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        "It was against the law
        It was against the law
        Oh what the mama saw
        It was against the law"
        凉莽录Paul Simon凉莽录, "Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard"

        Some tropes seem to be an expression of an underlying law of fiction. This category attempts to collect these fundamental elements. If some of these entries seem a bit tongue-in-cheek to you ... well, you should probably just get used to that feeling. And yes, sometimes there are two or more that are directly contradictory. We don't write them. We just catalog them.


        If you're looking for an index for tropes about actual laws, try The Courtroom Index, Crime and Punishment Tropes, and/or Cops and Detectives.


      2. Authority Equals Asskicking :The higher a character is in their hierarchy, the better they are in a fight. This goes double for non-protagonists.
      3. Ban on Politics: If a forum is not specifically about political current events, then you are usually not allowed to talk about political current events there.
      4. Beauty = Goodness: If a character is beautiful, then that character is a good person, either publicly or secretly. If a character is good, then that character will either be beautiful or be treated as beautiful.
      5. Beauty Is Bad: If a character is beautiful, then that character is a bad person, either publicly or secretly.
      6. The Bechdel Test: At some point, do two named female characters talk to each other about something other than men?
      7. Bellisario's Maxim: Don't examine this too closely.
      8. Catharsis Factor: Video game violence relieves stress.
      9. 凉莽录

      10. Chandler's Law: "When in doubt, have a man come through a door with a gun in his hand."
      11. Chekhov's Armoury: 凉莽录Chekhov's Gun for multiple items.
      12. Chekhov's Army: Chekhov's Gunman for multiple characters.
      13. Chekhov's Boomerang: A 凉莽录Chekhov's Gun is used twice; the second use is unexpected.
      14. Chekhov's Classroom: Information in a lecture will become applicable later on in the work.
      15. Chekhov's Exhibit: Fancy artifacts in museums will become important to the plot.
      16. Chekhov's Gag: A joke sets up further unexpected jokes later on.
      17. Chekhov's Gift: 凉莽录Chekhov's Gun is given as a gift.
      18. 凉莽录Chekhov's Gun: An unimportant item introduced early in the story becomes important later on.
      19. Chekhov's Gunman: An unimportant character introduced early in the story becomes important later on.
      20. Chekhov M.I.A.: Absent characters in a character's backstory will show up given sufficient time.
      21. Chekhov's Skill: A skill learned earlier becomes applicable later on.
      22. Chekhov's Volcano: If a volcano appears in a story, it will, at some point, erupt.
      23. The Chris Carter Effect: If the fans decide that the writing team will never resolve its plots, then they will probably stop following the work.
      24. Chunky Salsa Rule: Any situation that would reduce a character's head to the consistency of chunky salsa dip is fatal, regardless of other rules.
      25. Clarke's Law for Girls' Toys: Toys marketed to girls don't use technology; they use magic.
      26. Clarke's Third Law: "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."
      27. Competence Zone: Every television show has its own average age-range of competence. Only people inside that range, whatever it is, are likely to be competent at anything relevant to the show.
      28. 凉莽录Conservation of Competence: There is only so much competence a given faction can distribute amongst its membership.
      29. Conservation of Ninjutsu: In any martial arts fight, there is only a finite amount of ninjutsu available to each side in a given encounter. As a result, one Ninja is a deadly threat, but an army of them are cannon fodder.
      30. Contractual Boss Immunity: The top-level bosses in a game will be immune to the player's most effective or strongest attacks.
      31. Contractual Immortality: Main characters tend not to die, and an actor leaving a show is likely to be known beforehand.
      32. Conveniently Empty Building: When a building in a modern action film or series is blown up or otherwise totaled, there will be no people or plot-critical items inside when the destruction hits.
      33. Convenient Questing: In an Adventure Game or RPG, your next destination will be the closest area that you haven't been able to get to before.
      34. Cool of Rule: Cool things are cooler if they don't break the laws of The 'Verse.
      35. The CSI Effect: "I saw them do it on CSI. It has to work that way!"
      36. Cute Is Evil: Cute is disturbing and unnatural.
      37. Cuteness Proximity: The nearer a character is in relation to something cute, the more likely they are to be reduced to babytalk.
