Trash Pals

Published 7/4/22

I am all for cute animals, but playing them in a trash heist is pure ttrpg gold. This game was created by gothHoblin on and published December 16th, 2021 using the Caltrop-Core (created by Titanomachy) rules system. What got me interested originally was the game's slogan "A Caltrop core RPG of Eating Trash and Doing Crimes." That slogan and the fox image on the logo was enough for me to tell my Thursday ttrpg group that we had to try a new game. The game itself is a 6 page (or 10 depending on which layout you use) booklet, and when downloading off of you also get a one page character sheet specifically created for Trash Pals and an additional 2 page document with more playable animals (more details on that later).

There is a lot of love for this game from me. This fun caltrop game is where you get to live your fantasy of eating trash and doing crimes as cute (or not so cute urbanized) creatures. The main book has you picking from four animals (or an additional 4 from the “More Pals” pdf) whom you will embody for the epic and noble quest for trash. This Caltrop Core based game relies on your skills and narrative abilities to play a game where you see if you can collect enough trash to make your hungry heart happy. Recommended game time is between 1-3 hours and can be played in a variety of ways. Play with one GM, or no GM where the players take turns doing the story telling roles. I recommend 4 players as a good max number, and 2 players as the min number. Remember that there does not have to be a gm so it could be 2 players role playing with each other instead of one gm and one player.

On the trash pals page there is even a Spotify play list of music that Goth Hoblin has curated to help bring some music to your Trash Pals gaming experience.


You will be using your d4’s to see if your proposed actions were successes or failures, to advance time and to overall play the game. Unlike other table top games the only dice that you will use are the cute triangle caltrops (four sided dice) that are overlooked in other games. The number of dice rolled depends on the stats of your trash pal. Each trash pal race has its own “Special Move” as well, making each species unique in its own way. Overall you play for “12 hours” to see if you and your trash pals can collect enough trash to feed themselves, with your customizable prized trash and need for trash for your pal.

The tools:

  • A Trash Pals Character sweet & Pencil

  • Game Booklet (with optional “More Pals” pdf

  • Your imagination

  • Between 1 - 4 four sided dice (d4)

Playing the game

The GM (or the players if you are play a GMless game) roll a d4 on the Locations table to determine the overall environment of your game. Next each “Scene” has a d4 rolled to see how much trash is to be plundered and a d4 to determine the number of obstacles of the scene (which does not need to be apparent or present at the start of the scene).

Then the fun begins. Using the information just rolled, the players work through that scene using Roleplay, d4’s and their smarts to overcome the obstacles and claim the treasured trash as theirs.

At the end of each scene the GM rolls a d4 to determine how much time has passed (in increments of hours). Once 12 hours has passed then the night, and the game, is over.

A mechanic that I absolutely love is the “notice level” which is like a Wanted level (think Red Dead Redemption or Grand Theft Auto). Once your party has hit a notoriety of 4 then Animal Control is called, leading to the capture or flee scenario. This brings a level of realism into the game and brings a threat/consequence for reckless actions.

Character Creation

The main Trash Pals booklet has a chart that you can roll or select from for your trash pal species, talent, why you want trash and the favorite snack of your trash pal. If you are a chaos DM like me, I also let my players expand on the last two options (why they want trash and favorite snack) if they have their own ideas, though nothing can bet Goth Hoblin’s “Need Trash for the Trash God” logic. Each species and talent gives you a bonus die in one or more of the character statistics. A Trash Pals character has 4 statistics which are: senses, cute, body and smart. The more dice given through character building means that you will roll more d4’s for that particular stat, and more dice means a higher rate of success. In addition, each animal gets a special move that can be attempted once per game. I personally like that the Fox’s special move is “window licker” but Racoon’s “breaking and entering” is true Trash Panda gold.

If you can’t get enough of the original 4 animal species then you're in luck as “More Pals” adds on skunk, lost chihuahua, rat and pigeon (rat of the sky) to your trashy pals' options. Each comes with their own special move to help your trashy heists​ and their two stats that get their +1 d4s.

The character species options are fun and though I personally have my favorite, each seems well balanced and each “special move” for the different animals has an equal chance of bringing that epic moment to the table. This caltrop core has my fox paws of approval. Bringing such fun animal creatures to life with our imagination was so easy using GothHoblin’s “Trash Pals”.

The character sheet was cleanly laid out and had space for all of the information you needed, allowing a player to copy their animal stats/move/etc. onto the character sheet and not to need anything besides that sheet accompanied by dice.

Thoughts from the Fox

Trash pals was definitely a love at first sight for me as I was drawn to the bright colors and the animals on the cover. I got Trash pals in a bundle from (the same bundle in which I first discovered the Caltrop Core). The catch frame was a chef’s kiss. After reading through the booklet and seeing the potential I messaged my Role Play heavy group and went “We got to play this game.” No matter which of the four settings you play through the game is fun and has a variety of things that your players could encounter. The digital art and design that went into the game is eye catching and is fun to look at ion top of Trash Pals being well written and easy to understand.

I am a big fan of rules lite, role play heavy games. Trash Pals has just the right amount of suggestion to help get games started and set up a scene but still allows you and your players to go on the trash adventure of your dreams. The four stats that your characters have give enough coverage for your players to try different stunts all in the name of Trash. There is not enough stars for me to give this game in rating. Not only does it use precious animals as your main characters it is a clever caltrop core game that allows you to live your "Over the Hedge" game fantasies. My players also opted for the "Live Fast or Die Trying" rule where they decided to zero out a stat for a bonus elsewhere. This has also created moments of mayhem and comedic gold. The optional rule is definitely not for everyone as an automatic failure can be in moments devastating.

Trash Pals has become one of my favorite Caltrop Core games. Not only has my Dungeon Fox Crew played two games of this (one off and one on Twitch), this is also one of the TTRPGs I use at school with my kiddos. My students have absolutely loved the ability to become chaotic animals in Trash Pals and we have been exploring the Rural and Suburban settings in numerous sessions.

How to get your own and How to find Goth Hoblin

You can find GothHoblin on Twitter @gothhoblin. I purchased my copy of Trash Pals as part of the TTRPGs for Reproductive Rights on You own copy of Trash Pals here for “name your own price.” You can also find GothHoblin’s other creations such as Space Taxi (Caltrop Core), The Haunting of Muriel Cottage (5e adventure) and College of Counter Culture (5e subclass) on their page as well.

You can find our community game play through here.