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TSR TSR Is Back.... Again!

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TSR is back... again! A new company, using the name and logo of the original publisher of Dungeons & Dragons has just been launched, along with a limited edition new game called Giantlands, and a theme park!

But first, some history! Because this isn't the first time TSR has been resurrected!

TSR (or Tactical Studies Rules) was the company which started it all -- the firm, co-created by Gary Gygax and Don Kaye, which launched Dungeons & Dragons back in 1974. The failing company was bought by WotC in the late 90s, who went on to revive D&D with the launch of D&D 3E. The TSR trademark itself expired in 2004, and Gary Gygax passed in 2008.

Jayson Elliot acquired the expired TSR trademark in 2011 and launched Gygax Magazine. D&D co-creator Gary Gygax’s sons, Luke and Ernie Gygax, were both involved, as was TSR-alumnus Tim Kask. The magazine was cancelled a few years ago as Luke and Ernie Gygax withdrew after a trademark dispute with Gail Gygax, Gary Gygax’s wife.




That company is still an operational company called TSR Games which currently produces the Top Secret RPG.

Confused yet?

Now TSR is back - again! A press release dated June 15th was released this week, and a Facebook page launched with a new version of the old logo. "Have you noticed the new art on our TSR.games site? It's an image created by Larry Elmore (pencils) Steve Ince (Ink & color) & Stephen E. Dinehart (Direction, Color, Layout, Graphics) for our first official product - GiantLands."

tsr.jpg

Lake Geneva, WI, June 15, 2021 --(PR.com)-- Tactical Studies Rules (TSR) was founded in 1973 by E. Gary Gygax and Don Kaye. Originally formed in 2020, TSR Games is officially back and under the leadership of E. Gary Gygax Jr.

“I am thrilled to be part of this next generation of gaming and hope that you all find it cut the same cloth as all my old TSR experiences as we forge a new TSR Games,” said Gygax, continuing, “Thanks to the vision of our CEO Justin LaNasa, and the help of Wonderfilled, we’re bringing TSR back home to Lake Geneva. It really means so much to me.”

TSR was behind the original Dungeons & Dragons first released in 1974, now a worldwide phenomenon owned by Hasbro on its fifth and most popular edition yet. The team includes Justin LaNasa (CEO), Ernest G. Gygax Jr (EVP), Jeff R. Leason (COO, and Stephen E. Dinehart (CCO). LaNasa is a visionary and entrepreneur that has set out to reunite brands like TSR with the original talent behind them.

“It’s with great pride that we’ve managed to secure the TSR brand, born here originally in 1973 and brought back to the people who created this new form of game that changed the world,” said LaNasa.

In addition to the classic lines of products at TSR Museum and Dungeon Hobby Shop, TSR Games is working to bring a new generation of role-playing games and more to players worldwide. “Now more than ever, the world needs TSR,” said game designer Jeff R. Leason. “We’re happy to be bringing it back for experienced and new players alike.”


The Facebook page contains a bunch of info about the people involved.
  • Jeff R. Leason -- Jeff is our Chief Operation Officer and comes with decades working as an game editor, master and designer. As a key member of the original TSR team, he's best known for his Advanced Dungeons & Dragons adventure "The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan" (1980). His TSR paystub from 1983 for $134.18 once sold at auction for $135! We're glad to have his mastery, wisdom and candor helping bring TSR back to life!
  • Ernest Gary Gygax Jr. -- Our Executive Vice President is none other than Ernest Gary Gygax Jr. aka "Ernie". The oldest child, Ernie was one of the first people on planet Earth to play Dungeons & Dragons (with another guy named "Gary" no less), and he still loves to play! You'll often still find him DMing for members of Dungeon Hobby Shop Museum in Lake Geneva, while working hard to bring TSR back to life! This weekend he's hard at play in Lake Geneva running 1E with the gang at Robert Donald Paiser Con III. How about you? What are you playing?
The new TSR's first product is called Giantlands. It's a science fantasy tabletop RPG, in a boxed set, and has an associated theme park! The original boxed set was originally Kickstarted in 2019 by Stephen E. Dinehart IV, which also included a limited edition boxed set which was limited to 100 copies, which would not be made again.

