SDHSR design: Iconic examples of types

Oh, we’ve decided our system is going to be Powered by the Apocalypse. It just seemed the best fit with a nice simple die mechanic and an easy character generation by checking boxes and circling things. So our types are going to be called playbooks, and the various abilities are going to be called moves. Unlike any other PBTA game we’ve seen, though, we’re going to have each character pick two playbooks, one ordinary and one supernatural. How exactly will those two fit together? Um, remains to be seen.

We’ve whittled our playbooks down to twelve each for students and supernaturals. It’s time now to think about what moves each playbook will have. We’re not really dealing with the mechanics of the moves yet, just what effect they ought to have. Like “a move that lets you sneak around.”

In order to figure out what each type ought to be able to do, we’re thinking of iconic characters from various series that fit into that type. Since we want players to be able to do what their favorite anime characters can do, those characters are a good place to start.

The Hero has way too many examples—Deku, Naruto, Luffy, Usagi, Utena. No matter their genre, they have big feelings about their friends, have big goals, never give up, and like to proclaim what being a hero means to them. The Hero needs to have moves that let them make friends more easily and keep going in situations where most people would be discouraged.

The Friend type is concerned about other people and about relationships. We thought about Tomoyo from Cardcaptor Sakura, Mako from Kill la Kill, Kirishima from My Hero Academia, and Tamaki from Ouran High School Host Club. All these Friends take joy in helping their teammates and encouraging them to be their best selves. They’ll even push their friends to take risks in order to grow. We want to give the Friend type moves that help others out, like making encouraging speeches and befriending unlikely people.

For Science Experiments, we thought about Lucy from Elfen Lied, Kaneki from Toyko Ghoul, Tetsuo from Akira, Rei from Evangelion, Heine from Dogs Bullets and Carnage. The defining thing about Science Experiments is that they were created by someone else, and are the unwilling vessels of powers that they can’t contain. They struggle to deal with their trauma and make an existence for themselves. We decided their attack moves should be incredibly destructive and they should have some sort of berserk mode, and possibly a healing factor. They should also all have some sort of drawback to represent their trauma.

We had a fun realization that some of these iconic types also exist in Western comics and TV shows. Otherwordly Royalty are from another planet or plane of existence and have special powers like being incredibly tough, supernaturally strong, and often come equipped with some sort of energy blast. At first we were thinking about Dragonball Saiyans but then we realized this also fits Superman, Starfire, and Thor.

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