A hunger for the flesh of the living grows more every day, until every sentient creature seems no more than a meal.
Ghoul corruption commonly stems from desperate cannibalism, such as surviving a near-death experience by eating friends who perished. You might contract ghoul corruption after recovering from ghoul fever, especially if you died from the disease but were raised from the dead before rising as a ghoul.
Each week, you need to consume one portion of flesh from a sentient creature. A creature one size category smaller than you counts as one portion, a creature of your size category counts as four portions, and a creature one size larger counts as 16 portions. The extra meat from Huge or larger creatures spoils quickly enough that it can’t all be consumed within a week.
After a week, if you haven’t consumed enough flesh, you must succeed at a Will saving throw (DC = 15 + your manifestation level) each day until you’ve eaten enough. If you fail the save, the next time you rest your corruption takes over and you unconsciously hunt and feed, devouring a living sentient creature completely. In this state, you can’t differentiate between creatures and might consume an innocent; if you do so, your corruption progresses to the next stage.
If circumstances make it impossible to feed (such as if you are tied down or in a locale with nothing to feed upon), you start to starve as if you had not eaten in 3 days, and you continue to hunger for flesh and struggle to escape and feed until you have received five times the amount of flesh from sentient creatures you normally require. If your allies are able to restrain and feed you flesh from sentient creatures, your corruption doesn’t progress. However, the DC of the Will save against your corruption progressing increases by 2. These increases stack each time this occurs, and they last until your corruption reaches the next corruption stage.
In addition to starvation, close brushes with death also increase your craving for flesh. Whenever you are dropped below 0 hit points, you must attempt a single saving throw as if you hadn’t eaten enough flesh that week.
Corruption Stage 1: Once you feed on an innocent sentient creature—either willingly or because you failed a saving throw—your alignment shifts one step toward evil and spells that detect undead sense you, though the peculiar result they return informs the caster that you’re still a living creature. Other spells and effects don’t treat you as undead.
Corruption Stage 2: The second time, your alignment shifts another step toward evil and you are affected by spells and abilities as if your creature type were undead (including effects like bane and the favored enemy class feature). This doesn’t grant you any of the immunities of being undead, nor does it make you immune to effects that target living creatures or change how negative and positive energy affect you.
Corruption Stage 3: The third time, you become an NPC ghoul under the GM’s control.
Removing the Corruption
The following are manifestations of the ghoul corruption.
Devouring brains imparts knowledge to you.
Prerequisite(s): Manifestation level 5th, gnashing bite*.
Eating a brain is a full-round action, and the target must be dead or helpless. If the target is alive, you can attempt to eat its brain as a coup de grace attack with your gnashing bite, but you gain the bonus only if your attempt results in the victim’s death.
Stain: You take a –4 penalty on saves to resist ghoul corruption.
Your flesh is unnaturally tough.
Gift: You gain a +2 bonus to your natural armor. At manifestation level 5th, this bonus increases by 1.
Stain: Your flesh’s corpselike consistency deadens your sensations and makes it harder for you to move. You take a –2 penalty to your Dexterity score.
Your bite carries a terrible disease.
Prerequisite(s): Manifestation level 4th, gnashing bite*.
Gift: Creatures damaged by your bite attack must succeed at a Fortitude save or contract ghoul fever. A humanoid who dies of ghoul fever rises as a ghoul at the next midnight, as described in the ghoul fever entry.
Stain: Your body has a difficult time fighting off diseases.
You take a –4 penalty on Fortitude saves to resist diseases.
Your jaw can unhinge and your teeth grow to sharp points.
Gift: You gain a bite attack as a primary natural weapon.
This bite deals 1d6 points of damage if your size is Medium (1d4 if Small).
Stain: Your tongue grows long and serpentine. You take a –2 penalty to your Charisma score.
Your paralyzing touch is even stronger.
Prerequisite(s): Manifestation level 7th, paralysis*, rending claws*, staggering claw*.
Gift: A creature that fails its save against your paralysis manifestation is paralyzed for 1d4 rounds instead of 1 round. Elves are immune to this effect.
Stain: Your connection to negative energy is so intense you recoil from its anathema. Whenever you take damage from a positive energy source, you are frightened for 1 round.
The smell surrounding you becomes overwhelming.
Prerequisite(s): Manifestation level 6th, corpse armor*, stench of the grave*.
Gift: Creatures that fail their saves against your stench of the grave manifestation become nauseated for 1 round before being sickened for 1d6 rounds. Once they have become nauseated in this way, they are immune to the nausea effect of your stench for 1 hour. A creature that succeeds at its save becomes immune to both your stench’s nausea and sickened conditions for 24 hours.
Stain: Your stench is so great that it makes interacting with you almost impossible, as others retch and vomit just from being near you. Living creatures with a sense of smell refuse to engage with you at all, so you fail checks like Diplomacy and Handle Animal with living creatures before you can even attempt them.
A slash from your claws can render a creature helpless.
Prerequisite(s): Manifestation level 6th, rending claws*, staggering claw*.
Elves are immune to this effect.
Stain: You are inured to negative energy. You are treated as an undead creature when subjected to channeled energy, cure spells, and inflict spells.
You grow vicious claws, perfect for stripping flesh from bone.
Gift: You gain two claw attacks as primary natural weapons. These claws deal 1d4 points of damage if your size is Medium (or 1d3 if you’re Small).
Stain: You take a –2 penalty on attacks with manufactured weapons and on all ranged attacks.
Your touch weakens the muscles of your victims.
Prerequisite(s): Manifestation level 4th, rending claws*.
Gift: Once per day per manifestation level, you can make a staggering claw attack as a standard action. If you hit, the target must succeed at a Fortitude save or be staggered for a number of rounds equal to 1/2 your manifestation level.
Stain: The flesh on your hands is covered with pustules and blisters, and your hunger begins to devour your emotions. The penalty you take on ranged attacks and attacks with manufactured weapons increases to –4. Your spells with somatic components or the emotion descriptor have a failure chance of 5%. This stacks with any spell failure chances you incur from other sources. (For example, if you were wearing leather armor and casting arcane spells, you would have a 15% spell failure chance.)
Your body exudes a stench of decay.
Prerequisite(s): Corpse armor*.
Gift: You exude an aura of decay.
Creatures that begin their turns adjacent to you are sickened for 1d6 rounds unless they succeed at a Fortitude save. A creature that succeeds can’t be affected by your stench again for 24 hours. At manifestation level 5th, this aura extends out to 10 feet.
Stain: The stench of decay you emit allows creatures with scent to notice you from twice the usual distance, and makes it extremely difficult to disguise yourself. Any living creatures that have a sense of smell have their starting attitudes toward you reduced by one step. Your supernatural scent is not affected by the negate aroma spell.
Special: Upon taking this manifestation, you must take both the gift and the stain, even with the useful corruption or vile corruption variants.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Horror Adventures © 2016, Paizo Inc.; Authors: John Bennett, Clinton J. Boomer, Logan Bonner, Robert Brookes, Jason Bulmahn, Ross Byers, Jim Groves, Steven Helt, Thurston Hillman, Eric Hindley, Brandon Hodge, Mikko Kallio, Jason Nelson, Tom Phillips, Stephen Radney-MacFarland, Alistair Rigg, Alex Riggs, David N. Ross, F. Wesley Schneider, David Schwartz, Mark Seifter, and Linda Zayas-Palmer.