What TSR Meant to Me

Here’s a Sci-Fi Channel documentary about TSR, released in 1997, shortly after my stint at the company (Oct. 1992 to Nov. 1995). You can see Dragon Dice being rolled a few times, along with glimpses of the computer game version. There are also a few glimpses of a Wild Space video, for an unpublished board game I designed just before leaving. With the exception of the video actors, all the people onscreen were my colleagues (including Gary Gygax, with whom I’d worked briefly at GDW), and I miss them deeply.

5 thoughts on “What TSR Meant to Me

  • April 4, 2013 at 9:31 am

    Once again, thank you, John. I will take your suggestion about writing for Paizo under advisement.

    At the moment, when not at my day job, my attentions are pretty much devoted to Popcorn Press. As you may have seen in an earlier post, I’ve set 2013 as my return to game design, starting with a series of card games. But I have a pair of role-playing games in the offing, when time and funding allow.

    And of course there’s Popcorn Press’s fiction and poetry. You can see our most recent featured releases in the right sidebar here.

    As for your own writing, here’s wishing you some time. (Have you considered devoting a vacation just to writing?) As for talent, your comments show a facility with words. Most of professional writing is just starting small and building with practice. (My own career began with a 250-word review for Space Gamer magazine.)

    Best wishes,


  • April 4, 2013 at 2:10 am

    Hi Les,

    Sorry it took me a while to find my copy Dragon #254. Read your Monster article and loved it. I like that you went original source (and especially liked your explination of why the cyclopse was so ‘monsterous’). There are definitally ideas I will take away.

    I also found and read your “Campaign Troubleshooting” article in Gamemastering Secrets. It was good in concept be too short.

    Now I need to dig up my Plans of Chaos. Now where is that box?!?!?!?

    Have you ever tried to write for Paizo? I would love to see what you could do with Pathfinder. Your writing style is similar to what mine would be (if I had time and talent; sadly, I have neither).

    Best of luck to you,

  • March 15, 2013 at 8:57 am

    Hi, John. Thank you for your kind words. I’m gratified that you found the article helpful, and I hope you enjoy “The Measure of a Monster,” as well.

    Most of my writing for Dragon consisted of review articles, but there’s a dragon for the Dark Conspiracy game in one of the issues.



  • March 15, 2013 at 12:33 am

    Ah, I can see I need to read “The Measure of a Monster” as well.
    Thank you for work. It lives on and is appriciated.

  • March 15, 2013 at 12:00 am

    Are you the Lester Smith that wrote “Heroic Horror Campaigns” (Dragon #264, Oct. 1999)? The other day I randomly picked that issue off my shelf and flipped to your article. All I can say is WOW! It was very well written and composed. You have some great ideas. GMing/DMing effective horror has always been a challenge for me and I think your article might do the trick! What other articles for Dragon did you write?

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