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Ghouls (Vampire: The Requiem) [Hardcover]

White Wolf

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Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great supplement for playing the Servants of the Immortals 26 Jan 2006
By J. Burgos - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Renfield, slave, mindless blood-crazed psudo-vampires...

Ghouls is a supplement for playing the daylight servitors, bodyguards, street informers, thugs and muscle of immortal vampires. Usually a vampire needs servants that can operate during the day, providing eyes and ears to the goings on of the mortal daylight world. However, being that vampire blood is highly addictive and carries with it mystical properties, playing these characters poses great role playing challenges to any troupe or chronicle. Overall, I'm glad to say that Ghouls is an excellent sourcebook on including ghouls in a chronicle that addresses most of the aspects of ghouls that Storytellers might be concerned with, and a few they might not have thought of before.

The first chapter of the book discusses how it is a person becomes a ghoul, how disciplines work for ghouls, the way the various clans and covenants look at ghouls, and gives a look at animal ghouls, plant ghouls, and ghoul families.

Ghoul creation also covers what it is like to become a ghoul, how disciplines work for them, and how the clans see ghouls, do have a few nice bits. Details on how ghouls feel real emotions, unlike the hollow echos that vampires add dimension to these servants. Also the threat of diseases being transferred to a ghoul from a master are handled well, and other elements (such as how the temperature of a vampire's blood is cooler than a human's) can easily add to a chronicle's atmosphere.

The second chapter concerns the creation of a ghoul character. New merits and derangements are included here, as well as rules on exactly how Disciplines use by ghouls differs from that of their vampire masters. One thing different from the Vampire rulebook is that here ghouls start with two points in Disciplines, to reflect characters created with the rules here are to be more experienced beings.
A good amount of information is devoted to explain the ghoul life, combining role-playing advice with the rules system that ghouls work from, and it's entertaining and helpful read.

Ghoul bloodlines are also covered. A portion of this chapter is devoted to the game system for both conception and maintaining a ghoul.

Further detail is given on the five ghoul families mentioned earlier, and each family has its own unique weakness and strength, such as reduced experience costs for certain merits or a mandatory derangement.
The chapter rounds out with a little more on animal ghouls, mandragora (plant ghouls) aka lacrima, with rules given on how each clan's plant ghouls produce a different type of lacrima. Somewhat strange, but could be useful for anyone interested in vampiric vegetation.

The third chapter of the book is devoted to storytelling ghouls. Details such topics as the things ghouls can do during the day for their masters and how to properly roleplay the blood bond between slave and master, as well as ways Storytellers can work ghouls into their campaign in ways other than having their players' vampires using them, this section is great for chronicles involving ghouls only.

The fourth chapter of the book has sample NPC ghouls a Storyteller can drop into their campaign. The last chapter covers creating ghoul families, formulating a background to them, their unique flaws, how they might be structured.

Overall the art is good to excellent, typical for White Wolf production values. The artwork of the book is of a consistently high standard, keeping in tune with the subject material and being consistently well-done throughout.

Finally, I think Ghouls is an *excellent* addition to the World of Darkness. It gives a lot of useful information, both rules-wise and setting-wise, it adds dimension, substance and quality to the Vampire the Requiem table-top rpg game line.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars TRULY FOR MATURE AUDIENCES ONLY 4 Nov 2006
By Alexander Scott - Published on Amazon.com
I have often thought that the VAMPIRE lines can lapse into treating the stars (the vampires) as humans with super abilities and a few tough super vulnerabilities. Ghouls, that is the human blood slaves of vampires (think Renfield serving his master), serve as excellent foils for the inhumanity of vampires. The mistreated ghoul, the mentally abused ghoul, the tortured and mutilated ghoul bring into sharp relief the fact that vampires are no longer part of humanity. Just as people have few qualms about the suffering of lower life, so too vampires use people as servants, blood donors, and as one-sided relationships to staisfy whatever lingering human needs a vampire still experiences.

Make no mistake, there's some really debased content in this book. It describes how vampires interact with and treat their blood-servants, which includes torture, mutilation, emotional sexual and physical abuse, and any other kind of messed up abuse you can imagine. I think the authors successfully portray the ghouls as victims so that the readers identify with the ghoul's suffering rather than the vampire's power trip.

The core-book explains the mechanics of a vampire making a ghoul, but GHOULS also describes how to make ghoul characters. The idea of playing a ghouls game is an interesting one. There's also plenty of information on how the different covenants and clans view and treat ghouls, how to make bloodlines of ghouls, and how to play games using ghoul characters. There is also information on creating ghouls of animals or plants (!)

So, I found this to be a very interesting supplement. Beyond the role-playing aspect of creating ghouls in-game, there is also playing a game where some or all are ghouls. I had never given it much thought before, but playing ghoul characters seemed like an interesting twist on the game (and this part is very well documented). All the parts on mistreatment of ghouls seems very useful to me in portraying the vile depths to which vampires regularly sink. Vampires seem much more monstrous to me now than before I read GHOULS.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Ghouls: Lackluster approach to one of Requiem's most intriguing creatures 14 May 2010
By Severina Romero - Published on Amazon.com
The existence of a Ghoul supplement for Vampire: The Requiem was inevitable. Unfortunately, what we were given ended up being more than a little disappointing.

The book's main pitfalls are that it doesn't tell us a whole lot more other than what we didn't already know, and that it skimps out on a lot of vital information. Where the book shines is the truly original material, although it doesn't feel like there was enough of it.

