Maybe it’s raining outside and you’ve got a warm herbal tea clutched for comfort. Perhaps you have a picnic basket full of treats and are heading to a meadow. Or maybe you’re just sitting around a table with friends looking to chill out on a sunny afternoon. Whatever the circumstances, the perfect pairing to a relaxing day is a wholesome RPG.
- Cozy Town
- BFF! Best Friends Forever
- Golden Sky Stories
- Felt, Friendship and Feelings
- Animon Story
- Verdant Isles: Teatime Adventures
- Magical Kitties Save The Day
Wholesome RPGs offer something without the intense combat from your weekly D&D game, without the darker themes of a horror title, or evil monsters lurking around every corner. This doesn’t mean the games aren’t complex, or that they don’t deal with deep emotions or even sometimes have fights. Each wholesome RPG on this list merely encourages a wholesome playing environment through its mechanics or setting.
We’ve put together ten lighthearted RPGs to bring you joy, fun memories and maybe even some tea recommendations. Whether you’re ready to become magical kittens or teenage witches, there’s a cosy title fit for your group.
1. Cozy Town
A wholesome RPG for Animal Crossing and Stardew Valley fans
In video games there is one title that has the wholesome crown and that is Animal Crossing. What if we told you there’s an RPG where you can also create a charming little village to potter around in, enjoy the seasons and meet sweet villagers? Enter Cozy Town, a game that opens by recommending that you grab things like sweets, tea and blankets to set a cosy atmosphere before playing. What a start.
Cozy Town is an RPG about building a wholesome community with friends. You start out by creating a setting and deciding who you are; maybe you’ll be talking cats in an ancient temple, fairies that live on Jupiter's moon or pigs that laze around in the warm waters of a tropical island.
From there you can fill out some details of your town. Perhaps there’s a magical bakery full of colourful pastries using fruits from far-away places, or a vast observatory with a giant glass dome home to delicate flowers, a huge telescope and comfy cushions strewn round for watching shooting stars. This stage of the game is about everyone jumping in with ideas to create somewhere comforting before you get into the specifics of seasons and rounds of play. You finish off here by thinking of some friends who visit, your transport and finally you populate a calendar with cute events.
By now you have a place you probably want to abandon reality for. (I may have got sidetracked writing this entry to daydream a little about a town of acorn people living in a sun-dappled forest glade. But that’s okay, that’s what Cozy Town is all about!)
Once you’ve established your town, it’s time to watch it grow and change over a year. Each season is split into suits of cards: hearts for spring, clubs for autumn and so on. Players take turns drawing a card and consulting the town oracle to see what happens. Maybe you draw the three of clubs and see that several townsfolk wish to leave for an adventure, so you describe how the town prepared to help them. Perhaps in winter you get the ten of spades and must describe a charming new healing house that’s being built.
Once you’ve pulled your card and described the situation you can finish your turn by either describing a feature of the town that grows or changes, a friend who visits for a little while or how the town prepares for an upcoming event. After that the next person pulls a card and once everyone has had a turn you move onto the next season.
Cozy Town is simple, sweet and utterly charming. Whether playing alone or with friends, this is a wholesome RPG you’ll want to curl up with again and again.
Buy Cozy Town from Rae Nedjadi's Itch.io page.
The perfect roleplaying remedy
If you’re a big fan of indie RPGs or have looked into solo journaling games, you’ve probably come across Apothecaria, an RPG where you play as a witch crafting potions to heal local people. That could very easily have made this list, but instead we’ve got something even cuter: Apawthecaria, where you play as a beast wandering the Scottish countryside creating remedies to help your fellow creatures.
You can be anything from a lizard to a badger, a newt to a skylark, and have a familiar to join you. Maybe you’re an otter with a mouse familiar setting off to collect ingredients for your mentor, or following in the footsteps of a fellow Poultice Pounder who inspired you.
Like its predecessor, Apawthecaria is set up to be played alone. You journal your experiences as you play, but you could always sit down with a friend to fill up notebooks together and discuss your experiences. Or, if you do want to play in a group, you’ll be pleased to know that multiplayer has now been added. There are various modes to open up play to your group. You can send letters, acting as pen pals as you document your experience together, or become a caravan of travelling Poultice Pounder where you share ideas of what happens during each encounter.
