Eldritch Pets title image - puppy

Review of Eldritch Pets, a tabletop RPG for raising cute (and otherworldly) pets!

Eldritch Pets is a rules-lite journaling tabletop RPG that’s all about raising a cute and terrible little creature!  Roll for random prompts that affect your pet’s corruption level and your character’s ability to handle said corruption as you delve into the world of the weird and oddly cute.

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Eldritch Pets can be played with kids or adults (reading/writing required)

Eldritch Pets can be played with kids (who doesn’t want that adorable tentacle kitty for a pet) or adults who would probably get a lot of the prompt references.  

There’s no fighting, and the primary focus is taking care of your tiny horror.  The prompts ask about how you met your pet or how you handle your pet trying to munch on the vet… again… so they’re pretty funny and lighthearted even with the quirky setting.  However, because it can get a little weird, I do recommend that you review to make sure you’re OK with it and make any adjustments that you want up front.  

My kid (4yo) has been really into mildly spooky stuff recently (Halloween is just around the corner), so he really got into this game.  I tweaked only one prompt in the list because it talked about nightmares, and he’s been having some bad dreams recently, and everything else worked out great for his level.

Eldritch Pet’s otherworldly setting

Eldritch Pets is, as the name implies, set in the world of *cute* eldritch horrors!  Along with other pets, this world contains Cathulu, Cobricue, and, the one that we got from the table, Gobogecko, the one pulsating one-eyed bipedal gecko!  

Eldritch Pets - cathulu

From the pets to the prompts, this game has a wonderfully unique setting that meshes cute and weird, making it cozy enough to play with kids and journal up an awesome bond with your tiny abomination while also being kind of fun-creepy at the same time! 

Your character in Eldritch Pets

In Eldritch Pets, you can pick a character from the roll tables or roll 1d6 to choose one randomly.  Each character gets a certain set of bonuses or modifiers that can help (or maybe hinder a bit) while taking care of your creepy critter… and each one also has some fun flavor text to give them a bit of personality.

Beyond these modifiers, there’s nothing else to track for your character (except their sanity, which we’ll discuss in mechanics), which was perfect for playing with my kid – we didn’t need to track a character sheet or any stats, so he was able to roll and play without being worried about having to check versus a number sheet.

In our game, we played The Professor, so we started the game with a little extra sanity and the ability to ignore the consequences of a single duplicate roll.  This came in handy later, and my kid also liked pretending to be a “scientist engineer professor” as he answered the prompts.

Rules lite but effective mechanics in Eldritch Pets

Tracking pet corruption and character sanity

As you play Eldritch Pets, you use a 1d20 to roll up random scenarios from a list provided with the game.  Each of those scenarios gives you two things: a prompt to journal on AND some kind of impact to your pet’s corruption level and your character’s sanity level. 

If the prompt is about your pet doing something nice, their corruption would decrease, but if they’re being particularly creepy, it goes up.  If your character handles it well, their sanity goes up (improves), but if they’re creeped out or giving into the creepiness, their sanity would decrease by a certain amount of points.

All of this is tracked in a REALLY fun way – there’s a giant tentacle printed on the prompt sheet, and the suction cups on it are numbers to track corruption and sanity.  You just need to move your marker (which could be a spare die, a coin, a piece of paper, etc) up and down the number of points indicated in the prompt that you roll.  At most, they’re moving maybe two spaces at a time, so this was really easy for my kid to understand, and it was a great visualization for how far his character and pet were in the game. 

Now, what does corruption and sanity mean in the end?  

If your pet becomes too corrupted and you miss a corruption roll, they may be lost to the void or may escape in an attempt to take over the world!  However, if they are redeemed, they become your normal pet (except… maybe with some extra tentacles still)!

And for your character, their sanity determines what creates a happy ending for them.  If they’re doing OK by the end, they’re going to want their pet to be redeemed, but… if they go to the dark side… maybe they want to rule the world alongside their adorable abomination!

Amazing roll tables!

Eldritch Pets is primarily based on roll tables, and they are fantastic!  There’s tables for journal prompts (1d20) and for your pet (1d6) and profession (1d6), and all of them are injected with a good sense of slightly creepy humor.

Prompts like “What did your pet do to warm your heart without trying to eat it afterwards and why?” or one of the profession descriptions being “The Layman: No modifiers.  Good luck to ya’, mate” were a lot of fun to read through and gave us a very enjoyable game. 

Journaling letting you embrace and connect with your supernatural life form

For each prompt that you roll on the d20 table, you answer questions about your pet and write them down in a journal.  This helps give you a fun story to see at the end of your adventure AND it is a great way for kids to practice creative storytelling and writing.  

My kid can’t write yet (he’s only 4yo), so he narrated and I wrote for him.  He loved it.  We got to track his answers and show him that he basically had made a small book by the end that we could re-read later, if he wanted, and it was all his ideas!  It gave him a ton of freedom to answer how he wanted while also giving a nice frame for gameplay.

For kids who can write but who are maybe struggling to get motivation to do so, this is a really fun way to help with that.  The prompts aren’t super complicated to where they require a long answer, and it’s part of a game, so likely to be viewed as fun. 

What did my kid think about Eldritch Pets

Oh my gosh, this was great!  Like I said, my kid has been very interested in slightly creepy stuff (drawing ghosts and bats, making up stories about skeletons and spiders, etc), so this was perfect for touching on that vibe.  His pet for this game was the Gobogecko, a pulsating, one-eyed, bipedal gecko… and he loves that creepy gecko.

He was thrilled at getting asked questions and being able to point the story where he wanted, plus… he was able to track the corruption and sanity tracker by himself – he’s at a point where he wants to do everything without help now, so it was cool having a game with mechanics that he could understand and use. 

Overall thoughts on Eldritch Pets

Eldritch Pets is funny, weird, wonderful, and creepy while teaching kids how to care for a pet and practice writing and creative storytelling.  It has understandable and easy to access mechanics that are still enough to provide a great backbone for players to work through the awesome roll tables with.  Our family enjoyed this game, and we had a great time listening to all the zany antics that my kid came up with while playing!

Find a copy of Eldritch Pets

You can find Eldritch Pets here on itchio, and you can find the game’s creator on the Mama Newt twitter account.

Eldritch Pets title image - bunny

I hope you get the chance to check out and enjoy Eldritch Pets too!  Let me know below if you try it out and what your thoughts are!If you liked this post, make sure to subscribe to the TTRPGkids monthly newsletter to stay up to date on the latest reviews, tips and tricks, game and podcast list updates, and more! Thank you for playing tabletop RPGs with your kids and sharing this awesome hobby with the next generation!

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