Dimension 20 knows that iteration is how the hobby—and the industry—evolves.

Kids on Bikes isn’t built to support Actual Play; but a hack of it could be fit to purpose.

Dimension 20 knows that iteration is how the hobby—and the industry—evolves.
Credit: Dimension 20

When Dimension 20 released its over-the-top pulp action trailer for their upcoming season—Never Stop Blowing Up—it didn’t take Rascal long to suspect that they weren’t playing Dungeons & Dragons. In almost every previous season of D20, D&D was the main system, occasionally supported by additional themes and mechanics ported over from games like Kids on Brooms, Good Society, and an independent stress system for Fantasy High. But Never Stop Blowing Up felt different, just from the trailer. 

A quick email and a responsive media contact later, and Rascal confirmed it: Never Stop Blowing Up is played using a new, eponymous system based on the Kids on Bikes framework—a system they’ve previously noir-ified for their Mentopolis season. D20 playing a bespoke system is a great thing. Exciting, even. I was fully expecting people to be completely on board with this, as one of the complaints I’ve heard about D20 over the years has been that they bash other games onto D&D in order to make a game that can better support their story rather than just finding a game that does it from jump. Well, here it is! A totally new game, designed by D20, for D20, with a clearly stated lineage.

And yet, online, there was a contingent of people who not only were annoyed by this change but were accusing D20 of, in some way or another, cheating an indie system out of glory. It felt very odd to watch this happen; as someone who loves seeing big names take big swings with non-D&D systems, this felt like something I had been waiting for. Kids on Bikes is a great system, yes; Hunters Entertainment wouldn’t have produced three spin-offs (Kids on Brooms, Teens in Space, Kids in Capes) if it wasn’t. But Kids on Bikes isn’t made for an actual play, and isn’t at all suited to the story that Never Stop Blowing Up is telling; a Jumanji-style pulp romp where regular people get sucked into over-the-top 80’s action films. 

This is a public article. All that is required is a subscription at the (free) Lurker level.