TSR TSR3 Throws In Towel, Rebrands Wonderfilled

In the news story that never ends, after reversing its position earlier and admitting that it was NOT the original TSR reincarnated, the new TSR company, embroiled in acrimony for the last two weeks, and having blamed the widespread criticism it has received on Wizards of the Coast, has deleted its own Twitter account and rebranded its website, misspelling it’s own name in the process.

In just a week a much-loved trademark, which was associated with the creation of our entire hobby, and which generally attracted nostalgic affection as recently as a fortnight ago, has been utterly trashed in an astonishing display of self-destructive publicity and incompetence. Two companies (one of which was directly responsible for the damage) have now divested themselves of it, and most major conventions have banned the company behind it, due to the actions and statements of three people: Justin LaNasa, Stephen Dinehart, and Ernie Gygax. "TSR" is no longer a brand which anybody wants to be associated with — not even the company which ‘relaunched’ it two weeks ago, let alone the company they sniped it from. It has been a spectacular masterclass in how not to manage a brand.

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This followed an astonishing day of activity where one of the three TSR3 founders, Stephen Dinehart announced - publicly! - that he had blocked WotC and Hasbro on Twitter. After everybody thought things couldn't get any more ridiculous, they did.

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As TSR2 rebranded to Solarian this week (after TSR3 sniped their name and trademark due to a missed filing), we've now gone from two TSRs to zero TSRs in the space of a few days.

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Most people assume that WotC (or Hasbro) has been in contact with TSR3 regarding its use of copyrighted imagery.

Meanwhile, search teams have been sent out for Michael, the mysterious PR officer announced last week who made two posts and then was never heard from again. In the meantime, somebody has set up a parody Twitter account for him.
 

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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

Parmandur

Book-Friend
Cleraly you haven't met my (RIP) cat. :) Instead of dragging the full wagon across the field, that guy would have emptied out the cargo (and, if at all edible, eaten as much of it as he could) and then pulled the wagon wherever it had to go....

Agreed, and there's an expected range of reasonably-optimal performance within said characteristics; with those expectations being set by a combination of things including advertising, owners' manuals, and (in some cases) common sense.

Yes, and the pre-set expectations of said F-1 car don't include grocery runs. They do include high-speed racing, and an F-1 car whose manufacturer claims it'll do 250 mph no problem but which simply can't get over 225 mph no matter what isn't meeting those pre-set expectations; and the race team has every right to complain.

They lose that right to complain if they try to push the car to 280 mph and things don't go so well.

Difference in acceptance levels here, I think.

You're willing to accept some degree of break-down at the upper end of the spectrum where I'm unwilling to accept any breakdown until the stated/advertised/promised spectrum limits have been reached. Otherwise, it's false advertising.

Put another way, if in-house stress-testing shows the game starts to wobble at about level 15 and the wobbling increases from there, it should be advertised and sold as a 1-15 game; and advertising it as 1-20 is, to put is bluntly, dishonest. Sure, put all the 16-20 stuff - and beyond! - in the rulebooks for those willing to try it anyway, but toss in a disclaimer that beyond level 15 things might not work as smoothly and that some DM intervention and-or tweaking might be required.

Better yet, the designers could get themselves right off the hook if they sold the game as "open-ended" with no reference to any specific capstone or end-state level, and include notes that while the system has been stress-tested to level x and that there's no guarantees it'll work and-or remain stable beyond that, the books* still give details up to level x-plus-y for those who are interested.

* - initial release just covers the stress-tested part; a concurrent or not-much-later release could deal with the not-as-tested higher-level material.
There isn't any problem past 15, people mostly just don't play that long. Some do, and the DMG has tools to support Adventure creation at that level.
 

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MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
TSR is one of those nostalgic things from many of our pasts that is best served there...in the past. I like to recount the days packed into the back seat of a station wagon with my siblings driving through South Dakota in 100+ degree heat with no air conditioning back in the early 1980's. That doesn't mean I in any way want to go back.
Just took my family through SD to the Badlands, Custer State Park, Mount Rushmore, etc. during the recent heat wave. Had some engine heating trouble so couldn't go the full 80+ MPH and couldn't blast the A/C. Glad to share my childhood experience of driving in 100+ heat through SD with my kids.

And, heck, its fun to break out an OSR flavor of D&D to play with the kids.

But I'm not interested in sharing 80s-era intolerance with them.
 

the Jester

Legend
What sort of high-level adventures would you want? Serious question, since I (like most people) am more used to low-level play.
Good ones, basically- ones that showcased/required high level abilities or resources to beat them. Ones that offer truly exceptional environments, monsters, and/or storylines.

For one example from my own game, I ran an adventure set in basically a radioactive out of control nuclear reactor submerged in boiling hot water. One from, I think, the RPGA involved a plane that was flooding, and the pcs had to ascend a pyramid to outrace the waters while, I don't remember, I think they had to do some crazy stuff on the way to prevent some epic badness from happening.

Another kind of thing would be epic level exploration- deep into the Elemental Chaos; in search of unknown planes; into the void of space; into the molten core of the world; etc. Not every epic adventure needs an actual world-shaking threat; sometimes it just needs epic challenges. "We're going into the Sun!"

