TSR TSR3 Blames Widespread Pushback On WotC

In an unexpected turn of events, the primary individuals behind TSR3 have claimed the pushback they've received on social media and elsewhere was orchestrated by .... D&D publisher Wizards of the Coast (a company which has thus far remained completely silent on recent events).

TSR3 is run by Justin LaNasa, Stephen Dinehart, and Ernie Gygax. The controversy has been raging for over a week, since TSR3 announced itself with a press release.


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Stephen Dinehart and Ernie Gygax have since deactivated their Twitter accounts; Justin LaNasa doesn't appear to have one, but it is believed he is the person operating TSR3's Twitter account. A couple of days ago, Ernie Gygax posted about recent events on Facebook (note that he edited the post, but the original can be seen here).

I wish to state in the strongest terms that I never meant to hurt anyone of any race, creed or color. My video From the Bunker caused some to feel that they would not be welcome or would be looked down upon. That was never the intent, I was reacting to focus of modern role play into a more background and Role Play rather than the wargame that so made so many lives happy over 40 years ago.

As a gamer it meant that most of us were not worthy of any attention from others of our own age. We were Nerds. We were brainy-acks and others would snicker. Older classmen would ask to "borrow" something of ours to then pass back and forth a game of keep away. I used to receive some special attention from about 4 Juniors in my Freshman year. I played the Violin and often I began to wish that I had Super Powers, perhaps become a Giant.. I was far to shy and then embarrassed as attractive ladies would just lower the eyes while the jocks or other socially vibrant fellows had some fun at another geeky nerds expense. Thank goodness I grew 4 inches my junior year.

The only real comfort zone we all could share was a table in the lunch room. At least the fledgling TSR found fertile minds in those who had only those like us - gamers. Rather than have to risk embarrassing myself, since Phy Ed was going to force us to dance with those wonderful and yet scary girls. Well to get my Diploma I had to slave for a month to Mr. Gerber the head of the Phy Ed department. Fortunately I knew all about janitorial work as before D&D and TSR dad only made $5,000 as a Cobbler (five children) and we had food stamps and even free school lunches. Yes you had to go to the councilors office every week to collect your free lunch passes. Obviously you could feel all the eyes on you and the talk about....

Everyone has been welcome at my gaming table and multitudes of new friends have been created by the time spent playing the games we Love. Look at pictures of gaming on my site or anywhere I run games. Everyone is welcome, just like a Boot Hill game leave your guns at the bar until you leave town. If you come to the Dungeon Hobby Shop Museum Jeff R. Leason will show you courtesy and a smile and you will see that gaming with elder gamers is a safe and entertaining environment.


 
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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

Azuresun

Adventurer
This is a pretty tired position/joke/whatever. Facebook is bad. Twitter is bad. Reddit is bad. Forums too, right?

It's all just people talking, and it's often as gross or as interesting as people are, and as you want it to be. To me Twitter is the best possible source for breaking news, but only if you follow the right people (hint: reporters you like and trust, not your friends or some randos who just aggregate). And while I don't use it for RPG news, Twitter posts have driven much of this entire episode we're talking about, including the infamous "You are disgusting" exchange.

I'm not saying anyone should like or use Twitter, but just realize those blanket "ah what a mess!" dismissals are just sorta...pointless?

I'd be more inclined to give it a chance if it wasn't for the fact that the only times Twitter ever comes to my attention as a non-user are because a bloodthirsty mob formed on it, or because someone said something stupid and unnecessary there, and wrecked their career in ten minutes.
 

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Dessert Nomad

Adventurer
He did not attack a creed. Being a member of the LGBTQ+ community (or an ally) isn't a "creed". I have never, ever seen it describe it thus. If you had said he had attacked a specific subculture I might have agreed with you (it's not 100% right either, but the difference is small enough I wouldn't have bothered posting about it).

Now, I'm not disagreeing with you about this to be pedantic though, it's an important point because you know him so well. If Ernie also believe that creed "encompasses" sexual orientation, gender expression etc., then his apology looks better. But he needs to realize that to many, creed doesn't "cover" the group he offended, and that this is in part (only in part!) why his attempts to apologizes have failed so badly.
I didn't notice this before, but I agree that being LGBT is NOT a creed by any normal definition of the word. "Creed" normally refers to religious beliefs or philosophical beliefs similar to a religion, it doesn't refer to gender identity or sexual orientation or the like. Speaking as a queer person, I definitely read the apology as specifically excluding LGBT people. I don't buy that 'creed' is supposed to include that group, and find any argument that it did to be completely meritless. More importantly, I think just about anyone outside of some small group who use creed in a really unusual manner (which Rob and Ernie seem to be a part of) would view it the same way.
 


