Saviors of Crius RPG by Catchy Cantrips

Saviors of Crius RPG by Catchy Cantrips

Today we’re going to be spotlighting something wonderful from our community, our friends over at Catchy Cantrips have been working away at developing a community-driven, text-based adventure game that is run through a discord bot. Saviors of Crius Roleplaying game has a pre-launch page on Kickstarter which you can check out here so you can be notified about the Kickstarter going live.

This choose-your-own-adventure roleplaying game has over 10 unique regions for you to explore with quests that have branching paths and various endings. The game also features functionality for crafting, trading, player vs. player combat and exploration including dungeon crawls!

Contribute to Saviors of Crius

The amount of work and care that has gone into this RPG bot from the Catchy Cantrips community is impressive. The word-building for Saviors of Crius has been a labour of love between the crew of Catchy Cantrips and the viewers in their Twitch stream and Discord community. You can join their lives streams for their interactive TTRPG live stream as well as for their world-building streams where you can contribute to the world of Crius with your suggestions.

Catchy Cantrips allows their chat to help create setting lore, NPCs, creatures and more during their streams, you can check out their channel here.

Info on Saviors of Crius RPG

Create a Character in Saviors of Crius

In this text-based adventure game, you will be able to create your own character and take them into battle against your foes, complete quests given to you while you adventure around the realm going on solo missions and group expeditions. Catchy Cantrips will also be hosting monthly community events for everyone to participate in even more gripping adventures.

The character creation options include choosing a species and a class initially and you’ll be able to gain more items and gear as you go along to upgrade your characters. While race provides no mechanical advantage for your character, this means that you also don’t have to worry about the impact that your choice of race has on the type of character that you want to build.

The Basics of Game

The Saviors of Crius RPG bot uses is a simplified version of Dungeons & Dragons so you’ll still be able to get that classic D&D feel without it being cumbersome to play through text. You’ll be able to roll for initiative, which, I mean, who doesn’t love to do that? In battle, you can decide what spell, weapon or item you want to use and will have action options like dealing damage, healing, altering stats or fleeing during your turn.

You won’t have to worry about the game feeling too repetitive as Catchy Cantrips has implemented the use of AI in their combat encounters for Saviors of Crius so that you have unique encounters for varying gameplay. The AI implemented in the game will help each enemy you face to vary in some way with some enemies being more intelligent and tactical while others may be cowardly and flee.

Saviors of Crius Gameplay Example

Back the Kickstarter and get cute stuff

We love having familiars and party pets in our games, don’t we? Well the good news is that backers for the SOCRPG will deliver on that desire as anyone who backs the Kickstarter will get a Tatoe Tot familiar in the game. What’s a Tatoe Tot? Tatoe Tots are just cute little guys. In some live streams on Twitch, there are little avatars at the bottom of the stream that you can customize and use to battle other viewers while you watch the stream as an additional form of entertainment. Over on Catchy Cantrip’s channel, Ash has made all their avatars which are round little fey creatures called Tatoes and they’re heckin’ adorable.

Tatoe familiar from Saviors of Crius

Your character in the world of Crius could have a Tatoe Tot of their very own!

Be part of an evolving game

The Saviors of Crius roleplaying game will keep growing, changing and being added to as the years go by and more people continue to contribute to the world and use the bot. With already extensive options for gameplay like the ability to join a guild or visit different shops, the trajectory of the game is promising and we look forward to what the Catchy Cantrips community continues to do with this text-based game.

Make sure to check out Catchy Cantrips on your favourite platform and consider either backing the Kickstarter for their Saviors of Crius RPG bot or joining the game when it comes out. The game will be subscription-based for $5 a month which will cover the server costs and support the gameplay.

If you’d like to check out our other content head over to our blog page. Until next, remember to play with Top Down!

Written By: VixxDraws

VixxDraws is one of the co-founders of Top Down Tabletop, in charge of creative direction and one of the main channel artists.

Kids on Bikes: TTRPG Review

Kids on Bikes: TTRPG Review

Something strange is happening in your neighbourhood but you can’t call Ghostbusters, I’m sure kids can handle it. Today I’m reviewing Kids on Bikes RPG by Jonathan Gilmour & Doug Levandowski. Kids on Bikes is a tabletop RPG game about small towns with big adventures.

