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Ghouls

"You see these rakes upon the stone? These scratches near the lid of the coffin? Not a scrap of meat was left upon these bones. Your daughter's corpse has been picked clean. They didn't even leave her eyelids. There's no doubt about it, viscount, your family tomb has been raided by ghouls."   'Surely you jest, captain? Ghouls in our fair city? What a horror.'   "Do I seem the type to make light of corpse eating, sire? I would advise that you gather as many of your guard as you can and hunt these creatures down in their warrens as soon as possible, viscount. Do not think you can simply seal the opening in the tomb. These creatures never die. They can wait for millenia, or will burrow out to where they can smell more meat."   'I don't think that will be necessary, Sir.'   "Did you not hear me plainly, viscount? The appetites of these creatures cannot be sastiated. Their hunger for flesh is their ceaseless torment. They will kill the living to procure their meals of mammon and are effecient at the task. These same talons that carved through rock will slice your stomach, and spill your guts out upon the floor in nary an instant. Their fingernails and teeth are coated in a poison that hardens the nervous system, paralyzing you to be flayed alive, and they can see... Why are you closing that door, viscount? Sir? My lord?"   'I believe you have forgotten one very important trait of the Ghoul, Sir Duncan.'   "...They can impersonate those they've recently devoured."  
— Tales of the Knights of Saerl
 

Endless Hunger

  The Ghoul is an intelligent, undead creature whose appetite can never be filled, and often drives them to irreversible bouts of savagery, and madness. To become a ghoul is a foul curse, and in some parts of the world a form of torture. The Sultans of Infidia are known to inflict the curse upon those who have dishonored their courts and then bury the ghoul in a stone sarcophagus beneath the desert sands where they will scratch at the lid for eternity.   Some Ghouls are able to retain their minds, and resist the urge to devour flesh, but it requires an incredible amount of willpower, and few mortals would willingly trust such a creature regardless of their best intention to stay upon the straight and narrow. Ghouls, unlike many undead, retain vivid memories of their lives before their death and transfiguration. This often creates obsession in the Ghoul who will watch their family or friends from the shadows until, eventually, when they can deny their hunger no longer, they will feast upon their loved ones or curse them as well. The transformation from human to Ghoul is a swift one, occurring within only a few days after the individual has become deceased. Only a handful of accounts have been recorded of this process, but the insight gleaned from these experiments, and studies has given orders such as the Knights of Saerl, and the witchfinders of the Ordo Mysteria many ways to detect and determine whether a recently deceased has been afflicted so that their bodies might be disposed of, and the transformation never reach its final, macabre state.  

Ghasts & Gluttony

A Ghast is a more powerful subspecies of undead creature. While many Ghouls are brought into being due to a disease in the world of Orr known as Gloomrot Fever, or encounters with other Ghouls, a Ghast can only be created by one method. On the feast day of Carthus, lord of death, the sick, and the ailing are called to join him in the halls of the afterlife where their souls will be judged. Anyone who denies this offering will rise as a Ghast upon their death as a curse for their gluttony for life. Ghasts are much more powerful undead creatures, and possess a number of unique abilities than their Ghoul counterparts. They are difficult to turn with divine magic, they cast an aura which protects other undead from such powers, and they can impersonate those they have recently devourered. Ghasts experience the same, ceaseless hunger as Ghouls, but are often possess a great deal more willpower, and thus retain a cunning intelligence that makes them particularly more dangerous. Physically, a Ghast is also more powerful than their lesser kindred, both due to the dark magics that surge through them by their curse and because they have first pick of any meat which the they and their ghouls might procure.
 

Gloomrot Fever

The principle way that Ghouls are created is through either dark, forbidden magic, or through Gloomrot Fever. The fever is a disease that spread far and wide across the continent of Oerth between the years 1481 and 1538AR. While Gloomrot Fever, and therefore Ghouls, had existed before this time period, it had never become so rampant as during this outbreak. While the exact details of the plague are unknown, it is believed that the fever was carried by lice, and fleas into the towns and cities of the world. So many were infected and succumbed to the plague that Iskandar and Drin were forced to break their own treaties and allow Dalair to once more teach the eighth circle of magic (Necromancy) at their colleges and lyceums, in order to combat that numerous undead that were overrunning towns and settlements. It is said that nearly a quarter of the mortal population of Oerth was lost during the outbreak, and there are ghouls still present in the world today, nearly four thousand years later, who transformed during this era.  
 
"The Endless, Carthus, grants the gift of death to the suffering on his Feast Day of Mushrava, ushering them into the hollow world beyond the pale light of life. It is said that those who resist the call of Carthus on this day are doomed to rise as ghasts and ghouls, for their hunger of life could not be quenched."
Scientific Name
Humanoid Undead
Origin/Ancestry
Curse or Disease

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