Guest Article: Attention Span Games – “For the Class Idol”

“For the Class Idol”
By LB Bryant

Big Eyes, Small Brains was originally supposed to be an easy six-month project when we first signed on back in 2017. What our project leader didn’t realize at the time though is that Samantha and I share the mutual writing philosophy of “Go big, or go home.”

Past

My first introduction to tabletop roleplaying games was in late elementary school. The system was Dungeons and Dragons (though I don’t remember which version). At first, it was a casual flirtation with the hobby. Every couple of years I would get involved with a new campaign which allowed me to sample many different systems as I grew older. I always had a good time though I have to admit that, like my love affair with anime, I didn’t really get into RPGs until I was an adult.

The best campaign I ever played was when I was in my early to mid-’20s. We were using the Pathfinder system to run through The World’s Largest Dungeon book. This is when I truly discovered just how fun it could be to sit around a table with friends, roll some dice, and play a wide variety of characters. Due to the nature of the book, our party suffered many, many PC deaths which meant we were constantly rolling up new characters over the course of a couple of years.

It was bad enough that the people I was playing with were more than a little goofy but when you’re rolling up a new character every couple of months, you have to start reaching deep into your psyche to keep each character original. Luckily for us, we had a DM who had a sense of humor and didn’t even flinch when three of us decided to roll up French acrobatic triplets for our new characters. It was during this campaign that I learned that roleplaying doesn’t always have to be serious and straight-laced and that sometimes it’s acceptable to cut loose and just have fun!

The second best campaign I was ever part of was one that I was serving as Game Master for. The system: Maid RPG in which the PC’s took on the role of anime maids to serve various masters. This was my first experience with a system that was purely and entirely tongue in cheek and I had a ton of fun leading my players through various wacky circumstances over the course of a year.

If it hadn’t been for these experiences, I seriously doubt that I would’ve had the mental ability to co-write Big Eyes, Small Brains.

Present

As stated, Big Eyes, Small Brains was supposed to be an easy six-month solo project. When I got to the six-month mark though I realized two things: This was NOT going to be a short project and also that I was going to need help to bring this book to life which is when one of my best friends on the planet, Samantha, joined me to help bring the world of Abika to life.

For two years, Samantha and I built the world of Abika up from nothing. Night after night the process remained the same: I’d write the first draft of a chapter and, over the course of a few nights, Samantha would go in to polish it up, adding her own ideas, plot points, and perspectives as she went through. For months we continued this back and forth with the intention of just putting a smile on someone’s face and possibly even making them laugh at the silly jokes and references that we threw in along the way. There were many nights where we both gave up sleep in order to work on this project but in the end, we finally turned in a project that we were both very proud of.

The most important thing to both of us, however, was that the process had to be fun because if we weren’t having fun creating it, there was no way that anyone was going to have fun playing it. I like to think we succeeded in that based on how many times Samantha and I made each other laugh out loud during the creation process.

Future

My sincere hope for this game is that everyone who reads it will remember to take a pinch of salt and shove their tongue firmly in their cheek. We teased this medium to its limits because we love anime and everything it has given us over the years. For Samantha and I, anime is more than a hobby… it’s our passion and livelihoods. We owe an unpayable debt to anime but hopefully, this RPG will go a small ways towards giving back to the medium we adore.

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