Ghoul, True (CR 3)

Medium Undead
Alignment: Always neutral evil
Initiative: +3 (Dex); Senses: darkvision 120 ft., life-sense 60 ft., and Spot +9
Languages: Undercommon

AC: 19 (+3 Dex, +4 chain shirt, +2 natural), touch 13, flat-footed 16
Hit Dice: 4d12+3 (29 hp)
Fort +1, Ref +4, Will +6
Speed: 30 ft.
Space: 5 ft./5 ft.
Base Attack +2; Grapple +6
Attack: Longsword +6 melee
Full Attack: Longsword +6 melee and claw and bite +4 melee
Damage: Longsword 1d8+4/19-20, claw 1d4+2 plus paralysis, bite 1d6+2 plus paralysis and ghoul fever
Special Attacks/Actions: Ghoul Fever, paralysis
Abilities: Str 19, Dex 16, Con -, Int 10, Wis 15, Cha 18
Special Qualities: spectral transformation, +4 turn resistance, undead traits
Feats: Multiattack; Toughness
Skills: Balance +6, Climb +10, Hide +8, Jump +6, Move Silently +8, and Spot +9
Advancement: By character class
Climate/Terrain: Underdark
Organization: Solitary, pair, troupe (2-5 plus 1-3 ghast servants), patrol (7-12 plus 1 noble), slaving expedition (13-24 plus 1d6 underpriests and 1 priest), or legion (70-120 plus 2d6 underpriests, 1d6 priests, and 1d10 nobles)
Treasure/Possessions: Standard

Source: Dungeon #128

Ghoul Fever (Su): Disease-bite, Fortitude DC 16, incubation period 1 day, damage 1d4 Con and 1d4 Cha per day. 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.

Paralysis (Ex): Those hit by a true ghoul's bite or claw attack must succeed on a DC 16 Fortitude save or be paralyzed for 1d6+1 rounds. The save DC is Charisma-based.

Lifesense (Ex): True ghouls can sense life energy within 60 feet well enough to locate living creatures, even in magical darkness. When a true ghoul detects life, the exact location of the source is not revealed - only its presence somewhere within range. The true ghoul can take a move action to note the direction of the life. Whenever the true ghoul comes within 5 feet of the source, the true ghoul pinpoints the creature's location. A true ghoul with the Track feat can follow tracks of living creatures with this ability, making a Wisdom (or Survival) check to find or follow a track and ignoring the effects of surface conditions and poor visibility. The typical DC for a fresh trail is 10. This DC increases or decreases depending on the number of creatures and the age of the trail. For each hour that the trail is cold, the DC increases by 4. The ability otherwise follows the rules for the Track feat.

Spectral Transformation (Ex): When a true ghoul is slain, its animating force tears free of its body, manifesting as a glowing, green phantom of the ghoul. This spectral force is usually harmless and fades away to nothingness over the course of one round. If the true ghoul in question was a noble, this phantom manifests instead as a free-willed spectre that can immediately attack its enemies. The spectre does not retain any class abilities that the true ghoul may have had in life. True ghoul spectres often retire to roles of advisor to other true ghoul nobles - these spectres are known as the Ghostly Court.

True ghouls are organized, canny fighters who seek to gain surprise whenever possible. Whenever possible, they send slaves and minions (troglodytes, drow, goblins, undead, or other slave races) into battle first, to throw their enemies into disarray and weaken them. They are capable of marching tirelessly, and use this ability to surprise their enemies both offensively and defensively.

Although a true ghoul's bite and claws are formidable natural attacks, they prefer to wield weapons in combat, if only to express their superior culture above their base and feral kin. They prefer longswords in combat. Nevertheless, a true ghoul is quick to use its bite and off-hand claw attacks to augment its swordplay. They prefer light armor, but only rarely use shields.

True ghouls (also called shadow ghouls or greater ghouls) are much more human than common ghouls and ghasts. They are as well-spoken and cultured as they are utterly ruthless and evil. True ghouls have pale skin, sharp teeth, a long black tongue and sunken eyes. Unlike most undead, the true ghouls are not the product of necromantic tinkering or magic. They are evolved ghouls who have managed to overcome their bestial and feral natures, or at the very least, have learned to control them.

True ghouls speak Undercommon. These creatures originally appeared in DRAGON #252, and were featured in DUNGEON #70's "Kingdom of the Ghouls" adventure. DMs seeking more information concerning true ghouls and the White Kingdom they rule are encouraged to seek out these sources.