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Magic Ampersand

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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. Don't confuse with Capital Letters Are Magic, where the letters are used in-universe.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • The iconic "Duel Monsters" in Yu-Gi-Oh! was originally called "Magic & Wizards", in a variation of the trope by inverting the second word's letter.

    Comics & Books 
  • "Enchanted Ed-land", an Ed, Edd n Eddy story from Cartoon Network Block Party, has the Eds sitting down to play Lizards and Wizards.
  • Wizards & Warriors, in DC Comics' Robin.
  • 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.

    Comics & 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.
  • A The Octonauts picture book has Professor Inkling GMing a game called Oceans & Ogres. With a pretty good emulation of a 1st edition D&D module cover.
  • Creating Adventure Games for Your Computer, a guide from the 1980s on how to design and code Text Adventure games in BASIC, named its first example program "Werewolves and Wanderer". Ironically, it's not an RPG at all, nor does the genre get any real coverage aside from the last two examples incorporating The Six Stats in a very convoluted way.

    Live-Action & Television 
  • Riverdale: A major plotline in Season Three revolves around some old RPG called Gryphons & Gargoyles, whose cover is definitely meant to call back to the old White Box set of Dungeons & Dragons released back in 1974. The storyline itself reads like an Afterschool Special straight from the height of the Satanic Panic, with occultism and ritualistic suicides galore.
  • A fictional roleplaying game/laser tag hybrid called "Aliens & Asteroids" appeared in an episode of War of the Worlds (1988).
  • Wizards & 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.
  • In the Quantum Leap episode "Another Mother", the teenage son of the woman Sam's leaped into is, in Al's words, "A Demon & Dragon freak".

    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.

    Radios & Audioplays 

    Tabletops & Games 

    Videos & Games 

    Web & Comics 

    Web & Originals 

    Western & Animations 


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