I had previously reviewed Kids on Brooms but before this, we tried out Kids on Bikes for a 2-part Halloween special which you can find on our Youtube Channel. That is where we fell in love with this system. I ran this for 3 players and wondered if that would be enough characters but we quickly found out just how much story the Kids on Bikes character creation and world-building section generates.

In addition, one big advantage that Kids on Bikes has when it comes to running a game for a small group is the concept of a powered character but we will get into that in the review below!

Stranger Things Vibes

I never pegged myself as someone who enjoys roleplaying games that have a focus on suspenseful or dark elements but I’ve been proven wrong by this system and systems like Call of Cthulhu, apparently I live for that. I was surprised to enjoy Stranger Things as much as I did and it wasn’t long before I decided I wanted to tell a story like that. Now, I’m not the Duffer Brothers with a Netflix budget so I figured playing this story out with my friends would be the next best thing. There were several options I could have gone with but Kids on Bikes fit the most.

While you can run many different styles of game with this from a Goonies situation to something like Buffy, I did specifically zone in on this with a Stranger Things mentality, which you will see in just the opening credits to our live-play stream.

Worldbuilding Statements

You can do your group session prep all in a session zero in one go. However, we were working with different timezones and it was already difficult to even plan a session, so we decided to make a group chat and work through the character creation and world-building questions that way. We worked on them over the span of several weeks and this was a great experience for us.

The system gives a list of World-building statements to finish, statements like ‘Our adventure takes place in…’ or ‘Our school’s sports team is called…’ and it suggests that the players work together to craft the town or for the Game Master to do so on their own, we went with a hybrid. I took certain portions of the list of statements that I wanted to have set in stone for the and ended up handing them a fictional town in a real state with some notable locations and an idea of how it was doing economically. The players filled in the rest of the blanks, at which point, the story developed because it highlighted what things they were interested in. The system then asks that each player shares one rumour about the town and boy did we love working those into the narrative.

Strong Bonds in Session Zero

From there, Kids on Bikes shifts into Character Creation where the players select a trope from the premade list, there are tropes like ‘Popular Kid’ and ‘Loner Weirdo’ that determine which die you use for which stat. It then gives you prompts to further develop your character. Once you get the basics for your character down, then the really fun part happens, you introduce your character to the group and each player answers positive and negative relationship questions about each other. There are questions such as ‘What could make you betray this character?’ and ‘What do you admire about this character — but would never tell them?’, all of which made for some drama and tugged on our heartstrings before we sat down to play.

I’m sure that this system isn’t the only one to have character creation like this but it is the first one that I’ve played that does and I feel like this is one of the biggest strengths of the game.

Powered Characters

In Kids on Bikes, there is a special non-player character that the game master and the players share the narrative of by using something called aspects. Aspects are traits that the Powered Character possesses and can use to help the party, the game master hands out aspects for each player to be in narrative control over, however any player at the table can activate a trait.

Traits come in three different groups which are Personality Traits, Relationship to Group and Psychic Power. Some examples of these are ‘Able to Change Their Body’s Density’ or ‘Scared of Middle-Aged Men, Especially in Suits‘. Most of the traits I used were directly from the pre-generated traits from the book but I did come up with one of my own.

I was sceptical at first about handing out these traits to my players for them to control but the method we went with felt very natural. There are a few ways that you can do this outlined in the book and what I went with was a narrative approach, handing them out when it felt natural to the story.

Handing out Aspects

There was a moment when one of the players, who was obsessed with the movie Judo Boy (our in-game knock-off of Karate Kid) was teaching our powered character some self-defence when she was feeling scared, that was the moment I decided to hand out the aspect ‘Strong (d20 Brawn)’.

Another instance was when the Conspiracy Theorist in the group was triggering her trait of being scared of middle-aged men in suits and as such, she phased through the floor in fear. That moment allowed me to hand out two aspects to that player.

By the end of our first session, we had 6 aspects handed out, 2 to each player in a way that made sense and the whole experience of including a powered character left me feeling like I was also a player in this game. This is something I’ve had previous experience with, having run games for smaller groups where I had a playable character of my own to round out the party. This aspect of the game is also what made it feel most like Stranger Things to me in that I felt as though I was playing Eleven and the rest of the players were the other members of the cast.

Failing With Style in Kids on Bikes

Another thing I enjoy about Kids on Bikes is that failing isn’t necessarily a bad thing, there is always something that happens whether you succeed or fail that drives the story forward.

