The Shab-al-Hiri Roach is a dark comedy of manners, lampooning academia and asking players to answer a difficult question – are you willing to swallow a soul-eating telepathic insect bent on destroying human civilization?


Even if it will get you tenure?

A fast paced and hilarious game, The Shab-al-Hiri Roach requires no Game Master and can be played in a single evening. If you enjoy crazed one-upmanship, furious stake-setting, and chanting guttural commands in Sumerian, The Roach would like to have a word with you.

While this game—originally published in 2006— is no longer available in print, the digital edition is available on DrivethruRPG and Included with this download are PDFs for the rules, cards and character sheets.


  • Players: 3-8
  • GM-less
  • Time: 3-6 hours

What’s Included?

  • 78 page PDF of game rules
  • 6 page PDF of print and play cards
  • 2 page PDF character sheet


Kenneth Hite’s 2006 Outie Award as best sui generis game of the year!


Overlord Character Sheet

Overlord Character Sheet

80.55 KB 1677 Downloads
Roach Preview

Roach Preview

6.42 MB 4295 Downloads


A 2022 review of the Shab-al-Hiri Roach by Robert Mills of the UK Gamer Podcast


“If you like the idea of a roleplaying game that requires little set-up and no GM,  then I give it a green light. If this sounds attractive, go for it!  If you’ve ever done roleplaying and want to capture that again without a lot of hassle, I’ll strongly recommend The Shab-al-Hiri Roach.” – Scott Nicholson

“Everything about the game rules drip with theme, and every card reminds you that you will end up doing the Roach’s bidding…sooner or later. Brilliant.” – Chris Bennett

“What a winner of a game. I think this one’s top-notch.” – Ron Edwards

“Jason Morningstar’s The Shab-al-Hiri Roach… may be the best Lovecraftian RPG I’ve seen in several years.” – Ken Hite

“Overall, a lovely physical book and interesting game design. Play should be absolutely hilarious. Well worth a look.” – Mike Sands, Gamester at Large

“Worth playing: You bet. The satirical element is very entertaining, and the cockroach beckons.” – Thomas Munkholt

“The Shab al-Hiri Roach is the perfect game for blissful nonsense galore and I can’t wait to set fire to Pemberton University in my next game!” – Christoph Boeckle