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

Initial impression:

Lanasa's attorney is throwing a hail marry because:

1. Whether he new it before, he's realized he has much less of a case than he thought he did;
2. He's realized the chances of getting paid anything significant are tiny and he hoping to recoup anything at all.

3. He doesn't expect to win, he just want's to spend Tenkar's money.

This is a SLAPP. Lanasa isn't going to just SLAPP once and walk away. He's SLAPPing with both gloves, rapid fire.
 

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Mort

Legend
Supporter
3. He doesn't expect to win, he just want's to spend Tenkar's money.

This is a SLAPP. Lanasa isn't going to just SLAPP once and walk away. He's SLAPPing with both gloves, rapid fire.

Yes, I get exactly what this is. But the fact that the attorney is coming out this hard and desperate, this early says a lot.
 

... and the judge has already responded to Lanasa. Emphasis mine.

-----
ORDER granting [14] Motion for Pre Motion Conference. Pre Motion Hearing set for 01/06/2023 at 11:00 AM in Courtroom 6C South before Judge Kiyo A. Matsumoto. The parties shall appear by telephone. The parties shall dial into the conference by calling 1-888-684-8852 and entering the following access code: 1312089.

Although Plaintiffs' [16] response to Defendant's [14] motion for a pre motion conference asserts that Defendant violated the parties' [13-1] stipulation for an extension of time to answer or otherwise move in this action, this Court's 10/17/2022 Order directed that Defendant could file an answer or otherwise respond by November 21, 2022. Defendant did so, filing its [14] motion for a pre motion conference on November 21, 2022. Defendant's motion for a pre motion conference follows the requirements of the Court's Chambers Practices, which requires the following: "the moving party shall submit a letter not exceeding three (3) pages setting forth the basis for the motion and a proposed briefing schedule. All parties so served shall submit a response not to exceed three (3) pages within three business days." Although the parties stipulated to extend the time to respond to the complaint, neither the stipulation nor the Court's 10/17/22 Order addressed or changed the Court's Chambers Practices for the filing of civil motions.

Accordingly, the Court will grant an extension to Plaintiffs, one final time, to submit a response to Defendant's motion for a pre motion conference within three business days, by December 1, 2022. Plaintiffs are advised to review Chambers Practices. Full briefing and motions papers, however, will not be filed until after the Court sets a briefing schedule at the parties' pre motion conference. Ordered by Judge Kiyo A. Matsumoto on 11/28/2022. (AA) (Entered: 11/28/2022)
-----

Translation: Your yammering about not filing on time is complete BS, and you'll get one more chance to actually respond to the very real points brought up by Tenkar or the case will be dismissed. I think I like this judge.

"Plaintiffs are advised to review Chambers Practices." Ha. Hope you spent good money on that garbage, Lanasa.

We should have an update response from Lanasa in three days, and a real court date on Jan 6th, 2023.
 


Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
... and the judge has already responded to Lanasa. Emphasis mine.

-----
ORDER granting [14] Motion for Pre Motion Conference. Pre Motion Hearing set for 01/06/2023 at 11:00 AM in Courtroom 6C South before Judge Kiyo A. Matsumoto. The parties shall appear by telephone. The parties shall dial into the conference by calling 1-888-684-8852 and entering the following access code: 1312089.

Although Plaintiffs' [16] response to Defendant's [14] motion for a pre motion conference asserts that Defendant violated the parties' [13-1] stipulation for an extension of time to answer or otherwise move in this action, this Court's 10/17/2022 Order directed that Defendant could file an answer or otherwise respond by November 21, 2022. Defendant did so, filing its [14] motion for a pre motion conference on November 21, 2022. Defendant's motion for a pre motion conference follows the requirements of the Court's Chambers Practices, which requires the following: "the moving party shall submit a letter not exceeding three (3) pages setting forth the basis for the motion and a proposed briefing schedule. All parties so served shall submit a response not to exceed three (3) pages within three business days." Although the parties stipulated to extend the time to respond to the complaint, neither the stipulation nor the Court's 10/17/22 Order addressed or changed the Court's Chambers Practices for the filing of civil motions.

Accordingly, the Court will grant an extension to Plaintiffs, one final time, to submit a response to Defendant's motion for a pre motion conference within three business days, by December 1, 2022. Plaintiffs are advised to review Chambers Practices. Full briefing and motions papers, however, will not be filed until after the Court sets a briefing schedule at the parties' pre motion conference. Ordered by Judge Kiyo A. Matsumoto on 11/28/2022. (AA) (Entered: 11/28/2022)
-----

Translation: Your yammering about not filing on time is complete BS, and you'll get one more chance to actually respond to the very real points brought up by Tenkar or the case will be dismissed. I think I like this judge.

