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

The bigger update that NuTSR posted earlier today is that they have received their sample prints of the next run of Dungeon Crawl:

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Lanasa had a few things to add in the comments:

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We are once again promised that the new copies are shipping. For real this time, guys. Seriously. I sure hope that they actually took these "samples" out of the shrink wrap we see in the photo before approving them. Also, interesting to see Lanasa admit that the first run was even smaller than they originally claimed.

The other two items in the photo are board games from Mick McArt. For anyone that doesn't remember, he has his own company that sells spices and other random gaming stuff. He sold some copies of Dungeon Crawl last year (even though pre-orders weren't fullfilled), and is a sponsor of TSR Con. He fits in with NuTSR well. First, his material is a blatant knock off. His book series is called "The Unremembered Realms" and his new board game is "The Temple of Temperamental Evil". Very original. Second, he is just as anti-LGBT+ and anti-trans as the rest of NuTSR. Here's the first example I found:

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DLIMedia

David Flor, Darklight Interactive
In related news, there's a few updates to the Justin-vs-Tenkar case in New York state.

I'm not going to post documents because there's a fair share of personal information, but here are the highlights:

1) Justin and his attorney keep referring to Tenkar's wife with the wrong name.

2) Justin suggests that the only reason Tenkar's Tavern exists on this Earth is to talk bad about him.

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3) Justin's asking for a million dollars. Yes, really. This is mentioned at least NINE TIMES in the same document.

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No explanation at all is given as to where that number came from.
 


In related news, there's a few updates to the Justin-vs-Tenkar case in New York state.

Well, I guess when it rains it pours.

I'm not going to post documents because there's a fair share of personal information, but here are the highlights:

1) Justin and his attorney keep referring to Tenkar's wife with the wrong name.

It looks like he also named Tenkar's spouse as a party to the lawsuit, and had her served. This is completely unsubstantiated. Obviously just another tactic to add stress and money to the suit.

3) Justin's asking for a million dollars. Yes, really. This is mentioned at least NINE TIMES in the same document.

View attachment 273553

No explanation at all is given as to where that number came from.

This addition is because their last filing was such a poor job it failed to call for damages properly. The judge specifically warned Lanasa to correct it: "The Court advised Plaintiffs, however, that 1) it was not sure what injury had been incurred against Plaintiffs TSR, LLC, and Dungeon Hobby Shop Museum, LLC, based on the pleadings". Reading through the re-filling, I don't think this does an adequate job of explaining the damages.

The whole thing is so blatantly a SLAPP. Hopefully Tenkar's laywer can bring this to a swift end.
 





Faolyn

(she/her)
Well, I guess when it rains it pours.



It looks like he also named Tenkar's spouse as a party to the lawsuit, and had her served. This is completely unsubstantiated. Obviously just another tactic to add stress and money to the suit.



This addition is because their last filing was such a poor job it failed to call for damages properly. The judge specifically warned Lanasa to correct it: "The Court advised Plaintiffs, however, that 1) it was not sure what injury had been incurred against Plaintiffs TSR, LLC, and Dungeon Hobby Shop Museum, LLC, based on the pleadings". Reading through the re-filling, I don't think this does an adequate job of explaining the damages.

The whole thing is so blatantly a SLAPP. Hopefully Tenkar's laywer can bring this to a swift end.
So at what point are these things considered frivolous lawsuits?
 

Oh, please. If liking German WW2 tanks makes you a Nazi lover, I’m in a lot of trouble.

You are 100% correct here. Especially when it comes to WW2 wargaming. Owning the miniatures, admiring the German engineering, and wearing the T-shirt is understandable. The shirt, by itself, isn't harmful. That's also why I linked to the shirt creator, so people could see for themselves what other types of stuff they make.

OTOH, context is important. It's absolutely not a problem that you have a bunch of WW2 tank minis. But it's one thing to own an army of minis, some of which happen to be German. Its another thing entirely to meet a guy who only owns WW2 German minis, and refuses to play any other side, or any other game.

