The “Random Harlot Table” from the Original Dungeon Master’s Guide

The table below caused much snickering amongst my Dungeons and Dragons-playing peers in high school:

“Random Harlot” table from the original Dungeon Master’s Guide

Original Dungeon Master’s GuideIs it a description of Jarvis Street south of Carlton at night, or perhaps a random sampling of H&M’s clientele? Actually, it’s the Random Harlot Encounter Table from the Dungeon Master’s Guide, First Edition, written by the late Gary Gygax. It’s part of the section on random encounters in cities and towns. One of the possible encounter types listed was “harlot”, and stickler for details that Gygax was, he wrote this sub-table which described the sort of sex trade worker one could stumble into in a Lord of the Rings mileu.

Here’s what it says:

Harlot encounters can be with brazen strumpets or haughty courtesans, thus making ti difficult for the party to distinguish each encounter for what it is. (In fact, the encounter could be with a dancer only prostituting herself as it pleases her, an elderly madam, or even a pimp.) In addition to the offering of the usual fare, the harlot is 30% likely to know valuable information, 15% likely to make something up in order to gain a reward, and 20% likely to be, or with with, a thief. You may find it useful to use the sub-table below to see which sort of harlot encounter takes place:

00 – 10 Slovenly trull
11 – 25 Brazen strumpet
26 – 35 Cheap trollop
36 – 50 Typical streetwalker
51 – 65 Saucy tart
66 – 75 Wanton wench
76 – 85 Expensive doxy
86 – 90 Haughty courtesan
91 – 92 Aged madam
93 – 94 Wealthy procuress
95 – 98 Sly pimp
99 – 00 Rich panderer

An expensive doxy will resemble a gentlewoman, a haughty courtesan a noblewoman, the other harlots might be mistaken for goodwives and so forth.

All in all, Dungeons and Dragons prepared a lot of us for business in the high-tech world.

Needless to say, some of us didn’t quite get what this table was until we looked up “harlot”. You have to remember that this was the late 70s and early 80s, a decade before the World Wide Web, when you had to scour the woods and ravines for free porn. (For some reason, Toronto’s ravines were full of discarded porn magazines. That’s why Toronto guys my age are pretty good hikers.)


The Final Countdown, Again

Cover for Europe's single, 'The Final Countdown'.

Didn’t I just do this?

Once again, it’s my last day at the job, which means I’m cranking that classic of 80’s hair metal: The Final Countdown by Sweden’s gift to rock, Europe.

It’s become a bit of an end-of-job tradition for me that started back at OpenCola, the dot-com that Cory Doctorow co-founded and for which I worked for during those heady last days of The Bubble. In the summer of 2001 when all but seven people (I was one of the seven) were laid off, some wag played The Final Countdown over the office intercom system. Since then, I’ve associated it with departures from a company.

Since it’s now my tradition, I now present a couple of versions of this song.

First, there’s the video for Europe’s studio version. (I’d post it on this page, but the copyright holders don’t allow that.)

Next, there’s the live version:

Can’t see the video? Click here.

Then, the most painful cover version of The Final Countdown, performed by Deep Sunshine:

Can’t see the video? Click here.

And finally, a Bollywood number that borrows from The Final Countdown’s opening riff. (Once again, the copyright holders won’t let me post it here, in spite of their having no compunctions about ripping off Europe.)u


Gary Gygax: 0 HP

Gary Gygax, the first edition of the “Dungeon Master’s Guide”, D&D dice, D&D figure
I’ll have you young whippersnappers know that I only played the first edition of AD&D, the One True Version of the game.

E. Gary Gygax, who as co-creator of the Dungeons and Dragons role-playing game, died this morning at the age of 69 at his home in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. As a former dungeon master, I feel the urge to get some mead and pour 2d20 ounces on the ground outside the former Yonge Street location of Mr. Gameway’s Ark for my dead homie.

Requiescat in pace, Gary. You were a natural 20.


With Advocates Like Zed…

I can’t help but wonder if, what with Zed Shaw’s talk of switching to Python and Django, if Guido and Adrian view him the way Barack Obama is portrayed as viewing Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton in The Obama Files


Don’t Believe Your Web Stats

Don’t Believe Your Web Stats is a great article that covers how web visits are logged, how spiders and bots behave, how user behaviour can skew your stats and untimately, why you shouldn’t put too much faith in stats based on server logs.


You Can Has Job

Cat on computer: OMG! ITZ MAH DREEM JOB!

The LOLcats site I Can Has Cheezburger? is looking for a .NET developer:

We’re looking for a Full-Time .NET Developer with a passion for coding with “srsly gud” .NET expertise. You will make the intarwebs a better tube for millions as we expand the capability and awsumness of our sites. We offer flexible hours, a great work environment, health benefits and freedom from the tyranny of spelllcheck.

The One and Only Technical Requirement:

A deep, deep, deep understanding of developing, deploying and managing customer-facing web sites using ASP.NET (using C#), SQLServer and IIS. We need .NET developers who have been working with the .NET (ASP.NET, IIS and SQLServer) for years and years and years (like at least 5).


The New Job: Nerd Wrangler at b5media

b5media logo

I figured I’d start off the working week with a big announcement: I’ve landed a new gig. As of this Thursday, March 6th, I’m going to be working at b5media, a network of 320 blogs that gets a total of over 10 million unique visits every month.

Depending on whom you ask, my new job title will be “Nerd Wrangler” or “Technical Project Manager”. I’ll coordinate b5’s development team and their projects, as well contribute my own experience and expertise in both blogging and accordion-playing.

I’m going to have a rather interesting first day on the job. Rather than heading to the office, I’m heading to the airport and boarding one of these…

Continental Airlines ERJ-145 regional jet

…because along with a good chunk of b5, I’ll be attending the South by Southwest Interactive Festival in Austin, Texas…

SXSW Interactive 2008 logo

…as well as attending BarCamp Austin

BarCamp Austin III

…where I plan to catch up with old friends and business associates and meet some new ones!

I’ll be staying at the ranch that b5 rented and attending the conference, taking copious notes and photos (and posting them here) as well as meeting up with the b5 bloggers and development team, who come from all over.

I’ve mentioned it before, but I’ll say it again:


Watch this space for my posts from Austin!