Tombpunk: Arcana – The Ghouls

Tombpunk is my lo-fi, lightweightfantasy roleplaying game, published under license by Outland Entertainment. You can find it here on DriveThruRPG.

Tombpunk: Arcana is a series of articles written by me expanding content for the game with “playtest” material (I don’t think I can call it homebrew if I’m the official writer/creator!). 

The enemy list in Tombpunk is tightly focused and utilitarian. Today I present the new enemy: the Ghoul, an “Alan-ified” reimagining of the classic creature and monster. In my home setting, the ghouls are servants of a dark god, crazed undead members of a cult they are unaware they belong to.

The mysteries of the ghouls served as the foundational theme of the first campaign I ran with Tombpunk. I won’t spoil my ending here, as I’d prefer if each GM found their own ending.


Ghouls are dark undead creatures, raised to vicious predatory intelligence by foul magicks. Common legend and lore has ghouls as rotting, decaying “cannibals”, feasting on flesh torn from excavated graves, sinew and marrow dribbling down their green-grey chins, as yellow teeth and eyes flash in the dark.

This is incorrect, at least in part.

While undead, a ghoul is not rotting, nor are they animalistic. Their skin is pale and sallow, sagging as though it does not quite fit, and they are often found disguised in peasant clothing (baggy clothes, wide brimmed, low hats), to better disguise their inhuman experience. In these disguises, ghouls often rob graves, searching for treasures (and yes, flesh to eat)

Ghouls exist to gather treasure, though no one knows what they do with it. Oftentimes, they secret it away in massive hordes, only keeping some on themselves. What purposes this treasure serves is unknown.


Lifeblood: 20

Attack: Standard

Damage: 1d8 (Claws and Teeth) + Curse

Curse: When a character takes damage from a ghoul, they must make a Courage check. If their Courage is now 0, they die in 1d8 days, raising as a ghoul 1d4 days later.

Ghoul-Madness: Ghouls are afflicted with a strange curse on themselves, where they only see the world through deeply warped eyes. Ghouls see themselves as righteous warriors, recovering lost treasures in the name of some god, secreting them away in service of some divine plan…

Treasure: If you slay a Ghoul, you will immediately find 1d3 Coin on it’s person.

Undead: Ghouls have Reduction 1 and are immune to disease, poison, and mind-affecting abilities (other than Ghoul-Madness). If they’ve eaten at least a pound of dead flesh in the last day, their Reduction is 3 instead.

Tombpunk and the text above © 2020-2021 Alan Bahr. Tombpunk is a trademark of Alan Bahr.