Ghoul Lord

Ghoul lords are among the most powerful and feared of the undead. They were originally created by a sect of spellcasters called Eaters of Flesh who had learned to gain power by devouring the flesh of the living and the dead. The sect was wiped out long ago and all of their knowledge and creations thought to have been destroyed, but the occasional ghoul lord still appears from time to time. It has recently been discovered that exceptionally powerful and evil cannibalistic beings can arise spontaneously as a ghoul lord, but some scholars suspect that someone has unlocked the knowledge to create ghoul lords on their own also.

Ghoul lords resemble normal ghouls and ghasts, but they are less bestial in their demeanor and have a notable aura of intelligence and power about them. They are, without exception, well-muscled and better-preserved than their lesser cousins; while their skin is gray, it is leathery rather than rotting. Most ghoul lords are spellcasters and can converse intelligently in any language they knew in life. Like other ghouls, however, they have an unholy hunger that can only be sated by the flesh of sentient beings (preferably fresh, but dead will do in a pinch), and they generally prefer using their powerful claws and teeth in combat rather than normal weapons.

Ghoul lords are almost never found without at least a small pack of ghouls; the more powerful ones have small armies of ghouls and ghasts – even though only a small number of those are under their direct control, the others flock to their and follow its orders, as they view it as a source of power and food.

Creating a Ghoul Lord
"Ghoul lord" is an acquired template that can be added to any living humanoid with at least 8 HD/levels (referred to hereafter as the "base creature").

A ghoul lord uses all the base creature’s statistics and special abilities except as noted here.

Size and Type: The base creature's type changes to undead. Do not recalculate base attack bonus, saves, or skill points. Size increases by one category.

Hit Dice: Increase all current and future Hit Dice to d12s.

Speed: Same as the base creature.

Armor Class: The ghoul lord gains a +4 natural armor bonus to Armor Class.

Attack: Ghoul lords gain claw and bite attacks, which they use in favor of weapons. If the base creature already has a claw and/or bite attack, use that value or the one on the table, whichever is better.

Full Attack: Ghoul lords gain claw and bite attacks, which they use in favor of weapons. If the base creature already has a claw and/or bite attack, use that value or the one on the table, whichever is better.

Damage: Ghoul lords' claw and bite attacks deal damage as noted on the table below.


Size Claw Bite
Tiny 1d3 1d4
Small 1d4 1d6
Medium 1d6 1d8
Large 1d8 2d6
Huge 2d6 2d8
Gargantuan 2d8 4d6
Colossal 4d6 4d8

Special Attacks: A ghoul lord retains all the special attacks of the base creature and also gains those listed below.

Control Ghoul (Su): This ability is identical to the spell control undead, except that it applies only to ghouls and ghasts. It is usable three times per day; the Will save to negate it is DC 10 + the ghoul lord's HD/level + its Cha modifier. Unlike the spell, ghouls that fall under the lord's control remain there permanently until destroyed or another being gains control. The ghoul lord can control up to 4 ghouls or ghasts (one ghast counts as two ghouls) per HD/level in this manner.

Create Ghoul (Su): Once per day, during the hours of darkness, a ghoul lord can create ghouls from the bodies of the dead (those who have died within the last week), as the create undead spell. The ghoul lord can create up to one ghoul per point of its Charisma bonus. A ghoul lord with 12 or more HD/levels can create ghasts instead, provided the dead creature had 4 or more HD; one ghast equals two ghouls for the purpose of how many it can create. It can create both ghouls and ghasts at the same time.

Grave Rot (Ex): Disease – claw/bite, Fortitude DC 20, incubation period 1 day, damage 1d6 Con. If the victim takes damage, he must make another Fort save, or 1 point Con damage becomes permanent.

An afflicted humanoid who dies of grave rot 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 ghoul lord's control, 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.

Spells: A ghoul lord retains any spellcasting ability it had while alive.

Special Qualities: A ghoul lord retains all the special qualities of the base creature and those listed below.

Spirit Transfer (Su): If a ghoul lord is reduced to 0 hit points, its life force immediately possesses the most powerful ghoul or ghast it controls within 100 feet. If there are none, it can attempt to possess a ghoul or ghast that it doesn't control within 50 feet. The undead gets a Will save (DC 10 + 1/2 the ghoul lord's HD/level + Cha modifier) to resist this, however. The ghoul lord requires a full round to get used to the new body (it is considered helpless), but there is no way to tell which body it now inhabits.

In any case, only the ghoul lord's personality, memories, and spellcasting abilities are usable immediately; it is treated as an undead of the ghoul lord's HD, but it retains the original undead's hit point total and gains 3 hit points per level. The host body transforms into a new ghoul lord, gaining the rest of its abilities and full hit point total, over the course of the next 24 hours. Note that this is not true possession – once the ghoul lord has taken over the new body, it destroys the original undead's animating force, which means that the ghoul lord's spirit can't be forced out.

Turn Resistance (Ex): A ghoul lord has +6 turn resistance.

Saves: Same as the base creature.

Abilities: Increase from the base creature as follows: Str +4, Dex +3, Int +2, Wis +2, Cha +4. As undead creatures, ghoul lords have no Con score.

Skills: Ghoul lords gain a +4 racial bonus to Intimidate, Perception, and Stealth checks.

Feats: The ghoul lord gains Multiattack and Power Attack, assuming the base creature meets the prerequisites and doesn't already have these feats.

Environment: Any

Organization: Solitary, gang (1 + 2d4 ghouls), pack (1 + 2-5 ghasts + 2d6 ghouls), or army (1 + 2d6 ghasts + 4d10 ghouls)

ECL: Same as the base creature +6

Treasure: Double standard

Alignment: Usually chaotic evil

Advancement: Same as the base creature.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License