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.


Screen Shot 2021-06-19 at 12.25.54 PM.png

A radiant golden Sun rises over a devastated planet Earth of the 5th Age. Emerging from the destruction is a planet born anew where giants, tribes, mutants, androids and odd creatures from a multitude of worlds clash in an attempt to reclaim the Earth as their own! The GiantLands® 1st Edition Set includes there core rule booklets, character sheets, dice and few more surprises. While you can play this game at a table, it’s also the key to a new active world, where live-action roleplay and costumes are encouraged. Soon you’ll also be able to join us at live events and a GiantLands theme park where you can go on adventures as your favorite characters in a living game world!


So, as far as I can make out, there are now two operational TSRs. There's TSR Games, at tsrgames.com, run by Jayson Elliot, which originally launched Gygax Magazine in 2012, and now publishes Top Secret. And there's this new TSR Games, at the confusing similar tsr.games, which is publishing Giantlands. Ernie Gygax was involved in the formation of both companies. I don't know if or how the two are related, or what the trademark situation would be there! More news if I hear it!

(Both company's logos below!)

tsr1.png
tsr2.png


tsr.jpg
 
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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

Doctor Futurity

Adventurer
Removing negative discussion!

I'll just be clear that I am looking forward to this boxed set and love the art, but would be reluctant to back any Kickstarter. I am also not sure how the theme park thing would work.
 
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Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Social media, where we judge a product not by its content but by the content of it's authors' aging social media post history and the interpretations wrought therefrom by whichever brand of authority we recognize as morally superior and empowering to us at that moment.

If I followed social media as the gold standard for determining who was considered sufficiently acceptable to speak with I'd never get to talk to my dad.

(EDIT: Remember, social media: where you don't argue with the actual person, you argue with the strawman you create).

We get it. You don't like social media. But let's please return to talking about TSR and Giantlands, please, rather than commenting on the state of society. Thanks!
 




muaddib5

Villager
Well, it doesn't even make sense as a criticism. These are the same people who rail against having diverse artwork because "it's a fantasy game, who cares what people in the art look like, or who the gamers look like, because you can be whoever you want to be!", who are now getting grossly offended because GASP! the art depicts someone other than white and thus must be catering to the communist socialist gay transgender cabal who meet every Tuesday and give out free donuts. Their arguments are literally self contradicting. 🤷‍♂️

Also, I would bet $10 to donuts that if when D&D came out, it didn't have any white people in any of the art and was only PoC and all sexualized art was gay, they would never have played it or even picked it up, assuming it wasn't for them, which would directly prove their first argument false. And yet, they expect PoC and LGBTQ+ gamers to ignore all the hetero sexualized art and white representation because "anyone can play anyone." Riiiigggghhhtttt....

I don't think I need to illustrate how representation and presentation in a product appeals or pushes away potential customers.

I feel kinda sad now for this new TSR. It seems they've got people working on it from all political sides (Ward is conservative, Jeff Dee is very much liberal), and the result is that both sides of gamers are complaining and refuse to support them. My biggest issue is the red flags of failed products in the past, but even I am guilty by saying I was turned off by some of the comments Ernie, Justin, and Benoist have made. Most every company will have employees of every political spectrum because that shouldn't really matter (the quality of their work should). So while everyone has the right to support or not support a company, it appears that by having people on the project from both sides of the political aisle, all it did was make both groups of gamers say they refuse to support them. And that's kinda sad. I mean, if I have issues with Ernie and Justin, then I should be happy they also included Jeff and Larry, right? It seems in an effort to include all sides, all they did was alienate everyone. Which isn't good for a business model that already is targeting a very small niche (old school gamers).
100%
 

muaddib5

Villager
Is there anything on their website saying they hate gay people and minorities and don’t want them playing their games? Has any of them written a treatise on white supremacy? If they haven’t maybe they shouldn’t be dragged through the mud.
Not on the websites. But those that have known these people personally have witnessed things. Getting those people to talk on the record or document such is a whole other kettle of fish.
 


muaddib5

Villager
I think some of the people in or interested in this project are nostalgic for the days when gaming was thought of as being apolitical (of course, that was when the vast majority of them were white, male, heterosexual, and cisgendered and diversity was more about whether you had Irish, German, or French roots, used dice towers or cups, or preferred Funyuns over Doritos (as all good people do)). They didn't notice that they had an approachability problem from other demographics because they were part of the in-group - and privilege often doesn't notice it has it when it's so ubiquitous.

