->''"It was against the law\\
It was against the law\\
Oh what the mama saw\\
It was against the law"''
-->-- '''Music/PaulSimon''', "Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard"

Some tropes seem to be an expression of an underlying law of fiction. This category attempts to collect these fundamental elements. If some of these entries seem a bit tongue-in-cheek to you ... well, you should probably just get used to that feeling. And yes, sometimes there are two or more that are directly contradictory. We don't write them. We just catalog them.

[[IThoughtItMeant If you're looking for]] an index for tropes about ''actual'' laws, try TheCourtroomIndex, CrimeAndPunishmentTropes, and/or CopsAndDetectives.
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[[index]]
!!Tropes:

[floatboxright:
Categories:
+ JustInTime
+ ProbabilityTropes
+ RuleOfIndex
+ SortingAlgorithmOfTropes
]

* AllMythsAreTrue: ''In fantasy settings, myths, legends, and folklore are accurate descriptions of reality.''
* AnthropicPrinciple: ''For any given story, there exist basic elements that are required for the basic premise to happen; there would be no story otherwise.''
* ArkhamsRazor: ''In fiction, the oddest answer is often the correct one''
* ArtisticLicense: ''Accuracy may be sacrificed for the sake of the story.''
* AttractiveBentGender: ''Genderbent males make attractive girls.''
* AuthorityEqualsAsskicking :''The higher a character is in their hierarchy, the better they are in a fight. This goes double for non-protagonists.''
* BanOnPolitics: ''If a forum is not specifically about political current events, then you are usually not allowed to talk about political current events there.''
* BeautyEqualsGoodness: ''If a character is beautiful, then that character is a good person, either publicly or secretly. If a character is good, then that character will either be beautiful or [[InformedAttractiveness be treated as beautiful.]]''
* BeautyIsBad: ''If a character is beautiful, then that character is a bad person, either publicly or secretly.''
* UsefulNotes/TheBechdelTest: ''At some point, do two named female characters talk to each other about something other than men?''
* BellisariosMaxim: ''Don't examine this too closely.''
* CatharsisFactor: ''Video game violence relieves stress.''
* ChandlersLaw: ''"When in doubt, have a man come through a door with a gun in his hand."''
* ChekhovsArmoury: ''ChekhovsGun for multiple items.''
* ChekhovsArmy: ''ChekhovsGunman for multiple characters.''
* ChekhovsBoomerang: ''A ChekhovsGun is used twice; the second use is unexpected.''
* ChekhovsClassroom: ''Information in a lecture will become applicable later on in the work.''
* ChekhovsExhibit: ''Fancy artifacts in museums will become important to the plot.''
* ChekhovsGag: ''A joke sets up further unexpected jokes later on.''
* ChekhovsGift: ''ChekhovsGun is given as a gift.''
* ChekhovsGun: ''An unimportant item introduced early in the story becomes important later on.''
* ChekhovsGunman: ''An unimportant character introduced early in the story becomes important later on.''
* {{Chekhov MIA}}: ''Absent characters in a character's backstory will show up given sufficient time.''
* ChekhovsSkill: ''A skill learned earlier becomes applicable later on.''
* ChekhovsVolcano: ''If a volcano appears in a story, it will, at some point, erupt.''
* TheChrisCarterEffect: ''If the fans decide that the writing team will never resolve its plots, then they will probably stop following the work.''
* ChunkySalsaRule: ''Any situation that would reduce a character's head to the consistency of chunky salsa dip is fatal, regardless of other rules.''
* ClarkesLawForGirlsToys: ''Toys marketed to girls don't use technology; they use magic.''
* ClarkesThirdLaw: ''"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."''
* CompetenceZone: ''Every television show has its own average age-range of competence. Only people inside that range, whatever it is, are likely to be competent at anything relevant to the show.''
* ConservationOfCompetence: ''There is only so much competence a given faction can distribute amongst its membership.''
* ConservationOfNinjutsu: ''In any martial arts fight, there is only a finite amount of ninjutsu available to each side in a given encounter. As a result, one {{Ninja}} is a deadly threat, but an army of them are [[{{Mooks}} cannon fodder]].''