A mass combat and rulership system that came with a campaign that built up to that kind of stuff and included it as part of the higher level elements- yes please!

I would settle for just about anything that specifically targeted the higher levels.
 

Fox Lee

Explorer
The OGL also isn't entirely selfless, part of Dancey's plan was to nuke non-D&D rulesets by creating an environment where making D&D compatible product was a no-brainer and create a loop that benefited WotC's bottom line. Which, actually, worked.
Since you can't legally own the rules to a game (only the books/text/etc text detailing those rules) the OGL is also a masterful way to control third-party dev output. WotC can lawyer-bully anybody they like (and win, because most indie devs are too small to argue a case if it came to that), but their ability to actually stop D&D-compatible third-party dev is... dubious. Plus, cracking down on thrid-party content would make them into villains, just like original TSR made themselves.

The OGL was a brilliant solution to that. Suddenly WotC are the good guys, even though all they're really doing is promising not to bully you if you play by their rules. WotC ends up with more control than they might purely on a legal basis, but devs/fans still feel like they have been given something. Even if letting Pathfinder happen was a fumble, I still think providing a "voluntary" license was a really smart corporate move.

I will straight up die on the hill of 4e being the best the game has ever been, but even I will agree that the GSL was a joke by comparison :\
 



Staffan

Legend
I think the reason why Wizards don't do epic-level adventures is a bit more prosaic. These days, they don't do adventures as much as campaigns. And it's really hard to fit 20 levels of adventuring into 320 pages, especially if you're also going to include other goodies descriptions of non-dungeon places and such. Paizo uses 576 pages for one 20-level AP, although up to about 1/3 of that is more-or-less tangential to the adventure, and they feel rather pressed for space. So instead Wizards lets the adventure elements take as much space as they need, and see how long that gets you.
 

UngainlyTitan

Legend
Supporter
May be the high level support discussion should be a separate thread. I had kind of forgotten that this was another (T)his (S)ucks (R)eally thread but as someone that used premade content a lot. I am quite happy that the pre-written campaigns end in the 11 to 14 range what I want at high levels are individual 2 to 6 hour adventures at a level. I.e. level 15, 16,, etc., to 20. with some strong theme. Right now, I could do with a level 18,19, or 20th level dragon themed adventures, if anyone can recommend some.

As for Dungeon of the Mad Mage, after I finished Princes of the Apocalypse, (which I enjoyed) I switched the Party to DotMM and ran a good few levels but I think my players enjoyed it but I did not as DM. I think that at that level I would prefer shorter adventures spanning one to three levels.
I think there is a market just not a but one and it is not a good choice for an adventure path because of the length of real time that an AP takes.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
May be the high level support discussion should be a separate thread. I had kind of forgotten that this was another (T)his (S)ucks (R)eally thread but as someone that used premade content a lot. I am quite happy that the pre-written campaigns end in the 11 to 14 range what I want at high levels are individual 2 to 6 hour adventures at a level. I.e. level 15, 16,, etc., to 20. with some strong theme. Right now, I could do with a level 18,19, or 20th level dragon themed adventures, if anyone can recommend some.

As for Dungeon of the Mad Mage, after I finished Princes of the Apocalypse, (which I enjoyed) I switched the Party to DotMM and ran a good few levels but I think my players enjoyed it but I did not as DM. I think that at that level I would prefer shorter adventures spanning one to three levels.
I think there is a market just not a but one and it is not a good choice for an adventure path because of the length of real time that an AP takes.
I would phrase it as there is an audience, but maybe not a market as such.
 

UngainlyTitan

Legend
Supporter
I would phrase it as there is an audience, but maybe not a market as such.
Not a market for WoTC, I have seen high level adventures on DMsGuild but aside from not knowing anything about the quality of them, a lot are AL modules and as such part of chained stories, not really standalone and very tied to specific locations even the ones that are not AL are also part of a larger chain of modules. And there are not may of them.
 


Steampunkette

Shaper of Worlds
Supporter
Woops, wrong thread.

Still:
See... Now I actually WANT to go ahead and start a Business named T5R, produce 5e Content, and put it up on the DMs Guild out of -spite-.

Inclusive 5e old-school style stories... Probably set largely in Ravenloft because I prefer it to Forgotten Realms... damn it.
 





Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
So here's a big important thing about why High Levels have little support:

It takes too bloody long.

The amount of individual encounters required to get from level 1 to level 20 is MASSIVE.
221 to be exact, if they’re all medium encounters for the party’s level. That’s 31 adventuring days if you’re averaging 7 medium encounters per adventuring day (which from what I gather is actually a lot more than most groups do), which means about 8 months of play if you play weekly and get in one full adventuring day per session, both pretty generous assumptions. That’s a significant time commitment, even under the best of circumstances!

Of course, all of that depends on actually using XP, which in my experience it seems most groups don’t do.
 
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Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
3-5 is normal for my group, when I’m running, because I throw a small number of “deadly” encounters at them. I can see how 2-3 would be normal for “medium” encounters.
I just thought the monster building guidelines in the monster manual said to calculate average damage per round based on its damage over 3 rounds (assuming it hits all of its attacks/targets fail their saves, and AoE abilities hit two targets).
 

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