      38. Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: Cybernetic implants cause "humanity loss".
      39. Death by Sex: Doing it greatly increases one or both parties' chances of dying.
      40. Death Equals Redemption: Villains close to death can repent before dying.
      41. 凉莽录Deggans' Rule: Are there two non-white human characters in a show not about race?
      42. Departure Means Death: Someone cannot leave a certain area or they will die.
      43. The Dilbert Principle: Incompetent people get promoted to management where they can't hurt things as much.
      44. Direct Line to the Author: The creator didn't make this, it was told to them/given to them/found by them.
      45. Dumbwaiter Ride: If there's a dumbwaiter around, someone will ride in it.
      46. Easy Come, Easy Go: Any large changes to the status quo are lost by the end of the episode.
      47. Easily Overheard Conversation: Conversations are exceptionally hard to keep discreet.
      48. Emotional Torque: The capacity of a story to make you have emotions.
      49. Enthusiasm vs. Stoicism: How strongly a character expresses emotion.
      50. Ermine Cape Effect: Royals will always dress in full regalia, even in private.
      51. Every Car Is a Pinto: Car destruction results in guaranteed explosions.
      52. Evil Is Sexy: All things being equal, evil characters are sexier.
      53. Evil Makes You Ugly: The more evil you act, the more evil you look.
      54. Faction Calculus: Factions in strategy games follow increasingly complex gradients as more factions are added.
      55. Failure Is the Only Option: The goal of the series won't be achieved because that would end the series.
      56. Fiction Identity Postulate: All fiction is equally real because it is all completely false.
      57. Finagle's Law: Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.
      58. The Firefly Effect: Sometimes, viewers are so afraid that a show will be Screwed by the Network that they will refuse to watch it, even if it sounds appealing to them.
      59. First Girl Wins: The first girl introduced as a potential love interest will become the love interest.
      60. 凉莽录First Law of Gender-Bending: Once a girl has been created, circumstances will conspire to keep her that way.
      61. First Law of Metafictional Thermodynamics: The sum of the energy and mass of a work's plot remains constant. Trimming continuity or simplifying things releases energy and strict continuity or added complexity absorbs energy.
      62. First Law of Resurrection: The will of a creator to bring a dead character back to life trumps everything else.
      63. First Law of Tragicomedies: As the tension in a tragicomedy increases, the level of drama will increase and the level of humor will decrease.
      64. Fixed Relative Strength: For any group of ninjas, the ninjutsu in that group will not be evenly distributed; some ninja will be in a more powerful class than others. Which ninja are more powerful will stay constant even when the group as a whole gains ninjitsu.
      65. Fleeting Demographic Rule: A gimmick or storyline can be reused after a few years of dormancy due to fanbase turnover.
      66. G.I.F.T.: Normal people, given anonymity and an audience, are terrible people.
      67. Godwin's Law: Probability of a comparison to Nazis or Hitler rises to one as length of discussion increases.
      68. Godwin's Law of Time Travel: Probability of Hitler winning World War II rises to one as use of time travel increases.
      69. Godzilla Threshold: The level at which something is so bad that any means of destroying it is justified.
      70. The Good Guys Always Win: If the story has a hero who fights a villain, the hero wins.
      71. Gravity Is a Harsh Mistress: Gravity only kicks in when the Rule of Funny says it should.
      72. Hanlon's Razor: Don't assume malice when stupidity is an adequate explanation. The first time.
      73. Heroes Act, Villains Hinder: The hero has a goal, and the antagonists exist to prevent the goal from being achieved.
      74. Hitler's Time Travel Exemption Act: Time traveling to kill Hitler doesn't work.
      75. Immortality Hurts: Being immortal isn't fun on its own.
      76. Immortal Life Is Cheap: Everyone can go all out on immortal characters, since they can't die.
      77. Immortal Procreation Clause: A species' fertility is inversely proportional to its lifei.
      78. Incendiary Exponent: Actions performed are more impressive while on fire.
      79. 凉莽录Inevitable Waterfall: Characters on a river will encounter a waterfall.
