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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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

"There's not much you can do to stop it" however, is. As I said, as long as a lot of con-goers are on a budget, this is going to be a thing that keeps happening. If you have a suggestion how you can force people not to sleep in semi-public areas in a wide spread con (except, perhaps by vastly increasing security staff), I'll be happy to hear it. In particular, given the tendency for people who don't get enough sleep to doze off in public areas at cons even when they're not actively looking for an area to sleep, I'd be really interested to see how, short of chronically harassing people, it could be prevented.
I do not believe that the Con did anything wrong in not doing this, nor that NuTSR is doing anything but deflecting. However, I think there could be an opportunity for conventions to be prepared for these situations and attempt preemptive workarounds. Perhaps a designated (well staffed/patrolled) 'lounge area' for just this scenario, allowing the hotel to state that that's where to do the public dozing, and not elsewhere.

NuTSR keeps resorting to whataboutism, pointing at other incidents in the TTRPG community (Jameson Stone, Daisy Grant) and trying to suggest there is a double standard. It just doesn't work because the people condeming NuTSR and also condemning these other issues.
In the end, that's what this is all about, isn't it? We can split hairs all day long about whether GenCon has done everything perfectly, but at the end of the day, none of that changes that this is a risibly blatant attempt by some of this hobby's least respectable actors to steer the conversation away from their own bad behavior.
 

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Nikosandros

Golden Procrastinator
NuTSR keeps resorting to whataboutism, pointing at other incidents in the TTRPG community (Jameson Stone, Daisy Grant) and trying to suggest there is a double standard. It just doesn't work because the people condeming NuTSR are also condemning these other issues.

what·a·bout·ism​

/ˌ(h)wədəˈboudizəm/

noun
the technique or practice of responding to an accusation or difficult question by making a counteraccusation or raising a different issue.

Edit: typo
Indeed. I'll add that the harassment by Daisy Grant has been jumped upon by all the "usual suspects" in the "anti-inclusion" brigade.
 


I do not believe that the Con did anything wrong in not doing this, nor that NuTSR is doing anything but deflecting. However, I think there could be an opportunity for conventions to be prepared for these situations and attempt preemptive workarounds. Perhaps a designated (well staffed/patrolled) 'lounge area' for just this scenario, allowing the hotel to state that that's where to do the public dozing, and not elsewhere.

A lot of cons do have lounges, but often when held at a hotel the hotel will have issues with people sleeping there, which paradoxically means its the easy place to run into problems doing so (barring even more low hanging fruit like the lobby).

In the end, that's what this is all about, isn't it? We can split hairs all day long about whether GenCon has done everything perfectly, but at the end of the day, none of that changes that this is a risibly blatant attempt by some of this hobby's least respectable actors to steer the conversation away from their own bad behavior.

I'm just thinking, as someone who was involved in security at more than one medium-sized gaming cons on the West Coast back in the day that people are having kind of naive ideas of how easy this is to address.
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
Some serious care needs to go into the lobby issue, as dear god, we don't need to empower tiny Napoleons going around who instead of asking 'are you okay, buddy, need a safe place to sleep?' they go 'THIS PHOTOCOPIED BADGE MAKES ME THE LORD EMPEROR OF THI HOTEL. FLEE BEFORE ME PEASANT! I CARE NOT FOR YOUR SORE FEET AND THE FACT THAT YOUR RIDE HOME DOESN'T GET OUT OF THE SHADOWRUN ROOM UNTIL 2AM. BEGONE, SCUM!
 

A lot of cons do have lounges, but often when held at a hotel the hotel will have issues with people sleeping there, which paradoxically means its the easy place to run into problems doing so (barring even more low hanging fruit like the lobby).

I'm just thinking, as someone who was involved in security at more than one medium-sized gaming cons on the West Coast back in the day that people are having kind of naive ideas of how easy this is to address.
Oh, absolutely. These are not simple problems to solve. Large scale social event planning -- complete with safety, liability, competing financial interests, and acknowledging/planning for people not always doing what the event/venue would like without encouraging it -- are all massive hurdles I don't wish on anyone. I volunteered several years for my local municipality's yearly Irish Fair, and it was always amazing to me that it was possible to achieve at all, much less in a way where anyone would want to volunteer twice.

Some serious care needs to go into the lobby issue, as dear god, we don't need to empower tiny Napoleons going around who instead of asking 'are you okay, buddy, need a safe place to sleep?' they go 'THIS PHOTOCOPIED BADGE MAKES ME THE LORD EMPEROR OF THI HOTEL. FLEE BEFORE ME PEASANT! I CARE NOT FOR YOUR SORE FEET AND THE FACT THAT YOUR RIDE HOME DOESN'T GET OUT OF THE SHADOWRUN ROOM UNTIL 2AM. BEGONE, SCUM!
I am usually the first to bemoan that the people who are often the worst to nerds are other nerds fulfilling a need to stake out some territory/exercise a sense of control/relitigate high school. Still, I'd like to think it would only take a few paying customers departing with grievance before the would be Napoleons would get pulled aside by the chief Napoleon and reminded of their actual purpose.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Some serious care needs to go into the lobby issue, as dear god, we don't need to empower tiny Napoleons going around who instead of asking 'are you okay, buddy, need a safe place to sleep?' they go 'THIS PHOTOCOPIED BADGE MAKES ME THE LORD EMPEROR OF THI HOTEL. FLEE BEFORE ME PEASANT! I CARE NOT FOR YOUR SORE FEET AND THE FACT THAT YOUR RIDE HOME DOESN'T GET OUT OF THE SHADOWRUN ROOM UNTIL 2AM. BEGONE, SCUM!

