Seize the GM
Seize the GM
Episode 126: Inspiration for Metaphysical Games

Main Topic

We are going to wrap up this series with a discussion about where you can draw inspiration for those whimsical or dark games with a metaphysical bend. You can draw Inspiration for these games in a huge number of sources. Metaphysical Games are about ideals more than exact actions. When you delve deeply into the magical realms of your settings, you don’t have to play by the literal rules.

This can include non “magical” areas such as a deep cyberspace game for a cyberpunk future or a similar unnerving area. Look to find the ways to play up the idioms and the iconography more than the specifics. What matters here isn’t a specific ploy or even a defined challenge, but a movement rooted in emotions or themes. This can be literal, but you can blend this with alternate timelines or dimensions to have players jumping from setting to setting. This sort of campaign focuses on questions about the characters’ relationship to the world and themselves rather than their place in the world. 

This genre has seen a huge uptick in material. While there is content in nearly every media, check below for reference links we will discuss!  

TV and Movies

The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina 


The Spiderwick Chronicles



Ge Ge Ge no Kitaro

South Park


American Gods TV 



The Magicians

Books and Comics

Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser

Harry Potter Series

The Sword of Shannara Series

Harry Dresden Series

Locke and Key

Black Magic

I Hate Fairyland


I will Listen to music for inspiration and here are a few different ones I like.

Songs for a Dying Sun

Nordic Tunes


Stat Blocks


The Spark

It all started with a spark. That line from that 80’s movie isn’t wrong. All magic starts with a spark. Is that spark the beginning or the end? All these questions and no answers. There is no answer because the magic is the spark and the spark is the magic. 

While you may be sure the spark is more it isn’t, and that is fine. The Spark is and that is truly all that matters. With it you can fix things you messed up or even rework the fabric of parts of reality. 

Some want to learn how to get the spark others have killed for it, but you have it or you don’t. It is really just that simple. People will try to get you to do things with it for them and that is up to you of course. Will you use it to do great things or will you let it languish? 

If you are going to let the spark die then you will go with it since it is a part of you as much as you are a part of it. I would suggest you don’t go the route of a denier because it is obvious to all that can see the spark that you are one with it. So go out and show the world just what a spark you have. 

How to Use The Spark in Game:

You can use the Spark as a way to grow your magical world or as a way of describing it. The Spark can be as much or as little magic as you want to have. So show the world your Spark and mark your Mark.


Hidden Stories

There are stories hidden all over.  You don’t even realize that you’re reading them.  Whole chapters hidden just below the surface of the various words across the world.  All that needs to happen is for you to start reading the words scattered through the mundane.

Sitting on the bus to work, mindlessly reading the various billboards, road signs, and the like.  You think you start to daydream.  But the dream is so incredibly vivid.  You’re transported to far off places, engaging in wild adventures and death defying feats.  The common world disappears, at least until you reach your stop.  Then the story stops and you trudge to the office.  

After your 3rd meeting, you decide to take lunch and walk to the greek food truck. (Best gyros and they’re generous with the feta and tzatziki sauce).  You sit down with your order.  Your eyes soft focus as you’re reading the changing adverts on the billboard across the street. Then the adventure continues right where you left off.  Almost as if resuming from a bookmarked page.  Laughing in the face of danger and enjoying the thrill of it.  Kicking back in a tavern, swapping mind blowing stories with other patrons.  Then your cellphone buzzes, signaling the end of your lunch hour.  You clean the tzatziki sauce from your fingers and head back into the office.

At the end of the workday, you decide to take a cab home, cutting your commute time.  Staring out the window, reading the various road signs, you return once again.  Sitting and laughing around a table, discussing the possibility of meeting up the next day to find a lost treasure.  Everyone seems on board, more excited about the adventure than the treasure itself.  Everyone is enjoying themselves Going over supplies and equipment; guessing at the possible dangers ahead.

The cab pulls in front of your house and you’re back in the real world again.  Tired and mildly confused. Yet excited. Tomorrow may bring the epic search for the lost pirate treasure. So you make sure that your bifocals are near at hand.  You don’t want to miss a word.

How to Use Hidden Stories in Game:

This can be used as a story’s main conceit.  The game within the game.  Or else if things are getting humdrum/stale, it can be a great way to give the game a hard right turn into the strange before getting back on track.  Think side quest, but less obnoxious


Stahl’s Astrolabe

The simple truth is that the universe is only made up of so many components. It is a balance between life, power, loss, curiosity, resilience, and love. Every moment in the history of the worlds is made up of these in some specific measure. Stahl’s Astrolabe is one of the few tools known to be able to even detect all six of these at once, much less be able to grant what powers it does.

By being able to measure all six of the axes of the world, Stahl’s Astrolabe is first and foremost a device of detection – How and Why are you? These are the questions to be answered – traversing the Silver Road can disorient, and so the Astrolabe is one of the few ways to safely navigate that path. Becoming unmoored from your Why is detrimental to one’s very souls after all. By using the Astrolabe, you can orient yourself to your own selves and thus save what may pass for sanity among the lower vibrational realms and so undertake deeper missions to the center of Being. 

Being is the goal. Whether you can even find it is not always clear as the Legends state those that may find Being never return. Stahl didn’t. Apollonius hasn’t. Wei won’t.

Why can you be any different? 

How to Use Strahl’s Astrolabe in Game:

Strahl’s Astrolabe can be used as a basis for a campaign as the inciting macguffin where it provides the way to navigate the Silver Road or as an artifact to find that can be used to further explore an existing world. It is a key to both adventure and horror with a question about its origins that may create even more adventure ideas. 


hexerei  noun 

hex·​e·​rei | \ ˌhek-sə-ˈrī  \

Definition of hexerei


History and Etymology for hexerei

Pennsylvania German, from German, from Hexe witch

First Known Use of hexerei


Look-up Popularity

Top 24% of words

Closing remarks 

Zendead – The Witcher Saga Audio books

Joules – Loading Ready Run.  All their series.  Especially Agatha Fisty – One Punch Gran!

Guard-a-Manger – It’s been a crazy few months, and there is always something that seems to be happening. Take some time for small picture self care – I recommend finding a bit of time and space for meditation in whatever form you find most workable. Carve out some time for quiet, still self-care. In the alternative – a good stiff drink of bourbon. Old Grand Dad 114 is widely available for this purpose. 

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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