Kids on Bikes uses Adversity Tokens, which you get one of each time you fail a check. The Adversity Tokens can be stock-piled and used to add a +1 to future checks you make, to add to future checks other characters make or to be used in a way that is outlined in a feature that characters have called ‘Strengths‘. An example of how the Adversity tokens are used when it comes to strengths is something like the ‘Loyal‘ strength where each Adversity Token you spend to help your friends gives them a +2 instead of a +1.

This aspect of the game can make for a rewarding experience whether you pull off what you’re trying to do or not and lends well to leaving space for players whose characters would like to try something they’re not necessarily good at, this tends to be something that would be true to a kid’s decision in most of these situations.

Easy to Run for Game Masters

The biggest thing I noticed with the way the Kids on Bikes system runs is that as a game master, the burden of story-telling and preparation felt minimal. The emphasis on collaboration and the flexibility in the rules with a ‘yes and’ sort of approach meant that at the end of our sessions, I felt as though I was just another player at the table rather than the game master. This is one of those systems you could pick up and play with your friends if you all know the rules and are already familiar with each other’s boundaries.

Types of Dice and General Ruleset

In Kids on Bikes each stat has a specific die associated with it, these dice are the d20, d12, d10, d8, d6 and d4 with the 20 being really good and the 4 being really bad at something. The stats used in the game are Brains, Grit, Charm, Brawn, Flight and Fight and though they give you a general outline of what each stat can be used for, you’ll likely need to come up with your own interpretation at some point if (or when) your players do something outside of the examples.

Kids on Bikes uses the exploding dice rule which means if you roll the highest number on your die then you get to roll that again, and you can keep going like that if you keep rolling the highest on your die until you meet the difficulty class of the task. In systems like Dungeons & Dragons you end up with situations where the DC is too high for your character and there’s no real point in even rolling but with Kids on Bikes even if you have d4, there is a chance you could get stupid lucky and should roll anyway, and again with the Adversity Tokens, there really is always a reason to at least try.

Handy Charts Included

The appendix of the book has charts that outline coming up with difficult classes, the consequences of failing or succeeding and who has narrative control in these cases that make it easy to figure out a situation on the fly. We ended up doing whatever felt right at any given moment because we were on a time crunch to wrap up our story in a specific time frame but they’re a great frame of reference to have.

Recommended for Roleplay Focused Groups

Despite all the charts and lists, this system is rules-light in many ways. You likely won’t find a hard ruling on your game-specific details like you could with Dungeons & Dragons. Nor will you find that you have a need for maps unless your players have a difficult time story-telling with no visual cues. I’d recommend Kids on Bikes to roleplay-oriented groups that have a good level of trust with the other players in the group or who are willing to give up some control of their character. There are pieces of character creation that allow for other players to create things about your character such as a brave thing they did, their first memory of them or how your character betrayed theirs.

Another thing to highlight about this is that the things you put on your sheet really matter, your age has an impact on your stats, your fears come into play to make rolls more difficult, and your motivation can help the game master and the other players get your character involved in a matter in the story.

With all that said, I personally think everyone should at least try Kids on Bikes or one of its variations like Kids on Brooms or Teens in Space because you might be pleasantly surprised by the gameplay, even if it doesn’t seem like your thing.

See Kids on Bikes in Action

If you’d like to see our experience with the system, we do have two parts of our gameplay of Kids on Bikes on our Youtube Channel. I’ve embedded the first part below.

If you’d like to try Kids on Bikes, you can find out where to buy it on the Hunters Entertainment website. And as always, remember to Play with the Top Down!

Written By: VixxDraws

VixxDraws is one of the co-founders of Top Down Tabletop, in charge of creative direction and one of the main channel artists.

Homebrew D&D 5e Spell: Venom Vines

Today’s Homebrew is a D&D 5e Spell from the conjuration school, conjured up by Shanks and Cheriebombette. This custom spell has allowed Cherie’s conjuration wizard to be spectacular at battlefield control and has been the MVP of some of our battles.

Homebrew 53 conjuration spell - venom vines

Creator: Shanks & Cheriebombette

1st-level conjuration

Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 60 feet
Components: S, M a poisonous barb from a plant
Duration: Concentration, Up to 1 minute

You summon a mass of coiled poisonous vines in a ten-foot square you can see on the ground, within range. Until the spell ends these vines lash out at any creature that enters their space.

