Of Smoke and Mirrors
Ghouls are the stuff of nightmares for most sane people, horrid creatures appearing like walking corpses but a few weeks old. They come in all the shapes and forms of sapient-kind, having once originally been sapients, though have several traits in common. Their skin tends to be greyish and course, often maggot eaten and seemingly decaying as it is pulled taunt across the creature’s bony frame. Their skin is also almost universally hairless, though some display faint tuffs and spots of course withered hair. They are gangly things, sometimes clad in the rags of their former lives but mostly hideously naked like the beasts they have become.
Secondly a Ghoul’s nails and teeth are far longer and sharper than their sapient counterparts, growing into vicious fangs and claws oft tainted by caking blood and other grisly remnants. Their maws especially are often twisted almost beyond recognition with lips pull back to display bloody gums and rows of razor sharp teeth licked by malformed hungry tongues.
The most unnatural and unnerving thing about a Ghoul however is its eyes, empty glistening pools of nothingness without the faintest trace of the glittering of a soul. Usually the eyes are pure black with a faint oily sheen, as if liquid, though some also display milky white paleness unto death itself. It is these horrid eyes, beyond the creatures appearance, that assures the beholder that these things are sapients no more, but creatures spewed from the horrors of the Pale Court.
Common studies describe Ghouls as creatures of animalistic instinct and base needs, as if all that remains within the stolen shell are the victims vices. They do display a limited intelligence, much akin to that of animals, and a few exceptional individuals even seems capable of communication though in its basest form.
This is however mere speculations and most Ghouls appears nothing more than unnatural and horrid animals, preying upon sapientkind in particular as if displaying some particular hatred for them. They are cannibalistic creatures of the worst sort, refusing not even the most contaminated and putrid of flesh. Ghouls are however by nature cowardly creatures, oft preferring to scavenge the dead from the graveyards they oft inhabit. The rare times they attack they often do so in groups.
A common peculiarity of the Ghoul, noted by most accounts of the creature, is its blood-chilling howl. This terrible wordless scream is said to echo with all the fear and horror of the former sapient, giving the feeling of being buried alone and deep in a dark corner of one’s own mind. Few who hear the Ghoul’s howl forgets it anytime soon.
Ghouls mostly inhabit forgotten and lonely places where they can hide from the hated sapients and yet remain close to a supply of flesh, no matter how putrid and decayed. They are most often observed haunting graveyards and burial grounds, hiding in the crypts and other caves by day and robbing graves by night. Indeed, Ghouls are one of the main reasons why graveyards are oft shunned after dark. Ghouls have however also been observed picking over battlefields, through the remains of plague struck villages and so forth, seemingly drawn to the countless dead and dying like carrions.
Little is known, at least by our intrepid adventurers, about Ghoulkin and what they truly are, though it is clear that they are not as most think undead. Rather they seem to be the possessed and twisted body of a former sapient, now housing some form of vile spirit or perhaps a twisted version of the original. This spirit cannot be exorcised however and it thus seems the creature is not a demon either, leaving it as something of a scientific enigma.