The following article is a reproduction of an article Prostitution in AD&D, written by Gary Bariaur Ray. The original version is available at Gary's site ( Used with permission (thanks!). All rights reserved by Gary Ray.

Tale of the Bariaur


author: Gary Ray
date: 2002-09-18
status: finished

When I was thirteen I bought a Greyhawk supplement book with a picture of a nude succubus on the cover. My mother, outraged, made me return it to the store. More than likely many more thirteen year olds returned that book and others like it, and mothers across the country probably complained loudly about this smut that their children were reading. Since then, sex has become a nearly taboo subject in D&D. What were tasteful nudes in 1st edition led to clothed creatures in 2nd edition. And today, sex is a completely non-issue within AD&D, even when it would seem a normal part of game-world life. 

I realized last week that this trend hadn't changed much over the years. I was reading Den of Thieves, a 1996 TSR product that you can consider the TSR  encyclopedia of vice. Within this volume you can read about gambling, assassination, blackmail, smuggling, and ... the oldest profession ... dancing. Yes, there's no prostitution, but instead a thinly veiled exposition on prostitution that describes the trade of "dancing girls". With a few modifications, this section is actually an excellent gaming resource for brothels and prostitution. 

Why  bother?  Within my adult gaming group, I play a female tiefling thief who works as a smuggler. She's decided to branch out into prostitution as a means to gathering information and gaining influence in her local city. Whether you think prostitution is right or wrong, I think it's relevant to discuss it. If we can discuss the weapon speeds of broad swords and critical hits that crush skulls, then we should be able to discuss a little sex - and really, this great article goes into no torrid details, but the economic mechanics of how prostitution works -- and to my knowledge, it sounds pretty accurate. So without belaboring the subject, here's the text from Den of Thieves, with the proper dancing terms  replaced with carnal stand-ins where necessary.


Often, lonely people will pay for the company of a member of the opposite gender. Prostitutes of both genders are highly sought after in all large towns and cities. The more tricks they know, and the better they perform, the more money they receive from their companions. The amount of money a typical prostitute can make is shown in Table 14.

Prostitutesfind employment either through pimps or through established brothels. This profession goes hand-in-hand with thieves' guild operations in many cities. Often, customers end up paying twice for the services of a prostitute-- once when the deal is done, and once when the thief steals their purse while they are distracted. Often, the thief will steal the prostitute's money at the same time - of course, the prostitute's money is returned at a later time.

The prostitution business also includes information gathering. A customer often tells a prostitute things he would never reveal to anyone else. The information often goes to the thieves' guild and might be used by robbers, extortionists, or burglars. A Wisdom check for the customer can be used to see if an important piece of information is gained by the prostitute.

The reverse is also true. If a prostitute likes a customer or is well paid, the customer may learn some information. The DM decides what is learned, whether the guild finds out about it, and what action if any is taken.


Table 14: Typical Prostitution Fees

Basic  3sp/hr 4sp/hr
Exotic 10sp/hr 15sp/hr
New Style [Kinky] 20sp/hr 30sp/hr
Multiple prostitutes N/A 10% surcharge*

* above normal per girl fee


Most prostitutes work for a pimp. For about two-thirds of the money they receive, the pimp lines up work on a regular basis, provides a place to work, and sometimes also a place to live. The pimp also provides protection, exacting revenge on anyone who mistreats a prostitute.

Pimps always have a bodyguard beside them or not too far away. Some companions don't care for pimps, complain about the service, or try to take out their anger on the pimp or prostitute. Bodyguards are usually the largest and meanest-looking street toughs the pimp can afford to hire.

Both the pimpand the prostitute pay at least 20% of their take to the thieves' guild.


Prostitutes who work in brothels do not usually have a pimp. The head of the brothel replaces the pimp and takes 50% of the fee. He or she provides a better place of business than the street pimp. The fee for a prostitute is normally at least one-third higher (see Table 14).

The head of the brothel also takes a share of any fees the guild pays. Some brothels have a rule that any money received for information goes into a community fund that is divided equally among the prostitutes on a regular basis.

A typical brothel in which a guild has a 50% interest yields income to the guild as listed on Table 15.

Table 15:
Typical Brothel Income (gp/week)

  Number of Prostitutes
WEEK 5 10 15
Poor 1d4x10 1d4x20 1d4x30
Average 2d4x20 2d4x40 2d4x60
Good  3d4x30 3d4x60 3d4x90
Festival 4d4x40 4d4x80 4d4x120

The dice given are for a lower class section of town. For slums, roll d3's; for middle class, roll d6s, for wealthy, roll d8s. If there are more than 10 dancers per 1,000 population, divide the profits proportionately.