So I had a crazy idea. I was watching WotC’s video hyping up the History of D&D book they’ll be putting out this year, and I started jonesin’ to play Original D&D. And the idea suddenly grew like a mystical tree in a cutscene- what if I ran a session that was ALL the D&D?

I name this idea “The Gauntlet of Evolution.” A D&D session that is probably pretty long (10 hours?), where every hour and a half or so, we advance editions. From OD&D, all the way through 5th edition. Don’t get me wrong: I know this is crazy. It has to be. It’s so much work. I not only have to learn all the editions (of which there are more than 5), but I have to be able to teach these editions in a succinct way that won’t get in the way of actual gameplay. But while it’s a crazy idea, it’s an exciting idea. And at D&D this week, I mentioned it to a few people, sounding out people’s interest.

No one called me crazy. One person acknowledged it would be a LOT of work. Everyone else asked if I had a date for it, and if they could reserve a table.

So, yeah. Apparently, if I’m crazy, it’s the kind that spreads and ideally makes awesome memories. So let’s talk about this a bit more…


I have a few goals for this endeavor:

First, Play ALL of the editions. This is a tricky thing, because there’s a lot, and some were more like partial releases as opposed to actual full editions. I’m still doing research, but, afaik, here is my potential list:

  1. Original D&D (1974, brown book? Maybe white box?)
  2. Advanced D&D 1e (1977)
  3. Holmes Basic (1977)
  4. Moldvay Basic (1981)
  5. BECMI/Mentzer Basic (1983)
  6. Advanced D&D 2e (1989)
  7. Rule Cyclopedia/AD&D 2e Revised (1991/1995)
  8. D&D 3/3.5 (2000/2003)
  9. D&D 4e/Essentials (2008)
  10. D&D 5e (2014)

I don’t know the differences in all of these editions yet. Some might be quick. Some might not be. I’m not sure yet.

Second goal, There should be some sort of story. I have some ideas of a dungeon that might help keep things in context and give a reason for the characters to do a delve, win, then come back as new characters in a new edition. But, bottom line, if I do this as just a demo for each edition, then players will go, “Well, that was neat” and move on with their lives. But if I make this a memorable story, then they will remember this experience, FOREVER. And that is always a goal.

Third, I need to make this in a way that I can get paid. I’m going to be putting in a lot of work. I should probably track the number of hours I do in preparation. At least to have an estimate. I doubt I would ever recoup moneys to make it worth while, but a boy can dream. I have no idea how various parts of this will work for things like OGL. I know there’s one for 3e and 5e. Not sure on the other editions. This might just be a neat little project that garners no attention, maybe I’ll get in trouble for trying to sell it. So, if you want to support this crazy idea, check out my Patreon.


So in the introduction, I mentioned that this would be a single long session. I don’t know that this is a feasible goal. I might have to run it as a series or something. Not sure, but while it would certainly be nice to do it as a single session, it might be better as multiple sessions.

Some of these editions might not make the cut. I essentially have to go through all of them and decide how different they are. Not sure how much of the Basic 1e stuff I’ll keep. (Less editions would simplify things)

Thinking about things, character creation. Some editions need more work then others, but I’d want people to make some choices instead of just using complete premades, as efficient as that would be. So I have a vague idea of the “Charactro-tron”, a PC and printer that lets you make some choices and it spits out a character. It’d be neat to have, and might be worth making. (Raspberry PI? Small printer? What are my options?)

I have vague ideas of having a Birthright system, where PCs who succeed the dungeon get to give their “Legacy” a leg up. Not sure what that means, yet.


So, this is the new idea. I have about 6 months to make this happen, so I better get cracking. I’ll be making DMDevLogs as I go (ideally) to help me figure out all the ins and outs, and to talk about the weird things I find and the connections I’ve made.

Comments are always welcome, check out the Patreon, and see you next time! Ciao!

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