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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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

I'm sorry, but this, "if you don't stand and fight, you are admitting guilt," stuff is some prime macho nonsense that should die in a fire.

Even if he were innocent, nobody coming at him with accusations on social media would be swayed by any defense he happens to make. Social media is not a place of evidence and calm deliberation, you know.

In the general case, I agree with your sentiments on this. But it this specific case, I disagree.

Until now, NuTSR's response to every accusation of wrongdoing about anything has been a simple formula of deny, yell, and redirect. On any platform available, until they're kicked out. And this isn't just LaNasa; Dave has been following in his footsteps. Examples include his video where he claimed that SF:NG at TSRCon was only supposed to be a beta test, and responding to someone questioning NuTSR on Discord with "What do you publish? I publish a magazine monthly. I also run run the social media on 5 different pages. I don't always get to discord." On Facebook, Dave publicly flaunted a C&D from Hasbro about his HeroQuest knockoff, and publicly threatened Restoration Games with legal action for some unknown minor slight. Dave and Justin are both incredibly loud, endlessly prideful, and willing to throw truth to the wind.

But now, for the first time ever, they're pulling a complete 180 and going silent. Even in the face of a major lawsuit with WotC, outrage from the OSR community, and anger from their own family members, NuTSR would never shut up. But now they're quiet. They aren't denying, and they aren't yelling about being targeted. To quietly slip away now, after being the loud angry voice for so long, is very different. I don't expect it to last long. But it does give the general impression that they screwed up bad and they know it. In short, they're acting guilty.
 

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I'm sorry, but this, "if you don't stand and fight, you are admitting guilt," stuff is some prime macho nonsense that should die in a fire.

Even if he were innocent, nobody coming at him with accusations on social media would be swayed by any defense he happens to make. Social media is not a place of evidence and calm deliberation, you know.

I feel like there's a tendency in these forums to use specific situations as a way to present some larger rule-of-thumb or general principle.

I don't think that's terribly useful in most cases--and leads to tangents like the one that closed the other thread--but especially not here. The specifics matter, and @Deset Gled already covered all the reasons going silent is suspiciously out of character for these guys, based on past behavior. But also, Johnson isn't some anonymous person plucked out of obscurity and tossed into a raging social media storm. He's out there posting hate, playing the tough guy, part of NuTSR's counterpunching nonsense. For him to slink away isn't self-care--it's damage control.
 





Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Until now, NuTSR's response to every accusation of wrongdoing about anything has been a simple formula of deny, yell, and redirect.

I think LaNasa and Hovermale have had that response. But Ernie, after one non-apology, largely retired from the field. So, individuals in the nuTSR orbit do not uniformly match your group profile. Almost as if they were individual people, who didn't all behave exactly the same, such that you can't judge the individuals based on one's impression of the whole.

Especially when, as far as we are aware, Johnson hasn't been a part of nuTSR's responses in the past. He has not so far been part of the group you've "profiled". "This guy we haven't heard from before will act like the others," isn't a strong line of reasoning. It is, in fact, a particularly weak line.

In short, they're acting guilty.

In short, you are able to put together a plausible narrative for yourself that fits your armchair psychological profile of people you've never met, supporting a preconceived impression of what is happening.

The very idea that one should approach determining guilt or innocence based on reaction to accusation or public pressure is misguided. Guilt should be assessed based on evidence (which, for our purposes, is pretty good) not based on what we think their reaction "should be."

Let me be clear - I am not arguing that this guy didn't post horrible stuff. I went and looked at it myself. I just think that our online community should not engage in what you are doing here. There's already evidence. Manufacturing more "evidence" based on faulty reasoning is a bad idea.

And, by the way, it doesn't have to be about "self care". Damage control is not dependent on being guilty, it is dependent on people thinking you are guilty.
 
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Especially when, as far as we are aware, Johnson hasn't been a part of nuTSR's responses in the past. He has not so far been part of the group you've "profiled". "This guy we haven't heard from before will act like the others," isn't a strong line of reasoning. It is, in fact, a particularly weak line.

Dave Johnson has been a part of NuTSR's responses since at least January, when he started being active on the SF:NG channel on NuTSR's discord. I first noted that Johnson was part of the team as early as February, but I think the first public mention of the business relationship may have been in November 2021, when he was confirmed as part of the team for TSR Con. He was the artist behind the SF:NG promotional material that was posted on FB before TSR Con. And he's been actively promoting his own work under various names and Facebook identities during this same time, that I have been following personally. I am confident in my facts; I am basing my opinions based off of months of his behavior that I have witnessed, and years of his posts that were public until very recently.

However, you are also correct that I am basing my opinions off of the actions of others as well. There's a reason I said "they" were acting guilty. Justin has been uncharacteristically silent (more so that he's ever been about the lawsuit), and has quietly removed Dave from an admin position of the private SFNG FB group with no announcements. Even RancidLord has been quiet, with the bare minimum of response on Discord, and allowing posts that he would have banned people for a week ago. People over there are litterally asking if the allegations about Dave are true and getting no response at all. This may not constitute proof, but it definitely makes me feel more confident in my opinions.

But Ernie, after one non-apology, largely retired from the field

Ernie is a very interesting person to bring up. For starters, it's incorrect to say that he retired from the NuTSR drama. He's confirmed to be the spokesperson posting on the DHSM FB page (and crossposting to other NuTSR FB pages). He's definitely still in the game, and was extremely active around the time of Gary Con and TSR Con, posting many pictures and updates. He's remained active on their FB pages since then, with a few random posts about artists and other OSR stuff.

What did Ernie post about on the DHSM FB while we were discussing Dave Johnson's fascism? This historical bit:

Ernest Gary Gygax Jr. - May 17 at 4:19 PM
Somebody was informing me of the official rulings on Magic Missiles. How the always hit and other such dogma... I smiled as I recalled Dad and I watching the Raven (1963) and how the next day two new spells were added to our playtest sessions. The Magic Missile and it's counter the Shield spell. The magic missile will strike wherever it's caster aims. Think of it as modern smart munitions. If the target is displaced, first missile misses. A projected image would be struck but would inccrue no harm to the mage. A Shield spell always blocks M.M.'s.

Do you think he was unaware of drama, or trying to redirect attention away from it? I could be convinced either way.

Then today he followed up with this:
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No context given, but it's very curious. Anyone want to speculate?
 
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