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Primal Ghoul (Dread Codex Monster)

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Primal Ghoul
Size/Type: Large Undead
Hit Dice: 7d12+3 (78 hp)
Initiative: +1
Speed: 50 ft.
Armor Class: 18 (-1 size, +1 Dex, +8 natural), touch 10, flat-footed 17
Base Attack/Grapple: +3/+14
Attack: Bite +9 melee (2d6+7 plus paralysis) or tongue +9 melee touch (paralysis)
Full Attack: Bite +9 melee (2d6+7 plus paralysis) and 2 claws +7 melee (1d6+2 plus paralysis) or tongue +9 melee touch (paralysis) and 2 claws +7 melee (1d6+2 plus paralysis)
Space/Reach: 10 ft./10 ft. (20 ft. with tongue)
Special Attacks: Ghoul Fever, Grappling Tendrils, Improved Grab, Paralysis, Spines, Stench
Special Qualities: Heightened Scent, Turn Resistance +2, Undead Traits
Saves: Fort +2, Ref +4, Will +7
Abilities: Str 25, Dex 15, Con —, Int 13, Wis 14, Cha 16
Skills: Balance +6, Climb +12, Escape Artist +6, Hide +7, Jump +14, Listen +22, Move Silently +9, Search +5, Survival +2
Feats: Multiattack, Power Attack, Toughness
Environment: Any
Organization: Solitary, pair, gang (3-5), pack (2-4 plus 7-12 ghasts), or contingent (2-5 plus 7-12 ghasts and 20-40 ghouls)
Challenge Rating: 6
Treasure: Standard
Alignment: Usually chaotic evil
Advancement: 8-14 HD (Large); 15-21 HD (Huge)
Level Adjustment:

This grotesque humanoid's form is elongated with dark mauve skin and pale spiky growths. Gangly arms and head end in razor-sharp claws and teeth that snap eagerly as the form lopes toward you. Perhaps most shocking is the monster's open chest cavity which sprouts fleshy undulating tendrils.

Sometimes when a spellcaster wants to build a better monster, the result is not always what he expected. The primal ghoul was developed originally as a more powerful version of a ghoul. And while this goal was achieved, the creature was still supposed to be submissive to its creator. Unfortunately, the primal ghoul's nature forbids it to serve others. Instead the monster leads other ghouls and ghasts in their eternal quest to consume flesh. Adventurers should not be fooled by the name "primal." This name was given due to the creature's appearance, not its intelligence.

Combat Edit

Like lesser ghouls and ghasts, primal ghouls prefer to attack from ambush. In wilderness or urban areas, they like to climb sheer walls where they lie in wait, dropping down to attack from above when their prey passes beneath them. Few expect undead creatures to move quickly, so primal ghouls use their superior speed to make furious charge attacks from a distance or to flee from combat if they are overwhelmed. Primal ghouls are quite poor-sighted (they do not have darkvision or low-light vision), but they have exceptional senses of small and hearing.

Ghoul Fever (Su): Disease — bite, Fortitude DC 16, incubation 1 day, damage 1d3 Dex and 1d3 Con. The save DC is Charisma-based.

An afflicted humanoid who dies of ghoul fever rises as a normal ghoul at the next midnight. A creature that becomes a ghoul in this way retains none of the abilities it possessed in life. It is not necessarily under the control of any other ghouls, but it hungers for the flesh of the living and behaves like other ghouls in all respects.

Grappling Tendrils (Ex): A primal ghoul's internal organs have been transformed into animate tendrils. If the primal ghoul begins its turn holding an opponent within a square it threatens with its bite, it may transfer the victim to its abdominal tendrils with a successful grapple check. Thereafter, the tendrils can hold the opponent, freeing up whatever appendage had been holding the creature previously. As long as the hold is maintained, the primal ghoul automatically deals bite damage (including paralysis) to the held creature each round. If only these tendrils hold an opponent, the primal ghoul is not considered grappled.

Improved Grab (Ex): To use this ability, a primal ghoul must hit with its tongue attack. If it establishes a hold, it can attempt to pull the victim to any position within its reach with an opposed Strength check.

Paralysis (Ex): Those hit by a primal ghoul's bite, claw, or tongue attack must succeed at a DC 16 Fortitude save or be paralyzed for 1d4+1 rounds. Even elves can be affected by this paralysis. The save DC is Charisma-based.

Spines (Ex): Any creature grappling a primal ghoul takes 1d6 piercing damage each round from bony growths on the monster's body.

Stench (Ex): The stink of death and corruption surrounding these creatures is overwhelming. Living creatures within 15 feet must succeed a DC 16 Fortitude save or be sickened for 1d6+7 minutes. A creature that successfully saves cannot be affected by the same primal ghoul's stench for 24 hours. A delay poison or neutralize poison spell removes the effect from a sickened creature. Creatures with immunity to poison are not affected, and those resistant to poison receive their normal bonus on saves. The save DC is Charisma-based.

Heightened Scent (Ex): Primal ghouls have the scent ability to a range of 90 feet, rather than the standard 30 feet (strong smells may increase this range). Within 30 feet, they can effectively "see" by means of scent, as if with the blindsight ability.

Creatures that have no scent (such as incorporeal creatures or some constructs) cannot be "seen" by the primal ghoul's sense of small.

Skills: Primal ghouls have a +8 racial bonus on Listen checks. When tracking by scent, they have a +10 racial bonus on Survival checks. They also have a +8 racial bonus on Search checks if the search might be aided by superior olfactory senses (for instance, finding a secret door when a creature has recently passed through it).

Treasure Edit

Standard — As with any corporeal creature who utilizes tactics and is self-aware, treasure (specifically equipment) is something to be kept and later used as the situation warrants. As such, the primal ghoul keeps non-weapon/armor equipment on hand.

  • Elixir of fire breath [1,100 gp]
  • Ring of clumsiness (left behind when outmatched so opponents will be using it next time the primal ghoul attacks) [500 gp]
  • 400 gp

In Your Campaign Edit

As far as ghoul-level undead go, the primal ghoul is certainly the most dangerous. But hey do have one weakness that a kindly GM will let players exploit. The creature's heightened scent ability is sharp enough to allow them to "see" but what if PCs can throw a blanket over that sense?

By carrying or strategically placing particularly pungent items in a combat area, the primal ghoul's scent ability can be thrown off or blocked altogether. Alternately, a few enterprising merchants now carry "stench sticks" which are very similar to smokesticks (Craft (alchemy) DC 20 and creator must be a spellcaster) for adventurers to use against these and other scentusing creatures.

Stench stick: This alchemically treated wooden stick instantly creates pungent, translucent smoke when ignited. The smoke fills a 20-foot cube (treat the effect as a stinking cloud spell, except that a moderate or stronger wind dissipates the smoke in 1 round). The stick is consumed after 1d4 rounds, and the smoke dissipates naturally.

In addition to the nauseating effect, any creature which has the scent or heightened scent ability are unable to use that ability while inside the stench cloud plus an additional 1d4 rounds after leaving the cloud. The cost for a stench stick is 40 gp and the weight is 0.5 ½ lb.



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