J.Quondam

CR 1/8
Can we though? Other members of the team left twitter at the same time, after they all made very similar tweets challenging WotC. The timing seems... odd, doesn't it?
This. While many are focusing on Ernie (who doesn't strike me as much of a businessman), there are other actors here. I don't know much about Dinehart, except that he appears to brand himself as sort of flashy/edgy "creative". Good publicity is clearly good for him; but this thing? Who knows what he's thinking.
Another big figure is LaNasa, who has remained back in the shadows for the most part (though maybe he has made comments under the company name, just not his own?). He's made a few runs at political office, and actually is a fairly successful businessman. I wonder if he initially saw this thing as a "win" for himself somehow, but now it's blown up, and maybe he's worried it'll threaten his other businesses? Again, who knows what he's thinking.

In the end, I'm just sad that the D&D museum is apparently run by such a pile of loudmouth losers.
 


grimslade

Krampus ate my d20s
I can go back to not caring about Ernie Gygax again? Since he has decided to auto-mute himself? The whole TSR 3.x fiasco seems like a company that had no business sense looking for someone to shift blame for not being able to release product. 'We would have released Giantlands with deluxe editions if it wasn't for evil WotC!' I am not diminishing their asinine and inflammatory statements about the trans community or modernization of the hobby. They clearly have personal issues that require serious reflection. But the tripling down and cutting public communication seems to be odd for a start-up. Even a start-up with such questionable business acumen.
 

I didn't notice this before, but I agree that being LGBT is NOT a creed by any normal definition of the word. "Creed" normally refers to religious beliefs or philosophical beliefs similar to a religion, it doesn't refer to gender identity or sexual orientation or the like. Speaking as a queer person, I definitely read the apology as specifically excluding LGBT people. I don't buy that 'creed' is supposed to include that group, and find any argument that it did to be completely meritless. More importantly, I think just about anyone outside of some small group who use creed in a really unusual manner (which Rob and Ernie seem to be a part of) would view it the same way.
Point of order. I said that Ernie would think that but also said even if he thought that he should have specifically named the group in question, which he did not. In all it shows he had no remorse for creed or anything or anybody. I was condemning him slip sliding around what is HIS own philosophy, showing that, once again, that he was avoiding everything by how he went about doing it.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
And if we accept many people get bullied is a bad thing, and look at the recent storm of Twitter accounts that targeted Ernie Gygax as a person specifically, with nothing good to offer, we can deduce he was bullied off Twitter.

I don't feel that's the right way to look at it, at all.

Ernie took a potshot in a culture war. Why? Dunno. But he did it. He made a choice. He fired first. What followed wasn't bullying, it was simply the consequences of that action.

I'll buy the idea that he didn't know what he was getting into, but that doesn't earn him sympathy, because he was still punching down in an effort to lift himself up. If he couldn't handle people punching back, he shouldn't have stepped into the ring.

Again, this is about consequences. If he had done that interview without mentioning gender issues, if his business partners hadn't decided to call trans people "disgusting", and so on, he'd have been fine. Heck, if he'd practiced what his people preached - keeping his fantasy games separate from reality - and not referenced these real-world problems in an effort to appeal to a market for sales, he'd just be another small-game publisher now. Completely unforced error.
 


In a reminder that we shouldn't trust LaNasa in any capacity, my brother pointed this out (from Justin LaNasa - Ballotpedia):

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I can't quite put my finger on it, but there's something about those donor names that seems familiar...

Looks to me like LaNasa is trying to make a conspicuous martyr of himself. He's had political ambitions in the past, maybe he still has them. 'I was oppressed by the Woke Mob and all i got was CANCELLED and this lousy t-shirt, ask me how' is a sales pitch that can get you attention and publicity in certain media circles. I suspect he's trying hard to pull those political/media levers, even though WotC seems to be bent on giving him as little as possible justification to do so.
 


Lord_Blacksteel

Adventurer
I see a lot of other conversation happening but this ... this is infuriating :
"We created this business."
No. No you didn't.
In fact none of the people running this new TSR have created much of anything. On top of being clueless and everything else you've managed to demonstrate this past week what have any of you done in the RPG industry over the last 40+ years? Just about nothing.

"We are TSR."
No, you're not that either. Not in the sense you're trying to claim.

