* 1st Edition
** The default orcish pantheon included deities whose holy symbols were [[Literature/TheLordOfTheRings a fiery eye and a white hand]].
** The displacer beast, a cat-like creature with tentacles coming out of its shoulders, is loosely based on a similar creature called the Coeurl from ''Literature/TheVoyageOfTheSpaceBeagle''. The xill, a race of four-armed marauders that lay their eggs in still-living victims, are similarly inspired by the Ixtl from the same novel.
** The derro, a race of degenerate human/dwarf hybrids, were inspired by the Deros, a race of {{Ultraterrestrials}} from the writings of Richard Sharpe Shaver.
** Trolls, with their HealingFactor, were inspired by the works of Creator/PoulAnderson.
** Many classes can be traced to popular fantasy characters--the Ranger is based on [[Literature/TheLordOfTheRings Aragorn]], the Thief is [[Literature/FafhrdAndTheGrayMouser the Gray Mouser]], the Barbarian is [[ConanTheBarbarian Conan]], and so on.
** The whole [[VancianMagic "fire and forget" method of spellcasting]] is taken from the works of Creator/JackVance. Other Vancian lifts include the Githyanki race (InNameOnly), Ioun Stones, the Robe of Eyes, the ''Prismatic Spray'' spell, and the ''Imprisonment'' spell (based on the Spell of Forlorn Encystment).
** The game's original OrderVersusChaos paradigm borrows heavily from the works of Creator/MichaelMoorcock.
*** Which showed up in Poul Anderson's ''Three Hearts and Three Lions'' (the same source as trolls) before Moorcock's more extensive use.
** Though Gary Gygax denied heavy influence from ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings'', the original D&D game borrowed a lot of elements all the same: hobbits (later re-named "halflings"), wights, orcs and goblins, mithril (later re-named "mithral"), balrogs (re-named "Type VI demons," then later re-named "Balors"), ents (re-named "treants"), and so on.
** The iconic Mind Flayer was inspired by the cover of Creator/BrianLumley's novel, ''The Burrowers Beneath''.
** The first World of Greyhawk boxed set featured rules for weather conditions. One of them states that there's a small chance that PC's sucked up into a tornado would be shunted to [[TheWizardOfOz one of several demi-planes]] within the Ethereal Plane.
** ''Greyhawk Adventures''. The Sea Zombie was based on the zombie/ghosts in Creator/JohnCarpenter's film ''Film/TheFog''. They traveled inland under the cover of fog, and the picture has a Sea Zombie breaking through a door with a boathook, a technique used by the ghost/zombies in the movie.
* 1st Edition and Classic D&D adventures
** [=DA1=] ''Adventures in Blackmoor'': Moorcok (Creator/MichaelMoorcock) and two horses: Círdan (Círdan the Shipwright) and Bill (the pony), both from ''Literature/LordOfTheRings''
** [=EX1=] ''Dungeonland'', which was based on ''Literature/AliceInWonderland'', had the character Charldos ([=CHARles Lutwidge DOdgSon=], Creator/LewisCarroll's real name).
** [=GAZ3=] ''The Principalities of Glantri'': "Freeze! Glantri Vice!" (''MiamiVice''), diamond loyalty forehead implant (''Franchise/{{Dune}}'''s Suk Doctor diamond forehead tattoo).
** H2 ''Mines of Bloodstone'': Ruggedo the Gnome King (from the ''[[Literature/LandOfOz Oz]]'' series character).
** H3 ''Bloodstone Wars'': Adair and Arthur (Norm and Cliff from ''{{Cheers}}'')
** I3 ''Pharaoh'': "My name is Maniozimus" ("My name is Ozymandias", from the Percy Bysshe Shelley poem "Ozymandias")
** I9 ''Day of Al'Akbar'': baking brownies Kieb-Lar and Kieb-Lor (Keebler elves)
** I12 ''Egg of the Phoenix'': Mikael Gorchaboff (Mikhail Gorbachev), Fflanidor Fflem (Fflewddur Fflam in the Literature/ChroniclesOfPrydain) and Mersyn Olan (actor Merlin Olsen)
** I13 ''Adventure Pack I'', adventure "The Weird Woods of Baron Orchid". A sign says "I'd turn back if I were you", a reference to the sign in the woods near the castle of the Wicked Witch of the West in the 1939 film ''Film/TheWizardOfOz''.
