2013 Previews #11: Spellbones of the Devourer

Last time out we teased you with one word familiar to true grognards: thouls. Way back in the Basic days, thouls were a menace; part troll, part hobgoblin, part ghoul, and all nasty. I’m not sure how or why it existed or if it even made any sense. Some people thought it looked like a typo. I always thought the name sounded kinda cool.

The idea of the cult of the Devourer, first mentioned back in Tomes of Arcane Knowledge, gives the opportunity to bring an entirely new kind of thoul into the world. In reading Lovecraftian stories, you see references to “ghouls,” but it’s often quite unclear exactly what they are – alien horror, flesh-eating zombie, or just crazed cultist who has left sanity and humanity behind. It is this last concept we explore in Spellbones of the Devourer in the form of a template for the myTHos ghOUL, or “thoul” for short. From the template description:

A mythos ghoul or “thoul” is a bloodthirsty horror obsessed with the urge to consume and devour living flesh to a far greater degree than its ghoulish kindred. What makes a thoul’s appetite so much more horrifying is that it is not undead but rather a living creature driven to cannibalistic madness and remade body and soul by forces from beyond into a flesh-craving abomination. Thouls are outwardly identical to other members of their race, save for their oversized jaws and fanged mouths. Thought not intelligent, they often rise to prominence in their tribes for their savagery. Thoul is an acquired template that can be applied to a humanoid or monstrous humanoid with Intelligence of 7 or higher that has given itself body and soul to the alien powers of the Elder Gods.

Becoming a thoul takes dedication to the eldritch powers … or to become the victim of a terrible curse. Either way, once you have supped upon the lifeblood and living flesh of your own kind, it is a long and difficult road back, represented by the following special quality:

Shocked Sanity (Su): A thoul targeted with an effect that cures insanity, such as heal or greater restoration, is dazed for 1d4 rounds as its mind tries to reconcile its actions, following which it is affected as terrible remorse for 1d4 additional rounds (DC 16 Will save each round) and crushing despair for the next 24 hours. At the end of every 24 hours, the thoul must make an additional Will save each day, beginning at DC 16 and increasing by 1 each day thereafter. As long as each save succeeds, the abyssal ghoul begins to recover fragments of its memory and need not act upon its accursed compulsions. Once a save is failed, however, the madness returns in force and the creature becomes a thoul again. Only a miracle or wish can permanently remove this template from a creature.

The Spellbones of the Devourer presents the mythos ghoul template in full, representing the apex of awfulness for cultic depravity, featuring in addition 2 feats, 7 spells, and the kind of richly detailed lore and background you’ve come to expect from our Gothic Grimoires. We hope you enjoy and look forward to our next preview tomorrow!