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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Mr. LaNasa's lawyer filed a motion requesting to amend the complaint removing Tenkar's mom from the suit, and stating that he acknowledges that he was convicted of a misdemeanor 20 years ago. This is in response to a suggestion from the judge to come to some "agreement of terms" with Tenkar else risk "judicial involvement".

The commentator said "isn't this suit over being called a 'convict' by Tenkar? Did Justin just admit that he is, in fact, a 'convict'? If so, is the suit voided? And, since Anti-SLAPP legislation was signed into law a month before this suit was filed in New York, is this a SLAPP lawsuit that Justin is now on the hook for?"

Might be some details wrong, but the jist is there I hope.
 

In another update, WotC files over NINETY PAGES of backup material on how Justin and the DHSM violated the protective order... and Justin and the DHSM get fined 10k because of said violation.

CORRECTION: This, for now, is WotC's proposal to the court; Justin and the DHSM haven't actually been fined yet.

And, in addition to the 10K, WotC is asking for him to cover the legal fees incurred in dealing with his violation of the order. In other words, they are expecting him to pay the legal fees spent in preparing the 97-page document he just got slammed with... which is likely going to make 10K look cheap by comparison.


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Lanasa's team has entered their response to WotC's proposal. Their response can be summed up as:

  • Wizards shouldn't be able to stir this up now, because of the bankruptcy.
  • Wizards can't prove Lanasa/NuTSR/DHSM did the things they claim, and Lanasa formally denies it.
  • Free speech is protected.
  • Don has also attacked Lanasa publicly.
  • "Bad Blood does not violate the protective order."
  • Wizards and Don Semora are actually the ones that should pay Lanasa's legal fees (because he was forced to respond to this motion).

Basically, every standard response you would expect. I'll read through the filings and see if I find anything else noteworthy.

FWIW, we know that the donosemora.com site that Wizards referenced for the bulk of their harassment claim was hosted by GoDaddy. I don't know how hard it would be to get the records for who paid for it, but that seems like it would be the logical place to start fishing for info.
 


Here are a couple of interesting things I've found in the filings.

First, it's worth noting that Lanasa didn't deny sending the police to Don's house or that he tried to block Don from renting convention space. These actions weren't directly addressed. Instead, the lawyers just claim there is "bad blood" between the two that was not relevant to Don's status as a witness against Lanasa.

Second, I have to agree with Lanasa's side about one critical thing: WotC did not offer definitive proof that Lanasa (et al) were the ones behind the donosemora.com website, or the anonymous emails. I don't know if they have proof that wasn't shared, or if they are still fishing for info. But they did get Lanasa to swear, in a formal court document, that he didn't do it. In fact, he went so far as to say that he never uses anonymous accounts. Now, if they do manage to prove that it was him later, he'll be in even more trouble for lying about it. This is my favorite part from Lanasa's declaration on the subject:

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I find the idea that anything Lanasa says to be "open, honest, and direct" to be so laughable it wraps around to sad and pathetic. But that's just my opinion.

Finally, ENWorld got another mention in the court docs. This is from a rundown that Lanasa's lawyer gave of various websites that reported on NuTSR. The only relevancy is to prove that it was public knowledge that NuTSR had declared bankruptcy.

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I wish they spelled the name right, but I don't think we can really expect that from team NuTSR.
 



In fact, he went so far as to say that he never uses anonymous accounts. Now, if they do manage to prove that it was him later, he'll be in even more trouble for lying about it.
I know it feels like it's been a lifetime of his nonsense, but didn't he get specifically caught using a fake account at some point? Now, whether that would hold up in court, I couldn't say.

I very much doubt it - at best it is the end of the beginning of such things. There's a class of people who never learn, who never let things go ... and I very much believe he is one.
Yeah, I think best case scenario for all this is that he is so burned by this that he leaves the gaming industry and tries scamming other folks for a change. Not-TSR is done for and the Dungeon Hobby Shop Museum likely won't survive (or if it does, not under his ownership), but we could still see him continuing to bedevil us as OSR Games. Not that, bereft of their claims to TSR's legacy they'll be able to do much more than irritate.
 


Sacrosanct

Legend
I know it feels like it's been a lifetime of his nonsense, but didn't he get specifically caught using a fake account at some point? Now, whether that would hold up in court, I couldn't say.
Yes, he got busted using an alt account and referring to his dad in it at some point. I'm guessing WoTC (and probably Tenkar's lawyers) have this info as well, so if they all really wanted, I guess they could go for perjury? I'm guessing not, because he says "email registered to us", so most likely it was an alt account where he denied it was him publicly, but using a registration email that he was owner of that no one else saw, which I guess fits his disclaimer above. I don't know, don't really care all that much because it's pretty small in the grand scheme of things.
 

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