Elden Ring's lovable living pots are pure body horror in Shadow of the Erdtree

Elden Ring living jar
(Image credit: Bandai Namco)

Pot Boys, Pot Friends, Clay Bros, Cauldron Cuzs, Living Jars… it doesn't matter what you call them: they seem nice. They were among the first memes to spawn from Elden Ring and it's little wonder, because they're a species of sentient and occasionally violent pot. It's like Hayao Miyazaki and Lewis Carroll collaborated, and then, I dunno, Eli Roth barged in. Or, to put laboured references aside, it's like Hayataka Miyazaki having a normal one.

A brief appearance in the first Elden Ring gameplay video vastly undersold how very many Pot Friends there ended up being in the base game, which is no bad thing because one can never be under-equipped with ceramic vessels, sentient or not. Even the Pot Friends who attack us in Elden Ring are charming: their moveset is lumbering and predictable so that if a Pot Friend hurts you it's definitely your own stupid fault. Pot Friends are hilarious, gorgeous, whimsical, bumbling treasures, are they not? 

No: Pot Friends are nightmares. When I played Shadow of the Erdtree recently, I encountered a subterranean gaol full of giant pots, which brought great joy at first. The gaol was miserable, after all. There was an elderly man crying somewhere in the distance. Some light ceramic relief was definitely in order. Alas, nostalgic encounters with conscious clay vessels were not in my waters that day.

Because that's exactly what the pots are: they are vessels. Living Jars are not, as it turns out, sentient pots. The living parts of them—the things inside the pot, not the pot itself—are unspeakable shapeshifting hunks of gore that have learned to commandeer pots towards their own freakish ends. Oh, and they fuck you up too, in the fashion of these things that FromSoft simply love to put in every single one of their videogames.

Apparently this isn't new knowledge. According to the Living Jar fandom page, they've always been "brought to life by human flesh and blood". Another corroborating moment in the base game comes when you interact with Alexander, Warrior Jar after Radahn is felled. I missed this moment myself, but apparently Alexander all but confirms (via VG 24/7) that the pots are basically fuelled by the gelatinous gibs of slain humans. “As luck would have it, there's a veritable mountain of warriors' bodies right here. If I can just squeeze this bunch down inside me, I'll be a mighty warrior again in no time.”

If you were hoping the Warrior Jar's words during that encounter were shrouded in poetic allusion, open to interpretation, and certainly not to be taken literally, then I hate to be the bearer of bad news. The pots really are just full of reanimated chunks of dead people. Sometimes it's better not to know, but sometimes it's painful to know alone. Hence, why I share this with you.

Shaun Prescott

Shaun Prescott is the Australian editor of PC Gamer. With over ten years experience covering the games industry, his work has appeared on GamesRadar+, TechRadar, The Guardian, PLAY Magazine, the Sydney Morning Herald, and more. Specific interests include indie games, obscure Metroidvanias, speedrunning, experimental games and FPSs. He thinks Lulu by Metallica and Lou Reed is an all-time classic that will receive its due critical reappraisal one day.