Kids on Brooms
You pull your wand from the folds of your cloak, and its glowing blue end illuminates the door in front of you—the entrance to the banned books section. You watch as the copper snakes twist and turn around the lock that keeps students like you out. But you’ve been left with no choice. Your barn owl hoots softly upon your shoulder as you raise your wand to the knob and whisper the unspoken words.
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. Built using the ENnie Award-Winning Kids on Bikes framework, it is a rules-light, narrative-first storytelling game perfect for new players and gaming veterans alike!
Harry Potter, But With the Serial Numbers Filed Off [ edit ]
Kids on Brooms is a game that takes the (very popular) Kids on Bikes system, and applies it to a more magical setting, specifically a school for young wizards/witches in training. If this sounds to you like "Harry Potter: The Roleplaying Game", you're not wrong ... but because Renegade Game Studios doesn't have an official license to use the Harry Potter name, you won't find Harry or Hogwarts mentioned in any of the material.
But you will find everything you need to run a Harry Potter campaign, or any other campaign involving students at a magical school. In particular KoB offers a fairly light rule system, with a more narrative/storytelling focus, and less emphasis on tactical combat rules. Combat, both magical and ordinary, certainly exists in the game, but it's more deadly and has shorter/simpler rules than many other RPGs (eg. there are no initiative rules, as the GM simply decides combat order).
Kids on Brooms, First Edition - Rules SummaryCollapse
Character Creation [ edit ]
Character creation in Kids on Brooms is relatively simple. To start you select a "trope" for your character, similar to a character class, such as the Daring Athlete, Famous Teacher, Haunted Survivor or Teacher's Pet.
Depending on the trope they chose, players can then choose from up to three different age ranges ("grades") for their character: Underclass (<= 14 years), Upperclass (15-20 years), or Faculty (21+ years). Each age group gets a different bonus: underclass students get a bonus to Flight and Charm (kids are fast and likable), while Faculty instead get a bonus to Brains and Grit.
Kids on Brooms has the same six stats as Kids on Bikes: Grit, Charm, Fight, Flight, Brains, and Brawn. A player assigns a single "D&D Die" (either a d4, d6, d8, d10, d12, or d20) to each stat, giving characters in KoB very distinctive strengths and weaknesses.
Flaws and Strengths
Each character selects two strengths and two weaknesses. Strengths are special abilities such as being Lucky or having a Gross trick they can perform on command. Flaws are negative character traits, such as being Competitive, a Loudmouth, or Rash.
Basic Details and Questions
Finally the player decides their character's basic details, such as their name, race, ethnicity, gender and sexuality. They also have to answer a few questions about their character and relationship with other characters in the group, and their character is ready ... after they select a few wizardly essentials that is.
Wands and Brooms
Each player gets to construct their own wand by combining a type of wood (eg. Birch or Pine) with a type of core (eg. owl's feather or dragon's heartstring), with each piece giving the character a bonus to a different type of magic.
The character then gets to select from one of fourteen different types of brooms, again each with their own unique benefit.
Each character and optionally choose to have a familiar, ie. a small animal companion such as a cat, bird, or snake. They have a psychic connection with this animal, and can instruct them to do their bidding.
Finally each player needs to decide which classes their character is currently taking. This choice has in-game benefits: after every session each character gets two marks to add to any class whose content they used during the adventure. When a character gets various levels of marks (eg. 2, 6, and 10) they gain bonuses (+1 through +3) to a type of magic from that class.
Core Mechanics [ edit ]
As an stat-based system, players roll their appropriate stat die, based on the action they wish to take. Dice can "explode": if you roll the maximum number on a die you get to re-roll it and add the result (this is known as a "Lucky Break").
To determine what number you need to roll to succeed, the game contains a chart, which provides numbers to use based on the action's difficulty. However, simply rolling above or below the number isn't all that matters: there's also another chart which determines how the action badly/well the action fails/succeeds, based on the difference between the roll and the target number.
If a character fails at a roll, they gain an Adversity Token as a consolation prize. These tokens can be spent individually or together, with each one adding +1 to a future roll. Adversity Tokens can even be used to help another players' roll.
Magic in Kids on Bokes uses "spell checks", which are just stat checks which use the appropriate stat for the type of magic being used. Magic in KoB is very open-ended: instead a player can do virtually anything they can describe, and the GM determines the difficulty required to do so by consulting a series of tables.
Combat [ edit ]
There is no initiative in Kids on Brooms, or rather initiative is determined by the GM as they see fit. Once combat begins players make stat checks both to attack and defend themselves.
For instance, to physically punch a character rolls a Fight check against the defender's Grit. Each player would roll their appropriate stat die, and if the defender beats the attacker then the attack misses. If they roll higher however, it hits.
On a hit the amount that the attacker's roll beats the defender's roll determines the actual injury the character suffers (there are no hit points in KoB). A table determines the result, which can range from (on a roll that won by 1-3 points) a temporary injury (eg. being stunned) ... to (on a 10+ difference) death or near death.
Is it Any Good? [ edit ]
Aggregated Review Scores
|Source||Average Score||# of Reviews||As Of|
|Drive Thru RPG||4.4/5||30||1/26/2022|
With more than 200 reviews an average rating of 4.6 out of 5, Kids on Brooms clearly has a lot of fans, especially for a product from a smaller/more independent gaming company. Admittedly the game isn't for everyone: fans looking for a more detailed combat system ... or just more detail and "crunch" in general, will probably want to avoid KoB.
However, if the idea of a more narrative-focused "wizard school" RPG, with less focus on combat and more on free-form spellcasting and all the wizard accountermonts (familiars, wands, brooms, potions, etc.), Kids on Brooms will be perfect for your next campaign, whether it's set in the world of Hogwarts or one of your own imagination.