- Physical Description
- Racial Traits
- Class Skills
- Class Features
Ghouls are beings that personify loss. Wracked by apathy and driven only by logic, the ghouls’ only feeling is a longing for the emotions that they don’t have. Ghouls are naturally good at scouting, gathering of information, and assassination thanks to their abilities that allow them to easily slip unnoticed into the most well-guarded places and obtain even the most obscure knowledge from the minds of their targets. The most well-known ghouls were thus assassins, and gave a rather grim fame to their whole kind, so most ghouls who are not merciless killers prefer to use their abilities of disguise to pass as humans and live without facing the stigma of bias.
Ghouls are able to easily disguise themselves as basically any humanoid creature, and therefore few even know how a ghoul really looks like. Their real form is that of a hairless, featureless human with pitch-black skin, looking like a shadow that somehow managed to stand up from the ground. Some say that they actually do have features and particular traits, but they are impossible to remember even just a second after looking at the ghoul. For this reason, ghouls often pick a particular human semblance that they call their own, as it would be impossible even for other ghouls to distinguish between different members of their kind.
- Hit Die: a ghoul uses a d8 as Hit Die at every ghoul HD it gains.
- Ability Score Modifiers: ghouls are strong and coordinated in body and mind, but their cursed existence is always on the verge of disappearance, hampering their resistance. They gain +2 Strength, +2 Dexterity, –2 Constitution, and +2 Intelligence.
- Size: ghouls are Medium creatures and gain no bonuses or penalties because of their size.
- Type: ghouls are monstrous humanoids.
- Base Speed: ghouls have a base land speed of 30 feet.
- Languages: ghouls begin play speaking Common. Ghouls with high Intelligence scores can choose any language they want (except secret languages, such as Druidic). See the Linguistics skill page for more information about these languages.
- Terrain: desert.
- Saving Throws: Intelligence-based.
- Starting Wealth: 3d6 × 10 gp (average 105gp.) In addition, each character begins play with an outfit worth 10 gp or less.
- Deathless Spirit: ghouls gain resistance 5 against negative energy damage. They do not lose hit points when they gain a negative level, and they gain a +2 racial bonus on saving throws against death effects, energy drain, negative energy, and spells or spell-like abilities of the necromancy
- Desert Runner: ghouls receive a +4 racial bonus on Constitution checks and Fortitude saves to avoid fatigue and exhaustion, as well as any other ill effects from running, forced marches, starvation, thirst, and hot or cold environments.
- Loss Incarnate: a ghoul has no smell and cannot be tracked by scent. Furthermore, a ghoul’s lack of presence makes it hard to detect with means other than sight. A ghoul can use Stealth to evade being noticed by creatures with blindsense, blindsight, tremorsense, lifesense, and other similar extraordinary or supernatural senses.
- Shadow Blending (Su): attacks made against ghouls while they are within areas of dim light have 50% miss chance instead of the normal 20% miss chance. This trait does not grant total concealment; it just increases the miss chance.
- Shadow Resistance: ghouls have cold resistance 5 and electricity resistance 5.
- Impersonator: ghouls gain a +2 racial bonus on Disguise and Stealth
- Integrated: ghouls gain a +1 racial bonus on Bluff, Disguise, and Knowledge (local) checks.
- Dissolution’s Child (Su): once per day, a ghoul can change its appearance to look as if it were little more than a 4-foot-tall area of shadow. Its physical form still exists and it is not incorporeal – only its appearance changes. This racial trait works like invisibility, except the effect only lasts for 1 round per Hit Die (maximum 5 rounds).
- Darkvision: ghouls can see in the dark up to 60 feet.
- Light and Dark (Su): once per day as an immediate action, a ghoul can treat positive and negative energies as if it were an undead creature, taking damage from positive energy and healing damage from negative energy. This ability lasts for 1 minute once activated.
A ghoul’s class skills are: Acrobatics (Dex), Appraise (Int), Bluff (Cha), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Disable Device (Dex), Disguise (Cha), Escape Artist (Dex), Knowledge (dungeoneering) (Int), Knowledge (local) (Int), Knowledge (religion) (Int), Linguistics (Int), Perception (Wis), Perform (Cha), Profession (Wis), Sense Motive (Wis), Sleight of Hand (Dex), Stealth (Dex), and Use Magic Device (Cha).