* ContractualBossImmunity: ''The top-level bosses in a game will be immune to the player's most effective or strongest attacks.''
* ContractualImmortality: ''Main characters tend not to die, and an actor leaving a show is likely to be known beforehand.''
* ConvenientlyEmptyBuilding: ''When a building in a modern action film or series is blown up or otherwise totaled, there will be no people or plot-critical items inside when the destruction hits.''
* ConvenientQuesting: ''In an {{Adventure Game}} or {{RPG}}, your next destination will be the closest area that you haven't been able to get to before.''
* CoolOfRule: ''Cool things are cooler if they don't break [[InternalConsistency the laws]] of TheVerse.''
* TheCSIEffect: ''"I saw them do it on CSI. It has to work that way!"''
* CuteIsEvil: ''Cute is [[UncannyValley disturbing and unnatural]].''
* CutenessProximity: ''The nearer a character is in relation to something cute, the more likely they are to be reduced to babytalk.''
* CyberneticsEatYourSoul: ''Cybernetic implants cause "humanity loss".''
* DeathEqualsRedemption: ''Villains close to death can repent before dying.''
* TheDilbertPrinciple: ''Incompetent people get promoted to management where they can't hurt things as much.''
* DirectLineToTheAuthor: ''The creator didn't make this, it was told to them/given to them/found by them.''
* DeggansRule: ''Are there two non-white human characters in a show not about race?''
* DepartureMeansDeath: ''Someone cannot leave a certain area or they will die.''
* EasyComeEasyGo: ''Any large changes to the status quo are lost by the end of the episode.''
* EasilyOverheardConversation: ''Conversations are exceptionally hard to keep discreet.''
* EmotionalTorque: ''The capacity of a story to make you have emotions.''
* EnthusiasmVersusStoicism: ''How strongly a character expresses emotion.''
* ErmineCapeEffect: ''Royals will always dress in full regalia, even in private.''
* EveryCarIsAPinto: ''Car destruction results in guaranteed explosions.''
* EvilIsSexy: ''All things being equal, evil characters are sexier.''
* EvilMakesYouUgly: ''The more evil you act, the more evil you look.''
* FactionCalculus: ''Factions in strategy games follow increasingly complex gradients as more factions are added.''
* FailureIsTheOnlyOption: ''The goal of the series won't be achieved because that would end the series.''
* FinaglesLaw: ''Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.''
* TheFireflyEffect: ''Sometimes, viewers are so afraid that a show will be ScrewedByTheNetwork that they will refuse to watch it, even if it sounds appealing to them.''
* FirstGirlWins: ''The first girl introduced as a potential love interest will become the love interest.''
* FirstLawOfGenderBending: ''Once a girl has been created, circumstances will conspire to keep her that way.''
* FirstLawOfMetafictionalThermodynamics: ''The sum of the energy and mass of a work's plot remains constant. Trimming continuity or simplifying things releases energy and strict continuity or added complexity absorbs energy.''
* FirstLawOfResurrection: ''The will of a creator to bring a dead character back to life trumps everything else.''
* FirstLawOfTragicomedies: ''As the tension in a tragicomedy increases, the level of drama will increase and the level of humor will decrease.''
* FixedRelativeStrength: ''For any group of ninjas, the ninjutsu in that group will not be evenly distributed; some ninja will be in a more powerful class than others. Which ninja are more powerful will stay constant even when the group as a whole gains ninjitsu.''
* FleetingDemographicRule: ''A gimmick or storyline can be reused after a few years of dormancy due to fanbase turnover.''
* {{GIFT}}: ''Normal people, given anonymity and an audience, are terrible people.''
* GodwinsLaw: ''Probability of a comparison to Nazis or Hitler rises to one as length of discussion increases.''
* GodwinsLawOfTimeTravel: ''Probability of Hitler winning World War II rises to one as use of time travel increases.''
* GodzillaThreshold: ''The level at which something is so bad that any means of destroying it is justified.''
* TheGoodGuysAlwaysWin: ''If the story has a hero who fights a villain, the hero wins.''
* GravityIsAHarshMistress
* HanlonsRazor: ''Don't assume malice when stupidity is an adequate explanation. The first time.''
