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Ghoul (Dread Codex Template)

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Ghoul

Summary::"Ghoul" is a template that can be added to any sentient creature with an organic body and a soul who was killed by a ghoul and affected by its Create Spawn ability, or who ate the flesh of creatures of its type in life and recently died (referred to hereafter as the "base creature"). In most campaigns, this will include any dragon, giant, humanoid, monstrous humanoid, or shapechanger. Fey, elementals, and other such creatures depend on the campaign's cosmology; creatures that are a type of spirit are not subject to undead raising as a ghoul. It uses all the creature's statistics and special abilities except as noted below.

Creating a Ghoul Edit

Size and Type Edit

The base creature's type changes to undead. As base creature.

Hit Dice Edit

Change to d12, and adjust hit points bonus for ability score modifications.

Armor Class Edit

The ghoul has +2 natural armor or the creature's natural armor, whichever is better, though it loses any manufactured armor bonuses.

Attack Edit

The ghoul retains any natural attacks, and gains 2 natural claw attacks and a bite attack if it doesn't already have them, though it loses any attacks with manufactured weapons. Adjust retained natural attacks for ability score modifications.

Full Attack Edit

Creatures without natural weapons gain a bite and 2 claw attacks based on the ghoul's size category. If the creature already has a bite or claws that do more damage, the creature retains these, but adjusted for ability score modifications.

Size Bite Claws
Fine 1
Diminutive 1d2 1
Tiny 1d3 1d2
Small 1d4 1d3
Medium 1d6 1d4
Large 1d8 1d6
Huge 2d6 2d4
Gargantuan 2d8 2d6
Colossal 4d6 2d8

Special Attacks Edit

A ghoul retains all of the special attacks of the base creature, except for those affected by Degeneracy (see below). Saves have a DC of 10 + 0.5 ½ ghoul's HD + ghoul's Cha modifier. It also gains the following:

  • Ghoul Fever (Su): Disease — bite, Fort save negates, incubation period 1 day, damage 1d3 Con and 1d3 Dex. The save DC is Charisma-based. An afflicted humanoid who dies of ghoul fever rises as a ghoul at the next midnight. A humanoid who becomes a ghoul in this way retains none of the abilities it possessed in life. It is not under the control of any other ghouls, but it hungers for the flesh of the living and behaves like a normal ghoul in all respects. A humanoid of 4 Hit Dice or more rises as a ghast, not a ghoul.
  • Paralysis (Ex): Those hit by a ghoul's bite or claw attack must succeed at a Fortitude save or be paralyzed for 1d6 rounds. Elves are immune to this paralysis.

Special Qualities Edit

A ghoul retains all the special qualities of the base creature, except for those affected by Degeneracy (see below), and receives those special qualities listed below.

  • Degeneracy (Ex): A ghoul loses all skills and abilities not typical of brute predators. All class abilities are lost except for base saves. Ghouls are not able to learn or use feats that require tool use, such as weapon and armor proficiencies or most combat feats. The ghoul cannot learn or use skills such as Craft, Profession, Disable Device, etc. The ghoul cannot advance in class levels after becoming a ghoul, unless it is levels in the ghast prestige class. The ghoul does retain racial abilities, except for those that a ghoul is otherwise prohibited from learning.
  • Turn Resistance (Ex): A ghoul has +2 turn resistance.

Abilities Edit

Modify from the base creature as follows: Str +4, Dex +0, Int -2, Wis +2, Cha -4. The creature's ability scores cannot go below a 1. As an undead creature, a ghoul has no Constitution score.

Skills Edit

Ghoul class skills when advancing are Climb, Escape Artist, Hide, Intuit Direction, Jump, Listen, Move Silently, Search, and Spot. See Degeneracy, and adjust skills for ability score modifications. Ghouls suffer a -2 racial penalty on skill rolls when using skills requiring fine manipulation.

Feats Edit

The ghoul gains Multiattack. See Degeneracy.

Environment Edit

Any land or underground.

Organization Edit

Solitary, gang (2–4), or pack (7–12).

Challenge Rating Edit

Same as the base creature.