Apawthecaria is played using a deck of cards to determine what happens to you on your journey and you fill in the rest with your imagination. You and friends will be travelling through a fantastical version of Scotland, picking flowers in wide open meadows, dipping into refreshing lochs and even exploring the ruins from mysterious beings that left the land long ago.
Along the way you’ll meet creatures who need your help. You diagnose their ailment, research possible cures using your almanack and then set off to find the right ingredients, filling a basket with crab apples and forget-me-nots, all before the timer on their illness runs out. Don’t worry, though: the patient won’t die, but there will be consequences such as spreading an illness to someone else or your reputation going down. That doesn’t stop you from continuing your mission of helping the folk you encounter. Of course, it’s not all work; you can also enjoy downtime of exploring the woods, relaxing with friends or lending a paw to an NPC.
Between the peaceful foraging, the exciting adventures, and being a cute critter, Apawthecaria is perfect for anyone looking to relive their childhood reading Redwall and getting mud on their boots.
Buy Apawthecaria from Anna Blackwell's Itch.io page.
3. BFF! Best Friends Forever
Relive memories of a wholesome childhood with friends
When we think of wholesome experiences it’s easy for the mind to drift back to fond memories in childhood. A time when we felt carefree, when we bubbled up with joy, when we laughed with friends until our faces hurt. Making friendship bracelets and running around with ice cream dripping down our chin might be behind us most of the time, but the RPG BFF! Best Friends Forever asks us to spend a few hours heading back to those light-hearted times.
You play as a group of friends hanging out, having fun and exploring their relationships to each other. BFF is unique to most RPGs in that it actually has physical pieces. It’s a visually inspiring game with charms to add to your bracelets and watercolour paintings to get lost in. Literally.
The way you develop your BFFs is to pick a character piece then select a charm, such as a fried egg or rocket, and tell the group how that represents you. Next, the person to your right hands you a charm and describes something they like about your character and uses the piece to represent that. It’s a very freeing way of developing characters, with plenty of room to grow and change as you play. Your bracelet can have charms swapped out as you learn something new about yourself or no longer feel connected to something.
Once you’ve made your group it’s time to have fun. You pick one of the locations from the massive map - such as having a sleepover in Tiffy’s house, going on a roadtrip or even hanging out online. Then you flick through the book to that location and start hanging out. Each place has a certain rule, such as a parent coming upstairs if you get too loud.
It’s very much a game of improv like most RPGs are, but Best Friends Forever definitely lets you get creative. There’s no GM to decide what happens. Instead, you take it in turns playing cards from your hand that inspire your actions. These Friendship cards come in four categories and can cover anything from sharing a tradition and making up a dance to asking for advice and playing a prank. Basically you’re building scenes together, telling small stories of adolescence, exploring friendships and letting out your inner child for a few hours.
Next time you want a chill day with friends watching Disney movies and eating ice cream consider adding BFF! Best Friends Forever to the table.
Buy BFF! Best Friends Forever from publisher Heart of the Deernicorn.
4. Golden Sky Stories
Channel the wholesome vibes of Studio Ghibli movies in this relaxing RPG
In the heart of the Japanese countryside, cicadas hum, a cool wind blows and you and your animal friends are looking out onto a road. No-one seems to be around. You take a deep breath and transform into human versions of your animal selves and set off into the local village ready to help. Welcome to Golden Sky Stories!
This is an RPG about being Henge, animals who can transform into humans who use their powers to help local townsfolk. It’s one for people who love slice-of-life anime as you explore a rural town, soaking up Japanese culture from shops to wildlife to small gods.
Let’s get back to the thing we’re all most excited for: being adorable animals. There are six example Henge in the book, including foxes, racoon dogs and cats, each with unique powers they can use to make the world a better place.
While you may enjoy some time hanging out in a forest getting up to fox business, your main goal in Golden Sky Stories is to grow relationships with people by helping them. That can be each other and fellow Henge, less magical animals, minor gods who reside over rivers and shrines, or, most commonly, the people who live in your local town. They are ordinary folk dealing with all sorts of problems from a kid being bullied at school to a shopkeeper's cabbages going missing.
You won’t be facing evil corporations or fighting deadly monsters here. Golden Sky Stories is described as a game of ‘small stories’. The stakes are low, the location is limited and stories can be set over just a few hours. It’s all about focusing on the magic of the mundane and getting cosy with small-scale adventures.
