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”.
  • June 8th 2023. NuTSR files for bankruptcy. The case between WotC and NuTSR is postponed until March 2024.

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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Faolyn

(she/her)
It did not, but this reminded me of the fact that a lot of ufology has racism baked into it. See Von Daniken's Chariots of the Gods, for example. And SF:NG is clearly tapping into those elements.
Oh, sure, you're right. With most UFO lore, though, it's less obvious and intentional. You have to think about it a bit before the racist bits become visible (like with the very aryan Nordics being basically the only benevolent aliens), and it may be that the people who came up with these beliefs didn't even realize they were being racist. It was more a white privilege thing than a racism born out of hatred and fear.
 

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Faolyn

(she/her)
Right? Who writes an enemies list in Excel?

(More seriously - who actually does this kind of thing? Who has so many enemies they're afraid they're going to forget one of them or why they're mad at them? A curated Excel spreadsheet of names and reasons why you hate someone is just next level nuttery.)
I actually worry, because this could be a sign of a very serious break from reality and may mean that he's a legitimate danger to people around him.
 

Emrico

Adventurer
I see Ernie is still spouting his "Can't we all just leave politics out of this and play games" bs on his FB page and touting the DHSM as some kind of savior of gaming history. Totally hiding his head in the sand to ignore that he's totally in up to his neck with racist scum. He deserves zero sympathy or more chances in this fiasco. What a complete dbag apologist.

 


jdrakeh

Front Range Warlock
I see Ernie is still spouting his "Can't we all just leave politics out of this and play games" bs on his FB page and touting the DHSM as some kind of savior of gaming history. Totally hiding his head in the sand to ignore that he's totally in up to his neck with racist scum. He deserves zero sympathy or more chances in this fiasco. What a complete dbag apologist.

Yeah, any sympathy that I had for Ernie evaporated awhile ago. He's in this full tilt, I'm afraid.
 

I actually worry, because this could be a sign of a very serious break from reality and may mean that he's a legitimate danger to people around him.
I agree. Behavior like this can sometimes be a precursor to much more dangerous issues. The response seem to lend towards paranoia and a persecution complex (just a guess since I can't really fully diagnose) and those two can make a particularly nasty combination.
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
I agree. Behavior like this can sometimes be a precursor to much more dangerous issues. The response seem to lend towards paranoia and a persecution complex (just a guess since I can't really fully diagnose) and those two can make a particularly nasty combination.
Especially since he also bills himself as a gun enthusiast.
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
It's always a good sign when you rev up Excel to write a literal enemies list replete with planned revenge and Smeagol-level mumbling about how everyone is against you.
I, like probably everyone else, have a few people I am not fond of.... but I, like probably almost everyone else, have never bothered making a freaking list...

I think it does confirm that they are "on the defensive " and that is not a good place for dialogue or reflection...
 

Jer

Legend
Supporter
I, like probably everyone else, have a few people I am not fond of.... but I, like probably almost everyone else, have never bothered making a freaking list...
Something about this feels a bit off though. The more I've thought about it the less sense this list makes. It seems to be both an enemies list and a list of people he's screwing over and how he plans to screw them over.

This could be the product of a deranged mind. And it could be the product of a mind so different from my own that it just makes no sense to me - certainly the kind of "putting your gloating down on paper" feel to some of it feels like something someone who thought they were the smartest guy in the room might do, and my own imposter syndrome prevents me from ever being able to understand that mindset. But could it be someone putting together a "hoax" - either to discredit the folks who are reporting on this stuff in general, or just to have some "fun" with the folks watching NuTSR? There are so many trolls out there these days.

The thing that makes me think it's not being done to discredit the folks reporting on it is that I doubt that anyone sympathetic to LaNasa would have put Venger or Jeff Leason on a list like that at all, let alone using the language used in there. But that doesn't eliminate the possibility that it's a troll getting their jollies by making an "anonymous drop" of info.
 


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