well (except the last couple sentences) couldn't be written by anyone at nuTSR at present.
 

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Steampunkette

Rules Tinkerer and Freelance Writer
Supporter
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.

so...

I also had a "fallen/cursed gnome becoming goblins" in a big homebrew campaign I had too. So you aren't the only one. BUUUT they reversed the curse during the game, I'm not sure if that makes it any better.

I had no idea that this was an anti-semitic trope, and in fact I was worried about the dwarves being anti semitic (it was a pseudo-earth like setting), and took pains to portray them in a good light.

Wait, really? Is there somewhere convenient this is explained?

In my setting, there was an apocalyptic event (a god smashed a moon, and a chunk pierced the world all the way to the lower planes). The literal fallout caused many sentient races in the area to become corrupted into the typically evil races: humans became giants, elves became orcs, halflings became goblins, gnomes became kobolds. (Dwarves were actually created by a god later as a bulwark against the giants invading other lands in the world.) There are still humans, elves, halflings and gnomes in the world further away from the hell-crater, so it's not like every single gnome became a kobold.

About the time many of the threads/blog articles on orcs started appearing here and elsewhere on the internet, I asked my group for feedback on this bit of lore. I'm fortunate enough to play with a diverse and open-minded group, and their take was those races being evil due to supernatural corruption rather than "just because all orcs are evil" was acceptable. I've even played up this unnatural origin by making spells such as Protection from Good and Evil effective against them. Orcs, goblins, etc. are essentially mortal demons of the Prime Material plane. There are no natural races that are monolithically evil.

Even so, I still have my doubts whether or not someone outside my group would be uncomfortable with this setup. So, I really can't fathom the motivations of someone who would actually go out of their way to make the racist implications of some tropes as explicit as NuTSR and their SFNG draft does.

Possibly the Medieval idea that Jews were "corrupted" by the devil, plus frequently illustrating them in an inhuman way. Like how in comics printed during WWII, Japanese people were often made to look literally demonic, with fangs and pointed ears. So having gnomes get turned into (uglier, evil) goblins could be seen as being similar. Although I think that might be a bit of a stretch myself, especially in Steampunkette's case, where it doesn't look like the gnomes had any other "Jewish" traits.

It's kind of a catch-22. In pretty much every folklore from every culture, "demons" and "goblins" have distorted humanoid features, because those features are unsettling to people. And then, you've got pretty much every government in history doing the same thing to cultures they wanted to portray as less than human*.

So how do you avoid the trap of depicting a humanoid from folklore while avoiding any connotations to cultures that have had the same done to them? I don't know the answer. Are all goblins anti-Semitic because that's how Jews were portrayed by Nazis? Do you completely avoid humanoid caricatures completely, even if they are pulled from the demons/goblins in folklore?

*Seriously, this is propaganda 101. Depict your enemy as less than human, because it's easier to kill them that way.
Tagging a whole lotta people:

The antisemitic trope is based on the biblical character of Ham and the Curse of Ham/Canaan. For a long time it was used to create the legal fiction of Serfdom and specifically targeted Jewish people as "Canaanites" for slavery and violence for having been "Punished by God". The "Churlish sons of Ham" moved to Europe while the "Noble sons of Shem" stayed in Africa.

Later, it was turned against people who were physically black as the basis of Slavery. Suddenly the Caananites had stayed in Africa. Not that the European Jewish Folk were treated any more kindly after that point.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Racism is not necessarily knowing and willing - you can say something racist out of ignorance, or out of habit, even though you have no hate in your heart. Fetishizing the katana among swords, for example, is kind of racist. Government policies can be racist when they have unintended impacts, and so on.
See also using words or phrases with roots or major connotations in bigotry you were not aware of. That’s a major trap for the unwary because of the way language spreads and evolves.

Classic examples in English include “gypped”, “welshed”, or even “boy” (depending on context). DC Comics used an Asian slur as the nickname of an Asian sidekick for DECADES before they set things right by having the character so named correct his superheroic buddy in one issue. From that point on, the character was known by his actual name.
 


I wrote this.

I sent it to Justin LaNasa, Ernie Gygax, and Stephen Dinehart IV on 7/5/2021. I’ve now forwarded that original email and attachment to members of the YouTube press that are covering NuTSR for verification.

Thanks for clearing this up. I can confirm that the metadata in the Word doc backs up your story. IANAL, but if Justin never paid you for your time with NuTSR, you might have a legal claim that he doesn't own copyright to anything like this (or the SFNG stuff) that you've written.

@tenkar has also just posted a video about this:

 

vecna00

Speculation Specialist Wizard
I wrote this.