** [=IM3=] ''The Best of Intentions'': The Warren (''TabletopGame/{{Paranoia}}'''s Alpha Complex) and Yertle the turtle king (from Creator/DrSeuss)
** L2 ''The Assassin's Knot'': a dwarf named Gilmi (Gimli in ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings'')
** N4 ''Treasure Hunt'': the Island of Tetris (from the VideoGame ''Videogame/{{Tetris}}'')
** [=WG7=] ''Castle Greyhawk'': The Plane of Silly and Unused Monsters (Island of Misfit Toys in ''WesternAnimation/RudolphTheRedNosedReindeer''), bats being used to send messages (''WesternAnimation/MadMonsterParty''), the three cooks Larifyne, Mowlenhowad and Kurlenshembes (Film/TheThreeStooges: Larry Fine, Moe Howard, Jerome "Curly" Howard and Shemp Howard), Poppinfarsh the Dough Golem (Poppin'Fresh, the Pillsbury Doughboy).
*** And more. Oh, so many more. [[TheIncredibleHulk The Incredible Bulk]], [[{{Spiderman}} The Amazing Driderman]], [[Series/DoctorWho Professor Why?]] [[Series/StarTrek Captain Kork, Mees Taspark and "Bones"]], [[RaidersOfTheLostArk Indiana Gnome]], [[Creator/MichaelJackson Captain Cheer Eo]], [[Creator/MarvinGaye Marvin Grape]]... the entire thing was one long HurricaneOfPuns. Even Creator/GaryGygax got one, or more accurately a rather vicious TakeThat, as "EGG", an ovoid man with [[AuthorAppeal a pole-arm fixation]].
** Module X2 ''Castle Amber''. The weird and powerful Amber family members who lived inside the title castle were engaged in constant infighting. They and the castle were inspired by the Amberites and Castle Amber in Creator/RogerZelazny's ''Literature/TheChroniclesOfAmber'' series. In the module, one character uses magical Tarot cards. In Zelazny's ''Amber'' setting, Amberites use the Trump deck for fortune telling as if it were a Tarot deck. The module also introduces Grab Grass, which can grab hold of creatures. In Zelazny's work, the Courts of Chaos have grass that does the same thing. Also, two encounters in the castle were references to EdgarAllanPoe's short story "The Fall of the House of Usher" and the Norwegian fairy tale "The Three Billy Goats Gruff".
*** More explicitly, they are based on the Averoigne stories of ClarkAshtonSmith, and many of the characters and situations in the module originate in those stories.
* 2nd Edition had a few as well.
** AlQadim setting boxed set ''A Dozen and One Adventures'' (1993) had two of them.
*** The beautiful pahari (mermaid) Salana had red hair and was forbidden to have any contact with surface dwellers because she was too young. She rebelled against this order and tried to learn about their ways, including investigating shipwrecks. She didn't bother to wear clothes when in human form as she was oblivious to the demands of modesty. Disney's ''Disney/TheLittleMermaid'' (1989), anyone?
*** Adventure "Eleven baneful Gates". In the city of Al-Anwahr there's an inscription on the remains of a statue: "I am Azaltin! See my works, ye mighty, and despair!". It's from the Creator/PercyByssheShelley poem "Ozymandias".
** The ''TabletopGame/MasqueOfTheRedDeath'' campaign setting takes it title from the iconic EdgarAllanPoe short story. In the adventure "Red Tide" the {{PC}}s can find a statuette of a creature with wings, an obese body and a score of tentacles hanging from its bulbous head. This is a reference to how Cthulhu was portrayed in the ''TabletopGame/CallOfCthulhu'' game.
** In the ''[[FarEast Kara-Tur]]'' boxed set, gliders are introduced with the tale of how while visiting relatives in the countryside, the Shou Lung Emperor saw a young man fly while suspended under a gigantic kite – a story simliar to "The Flying Machine" by Creator/RayBradbury. However, [[AvertedTrope instead]] of making [[TheWorldIsNotReady the choice his counterpart did in the story]], he makes the inventor the head of the brand new "Ministry of Glorious Flight" and has him build more and better man-carrying kites (some without strings). He explains to his concerned ministers that if one lone man could build such a device, any of Shou Lung's neighbors could, and so his people had better build the best fliers they can.
