Related to (and possibly the origin of) lesser creatures such as ghouls and ghasts, ghuls are a powerful form of undead caused by starvation after turning to cannibalism and grave robbing. They are driven by an endless hunger for the flesh of the living, but otherwise maintain a semblance of civilization. In appearance ghuls are faintly blue-skinned, with pale dead eyes and long, lean frames. The thinlipped mouth of a ghul is ragged and scabbed, with a deep crimson stain affecting the skin around it, and jagged, yellow teeth within it.
Though undead, ghul’s bodies continue to go through the motions of life—it breathes, eats, and even rests in a form that appears to be sleeping. This makes it more difficult to determine a ghul is truly undead (+5 to all Knowledge check DCs to determine information about a ghul). It also allows a ghul to maintain a Constitution score, unlike most undead, adding its Constitution bonus to Hit Dice, Fortitude saving throws, skill checks, and the DC of innate attacks. Their apparent vitality is a necromantic illusion, however, and ghuls are as immune to biological weaknesses as any undead.
Ghuls carry the stench of the grave within their rotting bodies, and they can bring forth a powerful breath attack as a standard action. This breath weapon attack fills a 60-foot cone. Living creatures within the area must succeed on a Fortitude saving throw (DC 10 + 1/2 ghul’s total HD + ghul’s Con modifier) or be nauseated for 1d6+4 rounds and sickened for 1d6+4 minutes. A creature that successfully saves cannot be affected again by any ghul’s exhalation of death for 24 hours. A neutralize poison spell removes the effect from a sickened creature. Creatures with immunity to poison are unaffected, and creatures resistant to poison receive their normal bonus on their saving throws.
A creature killed while under the effects of an exhalation of death becomes a ghast (if humanoid) or zombie (if not humanoid) if it had 5 or fewer Hit Dice, and a ghul if it had 6 or more. It rises in undeath 1d6 hours after being slain. A remove curse, neutralize poison, or similar spell cast on its body during this incubation period might prevent the corpse from becoming undead. The caster of such a spell must make a caster level check (DC 10 + HD of ghul that affected the target with exhalation of death), and on a successful check the corpse does not become an undead.
Any creature hit by a ghul’s melee attack (even if the ghul is using a weapon) is exposed to a paralysis effect. This special attack renders the victim immobile. Paralyzed creatures cannot move, speak, or take any physical actions. The creature is rooted to the spot, frozen and helpless. Paralysis works on the body, and a target can resist it with a Fortitude saving throw (DC 10 + 1/2 ghul’s total HD + ghul’s Con modifier). On a failed saving throw, the target is paralyzed for 1d4+1 rounds. Unlike hold person and similar effects, a paralysis effect does not allow a new saving throw each round. A winged creature flying in the air at the time that it is paralyzed cannot flap its wings and it falls. A swimmer can’t swim and might drown.
Notes: The ghul template can be applied to any corporeal creature that isn’t already undead (or lifeless, such as many golems). The lifelike property makes them excellent for situations where an undead is trying to conceal its nature, and the fact you don’t have to replace Constitution modifiers with Charisma modifiers in the stat block makes it much faster to create than a vampire or similar undead.
The Genius Guide To: Simple Monster Templates. Copyright 2011, Super Genius Games. Author: Owen K.C. Stephens