It’s also very reminiscent of wholesome stories from Studio Ghibli like My Neighbor Totoro or Kiki’s Delivery Service. Anyone who’s watched PomPoko will be even more familiar. Golden Sky Stories takes a lot of inspiration from these tales. The idea of ‘ma’ that Miyazaki discusses in his film - moments of peace and quiet, of breathing space - are part of what make the films particularly comforting and Golden Sky Stories is set up perfectly to experience those. You can take a moment to watch the sunset with new friends, to enjoy honey bees buzzing around flowers, to feel the cool water of a stream as you splash around with local kids. Golden Sky Stories is a chance to live out your own Ghibli-esque adventure, where nature and magic collide.
Buy Golden Sky Stories on DriveThruRPG.
Head off on an animal adventure
Anyone who’s taken a road trip with friends knows that arriving at your destination is the worst part. It’s the sharing of gas station snacks, blasting your favourite songs and seeing the world drift by that you really cherish. Well, what if there was an entire game where you and your friends never had to stop meandering your way through the world, letting reality disappear and focusing on the journey rather than the destination?
In Wanderhome, where you’re going isn’t as important as just going. It’s a road trip adventure through a cosy world of animal folk where you’ll find sunny meadows, herds of bumblebees and gentle adventure.
Wanderhome is set in the world of Haeth, but this isn’t somewhere with great lore you need to study - it’s merely a framework to build your own experiences. You all decide what your group discovers on their journey, inspired by the building blocks suggested, encountering anything from a tavern or castle to a lagoon or glen. Each location is then filled out with aesthetics and folklore by you. So you could find an orchard full of prismatic butterflies and a prophetic peach tree, or a well-tended shrine that houses a sleeping god.
To go on this journey together you play as an animal with a certain role or personality from one of 15 playbooks. Perhaps you’ll be The Moth Tender who looks after fluffy wards who deliver post or The Poet who wants to capture the beauty of the world into words.
No-one has to be a GM or guide to facilitate this adventure; everyone takes it in turns describing places and becoming NPCs by answering the questions laid out in Wanderhome’s book. It’s set up to make improvising easy even for those new or nervous about the idea. One person can absolutely take on a leadership role if you’d prefer, but everyone gets an equal say during the game of where they want to go and what they find there.
For anyone who grew up lost in stories of Redwall or Brambly Hedge. Of woodland critters eating loaves of fresh bread and catching minnows in the river, whose biggest worry was what they should have for afternoon tea. Or for anyone who catches themselves breathless at a sunset, who pauses to watch dragonflies dance in the sun or revels in the magic of everyday things. Wanderhome welcomes you with open arms, with rosehip tea on the stove, and a comfy seat on the wagon and asks, “Will you take this journey with me?”
Buy Wanderhome from publisher Possum Creek Games.
6. Felt, Friendship and Feelings
An RPG that will give you a fuzzy feeling inside and out
Many of us have fond childhood memories of watching fuzzy puppets on TV shows, in movies and maybe in real life. They’re colourful characters with memorable personalities who, while getting up to all sorts of wacky nonsense, always teach us to be better people: to share, to care, to love and to learn.
Felt, Friendship and Feelings is a comedic RPG about being these puppetfolk. A game is set up to feel like an episode of TV as you tell your fuzzy story over one to two hours, starting in some kind of wacky situation that you and your puppet friends have to deal with, running into complications along the way, interacting with each other and generally having fun being puppet people.
But puppets aren't just there to be funny. You also tell your story by working together and sharing emotions.
If you’re newer to freeform improv, don’t worry - there are story guides that help conjure up fun stories without the need for a GM to prep a session. Felt, Friendship and Feelings also has a great way to keep your improv moving towards the common goal; roleplay should always either develop characters, move the story forward or add some humour to the situation. So the professor puppet might be solving a Rubik's Cube and teaching the bunny puppet a new skill, while the dog puppet steals a string of sausages in the background.
To see how your puppetry pals deal with the problems they encounter, sometimes you’ll roll a d6. One puppet can make a skill check per scene but another puppet can always help them. To do a skill check you get to use your adorable skills and explain how you use it to solve the problem at hand, for example by using ‘Make a thing’ to craft a paper mache banana to distract a monkey. If you don’t succeed the dice roll, someone else at the table describes a complication that arises which can create really fun scenarios. Oh no, the monkey notices that you’re a pineapple puppet and goes after you instead, carrying you off up a palm tree! No matter what, adventures always succeed in the end. This is a happy experience.
