Ampersand Law #1. Early RPGs always had names in this format: [Something] & [Something Else That Usually Begins With The Same Letter]. (Dungeons & Dragons, Tunnels & Trolls, Villains & Vigilantes, Chivalry & Sorcery, etc.)Any fictional roleplaying game can be recognized as such, because it will have a title consisting of two alliterative plural nouns suggestive of its genre separated by an ampersand. A writer in need of a fictitious parallel to Vampire: The Masquerade, for instance, would probably dub it something like "Cloaks & Coffins". Bonus points if the two nouns are a place name and a monster name. The Magic Ampersand form serves the same instant-identification purpose for ad hoc roleplaying games that the Chest Insignia does for ad hoc superheroes. It's also frequently used to make jokes about fictional creatures playing a roleplaying game based on our own mundane lives. (Note: Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility are aversions of this trope, being Jane Austen novels.) Compare The Noun and the Noun and The Titling.
open/close all folders
Comics & Books
- Wizards & Warriors in both DC Comics' Robin and an episode of Quantum Leap.
- Smax: In a Tolkien/D&D-esque Standard Fantasy Setting, part of the adventuring party is waiting outside the cave for Smax and Robyn to return, and to pass the time they play a game set in mundane reality called Malls & Muggers.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic (IDW) has teenage Shining Armor and his friends play the role-playing game Ogres and Oubliettes.
- Maps in Gotham Academy sometimes dragoons her friends into playing Serpents & Spells.
Comic & Strips
Films & Live-Action
- Rona Jaffe's Mazes and Monsters, in which a group of college classmates do an early LARP version of a Dungeons And Dragons derivative, and one of the classmates gets so caught up in the adventure that the line between fantasy and reality for him has been blurred.
- A sketch in The Onion Movie features the game "Wizards & Warbeasts".
Literature & Books
- Neal Stephenson's The Big U explicitly compares the LARP Sewers and Serpents, played by characters in the novel, to Dungeons & Dragons.
- In Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Greg plays Magick & Monsters (Dungeons and Dragons in the webcomic of the same name).
- Esther Friesner's fantasy novel Majyk by Hook or Crook has a brief mention of a game called "Palaces & Puppies".
Live-Action & Television
- A fictional roleplaying game/laser tag hybrid called "Aliens & Asteroids" appeared in an episode of War of the Worlds.
- Wizards and Warriors was also the name of a summer replacement TV series in the early 80s. It parodied many themes and tropes from fantasy stories and FRP games. One episode even featured the hero gathering a Dungeons & Dragons-style party of specialists to go on a quest.
Print Media & Magazines
- An early issue of Dragon (the official Dungeons & Dragons magazine) actually parodied itself, with an insert cartoon showing several fantasy characters playing a "mundane life" RPG titled Papers & Paychecks.
"We're pretending we are workers and students in an industrialized and technological society."
- One college comedy magazine in the US had another "mundane life" RPG called Driveways and Desk Jobs.
Radio & Audioplays
Tabletop & Games
- Bunnies & Burrows
- Castles & Crusades
- Dungeons & Dragons, the mother of all these homages.
- The superhero RPG Mutants & Masterminds. And the supplements for different comic book genres: Wizards & Warlocks (sword'n'sorcery comics) and Mecha & Manga (guess).
- The (unnecessarily complex) Powers & Perils fantasy role-playing game, published by Avalon Hill, if you can believe it.
- Seijuu Maden: Beasts & Blades, a Japanese Tabletop RPG also adapted for the Super Famicom.
- Tunnels & Trolls
- Villains & Vigilantes, by Fantasy Games Unlimited. They also made Starships & Spacemen.
- Werewolf: The Apocalypse
- One rival to Black Dog Games' Talespinner system and World of Shadow setting (a Self-Parody of The World of Darkness) was the venerable Labyrinths & Lamiae, formerly owned by LSD Inc, and later by Magicians of the Bay.
- Black Dog themselves produced Axes & Arcana, parodying White Wolf's Swords & Sorcery.
- Lasers & Feelings, and its Fantasy Counterpart, Sorcerers & Sellswords.
Video & Games
- Amazons & Aliens
- Amulets & Armor
- Blood & Magic (a licensed Dungeons & Dragons game)
- Borderlands 2: The "Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon Keep" DLC has the vault hunters sitting down at a table and playing a game of "Bunkers & Badasses", with Tina as the Game Master.
