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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.



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    Comics & Books 
  • 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.

    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.
  • 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.

    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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

    Radio & Audioplays 
  • The Firesign Theatre: "Ah, I don't wanna play Dungeons & Vikings!"
  • The roleplaying radioshow Parties & Parodies which briefly became Darkness & Despair when the DM was going through a rough time.

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    Video & Games 

    Web & Comics 

    Web & Original 

    Western & Animation