To begin with the plusses, the book introduces some interesting new concepts. One unique introduction is mandragora, which are ghouled plants. The book goes into great detail as to how mandragora are created, their uses, and what sort of plants are able to survive and flourish under the ghouling process. Added to this is the introduction of lacrima, aka Mandrake's Tears, which is a sap these mandragora can produce. The sap is poisonous to humans, but potentially addicting to Kindred, and sometimes crafted into a kind of rare wine. It is easy to see the many applications of mandragora and lacrima in a chronicle, and this section can be inspiring to storytellers and players alike. The next area where the book excels is its treatment of animal ghouls. It presents many ideas, including short examples, about how and why Kindred might ghoul animals - from domestic cats to falcons. The book is an essential read for those who wish to use animal ghouls in their chronicle if they're looking for something outside of simple antagonists. Lastly, there is the introduction of ghoul families, which are similar in concept to the revenants of Vampire: The Masquerade. One of the main differences between OWoD ghouls and their NWoD counterparts is the potential for female ghouls to give birth. As such, it is possible for ghoul lineages to be created, and the book goes into great detail about the mechanics and existing ghoul families, and how to create your own. The profiles and histories of the pre-existing ghoul families are interesting reads and inspiring for those who might want to use NPCs, or have their vampire/ghoul hail from one of them.

Where the book is less than inspiring are the examples of how each clan might treat their ghouls. While it presents clear enough ideas for how ghoul/regnant relationship dynamics might play out, there is nothing really groundbreaking or truly inspiring here. A little better, and far more detailed, are the sections describing how the individual Covenants typically treat their ghouls. This section is particularly important, *particularly* if a ST or players are planning to drag their ghouls to a Covenant function.

As stated before, where the book falls flat is where it omits, glosses over, and reiterates what has already been said. Being that Masquerade is the predecessor of Requiem, and consequently some of the supplements are going to go over relatively the same material, it is only natural that some of the Requiem books are going to be held up in comparison to the ones that came before it. Where Ghouls is concerned, although it does a good job covering the new material, overall it just isn't as good a book as Ghouls: Fatal Addiction, the Masquerade supplement.

Ghouls in nWoD and oWoD aren't that different. They're both addicts, but for somewhat different reasons. Vampire vitae is physically addictive in itself in Requiem, so ghouls in Requiem are enslaved by both vitae addiction and the blood bond, whereas ghouls only have the problem with the latter (although they can, and often do, become psychologically addicted to vitae). The end result is basically the same; however, the difference here is Ghouls: Fatal Addiction does a far better job of describing what that affect is on the ghoul's life. It goes more into detail with details of ghoul existence - such as the types of sick games vampires like to play with their ghouls - where Ghouls describes it flatly with a sweeping brush, and focuses more on the fetishistic sexual power dynamics of ghoul/regnant relationships. G: FA also went into detail about the general types of ghoul categories and their attitudes about existence and being a ghoul. This is notably absent in Ghouls, which is detrimental when trying to get into the ghoul mindset. Shamefully, although the idea of rogue ghouls is mentioned, it is only barely spoken about enough to make the character. The book does not give an in depth perspective about the lives of rogue ghouls, something which was richly present in Ghouls: Fatal Addiction. This also means that canon independent ghoul groups are absent, and are basically only hinted about in the book, leaving players to create their own with an absence of examples. Another thing that is shamefully missing from Ghouls - derangements. Ghouls are strange creatures, their bodies, minds, and lives forever warped by their domitors and vitae. As such, there are a wealth of potential derangements that could affect a ghoul that are unique to them. In Ghouls, derangements get a single page, and none of them truly reflect just how messed up and unique ghouls are. In this case, I believe this is one of the sections that could have been (and should have) been directly recycled from Ghouls: Fatal Addiction, with the addition of those present in Ghouls. Lastly, intriguing story prompts that could have been recycled from the old ghoul book are absent in the new. This is a minor qualm, but it is undeniable that these ideas could be helpful to STs or players.

To sum, Ghouls is certainly a helpful book to those who want to use ghouls in a chronicle, and essential to anybody who wants to play a ghoul. However, for all of its omissions, I would also argue that to get the most out of ghouls in a chronicle, Ghouls: Fatal Addiction is also necessary - Ghouls is an inferior book. Yes, it is Masquerade and not Requiem, but ghouls in both settings aren't wildly different. It gives more ideas on how ghouls are treated in vampire society, and more insight on potential ghoul/domitor relationship dynamics, as not all vampires and ghouls are the same and aren't going to be in a Story of O-type relationship. Additionally, as Mekhet like to experiment with ghouls, the sections of Ghouls: FA in which a Malkavian doctor discusses his insights/experimentations with ghouls could be inspiring to Mekhet players to graft onto their own characters. The Revenant families in Ghouls: FA could be modified and ported over to Requiem for those who like them, or used as inspiration for those who want to make their own ghoul families. What also could be ported over or used for major inspiration are the the independent ghoul groups and the derangements, sadly missing from Ghouls. I understand that the writers did not want to retread old ground, but it is important to bear in mind that Ghouls: Fatal Addiction is an out of print book... Ghouls had big shoes to fill, and just didn't live up to the standards set by its predecessor.
4.0 out of 5 stars neat 4 Mar 2013
By CloakedOne - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
it has one of the best stories a sourcebook can offer in the World of Darkness series. I recommend it to get a fuller experience and a more complete take on a secondary template.
2.0 out of 5 stars Ghouls... 26 Mar 2009
By A. E. Terry - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
For me, Ghouls reads as a supplement that you knew White Wolf would publish and did so by rote. There's nothing inspiring about this book.

It gets the technicals right, talking about the relationships between vampires and ghouls, talking about ghouled animals and a slightly interesting note, Mandragora (ghouled plants).

There's a chapter with expanded rules for making a ghoul character then what's found in the book.

The book just isn't compelling or that great.
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