"Plaintiffs are advised to review Chambers Practices." Ha. Hope you spent good money on that garbage, Lanasa.

We should have an update response from Lanasa in three days, and a real court date on Jan 6th, 2023.
The last paragraph is striking isn't it? It's very clear, and the "one final time" and "plaintiffs are advised to review" statements are one heck of a warning to LaNasa's lawyer to shape up. I am not a lawyer either, but... wow.

Lawyers are human being and they make mistakes like anyone else, and judges can (and do!) cut them some slack. I suppose however that there is a limit to that, and I feel like LaNasa's lawyer has waisted some of that goodwill for negligible gains...

The following is pure speculation but I think that either:

1: The lawyer isn't very competent
2: The lawyer knows this case is doomed, so he's making "showy moves" to make it look like he gave it a good fight to impress LaNasa (he know his client can't win so he's trying to make the client happy).
3: The lawyer knows the case is doomed, has told LaNasa so but has been ordered to fight, to object etc and is doing these "moves" under direction of LaNasa

People with more court knowledge, please feel free to tell me how wrong I am :)
 

To me, this reads as all they've got is trying to get by addressing technicalities, not the substance of Tenkar's response. And the judge's response shows just what they think of that.

Lanasa's lawyer has filed a response to @tenkar's latest paperwork in their civil suit. As far as I can tell, the entire response omits any discussion of the merits of the case and only addresses matters of procedure and timing.
 

GraphPaper Architect

Michael K. Hovermale AKA Graph Paper Architect
... and the judge has already responded to Lanasa. Emphasis mine.

-----
ORDER granting [14] Motion for Pre Motion Conference. Pre Motion Hearing set for 01/06/2023 at 11:00 AM in Courtroom 6C South before Judge Kiyo A. Matsumoto. The parties shall appear by telephone. The parties shall dial into the conference by calling 1-888-684-8852 and entering the following access code: 1312089.

Although Plaintiffs' [16] response to Defendant's [14] motion for a pre motion conference asserts that Defendant violated the parties' [13-1] stipulation for an extension of time to answer or otherwise move in this action, this Court's 10/17/2022 Order directed that Defendant could file an answer or otherwise respond by November 21, 2022. Defendant did so, filing its [14] motion for a pre motion conference on November 21, 2022. Defendant's motion for a pre motion conference follows the requirements of the Court's Chambers Practices, which requires the following: "the moving party shall submit a letter not exceeding three (3) pages setting forth the basis for the motion and a proposed briefing schedule. All parties so served shall submit a response not to exceed three (3) pages within three business days." Although the parties stipulated to extend the time to respond to the complaint, neither the stipulation nor the Court's 10/17/22 Order addressed or changed the Court's Chambers Practices for the filing of civil motions.

Accordingly, the Court will grant an extension to Plaintiffs, one final time, to submit a response to Defendant's motion for a pre motion conference within three business days, by December 1, 2022. Plaintiffs are advised to review Chambers Practices. Full briefing and motions papers, however, will not be filed until after the Court sets a briefing schedule at the parties' pre motion conference. Ordered by Judge Kiyo A. Matsumoto on 11/28/2022. (AA) (Entered: 11/28/2022)
-----

Translation: Your yammering about not filing on time is complete BS, and you'll get one more chance to actually respond to the very real points brought up by Tenkar or the case will be dismissed. I think I like this judge.

"Plaintiffs are advised to review Chambers Practices." Ha. Hope you spent good money on that garbage, Lanasa.

We should have an update response from Lanasa in three days, and a real court date on Jan 6th, 2023.
I keep hitting LIKE on this but it just turns the LIKE on and off it won't add them up.
LOVE
Liked 1000 times
I agree with your translation.
Plaintiffs are advised to review Chambers Practices! = Who do you think is in charge? Who do you think makes the JUDGEMENTS in here?!
LOL
 

Cordwainer Fish

Imp. Int. Scout Svc. (Dishon. Ret.)
1: The lawyer isn't very competent
...
3: The lawyer knows the case is doomed, has told LaNasa so but has been ordered to fight, to object etc and is doing these "moves" under direction of LaNasa
3 has to be a special case of 1; lawyers are supposed to enact their clients' wishes, yeah, but shirley not to the brink of contempt of court.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
Publisher
The following is pure speculation but I think that either:

1: The lawyer isn't very competent
After spending the last couple years seeing how Sidney Powell and Rudy Gulianni have law degrees, I lost my faith to assume that lawyers all know what they are doing. Maybe that was my fault, because I assumed the Bar is hard to pass and thus assumed lawyers had to be pretty smart. I guess they're like everyone else, and there are plenty who....aren't. LaNasa's lawyers sure seem to proving this.
 

