Thursday, March 6, 2014

GURPS Magic Notes 19: Ghouls

Haven has undead, and its constantly growing population (as it shelters african refugees and lacking of reproductive health care, almost %3 population growth) makes it one of the best places to be if your an undead who needs to harvest human goods.

Ghoul, Lesser

Ghoul is a term being used to describe any Sapient undead. By sapience, this means IQ6 and above. By undead, it means a creature that does not function in a regular biological metabolism - instead they are magically biology. An undead is petty much like a machine, it just works with a differently from the regular biological type. 

Ghouls can be created with the Lich Spell, or a custom Create Ghouls spell (Setting specific Spell) which is much easier to cast. Mages undergo this transformation to allow them to tap into more power and to be able to pursue their magical studies. Its very useful because they can tap into a lot of energy by storing it as HP. So building up HP is a priority as it allows them to cast spells they couldn't do so before as regular mages.  

Hidden Lore (Undead) (IQ/A)

Default: Occult-7, Necromancy Path-4, Hidden Lore (Mages)-4, Thaumatology-6

The most basic understanding and fundamental principles “Undead” or what is essentially, magic powered organisms.

Hidden Lore Skill Feats:
  1. Induction or deduction of an Undead’s Nature and capabilities. the more subtle, the more difficult.
  2. Name Examples of Undead in occult lore and their cultural lenses. Factual knowledge of undead. Photographic Memory helps.


They are more pallor humans, there are only very subtle clues to their being. Their lacking of normal human habits: eating, drinking, and sleeping can show in their demeanor. (this is a fun subtle detective work that would be great for players). They don't sweat, which can be a give a way in certain seasons.
They can eat and can taste food, but it gives them no satisfaction and it exists undigested. 

Ecology of the Ghoul

Ghouls have to actively find life force where they can. They can be very sociable because of such need to be around humans and other mages. They will drain life with skin contact.  

Their hunger cycle is 12 meals (1HP per meal) a day or a meal every 2 hours. Young ghouls can mildly intoxicate humans, a by product of their new physiology when they feed on them.  Although they still need to roll self control vs uncontrollable appetite to prevent them from binging. Binging merely sates them early for the day but any excess HP is useless. Getting control over the appetite tends to be the first lesson they learn. Hunger for life force worsens after ever hour past two - a -1 to self control for every hour. Its easier to think about it as eating, you can pig out that will delay hunger for a longer time but you still get hungry after a number of hours. The most sustainable way is to space out and meet the hunger cycles (pretty much like dieting). 

Ghouls work in highly crowded areas and with a lot of other people, they can access. In close proximity they wear make up and use avoid prolonged touching because it gives away their nature. Airconditioned areas, in Haven's emerging BPO industry, creates a great excuse to have such conditions.  

They can live dual lives since they have no sleep. They can work hard in the day and party all night, since it will keep him near precious sources of life force. Ghouls have no fatigue, which makes them perpetually mentally alert. 

Because the Ghouls Life drain ability is an infectious attack, and there is a limit to the carrying capacity in the population, Ghouls (Mages, and Vampires) cull the undead population. There are professional ghoul hunter mages who look out for outbreaks of undead. Even the undead know that they are dependent on human population so they tend to police their own quite ruthlessly. 


Ghoul hunger can be dangerous and transformative. Hunger for many ghouls (even vampires) can cause them to be feral and this is something of a concern for both the undeads and the mages. 

Increased Consumption multiplies the damage taken from Hunger. Ghouls suffer 4HP damage per day of hunger (or 1HP per 6 hours). They heal at their usual rate of drain (1HP per second). Hunger also exacerbates uncontrollable appetite and other personality elements with self control factors (bad temper, blood lust, selfishness etc...) or inflicts it even if the ghoul has bough it off. 

Infectious Attacks

The ghouls life drain can cause it to create a Ghoul if it kills its victim with it. if this happens, typically enforcers find out, and they will take care of the ghoul that cannot control itself. Eventually ghouls get their appetites under control (about 30 points into the template) and they are able to blend in.


Because of Unkillable 2, Injurious Magic Power, and Immune to Pain, the Ghoul can burn up to, in theory, HPx11 for spell casting. more Powerful ghouls with ST20 or tons of HP can do more. Finally able to create lasting enchantments without followers, although still dependent on life forces. 