* HitlersTimeTravelExemptionAct: ''Time traveling to kill Hitler doesn't work.''
* ImmortalityHurts: ''Being immortal isn't fun on its own.''
* ImmortalLifeIsCheap: ''Everyone can go all out on immortal characters, since they can't die.''
* ImmortalProcreationClause: ''A species' fertility is inversely proportional to its lifespan.''
* IncendiaryExponent: ''Actions performed are more impressive while on fire.''
* InevitableWaterfall: ''Characters on a river will encounter a waterfall.''
* InfantImmortality: ''Babies don't die.''
* InverseLawOfComplexityToPower: ''More complicated elements offer less power than simple ones.''
* InverseLawOfSharpnessAndAccuracy: ''Characters get hit more with blunt weapons than with sharp ones.''
* InverseLawOfUtilityAndLethality: ''The coolest violence is the least useful.''
* KryptoniteFactor: ''An AchillesHeel that is a substance or state that only affects the hero.''
* KryptoniteIsEverywhere: ''A hero with a rare weakness will see the weakness appear more readily than it should.''
* KuleshovEffect: ''Juxtaposition of images can make there seem to be meaning to the images that wasn't there in the first place.''
* LastConfessionWins: ''The last girl to confess her feelings for the hero will be the one who wins him.''
* LastGirlWins: ''When the first girl doesn't win, the final girl the main character meets will become the love interest.''
* TheLawOfConservationOfDetail: ''All details are important or they wouldn't be there.''
* LawOfConservationOfNormality: ''No matter how weird things get, you still have to go to work.''
* LawOfCartographicalElegance: ''The world is always easily represented on a map.''
* LawOfChromaticSuperiority: ''Rarer colors make things better.''
* TheLawOfDiminishingDefensiveEffort: ''The less someone tries to defend, the less likely they need to.''
* LawOfDisproportionateResponse: ''How important something is decreases proportionally to the intensity of the characters reaction to it.''
* TheLawOfFanJackassery: ''Huge fanbases reflect the amount of jackassery in the general population; tiny ones are close-knit; ones in between can be insular and dickish.''
* LawOfInverseFertility: ''The fertility of a couple is inversely proportional to their desire to have a child.''
* LawOfInversePaternity: ''If you hope he's the father, he's not; if you hope he isn't, he is.''
* LawOfInverseRecoil: ''Weapons have recoil inversely proportional to their real life equivalents.''
* LawOfInverseRomanticInterest: ''The interest of other characters in a certain character is inverse to the character's own interest in romance.''
* LawOfOne: ''Bigger problems are easier to overcome.''
* LawOfOneHundred: ''Platform games will have collectibles that give you extra lives with enough of them.''
* TheLawOfPowerProportionateToEffort: ''The more powerful an ability is, the harder it will be to use. Unless you're a villain.''
* LawOfWikiExpansion: ''Any specialized wiki, as it continues to grow, will accumulate pages for more general info.''
* LiesDamnedLiesAndStatistics: ''Statistics can tell you anything.''
* LinearWarriorsQuadraticWizards: ''Magical fighters advance in power far faster than physical fighters.''
* LiteraryAgentHypothesis: ''The fictional world is real and everyone including the author is trying to cover it up.''
* LocardsTheory: ''Everything leaves a trace on everything else.''
* LordBritishPostulate: ''Invincible characters in games will still be subject to attempts to kill them.''
* MadonnaWhoreComplex: ''If there is a choice between a virgin and a more "experienced" woman, TheHero will always pick the virgin.''
* TheMagazineRule: ''There's a magazine for everything.''
* MagicAIsMagicA: ''Magic is consistent; the same magical causes will have the same magical effects.''
* TheMagicPokerEquation: ''Luck is dependent upon skill and how important the outcome is.''
* MagnumOpusDissonance: ''Soulless moneymakers will be more popular than the painstaking masterpiece.''
* MillionToOneChance: ''Vast odds will favor the exceptional.''
* MoffsLaw: ''In criticism, someone is going to bring up 'Why can't you enjoy it for what it is?'.''
* MonsterDelay: ''When the BigBad is a monster, hide him as long as possible.''
