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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[1].

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.

Of course, sometimes there is Truth in Television: Bunnies and Burrows, Castles and Crusades, Mutants and Masterminds, Villains and Vigilantes, Tunnels and Trolls... all paying homage to the mother of them all, Dungeons and Dragons.

(Note: Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility are aversions of this trope, being Jane Austen novels.)

Compare The Noun and the Noun.


  • Rona Jaffe's Mazes & Monsters.
  • An early issue of The 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."


  1. Coffins & Cadavers
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