Any creature that enters that space for the first time, or starts their turn in that space, must succeed on a Dexterity saving throw or take 1d6 poison damage and be restrained until the start of their next turn.

A creature restrained by the vines can use its action to make a Strength check against your spell save DC. On a success, it frees itself.

A creature not affected by this spell can use their action to make a Strength check, with advantage, against your spell save DC to free another creature that is restrained.

When the spell ends, the poisonous vines fragment into dust.

Use our homebrew spells in your D&D game!

Feel free to use Top Down Tabletop’s homebrew spells in your games and let us know how it goes or if you further customize it, we’d love to hear it! And remember, play with the top down!

Homebrew D&D 5e Spells: Lucerne’s Intimate Conversation

Today’s Homebrew is a D&D 5e Spell, a 2nd-level illusion spell created by our own PetulantCobra. Named for his illusion wizard, Lucerne in our all-wizards campaign, ‘Lucerne’s Intimate Conversation’ allows you to have secret conversations in plain sight.

Homebrew D&D 5e Illusion Spell: Lucerne's Intimate Conversation

Creator: PetulantCobra

2nd-level illusion

Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 30ft. Radius
Components: V, S
Duration: Concentration, Up to 10 minutes

A creature targeted by this spell may make a Charisma saving throw against your spell save DC to resist its effects. A creature may choose to fail this save.

You and a number of additional creatures of your choice up to your spellcasting modifier within 30 feet of you gain the ability to speak freely on any topic free from fear of being overheard. To creatures not under the effect of the spell the targets appear to be having a conversation on a general topic of the caster’s choosing, although there is no direct control over specific things the illusion says.

Creatures who can see and hear any of the targets of this spell may spend an action to make an investigation check against your spell save DC. On a success, the creature understands that the true nature of the conversation they are witnessing is magically obscured but does not gain insight into the true nature of the conversation.

Use our homebrew spells in your D&D game!

Feel free to use Top Down Tabletop’s homebrew spells in your games and let us know how it goes or if you further customized it, we’d love to hear it! And remember, play with the top down!

Homebrew: Magic Houses for Kids on Brooms TTRPG

Homebrew: Magic Houses for Kids on Brooms TTRPG

In a previous post where we reviewed the Kids on Brooms TTRPG, we touched a bit on the magic houses we created for our school, Wickwood Academy. Today, we’re going to share those magic houses with you so that you can incorporate them into your game, whether Kids on Brooms or another system, they can serve as a ready-to-go jumping-off point for you and those magical misfits in your game.

The creation of these schools was a group effort, I went with the classic four houses like at Hogwarts but at Wickwood Academy, the collaboration between houses is the key to the success of the school. The first thing I did was decide on the Academy’s values which were Adaptability, Curiosity, Humility and Perseverance. From there the players helped me match animals to each value and I chose colours that are often associated with those values through colour theory, though I did end up switching a couple out just for aesthetics and to not be so on par with Hogwarts.

The players each chose the school they felt best matched their school and seemed to have no problem doing so. So, let’s dive in and take a look at the first magic house.

House Plumewin

Value: Curiosity
Symbol: Bluejay
Colour: Blue

House Plumewin members are ever drawn toward new discoveries, whether searching to uncover magical mysteries or getting to the truth of the matter. Students and alumni of this house are marked by curiosity, wonder and a critical eye.

House Motto: “Leave no stone unturned.”

Students belonging to this house: Emmy Webb played by thimblesedge

House Lunewise

Value: Perseverance
Symbol: Wolf
Colour: Silver

House Lunewise members push through their obstacles and use the challenges that come their way to strengthen who they are rather than finding a way around them. Students and alumni of this house are marked by perseverance and loyalty. “Wolf pack! Awoooo!”

House Motto: In the end, we remain.

Students belonging to this house: Erryk Sha played by Shanks, Joey Hart played by DreamyKindOfDay

Lapindor - Rabbit Magic House - Kids on Brooms TTRPG

House Lapindor

Value: Adaptability
Symbol: Rabbit
Colour: Orange

House Lapindor members feel as though they don’t fit in but have a knack for finding their footing in the face of adversity and have unique solutions to problems. Students and alumni of this house are marked by adaptability and creativity.