This is very much akin to a Stolen Glory situation. Here we have people trying to claim credit for something they have not done. They also want to claim ownership of things they do not own which just adds to the ridiculousness.

On top of everything else they've managed to screw up they can't even get the game stuff and the gaming business stuff right.
 

imagineGod

Legend
I don't feel that's the right way to look at it, at all.

Ernie took a potshot in a culture war. Why? Dunno. But he did it. He made a choice. He fired first. What followed wasn't bullying, it was simply the consequences of that action.

I'll buy the idea that he didn't know what he was getting into, but that doesn't earn him sympathy, because he was still punching down in an effort to lift himself up. If he couldn't handle people punching back, he shouldn't have stepped into the ring.

Again, this is about consequences. If he had done that interview without mentioning gender issues, if his business partners hadn't decided to call trans people "disgusting", and so on, he'd have been fine. Heck, if he'd practiced what his people preached - keeping his fantasy games separate from reality - and not referenced these real-world problems in an effort to appeal to a market for sales, he'd just be another small-game publisher now. Completely unforced error.
And zi addressed your point. That a callout is different ftom bullying.

However, Twitter is less known for callouts than it is for, "character assassination". I have been online for years and notice a terrible pattern that is rarely called out.

Person A (Ernie) says something bad. No defense gor this.

Person B (Luke) calls out Person A, perfectly valid and right to do that.

Sadly, that is not how social media works. An online blood frenzy starts forming. Persons X, Y and Z, with no direct knowledge of the situation but with bad thoughts about Person A, begin piling in, some with good callouts, but more often just personal attacks and insults that are mean and would be called bully tactics if the target was a beloved entertainer.

Everyone looking from an unbiased perspective sees the role of bully reversed. And a crowd always punches down, it is never considered a fair fight when a lone man stands against a crowd. I saw the Twitter spats that targeted Ernie Gygax. The wave upon wave of piling up on him was a terrible sight.
 

Gradine

Final Form (they/them)
He did not attack a creed. Being a member of the LGBTQ+ community (or an ally) isn't a "creed". I have never, ever seen it describe it thus. If you had said he had attacked a specific subculture I might have agreed with you (it's not 100% right either, but the difference is small enough I wouldn't have bothered posting about it).

Now, I'm not disagreeing with you about this to be pedantic though, it's an important point because you know him so well. If Ernie also believe that creed "encompasses" sexual orientation, gender expression etc., then his apology looks better. But he needs to realize that to many, creed doesn't "cover" the group he offended, and that this is in part (only in part!) why his attempts to apologizes have failed so badly.

I hope that this commentary will be useful to you.
Yes, this, all of this
 



Regarding Ernie and his now edited bully killing fantasy, in the time period he went to school, mass shootings of students by another student was unheard of. I was in high school in the early 80's too and there was little to no security in schools, yet no matter how many bullied kids thought about this stuff, they just didn't do it. Until the late 90's and Columbine, a mass shooting at a school was a once in a decade kind of thing. So among the bad things that made him a product of the time, knowing better than to live out your revenge fantasy was one of the good things that shaped him. It is not a topic for this thread, or maybe even this site, but it baffles me what changed in kids' heads starting in the late 90's that made acting out these fantasies an acceptable option.
 

BookTenTiger

He / Him
Regarding Ernie and his now edited bully killing fantasy, in the time period he went to school, mass shootings of students by another student was unheard of. I was in high school in the early 80's too and there was little to no security in schools, yet no matter how many bullied kids thought about this stuff, they just didn't do it. Until the late 90's and Columbine, a mass shooting at a school was a once in a decade kind of thing. So among the bad things that made him a product of the time, knowing better than to live out your revenge fantasy was one of the good things that shaped him. It is not a topic for this thread, or maybe even this site, but it baffles me what changed in kids' heads starting in the late 90's that made acting out these fantasies an acceptable option.
But he didn't write that in the 80's. He wrote it in 2021.
 

Dessert Nomad

Adventurer
But he didn't write that in the 80's. He wrote it in 2021.

Right - if someone dug up and scanned an old journal where Ernie wrote that in the 80s, 'what it was like in the 80s' would a legitimate defense. But he wrote it 4 decades later, 3 decades later than the 90s where there was a big shift. And it's even worse because the group Ernie was attacking is a group that is much more likely to be the victims of physical violence or depraved neglect from medical personnel than the population at large.

I often have violent fantasies when another driver annoys me in traffic. But I don't write those fantasies out as part of what's supposed to be an apology to a group I've gone out of my way to alienate and expect it to garner me sympathy.
 

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