RPG: The Newest ‘TSR’ Stirs Up Controversy – Creators, Companies, And Gygaxes Distance Themselves
Companies and creators in the RPG community are distancing themselves from the newest TSR after the company doubles down on social media.
The strange tale of the newest TSR takes a turn for the worse as the company seems to double down on statements by one of the co-founders in an interview that was comparably mild. For context, here’s the interview, given by Ernie Gygax Jr., on Live from the Bunker early last week on the “Return of TSR Games.”
During the interview Gygax Jr. spoke at length about his perceptions of the RPG industry and made remarks that range from insensitive to outright offensive while also managing to be dismissive of the progress that RPGs have made over the last four decades. In case you don’t want to watch the hour-long interview, here’s a series of quotes from EN World, who transcribed the interview.
Content Warning: for the offensive nature of some of these remarks to follow:
“Why A New TSR?
TSR has been gone. There’s a ton of artists and game designers and people that play….. and recently they were dissed for being old-fashioned, possibly anti modern trends, and enforcing, or even having the concepts of gender identity (laughs).
On Wizards of the Coast, Lorraine Williams, & Original TSR
They just took as all corporate raiders do the treasures and then tried to make them their own. American Indians did the same thing they would, um, wipe out another tribe many times take the women and children and murder off everything else and leave to make your tribe that much better, room to grow.
On Cooperating with WotC
I would hope so but they just put out a big disclaimer recently trying to divorce themselves from the ethics and style of play that was involved in the origins of the game. They’re basically trying to say ‘we’re a better company and a better type of person’ than those who started playing. At least that’s somewhat of the impression they’ve given and ‘please switch over and be part of the new wave’. You know. Join the pack of lemmings, oh yeah!
…. and the problem is my fighter returns antagonism for antagonism. So that’s where we start getting into some difficulties and I’m having to throw a protection from evil up. [Can’t make out words] here and there, end of the party, and hopefully someday I’ll be able to throw a fireball [can’t make out words].
On D&D 5th Edition
The idea is let’s share. The idea is there isn’t a bad roleplaying game. 5th Edition to me is kinda like drinking light beer, when you could be having a Guinness. It’s still cold … has calories, some.”
As well the Dungeon Hobby Museum, which is TSR_Games’ other project, doubled down, boasting on Facebook of increased sales after offending “the online woke” and how they were going to keep their fantasy away from “real world issues”.
And the Giantlands games’ official Twitter called a person asking them to clarify whether or not they supported trans-identities/rights “disgusting.”
These are far from the only comments that the official TSR_Games Twitter has made:
But as a result, many companies, creators, and community figures–including Luke Gygax, founder of GaryCon–have issued statements denouncing the new TSR:
FYI- I am not involved with any TSR company nor is Gary Con nor anyone else in my family outside of Ernie. Full stop. That is all.Advertisement
— Luke Gygax (@lukegygax) June 25, 2021
I have reasons for distancing myself. The way TSR treats people online in their public exchanges is rude. The museum is a for profit business and was asking for donations. Using names of people to promote without their knowledge. Going out of the way to talk gender/woke stuff
— Luke Gygax (@lukegygax) June 26, 2021
The company formerly known as TSR Games which still goes by TSRGames on Twitter has decidedly distanced themselves from the new TSR, which applied for the Trademark after the makers of the new Top Secret allowed their registry to lapse:
Update to our earlier tweet – we will NOT be licensing anything from the new company claiming rights to the TSR logos. We are not working with them in any fashion.
— Solarian Games (@Solariangames) June 27, 2021Advertisement
We'll let you know more when we know more.
— Solarian Games (@Solariangames) June 27, 2021
Tim Kask, one of the TSR old guard spoke up, regarding the massive “storm in Lake Geneva” and repudiated claims that all of the old school folks think the same way, then or now:
And Gen Con, the convention where D&D was born, has issued a statement as well:
Gen Con is not associated with TSR Games and we don't support their recent statements. While the foundation of Gen Con is tied with the history of TTRPGs, our goal is to build off the good, acknowledge the bad, and work toward a present free from racism, misogyny, and homophobia. https://t.co/ENn2HBir9X
— Gen Con (@Gen_Con) June 26, 2021
No, they don't have a booth nor are they running any events.
— Gen Con (@Gen_Con) June 27, 2021
We would deny them if they applied, yes.
— Gen Con (@Gen_Con) June 27, 2021
The controversy continues as the posts flare up, are deleted, and new statements about “welcoming all” and “not tolerating hate of any kind” are issued. But, TSR Games has made it very clear where they ultimately stand.