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

Steampunkette

Rules Tinkerer and Freelance Writer
Supporter
In this instance, though, that's sort of like burning your house down so you can start a GoFundMe to build a new one.
If you live in a condemned outhouse and can convince 2,000 people to donate $20 each you can live in the fanciest craphouse money can buy.

Still gonna stink at the end of the day, though. And the start of it.
 

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vecna00

Speculation Specialist Wizard
I know. I loved playing Starcraft as a kid. When I looked back at the writing as an adult… well, it’s terrible. First draft written by a complete newb terrible. It is chock full of plot holes, inconsistent/incoherent scaling, internal contradictions, etc. It is completely unsalvageable and utterly unsuitable as the basis for any kind of franchise.

But that’s not the worst part. The worst part is that people on the internet will defend it to the death. You know the starcraft fandom wiki that catalogues all the inconsistencies and bad writing? The admin still thinks, without a hint of irony, that it’s an amazing story.

That was one of the reasons I started on my original scifi project.
Just because a piece of media is bad, doesn't mean it can't be enjoyed. One of my favorite movies is "Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter." It is a bad movie and I love every minute of it. At least what I can remember of it....I have to find my copy and give it a rewatch!
 

Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
"Hello, Mr LaNasa? I have a solution to your problems. You see, I am a recently disposed Prince..."

That would be a smart play. You definitely want your marks to not know the difference between ‘disposed’ and ‘deposed’, so might as well filter for that in your introduction.

EDIT: oh I see I’m REALLY late to that party. This thread moves fast.
 



RFB Dan

Podcast host, 6-edition DM, and guy with a pulse.
Just because a piece of media is bad, doesn't mean it can't be enjoyed. One of my favorite movies is "Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter." It is a bad movie and I love every minute of it. At least what I can remember of it....I have to find my copy and give it a rewatch!
Totally understandable. Last Action Hero was considered a terrible film (though with a great soundtrack), but from a different perspective it's still fun as a satire of the action genre. And AC/DC's "Big Gun" is just too fun of a song.
 




Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
For those wondering at what sense it all makes...

What, in all of this, makes us think that LaNasa actually has a plan, and that plan is working? This guy is not a four dimensional chess master. It doesn't make sense because it isn't a crafted plan to some end. It is a series of moves that LaNasa thought might be lucrative, that he didn't think through, none of which have actually sunk the boat yet.
 


When you step back and look at this from a very high level, it's really a tragic story.

Justin had it pretty good. Owned several businesses. Owned several properties. And he's throwing it all away, for what? Because he wants people to think he is part of the original TSR company?

From a macro level, that seems such a strange hill to die on and lose everything for.

For those wondering at what sense it all makes...

What, in all of this, makes us think that LaNasa actually has a plan, and that plan is working? This guy is not a four dimensional chess master. It doesn't make sense because it isn't a crafted plan to some end. It is a series of moves that LaNasa thought might be lucrative, that he didn't think through, none of which have actually sunk the boat yet.
It's worth mentioning that LaNasa got whatever businesses and properties he has through some rather risky endeavors -- tattoo parlors and oxygen bars and the like are right up there with starting a restaurant in the ranks of risky ventures where a huge chunk fail within 2-3 years. He's someone who has previously taken gambles, and (barring some brilliance we haven't as of yet otherwise seen simply through the fortunes that -- sometimes -- are afforded those who take big risks) they have paid off. He applied the same 'winning' strategy, and lo-and-behold, lightning hasn't struck the same spot for the fifth time.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
He applied the same 'winning' strategy, and lo-and-behold, lightning hasn't struck the same spot for the fifth time.

Um, "do something risky" is not a strategy. Unless his oxygen bars and tattoo parlors get their business by being transphobic and trying to steal IP from much larger companies, there is very little in common between them.
 


Um, "do something risky" is not a strategy. Unless his oxygen bars and tattoo parlors get their business by being transphobic and trying to steal IP from much larger companies, there is very little in common between them.
"Um," call it what you like. I suppose I could have included strategy in the quote marks, but I think it somewhat is a strategy, if not an actually advisable one. Either way, it is a pattern of behavior and a reward-response structure that can explain decisions. Some people make a pattern of risky decisions that seem to work for an uncannily long time. Predominantly as an observer effect -- we don't take notice of people who did something risky and get hoisted for it on the first or second attempt, it's only the outliers that get talked about. Regardless, for those outliers, the previous success in that pattern reinforces to them that they ought to continue the pattern.

My larger point is that he's taken relatively big risks, and it has previously paid off for him*. Thus it is no surprise that it made perfect sense to him to try to play chicken with Hasbro. Likewise, for the rest of us it is no surprise that it didn't work.
*And I think we can all agree that it wasn't because of his phenomenal brilliance or business acumen.

As for the transphobia and such, I still wonder if that was the initial strategy. Maybe it was and he just gambled that WotC would rather pay him to go away than make an example of him. Or maybe it wasn't until Ernie's interview outed them and then he decided to lean into the cringe (either to really make WotC want him to go away, or else because he thought he could pull huge amounts from the like-thinkers). Either way we probably will never find out what he thought he was doing, and all the potential options seem mind-numbingly dumb.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
My larger point is that he's taken relatively big risks, and it has previously paid off for him*.

Well, paid off to an extent. He owns some small businesses with a handful of employees, a couple bits of real estate. But, we don't know what his income actually is, or what his debt profile is, or what those pieces of real estate are really worth.

Acting like past risky endeavors really paid off, whether they actually did or didn't, is part of the profile, isn't it?
 

I suspect he was confident that his plan would work, that he had cracked some secret formula for success that had eluded other "lesser" people, who just weren't reaching for the stars like he was, who just weren't as smart as he is. I think a lot of the random lashings-out we've seen are of a man who believed he could not fail and is being dramatically confronted with evidence to the contrary.

The extra weird thing is the people who were there: Tim, Luke, Ernie, Skip, etc. aren't making a ton of money in the industry. So why would he think he could? Let alone be willing to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in this fight. Makes no sense...

One thing that video mentioned is that it bodes ill for LaNasa following any judgments from the court. He seems like exactly the sort that thinks he could skate around them and no one would notice.

Already violating the court order from yesterday, good job Justin Lanasa.
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
Um, "do something risky" is not a strategy. Unless his oxygen bars and tattoo parlors get their business by being transphobic and trying to steal IP from much larger companies, there is very little in common between them.
They do have something in common, though: LaNasa. He thinks that because he was successful with those businesses, he would also be successful in IP theft. (I have no idea how successful they actually are, of course, but they're still open and he has multiple sites for his tattoo business.)

Don't forget that he still has employees and customers after it was made publicly known he made female employees wrestle in grits. And since his businesses thrive (or at least continue to be open) despite that and his generally odious personality, he feels that he can continue to be bigoted and have NuTSR succeed.
 

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