My character promised a devil her soul upon her death. She was young and stupid, don’t judge her. I talked to my GM and we came to the conclusion that resurrection, true resurrection and raise dead would not work on her, as her soul would indeed be willing, but not free.

My character has a very specific goal in life and a premature death would be very inconvenient. Therefore, she was looking for ways to cheat death and just stay on the Material Plane as long as necessary, with or without her soul intact.

First, my character investigated lichdom, but she is not smart enough for such an endeavor and on top of that, becoming a lich is pretty difficult. Next up, she studied vampires. But in order to become a vampire, you have to be killed by a vampire and then rise as a vampire spawn. That would suck, as the vampire spawn is beholden to the vampire. Finally, my character investigated ghouls and came across cannibalism and other nasty stuff.

But as that seemed to be the only viable option (at least to her), my character started eating dead people a while ago. Usually she cooks them and adds spices and vegetables, because raw meat is gross. (Hooray for proficiency in Cook’s Utensils!).

Now I have a couple of questions. As all of these queries are closely related, I will ask them here, instead of splitting them across multiple questions. If such course of action is undesired by the good folks of rpg.stackexchange, please let me know and I will separate them.

Is eating people a viable method to ensure the rise as a ghoul upon death, and would said ghoul keep its soul? If not, would the conscience of the individual live on as a ghoul, even without a soul?

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    \$\begingroup\$ "Raw meat is gross" citation needed :P \$\endgroup\$ Feb 26, 2019 at 14:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DavidCoffron Beef Tartar has something to say. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Feb 26, 2019 at 18:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ "premature death would be very inconvenient" - well, isn't it for all of us. That aside, sounds like the character is heading in the right direction in life; Hell / Abyss / lower planes / anguish / damnation / all of the above. :D Edit: as ghould has been ruled out, has the character thought about vampirism? Isn't that more of a "seamless transition" than being dead and raised as a ghoul? \$\endgroup\$
    – DocWeird
    Feb 27, 2019 at 9:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DocWeird Vampirism would be an option, at least theoretically. But this would require finding a vampire, who would then turn my character into a vampire spawn. And there is a good chance, that this vampire master has other things for my character in mind, than for her to mind her own business. Plus, playing a vampire-character is almost impossible, as this would limit her to night time activities and bring balancing issues. On the other hand, I can somehow imagine playing a character who got turned into a ghoul. Kind of similar to the Revenant Subrace presented in UA: Gothic Heroes. \$\endgroup\$
    – hohenheim
    Feb 27, 2019 at 9:46

3 Answers 3


Ghouls generally have to be created, even the first one (Ghouls MM p.148):

As a reward for his service, Orcus transformed Doresain into the first ghoul. Doresain served Orcus faithfully in the Abyss, creating ghouls from the demon lord's other servants

There is no RAW mechanism outside the Create Undead spell (PHB p. 229) for creating Ghouls. Cannibalism and horrible deeds does not do it, you need some necromancy magic from somewhere.

Furthermore, to become a Ghoul a person would at the very least first have to die and at that point their soul/spirit would be up for grabs by the deity to whom it was promised.

So RAW (ignoring Wish as requested), there is no way to "become a Ghoul" without first dying and then, at the very least, being raised by the Create Undead spell. Even then it is not necessarily the original spirit that is forced into the body to become a Ghoul by this magic, even if said spirit was still available after death.

However your DM is the final arbiter, and if they are feeding you information in your search I would imagine they have a good idea of what they want to happen and they may just not be telling you about it. It might be that your character will become a ghoul, it might be that it is all just folk lore based on the Doresain story or nothing at all but superstition.

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    \$\begingroup\$ It occurred to me that your character might be getting "played" by the deity for it's amusement. Or maybe by Orcus feeding you false information. Maybe your character is the focus of a game between them? "I bet you 5 souls that I can make him take up cannibalism!"... \$\endgroup\$
    – Protonflux
    Feb 26, 2019 at 18:18

It's all up to your game master.

Unfortunately, rules as written don't say anything about becoming a ghoul. All we know is that the very first ghoul was a twisted elf who worshipped Orcus and was turned into a monster as a reward from the Demon Prince. It is unknown how exactly did he create other ghouls.

Furthermore, in the Fifth Edition, it is possible to resurrect an undead, accordingly to Skeletons' description on page 272 of Monster Manual. Becoming an undead might not be the solution. Anyway, the decision is up to your game master.

If your DM said it is viable, then go on with it.

Don't worry too much if the "ghoul-dom" wouldn't work. All you need to do is grind some monsters, gear up with some magic items, go to the layer of Baator in which the devil resides, kick his butt and reclaim Your soul. It's not that hard. Maybe you could even somehow trick the beast. If you don't feel like going for a trip, you could find a powerful wizard and ask him to cast the gate spell in order to drag out the devil and beat it on your territory.

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    \$\begingroup\$ OP's character's soul doesn't belong to a demon, it belongs to a devil. Unfortunately, the Nine Hells are much more organized than the Abyss, so it's gonna be pretty difficult to get your soul back (and good luck tricking a devil). \$\endgroup\$ Feb 26, 2019 at 16:11
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    \$\begingroup\$ @PixelMaster Foolish warrior, just hold my staff as I cast The Gate. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 26, 2019 at 19:47

The only mention of this in the rules is the aforementioned creation of the first Ghoul and the bit about him being able to make more. I'd say the 'eating people' thing alone just makes the PC a cannibal.

If you want lore-based advice, then since Devils and Demons are enemies, the PC could go to Orcus or his servant Doresain and make a deal to screw over the devil who signed the contract. I even ran a nearly four-year long campaign where this was the big age-long conflict. Demons would love the chance to steal souls from devils, and you could probably make a good living selling your 'Stay out of Hell" services, at least until the devils and good-aligned clerics caught up with you. Frankly, the thought of devils and holy clerics teaming up to get someone they both see as a threat is pretty funny.


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