House Motto: By any path necessary.

Students belonging to this house: Rev Lindstrom played by Michel, Juno Rhodes played by MatesOfFate

Ramurelin House - Deer - Humility Magic House

House Ramurelin

Value: Humility
Symbol: Deer
Colour: Brown

House Ramurelin members are quick to lift others up and have a strong sense of belief that everyone is stronger as a team but often find themselves more suited to support roles. Students and alumni of this house are marked by humility and encouragement. Also known as ‘Deer House’

House Motto: Others before self

Students belonging to this house: Potion Polly npc

Use These Magic Houses in Your Tabletop Game

There you have it, our four custom magic houses ready to be inserted into your next tabletop game! You don’t have to limit yourself to using these only in Kids on Brooms, you can use these for any game you have where you’re in need of some magic houses for your players to engage with.

Download Now

You can download these in a PDF format and pitch them to your players by clicking this link. Let us know what house you think you belong to and remember, as always, play with the top down

Credits:
Beautiful Artwork by MichelOfAllTrades
House Concepts was a group effort by all the players in our Kids on Brooms series
House Descriptions by VixxDraws

Dungeon Alchemist: Review

Dungeon Alchemist: Review

Last year, we were lucky enough to be gifted a copy of Dungeon Alchemist: AI-Powered Map Generator by one of our stream viewers and we were blown away by it. Since then, Dungeon Alchemist has only improved and implemented more tools to make your map creation life even easier. If you heard about this program and you find yourself sitting on the fence about purchasing it, then I’m here to help make the decision simpler for you. This program is fantastic and I would recommend it to anyone really, however, I do know that it might not be for everyone and it would depend on what it is exactly you enjoy about map-making as DA’s strong suit is that it does a lot of the work for you, that being said, there is still the option of creating maps without the AI.

D&D Maps in less than 10 Minutes

Yes, you heard me. The AI-Powered Map Generation in Dungeon Alchemist has freed up a lot of my time when it comes to prepping for a session. When you open it up to start creating, it asks you what size you want your map to be, if you’re going to use it for digital or print and then gets you to choose a terrain theme which determines how the base level of your map looks. This step of the process also asks you what elevation you want in your terrain, what types of vegetation, if you want water, what sort of weather you want and the elevation you want the rooms at.

From here you just click ‘create room’ and choose from an assortment of options such as ‘Castle’, ‘Tavern’ or ‘Abandoned Ruins’ and you draw the size of it on the map. This will not only create a room that matches that theme but it will populate it with items, furniture and lighting that may be in that type of room. Then you simply continue to add or edit rooms and you can choose landscaping for the outside such as trees, webs, water, fog and even lava.

The great thing about this is that you’re not even stuck with what they generate, it’s simply a jumping-off point if you need it to be and you have the ability to delete and move items that were auto-generated if they don’t suit your needs. These tools have helped me prep several maps in a span of five minutes, a process that I used to set aside an hour for at the very least.

New updates and features with a huge community library

The team over at Dungeon Alchemist are very friendly and responsive and always open to feedback and input which is definitely a huge part of their success with this program. They are constantly keeping their customers updated on new and upcoming features and take the time to showcase them as well so that you know what’s new and available to you. I can’t stress enough how much I love seeing the way they let us know what they’re up to and when we can expect things to be released. You can find their updates on their blog here. If communication is something you also value when choosing a product, then look no further.

Another important note about the updates for Dungeon Alchemist is that DA is not a subscription-based program. It’s got a relatively low price point and it’s a one-time purchase. Considering that the program is well worth buying right now as is, we can call it a huge steal when you take into account that they are continuing to add to it.

Now, let’s talk about the community behind the Dungeon Alchemist. The Dungeon Alchemist discord community are constantly sharing their DA creations and assets that you can use! A passionate and excited group of people pour into Dungeon Alchemist, even outside of their official team. Simply by joining their discord, you gain access to hundreds of high-quality pre-made maps.

Virtual Tabletop Integration

The exporting of the maps gives you several options such as Roll20, Foundry and Fantasy Ground that make it easy to import your maps into these programs. However, because I’m primarily a Fantasy Grounds Unity user, I’ll give you my perspective on the way this program works with FG.

