log in or register to remove this ad

 

Kids on Brooms: Wizarding School Powered by Kids on Bikes

When Kids of Brooms was announced, I wanted to talk to the creators about the property. Powered by Kids on Bikes, this tabletop roleplaying game embodies the wizarding school subgenre and piqued my interest in the same way Kids on Bikes did. (Read Sean Hillman’s review of Bikes here for an overview of that RPG.) Kids on Bikes kickstarted in 2017 with 3,069 backers and over $93,000 pledged. Supported by Hunter Entertainment and Renegade Game Studios, it went on to win awards, spawn Free RPG Day products, and be one of the RPG anchors for Renegade Con, Renegade Game Studios’ virtual tabletop gaming convention from June 5th to 7th. In this article, creators Jonathan Gilmour, Doug Levandowski, and Spenser Starke talk about Kids of Brooms’ magic system, wizard school creation rules, some of the unique options in the game, and how a magical Bikes hack led to a new creator joining the Brooms design team.

KOB_PG88.jpg

EGG EMBRY: I’m excited to get to talk to you about Kids on Brooms. Let’s start with the pitch for this tabletop roleplaying game, what is it about?
DOUG LEVANDOWSKI
: You and the other players are casters in a magic school that you all create during your first session. You can be students or faculty, but you’re all able to use magic!

EGG: Kids on Bikes won the 2018 Meeple Mountain Best RPG and 2019 Gold ENnie Award for Best Family Game/Product. Clearly, this is a solid system and you’re using it for Kids on Brooms. Can you describe the system?
DOUG
: Absolutely! The system uses stat checks, so you’re trying to roll over or under a certain target. Each of your stats has a polyhedral associated with it, from d4 to d20. The bigger the die, the better you are with that stat! If you fail a roll, you take an Adversity Token, which you can use either to bump up your later rolls or to activate some of your character’s special abilities! Most importantly, though, in all three of the games in this line, we’re focused on helping the players and the GM tell a great story, so we’ve kept the mechanics light so that they feel fast and intuitive!

EGG: This RPG is by the same writing and artistic team behind Kids on Bikes and Teens in Space. What is the spark that makes this a great collaboration?
JONATHAN GILMOUR
: Hey! That’s us! Thank you! Doug and I are great friends, and we work really well together. He’s a delight to work with, and compliments my skill set really well. In that, I mean that I HATE to write rulebooks, and RPGs are huge rulebooks. Doug likes to write rules. I like to come up with dumb ideas and break things.
DOUG: And for this game, Spenser joined us as well! He was working on a hack of Bikes to make it about magic. Jon and I were already working on Brooms, but we liked some of the stuff Spenser was doing with the hack so much that we brought him on to work with us, and it’s been a dream! He’s such an immensely talented designer that he’s really turned it up to 11.
SPENSER STARKE: That’s so nice of you! I’ve had such an incredible time working on this project, and I couldn’t have asked for better collaborators. I feel so lucky that my homebrew of the original Bikes system led to me getting to working on the real thing!

EGG: What are some of the changes from Bikes you’re implementing for Brooms?
DOUG
: The biggest one is the addition of magic. In Bikes, only the Powered Character could do amazing, supernatural things, and it always came with a cost: spending Psychic Energy. Now, everyone in the group can use magic freely. No Psychic Energy tokens, just some dangers if you try to do stuff that’s too far beyond your abilities!
SPENSER: Some of my other favorite things we’ve added to the system are the abilities to have a familiar, design your wand, and choose your broom. We’ve also completely overhauled the “town building” part of the game to build your magical school instead. It’s one of my favorite parts of the game, and because the entire table collaborates on the answers, we always end up with something totally unexpected and amazing.

EGG: A big part of this RPG is the magic school. Will the GM or players make up the school or is there a default setting?
JONATHAN
: Oh yeah! One of our favorite parts of all of the Kids on Bikes games is the shared world creation process, so we definitely focused on making it super fun in this one. There isn’t a prescribed world in any of the Powered by Kids on Bikes games, because we feel that letting the players get invested in that creation is a big part of the fun.

KOB_PG31.jpg

EGG: How will magic be handled? Will there be a spell list?
JONATHAN
: No! That was one of the things we immediately put on the cut list when we were talking about magic systems. The less time a player spends looking at a book or sheet, the better in our opinion. We want the focus to be on telling a great story and making the players feel awesome and have fun!
DOUG: We iterated on this a LOT. Honestly, we probably spent about 20% of our design time on just the magic system. We wanted it to be fast, easy to use, and fun. I’m biased, but I think we got it! I think it’s simple, intuitive, and pretty elegant!
SPENSER: Agreed- it’s definitely the thing I’m most proud of in this game. We really worked hard to make sure it was easy and intuitive for both the GM and the players, and that it wouldn’t take much longer than a normal roll to calculate.

