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

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
He thinks that because he was successful with those businesses, he would also be successful in IP theft.

I mean, that's not an unreasonable guess. But... it is a guess, right? I mean, he hasn't actually said that. We are assuming it.

There are other possibilities. For example:

1) He knows so little about IP law that he didn't really understand the ramifications of what he was doing. He is used to being kind of a bully, and unfortunately ran up against something that he can't bully - WotC.

2) This is, for him, not actually a real attempt at a business venture. He started it on a lark, and when the public relations failure started, he just couldn't back down, and is now in too deep.

And I am sure we could construct other scenarios that fit the general observations.
 

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thirdkingdom

Hero
Publisher
I mean, that's not an unreasonable guess. But... it is a guess, right? I mean, he hasn't actually said that. We are assuming it.

There are other possibilities. For example:

1) He knows so little about IP law that he didn't really understand the ramifications of what he was doing. He is used to being kind of a bully, and unfortunately ran up against something that he can't bully - WotC.

2) This is, for him, not actually a real attempt at a business venture. He started it on a lark, and when the public relations failure started, he just couldn't back down, and is now in too deep.

And I am sure we could construct other scenarios that fit the general observations.

#2 seems the most likely to me, honestly.
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
I mean, that's not an unreasonable guess. But... it is a guess, right? I mean, he hasn't actually said that. We are assuming it.

There are other possibilities. For example:

1) He knows so little about IP law that he didn't really understand the ramifications of what he was doing. He is used to being kind of a bully, and unfortunately ran up against something that he can't bully - WotC.

2) This is, for him, not actually a real attempt at a business venture. He started it on a lark, and when the public relations failure started, he just couldn't back down, and is now in too deep.

And I am sure we could construct other scenarios that fit the general observations.
It's probably a combination of all three. He started if for a lark or because he thought he could con WoTC out of tons of money to get their IP back, didn't understand the law enough to know what he was doing and why it was done, and thought he could get away with it because he's managed to get away with being terrible the rest of the time.
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
... this may be a terrible analogy but...

It's almost like a fight in 5e when on round 3 you realize "oh naughty word, we have to run away, this is too much" buuuut the party is so deep into the fight that running away is very hard, if not impossible.

It is wise to have an exit strategy. A lot of bad things happen when people feel backed up in a corner.

I guess he could try to settle with WotC - at this point he would have to cave in completely, but maybe WotC would allow him to slink away in obscurity without taking everything he has? But given the bigotry, maybe WotC feels that crushing him is "necessary" at this point.
 

maybe WotC feels that crushing him is "necessary" at this point.
I'm sure WotC sees it as a business necessity at this point. They have too much to risk to allow escapades that can damage their business like this in the future. It must be anhelation so complete no one dares do such stupid things in the future.
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
Already violating the court order from yesterday, good job Justin Lanasa.
For what it's worth, they don't seem to be selling those cards now. So either they had legitimately forgotten about them or got scared that their violations were being talked about in videos.
 




dumdragon

Explorer
Isn't there some investigation about unpaid taxes on the oxygen bar? It's amazing how much easier it is to remain profitable when you co-mingle finances from multiple businesses and don't pay taxes properly! Don't get me wrong, I love my tax guy, but he colors within the lines!
 


tenkar

Old School Blogger
Isn't there some investigation about unpaid taxes on the oxygen bar? It's amazing how much easier it is to remain profitable when you co-mingle finances from multiple businesses and don't pay taxes properly! Don't get me wrong, I love my tax guy, but he colors within the lines!

$45k - and it isn't an investigation, its a decision by the State of NC of what he owes, with interest and penalties

 



Lots of times when Ernie is called out for terrible behavior, people defend him by saiyng he's a "nice guy" and that he means well. I have a big problem with this, because I don't think that being nice is an excuse. Today's posts on FB are a perfect example of why.

This is what Ernie posted on the DHSM FB today:

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This is from Ernie's personal FB page:

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Now I'm sure that saving Hillmoor is a worthy cause. I'm all for green space. It seems like a good thing to for the city of Lake Geneva to do.

It's also 100% politics. This is the perfect example of Ernie literally using the Dungeon Hobby Shop as a political platform, calling for government action with direct links to contacts at the city.

As a reminder, this was the DHSM response to people after their anti-rainbow post blew up:

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And this is Ernie's personal response, telling people that things that are "Politcal/religious in nature should be kept to ones family and rarely friends":

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When Ernie and anyone else at NuTSR says that want to keep politics out of gaming, they are lying. Ernie wants the ability to say whatever he wants to say, and wants to shut down any presence to LGBTQ+ identity when he's around. That's all there is to it. It doesn't matter if Ernie's cause here happens to be a good one. It doesn't matter if he's nice about it. He's being hypocritical and a bigot. Ernie has control of the Dungeon Hobby Shop's presence on social media, and he uses it to promote his political causes and discriminate against the LGBT community.
 

tenkar

Old School Blogger
The DHSM page is shared by Justin and Ernie, which is why the page sometimes seems to suffer from a split personality disorder. I'm not defending Ernie - IMHO he should have left nuTSR and the DHSM long ago if he were truly the person he claims to be. Just explaining the weird swings on the DHSM page.
 

The DHSM page is shared by Justin and Ernie, which is why the page sometimes seems to suffer from a split personality disorder. I'm not defending Ernie - IMHO he should have left nuTSR and the DHSM long ago if he were truly the person he claims to be. Just explaining the weird swings on the DHSM page.

Oh, I'm well aware of that. But I still hold Ernie equally responsible. Ernie has control of the DHSM FB page, which means he has the power to delete things from the page. Everything that we see there is because Ernie chooses to let it happen. He is 100% aware of the things LaNasa does with the Dungeon Hobby Shop name and has the power to stop him. But he doesn't. Because Ernie supports LaNasa, and supports all the bigoted things LaNasa says.
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
When Ernie and anyone else at NuTSR says that want to keep politics out of gaming, they are lying. Ernie wants the ability to say whatever he wants to say, and wants to shut down any presence to LGBTQ+ identity when he's around. That's all there is to it. It doesn't matter if Ernie's cause here happens to be a good one. It doesn't matter if he's nice about it. He's being hypocritical and a bigot. Ernie has control of the Dungeon Hobby Shop's presence on social media, and he uses it to promote his political causes and discriminate against the LGBT community.
There are two sexualities, after all: straight and political.

The very best case scenario that I can think up is him being too much of a coward to tell LaNasa to only post gaming-only on the museum's FB page (I would bet that LaNasa is good at talking over/yelling at people until they capitulate) and he doesn't recognize his green spaces thing as political. And that very best scenario still paints Ernie as an ignorant hypocritical bigot.

I do applaud him for being invested in green spaces, but as far as I know, that's the only good thing he's done--and honestly, we have no idea how much effort he actually put into this campaign. He could have just lent his name to it as well and not done any other work.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Lots of times when Ernie is called out for terrible behavior, people defend him by saiyng he's a "nice guy" and that he means well. I have a big problem with this, because I don't think that being nice is an excuse.
People are complex, and are rarely 100% unalloyed good or bad.

There’s a fairly well off business owner who became a darling of those seeking better wages, etc. because he pays his employees extremely well- even on day 1- and his company remains quite profitable.

…and he was recently credibly charged in a slew of sexual misconduct cases.
 

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