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

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
From a legal standpoint, SF:NG is not a reboot of the original Star Frontiers. However, I don't think that legal ownership is what most people care about when they consider a reboot. I'd say the real reason as to why SF:NG isn't a reboot is that it doesn't actually use any of the SF lore or information. There's doesn't seem to be anything in common between it and the real SF.
Wouldn't that make it... fraud?

Let's take another IP... say... oh I don't know, Batman

NuDC comes along and publishes a Batman book. I, an easily confused customer (or maybe @cbwjm , I really don't want to steal your job!), buy this Batman book, as I love batman.

However, upon opening the book, I realize that the story is about a man, an accountant with no super powers or bat-gadgets whatsoever, who happens to be named Batman. This man is fighting city hall to get safer water for the citizens. And by fighting I mean speaking to the media, raising awareness, showing up at city council meetings and asking pointed questions etc.

So yeah, it's a book about a hero named Batman but... it's not Batman. Isn't this fraudulent?
 

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Sacrosanct

Legend
Publisher
From a legal standpoint, SF:NG is not a reboot of the original Star Frontiers. However, I don't think that legal ownership is what most people care about when they consider a reboot. I'd say the real reason as to why SF:NG isn't a reboot is that it doesn't actually use any of the SF lore or information. There's doesn't seem to be anything in common between it and the real SF.
Yeah, I don't think the articles I've seen really captured the issue accurately. The issue is less with SF:NG title, and more with the TSR logo and name being put on a book containing those elements, which is causing market confusion that customers are confusing SF:NG with a WotC product. That's the issue. And the whole point we have trademark laws to begin with.
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
Wouldn't that make it... fraud?
I'm not a lawyer, so I have no idea if it counts as fraud or not.

(The Batman example, however, is hilarious considering how much Bob Kane stole.)

Yeah, I don't think the articles I've seen really captured the issue accurately. The issue is less with SF:NG title, and more with the TSR logo and name being put on a book containing those elements, which is causing market confusion that customers are confusing SF:NG with a WotC product. That's the issue. And the whole point we have trademark laws to begin with.
Right. Even if LaNasa and Johnson had not put a drop of bigotry in it but still used their own lore, it's clear that they just wanted to capitalize on the name and WotC would be right to go after them for copyright infringement. The fact that they did use SF as a vehicle for bigotry means its even more important that they do.
 

darjr

I crit!
If it just had the Norse master race thing and the misogyny in the previous release many would consider it a vehicle for hate and bigotry.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Wouldn't that make it... fraud?

For it to be fraud, I believe you need to demonstrate intent to deceive.

There's a big difference between intentionally deceiving you, and you jumping to conclusions when you didn't have to.

NuDC comes along and publishes a Batman book. I, an easily confused customer (or maybe @cbwjm , I really don't want to steal your job!), buy this Batman book, as I love batman.

However, upon opening the book, I realize that the story is about a man, an accountant with no super powers or bat-gadgets whatsoever, who happens to be named Batman.

So, the word "Batman" appears on the front cover, and nothing else? What font is that word in? Does a bat logo appear? Are you incapable of opening the book to tell if it were the standard comic character? Oh, you bought it online? You did so sight unseen with no description of the content of the book?
 

DLIMedia

David Flor, Darklight Interactive
I find it necessary to point out: I didn't screenshot the text because there's handwritten notes around it and I don't want to risk the source... but when I say "creepy sex stuff" I mean that there's a race whose females have four boobs which increase in size 75% when lactating.

Yes, really, that's actually documented as such.

Like, yeah, I get it, some species - compared to humans anyway - can be sexually awkward.

This isn't a biology book; this is an RPG. I do not need to know that information to play the game, and if the need for that level of info comes up in game we've got bigger problems.

And to make that your focus so many times and to such a level that you have to document all the weird intricate details of reproduction and sexuality, you've got some pent up issues pal.
 
