Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Lovecraftian Ghoul

This humanoid creature has long, sharp teeth, and canine features. 

Source: Realms of Crawling Chaos (Labyrinth Lord)

Taking a look at a variant of the classic ghoul. The typical Dungeons & Dragons ghoul is an undead creature who craves flesh and bone. They have the ability to paralyze and if the victim is slain they become a ghoul within a short period of time. In comparison the Lovecraftian Ghoul has more of a canine look as opposed to the typical emaciated pale flesh ghoul.

Lovecraftian Ghoul is not undead and it's origins is clouded in mystery. They share a kinship with human and haunt nearby graveyards. Using these sites for nourishment as they feed on corpses. There are speculation that these creature are aliens from outer space. Maybe a crashed spaceship fallen from the sky with a crew of ravenous ghouls. They have slowly began to poach from human society. Spreading their infection one victim at a time...

Combat: The Lovecraftian Ghoul is different from your standard Ghoul in terms of combat qualities. The Lovecraftian Ghoul loses the ability to paralyze. Instead their bites become infectious. Their saliva contains an infectious disease and each hit point of damage increases your odds of infection. For each point of damage you take you have 2% cumulative chance to be infected and turn into a ghoul in 2d4 weeks. After combat has ended you add up the hit point damage and figure out the percentile roll.

If a character has become infected you begin a gradual change. Over the course of days and weeks you develop a hunger for raw flesh. As you get close to the end of the incubation period you are probably eating the goblin you just killed. You also begin to gradually develop canine features. The amusement of seeing the group fighter slowly turning into a ghoul creates a rather interesting dynamic.

Verdict: The Lovecraftian Ghoul is nice variation of the typical ghoul encounter. From a cleric failing to turn the ghoul to the danger of the infection. The role-playing opportunity if a party member becomes infected. The images of crashed spaceships, the slow spreading ghoul plague, wide-spread panic, etc. Adding some spice to your typical horror situation.

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