If someone like Jeff Dee can willingly work with someone like Justin LaNasa and even have him as a Facebook friend, then maybe we should think about trusting his judgment rather than think we know a person because of the stuff they post on social media. Presumably, they recognize something about each others' value as colleagues in the industry even if they don't see eye to eye, politically. That said, there are things I've seen posted by certain people in the gaming industry, real race-baiting stuff, that will keep me from buying anything they work on, so I may not be the best person to judge that (though I try to keep my threshold of provocation at the fairly extreme ends of major aggressions and not worry about the things others might think of as "micro"-aggressions).
Money is a GREAT motivator. Most of the original TSR employees are headed for or are in their twilight years. Making some cash at this point could POSSIBLY cause some to compromise their value systems. Not saying that is what Dee has done.
 

muaddib5

Villager
Social media, where we judge a product not by its content but by the content of it's authors' aging social media post history and the interpretations wrought therefrom by whichever brand of authority we recognize as morally superior and empowering to us at that moment.
It's your decision to ignore an artists, game designer, publisher, etc. personal beliefs and concentrate solely on the product they produce. Nice and easy that way! You still get to enjoy the thing you wanted (that they produced).

Some of us can't do that. I can't separate the creator from his/her creation because I not only vote at the ballot box, but with the dollars I spend. I'm free to function that way just like you're free to function your way.
 





Dire Bare

Legend
Money is a GREAT motivator. Most of the original TSR employees are headed for or are in their twilight years. Making some cash at this point could POSSIBLY cause some to compromise their value systems. Not saying that is what Dee has done.
I follow Dee on social media, and, 1) he's much younger than many TSR alums, as he was just a kid when he was doing those classic D&D illustrations back in the day. 2) He's still active illustrating and also designing, although I have no idea how well he does with that financially.

But in general, you make a good point. We're seeing our aging creative heroes go through what a lot of creatives go through as they age . . . artists, musicians, writers, and game designers. It's hard to make a full-time living as any kind of artist, and it's even harder to do that AND put away money for retirement . . . . it's sadly somewhat common for an artist to start scrambling for money as they age and medical expenses start to accumulate.

And of course, your perspective often changes as you age. When you're young, you're a punk rock star who hates the system, when you're old, you sell your classic punk anthem for a car commercial, because paying your bills is more important than sticking it to the man at this later point in your life.

If I had any sort of name recognition in the gaming industry, I'd probably be doing exactly what Ward, Gygax, and others are doing . . . lending my name, and maybe even my talents, to vanity projects for some extra cash. I'd try to be more careful about the partners I choose to work with, but there's not always lots of choice, not always lots of folks beating down your door for projects. I'd be selling off all the "collectable" memorabilia I'd accumulated over the years . . . you can't take it with you, and if some fool wants to pay thousands for a manuscript or memo that's been collecting dust for decades, make it so.
 




That’s scary
What I find scary are the ideas that values are something to be put in the back pocket whenever it's convenient for you. I don't know about you, but I don't find the idea that I should be able to sit down to make small talk and share a pint with somebody who curses my very existence and identity behind my back a good idea.
You're disappointed that liberals and conservatives can get along, be friends, and work together?
Speaking as a leftist, yes. It speaks to a lack of faith and conviction in their values on the part of the liberals. The only time to freely and willingly associate with conservatives is to publicly call them out on their reactionary hogwash. And I feel I should cap it off here given the moderation team's stance on political discussion.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Apparently, either some people can’t read red mod text or simply can’t read, The Grand High Admiral hisself told people to knock off the socio-political commentary, and it continued.

So, thread closed.
 

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