Tuesday, February 3, 2015


Half-ghouls are created when a human indulges in a steady diet of cannibalism.  They are believed to eventually become full ghouls, if allowed to live.  (A common quest from a village is "go kill our former neighbors in the nearby crypt, for they have become half-ghouls, and their continued existence is an offense to the Authority".)

Half-ghouls are men and women who hop and crawl through tombs, graveyards, and battlefields.  Naked and bestial, they spend their nights searching for flesh and bones to gnaw on.  Although they are not undead, regular ghouls ignore them, except to taunt* them and toss them their leavings.  "Silly children," they laugh.  "We have only jeers for their fears and their tears."

The predominant emotion in the mind of a half-ghoul is shame.  They are still mostly human, but they cannot control their hunger for human flesh.  They have watched the black veins creep up their swollen bellies.  They have seen their nails blacken and grow sharp.  Their teeth have fallen out--painfully, painfully--only to be replaced with sharpened ones, piecemeal.

The mouth of a half-ghoul is a wet, raw thing, where broken teeth are displaced by sharper immigrants.  Half-ghouls often pull these inhuman canines out, but they grow back.

Half-ghouls cluster in colonies, where they squat by dismal fires.  They spend their time trying to rekindle the feelings that made them feel human: lust, anger, humor, love, but mostly in vain.  Anything to take their minds off the Hunger, who is like a rat gnawing at their stomach, but also a black root spiking their febrile brains.

They recite the names of their loved ones, which grow farther and more distant every day.  What was my daughter's name?  She had blonde hair.  Was it blonde?  Did I have a daughter at all?

Treat them as 1 HD ghouls.  Only 10% of them have paralyzing claws (and they probably don't realize it themselves).

# Appearing: 2d20
Morale 7

If a crypt or dungeon has a central area, they'll usually be there, huddled together for warmth (that they no longer need nor feel).

They are rarely aggressive, at least not immediately.  If they are fed, they will fall upon the food and devour it, ravenously and ungratefully (unless it is human flesh, in which case they will eat it with special relish, while tears flow down their faces and they damn the PCs for giving them sweet manflesh).  They will let the PCs pass.

(If the PCs attack them directly, they make a morale check to see if they flee or attack en masse.)

If you converse with them, they speak mostly of shame and hunger.  They want news of their loved ones (whose names they cannot remember).  Torchlight makes them skittish, and so they'll press their backs against the walls, gasping and grasping at the PCs.  They both desire and despise the PCs' healthy bodies.

They will follow the PCs, quietly, hopefully.  They are hoping for meat.  As soon as it looks like the PCs might lose a fight, they will be emboldened, and fall upon them in a gnashing, tearful horde.

*In Centerra, ghouls are the most talkative of the undead.  They also have the best sense of humor.


  1. Good stuff and some solid ideas here for ghouls, nicely done.

  2. Fascinating and horrifying, with potentially interesting choices for the PCs - especially if there's some sort of chancy/dodgy rehabilitation method. Drug metaphor for gamers interested in confronting social issues?

  3. Love it, there are so many possibilities for them.

  4. these are so much worse (better) than vanilla ghouls !

  5. OMFG this is amazingly wonderfully creepy. Consider it gleefully appropriated.

  6. I think there's something fantastically perverse about humanizing monsters that are normally thought of as just sword-fodder. Giving them a psychology, making them not immediately hostile, almost actively encouraging engagement on a conversational level is great. With any luck it actually makes the PCs feel somewhat ambiguous about whether it's okay to kill them.

  7. Hello! Long time lurker, first time commenter. I'm writing a Troika hack called 100 Class Troika and I'd love to use this as one of the backgrounds. I'd fully credit you, and I'm releasing the product for free on Itch. Is this okay?

  8. Hello! I'm a long time lurker, first time commenter. Love your stuff! I'm in the process of releasing a hack of Troika! over on itch.io called 100 Class Troika (working title). I'd love to use this as a background, with your permission. You would be credited, and as it's going to be a free product, I don't stand to gain any money from your ip. Is this alright? You can ask any questions at therealgusrichardson@gmail.com or just respond to this comment. Thanks!