Yes, some care would need to be taken. But, in my experience, even minor cons already take care.

Remember that, due to the large amounts of money involved, there's generally a company behind the convention (for many local cons, this is technically a non-profit charity, actually). That means that if things go seriously pear-shaped, there's someone to sue. So, if security people botch it, there's legal liability for the convention. Cons that have been around a while are well-aware of this.

GenCon, for example, has a harassment policy already in place, and has for years, as I understand it.
 

I am usually the first to bemoan that the people who are often the worst to nerds are other nerds fulfilling a need to stake out some territory/exercise a sense of control/relitigate high school. Still, I'd like to think it would only take a few paying customers departing with grievance before the would be Napoleons would get pulled aside by the chief Napoleon and reminded of their actual purpose.

Its always compounded by the fact that security at a con is in many ways kind of a crap job, so getting people to do it even for pay is often difficult (and usually a con that even wants to pay has to make a decision between how many security it wants and how much to pay them, if it even can) so there's always a certain amount of security that, well, shouldn't be doing it. And its rarely the same group from year to year.
 


Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Its actually easier at small cons. There are issues of scale that are serious here.

"Smaller" from my point of view, still gets into the thousands of attendees. GenCon is gigantic, and yes has issues. People *sleeping in hotel lobbies" still shouldn't happen.
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
"Smaller" from my point of view, still gets into the thousands of attendees. GenCon is gigantic, and yes has issues. People *sleeping in hotel lobbies" still shouldn't happen.
That's probably an issue with the hotels, though, not the con. Unless the con takes place in the hotel, of course.

I've been to a couple of cons (mostly comic conventions, not gaming cons) that take place at the same time as other conventions or major events which makes it somewhat harder for the hotel to know if the sleeping person is there for the geek con or the other event. At least if the person is wearing "normal" clothing and doesn't have a badge on.
 

"Smaller" from my point of view, still gets into the thousands of attendees. GenCon is gigantic, and yes has issues. People *sleeping in hotel lobbies" still shouldn't happen.

Ah, yes, I was thinking in terms of the 5-600 size local cons; I'd class multiple thousands as medium sized cons.

And I've already explained the difficulties with people sleeping, I don't see any reason to repeat myself.
 

That's probably an issue with the hotels, though, not the con. Unless the con takes place in the hotel, of course.

That isn't that uncommon at medium to small cons. Plenty of cons can't really rent a convention center. And I can't even say its the hotel's fault; often when a decent sized con is going on, they're effectively swamped, and their own security is busy watching for misadventure in other parts of the hotel or working with con security to do the same (some of the things con goers will do range from rude and stupid to outright hair raising. In comparison I can see why even that person who's been dozing in a chair in the corner of the lobby for an hour can seem a small priority). And that's when, as you say, some other kind of convention isn't going on locally (in a few cases even in the same hotel with small conventions).
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest (he/him)
Yeah, but I don't see how they can give Ernie a boot. They may de-list him from the Guests list like the've done in the past for Bill Webb (who is back on the guest list) and Frank Mentzer. But I can't imagine him not being at Gary Con and welcomed by a significant portion of the attendees without him literally being covered in the blood of the innocent, and that includes those who disapprove of LaNasa and his antics.
I just looked on the Gary Con site at guests for 2023… and Ernie’s no longer on the list. Interesting development.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
That's probably an issue with the hotels, though, not the con. Unless the con takes place in the hotel, of course.

I already allowed that it should be one of them. If it isn't the convention's direct responsibility, the con still has a vested interest in the safety of its people. Especially when, if I read correctly, the whole thing took place in housing arranged by the con for people working for the con.

I've been to a couple of cons (mostly comic conventions, not gaming cons) that take place at the same time as other conventions or major events which makes it somewhat harder for the hotel to know if the sleeping person is there for the geek con or the other event. At least if the person is wearing "normal" clothing and doesn't have a badge on.

If they are in the hotel, they should be able to show they are, you know, supposed to be in the hotel.
 

adamantyr

Adventurer
I just looked on the Gary Con site at guests for 2023… and Ernie’s no longer on the list. Interesting development.
Possibly that's just "We're not giving you free advertising". Unless we hear something from Luke or Ernie that says differently.

It's not like with Frank Mentzer, where Luke filed a restraining order that bars him from attending. (You can dig around the web to find it, if you're not familiar with the details.)

EDIT: Maybe not a restraining order, I'm having trouble finding it, if it exists. I swear I saw one once, in Wisconsin public records. Regardless, Frank himself shared a private letter from Luke that details why he was removed as Guest of Honor.
 

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Faolyn

(she/her)
I already allowed that it should be one of them. If it isn't the convention's direct responsibility, the con still has a vested interest in the safety of its people. Especially when, if I read correctly, the whole thing took place in housing arranged by the con for people working for the con.
True. And if they knew about what happened and did nothing, then that would be bad.

If they are in the hotel, they should be able to show they are, you know, supposed to be in the hotel.
I can't find the original response from the person who was harassed by Grant but... wasn't she supposed to be at the hotel?
 


I can't find the original response from the person who was harassed by Grant but... wasn't she supposed to be at the hotel?

Edit: On having now read the link, this is on a whole different level. Though it sounds more like the "sleep in the lobby" was more of an out-of-communication problem than anything else; from the poster's description, no one would have seen this as a likely problem in advance.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
Yeah, reading that whole thing, there is basically nothing Gencon could have done to prevent this from happening. And in fact, the people who were notified did everything I could imagine doing as swiftly as possible. This came entirely down to the individual actors involved.
 

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