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Similar to this, but for 5th ed.

The Broom of Flying is activated by a Command Word, has 50ft flying speed, and the hover property. It can also be remotely controlled if it is not being ridden.

When being ridden, does it count as a Mount? A Vehicle? Does its rider simply gain 50ft flying speed? If it is considered a mount, should I enforce mounted combat rules? In the case of the broom, it would be unable to move independently.

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No ordinary case exactly covers the Broom of Flying, but the most reasonable approximation is to grant a flying speed.

Is the broom a mount?

By an reasonable interpretation of the Mounted Combat rules, no. To be covered by those rules, a mount must be "A willing creature that is at least one size larger than you" (PHB p.198.) The broom of flying fulfills neither of these conditions. The combat rules also include clauses that clearly cannot apply to the Broom as it is described: the broom cannot Dash, Disengage, or Dodge, since it is not a creature. It has no place in the initiative order. It cannot be independent.

Of course, if the broom specifically stated that it was to be treated as a mount, that would override the general restrictions on what a mount is, but it does not do so.

Is the broom a vehicle?

Probably not, since vehicles in 5th edition seem to never be self-powered. You could make an argument for this, but it wouldn't help you much, since as far as I'm aware there's no generic rule for controlling vehicles in combat.

Is the character granted a flying speed?

Technically no, since other magical items that do this explicitly say so (winged boots, DMG p.214.) I rate this the closest interpretation, however, due to the Special Travel Pace section of the DMG (p.242) which lists "flying speed or with a speed granted by magic, an engine, or a natural force" as equivalent for the purposes of determining long-distance travel pace. The rider of the broom could be considered to have been granted a speed by magic under these rules, since they are traveling using the flying speed of a magic item. Notably, the carpet of flying, which is worded similarly, is listed as an example.

So how do we resolve this in combat?

Despite none of these options strictly applying, I have a hard time seeing where granting a 50 ft flying speed (hover) would give bad results. In practice, this is what I would recommend using.

If you are the DM and you'd like something with more precision under the existing rules, I'd additionally recommend slightly modifying the wording to make it clear to the player how the broom can be used. If you want to treat it as a flying speed, make it explicitly grant that. If you want to treat it as a controlled mount, explicitly state that.

Addendum: Can the broom be remotely controlled?

Not well. The broom can be sent to a particular location, and recalled, but the use of a command word for both tasks indicates that there is no room for interpretation or nuance besides giving it a destination and letting it loose.

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    \$\begingroup\$ On possible difference between using a broom vs. having a fly speed is that you probably need at least one hand to hold onto the broom. On Critical Role (first season), the Ranger (Vex) solved this problem with a saddle / stirrups attached to the broom (designed by a gunslinger party member), and a surfboard-like tether, leaving her hands free for archery without having to make a dex check to avoid falling off. (That was how they houseruled the situation). more info on the wiki page for the broom \$\endgroup\$ Mar 2 '20 at 14:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think Laura Bailey is perhaps a huge Harry Potter nerd and was hoping Matt Mercer would let her introduce Quidditch to Whitestone. \$\endgroup\$
    – user57505
    Mar 2 '20 at 16:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ Since there's no mention of free hands in the text for the broom, I think it's hard to say that you need to do anything but straddle it RAW. As a DM, I did add that requirement when I homebrewed a similar item. I think perhaps the DMG broom is more vague than it should be. \$\endgroup\$
    – 1600hp
    Mar 2 '20 at 17:03
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A Flying Broom doesn't meet the requirements to be a mount under 5e:

A knight charging into battle on a warhorse, a wizard casting spells from the back of a griffon, or a cleric soaring through the sky on a pegasus all enjoy the benefits of speed and mobility that a mount can provide. A willing creature that is at least one size larger than you and that has an appropriate anatomy can serve as a mount, using the following rules.

The description of the Flying Broom also clearly states that it is an item. Vehicles, or at the few that I looked at, all have the 'vehicle' tag.

The Flying Broom is simply item that provides a flying speed, can hover and has that nifty 'fly somewhere and come back when I command' feature.

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    \$\begingroup\$ To note it: @JeremyECrawford on Twitter: "The flying broom doesn't give you a speed or increase your speed.". \$\endgroup\$
    – Nat
    Mar 2 '20 at 7:27
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For completeness' sake, handling the Broom at my table works by adding the following text to the Broom's description:

  • The Broom is not a mount or a vehicle. It can't move more than its speed per round.
  • Whoever the Broom is carrying has a hovering speed equal to the Broom's.

In essence, this gives one of the players a 50ft flight (hover) speed (which can't be increased by Dashing). Tremendously useful item, and doesn't break the game.

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