- "Grottos and Gremlins" from the video game Bully.
- Kingdom of Loathing has "Cubicles and Conference Calls".
- Fables & Fiends: The Legend of Kyrandia
- Magic & Mayhem
- Magicians & Looters
- The computer RPG Might and Magic.
- Simon the Sorcerer II features a group of characters interested in a game called "Apartments and Accountants". Since Simon the Sorcerer is a fantasy series, A&A simulates real life.
- In Spellcasting 101: Sorcerers Get All the Girls, a group of students at Sorcerer University is always playing "Malls & Muggers". And they're still playing — with no evidence of having stopped at any point in the year between games — in the next game. One of the tasks that your would-be fratmates have to accomplish in order to get through hazing week (which you can watch) is to make them stop.
- Two unrelated video games titled Swords & Serpents: one by Imagic for the Intellivision, another by Interplay for the Nintendo Entertainment System.
- Tombs & Treasure
- Visions & Voices
- There's yet another Wizards and Warriors series out there... a trilogy of video games developed by Rareware for the NES.
- Team Fortress 2 gives us "Gargoyles & Gravel", from the comic of the same name. Heavy goes in and kills all the goblins with his minigun, completely ignoring his teammates, and Soldier causes the game to restart by picking up an amulet that kills the entire party. Again.
Web & Comics
- The Webcomic Darths & Droids.
- Due to the Celebrity Paradox, in the Darths & Droids universe, the makers are working on a similar comic about an RPG version of Harry Potter: Wands & Warts. Every 50 episodes, they add a new burrow to this little rabbit hole.
- In the Wands & Warts universe, the makers are working on a screencap comic about The Sound of Music: Notes & Nazis
- In that universe, the Irregulars are making Mutants & Miscreants. (X-Men)
- There, it's Enlisted Men & Extraterrestrial Biological Entities (Aliens).
- Then Magicians & Munchkins. (The Wizard of Oz)
- Sandals & Spartans (300, for the 300th strip).
- Avatars & Avi-Fauna (Avatar)
- Terminators & Temporal Paradoxes based on Terminator.
- Carcasses & Carcharadons based on Jaws.
- Trenchcoats & Turncoats, based on Casablanca.
- Amphibians & Anthropomorphisms based on The Muppet Movie.
- Heists & Hypnagogic Hallucinations based on Inception.
- Barnacles & Bilgewater based on Pirates of the Caribbean.
- Docs & Deloreans based on Back to the Future
- Hypnotoads & Hyperchickens based on Futurama.
- Chocolates & Chumps based on Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory
- Ids & Idiots based on Forbidden Planet.
- Egons & Ectoplasms based on Ghostbusters (1984).
- Hellenes & Harryhausens based on Jason and the Argonauts.
- Misadventures & Marionettes based on Thunderbirds.
- Arks & Archaeologists based on Raiders of the Lost Ark
- Theme Parks & Theropods based on Jurassic Park
- Darcies & Diaries based on Bridget Jones' Diary
- Maromosets & Meerkats based on The Life of Mammals
- Gags & Griswolds based on National Lampoon's Vacation
- Elliotts & Extraterrestrials based on E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
- Moonshots & Mishaps based on Apollo 13
- Pac-Mans & Power Pellets based on Pac-Man
- Drivers & Dubble-yas based on It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World
- D&DS9: A Darths & Droids-style comic, which, as the title suggests is a Dungeons & Dragons-esque RPG in the setting of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
- Dungeon Damage had a group of Dragons playing "Humans and Houses".
- Something*Positive of course, has its own take on it.
- Dungeons & Denizens
- Dresden Codak has Dungeons & Discourse which combines fantasy role-playing with Philosophy.
Web & Original
Western & Animation
- An episode of Dexter's Laboratory, (itself called "D & DD") features the title character running a game of "Monsters & Mazes". DeeDee replaces him as the Game Master, with amusing consequences.
- Robot Chicken has a similar parody as in The Dragon in one of its small in-between scenes.
- Crypts & Creepers in the Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated episode "Web of the Dreamweaver".
- The Gravity Falls episode "Dungeons, Dungeons, & More Dungeons" revolves around a magic artifact accidentally bringing to life Probabilitor the Annoying, a villain from the eponymous D&D parody.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic gives us "Ogres & Oubliettes" (previously mentioned in the comics), featured in the episode "Dungeons & Discords".