New Mutant Monday #2 - Living Ghoul

Chris Van Deelen

No. Enc: 1d12 (6d20+20 in gatherings)
Alignment:  Neutral
Movement: 90' (30')
AC: 7
HD: 6
Attacks: 3 (bite, claw, claw)
Damage: 1d8 (plus special), 1d4+1 / 1d4+1
Save: L6
Morale: 4
Hoard Class: I (x3), II (x3), V, VII, IX

It is speculated these mutated humanoids they were created by the Ancients as a biological terror weapon.  Simply put, they live off the flesh of the dead and are known carriers of disease and pestilence.

Physically, they appear to be human, but their skin is a pale, ashen color, while their eyes are blood red with yellow pupils, and the nose is pure black, so that it appears as if they don't actually have one. The coloring on the face also gives them a slightly skeletal appearance.

These humanoids appear to fill a niche that is no longer needed. It is said that they were very numerous during the first few decades after the ancient’s final wars, since there was so much death and destruction. The by-product of war is what kept them very well fed.      

These creatures are incapable of eating what most would consider being normal food. In fact, they are incapable of eating anything but pure human, human or mutant human flesh, making them in effect, cannables. Also, this flesh cannot be fresh, it has to have had time to ‘ripen’. This requires at least four to six days, depending on the climate.  

Regular food is poisonous to these humanoids and acts as a class 6 poison. However, due to their advanced sense of taste, they can usually tell when flesh has had enough time to 'ripen' so that they can consume it without danger.

The living ghouls are nomads by nature, moving from community to community, always staying hidden and making their homes near the graveyards and other locations where the dead are interred.  They have been known to follow raiders and war bands as well, knowing that a feast will be in the offing soon enough.

Because of their very nature, the living ghouls are reviled by everyone, despite the fact that they are not actually evil. They have no choice but to consume the dead in order to survive. They are also feared because of the fact that they are carriers of disease. Although they are immune to these diseases, those that encounter them typically are not.

This is another reason that it is speculated that the living ghouls were created as terror weapons. It has been speculated the creatures could be placed behind enemy lines and infect entire communities or worse depending on the type of contagion they carried.

These humanoids possess a unique type of mutation. They are able to change diseases on a genetic level, altering the way the disease interacts with a host. Sometimes this can be for the better, as they can choose to weaken a disease if they don't have any desire to harm a community, other times, especially if feeding has been poor, they can make a disease all that much more virulent, ensuring that they won't starve.

These humanoids take the same length of time to mature physically and sexually as most other humanoids, and the females have the same gestation period.  Twins are by far the norm, with single births being very rare, and triplets about the same rate as normal humans would have twins.

These mutant humans live in small family groups, and every few years several family groups will gather together to pair off their young in order to prevent inbreeding. They are actually quite social together and are fond of stories, entertainment, dancing and parties (hard to believe), and have no animosity towards regular humans or mutant humans, although the reverse can't be said towards them. These humanoids appear to be ageless and there have never been reports of the creatures dying from old age.

As vile as it sounds, when their own kind are killed, the body is consumed by the immediate family, or if the member does not have family, the body is eaten by the community. This is not viewed by them as a horrible act – quite the contrary. It is viewed as allowing the deceased to live on as part of each and every member of the community. This is an honor they are always willing to extend to those they consider friends as well, though most do not share this particular view.

It is said that they are capable of interbreeding with pure humans and mutant humans, although most humanoids find this to be very offensive and highly improbable. However, any offspring produced through such a joining always take after their living ghoul parent.

They are capable of using weapons and armour, and do so whenever it is available to them, but they do have natural weapons that can be employed if they need to. And often, they do so by choice, as they can spread their disease by using their natural weapons.

Anyone hit by a natural attack from one of these humanoids must save verses death or become infected by the disease that the creature carries. The ML should determine which type of disease it is, as for some reason no two family groups within an area are carriers of the exact same infection.

Finally, these humanoids understand the value of treasure and artifacts and always have some with them. They are particularly interested in medical artifacts and drugs, and as amazing as it sounds, the living ghouls have a natural affinity for healing and medicine (if the ML uses any sort of skill system).

They are quite fond of the Living Skeletons and often form alliances and strong bonds of friendship with these creatures. Cross-breeding between both humanoids is not uncommon. Offspring have a 50-50 chance of being from either parent.

Mutations: Aberrant form (natural weapons), bizarre appearance (skin coloration, eye coloration change), carrier, control disease, dietary change requirement (cannibal, carrion), disease immunity, extended life span, increased senses (hearing, smell, taste), thermal vision, unique senses (life force sense).