Why other mages don't need to go through this method is because Familiars and Followers can grant the mage FP. Its only for Anti-social mages (lolz), and those who like the "solitude" of being such and who don't want to be bothered with messy relationships of being a patron and dealing with clients.

Still being Sociable is a great advantage to a ghoul, for reasons previously discussed. Its not like they can't walk around in the day. 

Ghoul, Lesser
Template notes
Modification Options
  • They can gain spell like magical powers because of their magical nature.  

0 point
Attribute Modifiers [10]: ST+1
Secondary Characteristic Modifiers [24]: HP+2 [4]; Per+4 [20]
Advantages [186]: Does not Breathe (B49) [20]; Doesn’t Sleep (B50) [20]; “Life Draining Touch” Leech (P96) (see below) [22]; Immune to Metabolic Hazards (B81) (poisons, disease, sickness) [30]; Immune to Pain (B81) [15]; Injury Tolerance (B61) (unliving) [20]; Night Vision 9 (B71) [9]; Unaging (B95) [15]; Unkillable 2 (Achilles heel, Head Destruction -50%; Hindrance, Silver or Magical Weapons still present in the system, -25%) [25]; Unusual background (Magically Zeroed) [10].
Disadvantages [-220]: Dread (Pentagrams, Wards, Antimagic) [-10]; Dependency (B145) (Ambient Mana) (Constant, Common) [-50]; Increased Consumption (B139) (12HP a day, needs to feed every 2 hours; Starving causes 4HP per day of damage) [-20]; Infectious Attack (B140, B50) (When slaying someone with life drain) [-0]; Restricted Diet (B151) (Common - Life Force, via Steal Vitality or Innate Attack 1HP toxic, 1HP is one meal) [-10]; Secret (“Veil”; on threat of death) [-30]; Supernatural Features (B157) (Pallor, No Body Heat) [-15]; Uncontrollable Appetite (B159) (12) [-15]; Unhealing (B160) (Partial, Must use Life Drain or Leech) [-20]; Vulnerability (B161) (Occassional, Silver x2 damage) [-20]; Vulnerability (B161) (Rare, Magic x4 damage) [-20]; Vulnerability (B161) (Common: Fire x2 damage) [-30];   
  • No FP
  • Antimagic Spells or Effects that drain Energy drain HP

  • Life Drain Leech Options (P96)
    • Default Life Draining Touch [22]: Leech (Contact Agent, -30%; see Affliction for Follow Up) [18]; Affliction (B36) 1 (Follow up Attack to Leech +0%; Causes Tipsy, +10%; Contact Agent -30%; Melee, -30%; Accessibility, only humans -10%; roll vs HT+1) [4];
      • Tipsy, -1 to DX and IQ, and -2 to self control rolls. (B428)
      • [+1 cp] Drunk, -2 to DX and IQ, and -4 to self control rolls. (B428)
      • [+2 cp] Causes Euphoria, -3 to DX, IQ, self control rolls. (B428)
      • see B36 for various other conditions, and B428 afor their results.
    • Malediction Slow Drain [+23] Leech (P96) (Malediction +100%; Reach +40%; Takes Extra Time 6, 1 minute per HP drained -60%) [45]. this ability lets the ghouls drain someone in a distance without touching.  
  • Buy-off Pallor, they can use make up to hide much of their appearance.
  • Buy-off Increased Consumption and even get Reduced Consumption.
  • No limits to the amount of HP, ST, and Ablative or Semi-Ablative DR (DR 1, 1 point; reduced every 1cp; heals at the same rate as HP) the character can buy.
  • They can buy advantages that  augment their magical ability like: they can have a much higher magery (20), mana enhancer,

Design Notes

Ghouls are better as Rogues or Wizards. Their toughness is against mundane threats, they still take damage but can come back thanks to unkillable 2. They are much better as mages, and using their Necromancy spells for Battlefield recovery.
Vampires are tougher than Ghouls, but ghouls walk around in the day. Playing a ghouls means being smart about the "smart" advantages like not-needing sleep or immunity to disease and poison.

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