J.Quondam

CR 1/8
After spending the last couple years seeing how Sidney Powell and Rudy Gulianni have law degrees, I lost my faith to assume that lawyers all know what they are doing. Maybe that was my fault, because I assumed the Bar is hard to pass and thus assumed lawyers had to be pretty smart. I guess they're like everyone else, and there are plenty who....aren't. LaNasa's lawyers sure seem to proving this.
Sometimes I get the impression that "brazen" can be a viable replacement for intelligent, at least for some.
 
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After spending the last couple years seeing how Sidney Powell and Rudy Gulianni have law degrees, I lost my faith to assume that lawyers all know what they are doing. Maybe that was my fault, because I assumed the Bar is hard to pass and thus assumed lawyers had to be pretty smart. I guess they're like everyone else, and there are plenty who....aren't. LaNasa's lawyers sure seem to proving this.
Speaking as someone who studied in a field at the intersection of law, medicine and academia (and working at the intersection of the first two and tech), I've discovered a dirty little secret about all terminal degrees (JDs, MDs, PhDs). It is that to get one you probably can't be dumb as rocks, but you really don't have to be smart, so much as dedicated, good at studying, have a good memory, and so on (all of them part of broad-concept smartness, I suppose).

Beyond that, just think of the old joke: "Q: What do you call someone who graduated from Med School at the bottom of their class?" "A: Doctor." Switch that to Law School and it still works. There are always people squeaking over the line of being able to do something (sometimes, and maybe only long enough to get through the qualifying process and then fail spectacularly when they get out into the wider world).

Regardless, smartness (and competence) are often a lot more siloed than one might imagine. Gulianni is a good example -- he was a successful federal prosecutor. Pretty much none of the things he's done since which call his smartness into question are related to him attempting to prosecute someone else in court.

LaNasa's lawyer... I don't know. Part of me almost has to believe that they are just counting down the days until they can be done with him and completely phoning it in. The number of times we've noted where he's continued to hamper his own case makes me think the lawyer is simply not in control of the situation. But then again that might be the same 'no lawyer would be that stupid' line of thinking you're realizing may not be valid.
 


adamantyr

Adventurer
I'm betting LaNasa's galaxy-brain strategy is to get Musk to buy D&D and put him in charge of it.
Doesn't it have to be for sale first? Its not like it's up on eBay with a "Buy it Now!" button.

Right now, Elon's acumen with purchases is very much in question... Just because Hasbro posted lower than expected earnings, they're in the same crowd as everyone else.

And also, Elon is a guy with a huge ego. He buys social media platforms, space programs, futuristic technology... I can't see him wanting to buy a "toy company".
 


The following is pure speculation but I think that either:

1: The lawyer isn't very competent
2: The lawyer knows this case is doomed, so he's making "showy moves" to make it look like he gave it a good fight to impress LaNasa (he know his client can't win so he's trying to make the client happy).
3: The lawyer knows the case is doomed, has told LaNasa so but has been ordered to fight, to object etc and is doing these "moves" under direction of LaNasa

People with more court knowledge, please feel free to tell me how wrong I am :)

To expand on my comments about this from earlier, I think Lanasa's lawyer was attempting to spend Tenkar's money. They probably didn't expect to win this motion. Rather, they had hoped that the judge would have asked for a response from Tenkar's lawyer. That response would cost Tenkar money. There's also a possibility that Lanasa's lawyer is laying the ground work for an appeal when they lose; again, not an appeal they expect to win, but an appeal to cost Tenkar time and money.

Luckily, the judge is both smart enough and bold enough to call this out, and nipped it in the bud. It's worth pointing out that Tenkar's lawyer wisely brought up the possibility of enacting NY's anti-SLAPP laws in their earlier motion (but stopped short of asking for action using that option) to help call out to the judge that Lanasa is likely to use these tactics.

Lanasa wants everyone to think he's rich enough that he can throw endless money and lawyers, so people will be intimidated and back down. But I really don't think that's true. Lanasa has a lot of net wealth in real estate, but I don't think he has very much fluidity in his investments.
 



Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen (He/Him)
Being an eternally sleep deprived maniac who didn't get enough non-monetary attention as a child?
Being divorced means your wife can't shame you for leaving your videogame cosplay replica gun and $169.99 George Washington replica flintlock on the nightstand, or for not using coasters and getting soda rings on that same nice piece of furniture.
 


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