The Li'l Ones in TTRPGs

Louise of Rogue Hobbies recently made an excellent video about cute minis in Warhammer 40k.

And yes: everyone loves cute li'l critters. And I have a couple of stories from tabletop RPG game sessions to share about that.

The Miniature Pig

I love designing and running fun house dungeons. Oddity and humour are just my brands when it comes to old school games. Oh, yeah, and also killing player characters. I have a reputation for that as well, but apparently not in a negative way because players keep coming back to my table again and again.


In my adventure Proteus Sinking there is an item that can be found that truly everyone has loved when I've run it.

It's a box made up as a pig pen, containing two things. A small glass marble that gives off a weak and warm light, and a full grown pig the size of a guinea pig.

Everyone wants the pig. I kid you not. Players have no trouble dividing other finds and treasures between them, but I've had parties implode because the characters are trying to kill each other over who gets the pig. It's insane. And hilarious.

The Dead Pug

Another dungeon I ran was focused around mummies. And also a tortoise dragon and invisible arm/eye people and... But mummies! Most mummies were dangerous, of course. Then there was that one who had just woken up and started walking about and gotten lost. And then there was the mummified pug.

A shy little creature that barked as well as it could (really just a wheeze because its throat was mostly rotted away) and proved loyal to the first adventurer who gave it a sausage. The sausage was chewed up and fell out through the throat, but the pug was happy.

That adventurer made sure the pug was safe in encounters and took it with her to other adventures that followed.

The Tardigrades

Tardigrades are pretty cool. In an environment dominated by volcanic craters and acid pools and streams I placed out a whole bunch of two-foot long tardigrades. Big, ballooney things that didn't do anything but crawl around and eat small organic things.

Oh, boy were they popular. They were virtually immune to anything but physical trauma; magic, heat, cold, acid, you name it. And the players absolutely adored them. One character emptied a large bag of loot just to pack eight of them in it to bring along. They had the bright idea of using them to test for traps, but when one died in a spike trap they didn't want to do it any more. The group would rather suffer damage to characters, henchmen, and hirelings than to those wonderful little critters.

Why Do We Love Them?

I dunno. I've seen players get attached to weird and unique items too, especially if the items don't serve a useful purpose.

I guess the li'l guys are just adorable. Maybe they awaken some instinct in us? Pretend kittens, in a way. I can't really explain it. What do you think?

-- CC0 Björn Wärmedal