I sent it to Justin LaNasa, Ernie Gygax, and Stephen Dinehart IV on 7/5/2021. I’ve now forwarded that original email and attachment to members of the YouTube press that are covering NuTSR for verification.

I'm not surprised that Justin is still using my work, even after libeling my Son Logan and I.

I wrote this mostly for Ernie, when we were trying to get a handle on a lot of hate coming our way about his father.

I never met Gary Gygax and I have no idea what his beliefs were. Based on what I am told by those that knew Gary well, he was not the hateful things some people claim he was based on forum posts, old articles, etc... I'm NOT defending Gary or anything he wrote, what I am saying is based on what I am told by the people that knew him, is he was not any of those things.

Did Gary make mistakes, yes he was a human, and last time I checked we all make mistakes. He did the best he could with the information at hand, and I don’t read any hate in his gaming materials, inaccuracies, sure, but not hate.

When I create adventures set in any culture, even the one I grew up in, I do research to try to get things right. My goal is always to try to show off the awesome things within them. I believe this was the intent of settings like Oriental Adventures etc… to bring to light things that are cool, fun, and give players options to play them.

This is a very deep personal story for me because it touches on my dreams of being a creator. Not just creating games, but also books, films, media and entertainment to enrich and inspire people and bring joy to their lives. Help children learn important lessons, and help people connect through a mutual love.

When Jim Henson sang, life’s like a movie write your own ending, keep believing keep pretending that became my mantra. It’s what I have always wanted, making the rainbow connection with the lovers, the dreamers, and me. That’s what I always thought getting involved in making media was all about, people coming together to make magic.

If Justin LaNasa, NuTSR, The Dungeon Hobbyshop Museum or anyone affiliated with them uses my work, letters, writings etc… I will post about it.

I am NOT affiliated with nor do I support NuTSR, or The Dungeon Hobbyshop Museum in any way!

This is because they are owned by Justin LaNasa. If the Dungeon Hobbyshop Museum came under new ownership I’d love it.

Sincerely,

Michael K. Hovermale, not Joe. Anyone who wants a forward of the original document to do cyber forensics on it for validity I will provide it.
On the other hand, a guy like "Michael K. Hovermale" I can put some stock in!
 

Almost white guy? Is he referring to genetics, or saying he's almost albino-white (he's not), or something else?

I believe he's referring to his Italian heritage. Many Italian Americans don't identify as being exactly white. I have some relatives (by marriage) that are 2nd/3rd generation Italian immigrants and if I had to sum up their take on racial identity, I would just say it can be a little complex at times.

Here's an FB post LaNasa made about a year ago that seems relevant (I think it's properly censored, let me know if I missed anything):

JL Italian.JPG
 

GuyBoy

Hero
See also using words or phrases with roots or major connotations in bigotry you were not aware of. That’s a major trap for the unwary because of the way language spreads and evolves.

Classic examples in English include “gypped”, “welshed”, or even “boy” (depending on context). DC Comics used an Asian slur as the nickname of an Asian sidekick for DECADES before they set things right by having the character so named correct his superheroic buddy in one issue. From that point on, the character was known by his actual name.
@Dannyalcatraz is right to identify the use of the word “boy” as potentially having racist or bigoted connotations. The 2006 Ash v Tyson Foods ruling of SCOTUS is clear on this.
So, I probably need to explain my username: My wife is from a UK Roma background and adding the word “boy” to the name of a partner is a fairly common term of affection within that culture, hence she refers to me as GuyBoy, hence the username.
I would state, though, that if anyone does find it in any way offensive, I will happily change it.
 

Here's an FB post LaNasa made about a year ago that seems relevant (I think it's properly censored, let me know if I missed anything):

Here's some other comments from the same FB conversation. Posting the whole thing is a ridiculous PITA with the way FB displays this stuff. Note his use of the phrase "semi whites like us Italians".

JL Italian 2b - Copy.JPG
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
@Dannyalcatraz is right to identify the use of the word “boy” as potentially having racist or bigoted connotations. The 2006 Ash v Tyson Foods ruling of SCOTUS is clear on this.
So, I probably need to explain my username: My wife is from a UK Roma background and adding the word “boy” to the name of a partner is a fairly common term of affection within that culture, hence she refers to me as GuyBoy, hence the username.
I would state, though, that if anyone does find it in any way offensive, I will happily change it.
You’re cool with me on that count!

In my family, not only were all of my grandparents and my mom teachers- pretty anomalous in the black community at the time- many of their friends were as well. In particular, my paternal grandfather and his best friend were both working at the same college, and often called me “boy” as a (slightly) dismissive but loving nickname.