      80. Inevitably Broken Rule: Any important rule will be broken before the end of the story.
      81. Improbable Infant Survival: Babies and children don't die.
      82. Inverse Law of Complexity to Power: More complicated elements offer less power than simple ones.
      83. Inverse Law of Sharpness and Accuracy: Characters get hit more with blunt weapons than with sharp ones.
      84. Inverse Law of Utility and Lethality: The coolest violence is the least useful.
      85. Kryptonite Factor: An Achilles' Heel that is a substance or state that only affects the hero.
      86. Kryptonite Is Everywhere: A hero with a rare weakness will see the weakness appear more readily than it should.
      87. Kuleshov Effect: Juxtaposition of images can make there seem to be meaning to the images that wasn't there in the first place.
      88. Last Confession Wins: The last girl to confess her feelings for the hero will be the one who wins him.
      89. Last Girl Wins: When the first girl doesn't win, the final girl the main character meets will become the love interest.
      90. The Law of Conservation of Detail: All details are important or they wouldn't be there.
      91. Law of Conservation of Normality: No matter how weird things get, you still have to go to work.
      92. Law of Cartographical Elegance: The world is always easily represented on a map.
      93. Law of Chromatic Superiority: Rarer colors make things better.
      94. The Law of Diminishing Defensive Effort: The less someone tries to defend, the less likely they need to.
      95. Law of Disproportionate Response: How important something is decreases proportionally to the intensity of the characters reaction to it.
      96. The Law of Fan Jackassery: Huge fanbases reflect the amount of jackassery in the general population; tiny ones are close-knit; ones in between can be insular and dickish.
      97. Law of Inverse Fertility: The fertility of a couple is inversely proportional to their desire to have a child.
      98. 凉莽录Law of Inverse Paternity: If you hope he's the father, he's not; if you hope he isn't, he is.
      99. Law of Inverse Recoil: Weapons have recoil inversely proportional to their real life equivalents.
      100. Law of Inverse Romantic Interest: The interest of other characters in a certain character is inverse to the character's own interest in romance.
      101. The Laws of Magic: A set of beliefs on how magic works that appears across many real-world cultures.
      102. Law of One: Bigger problems are easier to overcome because they represent smaller numbers.
      103. Law of 100: Platform games will have collectibles that give you extra lives with enough of them.
      104. The Law of Power Proportionate to Effort: The more powerful an ability is, the harder it will be to use. Unless you're a villain.
      105. Law of Wiki Expansion: Any specialized wiki, as it continues to grow, will accumulate pages for more general info.
      106. Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics: Statistics can tell you anything.
      107. Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards: Magical fighters advance in power at first slower but later far faster than physical fighters.
      108. Literary Agent Hypothesis: Fans postulate The fictional world is real and everyone including the author is trying to cover it up.
      109. Locard's Theory: Everything leaves a trace on everything else.
      110. Lord British Postulate: Invincible characters in games will still be subject to attempts to kill them.
      111. Madonna–Whore Complex: If there is a choice between a virgin and a more "experienced" woman, The Hero will always pick the virgin.
      112. The Magazine Rule: There's a magazine for everything.
      113. Magic A Is Magic A: Magic is consistent; the same magical causes will have the same magical effects.
      114. The Magic Poker Equation: Luck is dependent upon skill and how important the outcome is.
      115. Magnum Opus Dissonance: Soulless moneymakers will be more popular than the painstaking masterpiece.
      116. Million-to-One Chance: Vast odds will favor the exceptional.
      117. 凉莽录Moff’s Law: In criticism, someone is going to bring up 'Why can't you enjoy it for what it is?'.
      118. Monster Delay: When the Big Bad is a monster, hide him as long as possible.
      119. The Morality/Mortality Equation: Karmic retribution comes back to kill the evildoer's companions.
      120. MST3K Mantra: "It's just a show."
      121. Murphy's Law (a disambiguation page - if you want the trope, see Finagle's Law)
      122. Never a Self-Made Woman: A female character can only be part of the story as a relative or Love Interest to one of the male characters. If she holds skill or power, it should be attributed to the influence of a man.
