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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...

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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Steampunkette

Rules Tinkerer and Freelance Writer
Supporter
@Thomas Shey The hypothetical that Umbran put out doesn't include the trigger because the point is not to talk about the trigger.

But for a red card system to work you have already understood what the triggers are by establishing them in session zero.

That's just how red card systems work. You establish boundaries in session zero and then if a line gets crossed later the red card gets dropped, and a thing gets adjusted to deal with the problem.

The fact that his example didn't include the session zero discussion does not mean it wasn't a part of the example. Because the red card system in itself requires the session zero discussion.

Also yes, Lanasa sucks. Like a black hole of terribleness.
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
@Thomas Shey The hypothetical that Umbran put out doesn't include the trigger because the point is not to talk about the trigger.

But for a red card system to work you have already understood what the triggers are by establishing them in session zero.

That's just how red card systems work. You establish boundaries in session zero and then if a line gets crossed later the red card gets dropped, and a thing gets adjusted to deal with the problem.

The fact that his example didn't include the session zero discussion does not mean it wasn't a part of the example. Because the red card system in itself requires the session zero discussion.

Except I've absolutely seen people discuss the X-Card specifically where no explanation at all is to be offered (and I even thought their argument as to why has some validity--it still requires the person to engage with the traumatic topic to one extent or another), especially in the context of convention games where no Session Zero is possible. So, no, I couldn't assume that in the context present, because its not universally treated as true. Which is why I qualified the conditions I was talking about.

(My own general feeling in a home campaign is that if this has come up in session zero and its showing up in the game at all, to one extent or another the GM (and I'd include myself here) isn't doing their job. It might be valuable to still keep the X-Card in borderline cases, but if its coming up under those circumstances and the GM can't figure out what its there for, there's been some kind of communication breakdown somewhere (whether its the player not explaining how broadly he sees the trigger involved as being, or the GM not being clear on the concept).
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
So, recognizing this is an aside that should remain short - you speak of this as if the X-card gets invoked half an hour after the event that caused it.

If the PCs are talking with the Evil Duke, the X-card is invoked, and you, for some reason, cannot tell if it was the Duke's tone of voice, or the fact that the Duke was saying he was going to torture the PCs with spiders that was an issue, just get out of the scene with the Duke entirely.

The card is invoked in an immediate context. If what is being referred to is not obvious, change the entire context.

No, I get that part of it. But it is the follow-up.

Do I avoid that tone of voice in the future?
Do I avoid any semblance of spider torture?
Do I avoid spiders?
Do I avoid the Duke?
What if it was something else entirely?

I don't know what is needed to not make my player that uncomfortable again. But, in the context of the X-Card, I'm also not supposed to ask them for that clarification, because it could come across as interrogating them about things they would rather not talk about.

I love the concept of the X-card in theory, and I fully support its use, and yes you just stop and time skip to the next scene, but I never want my players to feel uncomfortable, and I don't know how to use the X-card in a way that prevents me from making the same mistake twice, which is what I think the guy who was talking about S&M was getting at. If a safeword is used, you need to know why it was used, so you can avoid that same mistake in the future. Otherwise you are just going to make them uncomfortable repeatedly as you stumble around.
 
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Steampunkette

Rules Tinkerer and Freelance Writer
Supporter
No, I get that part of it. But it is the follow-up.

Do I avoid that tone of voice in the future?
Do I avoid any semblance of spider torture?
Do I avoid spiders?
Do I avoid the Duke?
What if it was something else entirely?

I don't know what is needed to not make my player that uncomfortable again. But, in the context of the X-Card, I'm also not supposed to ask them for that clarification, because it could come across as interrogating them about things they would rather not talk about.

I love the concept of the X-card in theory, and I fully support its use, and yes you just stop and time skip to the next scene, but I never want my players to feel uncomfortable, and I don't know how to use the X-card in a way that prevents me from making the same mistake twice, which is what I think the guy who was talking about S&M was getting at. If a safeword is used, you need to know why it was used, so you can avoid that same mistake in the future.
During the game.

That's the big context, here. You don't interrogate your players, ever, but you don't ask them painful, sensitive, questions while they're just trying to have fun.

You find out their triggers beforehand, in a safe environment and in as broad of terms as they feel comfortable sharing such things. Personally I like to have mine as an unsigned straw poll kind of thing where someone can just pick the things they want to veto ahead of time without their name attached to it or me asking them questions. Just shoot 'em the link and anything with a score of 1 or higher is a no-go.

Or you can talk to them after the game, gently, to confirm what needs to be kept out of the game in the future.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
During the game.

That's the big context, here. You don't interrogate your players, ever, but you don't ask them painful, sensitive, questions while they're just trying to have fun.

You find out their triggers beforehand, in a safe environment and in as broad of terms as they feel comfortable sharing such things. Personally I like to have mine as an unsigned straw poll kind of thing where someone can just pick the things they want to veto ahead of time without their name attached to it or me asking them questions. Just shoot 'em the link and anything with a score of 1 or higher is a no-go.

Or you can talk to them after the game, gently, to confirm what needs to be kept out of the game in the future.

And if that is acceptable, then I'm good. But (and again, things might have been explained poorly to me) I was told that that shouldn't happen. That going to talk to them after the game could be seen as confrontational and that I shouldn't ask.

And I ALWAYS ask people at session 0 if there is anything that is a no go, and I'm a huge advocate for that. I've done that for multiple games myself. Never used digital tools, but that's just the nature of not having access to people's emails at the time. I've just gotten the impression that is more of a "bare minimum" sort of thing.
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing (He/They)
DM: ...but you're too late, the druid finishes the ritual! To your horror the room is now completely covered in glossy black, twitching spiders! Their millions of bodies making a strange chittering noise as they crawl over each other in a rolling mass toward you! You--
Player: (holds up red card)
DM: ...um. You...ponder your next move! Okay folks, let's take a quick break.

Later, privately when everyone is busy getting snacks and using the restroom:
DM: (to the player, privately) I saw your red card. What's up?
Player: I'm arachnophobic and your vivid descriptions were making me panic. Could you maybe not be so...graphic and explicit about them?
DM: Oh dang, sorry about that. Yes, I'll tone it down...or I can replace them with beetles or whatever. Thanks for telling me.
Player: Thanks, you're the best DM ever.
DM: Aw shucks
Player: No really, it's true. You didn't interrogate me at the table or make me feel weak or dumb, or force me to prove anything.
DM: People actually do that?
Player: Yep, some of them.
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
is what I think the guy who was talking about S&M was getting at. If a safeword is used, you need to know why it was used, so you can avoid that same mistake in the future.

My read of RPG's Pundit tweet is was that X-cards were invented by people with alternative sexualities, for the goal of these sexualities becoming incorporated into the game. He also claimed that these people are "perverse". Thus, X-cards HAVE to be bad.

THAT is what he was getting at.
 



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