I gather the best way to get a ghoul is the buy them via the retainer merit.

Is there a minimum number of dots required? I ask because they start with disciplines and more abilities than a normal mortal.

How do I determine what attributes my two dot retainer can start with if they're a ghoul? Are they equivalent to any other two-dot retainer?

  • \$\begingroup\$ @Jadasc if they're a 4-5 dot retainer, are they equivalent to a non-ghoul retainer of the same number of dots? E.g. what can they do in comparison to any other retainer of the same dot cost? \$\endgroup\$ – Pureferret Jun 16 '14 at 12:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ I've added a little more to my answer to try and address the two-dot ghoul question. I think that a five-dot ghoul is basically a four-dot retainer with all the powers of a ghoul; a five-dot mortal has better attributes, skills and backgrounds, but can't regenerate from a knife wound or punch through a wooden door. \$\endgroup\$ – Jadasc Jun 16 '14 at 14:00

Let's take a look at the Retainer rules in the World of Darkness core book, page 116.

Dots spent in the trait indicate the training, capability or flexibility of the aide. One dot suggests a child, an automaton or a madman with limited capabilities and freedom of thought. Two dots indicate an ordinary person over whom your character has sway. The servant is completely mundane and has no particular training above the human norm (he has two dots in all of his Attributes and Skills). Three dots represent a capable employee with a range of training at his disposal (three or four of his traits have three dots). Four dots represent a valued and irreplaceable assistant (someone with a handful of traits with four dots each). Five dots indicate an extraordinary follower. He is exceptional in many ways (five dots in a couple traits, and four in many others) or he may be capable of supernatural feats.

Based on this, it's reasonable to say that a ghoul should be around four or five dots, depending on whether the ghoul is simply physically resilient and long-lived (••••) or actually has developed the power of the blood to learn non-physical disciplines. (•••••)

One could justify a two-dot retainer ghoul if they were an animal or so addicted to blood that they lost the freedom of thought that mortal men and women typically have. Since there are no guidelines to creating a person who starts below the starting array of points, it would probably be appropriate to make them as a starting character with 0XP and, as described, portray them as a someone incapable of accessing their higher, more human functions. They do as they are commanded and little else. Should that person stop being a ghoul, they would go back to being a fairly ordinary man or woman, uncrippled by their addiction.

At this stage, it's important to note that Retainers are NPCs, and that your Storyteller would be happy to tell you what his or her boundaries are for what Retainers are capable of.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ My thought was that the as ghoul's start off as base humans, and don't typically have traits that high... their supernatural feats through that off. Four or five seems high.... \$\endgroup\$ – Pureferret Jun 15 '14 at 15:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Pureferret Having a loyal immortal servant is pretty valuable. :) Note, of course, that the Invictus get Retainers for half price, if you're looking to be frugal about it. \$\endgroup\$ – Jadasc Jun 15 '14 at 15:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ Oooh, I'm looking into that...is that just BS or plain Vampire: the Requiem? \$\endgroup\$ – Pureferret Jun 15 '14 at 15:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ Just plain Requiem; the Carthians and the Invictus get certain Merits at half cost rather than some kind of blood magic. Page 91 and 92 of VTR. \$\endgroup\$ – Jadasc Jun 15 '14 at 15:37

Check with your GM. By a raw Reading, a Ghoul is a supernatural creature, thus must be a 5 dot retainer. All ghouls start with some disciplines. (Normally celerity or vigour or resilience at very low rating). This also means all ghouls are incredibly competent people. Not nesc what your game style might want. (PC: "Igor, get the door", Igor: "I installed a automatic door last week, sir.")

However depending on your Game the GM might be willing to throw that around.

You GM might rule that you are vampires, it is expected that vampires make ghouls of most of there followers (In your setting). Thus he might say that any retainer can be a ghoul, so long as you are willing to pay the willpower point to create, and the vitae each month to maintain. This increases the variety of ghoulish competence.

For example he might allow you to have a 1 dot ghoul retainer who is effectively mentally disabled, (which is the description of a 1 dot retainer). It may be that his blood addiction has destroyed much of his ability to think and act independently.

I've also seen the ruling, that a ghoul is a ghoul, you don't have to pay any XP for it. It is addicted to blood. It will serve you to service its addiction. But if you don't pay the XP to take it as a retainer, then it is not serving you, it is serving its addiction. Circumstances (Story) could easily occur that sees it serving another master. Where as once you pay the XP for it, it is an extension of your character , to a limited extent. It might still be wooed to betray you, but the GM would be thinking very carefully before doing so.

You may like yo acquire the book Ghouls, though it is in a large way focused on Ghoul PCs. It does really go into Ghouls.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Did your answer get cut off? \$\endgroup\$ – Pureferret Jun 16 '14 at 5:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ Oop, no. I decided not to say that and forget to delete it. \$\endgroup\$ – Lyndon White Jun 16 '14 at 6:16

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