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

darjr

I crit!
WotC beat them to publishing Starfrontiers content anyway.
Both the reference to the original game and the Hadozee from Yazar in Spelljammer. Among a couple other things.
 

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Faolyn

(she/her)
At this point, I am unconvinced that there is a real specific point anymore other than an inability not to keep talking. I don't know that they have a base or a target market anymore. Even the most 'Wotc=evul' and 'woke=capitulation' gamer sites seem to treat them as delusional pretenders to relevance.
Pretty sure it's this right there. Don't forget that there was a twitter thread (posted much earlier here) where he literally tweeted "last word" just so he could get the last word in. Lanasa clearly feels that he must be heard and acknowledged at all times and he simply can't force himself to stay quiet for any length of time, no matter how much trouble he gets himself into.
 


Faolyn

(she/her)
Getting something gaming related in print with the name on it that so that they can say they're selling a game with the mark would be my guess.
Except that they aren't selling a game here, they're selling (or claim that they will be selling) playing cards. Of course, Lanasa might think that's enough to prove they own the trademark, but I highly doubt it.

I know it's really cheap and easy to get branded playing cards, but is that even a real picture of the deck box? Or is it like their stack of SFNG books a while back that didn't really exist?
It's almost certainly fake. On zazzle (found while doing a reverse search), here's the base image compared to the post:

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And you can customize them and get a preview. Which I just did with a cartoon character I drew:

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Vaalingrade

Legend
Except that they aren't selling a game here, they're selling (or claim that they will be selling) playing cards. Of course, Lanasa might think that's enough to prove they own the trademark, but I highly doubt it.


It's almost certainly fake. On zazzle (found while doing a reverse search), here's the base image compared to the post:

View attachment 258045View attachment 258046

And you can customize them and get a preview. Which I just did with a cartoon character I drew:

View attachment 258047
Thank you for this. I am exactly the kind of jackass who carries a deck of cards with his personal logo on it.
 

Jer

Legend
Supporter
Except that they aren't selling a game here, they're selling (or claim that they will be selling) playing cards. Of course, Lanasa might think that's enough to prove they own the trademark, but I highly doubt it.
I think you're right, though I'm not a trademark lawyer. But then neither are they. I suspect it's a "flood the zone" maneuver - some folks just think that if you can overwhelm the system you can get your way every time. Depending on the system in question sometimes they're right, often they are not.
 

Same vibe:

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Back on topic: I have to admit I'm amused that the statement where they say they're fixing bad grammar... has bad grammar.

View attachment 257925

Other than the name, does this latest iteration Not-TSR is "working on" actually have any legacy Star Frontiers content in it or is it all just generic space stuff and not-thinly-veiled-at-all racist tropes?

WotC beat them to publishing Starfrontiers content anyway.
Both the reference to the original game and the Hadozee from Yazar in Spelljammer. Among a couple other things.

Space Rockets will always be cooler.

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So I'm not sure if NuTSR is going to turn Star Frontiers into some sort of card game, or are they just creating their own branded playing cards?

View attachment 258035
 


Jer

Legend
Supporter
Other than the name, does this latest iteration Not-TSR is "working on" actually have any legacy Star Frontiers content in it or is it all just generic space stuff and not-thinly-veiled-at-all racist tropes?
If it does Wizards can add "copyright infringement" alongside "trademark infringement" in their lawsuit.

So far from what I've seen there is no original Star Frontiers content in what we've seen. They seem to be leaning hard on the "ownership" of the trademark that they think they have through their attempted registration but even they don't seem to think that mark gives them ownership of the copyright to the underlying works.
 

Steampunkette

Rules Tinkerer and Freelance Writer
Supporter
Other than the name, does this latest iteration Not-TSR is "working on" actually have any legacy Star Frontiers content in it or is it all just generic space stuff and not-thinly-veiled-at-all racist tropes?
Dave Johnson opened up Wikipedia's "Alien Encounters" page and just made that the basis of the entire setting. Racist aliens all the way down!

From the Nazi Nordics to the Antisemitic Lizardmen all the way through. Lots of "Ancient Aliens" stuff.

But also fetish stuff. Weird breast expansion fetish material made canon for player races.

And misogyny.
 

That it's just a racist generic sci-fi RPG with a trademark-infringing name slapped on it says it all, doesn't it? Nothing to do with the nostalgia they're trying to cash in on.

If it does Wizards can add "copyright infringement" alongside "trademark infringement" in their lawsuit.

So far from what I've seen there is no original Star Frontiers content in what we've seen. They seem to be leaning hard on the "ownership" of the trademark that they think they have through their attempted registration but even they don't seem to think that mark gives them ownership of the copyright to the underlying works.

So gross. It still amazes me that they can even maintain the pretext that this is a viable product.

Dave Johnson opened up Wikipedia's "Alien Encounters" page and just made that the basis of the entire setting. Racist aliens all the way down!

From the Nazi Nordics to the Antisemitic Lizardmen all the way through. Lots of "Ancient Aliens" stuff.

But also fetish stuff. Weird breast expansion fetish material made canon for player races.

And misogyny.
 

Kannik

Adventurer
It's almost certainly fake. On zazzle (found while doing a reverse search), here's the base image compared to the post:
Also their 'design' (which itself I'm guessing is another stock item edit job) doesn't fit the aspect ratio of the cards... it's too narrow and leaves awkward black bars on the right and left sides.
 

Jedion357

Explorer
They have 155 members on the official New Genesis FB, and 273 on the unofficial FB group. Most them duplicates.

The real Star Frontiers TSR FB group has 4,700 members.
The SFNG official page 155 members is their page, the unofficial SFNG page with 273 is all the people that like to dump on Lanasa and company Note there are more people that like to dump on Lanasa than support him. And the STar Frontiers Alive and Well is legit fans of the legit sTar Frontiers and there is a "No Nu TSR" content rule in place there. Same is true for Inclusive Star Frontiers FB group too.
 

Mezuka

Hero
The SFNG official page 155 members is their page, the unofficial SFNG page with 273 is all the people that like to dump on Lanasa and company Note there are more people that like to dump on Lanasa than support him. And the STar Frontiers Alive and Well is legit fans of the legit sTar Frontiers and there is a "No Nu TSR" content rule in place there. Same is true for Inclusive Star Frontiers FB group too.
and of course there is Starfrontier.us which will have nothing to do with Lanasa.
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
Also their 'design' (which itself I'm guessing is another stock item edit job) doesn't fit the aspect ratio of the cards... it's too narrow and leaves awkward black bars on the right and left sides.
Yeah, it's pretty clear that someone with no design skills made that without bothering to check the sizes. Which is utterly ridiculous. I mean, I made a business card for my character that will never be printed or used in any official capacity outside me posting the image to our discord server, and I still checked business card sizes and made sure that it fit.

I didn't bother to see if the actual background was stock art, but it's so generic that it almost certainly is either that or was blatantly stolen from another product. When I did my search, a lot of different games of all sorts came up using that exact same color scheme and very similar design.
 




DLIMedia

David Flor, Darklight Interactive
They are sticking to the story that the image they posted is a "test print" - even though we've already shown the image is from another mock up site - and that they intend to make custom art for the face cards.

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