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I find it necessary to point out: I didn't screenshot the text because there's handwritten notes around it and I don't want to risk the source... but when I say "creepy sex stuff" I mean that there's a race whose females have four boobs which increase in size 75% when lactating.

Yes, really, that's actually documented as such.

Posting details about the game makes me curious to read more, and I am really really struggling to say that in a way that doesn't sound extremely creepy after what you just wrote.
 

DLIMedia

David Flor, Darklight Interactive
I find it necessary to point out: I didn't screenshot the text because there's handwritten notes around it and I don't want to risk the source... but when I say "creepy sex stuff" I mean that there's a race whose females have four boobs which increase in size 75% when lactating.

Yes, really, that's actually documented as such.

Like, yeah, I get it, some species - compared to humans anyway - can be sexually awkward.

This isn't a biology book; this is an RPG. I do not need to know that information to play the game, and if the need for that level of info comes up in game we've got bigger problems.

And to make that your focus so many times and to such a level that you have to document all the weird intricate details of reproduction and sexuality, you've got some pent up issues pal.
Cleaned it up a bit...
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Faolyn

(she/her)
For it to be fraud, I believe you need to demonstrate intent to deceive.

There's a big difference between intentionally deceiving you, and you jumping to conclusions when you didn't have to.
I wouldn't put it past NuTSR to actually want to intentionally deceive the readers into thinking that they were buying the real SF.

But, of course, unless LaNasa actually wrote "Those fools will think they got the original books, but little do they know it's my creation they're buying, mwahaha!!!" in their discord or in a text or whatever, then as you say, there's no way to prove that intent. If they had that intent in the first place, of course.
 


Thomas Shey

Legend
From a legal standpoint, SF:NG is not a reboot of the original Star Frontiers. However, I don't think that legal ownership is what most people care about when they consider a reboot. I'd say the real reason as to why SF:NG isn't a reboot is that it doesn't actually use any of the SF lore or information. There's doesn't seem to be anything in common between it and the real SF.

You can have an argument that a game isn't always wedded to its setting, but since from what I understand, this game has literally no connection in either setting or system...
 

Emrico

Adventurer
You can have an argument that a game isn't always wedded to its setting, but since from what I understand, this game has literally no connection in either setting or system...

Yeah, there is absolutely zero connection to the original Star Frontiers in the new knockoff. Nothing from the old setting, no races, occupations, fluff text at all. Which isn't a shocker as NuTSR has no rights to any of that IP. No connection in system either. The original was all d10/percentile based with cascade skill trees and none of that is present in the new knockoff version either. It is literally just the name.
 

darjr

I crit!
Yeah, there is absolutely zero connection to the original Star Frontiers in the new knockoff. Nothing from the old setting, no races, occupations, fluff text at all. Which isn't a shocker as NuTSR has no rights to any of that IP. No connection in system either. The original was all d10/percentile based with cascade skill trees and none of that is present in the new knockoff version either. It is literally just the name.
Which does strike me like a record scratch. THIS is where they are going to be ethical?!
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
Which does strike me like a record scratch. THIS is where they are going to be ethical?!
Nah, they didn't change things to be ethical. As has been said by someone else in this thread (it's a long thread), LaNasa likely stuck the SF name onto Johnson's homebrew setting just so they could claim they had a product.
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
Yeah, there is absolutely zero connection to the original Star Frontiers in the new knockoff. Nothing from the old setting, no races, occupations, fluff text at all. Which isn't a shocker as NuTSR has no rights to any of that IP. No connection in system either. The original was all d10/percentile based with cascade skill trees and none of that is present in the new knockoff version either. It is literally just the name.

Like I said, I don't necessarily require a game to have the setting conceits of its prior version; the second version of Alternity didn't, and I think it was still a decent game with some advancements from the first version, while still showing a relationship.

But from what I gather, these guys version SF doesn't even look vaguely like the original, being some kind of vaguely 5e knock-off.
 




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