James Maliszewski doesn't seem to have gotten to this excellent article, so it's up to me to cover it.
From Dragon #96: The Meanest Of Monsters by Craig Kraus.
Mr. Kraus introduced us to two nasty monsters for the April Fools section of Dragon - the Killer Dungeon Master (who kills you dead, unfairly) and the Sleep-Inducing Dungeon Master (who bores you to sleep and then steals your dice).
The Killer Dungeon Master got to use the "Wandering Damage Table," a joke that really had legs for my gaming group and those of my local fellow players in other groups.
"How To Use The Wandering Damage System
First there was the wandering monster. They serve well when
applied in hordes, but why not cut out the middleman and just deal
out damage to the characters directly? It makes for a smoother,
faster-paced game, and if you want to kill off characters quickly, it
can only be beaten by divine intervention by Cthulhoid godlings."
You rolled on up to three tables - one to see what happened, one on the damage table (maybe), and one on the limb loss subtable.
Entries read like these:
"4 Your character cuts himself while shaving; consult Limb Loss
"11 Something invisible chews on your character, doing 6-36
"13-20 Consult the Random Damage Subtable for no reason
Or the Limb Loss Subtable, which included "Head gone" and "Torso cut in half." Yeah, from shaving perhaps - I had a razor like that once.
Or the damage subtable:
"01-05 Take 10 hit points damage.
06-10 Take 15 hit points damage."
"56-60 Take 24 hit points damage and then take 31 more.
61-65 Take 1,000 hit points damage and roll again.
66-70 Roll every die within 30 feet for damage."
I love "and then take 31 more."
"74-75 Take 3 hit points damage and consider yourself very lucky - for the time being."
Part of the humor for me was that I always saw wandering monsters as, pretty much, wandering damage. "You're taking too long, so here's some damage without treasure. Still lollygagging? Here's more!" We still refer to things as a "Wandering Damage Table." I roll for wandering monsters and say "Let's see if any wandering damage, er monsters, show up."
The other was the sheer quotability of "Consult the limb loss table" or "And consider yourself very lucky" in play. We must have busted these out once a session for years, and the elder gamers in my area still use these. A few of the younger guys picked it up without ever having seen Dragon #96. It's the "This one goes to 11" of gaming for us.