New Ghoul Poll

As a follow-up to Monday's post, I've added a new poll in the sidebar for this week: "Ghouls should get how many paralysis attempts per round?"

This is in response to several different ideas in the comments, all of which result in ghouls only getting a single attempt at paralyzing per round (this being distinct from the number-of-attacks question). This would include suggestions such as:
  1. Keep ghouls at one attack per round as in OD&D (Delta)
  2. Just one save needed no matter how many attacks hit (Paul)
  3. Paralysis only applies to the bite attack (RedHobbit, et. al.)
What do you think?


  1. I'm ok with the 3 attacks, but only one paralysis save is needed. Same thing with the carrion crawler. It gets 8 attacks, and can split them up however it wants, but each target hit only needs to make one save, even if they're hit 8 times.

  2. See last post. #1 is plenty for me but I have gone bacl to doing away with multiples from any source barring dragons or hasted/incredible beasties anyway.

    BTW you would get more comments without annoying puzzles. Half the time I just CBF.

  3. I'd say require 1 save max vs. paralysis per round, but I would let any of the attacks require is (i.e., not only the bite can paralyze).

    In advanced-type games, claw/claw/bite. If I was playing original or basic-type games, one attack per round.

    Yes, a penalty in direct sunlight should apply and they should not have to check morale.

    I generally see ghouls similar to the monsters in 28 DAYS LATER and similar "zombie" type movies: incredibly fast and violent but not too smart.

    Sort of an undead berserker, really. If I were king for a day they'd have a +2 to hit due to ferocity and an AC of 9.

  4. Are we voting for Option One, Two or Three, or are we voting for how many attacks per round?

    Because I want to vote for 'three attacks, any can paralyze one a hit, but only paralysis save per round' as in Option Two.

  5. I do three attacks, one paralysis save if any of them hit.

    I really like the idea of only having the paralysis save apply to the bite attack, though. Great flavor.

  6. Ugh. This hard. I voted three, but I'm currently rewriting the ghoul for my own campaign and paralysis probably WON'T be part of its "power suite."

    The reason I voted three is because of what the designer seems to be modeling: the ghoul is a supernatural creature, its very touch causing paralysis. Now that's TOUCH...not filthy claws, not disease carrying bite. Per OD&D, B/X, and the MM a simple touch from the creature causes paralysis.

    That the designer then saw fit to give the ghoul three attacks per round simply indicates a very fast, ravening beast (at least in my games). Three attacks, three chances to touch, save against each.

  7. I think check the HPL/Smith sources and follow that.

  8. I think having the bite only happen if both claws hit, adds great flavor. Along with this I like the idea of only having the bite have paralysis, but perhaps that makes it too rare, so maybe the save vs. claw is 4 easier. I would only go with one save per round, perhaps making the save one harder for each hit after the first.

  9. 3 attacks, and every successful attack forces a save. Now get off my lawn! :-P

  10. Those are some good ideas up there (and I guess the bite-only-paralysis is pretty attractive).

    Jonathon -- "Are we voting for Option One, Two or Three...?"

    Should be separate polls for the questions of how many paralysis attempts, how many attacks, etc. I think for your preference, the paralysis poll should choose "one", and the attacks poll should choose "three".

    Steamtunnel -- "I think check the HPL/Smith sources and follow that."

    That's a solid idea... although having done so, HPL doesn't have any paralysis effect for his ghouls. And now I can explain where it came from in D&D:

    (1) Tolkien has Wights with an "icy touch", (2) Gygax has Wights in Chainmail that freeze opponents -- and Ghouls are included under the same heading, (3) Ghouls in OD&D keep paralysis while other types switch to energy-drain instead.

  11. Bighara -- "3 attacks, and every successful attack forces a save. Now get off my lawn! :-P"

    No, wait, you get off MY lawn!

  12. Delta: Whoops. Somehow my eye skipped right over the second poll. Thanks!

  13. I guess it depends on the paralysis conceptually. I had always envisioned being something like poison delivered through the teeth like a snake. Since you made the connection between wights and ghouls I'm completely fine with an Icy touch being the method of delivery and thus any attack forcing a Save vs Paralysis (but only one save per round).

  14. I've always done it in AD&D as 3 attacks, the bite can cause paralysis (which is not BTB). With OD&D, it was one attack with the chance for paralysis.

    I voted for 1 paralysis/1 attack, as I think that matches up well with the OD&D power curve. 3 attacks by a ghoul(1d6 x 3) would make it on par with a storm giant (who does 3d6 damage) and that doesn't add up in my head.

  15. yeah, I did a bit of looking around and found that HPL ghouls and Smiths "hunters from beyond" (a Pickmans Model hommage) don't really do paralysis. Though the description of the Arabian Ghoul made me consider making Gnolls, Kobolds, Werewolves, Dopplegangers and Ghouls all the same creature whose existence was to make sure that the dead stayed dead by eating the dead and taking the remains so as to prevent resurrection.

  16. WRT icy touch, I would be tempted to back out paralysis on the ghoul. Another mechanic is str damage that heals quickly.

  17. ^ I can picture that. Kind of like Shadows.