Fact check: Lorraine Williams destroyed, not created, TSR

Gaming, RPGs

[UPDATED: The Web page in question has been corrected so that it no longer says Lorraine Williams created TSR.]

TSR logo

Lorraine Williams is a name reviled by many Dungeons & Dragons fans.

One reason is that she sold TSR, the original company that produced the tabletop roleplaying game, to Wizards of the Coast, the makers of the collectible card game Magic: The Gathering. Wizards still produces the game and last year launched its 4th Edition, but many people say D&D hasn’t been the same since the sale.

More than 10 years earlier, Williams had gained control of TSR through a hostile takeover that forced D&D creator Gary Gygax out of the company.

Another black mark against Williams: She supposedly looked down on gamers and even banned the playing of games withing the company’s walls, forcing designers to conduct underground playtests, if any, on products released under her tenure.

So, even though Williams was a financial planner who got TSR out of debt and generating profit, gamers have many reasons to hate her. And here’s another: Buck Rogers and gohero.com.

Buck RogersSee, Williams is the granddaughter of John F. Dille, the newspaper magnate who in 1929 brought the character of Buck Rogers out of the pages of Amazing Stories magazine and into syndicated comic strips and eventually film and television. When she led TSR, Williams added Buck Rogers to the company’s RPG line and expanded its scope to include the production of magazines, novels and comic books featuring that character and others.

Buck Rogers looks to be a rising property once again, with Frank Miller (Sin City, 300) reportedly slated to write and direct a new film.

More to the point: gohero.com hosts the “Official Site of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century,” and after clicking the “About The Dille Family Trust” link there you can read this informative bio:

Official Website of the Dille Family Trust:

The Buck Rogers legacy continues today with Flint Dille and Lorraine Williams (Dille), the grandchildren of the original creator John F. Dille.

Fans will know Flint from his extensive work on the original Transformers cartoon, GIJOE, (for which the character Flint is named), and adapting popular action films to video games. (Including Batman Rise of Tsin Su [sic], Frank Miller’s 300, Transformers Movie, and Sin City.) Lorraine created the company TSR, makers of Dungeons & Dragons, the preeminent role playing game. Together they draw from their extensive experience and their inherited 80 years of sci-fi, comic, and pop culture history to carry on the family business of this international icon.

Whoa — hold the phone, Buck. Lorraine Williams didn’t create TSR. She may have saved it from financial ruin — but she also ultimately destroyed the company by selling it to Wizards of the Coast (which is now itself owned by games conglomerate Hasbro).

[UPDATED: The Web page in question has been corrected so that it no longer says Lorraine Williams created TSR.]

Whatever you may think of the current regime behind D&D, it is no TSR. The glory days of gaming are gone, and Williams should be remembered more for ending them than creating anything.

Source: Found on the EN World forums

See also:

Saturday is Worldwide D&D Game Day

Zero hp: Gary Gygax, 1938-2008

RISK-y business: What is Hasbro thinking?

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