With other map-making programs, I’ve had to do a lot of the setting of the grid in fantasy grounds and adding in light sources manually. So I was really surprised when I was making maps several weeks ago and imported them into Fantasy Grounds, thinking I would have to take some time to do the set-up, only to find that importing a Dungeon Alchemist map does all that work for you.

Dungeon Alchemist Export Options
Dungeon Alchemist Export Options

Beautiful Animated and Dynamic Maps

Something else that I was a sucker for was the animation of the leaves in the trees or the flames of the bonfire pits. The map asset animation in Dungeon Alchemist is absolutely stunning. Since it allows you to export the maps as a video, you could use these in your home games to have incredible-looking, dynamic maps displayed on a screen, if you’re feeling fancy.

The lighting options in Dungeon Alchemist made it super quick and easy to create different variations of my maps as well. With the click of a button, I could turn daylight into a sunset, sunrise or night and it will change the angles that the shadows are being cast. You can also further manually adjust the lighting with sliders that increase or decrease the brightness, bring the sun slightly up or down and you can even change the colour of the light being cast.

Dungeon Alchemist Lighting
Night Version of Dungeon Alchemist Map
Sunset Version of Dungeon Alchemist Map
Sunset Version of Dungeon Alchemist Map

The program also allows you to paint in some special effects to further enhance the atmosphere you’re trying to create with your map. You have the option to paint in fireflies, will-o-wisps, electric arcs, smoke, steam, mist, fog, fire and so much more!

Hero Forge Minis

Another feature I thought was really neat is the token option which allows you to place some tokens into your maps, you simply drag them out of a window and plop them down. While there isn’t a huge selection of tokens built into the program at the time of writing this, they do have hero forge integration that allows you to link your hero forge account with an access key so you can import your 3D minis into the environment. Which, I mean, that’s amazing, right?

A time-saving program for any Dungeon Master

I would recommend this program to any Dungeon Master and I think it would make a great gift for one if you’re a player looking for something to give to your DM, I do have a caveat about who I think this program is best suited for. This program is currently best used for battle maps rather than world or regional maps, it’s best suited to smaller areas where you know your players are likely to fight or have some sort of obstacle where visualizing movements matters. Another dungeon master here at Top Down Tabletop has also previously used it for portions of their city such as a market district.

So, there you have it! I hope that this personal review of mine has helped you make your decision about whether you should purchase Dungeon Alchemist, or perhaps you’re just now learning about this program through this article. In any case, I hope you’ve enjoyed and remember, play with the top down!

If you’d like to purchase your own copy of Dungeon Alchemist or learn more, you can head on over to their website by clicking this link.

Written By: VixxDraws

VixxDraws is one of the co-founders of Top Down Tabletop, in charge of creative direction and one of the main channel artists.

Homebrew D&D 5e Spells: Cynic’s Eyes

Today’s Homebrew is a D&D 5e Spell, a 3rd-level illusion spell created by our PetulantCobra. We have the opportunity in our all-wizards campaign that we play off-camera to create custom spells from the school of magic we belong to, so he created this one with his illusion wizard, Lucerne in mind.

Cynics Eyes - Magic Spells
Cynic’s Eyes – Homebrew D&D Spell


Creator: PetulantCobra

3rd-level illusion

Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 30ft. Radius
Components: S, M (a small glass lens)
Duration: 1 hour

You and a number of additional creatures of your choice up to your spellcasting modifier within 30 feet of you gain advantage on ability checks and saving throws made when interacting with illusions. Additionally, any interactions made to determine whether or not something is an illusion can be made as a bonus action instead of an action.

At Higher Levels. When you cast this spell using a 5th-level spell slot, the duration of the spell becomes 8 hours, When cast at 7th-level, the duration of the spell becomes 24 hours.

Kids on Brooms: TTRPG Review

Kids on Brooms: TTRPG Review

Oh to be a young, witch or wizard in a magical academy, who is more unique than the already extraordinary students there to learn and harness the secrets of the arcane. We will be taking a personal look at Kids on Brooms RPG by Hunters Entertainment, the same people behind Kids on Bikes, Outbreak: Undead and Alice is Missing.

We had the chance to try this tabletop roleplaying game in a 2-part stream and it was a blast before we even sat down to play. How is that possible? Well, in Kids on Brooms, the system encourages the players to collaborate with the game master on world-building through a series of questions. Questions that allow the game master to see what it is that might interest their players and lends a hand to jumpstart the plot. On top of this, the character creation portion is a collaborative process between the players that weaves a story-rich tapestry and adds drama, tension and heart-warming moments, all ready to be dealt with once you start your first session together.

