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At Gen Con last year I heard a startling rumor: TSR was reforming. The fate of Dungeons & Dragons hung in the balance (before 5th Edition was announced) and the future of the old company was uncertain, but one thing was not: it was a serious venture with some powerfully-connected creative forces backing it. I was asked specifically not to write about the topic because the deal had yet to go through and plans were early.
Fast forward to ConnectiCon in Hartford, CT. After co-hosting the Old School Renaissance panel with Roll for Initiative podcaster Jayson Elliott, he shared an interesting proposition — would I be willing to write for GYGAX Magazine? He was reforming TSR and the magazine would be its flagship product.
Jayson clarified to Morrus on ENWorld about the company’s status:
We are a new company, not the old TSR, as they were purchased by Wizards in the ’90s. The trademark was abandoned about nine years ago, and we registered it in 2011. We decided the best thing to release first as TSR was a gaming magazine, because we wanted a way to bridge the traditions of the old guard with the awesome new games that are out today.
My good friend James Carpio, GYGAX Magazine Gaming Content Editor, pitched the publication thusly:
GYGAX Magazine is an exciting venture from Luke & Ernie Gygax (Gary Gygax’s sons who helped create much of what fans know as D&D), Tim Kask, the original editor of Dragon magazine, and Jayson Elliot, publisher and creative director of the project.
In the spirit of the original Dragon magazine, GYGAX hopes to rekindle the old school spirit for a new generation of gamers. GYGAX magazine will focus on the entire tabletop gaming hobby and community. The magazine will focus on the overall dedication to the gaming hobby, but will give a healthy amount of attention to the 1st and 2nd editions of AD&D, Pathfinder and D&D Next. Popular gaming systems such as Cortex +, ORE, WH40K RPG, etc. will be featured each quarter, giving GYGAX magazine a well-rounded feel with content that appeals to every gamer.
The deadline was tight but I have tremendous respect for Jayson and was eager to work with James (who has shepherded me through I-CON and ConnectiCon), so I jumped at the chance.
My article submission is titled “Adaption Decay,” explaining the game design challenges in transitioning from 1st through 4th Edition D&D, and what 5th will have to tackle to be successful. It addresses each issue in turn (miniatures, player character power levels, monster power levels, magic items, etc.) and then looks at “conversion damage” that can result if the DM’s not careful.
The first issue will be 64 pages long with articles by Dennis Sustare, a comic by Rich Burlew, and others. The quarterly publication will be in print, iPad, and PDF formats. If you’d like to sign up to be notified about GYGAX Magazine, see the web site.
I hope to share an interview with Jayson that shares more detail about TSR, and GYGAX Magazine, so stay tuned!
21 Nov 2012; Posted by David Miller
Calm down! Here’s the story…
Then in May of 2011, one Jayson Elliot incorporated Hexagonist Publishing LLC and in November 2011 Hexagonist registered a new trademark for “TSR” for
Publishing of paper and electronic books, namely, game manuals, rule books, magazines and newsletters related to games and gaming.
Jayson Elliot, who you may not be familiar with—neither was I—describes himself as a “User Experience Director”. Among his many past projects were building mobile and desktop applications for Wizards of the Coast (my guess is he won’t be doing that any more).
But Jayson Elliot isn’t taking up the mantle of TSR by himself. According to a message relayed through EN World, his partners on the project include Ernie Gygax, Luke Gygax, Tim Kask, James Carpio, and Jim Wampler.
So what are they doing?
We decided the best thing to release first as TSR was a gaming magazine, because we wanted a way to bridge the traditions of the old guard with the awesome new games that are out today.
And they’re calling that magazine, “Gygax Magazine“. What it will include, we don’t know. All we know is that they intend to launch it in December 2012.
The bottom line, then, is that despite whatever feelings of nostalgia the names involved might trigger, what you’ve got is an entirely new company launching a completely new product. I look forward to seeing what they produce, but no one’s undoing the last 20 years.
Update: In another message relayed through EN World, Gary Gygax’s widow, Gail, states that this project is not supported by the Gary Gygax estate.