SDHSR design: Choosing types

One design element we’re certain of is that each character will have two types, or classes, playbooks, whatever they end up being called. The first type is their high school role and the second is their secret identity/supernatural destiny. Mixing and matching those two should be a big part of the fun of the game.

We mined series we’re familiar with for types. They do recur, don’t they? The spiky haired goggles kid. The mysterious transfer student. The rival type who always has black or white hair. The all-powerful student council president. And for magical/destiny types we had various monsters like vampires and demons (who are frequently misunderstood), mech pilots, magical girls, ninjas, Shinigami, pokemon trainers, alchemists, and witches.

We ended up with two extremely long lists, and since it was pretty clear that no game system could have dozens of playable types, we started trying to narrow them down. We started by looking for areas of overlap, types that could be collapsed together. And that led to some interesting revelations!

We noticed that magical girls and sentai were basically the same stories with different skins. And both have a transformation sequence, and are frequently color-coded. We smashed them together and named the type the Transformation Warrior.

Same thing with monsters. We had vampires, yokai, werewolves, demons, ghosts, and other monsters all listed separately. But despite their variety, none of them are human, all of them have some monstrous feature that stands out even if they’re trying to blend in with humans, and they all have some sort of curse or drawback. We named them the Secret Monster.

Over on the high school side of things, we knew we had to have the classic hero and rival types, or red and blue Oni. But is the rival the same as the glasses-type, or not?

And what about the sports prodigy? We realized that the sports star has a lot in common with the star chef or the go champion—they all are really only good at one thing and pursue that exclusively. So we named the type the Prodigy and left it open to the player to decide what they’re good at.

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