* TheMoralityMortalityEquation: ''Karmic retribution comes back to kill the evildoer's companions.''
* {{MST3K Mantra}}: ''"It's just a show."''
* MurphysLaw (a disambiguation page - if you want the trope, see FinaglesLaw)
* NeverASelfMadeWoman: ''A female character can only be part of the story as a relative or LoveInterest to one of the male characters. If she holds skill or power, it should be attributed to the influence of a man.''
* NominalImportance: ''If you're not named, you don't matter.''
* NoTranshumanismAllowed: ''Sci-fi works tend to be light on or demonize transhumans.''
* ObservationOnOriginality: ''Polish and novelty are mutually exclusive.''
* OccamsRazor: ''All things being equal, the correct answer is often the simplest.''
* OffscreenInertia: ''When you leave someone, they continue doing what they were doing unless proved otherwise.''
* ThePeterPrinciple: ''Employees will be promoted until they reach a position where they are incompetent.''
* PlotTailoredToTheParty: ''A party of characters with different abilities will always face challenges where everyone's abilities are relevant.''
* PoesLaw: ''A parody of an extreme view can be indistinguishable from its real expression.''
* PopularityPolynomial: ''Things will phase in and out of popularity as their fans age.''
* RealityIsUnrealistic: ''Things that are too contrived or silly to be believed in fiction will happen in reality.''
* RedemptionEarnsLife: ''A villain's redemption can save their life.''
* RedemptionEqualsAffliction: ''...but usually when they do, they will suffer crippling or loss.''
* RedemptionEqualsDeath: ''...or death.''
* RedemptionEqualsSex: ''"Karma gets you laid!"''
* RefugeInAudacity: ''Being so offensive it loops back around to normal.''
* RuleFifty: ''All franchises will have a crossover work about them.''
* RuleNumberOne
* RuleOfAnimationConservation: ''Anything animated is animated for a reason.''
* RuleOfCautiousEditingJudgment: ''We don't hate your views, we don't want your views to start an argument.''
* RuleOfCool: ''Suspension of disbelief can be stretched for cool acts.''
* RuleOfCute: ''Adorable things are allowed to make no sense.''
* RuleOfDrama: ''Any potential for conflict will not be ignored.''
* RuleOfEmpathy: ''The characters we see are more successful in what they do than others.''
* TheRuleOfFirstAdopters: ''Porn drives adoption of new media.''
* RuleOfFun: ''Incongruities can be ignored if it's fun.''
* RuleOfFunny: ''It doesn't have to make sense if it's funny enough.''
* RuleOfGlamorous: ''Practicality takes a back seat to looking good.''
* RuleOfPerception: ''If the audience doesn't see it it doesn't exist.''
* RuleOfPersonificationConservation: ''Non-humans should be non-human for a reason.''
* RuleOfPool: ''Pool plus clothed person equals someone's getting wet.''
* RuleOfRomantic: ''Reality can get bent if it obstructs romance.''
* RuleOfScary: ''Scary things don't need to be logical.''
* SugarWiki/RuleOfSeanConnery: ''Certain actors make anything better.''
* RuleOfSexy: ''If it's sexy enough, no one will care that it's not practical.''
* RuleOfSeven
* RuleOfSymbolism: ''The need for symbolism trumps realistic concerns.''
* RulesOfTheRoad: ''Road signs mean exactly what they say.''
* RuleOfThree: ''Things coming in three are pleasing.''
* RulesOfOrphanEconomics
* RulesOfTheInternet
* RuleThirtyFour: ''There is porn of everything.''
* RuleSixtyThree: ''All male characters have a female version, and vice versa.''
* RuleZero: ''The GM is always right.''
* SandersonsFirstLaw: ''The better the reader understands a magic system, the more it can be used to resolve conflict.''
* TheSchlubPubSeductionDeduction: ''Hot women talking to average guys in bars means they have ulterior motives.''
* SchrodingersGun: ''Only what has been revealed to the audience is fixed, everything else can be changed.''
* ScienceCannotComprehendPhlebotinum: ''Science can't understand wacky stuff.''
* ScienceIsBad: ''Science destroys all that is good and beautiful about the world.''
