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Cockroaches, also known simply as roaches, were crawling insects[3] with a reputation as urban pests.[4]


Although typically harmless against adventurers,[5] cockroach swarms of large enough numbers could pose a serious threat. To those unequipped to handle it, the collective stench of such a group could be overwhelmingly sickening. Damage was typically inflicted by biting, though some swarms were able to eject a corrosive acid as well.[1][2]

Particularly diminutive adventurers, such as those shrunk to a tenth of their size per the effects of a version of the reduce spell in use between the Time of Troubles and the Year of Wild Magic,[6] were a more realistic target for individual cockroaches. At this scale, a cockroach's bite could inflict significant damage, and would slow an opponent down for a few seconds.[7]


Cockroaches could be tracked by the pungent smell of their attar and droppings.[8]

Beshaba counted cockroaches among her favored animals, and was known to act through their presence.[9][10] Torog, too, favored cockroaches.[11]


Cockroaches were found in urban areas[4] and the sewers that ran beneath them.[5] A number of inns had cockroach problems, including the Dran & Courtier,[7] the Pride of Zhentil Keep,[12] the Shattered Mirror,[13] and the Three Elves.[14]

Some species of cockroach hardy enough to survive the frigid climate inhabited the Great Glacier.[15]

Related Creatures[]

Giant cockroaches were especially large cockroaches that measured 6 feet (1.8 meters) in length. Compared to their more common kin, they were considerably more belligerent, attacking just about anything animate.[16]

Vfush Sweetwaterlake, a slyth scholar of insects and arachnids, claimed to have observed an undead species of cockroach.[17]

A rare subset of cockroaches were valued for their use in detecting magic, as their shells turned blue in its presence. These cockroaches were sold in the markets of Vaelan.[18]

Some sages postulated that hook horrors were distant relatives of cockroaches.[19][20]


Prior to becoming an advisor at the Citadel of Assassins,[21] the archmage Knellict survived an assassination attempt organized by his prior employer, Zhengyi the Witch-King, by polymorphing his assailants into cockroaches.[22] Similarly, during her tumultuous tenure as guildmaster of the Welcomers of Phlan, the half-fiend[23] Sirana used this same maneuver on several of her own guildmembers.[24]


The hishna spell pestilence brought forth a mass of crawling insects, among which were cockroaches.[3]


See Also[]


  1. 1.0 1.1 These statblocks represent swarms of cockroaches, rather than individuals.


Nightmare KeepCaravansGhosts of Dragonspear CastleTomb of AnnihilationAcquisitions Incorporated: "The Orrery of the Wanderer"
The Harpers (The Night ParadeThe Ring of Winter) • Prince of LiesPool of TwilightRealms of Infamy: "Laughter in the Flames" • Netheril Trilogy (Sword PlayDangerous Games) • Night MasksDeath of the DragonThe City of RavensThrone of BhaalDarkvisionSword of the GodsThe CompanionsTimeless
Organized Play & Licensed Adventures
Outlaws of the Iron Route

External Links[]

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the following links do not necessarily represent the views of the editors of this wiki, nor does any lore presented necessarily adhere to established canon.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Template:Cite dungeon/164/Worse than Death
  2. 2.0 2.1 Template:Cite book/The Sinister Spire
  3. 3.0 3.1 Douglas Niles (August 1991). “A Journey to the True World”. Maztica Campaign Set (TSR, Inc.), p. 88. ISBN 1-5607-6084-2.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Ari Marmell, C.A. Suleiman (November 2006). Cityscape. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 68. ISBN 0-7869-3939-7.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Logan Bonner, et al. (May 2012). Into the Unknown: The Dungeon Survival Handbook. Edited by Jennifer Clarke Wilkes. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 89. ISBN 978-0786960323.
  6. David "Zeb" Cook (April 1995). Player's Handbook 2nd edition (revised). (TSR, Inc.), p. 173. ISBN 0-7869-0329-5.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Jerry Holkins, Elyssa Grant, Scott Fitzgerald Gray (June 18, 2019). Acquisitions Incorporated. Edited by Scott Fitzgerald Gray. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 186. ISBN 978-0786966905.
  8. Template:Cite book/The Sinister Spire
  9. Julia Martin, Eric L. Boyd (March 1996). Faiths & Avatars. (TSR, Inc.), p. 43. ISBN 978-0786903849.
  10. Sean K. Reynolds (2002-05-04). Deity Do's and Don'ts (Zipped PDF). Web Enhancement for Faiths and Pantheons. Wizards of the Coast. p. 10. Archived from the original on 2016-11-01. Retrieved on 2018-09-08.
  11. Template:Cite dungeon/177/Deities & Demigods: Torog, the King that Crawls
  12. Kevin Melka, John Terra (March 1995). “Campaign Book”. In Julia Martin ed. Ruins of Zhentil Keep (TSR, Inc.), p. 88. ISBN 0-7869-0109-8.
  13. James Lowder (December 1994). “Laughter in the Flames”. In James Lowder ed. Realms of Infamy (TSR, Inc.), pp. 293–316. ISBN 1-56076-911-4.
  14. Ed Greenwood (2001-09-05). Part #23: Cheap and Cheerful at the Three Elves. Elminster Speaks. Wizards of the Coast. Archived from the original on 2016-11-01. Retrieved on 2016-09-17.
  15. Rick Swan (1992). The Great Glacier. (TSR, Inc), p. 53. ISBN 1-56076-324-8.
  16. Bruce R. Cordell, Gwendolyn F.M. Kestrel, Jeff Quick (October 2003). Underdark. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 87. ISBN 0-7869-3053-5.
  17. Gwendolyn F.M. Kestrel (2003-10-24). Underdark Dungeons (Zipped PDF). Wizards of the Coast. p. 4. Archived from the original on 2016-11-01. Retrieved on 2018-09-11.
  18. Bruce R. Cordell (2006). Darkvision. (Wizards of the Coast), chap. 7. ISBN 0-7869-4017-4.
  19. Grant Boucher, William W. Connors, Steve Gilbert, Bruce Nesmith, Christopher Mortika, Skip Williams (April 1990). Monstrous Compendium Greyhawk Adventures Appendix. Edited by Mike Breault. (TSR, Inc.), p. 31. ISBN 0-88038-836-6.
  20. Doug Stewart (June 1993). Monstrous Manual. (TSR, Inc), p. 193. ISBN 1-5607-6619-0.
  21. R.A. Salvatore (1989). The Bloodstone Lands. Edited by Elizabeth T. Danforth. (TSR, Inc), p. 51. ISBN 0-88038-771-8.
  22. Roster Book included in Douglas Niles and Michael Dobson (1985). Bloodstone Pass. (TSR, Inc), p. 5. ISBN 978-0394548562.
  23. Dale Donovan, Paul Culotta (August 1996). Heroes' Lorebook. (TSR, Inc), p. 110. ISBN 0-7869-0412-7.
  24. James Ward, Anne K. Brown (November 1993). Pool of Twilight. (TSR, Inc). ISBN 1-5607-6582-8.