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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.
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.
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."
- A fictional roleplaying game/laser tag hybrid called "Aliens & Asteroids" appeared in an episode of War of the Worlds
- "Grottos and Gremlins" from the video game Bully.
- Literary example: Neal Stephenson's The Big U explicitly compares the LARP Sewers and Serpents, played by characters in the novel, to Dungeons and Dragons.
- The Web Comic Darths & Droids.
- Due to the Celebrity Paradox, in the Darths & Droids universe, the makers of Darths and Droids are working on a similar comic about an RPG version of Harry Potter: Wands & Warts. Every 50 episodes, they add a new burrow to this little rabbit hole.
- In the Wands & Warts universe, the makers are working on a screencap comic about The Sound of Music: Notes & Nazis
- In that universe universe, the Irregulars are making Mutants & Miscreants. (X-Men)
- In THAT universe, they're writing Enlisted Men & Extraterrestrial Biological Entities (Aliens).
- Then Magicians & Munchkins? (The Wizard of Oz)
- Sandals & Spartans (300, for the 300th strip).
- Avatars & Avi-Fauna (Avatar)
- Terminators & Temporal Paradoxes (Terminator).
- Carcasses & Carcharadons Jaws.
- Trenchcoats & Turncoats, Casablanca.
- Amphibians & Anthropomorphisms, The Muppet Movie.
- Heists & Hypnagogic Hallucinations, based on Inception.
- Barnacles & Bilgewater, based on Pirates of the Caribbean.
- Docs & Deloreans based on Back to The Future
- The real-life Tabletop Games Villains and Vigilantes, by Fantasy Games Unlimited. They also made Starships & Spacemen.
- Wizards & Warriors in both DC Comics' Robin and an episode of Quantum Leap.
- 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 and Dragons"-style party of specialists to go on a quest.
- There's yet another Wizards and Warriors series out there...a trilogy of video games developed by Rareware for the NES.
- The webcomic Dungeon Damage had a group of Dragons playing "Humans and Houses".
- The (unnecessarily complex, at least for this first-edition AD&D veteran) Powers & Perils fantasy role-playing game, published by Avalon Hill, if you can believe it.
- The superhero RPG Mutants and Masterminds.
- And the supplements for different comic book genres: Wizards & Warlocks (sword'n'sorcery comics) and Mecha & Manga (guess).
- An episode of Dexter's Laboratory, (Itself called D & DD) features the titular character running a game of "Monsters & Mazes". Dee-Dee replaces him as the Game Master, with amusing consequences.
- A sketch in The Onion Movie featured the game "Wizards & Warbeasts."
- In Spellcasting 101: Sorcerers Get All The Girls, a group of students at Sorcerer University is always playing "Malls & Muggers".
- And they're still playing - with no evidence of having stopped at any point in the year between games - in the next game. One of the tasks that your would-be fratmates have to accomplish in order to get through hazing week (which you can watch) is to make them stop.
- From the web series, "Gold": "Goblins & Gold"
- The computer RPG Might and Magic
- FoxTrot had a series of strips where Jason and Marcus were playing "Houses & Humans", which is pretty much what it sounds like.
- Esther Friesner's fantasy novel Majyk by Hook or Crook has a brief mention of a game called "Palaces & Puppies."
- Firesign Theatre: Ah, I don't wanna play Dungeons & Vikings!
- Simon the Sorcerer II features a group of characters interested in a game called "Apartments and Accountants". Since Simon the Sorcerer is a fantasy series, A&A simulates real life.
- Something Positive of course, has its own take on it.
- In Werewolf: The Apocalypse, one rival to Black Dog Games' Talespinner system and World of Shadow setting (a Self-Parody of The World of Darkness) was the venerable Labyrinths & Lamiae, formerly owned by LSD Inc, and later by Magicians of the Bay.
- Black Dog themselves produced Axes & Arcana, parodying White Wolf's Swords & Sorcery.
- Two unrelated video games titled Swords & Serpents: one by Imagic for the Intellivision, another by Interplay for the Nintendo Entertainment System.
- D and DS 9 is a fairly standard example.
- ↑ Coffins & Cadavers