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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".note  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.

A loose exception is allowed for World of Darkness games — while they are, by all means, more hermetic than Dungeons & Dragons, a writer aiming specifically for a World of Darkness joke might just opt for Colon Cancer instead of this trope.


(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. Also see Adjective Animal Alehouse for common theme naming of ad hoc places of ebriety, where many such adventures begin.


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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 Oubliettes & Ogres.
  • Maps in Gotham Academy sometimes dragoons her friends into playing Serpents & Spells.

    Comics & Strips 

    Fans & Works 
  • Though the title of Boldores And Boomsticks is a reference to Bedknobs and Broomsticks, Mr. Stone jokes that he needs to watch his scientists so they don't start playing Druddigons and Dragonites or creating superweapons.
  • Two of Six contains a bit where Dick misremembers the name of the RPG Wizards & Warriors Tim and Ives play as Wizards & Warlocks. Tim quickly corrects him, saying Wizards & Warlocks is the 4.0 edition.

    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 
  • Bunnies & Burrows
  • Castles & Crusades
  • The Swedish Drakar och Demoner (literally "Dragons & Demons") game franchise, released as Trudvang Chronicles in English.
  • Dungeons & Dragons, the mother of all these homages.
    • And this trope gets anticipated and parodied right in the (almost) original source. The first edition AD&D Dungeon Master's Guide included a cartoon depicting a typical D&D party playing Papers & Paychecks, an RPG in which they play "workers and students in an industrialized and technological society".
    • Art & Arcana is a coffee table book of D&D artwork.
  • Mazes and Minotaurs is Dungeons and Dragons with Greek mythology. There was a Norse Mythology themed spin-off called Vikings and Valkyries.
  • The superhero RPG Mutants & Masterminds. And the supplements for different comic book genres: Wizards & Warlocks (sword'n'sorcery comics) and Mecha & Manga (guess). They occasionally tease a teen comics supplement to be titled Hunks & Heartbreakers.
  • Ninjas And Superspies
  • 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
  • Lasers & Feelings, and its Fantasy Counterpart, Sorcerers & Sellswords.
  • Hellcats & Hockeysticks, a game unofficially based on St. Trinian's. Really.
  • Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea mixes things up by adding words before and after, but still follows the trope.
  • Terra Primate had a fantasy setting called Simians and Sorcerers.

    Videos & Games 

    Web & Comics 

    Web & Originals 

    Western & Animations 
  • Amphibia: Marcy is fond of the tabletop RPG “Creatures & Caverns”.
  • Bob's Burgers: "Loft in Bedslation" has a sub-plot of Bob hosting a session of Mages & Monsters in the restaurant.
  • An episode of Dexter's Laboratory, (itself called "D & DD") features the title character running a game of "Monsters & Mazes".note  DeeDee replaces him as the Game Master, with amusing consequences.
  • 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. He is voiced by special guest "Weird Al" Yankovic.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: In some episodes in the later seasons, Spike, Big Mac and Discord get together to play a Dungeons & Dragons expy called Ogres & Oubliettes. This debuted in the tie-in comics, where Shining Armor used to play it with his friends during his high school days.
  • Crypts & Creepers in the Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated episode "Web of the Dreamweaver".
  • Voltron: Legendary Defender has the Altean D&D equivalent, "Monsters & Mana", which features in the RPG Episode.