Character creation is just as fast and fun as playing, so you can fall in love with a character quickly and jump into your adventure. You can be any kind of puppet person, anthropomorphic animal or an alien or monster - cookies optional of course. You also get a concept, such as a hobby or job your character has - like a Swedish Chef or banjo-playing frog.
This is an RPG for laughing until you cry with friends, for generating weird inside jokes no one else will ever understand and for being vulnerable with the people you care about.
Buy Felt, Friendship and Feelings on DriveThruRPG.
Form a coven of witches in a magical school
Are you and friends always sharing the latest slice-of-life anime with each other, have you ever dreamt of attending a magic school or do you basically already describe your friend group as a coven? Well, your wholesome RPG choice has got to be Cantrip, a coming-of-age game about witches at a magical academy.
It’s all about facing low-stakes, lighthearted scenarios with satisfying resolutions - so perfect for a chill session when you want to roleplay but can’t face your ranger dying again. Maybe you’ll be dealing with a mysterious portal that opened up in potions class, organising the school play after the lead dropped out or tracking down your enchantment essay you suspect a pesky fairy stole.
Cantrip blends the mundane with the magical like this a lot - so you have creatures from ghouls to goblins on the school grounds but also have a phone and can take shopping trips to the local mall.
One of the great things about Cantrip is that it’s another game you can play without a GM. All it requires is a facilitator to have a final say on any rules, and generally make sure everyone is having a good time. There’s no need for them to prep tons of stuff before play; you all get to create the academy and characters together and improvise the rest using Cantrip’s ‘moves’. From a ghost seeking help from students to a witch pulling off a prank, there are tons of these moves throughout the book that inspire play. After picking a few you’ll find yourself deep in a whimsical adventure without having a GM organising a plot beforehand.
Of course, the main reason to play is the setting. We’ve all dreamed of having magic flow through our fingertips and roaming the halls of an academy getting into hijinks with goblins. Cantrip is incredibly flexible so you can create any kind of aesthetic you want. The school is always situated near a human town for added fun and has creatures and teachers in the classrooms but the rest is up to your coven. Have a lakeside castle with giant pumpkins sprouting from the ground or a floating island in the sky where stained glass windows shine in the morning sun.
Your personal brand of magic is just as flexible. You can wave a wand and chant incantations, use colourful beads to cast your spells, dance and summon spirits, whatever you can imagine you can do.
We’ve saved the best until last, which is creating your witch. The playbooks help you develop characters using different archetypes such as The Hedge, a potion-brewer obsessed with mushrooms, or The Breaker, a witch who loves causing chaos with their spells.
Whoever you play, Cantrip is sure to be wholesome fun, filled with exciting adventures, cosy moments and a whole lot of magic. So grab your spell book, your closest coven and start playing.
Buy Cantrip from SoulMuppet Publishing.
8. Animon Story
A wholesome RPG for Pokémon and Digimon fans
We’re continuing with games for lovers of wholesome anime and cartoons with Animon Story. This is the RPG to play for anyone who grew up crowded around a Game Boy Advance sharing their team of little monsters with friends, who shared snacks while watching Ash catch ‘em all, or who had stacks of cards with cute critters on and no idea what to do with them. That’s right, it’s a Pokémon-style RPG!
Animon Story is about kids and their monsters growing together and working with friends to save the day. There can be combat, but nothing that crosses a line your favourite Saturday morning cartoon wouldn’t, so it’s still the perfect wholesome experience to enjoy with friends. One person GMs, running a fun adventure, and everyone else picks kids to play - from The Book Worm, who’s always lost in stories, to The Little Kid, who may be small but has a lot to prove.
From there we get into the best bit: creating your very own Animon. All of us with Pokémon OCs scribbled in notebooks can finally shine. Animons are creatures from another world, who evolve through the friendship they share with a human friend. They can be anything from a celestial to a plant to a beast or machine; you can get really creative with your little friend.
This wouldn’t be a monster-taming game without getting into a few scraps. So you’ll also develop their signature attack which can look like anything. A Poison Strike attack could be something from a frog creature licking with their poisonous tongue to a demonic fiend sending out noxious purple bubbles.
While you fight in these Animon battles and face difficult situations, this is still very much a game rooted in telling a good story with friends. Animon always heal, friendships can always be remade and when the session ends you’ll come away with fun new memories and feel better. Who wouldn’t when you’re spending the day hanging out with cute critters?
