Ernie Gygax Jr. Claims Wizards Of The Coast Acted Like “Corporate Raiders” Towards Dungeons & Dragons, Criticizes Current Tabletop Trend Of Pushing Out Players Who Do Not Follow ‘Modern Trends’

Source: Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set 3rd Edition (1983), TSR Games. Cover art by Larry Elmore.

In promotion of his revival of the classic TSR Games company, Ernest G. Gygax Jr., the son of renowned Dungeons & Dragons creator Gary Gygax, recently spoke out against both Wizards of the Coast’s handling of the classic tabletop RPG brand and the rising community trend towards rejecting players who do not follow ‘modern trends’ based on critical race and social justice theory.

Source: Monster Manual 5th Edition (2014), Wizards of the Coast. Cover art by Raymond Swanland.

On June 15th, Gygax Jr. appeared on SciFi4Me TV’s ‘Live From The Bunker’ podcast to discuss his aforementioned revival of his father’s original tabletop studio, known at the time of its 1973 establishment as Tactical Studies Rules, TSR Games.

During his appearance, the veteran tabletop developer shared not only his future plans for the revitalized company, but also his thoughts on the current state of Dungeons & Dragons and the current social climate surrounding the overall modern tabletop RPG environment. 

Source: Ghosts of Saltmarsh (2019), Wizards of the Coast. Cover art by Greg Rutkowski.

Of Dungeons & Dragon itself, Gygax Jr. recalled to SciFi4ME Editor-In-Chief Jason Hunt how “Lake Geneva [where the original TSR games was founded], in particular, and a lot of gaming, got strip mined,” by Wizards of the Coast after the original TSR Games was sold to them in 1997.

Clarifying that he ascribed the blame for this ‘strip mining’ not to the individuals who orchestrated the sale, but rather to how Wizards of the Coast handled the D&D IP under its ownership, Gygax Jr. then likened the popular game publishing company to little more than “rail barons” and “corporate raiders.” [Time Stamp ~00:15:00]

“Some of the ways of like, overprinting on products, with a high royalty rate, with guaranteed royalties whether they sell or not,” said Gygax Jr. “That reminds me of the rail barons of the past – starting up a rail line, showing how wonderful it is, getting all the public to buy into it while they start another line and sell off all their great stock and properties at a very low cost to their new company and leave everybody else stranded.”

“They just took, as all corporate raiders do, the treasures, and then tried to make them their own,” he continued. “American Indians did the same thing! If they would wipe out another tribe, many times, they would take the women and young children and murder off everything else and leave to make your tribe that much better.”

Source: Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden (2020), Wizards of the Coast. Cover art by Tyler Jacobson.

When asked by Hunt why he was creating a new incarnation of TSR rather than establishing an entirely new company, Gygax Jr. revealed that he chose to revive his father’s company because, effectively, “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,” he explained. “All I’m trying to do is fill in the strip mine, allow this old fertile soil to produce more games and products again.”

Source: Guildmasters’ Guide to Ravnica (2018), Wizards of the Coast. Cover art by Magali Villeneuve.

To that end, Gygax Jr. also noted that while he hoped TSR could cooperate with Wizards of the Coast, he was less than optimistic about such a possibility given how the company “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,” opined Gygax Jr.  “’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.”

Source: Baldur’s Gate: Descent Into Avernus (2019), Wizards of the Coast. Art by Tyler Jacobson.

TSR already has a new tabletop game up for pre-order titled Giantlands.

The description on the company’s website reads, “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,” it continues.

The description concludes, “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!”

The game will retail for $79.99.

Source: Giantlands

What do you make of Gygax Jr’s comments on D&D And Wizards of the Coast? Let us know your thoughts on social media or in the comments down below!

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