* SecondLawOfGenderBending: ''Genderbending will make people enjoy their new gender more than their previous gender.''
* SecondLawOfMetafictionalThermodynamics: ''The entropy (level of destruction) in a fictional system will increase until the writer's emotional equilibrium is restored.''
* SeinfeldIsUnfunny: ''The thing that pioneered a new style has been copied so much it's no longer new at all.''
* SensibleHeroesSkimpyVillains: ''Where a female character lies on the "good versus evil scale" is directly proportional to how much skin she is or is not showing.''
* SetSwordsToStun: ''In a fighting game (particularly in crossovers), regardless of what weapons or powers you use you will never achieve anything worse than a KO.''
* SexEqualsDeath: ''Doing it greatly increases one or both parties' chances of dying.''
* JustForFun/TheSidekickTheoryOfHeroicWar: ''The sidekick to the hero is always the reason why the hero's kingdom wins the war.''
* SignificantBirthDate: ''Any included birthday is either important to the plot or to the symbolism.''
* SignificantReferenceDate: ''When fictional and real dates are made to line up amusingly.''
* SlidingScaleOfBeauty
* SlidingScaleOfContinuity
* SlidingScaleOfFourthWallHardness
* SlidingScaleOfFreeWillVsFate
* SlidingScaleOfIdealismVersusCynicism
* SlidingScaleOfParentShamingInFiction
* SlidingScaleOfShinyVersusGritty
* SlidingScaleOfSillinessVersusSeriousness
* SlidingScaleOfVideoGameWorldSizeAndScale
* SlidingScaleOfVisualsVersusDialogue
* SlidingScaleOfVillainThreat
* TheSmurfettePrinciple: ''There will be only one female character in animated features not marketed solely to girls.''
* SongAssociation: ''If a work plays a RealLife song enough, the audience will always associate it with that work regardless of context.''
* SortingAlgorithmOfEvil: ''Enemies will appear in order from least to most evil.''
* SortingAlgorithmOfFaceHeelTurning
* SortingAlgorithmOfMortality
* SortingAlgorithmOfThreateningGeography: ''The surrounding environment becomes steadily more threatening as the hero's journey continues.''
* SparseListOfRules: A rules trope, rather than a rule, one where the work lists only sections of a rulebook or similar.
* SturgeonsLaw: ''Most of any type of thing sucks.''
* SukhomlinovEffect: ''The army with more elaborate uniforms loses.''
* SuperWeight
* TheissTitillationTheory: ''Outfits are sexier if they look like they're going to expose someone.''
* TheTheoremOfNarrowInterests: ''The more specific the thing is you're looking for, the less you'll find.''
* TheoryOfNarrativeCausality: ''Things happen because the plot says they should.''
* ThirdLawOfGenderBending: ''Genderbent characters will either embrace or be forced to adopt the stereotypes of their bent gender.''
* ThreeMonthRule: ''In professional wrestling, canon lasts only for three months.''
* TooManyCooksSpoilTheSoup: ''The more people work on something, the less likely they are to succeed.''
* TriangRelations: ''{{LoveTriangle}}s comes with many forms that makes your head spin.''
* TropeExampleLaws
* JustForFun/TheZerothLawOfTropeExamples: ''Shakespeare did it.''
* TVNeverLies
* TwoGirlsToATeam: ''3:2 male to female ratio avoids SmurfettePrinciple without making it all about the girls.''
* TheTysonZone: ''The zone in which a celebrity is so bizarre any story about them seems plausible.''
* UnderdogsNeverLose: ''The plucky disadvantaged guys come out on top always.''
* UnspokenPlanGuarantee: ''The less is said about a character's plan, the more likely it is to be shown to work.''
* VariableTerminalVelocity: ''How fast you fall depends on who and what you are.''
* TheVillainMakesThePlot: ''The villain is the basis of conflict and therefore creates the plot.''
* WeirdAlEffect: ''Sufficiently successful parodies can remain well-known long after the material that was parodied has faded into obscurity.''
* WhatMeasureIsANonHuman
* TheWikiRule: ''There's a wiki for everything.''
* YourMagicsNoGoodHere: ''Magic that works in one world doesn't work the same in another.''
[[/index]]
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