      123. Never the Obvious Suspect: If a piece of Mystery Fiction has a very obvious suspect turn up early in the story, later on he will be revealed innocent of the crime.
      124. Nominal Importance: If you're not named, you don't matter.
      125. No Tech but High Tech: Only technology from recent or upcoming years counts. Your candle is not technology.
      126. No Transhumanism Allowed: Sci-fi works tend to be light on or demonize transhumans.
      127. Observation on Originality: Polish and novelty are mutually exclusive.
      128. Occam's Razor: All things being equal, the correct answer is often the simplest.
      129. Offscreen Inertia: When you leave someone, they continue doing what they were doing unless proved otherwise.
      130. Only One Plausible Suspect: If there's a crime with an unknown culprit, the culprit can't be a minor or an unseen character. If there's only one major character who could've possibly done it, he will be revealed as the culprit.
      131. The Peter Principle: Employees will be promoted until they reach a position where they are incompetent.
      132. Plot Tailored to the Party: A party of characters with different abilities will always face challenges where everyone's abilities are relevant.
      133. 凉莽录Poe's Law: A parody of an extreme view can be indistinguishable from its real expression.
      134. Popularity Polynomial: Things will phase in and out of popularity as their fans age.
      135. Reality Is Unrealistic: Things that are too contrived or silly to be believed in fiction will happen in reality.
      136. Redemption Earns Life: A villain's redemption can save their life.
      137. Redemption Equals Affliction: ...but usually when they do, they will suffer crippling or loss.
      138. Redemption Equals Death: ...or death.
      139. Redemption Equals Sex: "Karma gets you laid!"
      140. Refuge in Audacity: Being so offensive it loops back around to normal.
      141. Rule 50: All franchises will have a crossover work about them.
      142. Rule #1: Rules tend to come in numbered lists
      143. Rule of Animation Conservation: Anything animated is animated for a reason.
      144. Rule of Cautious Editing Judgment: We don't hate your views, we don't want your views to start an argument.
      145. Rule of Cool: Suspension of disbelief can be stretched for cool acts.
      146. Rule of Cute: Adorable things are allowed to make no sense.
      147. Rule of Drama: Any potential for conflict will not be ignored.
      148. Rule of Empathy: The characters we see are more successful in what they do than others.
      149. The Rule of First Adopters: Porn drives adoption of new media.
      150. Rule of Fun: Incongruities can be ignored if it's fun.
      151. Rule of Funny: It doesn't have to make sense if it's funny enough.
      152. Rule of Glamorous: Practicality takes a back seat to looking good.
      153. 凉莽录Rule of Perception: If the audience doesn't see it it doesn't exist.
      154. Rule of Personification Conservation: Non-humans should be non-human for a reason.
      155. Rule of Pool: Pool plus clothed person equals someone's getting wet.
      156. Rule of Romantic: Reality can get bent if it obstructs romance.
      157. Rule of Scary: Scary things don't need to be logical.
      158. Rule of Sean Connery: Certain actors make anything better.
      159. Rule of Sexy: If it's sexy enough, no one will care that it's not practical.
      160. Rule of Seven: Important things come in sevens, and seventh things are especially important
      161. Rule of Symbolism: The need for symbolism trumps realistic concerns.
      162. Rules of the Road: Road signs mean exactly what they say.
      163. Rule of Three: Things coming in three are pleasing.
      164. Rules of Orphan Economics: Orphans will either be totally provided for or will have to scrape by on their own
      165. Rules of the Internet
      166. Rule 34: There is porn of everything.
      167. Rule 63: All male characters have a female version, and vice versa.
      168. Rule Zero: The GM is always right.
      169. Sanderson's First Law: The better the reader understands a magic system, the more it can be used to resolve conflict.
      170. The Schlub Pub Seduction Deduction: Hot women talking to average guys in bars means they have ulterior motives.
      171. Scalzi's Law: The failure mode of "clever" is "asshole"
      172. Schrödinger's Gun: Only what has been revealed to the audience is fixed, everything else can be changed.
      173. 凉莽录Science Cannot Comprehend Phlebotinum: Science can't understand wacky stuff.
