The “GURPS add-on” luck roll is actually derived from the Hero System. All the way back to 1st edition Champions (which I recently got my grubby little digital hands on thanks to the Bundle of Holding), the Luck power (or Talent in later editions) let you roll a d6 per level to see if something good happened (you rolled a 6), and the Unluck disadvantage let you (well, your GM) roll a d6 per level to see if something bad happened (you rolled a 1); the two were mutually compatible, had mirrored costs, and capped at three levels, so a case could be made that a normal person had 3 levels of Luck and 3 levels of Unluck, simulated by rolling 3d6 and counting both 6s and 1s.
The Random Harlot Table has a special place in my heart because of a guy I knew in High School who would use random terms from that table as low-level insults (to boys exclusively, as I recall). One day he flubbed his delivery and called me a “blazing strumpet.”
A lot of historical names, of course, are less a matter of nominative determinism and more a matter of nominative informativism: Gary Cooper was probably the local barrelmaker, Will Smith was probably the local blacksmith, and so on. The weirdness happens when Gary Cooper and Will Smith are in the traveling theater troupe.
Central Casting normally produced very bland results, but when it got interesting it could get very interesting. My group still occasionally tells the story of “God in a Dress,” the cross-dressing psionic knight with fantastic melee weapons skill and his own personal Dyson sphere, generated one day when we were bored and playing around with Central Casting: Heroes of Tomorrow. Still not sure there’s a system out there that could do him justice.
On Michael’s experience with outdated stats for the Bad Man, my first thought (not having seen RQG yet and being fuzzy on shamanism in older editions) was that if it was originally a POW vs. POW test and it’s now a Spiritual Combat Skill vs. Spiritual Combat Skill rwar, the obvious solution to me is to figure out what the typical POW of a testee is, divide that into the POW of the Bad Man, and multiply the result by a typical testee’s Spiritual Combat Skill. Then again, I’m fairly amenable to a bit of math on the fly, which I know a lot of gamers aren’t, even among those of us Of a Certain Age (which I think I might just barely qualify for; I haven’t hit the big 5-0 yet, but I’ve been gaming since I was 9, so I consider myself a bit of a grognard). Then again, “roll the dice and see if it matters” is always a good starting point for any situation where you know there’s a chance of success
Between Roger and Dirk & Blythy I’m starting to think that it was common for gamers in the 80s to not read the forewords of their books. It says right there on the second page that you need the Players Handbook and the Monster Manual to play!
All hail our lords and podcasters! All praise to Roger and Michael!