I’ve had the pleasure of running both Kids on Bikes and Kids on Brooms and though I was skeptical about letting the players come up with stories about the other characters, I couldn’t imagine either game running as smoothly as it did without it and the more time they had to pour into this process, the more they seemed to enjoy it.

The Addition of Magic in Kids on Brooms

In a regular game of Kids on Bikes, the player characters do not have magic or superpowers of any kind. Instead, the players are in control of certain aspects of what is called a Powered Character, think along the lines of Eleven from Stranger Things, but the players and the game master both share narrative of this character.

In Kids on Brooms, they switch this up and all of the characters have magic, not only that but there aren’t really any spells outlined in the book and so the characters can really make anything a spell if they want it to be. This may sound overpowered, however, they balance it out well in the book in that there are several charts the game master cross-references to create a difficulty class. The difficulty class for the magic takes into account things like the magnitude of effect, area of effect, duration of effect and the character’s experience with the spell.

This way of casting spells is further balanced out by the fact that spells are attributed to one of the six stats which are fight, flight, brains, brawn, charm and grit each of a specific die assigned to them per character. So, it is unlikely that someone who wants to cast a powerful charm spell but only has a d4 to roll for it (plus their magic die) is going to succeed unless they get very lucky because Kids on Brooms has an exploding dice system that allows you to roll again if you roll the max on your die.

My players didn’t get carried away with their spellcasting but I loved that the option was there for them.

Satisfying Magical Academy experience for any Harry Potter fans

The Kids on Brooms system pulled out all the stops on giving you that Hogwarts experience, allowing your players to make their own wands, have their own special broom with different stats boosts, craft potions, attend your favourite magic classes (with a class schedule, no less) and having an animal familiar to join you on your adventures. The world-building portion of the game also prompts you to make up your own magically enhanced school activities and create additional offbeat classes that aren’t on the list they provide.

In our game of Kids on Brooms, we created Incantare, a combative magical game very much like the pro-bending you see in Avatar: The Legend of Korra. The simple act of one of the players having this idea quickly stirred up other key story aspects. It immediately helped me decide that there needed to be an Incantre match in the game, the players came up with special gear they needed for the game. Due to this, a key tension point occurred during Character Creation where it was decided that one player gifted their teammate a glove and another play stole that special item. All of this was worked through during the session to create some special moments.

The whole experience felt enhanced because we took the extra step of creating four new magic houses just like in Hogwarts which lent well to a sense of school pride. We created Houses Lunewise (Wolf), Lapindor (Rabbit), Plumewin (Bluejay) and Ramurelin (Deer). Each had colours and attributes tied to it and helped to equip the players with a sense of belonging to the academy and a sense of school pride during the Incantare match.

Simple to Add Your Own Mechanics to

And what would a magical academy be without its shape-shifting? We created some lore around shapeshifters as one of the players wanted to come from a family of shapeshifters. Bouncing some ideas back and forth, that player came up with a simple system of how their shifting ability worked because they wanted it to be both a flaw with some drawbacks and a strength with some benefits which had a specific trigger.

Each detail we came up with in our game spurred on more ideas that everyone had the opportunity to have input on and before I knew it, we had a story to follow when we sat down to play.

We’ll be offering our Incantre rules, our custom houses and this shape-shifting ability in future posts so stay tuned.

Would I recommend Kids on Brooms TTRPG? A big YES!

Kids on Brooms is a less mechanical and tactical-focused system. It is better suited to those looking for a system very open to interpretation and geared toward a social and story-driven experience.

Having played both Kids on Bikes and Kids on Brooms, I would have to give the whole experience a big thumbs up and say that depending on what you like in terms of TTRPG flavour, you should pick up either book over on the Hunters Entertainment website and give it a play. Not only did my players want to keep playing but it was also just an incredibly positive experience from my side as the game master, the amount of collaboration done and the focus on the characters driving the story forward together, made sitting in a facilitator role a breeze.

You can find the beautifully designed book for Kids on Brooms here and be sure to download the resources they gave you like the class schedule and the fillable character sheets.

Want to see Kids on Brooms in action?