So, lets consider the context of Justin Lanasa. He's the guy who has worked with a known neo-Nazi (Dave Johnson) to make two different RPGs. He's the guy that has an RPG featuring a high powered Nordic race and a stat-capped black race. He's the guy who posted this on his Facebook page:

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Justin is the guy that defended Dave Johnson by saying this (hidden in spoiler for being highly offensive):

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So, what does it mean when Justin Lanasa happens to wear a Panzerkampfwagen IV shirt to a trade show, and 8 years later feels the need to share that picture on Facebook? I can't say for certain. But I thought it was worth making a note of it.
 

JackMann

Explorer
Oh, please. If liking German WW2 tanks makes you a Nazi lover, I’m in a lot of trouble.

The thing about red flags is, they're often not an issue in and of themselves. They're just... a sign that you may want to look closer. I don't judge someone to be a Nazi just because they have an interest in WWII Nazi tanks. If they just like the strategy and modeling side of things, that's all well and good. Or maybe they just really like that kind of fiddly overengineered technology. That said, I will watch a little closer for other signs. If they're also super into the crusades, well, I already knew they were into history, but that can be a troubling correlation with the German stuff. If they have a marble statue avatar and a Latin username, well, you wouldn't think that would be such a bad sign, and yet. And yet.

Once you notice those, you can see if there are any other datapoints. Do they defend the "clean werhmacht"? Do they go on about the superiority of Spartan warrior culture? How do they talk about people outside of the Western world? How do they talk about women?

Because ultimately, it's not that having those interests makes you bigoted. But people who are bigoted are much more likely to take up those interests and adopt those symbols. Because to them, the Germans weren't just one of the belligerents in WWII. To them, they're the good guys. And it stops being about "Here's how the tactics around this sort of conflict worked" and becomes "Here's how the superior ubermensch nearly defeated the degenerates." It's not "The sociopolitics of the Crusades has some really interesting dynamics," it's "Deus Vult!" It's not "I have an interest in how Western thought began, and how a society thousands of years ago had such an impact on my own," it's "Western Culture is the only true form of civilization."

So having an interest in the Tiger I doesn't make LaNasa a Nazi, any more than it makes you a Nazi. It's just a datapoint in a sea of other datapoints that make him a Nazi. If I saw your wargames army, I'd be a little more alert, but I wouldn't just dismiss you as a Nazi.
 
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I got this news from Kim Wincen's twitter. Fat Goblin Games recently released a "Tabletop Roleplaying Game Content Rating System" on DriveThruRPG. Tabletop Roleplaying Game Content Rating System - Fat Goblin Games | Publisher's Choice Quality Stockart | Publisher's Choice Subscription | DriveThruRPG.com

Lanasa apparently felt the need to claim it was a ripoff of his ratings system:

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The irony is that NuTSR's system is mostly imitation itself. It's about 90% copied and pasted from the ESRB rating system, just with more comments about things like feminism and gender issues added in.
 
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Jeremy Thomas

Explorer
The irony is that NuTSR's system is mostly imitation itself. It's about 90% copied and pasted from the ESRB rating system, just with more comments about things like feminism and gender issues added in.
He's not even shy about it either. The TSR Hobbies Ratings Meter links directly to the ESRB Ratings Guide while requiring a contract to actually use.
 


DLIMedia

David Flor, Darklight Interactive
Regardign NuTSR's rating system... here's the license agreement that he's sending to those interested in using it.

The highlight is where he kinda says he owns whatever the rating system is used on.

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I also particulaly like how it starts with referencing the laws in Wisconsin on page one... then moves to the laws of North Carolina by page three.

And he also wanted to "...lock in folks work who register a product for the first year for free..." and charge "...$100 flat fee for use per product registered..." after the first year.

So you're free to use it for 1 year, but then it'll cost ya.

Good luck with that.
 

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