This was going to be a rather straightforward affair: chance for paralysis and ghoul fever, eschewing the three attacks per turn as something reserved for more powerful and scary monsters (like trolls). After all, my experience with ghouls stems from 3.5 D&D and Pathfinder, where they're just not that scary unless they have a huge number advantage. Sure, that paralysis is theoretically scary, but it's an easy save and hardly matters anyway, right?
Then I cam across this post over at Delta's D&D Hotspot.
I was especially intrigued by the possible aversion to sunlight, since that's outside my experience, brings them closer back to their Tolkienian roots, and gives an interesting twist I don't think my players will expect, but can exploit once discovered. It also led to me beefing them up a little further, to bring them in line with what I think was the original intent in the module.
|ST: 12||HP: 12||Speed: 5.25|
|DX: 10||Will: 10 (+2 vs True Faith)||Move: 6|
|IQ: 6||Per: 12|
|HT: 11||FP: 11||SM: 0|
|Dodge: 9||Parry: 10 (unarmed)||DR: 1|
Bite (15): 2d cut, save vs. ghoul fever at HT-2
Claw (15): 1d(5) fat, resist at HT-1 or be paralyzed for 1d seconds. Once paralysis ends, roll as for Mental Stun to recover. Treat this as a Contact Agent affliction.
Ghoul Fever: 1d-2 fat daily (infinite cycles), roll HT-3 to stop cycles. Once at 1/3rd FP, the infected is constantly cold (think Frodo stuck with the Morgul-blade)
Skills: Brawling - 14, Tracking - 12, Stealth - 14
Traits: Appearance (Hideous), Bad Smell, Doesn't Breathe, Doesn't Sleep, Extra Attack 2, Fragile (Unnatural), High Pain Threshold, Immunity to Mind Control, Immunity to Metabolic Hazards, Injury Tolerance (No Blood, Unliving), Infectious Attack (Must kill victim), Uncontrollable Appetite (6), Unfazeable, Vunlerability (Sunlight x2).
Notes: Truly Evil. Will not negotiate. Attack without fear, except in the presence of very strong light (daylight or stronger, including Continual Light at 6 cost and like spells. Will attempt to hide and ambush prey. Provokes Fright Check -3 in people who have not succeeded in a Fright Check vs. ghouls, ghasts, etc. before
They're glass cannons; they could easily kill off a party if they get the drop on the PCs, but a few good hits will put one down for good. Their Fright Check and tendency toward ambush amplify the chances of them being nasty, but smart players will recognize the signs of a ghoul infestation and be on the alert. Also, I feel like this does a good job of potentially returning the 'scary' to these creatures, which otherwise suffer from Cleric syndrome.
The Vulnerability is not a mistake; a weakness would make them too much like vampires. This way, they take double damage from light sources that cause damage (such as a Sunbolt spell, or a laser), and they can be played as sensitive to strong light sources, but they aren't in the same difficulty more powerful undead are.