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)

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


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Vaalingrade

Legend
Not only that, but they amended their Discord rules to allow "negativity" only in that channel.





ETA: There's strong evidence that "RancidLord" is Michael Yach... I don't know much about him, but having a picture of Jefferson Davis - President of the Confederacy - as a Facebook avatar is probably not a good sign.

View attachment 157077
Truth in advertising laws must be harsh when they make you put a picture of a scumbag above your scumbaggery.
 





Sacrosanct

Legend
Publisher
Technical question -- do we know if he's on staff, or a freelancer?
I'm guessing freelancer. Justin keeps saying TSR only has one employee (I'm guessing him). And it seems like others that have worked for him in what you'd think was an employee status never were paid for their work. So he treated them like unpaid interns? I would bet that he's about as familiar with labor laws as he is with trademark laws and campaign finance laws...
 

Technical question -- do we know if he's on staff, or a freelancer?

If you believe Twitter rumors, no one at NuTSR or the DHSM has ever received a regular paycheck. Everyone, including Ernie, Jeff Leason, and previously Michael, were only paid on a contract basis (if ever). Formally, we know from the lawsuit documents that LaNasa is the only person with "management" status.
 


DLIMedia

Hero
Technical question -- do we know if he's on staff, or a freelancer?
This is a complicated topic... The moderator of the Discord channel has stated on the record "The only employee of TSR is Justin LaNasa and I am not him." Beyond that, we're not entirely sure of the business relationship; I use the term "staffer" loosely.

On the same Discord it has been stated that Dave Johnson is the sole author of Star Frontiers: New Genesis, with LaNasa taking on more of a publisher role. In other words, DaveJ's presumably the one doing the actual work.

One would assume that DaveJ is either on staff or contracted by NuTSR, but given that they have been down that road before and have had people give them product for free to publish (Vincent "The Evil DM" Florio gave them his Cult of Abaddon module free of charge for them to publish), for all we know there's no contract between them and DaveJ's writing SF:NG for free.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
This is a complicated topic... The moderator of the Discord channel has stated on the record "The only employee of TSR is Justin LaNasa and I am not him." Beyond that, we're not entirely sure of the business relationship; I use the term "staffer" loosely.

On the same Discord it has been stated that Dave Johnson is the sole author of Star Frontiers: New Genesis, with LaNasa taking on more of a publisher role. In other words, DaveJ's presumably the one doing the actual work.

One would assume that DaveJ is either on staff or contracted by NuTSR, but given that they have been down that road before and have had people give them product for free to publish (Vincent "The Evil DM" Florio gave them his Cult of Abaddon module free of charge for them to publish), for all we know there's no contract between them and DaveJ's writing SF:NG for free.
Do we currently think SFNG exists? Last time I paid attention to it it was some manipulated stock images. Has anybody got one?
 


Faolyn

(she/her)
Thing is that, if you look at the link in question, he's a helluva lot more than that.
A lot more. There was one meme he had posted that hinted at murdering trans children. Can people who have twitter report him for that issue, or has twitter moved to a "we don't care what people post" anymore stage yet?
 

A lot more. There was one meme he had posted that hinted at murdering trans children. Can people who have twitter report him for that issue, or has twitter moved to a "we don't care what people post" anymore stage yet?
I'd think, with all the heat on Twitch over the recent white supremacist terrorist stream, Twitter should be feeling pressure to care about people posting pro-terrorist material. Elon Musk has not finalised his purchase yet.
 




Jer

Legend
Supporter
Article written. I felt dirty writing that.

I gave your post a "like" because I wanted to give you some support for writing it, but I in no way like it.

There really should be an internet standard for "I support you talking about this thing but oh man I hate that we have to talk about it."
 
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