TSR The Mystery Deepens -- Jim Ward Knows Nothing About A New TSR!

The mysteries about a new TSR are just getting more and more confusing! Not only did another new TSR announce its launch recently, they claim to be the original company resurrected, using names like Ernie Gygax (Gary Gygax's son), and Larry Elmore (iconic D&D artist) to back up that claim.

Ernie Gygax was involved with the other current TSR until he and his brother Luke withdrew from it due to legal conflict with their father's widow, Gail Gygax. It's not clear how one can register the TSR trademark with one company, leave it, then set up a new company and register the same trademark while the original company is still trading. Presumably there is some kind of arrangement there. Somebody should make a flowchart!


However, Ward appears to know nothing about it!

@darjr posted this image of Jim Ward's Facebook post.


Update -- Jim ward has since tweeted:

The new company's flagship product is a science-fantasy RPG called Giantlands, and is co-created by Jim Ward. His name is on the cover. It seems likely that his contribution to Giantlands pre-dated the most recent registration of the TSR trademark, or that the property was acquired by the new TSR.

Be the first kid on your block to get our first blockbuster summer release GiantLands! This crowdfunded game is made in Wisconsin with some of the original TSR team, like Larry Elmore, Jeff Dee and James M. Ward. It will be among the first titles to bring TSR Games back to life. The GiantLands 1st Edition boxed set consists of three booklets, dice and more, a homage to the original D&D set.


The new TSR has also registered the trademark for Star Frontiers, a sci-fi RPG which was created by the original TSR in the 1980s. Evil Hat Productions picked up the lapsed trademark in 2017, and the new TSR picked up the again-lapsed trademark earlier this year. They have not yet commented on what access they have to the original Star Frontiers content and artwork, but they used the latter in their announcement, which implies that they might have some kind of license from WotC to use it. I'm sure we'll find out soon!

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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

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Dungeon Master of Middle-earth
I don’t read that as a statement that he hasn’t signed on to the new TSR, just that the details of the launch are being handled by someone else.


This is a bizarre story. Bizarre and intriguing.
Maybe that's the point. Any publicity is good publicity might be their theory. Personally I don't think so. I prowled around a couple of OSR sites I pass through and no one seems to have any real handle on this. Captcorajus for example talked to Justin LaNasa and still isn't certain about it. Confusing is the politest thing that I could say about it. Not exactly a firm foundation for a company.


I find it hilarious when people make judgments about things far before they have enough information to do so. The world just needs to ruffle hair, say, "Isn't that a cute little viewpoint!" and move on.


Latest update from Jeff Dee - after researching what's been said by the new TSR, he's no longer going to accept work from them and has returned a downpayment on the next bit of freelance art.
Not surprised at all. Jeff is pretty progressive and pretty passionate about it. I'm sure being associated with this whole thing isn't exactly making him very happy.

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