Sunday, November 13, 2011

Ages of Lingusia: Ghuls, the Half Living

Ghuls of the Empire Era
   Ghuls are a half human, half ghoul race that is readily mistaken for their more common undead relatives. Ghuls are, in fact, a species that spawned from the rare corruption of normal men who succumbed mysterious plagues that killed most of the infected, turning them in to zombies. The survivors who contracted the plague but were not transformed in to ravenous undead instead became the half-living ghuls. Ghuls are quasi-living but gaunt, charnel cousins of their undead relatives, with a terrible thirst for flesh and a macabre penchant for underground lairs. 
   There are certain regions of the world where ghuls are more common, including the domains around Starthias and Tarsus.  Ghuls are common servants of Anharak, serving the necromancer-king as keen generals, spies and soldiers.
   Ghuls are prevalent throughout the Middle Kingdoms in small, carefully guarded communities, usually living close to graveyards or other locations where the dead are interred. They are regularly mistaken for true undead, although in fact they are living beings with souls corrupted by the bleak energy of undeath.
   Ghuls make excellent choices for players who would like a character whose very nature is that of the outcast and the lurker in shadows. Ghuls make excellent wizards and rogues. It’s simply in their nature to be shadowy diabolists, assassins and thieves.
   Ghuls tend to group in small societies, usually dwelling in catacombs and sometime even amongst their undead cousins. Wherever humans reside in large numbers, ghuls are sure to have a small community living on the dregs of man.
   Ghul adventurers are usually fed up with the secretive, cannibalistic way of their kind and take to the road, seeking adventure and fame to make up for the curse they were either born to or infected with. Few ghul adventurers maintain good relations with their own kind, as they traditionally eschew their race’s vile ways.
   Ghuls usually worship one of two different deities: either The Nameless One, with promises of salvation and an ending of their half-undead nature, or Orcus, who promises them dark powers and true undeath in exchange for servitude. A handful of ghuls are enamoured with the shadow goddess Thaedra, and have migrated to the domain of shadow to serve her. A few ghul enclaves seek out the worship of other chaos gods such as Belphegor.

Ghul Adventurers
Average Weight: 100 to 250 lbs.
Average Height: 5’2” to 6’6”
Languages: ghoulish, middle tongue
Ability Scores: +2 Dexterity and either +2 Constitution or +2 Wisdom
Size: medium
Move: 6 squares
Vision: dark vision
Skill Bonuses: +2 Stealth, +2 Thievery
Cannibalism: Ghuls gain strength from cannibalism. They do not need to eat fresh meat; there is much truth to the idea of ghuls seeking out corpses and carrion. Once per day, Ghuls who spend a turn devouring a humanoid corpse may spend a healing surge to regain hit points.
   If a ghul goes a day without using this power, then he does not recover any healing surges expended from the previous day. This continues until he resumes his cannibalistic ways or dies, after which he turns in to a normal undead ghoul.
   Although the notion of cannibalism applies to eating members of one’s own species, ghuls find that the flesh of any demihuman will do just fine, be it elf, orc, dwarf, halfing or gnome. Humanoids that are not mammalian such as lizard men, kobolds, marlacks and so forth will also suffice, although they taste disgusting to the ghul palette.
Disease Resistance: Ghuls gain a +2 save against any disease at first level. At 11th level the ghul gains a +4 save modifier against disease. At 21st level the ghul gains immunity to disease effects.
Putrefying Smell: Ghuls can emit a terrible stench which can have an adverse impact on nearby enemies and allies alike:

Putrefying Stench – Ghul Racial Power
Encounter  – Standard – Melee
Sustain: Minor
Range: Close Burst 2 Attack: Cha or Con vs. Fortitude (choose one at the time this power is gained)
 Hit: target suffers 1D4+Cha or Con modifier poison damage and is weakened (save ends).
Special: any creature starting its turn in the burst radius is subject to attack by the effect so long as the cloud is maintained. The Cloud remains centered on the ghul, and will move with the ghul.

Bonus! For extra credits, use these stats to design a Dhampir Vampire Ghul. A truer wretch never will be found... 
All text copyright 2011 by Nicholas Torbin Bergquist, all rights reserved

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