Skill Ranks per Level: 8 + Int Modifier
|Level||Hit Dice||Base Attack Bonus||Fort Save||Ref Save||Will Save||Special|
|1st||1||+0||+0||+2||+0||[Feat], Disguise, Trapfinding, Touch of Loss|
|3rd||3||+2||+1||+3||+1||[Feat], No Trace +1, Touch of Loss|
|4th||4||+3||+1||+4||+1||[Ability Score Increase], Improved Loss|
|5th||5||+3||+1||+4||+1||[Feat], Touch of Loss|
|6th||6||+4||+2||+5||+2||Barrage of Loss, No Trace +2|
|7th||7||+5||+2||+5||+2||[Feat], Improved Loss, Touch of Loss|
|8th||8||+6/+1||+2||+6||+2||[Ability Score Increase], Gain and Loss|
|9th||9||+6/+1||+3||+6||+3||[Feat], No Trace +3, Touch of Loss|
|10th||AT 1||Alter Self, Rite of Recall|
|11th||10||+7/+2||+3||+7||+3||Improved Evasion, Improved Loss|
|12th||11||+8/+3||+3||+7||+3||[Feat], Touch of Loss|
|13th||12||+9/+4||+4||+8||+4||[Ability Score Increase], Gain and Loss, No Trace +4|
|14th||13||+9/+4||+4||+8||+4||[Feat], Improved Loss, Touch of Loss|
|15th||14||+10/+5||+4||+9||+4||Rite of Resurrection|
|16th||15||+11/+6/+1||+5||+9||+5||[Feat], No Trace +5, Touch of Loss|
|17th||16||+12/+7/+2||+5||+10||+5||[Ability Score Increase], Gain and Loss, Improved Loss|
|18th||17||+12/+7/+2||+5||+10||+15||[Feat], Touch of Loss|
|19th||AT 2||Drain Self|
|20th||18||+13/+8/+3||+6||+11||+6||No Trace +6, Ultimate Loss|
All of the following are class features of the ghoul.
Ghouls are proficient with all simple weapons and with light armor, but not with shields.
A ghoul can shift its appearance in subtle ways by concentrating for a full round. This works exactly like a disguise self spell, except that it has a duration of permanent and cannot be dispelled, but the ghoul can use this ability again to change appearance at will.
By touching a creature as a standard action, the ghoul can make it experience the terrible power of loss. At 1st Hit Die, a ghoul knows 2 types of touch of loss of its choice from the list of 1st-level touch of loss. Every odd-numbered Hit Die thereafter, the ghoul chooses one type of touch of loss from the list of those available at its level. The effects and full list of touch of loss are found in a separate section. The ghoul can attempt a Sleight of Hand check as it performs a touch of loss; if the result is higher than the target’s (or any observer’s) Perception check, then the target (or observer) doesn’t notice that the ghoul has touched the target. Depending on the effects of the touch, the target could remain completely oblivious of the touch of loss if this check is successful.
When it reaches 2nd Hit Die, a ghoul can avoid even magical and unusual attacks with great agility. If it makes a successful Reflex saving throw against an attack that normally deals half damage on a successful save, it takes no damage instead. Evasion can be used only if the ghoul is wearing light armor or no armor. A helpless ghoul does not gain the benefit of evasion. [Rogue – Evasion]
At 3rd Hit Die, a ghoul learns to cover its tracks, remain hidden, and conceal its presence. The DC to track a ghoul using the Survival skill is increased by 1. In addition, its training gives it a +1 insight bonus on Disguise skill checks and on opposed Stealth checks whenever it is stationary and does not take any action for at least 1 round. Every three Hit Dice thereafter, the increment to Survival DCs and the bonuses on Disguise and opposed Stealth checks increase by 1. [Ninja – No Trace]
At 4th Hit Die, and every 3 Hit Dice thereafter, the ghoul can empower the loss caused by one of its touches. Each time it gains this ability, the Ghoul chooses one Touch of Loss that it knows and that would be available to a ghoul of 3 Hit Dice lower than its current Hit Dice (at 4th Hit Die, a 1st-level touch of loss, at 7th Hit Die a 3rd-level touch of loss, and so on) and can use the improved touch of loss effect of that touch. For the effects of the improved touch of loss, see the description of each touch of loss.
