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.
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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.
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
- The Firesign Theatre: "Ah, I don't wanna play Dungeons & Vikings!"
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 And 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.
Video & Games
- Amulets & Armor
- 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".
- "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
- There's yet another Wizards And Warriors series out there... a trilogy of video games developed by Rareware for the NES.
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 (Terminator).
- Carcasses & Carcharadons Jaws.
- Trenchcoats & Turncoats, Casablanca.
- Amphibians & Anthropomorphisms, 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 and the Chocolate Factory
- Ids & Idiots based on Forbidden Planet.
- Egons & Ectoplasms based on Ghostbusters.
- 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 Lampoons Vacation
- 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
Web & Original
- From the web series Gold: "Goblins & Gold".
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".