Treasure Edit

None.

Alignment Edit

Always chaotic evil.

Advancement Edit

As an undead creature.

Level Adjustment Edit

Level Adjustment::–

Sample Ghoul Edit

Ogre Ghoul
Size/Type: Large Undead
Hit Dice: 4d12 (26 hp)
Initiative: –1
Speed: 40 ft.
Armor Class: , touch , flat-footed
Base Attack/Grapple: +2/+13
Attack: Bite +10 melee (1d8+7 plus paralysis)
Full Attack: Bite +10 melee (1d8+7 plus paralysis) and 2 claws +8 melee (1d6+3 plus paralysis)
Space/Reach: 5 ft./10 ft.
Special Attacks: Ghoul Fever, Paralysis
Special Qualities: Darkvision 60 Ft., Degeneracy, +2 Turn Resistance, Undead Traits
Saves: Fort +4, Ref +0, Will +2
Abilities: Str 25, Dex 8, Con —, Int 4, Wis 12, Cha 3
Skills: Climb +7, Listen +3, Spot +3
Feats: Multiattack, Weapon Focus
Environment: Any land or underground
Organization: Solitary, gang (2–4), or pack (7–12)
Challenge Rating: 3
Treasure: None
Alignment: Always chaotic evil
Advancement: As undead creature
Level Adjustment:

Nearly ten feet tall, this muscular humanoid has seen better days. Once an ogre, time and becoming an undead monstrosity, have, if possible, worsened its appearance. The creature's pale brown skin is stretched tightly across its form. Sharp claws and teeth are the most prominent features as the creature moves to attack.

This ogre succumbed to a ravenous pack of ghouls many years ago. The giant slew most of them before going down and thereafter becoming a ghoul itself. While it normally hunts alone, the ogre ghoul does not mind joining with a gang or pack of its fellows. When it does so, however, it always leads the group, as its size and strength make it an obvious choice for such a role.

Combat Edit

Attacking without fear, an ogre ghoul rushes a victim and tries to kill him as quickly as possible to get at its warm flesh. If faced with multiple opponents, the undead ogre tries to paralyze the most dangerous looking warrior before going after a weaker, and likely spellcasting, character. Since its intelligence is rather low, the ogre ghoul does not retreat from combat until below 5 hit points. Even then, it retreats only long enough to find a better location to attack its prey from.

Ghoul Fever (Su): Disease — bite, Fort DC 8, incubation period 1 day, damage 1d3 Con and 1d3 Dex. The save DC is Charisma-based. An afflicted humanoid who dies of ghoul fever rises as a ghoul at the next midnight. A humanoid who becomes a ghoul in this way retains none of the abilities it possessed in life. It is not under the control of any other ghouls, but it hungers for the flesh of the living and behaves like a normal ghoul in all respects. A humanoid of 4 Hit Dice or more rises as a ghast, not a ghoul.

Paralysis (Ex): Those hit by a ghoul's bite or claw attack must succeed at a Fortitude save (DC 8) or be paralyzed for 1d6 rounds. Elves are immune to this paralysis.

Skills: Ghouls suffer a –2 racial penalty on skill rolls when using skills requiring fine manipulation.

Treasure Edit

None — Ghouls of any origin are interested only in consuming the flesh of living creatures; a habit which leaves no time for gathering useless treasure.

In Your Campaign Edit

A typical ghoul is on every PC's "I've killed that" list. But an ogre ghoul (indeed, any non-human originated ghoul) is a variant that isn't encountered every day. Twists like this to such classic undead can remind the PCs that although they may have fought one, they haven't fought them all.

Besides the more common description above, how might an ogre get unlucky enough for ghoul-dom? Perhaps his particular tribe believes in exiling an old or infirm ogre into an area known for its ghoul infestation. Once transformed into an undead, the ogre is obliged to return to its brethren where it can serve as a perimeter guard or advance warrior in a battle. This loyalty comes from a ritual performed by the ogre tribe's cleric or shaman at the same time the slain ogre is rising as a ghoul. This binds the ogre ghoul to the will of the tribe's chieftain until either he or it dies.



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