A ghoul of 6th Hit Die or higher can use touch of loss more swiftly. When making a full-attack action, the Ghoul can, if it has at least one free hand, make a single attack into a touch of loss. If the ghoul has Two-Weapon Fighting, this attack can be the off-hand attack instead. This feature doesn’t allow the ghoul to make more than one touch of loss per round.
At 8th Hit Die, and every 4 Hit Dice thereafter, a ghoul can modify its touch of loss, making it turn some of the target’s loss into a benefit for itself. Each time this feature is gained, the ghoul chooses one of its touches of loss for which it has already applied improved loss and, whenever the target fails its save against that touch of loss, the ghoul gains the listed bonus. For the effects of gain and loss, see the description of each touch of loss.
A ghoul that reaches its 1st Advancement Tier taps into the call of eternal life that is typical of its Order. The ghoul no longer ages, and does not die of old age. Furthermore, a ghoul that has been killed can be brought back to life with a ritual that does not require the divine intervention of a god or one of his or her followers. A ghoul can be brought back to life as per raise dead by anyone who knows its name and uses a cherished possession (of the value of at least 250gp) as an offering, breaking it beyond repair and tossing the pieces in a goblet containing blood (from any animal, not necessarily human) and sprinkling the blood on the ghoul’s body while calling out to it. Any character can learn of this ritual with a Knowledge (arcana) or Knowledge (religion) check with a DC of 25. This ritual can restore to life a ghoul killed by a death effect but, other than that, functions exactly as raise dead.
Upon reaching its 1st Advancement Tier, a ghoul’s ability to disguise itself becomes even finer, as the forces of loss and void inside it start to make its physical body less rigid and more malleable. The ghoul’s disguise feature now allows it to emulate alter self instead of disguise self.
At 10th Hit Die, the ghoul’s evasion abilities become even greater. This works like evasion, except that while the ghoul still takes no damage on a successful Reflex saving throw against attacks, it henceforth takes only half damage on a failed save. A helpless ghoul does not gain the benefit of improved evasion. [Rogue – Improved Evasion]
The ghoul’s attachment to life becomes even stronger at 14th Hit Die, making the rite of recall more powerful. Rite of recall now works as resurrection, including being able to restore a ghoul from just a portion of its body. By using in the rite a very valuable item (worth at least 1000gp) and rare, exotic incenses (500 gp or more), the ghoul can be brought back as per true resurrection instead. A ghoul cannot be resurrected in this latter fashion more than once a year.
Upon reaching its 2nd Advancement Tier, a ghoul manages to tap into a creature’s inner nature whenever it uses touch of loss. The ghoul gains an insight bonus equal to its Hit Dice on all Disguise and Bluff checks made to impersonate a particular individual if it has used touch of loss on that individual. Furthermore, when disguised as the target, the ghoul gains a +5 competence bonus on all skill checks for skills in which the target had at least 1 skill rank, and can make such checks untrained. These bonuses last for 24 hours for each time the ghoul used touch of loss on the target, up to a maximum of one week per Hit Die of the target.
At 18th Hit Die, the ghoul can channel ultimate loss in its touch. Once per day, the ghoul can make a single touch attack as a standard action and activate three touches of loss that it knows on that single touch. The target must make a save against each effect, even if they come from a single touch.
Furthermore, whenever the target of a touch of loss fails its save against the attack, the ghoul gains an amount of temporary hit points equal to the target’s Hit Dice. These hit points do not stack with themselves, only the highest value applies, and disappear after one hour.
The ghoul also immediately gains another improved loss and gain and loss that it can apply to any touch of loss up to 15th level.
Of Stranger Bonds, © 2019, Alessandro Passera