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A ghoul was said to be created on the death of a man or woman who savored the taste of the flesh of people; this was probably derived from the popular connection of the word "ghoul" with persons who delighted in the unsavory. They not only ate the dead, but also preyed on the unwary living.
Ghouls are humanoid undead that fed on the flesh of corpses. They laired within ancient crypts or hid in graveyards where food was plentiful. Whenever possible, a ghoul would attack a living target as a rare opportunity to have fresh meat.
People rightfully feared ghouls and their corpse-eating ways.
Ghouls could paralyze their victims with a touch, though elves were immune. The bite of a ghoul inflicted a terrible disease. Any who died from the illness rose as a ghoul soon afterward.
A ghoul appeared to be an emaciated humanoid creature with putrid grey skin. Its teeth had worn away into fangs and it had a long lashing tongue. The fingers and toes of a ghoul ended in sharp claws, blackened from constantly digging up grave dirt. Aside from the standard ghoul, a number of other varieties existed.
- Abyssal ghoul
- These extra-planar versions of the standard ghoul had fiendish characteristics that made them far more formidable than their cousins.
- The ghast was similar to the ghoul, but was distinguished by its monstrously foul and supernaturally nauseating stench. Elves could even fall victim to a ghast's paralytic touch.
- Gravetouched ghoul
- These ghouls were said to have been blessed by the King of Ghouls upon their return from the dead, and were thus more powerful than common ghouls. While standard ghouls lost all of their abilities from their previous life, gravetouched ghouls retained most of their former selves, albeit enhanced by the transformation into an undead creature.
- A lacedon was the aquatic version of the ghoul. Save for the fact that they were powerful swimmers, lacedons were identical to standard ghouls. They were said to lurk near reefs, waiting to prey on stranded vessels.
In the Year of the Prince, 1357 DR, Vajra Valmeyjar, Cybriana, Timoth Eyesbright, Onyx the Invincible, and Priam Agrivar were camping at the base of Stoner's Needle in the Sword Coast lands when ghoul warriors clawed their way out of the earth and snatched at them shortly before dawn. Their blades soon dismembered the undead, though the once-paladin Priam wished he could still turn them.