King of Ghouls

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Greyhawk Deity
King of Ghouls
Title(s) King of the Ghouls
Home Plane Infinite Layers of the Abyss
Power Level Demigod
Gender Male
Class(es) Level 27 Elite Skirmisher (4e)
Alignment Chaotic evil
Portfolio Ghouls, Necromancy, Cannibalism, Murder
Domains Chaos, Evil, Hunger
Alias(es) Doresain
Superior Orcus

The King of Ghouls is a malevolent undead creature turned demigod. He is sometimes known as "Doresain." His symbol is a ghoul skull.

Description

The King of Ghouls is said to appear as an especially thin and wasted ghoul, eyes ablaze with a sickly green ghoul light, with hoof-like feet. He wears an elegant coat of supple human flesh and a suit of pale leather armor studded with tiny skulls. A crown of bones rests on his head, and he wields a staff called Toothlust, created from the skull and spinal cord of some past victim.

Relationships

The King of Ghouls was once a vassal of Orcus who ruled his own layer of the Abyss until Yeenoghu invaded. Doresain was forced to swear fealty to the gnoll lord. In the 4th edition Monster Manual and subsequently, he is portrayed as a vassal of Orcus.

Realm

The layer of the Abyss where the King of Ghouls resides is known as the White Kingdom. This place is sacred to ghouls, who sometimes try to recreate it on the Prime Material Plane. See White Kingdom for more on Oerth's version, which lies in the Underdark beneath the Hellfurnaces.

Every building in the King of Ghouls' Abyssal layer is made of white bone, and walking through its streets causes clouds of white bone-dust to coat everything. Doresain's palace, created from the petrified but still-living form of an ancient being of divine-level power known as Syvexrae. Doresain's throne room is in Syvexrae's skull, where he feasts on her decaying brain, and the palace also hosts his Court of Teeth, made up of a thousand ghouls and Abyssal ghouls.

Dogma

To exist is to eat. To fully experience existence, one must hunt for one's food, preferably the flesh of sentients. The King of the Ghouls loves to be fed sacrifices of flesh. Extinguishing life by tearing it apart with one's teeth is the secret of happiness.

Worshippers

As his name implies, the King of Ghouls is the patron deity of ghouls of all strains. It is noted in Libris Mortis that the King of Ghouls sometimes appears to incautious necromancers meddling with the Negative Energy Plane, forcibly converting them into ghouls to create worshippers for himself. Ghouls created directly by Doresain are known as gravetouched ghouls, which differ from standard ghouls in that they retain most of their original abilities. The gravetouched ghoul is, in fact, a templated creature based on the standard ghoul.

As a demigod, the King possesses the unique ability to add the gravetouched ghoul template to creatures to which it is not normally applicable.

Clergy

Doresain's clergy favor the scimitar.

Rituals

Ghouls share the flesh of their prey among themselves as an informal ritual to their god. Every greedy act of devouring is a prayer to the Ghoul King.

Creative origins

The King of Ghouls was first mentioned in the first edition Monster Manual under the demon lord Yeenoghu's entry, where the King supposedly paid homage to the gnoll lord. Practically nothing was mentioned about the King of Ghouls until years later in the Dungeon magazine adventure "Kingdom of the Ghouls" by Wolfgang Baur, where he was the major villain and was named Doresain, Master of the White Kingdom. This "Doresain" wasn't explicitly connected to the earlier King of Ghouls, however, and was said to have been summoned to the Prime Material Plane from either the Negative Energy Plane or the Plane of Shadow.

In 3rd edition's Book of Vile Darkness, the King of Ghouls was little more than an advanced fiendish ghoul.

While other unofficial d20 supplements provided alternative statistics for the King, he was promoted to a demigod in Libris Mortis.

Doresain was given full game statistics as a powerful servant of Orcus in the 4th edition Monster Manual, and a temple of Doresain is described in the 4th edition book Open Grave.

Bibliography

  • Baur, Wolfgang. "Ecology of the Ghoul." Dragon #252. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 1998.
  • -----. "A Gathering of Winds." Dungeon #129. Bellevue, WA: Paizo Publishing, 2005.
  • -----. "Kingdom of the Ghouls." Dungeon. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 1998.
  • Cordell, Bruce, Eytan Bernstein, Brian James, Robin Laws, and John Snead. Open Grave: Secrets of the Undead. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2009. excerpts
  • Cordell, Bruce and Chris Tulach. Kingdom of the Ghouls. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2009.