* 3rd Edition
** The {{Pirate}} PrestigeClass is called the "[[Film/ThePrincessBride Dread Pirate]]."
** Possibly overlapping with ContinuityNod, the [[http://ia600805.us.archive.org/zipview.php?zip=/25/items/olcovers54/olcovers54-L.zip&file=547531-L.jpg ''Player's Handbook II'']] and [[http://images.trollandtoad.com/products/pictures/128270.jpg ''Dungeon Master's Guide II'']] covers feature artwork that could be called revamps of their [[http://www.wired.com/geekdad/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/PHB-cover.jpg AD&D]] [[http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-jekJFiEaILE/TtZgNQTfZmI/AAAAAAAAAWI/Hk1eAAuknB8/s1600/1E+Dungeon+Masters+Guide.JPG counterparts]].
** The ''Dragon'' magazine article "The Royal Heralds", describing a spy organisation that could fit into any campaign, gave the commander of the group the name Sir Kell Fleming. "Kell" as in Sir Vernon Kell, the first head of MI5, and Fleming as in Creator/IanFleming.
** The brass golem in ''Monster Manual 2'' is a bull-headed giant made from [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin brass (duh)]] that is very clearly based on the Minaton from {{Creator/Ray Harryhausen}}'s Film/SinbadAndTheEyeOfTheTiger''.
* 3.5 supplements
** In ''Libris Mortis'', an example offered of a potential [[SoulJar phylactery]] for a [[OurLichesAreDifferent lich]] is [[Literature/LordOfTheRings a plain gold ring with arcane inscriptions on the inside of the band]].
** Dungeonscape included a bouncy ball as part of the gear you can buy. Given one of the authors is Rich Burlew, it is clearly a shout out to [[Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick Xykon's]] combination of such an item with a Symbol of Insanity.
** The Monster Manual's depiction of an Animated Object is [[Disney/BeautyAndTheBeast a three-branched candelabrum with a face]].
* Prestige Classes from 3.5
** [[Film/ThePrincessBride Dread Pirate]]
** DrunkenMaster
** [[Music/WuTangClan Ghost Face]] [[Franchise/{{Scream}} Killer]]
** [[Radio/TheShadow Shadowmind]]
** [[ComicBook/ThePunisher Vigilante]]
** [[TheHulk War Hulk]]
** The [[PrestigeClass Folchurian Lyrist]] from ''Complete Adventurer'' is essentially an updated version of the first edition bard.
** The Cavalier and Thief-Acrobat are based on the AD&D v1.5 classes of the same name.
** The 3.5 SourceBook ''Tome of Magic'' introduces the Binder class. The class gets its powers by binding various vestiges with seals. While the source of inspiration is obvious many of the vestiges are taken ''directly'' from the ''ArsGoetia'', including their appearance, names and seals.
* 4th Edition
** The Players Handbook II gives warlocks the attack power "All the sand, All the stars," which [[Franchise/TheHitchhikersGuideToTheGalaxy breaks the target's mind by forcing them to comprehend infinity]].
** The Dungeon Master's Guide has a number of these.
*** It [[InvokedTrope advises that the DM's job is to be entertaining, not original]]. The very next page shows [[Film/LordOfTheRings a blonde elf]] [[ActorAllusion stabbing]] [[Film/PiratesOfTheCaribbean a heart in a chest]].
*** It points out how jarring it would be for the characters to meet [[Film/MontyPythonAndTheHolyGrail Tim the Enchanter]] in most fantasy settings.
*** The chapter on creating encounters has a party being attacked on a broken bridge by a black dragon, which is the iconic cover of the 3e adventure ''Forge of Fury.''
** The type of undead known as [[CameBackWrong The Unrisen]] are an obvious shout out to ''Pet Cemetery'' and one of their examples of multiclassed characters was a [[ConanTheBarbarian thief/barbarian hybrid.]]
* The ''ForgottenRealms'' setting has its share. Including [[http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/rl/20040825a this]]:
---> '''WordOfGod:''' Interestingly, Nimbrese have no word for "Wood" or "Forest," because, despite some open meadows and cleared farmlands, they regard all of Nimbral as a place of trees.\\
So, in essence, "''[[UrsulaKLeGuin The Word for World Is Forest]]''" (or vice versa), right?
* 5th Edition
** Wild Magic Surge is when a Wild Socerer rolls a d100 for a random magical effect. [[Franchise/TheHitchhikersGuideToTheGalaxy Roll a 42 and you turn yourself into a potted plant.]]
** The Elemental Evil trinket table includes a romance novel written in Undercommon titled ''[[Literature/FiftyShadesOfGrey Just One Shade of Grey]]''.