EGG: Will the RPG include a bestiary?
DOUG
: It won’t, but we’ve heard from a lot of people that they want a codified way to create monsters for Kids on Bikes. We’ve definitely heard that, and Free Content Friday might scratch that itch for folks near the end of the year...

EGG: Beyond Brooms, what are you working on?
DOUG
: A couple things! I’m currently editing a supplement book for Teens in Space… but that’s all I can say about that until it’s announced! I also just had a card game come out from Chronicle Books, Aunt Agatha’s Attic. It’s a real-time negotiation and set collection game with a drawing mechanic I’m pretty proud of: each time you complete a trade, you draw a card. Beyond that, I always have a bunch of irons in the fire, but nothing that’s at a point where it’s ripe for talking about yet!
SPENSER: I’ve got a new game dropping on Kickstarter in June through Hunters Entertainment and Renegade Games called Alice Is Missing. It’s a silent roleplaying game about the disappearance of a teenage girl in a small town, and takes place entirely through text messages between players. It’s my love letter to incredible video games like Life Is Strange, Gone Home, and Oxenfree, and aims to be an immersive, unique, and exciting experience. I’m really proud of the design work I’ve done on it over the past year, and I can’t wait for people to get their hands on it.
DOUG: I’ve played Alice Is Missing, and it is so, so wonderful.
JONATHAN: Sadly, most of my projects aren’t currently announced, but always keep an eye open!

EGG: Thanks for talking with me. Where can fans follow your work and where can they pre-order Kids on Brooms?
JONATHAN
: Thank you for setting this up! Players can pick up Kids on Brooms (or any of the other things in the KOB line) at [Renegade Game Studios’ website]. They can also get them through their FLGS or anywhere you can buy any of the fine Renegade line of products! You can find me on Twitter @JonGilmour!
DOUG: Yes! Thanks for talking with us! I’m on Twitter @Levzilla!
SPENSER: Thank you, really appreciate it! You can find me @spenserstarke on all platforms.

Want to hear a session of Kids on Brooms featuring Jonathan and Doug? Check out Free Content Friday at DriveThruRPG to get the mp3 of the session as well as other free new and optional rules from the creators for Kids on Bikes, Teens in Space, and more Hunter Entertainment RPGs.
  • Kids on Brooms from Hunters Entertainment and Renegade Game Studios
  • Pre-order now and get a free PDF copy! (Anticipated delivery date: August 2020)
  • Kids on Brooms is a collaborative role-playing game about taking on the life of a witch or wizard at a magical school you all attend- a place full of mystery, danger, and thrilling adventure. From dealing with strict professors to facing down mythical beasts, players will get the opportunity to ride brooms, brew potions, and cast powerful magic as they uncover the incredible secrets their school and its inhabitants hold.”
Egg Embry participates in the OneBookShelf Affiliate Program and is an Amazon Associate. These programs provide advertising fees by linking to DriveThruRPG and Amazon.
 
Egg Embry

Comments









I wonder if this is the worst time for them to be releasing a game like this, or the best time, considering current controversies with a certain fantasy author...
She didn't invent the genre. Years before Harry Potter even the little witch had got a TV movie. Harry Potter isn't the one source of inspiration.



 


I wonder if this is the worst time for them to be releasing a game like this, or the best time, considering current controversies with a certain fantasy author...
The first thing you do in the game is build your own school.

I suspect a lot of groups will view that as an opportunity to do it "right," whatever that means for them, although it almost definitely means no one's pooping on the school floor and just magicking it away. But I'm guessing a lot of the audience will be making a more inclusive magical school, too, based on my nieces and other kids I sometimes play with.
 
Last edited:

The first thing you do in the game is build your own school.

I suspect a lot of groups will view that as an opportunity to do it "right," whatever that means for them, although it almost definitely means no one's pooping on the school floor and just magicking it away. But I'm guessing a lot of the audience will be making a more inclusive magical school, too, based on my nieces and other kids I sometimes play with.
Yeah, if there's going to be prejudice, it's going to be of the 'you're not as magic as ME' kind. Big ol' mystic meritocracy.

Also, this should be also completely cross-compatible with the other Bikes games, right? Just give my old Kid a magic score or whatever and, BING, ready to go?
 

It's out. I haven't had a chance to read through my copy, but just a flip-through reveals that they explicitly talk about real world prejudice and other elements to watch out for in the game, and the practical advice that very few people like playing second fiddle to a chosen one type character.

There isn't a magic stat, though. Magic is cast by using all the existing Kids on Bikes stats, and rolling based on what kind of magic spell it is. So you can have a Fight effect or a Grit effect, etc. The more difficult and complicated the effect, the higher the roll needs to be.
 


Advertisement1

Advertisement2

Advertisement4

Top