Tales of MU
features a lot of references to other media.
- The most pervasive and obvious is to Dungeons & Dragons, as the story takes place in "the future" of a D&D-esque medieval fantasy setting, with many of its tropes used, subverted, or played with in the contemporary, multi-racial setting. Nonhuman races are somewhat-recognizable versions of various D&D creatures, with standard D&D premises about them often treated as humans' stereotypes of those races. Vancian Magic is not used, but magical weapons and such are quite similar to D&D magical items...except when they aren't what they sound like. For example, Rings of Protection are contraceptive items. In a more direct fashion, MU's health facility is named the Gygax Memorial Healing Center.
- The Leeroy Jenkins meme is played on by Mack's lawyer, Lee Jenkins, who fits the name but inverts the typical personality.
- The university employs a lawyer by the name of Mitch McSmeagol.
- Gnomes are essentially hobbits in all but name. They live in shires and don't wear shoes. "Halfling" is considered a racial slur. Some of them have a certain propensity for adventures, though they consider the very concept quite improper and really don't like to talk about it, to the point that Hazel gets put off her dinner by the group discussing adventures in Y2-137. However, they have a cultural tradition of "forming a fellowship against the darkness" when hard times come around.
- One chapter contains a description of a young boy playing out a fantasy battle scenario with toys, including a part where "the boy added a hellhound with an anti-magic shell and immediately one-upped himself with a behemoth that quite improbably fed on anti-magic hellhounds." (The fantasy version of an attack dog with built-in forcefield and a dinosaur who eats forcefield dogs!)
- The second-year OT story "Magisterius University and the Methods of Obstinancy" is one long homage to Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality.
- The in-universe equivalent of Occam's Razor is "Durkon's Hammer".
- One history class was entirely devoted to making a "the cake is a lie" gag.
- More Tales of MU had "I call it Vera" directly quoted.
- The "Stone Soldiers" game which forms a foundation for some of the interactions with Hazel and the second-year storyline revolving around Acantha is a homage to miniatures-based tabletop wargames such as Warhammer.