Eaters of the dead that hunger for the living, the first ghouls were the undead remains of humans who had, in life, indulged in unwholesome pleasures, such as cannibalism or necrophilia; the original dread ghouls were individuals who 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, 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, 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 evident 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: Same as base creature +1.
Type: The creature’s type changes to undead. Do not recalculate base attack bonuses, saves, or skill points.
Alignment: Any evil.
Senses: Dread ghouls gain the scent universal monster ability.
Armor Class: Natural armor class improves by +2.
Hit Dice: Change all of the base creature’s racial HD to d8s.
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.
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. The bite attack is primary if the base creature has no natural attacks; otherwise it is secondary. If the base creature possesses at least one arm but has no natural attacks (Except slam) with it, the dread ghoul gains a primary claw attack with each such limb. In the case where the base creature has slam attacks with its arms they become claw attacks.
The damage for the attacks gained by the dread ghoul depends on the base creature’s size. Damage from any claw attacks granted by this template is treated as if the base creature was one size category larger.
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.
Advanced Bestiary, Copyright 2014, Green Ronin Publishing, LLC; Author Jeff Hersh, Developer Owen K.C. Stephens