The Shab-al-Hiri Roach

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The Shab-al-Hiri Roach
Designer(s) Jason Morningstar
Publisher(s) Bully Pulpit Games
Publication date 2006
Genre(s) Indie
System(s) custom

The Shab-al-Hiri Roach is a role-playing game by Jason Morningstar, independently published by Bully Pulpit Games.


The game is GM-less and designed for single-session play at the end of which a winner is determined. Its tone is black comedy, lampooning academia.

The game is about the internal politics of a buttoned-down New England college campus in 1919. The titular roach is a soul-eating telepathic insect bent on destroying human civilization. A major part of play is which characters are under the control of the roach and its offspring.

The goal of the game is to be the player with the most reputation at the end of the game. You cannot be the winner if you are currently under the control of the roach, but being under its control allows you to gain reputation much more easily.

Publication history[edit]

Jason Morningstar came up with the core ideas for The Shab-al-Hiri Roach in thinking about his own fear of cockroaches and about Lovecraftian horror.[1]:290 Morningstar submitted this game to the Game Chef 2005 competition, where is was chosen as one of the "Inner Circle" - the group of the nine best games from that year's 28 entrants.[1]:290 The Shab-al-Hiri Roach continued to undergo revisions as Morningstar, Steve Segedy, and Patrick M. Murphy founded Bully Pulpit Games, and was in its 45th revision (since they started counting) by Thanksgiving 2005.[1]:291 The Shab-al-Hiri Roach went on sale on March 10, 2006, and the company printed just 100 copies.[1]:291 All hundred copies of The Shab-al-Hiri Roach had sold out by May 12, by which time Bully Pulpit had ordered a second printing.[1]:291 Most of those 200 reprints went to Bully Pulpit's new partner, Indie Press Revolution, who put The Shab-al-Hiri Roach into wider circulation, selling their 180 copies by September 26.[1]:291



  1. ^ a b c d e f Shannon Appelcline (2014). Designers & Dragons: The '00s. Evil Hat Productions. ISBN 978-1-61317-087-8. 

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