Mythos Ghoul CR 1/2
This humanoid creature has a semi-canine head, hooved feet, and claws. Its skin is pale and covered with grave-mold. The stench of rot and dust surrounds it but it doesn’t seem to notice.
Speed 30 ft., burrow 10 ft.
Melee bite +4 (1d4+2), 2 claws +3 (1d4+2)
Special Attacks feed on flesh
Str 14, Dex 13, Con 17, Int 12, Wis 12, Cha 6
Base Atk +1; CMB +3; CMD 15
Feats Dodge, Weapon Focus (claws)
Skills Knowledge (history) +2, Perception +2 (+6 to discover hidden objects), Stealth +2; Racial Modifiers +4 Perception to discover hidden objects
Languages Common, Ghoul
SQ expert scrounger, warren digger
Death Scent (Ex)
Mythos ghouls have an incredible sense of smell, particularly for carrion. A Mythos ghoul has the scent ability to 30 feet, but when scenting undead (or bodies suffering from decay or, at the GM’s discretion, the stink of death) the range of their scent ability increases to 60 feet.
Expert Scrounger (Ex)
Mythos ghouls are gifted at using old, broken equipment. In a Mythos ghoul’s hands, an object with the broken condition is treated as if it did not have the broken condition. In addition, Mythos ghouls gain a +4 racial bonus on Perception checks made to discover objects that are hidden in rubble, undergrowth, buried, or otherwise hidden from view.
Feed on Flesh (Su)
When a Mythos ghoul feeds upon the corpse of a humanoid creature, it absorbs some of the lingering traces of memory and knowledge that creature possessed in life. Strangely, the older a corpse is, the more potent those memories become. Feeding on a corpse that is less than 24 hours old typically provides no benefit to a Mythos ghoul other than nourishment. If a Mythos ghoul spends 1d4 minutes feeding on a corpse that has at least some amount of flesh on its bones (even dried flesh, as in the case of a mummy, is acceptable), the Mythos ghoul absorbs a portion of knowledge once possessed by the creature. This grants the Mythos ghoul a +2 insight bonus to a skill of its choice, so long as the skill in question was a class skill of the creature the Mythos ghoul feasted upon. A Mythos ghoul can obtain only one +2 insight bonus per corpse fed upon. A Mythos ghoul can maintain a number of separate insight bonuses to skills in this way equal to its Intelligence modifier (minimum of 1). If a Mythos ghoul uses this ability when it has already reached the maximum number of +2 insight bonuses afforded by its Intelligence modifier, it must forget one of the current +2 insight bonuses in order to replace it with the new one.
Warren Digger (Ex)
Environment any (graveyards)
Organization solitary, pair, gathering (3–6), or clan (7–30)
Treasure NPC gear
Mythos ghouls are immortal, but not undead. In fact, they often feed on undead, treating zombies or mummies as handy, portable meals. When equipped to fight, they wield ancient rusty (though sometimes magical) weapons taken from tombs.
Mythos ghouls connect with other sentient races in several ways. Their babies are adaptable and neutral in appearance and ghouls often swap them for those other races. While this most frequently occurs with human babies, ghouls can swap babies with elves, dwarfs, and other species. The kidnapped infants are raised as ghouls, eventually becoming ghouls themselves, while the transplanted ghoul changeling becomes part of human (or other) society. It adapts its appearance to look like the host species, but often corrupts all around it, intentionally or not. In addition, even a sentient adult, under the influence of sufficient ghoul contact, can transform over time into a true ghoul.
Ghouls don’t just eat corpses for nourishment but also to absorb knowledge. In general, the older and more withered the corpse, the better and more complete a base of knowledge the ghoul can gain. Fresh corpses are really only good for filling the belly, while a millennia-old pharaoh’s mummy is a precious delicacy.
As a result, ghouls specifically seek out the bodies of famous leaders, geniuses, and wizards, sharing the feast among several ghouls, all of which now take on part of the knowledge of their prey. Some ghouls as a result are wiser than any mere mortal could ever be.
While Mythos ghouls are clearly malign, carnivorous entities, they are not necessarily evil, any more than a hyena is evil. They may eat the dead, but not all are interested in killing to make a fresh corpse— older bodies are more delicious anyway, and there’s rarely a shortage of corpses to feast upon. Ghouls are also able to communicate with and interact with humanity, with whom they frequently make treaties and pacts. After all, they have the knowledge of deceased human diplomats to guide them.
A player character or allied NPC ghoul might:
- …be a ghoul changeling, left in a cradle in his stepparent’s home, only recently made aware of his heritage.
- …have been kidnapped as a baby and raised as a ghoul. The character was of normal healthy parentage but now has ghoulish traits.
- …have had extensive contact with ghouls and started “the change” over to ghoul-hood.
- …be a pure ghoul who ate a corpse he particularly liked—perhaps an adventurer, humanitarian, or famous counselor. Now, the ghoul is interested in the human or other civilized race’s society he has consumed, leading to a desire to join these people and develop friendships through adventuring, exploring, or at least studying his “borrowed” culture for a few decades.
Sandy Petersen’s Cthulhu Mythos, © 2017, Petersen Games; Authors: Sandy Petersen, Arthur Petersen, Ian Starcher.