As a new edition Animon Story has only recently funded on Kickstarter it will be a little while until you can get your hands on the updated version, but there is a free playtest to check out right now so you can dive into a short adventure if waiting seems impossible. When there’s the possibility of finally having an adorable monster companion, it’s hard to be patient.
Buy Animon Story from Zak Barouh's Itch.io page.
9. Verdant Isles: Teatime Adventures
A deliciously delightful RPG
Grab a mug of tea for this one; a chamomile would pair perfectly. Verdant Isles: Teatime Adventures is a game, world and series of stories to get lost in for hours at a time.
The Verdant Isles setting is perfect for any group who wants to immerse themselves in an already bustling world. There’s an established history worthy of any fairytale. There’s a yearly calendar filled with festivals you’ll wish were real, from gathering to admiring birds doing aerial acrobatics to a musical Festival of Thunder. Every location is rich in lore, whether it’s the ancient tree in the Broken Heart Desert to the amber that runs through Alpengreen creating strong ties to magic.
You can wield magic here. There are a total of 50 spells with ties to five elements so you can do anything from stopping hiccups to altering your appearance. If you want a game that feels like curling up with an incredible fantasy novel, this is the one for you.
To run these Teatime Adventures you need one GM to guide the group and the rest are players. But they won’t be humans. Instead, you pick from one of the magical ancestries, such as the elegant deerfolk or fairy-like Floradrops. You’ll also pick a wholesome occupation, such as crafting as an Artist or developing an affinity to the creatures on the isles with Fauna Friendship.
There are skills too, but anyone familiar with other d20 systems such as Dungeons & Dragons 5E will feel right at home - and those who are new will quickly settle into life in Verdant Isles or can take inspiration from the selection of friendly NPCs at the back of the book.
Once you have your characters and a wonderful world to explore, there’s one place you’ll probably start and that’s the quaint village of Oakenbend. That’s because the four intriguing adventures all take place here. Each one comes with its own tea pairing to set the mood for the journey. If that’s not the perfect wholesome experience, we don’t know what is. Perhaps you’ll brew a pot of green tea and solve the mystery of the fey spirit causing trouble, or cosy up with a chai tea and take part in the Oakenbend Pie Competition.
Don’t worry: if you get hungry thinking of all those delicious pastries, you can make one of the cosy recipes dotted throughout the book, from warm breads to sweet cakes. This is a game that encourages you to eat delicious snacks and buy even more tea. It doesn’t get better than that.
Buy Verdant Isles: Teatime Adventures from publisher Snowbright Studio.
10. Magical Kitties Save The Day
An RPG that will leave you purring with contentment
Sometimes there is danger in the world; sometimes evil witches wait in the darkness, aliens sneak into the world and kids get scared. Luckily, there’s always someone out there to help them. Magical Kitties Save The Day is an RPG about being ferocious felines with powers who secretly help hopeless humans.
You and your friends pick a GM to run the world and the rest of you create cute cat characters. You could be anything from a fluffy Norwegian Forest Cat named Biscuit to a hairless sphynx named Ruby. Whatever kind of kitty you want to be, you can be. But you don’t just get the fun of padding around like a cat - these are magical creatures so you also get powers, from laser eyes to slipping into human dreams.
You need a human to save, too - this is who you live with and look after, even if they think it’s the other way around. Most cat owners will be familiar with cats disappearing seemingly at will and silently prowling, so it’s not too much of a reach to believe they have secret lives of their own. Of course, they can also be chaos goblins. They’re complex beasts.
Now you just need somewhere for your kitties to roam. The GM develops a hometown for adventures to take place and leads the kitties on whatever hijinks they can think of - or you can jump into one of the exciting published stories, such as a sleepy town where humans are disappearing into library books or a leafy suburb where aliens invade. The main thing you need is a problem to solve, otherwise the kitties don’t have much to do. Although a session of the cats having fun lazing around their neighbourhood catching mice and stealing ice cream could still be great.
You can get really creative with this RPG. It doesn't have to be a standard city, this is a game about magical kitties after all. Some suggestions in the book include Fantastica - a town based on fairy tales where the kitties stop giants and wicked step parents - or the Wild West, so kitties can help cowboys stop rustlers and bank robbers.
Magical Kitties Save The Day is the perfect game for cat lovers big and small to have fantastical adventures, always knowing they can save the day and have a saucer of milk afterwards.