What are ghouls in pathfinder 2e? How do they work and how can they be used in your game?
Ghouls are very interesting as they are quite intelligent, have a society / social structure – granted one based on eating people, but still a society – and most importantly you can add a ghoul template to most creatures to create something truly horrific.
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Table of Contents
Ghouls are quite intelligent, more so than almost any other undead. They are prone to forming societies and cultures if vile and repugnant ones centered around flesh-eating and acts of depravity can be called a culture. They live in tangled warrens below boneyards, or even entire cities have hidden away in the depths of the Darklands.
How did ghouls come to be?
One legend holds that Briganthor, a dwarf champion of Torag, quested to root out a pack of ghouls.
After slaying the undead, he stumbled upon a tome of cannibalistic prayer recipes. As Briganthor attempted to burn the book, the warren collapsed—trapping him and his brother. Desperate for sustenance, Briganthor searched the cave-in only to conclude there was no way out. As days melted into weeks, the paladin feared they would starve. That’s when the whispers came. Pleading, gnawing, begging him to open the grimoire.
Did all ghouls come from some necromancer’s crazy fever dream that was written down in a book just waiting to be used by another?
How could you build a campaign around ghouls and the undead?
A powerful wizard has raised an army of ghouls to conquer the nearby lands, and the players must stop the wizard and put an end to the ghouls’ reign of terror.
This could be a one-time side quest where the wizard was just getting started and had only turned a handful of people into ghouls. It could be much much worse. The wizard could have taken over an entire kingdom or small country and is turning more powerful monsters into ghouls to ravage the countryside.
If you want some tips on how to make a scary RPG check out my top 10 tips on how to horror in your RPG actually scary here.
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Did you know that in Pathfinder 2e you can create your own ghouls?
Custom-building ghouls are recommended if you have time. First, increase the creature’s level by 1 and change its statistics as follows. Increase its AC, attack bonuses, DCs, saving throws, and skill modifiers by 1. Increase its damage with Strikes and other offensive abilities by 1. If the creature is limited in how often it can use an ability, for example, a breath weapon, increase the damage by 2 instead.
Imagine dragon ghouls roaming the countryside spreading their ghoul fever about on the populace.
What is ghoul fever you ask?
Ghoul Fever is a disease. Saving Throw Fortitude. In stage 1 the carrier with no ill effect for 1 day. In stage 2 the DM will roll 2d6 negative damage and the carrier will only regain half as many Hit Points from any healing for 1 day. In stage 3 repeat stage 2 for 1 day. In stage 4 the DM rolls 2d6 negative damage and the carrier gains no benefit from healing for 1 day. In stage 5 repeat stage 4 for 1 day. The last stage is death and the carrier rises as a ghoul the next midnight to spread ghoul fever to another innocent soul.
If you want the full stats for Ghouls go here.
One-off adventure ideas
Ghost girl beckoning travelers to their doom
The ghostly apparition of a young girl has been seen wandering the outskirts of the town beckoning travelers to follow her into the nearby woods. It is rumored that she leads people to an old cemetery where the ghouls have made their lair.
A good ghoul???
A ghoul has been spotted near a remote town, and the locals are afraid that it may attack their residents. The players hear rumors that this ghoul still remembers its name and only feasts on non-sentient flesh this is a ghoul that didn’t become evil in the turning and is an old paladin that is seeking death because he is an abomination.
A powerful wizard has raised an army of ghouls to conquer the nearby lands, and the players must stop the wizard and put an end to the ghouls’ reign of terror. He has fortified himself with his acolytes who worship this wizard like a god. If the players want to confront the wizard in his lair they will need to make their way through a desolate forest that is filled with skeletons and zombies from risen fallen adventurers that have tried in the past.
The lair has a set of stairs going into the ground that lead to the 1st room which is empty but filled with bones. The wizard’s lab is in room 9, which is where the lead wizard can be found. Other labs can be found in rooms 11, 29, and 33 with minor-level wizards. All of these wizards are studying necromancy. Fill out the rest of the rooms as you see fit.
Want 7 more adventure ideas?
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About the Author:
Dwight Scull has been playing tabletop role-playing games (starting with Dungeons and Dragons 3.5) back in 2001. He started being a dungeon master around 2005.
He loves to play many different types of TTRPGs, including Pathfinder, GURPS, Shadowrun, Vampire: The Masquerade, Mage: The Ascension (and other White Wolf Games), Nights Black Agents, and others.
Fan of mysteries, light horror, co-op board games, true crime, sci-fi, and fantasy.