      174. Science Is Bad: Science destroys all that is good and beautiful about the world.
      175. Second Law of Gender Bending: Genderbending will make people enjoy their new gender more than their previous gender.
      176. Second Law of Metafictional Thermodynamics: The entropy (level of destruction) in a fictional system will increase until the writer's emotional equilibrium is restored.
      177. "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: The thing that pioneered a new style has been copied so much it's no longer new at all.
      178. Sensible Heroes, Skimpy Villains: Where a female character lies on the "good versus evil scale" is directly proportional to how much skin she is or is not showing.
      179. Set Swords to "Stun": In a fighting game (particularly in crossovers), regardless of what weapons or powers you use you will never achieve anything worse than a KO.
      180. The Sidekick Theory of Heroic War: The sidekick to the hero is always the reason why the hero's kingdom wins the war.
      181. Significant Birth Date: Any included birthday is either important to the plot or to the symbolism.
      182. Significant Reference Date: When fictional and real dates are made to line up amusingly.
      183. Sliding Scale of Beauty
      184. Sliding Scale of Continuity
      185. Sliding Scale of Fourth Wall Hardness
      186. Sliding Scale of Free Will vs. Fate
      187. Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism
      188. Sliding Scale of Parent-Shaming in Fiction
      189. Sliding Scale of Shiny Versus Gritty
      190. Sliding Scale of Silliness vs. Seriousness
      191. Sliding Scale of Video Game World Size and Scale
      192. Sliding Scale of Visuals Versus Dialogue
      193. 凉莽录Sliding Scale of Villain Threat
      194. The Smurfette Principle: There will be only one female character in animated features not marketed solely to girls.
      195. Song Association: If a work plays a Real Life song enough, the audience will always associate it with that work regardless of context.
      196. Sorting Algorithm of Evil: Enemies will appear in order from least to most evil.
      197. Sorting Algorithm of Face-Heel Turning
      198. Sorting Algorithm of Mortality
      199. Sorting Algorithm of Threatening Geography: The surrounding environment becomes steadily more threatening as the hero's journey continues.
      200. Sparse List of Rules: A rules trope, rather than a rule, one where the work lists only sections of a rulebook or similar.
      201. Sturgeon's Law: Most of any type of thing sucks.
      202. Sukhomlinov Effect: The army with more elaborate uniforms loses.
      203. Super Weight
      204. Theiss Titillation Theory: Outfits are sexier if they look like they're going to expose someone.
      205. The Theorem of Narrow Interests: The more specific the thing is you're looking for, the less you'll find.
      206. Theory of Narrative Causality: Things happen because the plot says they should.
      207. Third Law of Gender Bending: Genderbent characters will either embrace or be forced to adopt the stereotypes of their bent gender.
      208. Three Month Rule: In professional wrestling, canon lasts only for three months.
      209. Too Many Cooks Spoil the Soup: The more people work on something, the less likely they are to succeed.
      210. Triang Relations: LoveTriangles comes with many forms that makes your head spin.
      211. 凉莽录Trope Example Laws
      212. The Zeroth Law of Trope Examples: Shakespeare did it.
      213. TV Never Lies
      214. Two Girls to a Team: 3:2 male to female ratio avoids Smurfette Principle without making it all about the girls.
      215. The Tyson Zone: The zone in which a celebrity is so bizarre any story about them seems plausible.
      216. Undead Tax Exemption: Identification documents and profiles don't pose a problem to people in weird circumstances.
      217. Underdogs Never Lose: The plucky disadvantaged guys come out on top always.
      218. Unspoken Plan Guarantee: The less is said about a character's plan, the more likely it is to be shown to work.
      219. Variable Terminal Velocity: How fast you fall depends on who and what you are.
      220. Villains Act, Heroes React: The villain is the basis of conflict and therefore creates the plot.
      221. "Weird Al" Effect: Sufficiently successful parodies can remain well-known long after the material that was parodied has faded into obscurity.
      222. What Measure Is a Non-Human?
      223. The Wiki Rule: There's a wiki for everything.
      224. Your Magic's No Good Here: Magic that works in one world doesn't work the same in another.

      225. 凉莽录



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