Below you can find our live play of Kids on Brooms with some special guests from our community, Ash of Mates of Fate, Dreamy of Knights of Silvermoon and Clickety Clackety Roll to Attackety as well as Thimblesedge!

Have you tried Kids on Brooms or are you thinking of trying it? Let us know in the comments and remember, Play with the top down.

Written By: VixxDraws

VixxDraws is one of the co-founders of Top Down Tabletop, in charge of creative direction and one of the main channel artists.

Homebrew D&D 5e Monsters: The Magic Item Golem

Today’s Homebrew D&D Monster comes from our very own DM PetulantCobra from Episode 4 of our Tides of Zemali Campaign. The Magic Item Golem was not only a fun enemy to face in the depths of the dungeon but also provided the party with some loot upon its demise. Standing around 10ft tall, and 10ft wide, this medium construct is a writhing mess of small magic items that have been together enough under the right circumstance to become animated. Its body is an amalgamation of random objects which moves by makings itself taller and tumbling over toward its target.

Magic Item Golem Stat Block
d8EFFECT
1The floor in a 10 ft radius around this construct becomes covered in oil. This oil has the same properties as the grease spell (DC 13) and is flammable. The golem automatically succeeds the saving throw to avoid becoming prone.
2A gob of energy is expelled from the creature at a target of it’s choice. This energy has the properties of the spell chaos bolt but is limited to 60 feet in range. The golem’s spell attack modifier for this is +5
3A fine powder fills the air around the golem. All creatures in melee with the golem must make a DC 15 Constitution saving throw or start violently sneezing becoming incapacitated until the end of it’s next turn.
4A thick smoke billows out of a vial embedded in the golem. This ability has the properties of an eversmoking bottle but the radius of this cloud only expands if the golem rolls a 4 again on this table.
5The golem resonates with a deep and hollow sound. This ability functions as pipes of the sewers
6An arc of magical energy jumps from the golem to one creature of it’s choice within 10 feet of it. The creature must make a DC 13 Dexterity saving throw or take 2d6 lightning damage.
7Roll on the bag of beans table. Re-roll if you roll a 91-100. The effect occurs immediately, ignoring the regular minute activation time.
8A random object falls out of the golem. Roll on the robe of useful items table. If this ability creates a creature, it has the same attitude towards creatures that the golem does. If this ability creates an item or creature large enough to cause damage, it falls on a creature within 5 feet of it dealing 2d6 bludgeoning damage

If you use this monster in your campaign, we’d love to hear about it and if you used it in a stream, drop a link below so we can watch your session! And remember, play with the top down!

Homebrew D&D 5e Monsters: The Slypher

Today’s Homebrew D&D Creature is a Gargantuan Monstrosity called The Slypher. The Slypher was used as a boss fight in our mini-series Journeys of The Sandseas. This creature, who lurks in the Sand sea ended up taking out our cleric despite our best efforts and all the ki points and spell slots burned to retrieve him. Rest in peace Trandal. Let’s take a look at this creation by DM Shanks with art by Kaz The DM.

Stat Block for Lupera by DM Shanks, Art by KazTheDM

The Desert Wyrm

The Slypher has a gargantuan serpentine form with massive stony scales that even seasoned adventurers would have a tough time piercing. Its great maw resembles that of an ancient dragon, with a pointed beak that is hard enough to push through solid granite. The body is made up of 18 large hardened scaled sections, each with a band of runes carved into it in an ancient forgotten language. Though much of the time, the Slypher rests in its nest on the sandsea, protected by an ever-present whirlwind of impenetrable sand; on occasion, it burrows out into the sandsea looking for creatures to sate its hunger.

Those who have been eaten by the Slypher both sustain it and become enslaved to it, becoming part of the undead horde it can regurgitate to attack any creature it sees as a threat.

Mysterious Origin

The Slypher appeared at the same time as the sand sea leading many to believe it is the cause of it. Some say it is an ancient primordial that tore a hole in the plane from the elemental plain of earth, yet others claim it was an ancient creature living below the surface roused by the coming of the sandsea. Those who have intimate knowledge of the God of Sand, however, know that the Slypher is a small piece of the minor deity that brought the sandsea into being; which broke off in the battle to entrap the sand god and prevent further harm to the world.

Expanded Statblock for the Slypher

Want to use the Slypher in your campaign? Download the token art right here! Free to use on-stream or off-stream.