To the ghoul, the magic inherent in a dead body is obvious. Any ghoul can absorb some of a dead body’s memories through the act of consuming the flesh and bone. Only certain ghouls realize that graveyards themselves are potent repositories of magic. These ghouls become witches who focus their studies on the spiritual energies and latent power of graveyards, and can speak to the accumulated knowledge in the boneyard through an agent–a skull that serves as a familiar.
Non-ghouls can certainly take the grave witch archetype, and most ghouls do not begrudge those adopting these techniques of witchcraft. Indeed, they titter and giggle with delight at the knowledge that such practices will bolster their kind.
Skull Companion (Su)
A grave witch selects as her familiar a skull harvested from a graveyard that contains at least one hundred bodies. The skull must be that of a humanoid or ghoul. This skull stores the witch’s spells as a normal witch’s familiar does, but does not possess any of the other abilities possessed by a familiar. If the skull is lost or destroyed, it can be replaced normally.
A witch can use her skull companion once per day to cast any one spell that she has stored in the skull and is capable of casting, even if the spell is not prepared.
The spell is treated like any other spell cast by the witch, including casting time, duration, and other effects dependent on the witch’s level, but cannot be modified by metamagic feats or other abilities.
If the witch is 3rd level or higher, her skull companion grants her protection against mind-affecting effects and curse effects. Once per day when the witch fails a saving throw against such an effect, she may immediately roll a second saving throw with a +2 bonus to the roll. If this second saving throw is successful, it is treated as if it were the initial saving throw against the effect. When this occurs, the skull “falls silent” for the next 24 hours and cannot be used to cast an unprepared spell as detailed in the preceding paragraph.
This ability alters witch’s familiar.
Undead Link (Ex)
At 2nd level, mindless undead perceive a grave witch as an undead creature and do not attack the grave witch unless the grave witch attacks them first or if the mindless undead are commanded by their controller to attack the grave witch. The grave witch gains a +2 insight bonus on all saving throws against effects created by undead.
This ability replaces the hex normally gained at 2nd level.
Skull Speak (Sp)
At 6th level, a grave witch gains the ability to speak with dead at will, but she may only ask a single question of a dead body. Once she asks this question, whether or not the body resists the compulsion to answer, the grave witch can never again use skull speak to speak to that body. (Though she can use divination spells on the body as normal.) In addition, once per day, a grave witch may speak to her skull companion to cast augury without requiring any components.
This ability replaces the hex normally gained at 6th level.
Patron: Grave Whispers
Although grave witches are not required to take grave whispers as their patron, most do. Non-grave witches cannot take this patron at all. The grave whispers patron grants the following spells:
Sandy Petersen’s Cthulhu Mythos, © 2017, Petersen Games; Authors: Sandy Petersen, Arthur Petersen, Ian Starcher.