They were both very happy when I graduated from law school, and during a quieter moment at the celebratory meal, grandfather’s bud asked me something like, “What are you going to do next, boy?”

I looked him in the eye and replied, ”I just graduated from law school. I think it should be ‘Mr. Boy‘ from now on.” Not only did it bust the room, it stuck!
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Here's some other comments from the same FB conversation. Posting the whole thing is a ridiculous PITA with the way FB displays this stuff. Note his use of the phrase "semi whites like us Italians".

View attachment 257225
Well, to be fair, Italians DID face discrimination in the USA…as did MANY ethnic or regional minorities here.

But if he wants things like reparations, any weighted system that evaluated the relative violence, depth, breadth, pervasiveness and enduring nature of discrimination to determine who gets how much? He’d be sorely disappointed with the size of his check.
 

RealAlHazred

Frumious Flumph
There's a guy I used to work with. His brother, a lawyer, was driving through North Carolina in the early 2000s when he got pulled over by a state trooper. After the usual pleasantries, the trooper asked, "Boy, where are you from?"

"New Jersey," says my friend's brother.

The cop seems exasperated. "No! Boy, I mean... Where are your parents from?"

"Oh! Italy."

The cop seems overjoyed. "I knew it! I knew it! I knew you weren't white!"

So, anyway...
 


Graph Paper Architect

Michael K. Hovermale AKA Graph Paper Architect
Thanks for clearing this up. I can confirm that the metadata in the Word doc backs up your story. IANAL, but if Justin never paid you for your time with NuTSR, you might have a legal claim that he doesn't own copyright to anything like this (or the SFNG stuff) that you've written.

@tenkar has also just posted a video about this:

[/SPOILER

Thank you Deset,

I appreciate that, we don't know what we are going to do about all this legally yet.

Mahalo
Michael
 

RFB Dan

Podcast host, 6-edition DM, and guy with a pulse.
I find it fascinating that Justin's main complaint about the legacy product disclaimer being a claim of TSR being racist falls apart when you simply look and find the same disclaimer on WotC-era 2e, 3.5, and even 4e product. But I suppose that would make him less of a martyr (if it is possible to be below-zero in martyrdom since he had nothing to do with the original TSR).
 

Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen (He/Him)
I find it fascinating that Justin's main complaint about the legacy product disclaimer being a claim of TSR being racist falls apart when you simply look and find the same disclaimer on WotC-era 2e, 3.5, and even 4e product. But I suppose that would make him less of a martyr (if it is possible to be below-zero in martyrdom since he had nothing to do with the original TSR).
It's just another demonstration that anyone who'd advance the argument he's making or buy into it is either unable or unwilling to read or comprehend stuff outside their fixed worldview. The narrative of being inexplicably persecuted despite being right and good is more important than facts. 🤷‍♂️
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
I believe he's referring to his Italian heritage. Many Italian Americans don't identify as being exactly white. I have some relatives (by marriage) that are 2nd/3rd generation Italian immigrants and if I had to sum up their take on racial identity, I would just say it can be a little complex at times.

Here's an FB post LaNasa made about a year ago that seems relevant (I think it's properly censored, let me know if I missed anything):

View attachment 257217
I know the answer, here, but does he seriously think people aren't aware of how white immigrant communities were treated back before they were included in 'white' for the purposes or white nationalism and institutionalized racism? And very recently?

Or that it's that old? I remember cartoons with 'No Irish Need Apply' being a punchline. Heard Polish jokes in school and suffered through episodes of Jersey Shore and My Big Fat G*psy wedding (though I'm not sure if Roma are 'white' yet. Some places certainly hate them with an intensity normally reserved for us brown folk). It was--get this, Justin-- wrong then and it's wrong now.
 

Steampunkette

Rules Tinkerer and Freelance Writer
Supporter
This is just Justin doing his best to make himself a victim. This is him putting aside whiteness in order to capitalize on sympathy for the abuse minorities face.

But he's also the kind of guy who pretends to be injured by people acknowledging that cis white straight dudes are behind a bunch of problems in the industry.

You don't get to be both white and explicitly, specifically, not white at the same time to pull oppression onto yourself.

Dude's white. And trying to martyr himself harder by co-opting other people's struggles.
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
Here's some other comments from the same FB conversation. Posting the whole thing is a ridiculous PITA with the way FB displays this stuff. Note his use of the phrase "semi whites like us Italians".

View attachment 257225
Hmm, I wonder if this "semi-white" thing will be a dealbreaker with Johnson...

Although I have a sneaking suspicion that it wasn't his skin color that caused him to be rejected as a renter.
 

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