Seize the GM
Seize the GM
Episode 106: Genre Subversion

Main Topic

What happens when you take a genre and you twist it with something else? You get a new idea or a genre subversion. So what are the possible options I hear you ask? The options are limitless once you put your mind to it. Some ideas that come from horror movies, which are great at doing this is Comedy/horror, supernatural/horror and a few others.

Then there is a true subversion when you take a genre like Romance and twist it into Survival or something that can play to type but things are flipped on their heads. Subversion is about more than just reversing expectations, but using the tools and tropes of a given genre to become another genre.  These are common on television shows and provide some of the most memorable hooks in popular entertainment.

Juxtapose opposing genres like the comedy/horror example.  Here you take a genre and your players will make characters in that genre but slowly realize that the game is a different kind of setting.  This is used to great effect for teenage stories and games – Stranger Things for example. 

Adjacent Genres are also easily used.  It is simple to slip from one genre to another when they have a bit of overlap – a survival genre game could easily become a mystery story (That’s Lost by the way) or you can find a high fantasy adventure game transposed to one of intrigue (Game of Thrones for the middle seasons).

Bonkers.  Sometimes you just go bonkers and throw an unrelated genre into a game.  This is most often done in one offs and in adventures between larger campaigns.  It can become a running theme, though, as a science fiction game lends itself to heist, or survival, or whatever else comes along should time travel be involved.  Stargate SG-1 did a great job of moving between genres while always having an action adventure base to fall back on. 

Guard-a-Manger throws a lot of this sort of subversion into his stat blocks, so when in doubt he is probably doing something to mess with your expectations in that section. 

Stat Blocks



:: Neuraljack link Diagnosis ::

:: Link Damaged ::

>> Cause of damage? >>

<< NeuralNet Security Activated<<

The Neuraljack link disconnected from the nerve trunk and slithered back into the terminal housing. Part of the design feature of the Cydine Series. Also the only series that is compatible with the nerve structure of Cephalopoda species. Even the uplifted ones have a hard time getting the links to work. 

It is funny how the silly rigids never think that an uplifted Pod can hack into the planetary grid. The humans still think they are the most intelligent beings in the solar system. They are so wrong. The few that don’t try to step on us on the way up find out we have been in the system almost as long as the system has existed. We camouflage in the digital world as well or better than we can in the real world, and that is saying something.

I like that the humans still think I am just a fan of Lovecraft. Not this nonhuman I hate him. Since he made cephalopods the villains of so many of his stories. If we are all villains then I will take what I need from the rigids and make this world bow down to me. 

How to Use D33p0ne in Game:

D33p0ne is a hacker on a scale that is hard to understand. She can hack into government databases like present day hackers hack emails. She hacks Planetary databases and sites in hours not years. If you need to get information out she could be the true source of it. Though if you are not using a sci fi setting she could be magical and a master of Divination Spells. I hear you say I am running a modern day game make her a normal human hacker that has figured out how to crack massive government systems. 


Midland Advanced British HVAC Repair

Coming and going.  Going and coming.  Hither and yon.  It seems nearly impossible for one to catch one’s breath at this pace.  There is no shortage nor stoppage of souls calling out for relief … or at least my well bargained assistance.  It has gotten easier, the longer I’ve done this job, to extract payment.  It’s certainly something that few ever question – inviting me in, offering me refreshments, signing whatever paper I put in front of them when done.  They smile and sigh contentedly .. and I can just keep collecting that sweet sweet taste of the promised future.  Time for my next appointment it seems –

*Knock, Knock, Knock*

Midland Advanced British HVAC Repair – May I come in?

How to Use Midland Advanced British HVAC Repair in Game:

What is more mundane than HVAC repair? This enterprising faerie ring has set up a way to be invited into homes over and over, without suspect, and extract payment from so many.  It could be a front for something larger and more sinister, or the way to subvert a noir story into urban fantasy asn the world opens up to the more fantastical elements.  Or your players just accidentally sign their souls over the Mab’s agents without realizing it one session. 


Benefice noun ben·​e·​fice | \ ˈbe-nə-fəs  \

Definition of benefice

1: an ecclesiastical office to which the revenue from an endowment is attached

2: a feudal estate in lands : FIEF

History and Etymology for benefice

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Medieval Latin beneficium, from Latin, favor, promotion, from beneficus

First Known Use of benefice

14th century

Look-up Popularity

Bottom 30% of words

Closing remarks 

Zendead – DoroHeDoro If you want to watch something that is crazy and mindbending you need to check this out. The animation is fun and cool. The ideas it brings are a lot of fun. 

Guard-a-Manger – Foucault’s Pendulum. Umberto Eco’s novel about conspiracies and semioticly created danger remains one of the high points of 1980s novels allowing Prof. Eco to indulge in his specialty of the study of creating meaning in a truly entertaining way.  Also, a masterclass in how to subvert tropes and story expectations many times over. 

Music is courtesy of Sim on Twitter you can find him at @TheSimulacrae

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And Thanks to Merriam-Webster  and Online Etymology Dictionary for our Lexicon segment

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