Eaters of the dead that hunger for the living, the first ghouls were the undead remains of humans who had indulged in unwholesome pleasures, such as cannibalism or necrophilia, in life. The original dread ghouls came into being because they had exhorted or compelled others to such acts while alive. Although both types of undead can create more of their kind, dread ghouls maintain their role as leaders of their normal kindred.
Also called ghoul lords or ghuls, dread ghouls are to ghouls what dread ghasts are to ghasts. Both dread creatures can command normal ghouls, and this situation often creates conflict. Because they cannot command normal ghasts, however, dread ghouls often find themselves on the losing side of such battles.
A dread ghoul looks like a gray and emaciated version of its living form. Its limbs often end in terrible claws caked with grave dirt and the rotting flesh of its last disinterred meal. A dread ghoul’s eyes glow dimly with an angry light, and its hunger for flesh is clearly written on its features.
“Dread ghoul” is an acquired template that can be added to any living creature (referred to hereafter as the base creature). A dread ghoul uses all the base creature’s statistics and special abilities except as noted here.
Challenge Rating: As the base creature +1.
Alignment: Always chaotic evil.
Armor Class: The dread ghoul’s natural armor bonus improves by +2 over that of the base creature.
Speed: If the base creature has a climb speed and a land speed, increase the climb speed to match the land speed unless it is already higher. If the base creature lacks one of those speeds, the dread ghoul gains the missing mode of movement at a speed equal to the other. If the base creature lacks both modes of movement, the dread ghoul gains both at a speed equal to one-half the base creature’s highest speed.
Attack: The dread ghoul retains all the base creature’s attacks, and its weapon and armor proficiencies. These attacks retain the same primary or secondary status they had for the base creature. If the base creature possesses at least one mouth but has no natural attack with it, the dread ghoul gains a bite attack with each mouth. If the base creature possesses at least one arm but has no natural attacks with it, the dread ghoul gains a claw attack with each such limb.
Damage: If the dread ghoul gained bite or claw attacks from the application of this template, the base damage for each is as given on the following table.
|Size||Bite Base Damage||Claw Base Damage|
Special Attacks: The dread ghoul retains all the base creature’s special attacks and gains those described here.
In most cases, dread ghouls feast on the bodies of the fallen. However, any creature killed by a dread ghoul that lies undisturbed until the next midnight rises as a dread ghoul at that time. The new dread ghoul is not under the control of its creator. A protection from evil or gentle repose spell cast on the corpse prevents this.
A creature damaged by a dread ghoul’s natural attack must succeed on a Fortitude save (DC 10 + 1/2 dread ghoul’s character level + dread ghoul’s Cha modifier) or be paralyzed for 1d4+1 rounds. Elves are immune to this effect.
Organization: solitary, pair, gang (3–4), or pack (5–12).