Red Box Workshop: The Ghoul PC


Ghouls are living corpses who feed on the flesh of the living and the dead. Withered and cunning, their clotted hair only partially conceals their red eyes and sharp, pointed teeth. Most ghouls are bestial creatures with no interest beyond hunger. A few, however, conquer their appetites and retain their will. Though not as ferocious in battle as their feral kin, they can be valuable allies—if they can be trusted.

The prime requisite for a ghoul is Constitution. A ghoul character whose Constitution score is 13 or higher will receive a bonus on earned experience.

RESTRICTIONS: Ghouls use eight-sided dice (d8) to determine their hit points. They may advance to a maximum of 8th level of experience. Ghouls may use any type of weapon. Their tough hides grant them a base AC of 6, but they may not wear armor or use shields. Clerics may turn, destroy or command player-character ghouls, though this grows more difficult as the ghoul increases in level. Use the following table to see what type of undead to treat the ghoul as for this purpose.

Ghoul’s Level Turn As:
1-2 Ghoul
3-4 Wight
5-6 Wraith
7-8 Mummy

SPECIAL ABILITIES: A ghoul’s ragged nails and teeth carry a necrotic disease. An unarmed attack by a ghoul inflicts 1-3 points of damage and paralyzes a living target who fails to save vs. paralyzation. Paralysis lasts for 2-8 turns and is removed by any cure wounds spell. A starting ghoul may make one unarmed attack per round; this increases to two attacks/round at 4th level, and three attacks/round at 8th level.

SAVING THROWS: As fighters.


ADVANCEMENT: As per the magic-user advancement table.

10 Responses to “Red Box Workshop: The Ghoul PC”

  1. June 24, 2010 at 3:37 pm

    Great post. It’s pretty much the same exact concept as the community of “friendly” ghouls that you encounter in the dungeons of the PC classic Ultima Underworld. It’s one of my all-time favorite games.

  2. 2 FredH
    June 24, 2010 at 3:57 pm


    Charles, we hardly knew ye!


  3. June 24, 2010 at 7:51 pm

    This portends a victorious return of Charles de Ghoul to the Company. Ben will have to deduce an in-character mechanic to forgive us for distracting him, scenting him with lavender, setting him alight and dragging his dismembered corpse around the dungeon (until we forgot about it).

  4. 4 Restless
    June 25, 2010 at 2:19 am

    Does holy water affect ghoul PCs? Can they be healed by clerical magic? Do they heal by resting? Do they have all the normal undead resistances?

  5. June 25, 2010 at 3:35 am

    Good questions! They have the usual undead resistances (to sleep, charm and hold spells), and they’re affected by holy water. As to the rest, might as well let them heal by resting—after all, damage in old school play isn’t directly associated with physical injury—and as to clerical magic, why not? I don’t think the whole “healing = positive energy” trope appears until later editions.

  6. 6 Naked
    June 26, 2010 at 12:23 am

    When a ghoul PC is killed in the Chateau D’Ambreville and is left behind, what does he become?

  7. June 26, 2010 at 4:16 pm

    A retro-ghoul, who only gains nourishment by devouring old vinyl records and polyester pants.

  8. 8 Charlatan
    July 6, 2010 at 7:21 pm

    I think, if the Berzerker must save to avoid attacking the party at the close of combat, the Ghoul should save to avoid attacking a bleeding ally at the close of combat unless a humanoid corpse is produced to satiate it. In low-level dungeoneering, this would feel like a sturdier thief with extra attacks, unless the incidence of hostile clerics were high. The save might balance it out a bit more, and maintain the tension of such an unholy alliance.

    This allows me to imagine a kind of perverse alternate character night… It’s 10 o’clock. Do you know where your regular character is?

  9. 9 Naked Samurai
    April 7, 2011 at 6:12 pm

    I have to say, reviewing these old new PC classes, this one is highly intriguing. Not sure how feasible it is, but Charlatan’s last comment suggests how it could result in evocative play.

  10. May 4, 2012 at 8:51 pm

    Yes, the ghoul might actually be playable. The turning table needs to be adjusted upward, however, so that high-level PC ghouls aren’t so easily turned or destroyed by enemy clerics.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Past Adventures of the Mule

June 2010

RPG Bloggers Network

RPG Bloggers Network

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog & get email notification of updates.

Join 1,054 other followers

%d bloggers like this: