Ghoulish Creature

by Gwendolyn F.M. Kestrel, Dragon #307

Occasionally, a living person chooses a path of ineffable evil through depraved acts including regular cannibalism. Sometimes, these creatures turn into ghoulish versions of their living selves. In appearance, they look much as they did in life, except their skin decays and the outline of their bones becomes evident. Ghouls speak the languages they spoke in life.

Creating a Ghoulish Creature

"Ghoulish creature" is a template that can be added to any giant or monstrous humanoid or a humanoid with 4 or more HD (referred to hereafter as the "base creature"). Creatures with this template have their type changed to "undead." It uses all the base creature's statistics and special abilities except as noted here.

Hit Dice: Change to d12

Speed: Same as the base creature

AC: The base creatures natural armor increases by +2.

Damage: The base creature's natural attacks can cause paralysis in addition to their normal damage. The base creature's natural and manufactured weapons deal damage normally. If the base creature does not have a better natural attack, it gains a bite attack and two claw attacks that deal damage based on the creature's size:


Special Attacks: A ghoulish creature retains all the base creature's special attacks and gains those listed below. Saves for abilities listed below have a DC of 10 + 1/2 the ghoul's HD + the ghoul's Charisma modifier unless noted otherwise in the ability's description.

Create Spawn (Su): A creature killed by a ghoulish creature rises as a form of ghoul 1d4 days after death. The victim returns as a ghoul if it was a humanoid with 3 or fewer HD and as a ghoulish creature if it was a giant or monstrous humanoid or a humanoid with 4 or more HD.

Paralysis (Ex): Those hit by a ghoulish creature's natural attack must succeed at a Fortitude save or be paralyzed for 1d6+2 minutes. Elves are immune to this paralysis.

Special Qualities: A ghoul retains all the base creature's special qualities and gains those listed below.

Turn Resistance (Ex): A ghoul has +2 turn resistance.

Undead Traits: Immune to mind-influencing effects, poison, sleep, paralysis; stunning, disease, death effects, and any effect that requires a Fortitude save unless it also works on objects. It is not subject to critical hits, subdual damage, ability damage, ability drain, energy drain, or death from massive damage. A ghoul cannot be raised, and resurrection works only if it is willing. The creature has darkvision (60-foot range).

Saves: Same as the base creature.

Abilities: Increase from base creature as follows: +2 Strength, +4 Dexterity, +2 Intelligence, +4 Wisdom and +6 Charisma. Being undead a ghoul has no Constitution score.

Skills: Same as the base creature

Feats: Same as the base creature

Climate/Terrain: Any

Organization: Solitary, gang (2-4), or pack (7-12)

Challenge Rating: Same as base creature +1

Treasure: Same as the base creature

Alignment: Always chaotic evil

Advancement: Same as the base creature

Sample Ghoulish Creature: Ghoulish Harpy

Template Index