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TRANSMIT - initiate the necrophagous signal - RECEIVE - initiate the jackal call - SOMETIMES, DEAD IS BETTER - illumine the Extraordinary Fauna of Egypt - WITNESS - The Ghouls.
Carrion-reek breath and a seeking tongue that can taste decay from a mile away. Grim feasts in mausoleums and mass graves, serenaded with their gibbering language. A marriage of cadavers and carcass eaters. Corpses teach ghouls what it is to be patient. Ghouls teach corpses what it is to be wanted. Round and round.
They are the trash compactors of the secret world. Ghouls, as a general thing, have no higher agenda. They are what they are, following the scent of rotten flesh, digging up the dead for their morbid repast. Other supernaturals tend to treat them with disgust. Humans instinctively avoid those burial spots that become ghoul feeding grounds. The ghouls fill their gross niche.
The jinn claim to have created the ghouls, as the Host created them, to serve as their slaves in the First Age. During the wars between their masters and mankind, ghouls would feast on the flesh of dead humans. Often, there would be more than they could eat, and bodies would start to rot before they could clear the battlefields. In this way, ghouls formed a preference for aged flesh. A fable of the jinn? Given their disdain for humans, it is not so far fetched to picture them taking glee in the notion of human burial in the guts of ghouls.
Ghouls are found all over the world, congregating around graveyards, battlefields, and the scenes of accidents and natural disasters. If they can't find any cadavers, they will attack living creatures then leave the remains to rot or bury the carcass to feed on later. While often mistaken for zombies, ghouls are more intelligent than the walking dead, and they are also very sensitive to changes in occult energy. They are instinctively drawn to locations flooded in dark magic, perhaps another trait evolved from their days as vassals to magical masters.
Most ghouls live underground, in caves, or in other dark locations like abandoned crypts and basements. While they are able to function during the day, they prefer the night. In daylight, they are easily spotted, and their prey can fight back. Hunger can draw them out during the diurnal hours, as can the presence of wars, accidents, or occult incidents that tip the balance in their favour.
Some ghouls are solitary, while others live in permanent packs, clans or tribes, with their own, customs, rituals, and dialects. A hierarchy exists between the different types of ghouls. At the bottom of this social order are the shambling ghouls. With their blank, hungry stares and perpetually hunched backs, they are the thugs of their species, weak on their own, but dangerous in numbers. They reproduce faster than others of their kind, but their lives are shorter. They are sometimes seen in daylight, despite their light-sensitive eyes, and even eat meat that has barely begun to decompose. Other ghouls detest them and stay away from them.
The most common type of ghoul is as tall as a human and paler than the shambling ones. Their fingers are long and elegant with terrible claws and a mouth filled with sharp teeth perfectly suited for ripping apart rotten meat. They are faster than their less intelligent cousins and more independent.
Rare and elusive, are the shapeshifter ghouls, who wear plural forms, taking the shapes of other carrion eaters such as ravens, hyenas, and wolves. Thus disguised, they seek to stalk their unsuspecting prey.
The oldest ghouls have been around for thousands of years. Grown larger than humans on centuries of gorging. The years make them clever, and they wield magic. Unlike other ghouls, they are blind. The lack of sight doesn't seem to be a disadvantage for them, and they navigate by scent and sonar.
A tribe of particularly potent ghouls once inhabited the Ankh, until one Dr. Klein ejected them. The German scientist took some small interest in the species, at first using specimens to dispose of failed experiment subjects, and then beginning a small breeding program, on a whim, to produce more intelligent ghouls.