Appearance:

Sorcerguls appear as emaciated cadavers, with their empty eyesockets blazing with cold blue light. Their mouths, filled with blackened, sharp teeth, are stained red by their gruesome diet. They are typically garbed in once fine robes or other clothing associated with magi, but are invariably in bad shape and as heavily bloodstained as their faces.

Details:

The Sorcergul is an undead spellcaster of significantly less power then the better known Lich.  Most closely related to the common ghoul, they are generally much smarter and more powerful. 

In addition to whatever spellcasting abilities that they may have had in life, they acquire a powerful touch attack that may be drawn from the following list:

  1. Progressive Paralysis. At first the target is slowed, then paralyzed, and eventually breathing and heartbeat is stopped.
  2. Withering cold. Touch draws immense amounts of heat from the target, freezing the affected area. Can range from simple frostbite, to total loss of the affected area.
  3. Clutch of the Grave. Entropy as it affects all things is accelerated. Target person or object is aged.
  4. Infestation. Target is subjected to the effects of The Ghastly Sack of Garthian

Feeling that physical combat is beneath it, the Sorcergul will always prefer to use its magic. 

Having fallen short of the Lich form, the Sorcergul's years are numbered. In a mere century after creation, the magics holding the form together begin to fail and the spirit will pass onto whatever fate awaits it in the afterlife.  Prior to its passing, the final days will be marked by excellerated rotting. Parts will begin to drop off, an unholy stench will arise, and colonization by vermin will mark its end.  Many sorcerguls will destroy themselves by magic rather then undergo this final stage. 

Sorcerguls sustain themselves with escaping life forces, though are unable to drain it directly as some undead can. Instead they devour their fresh victims - preferably still alive but restrained by magic. 

Creation:

Sorerguls are known to arise either from a deliberate ritual, or from failed attempts to become a Lich.

The ritual which transforms one to a lich is quite difficult and risky, and the normal result of failure is death. However, a different fate is sometimes possible, and that is the transformation into the Sorcergul.  The would-be lich is instead trapped into this inferior form, denied the powers that lichhood would have brought.

The second means is use of a deliberate transformational ritual.  The sorcergul form is not powerless, and the ritual is much more likely to succeed. In addition the various materials and costs are much lower. 

Campaign Use

A perpetual runner up and driven to improve its lot, the Sorcergul makes a good low to mid level villain, smart enough to scheme and powerful enough to hold it's own against low to midlevel PCs.  For higher level games, the creature can serve as lieutenants for more powerful forms of undead.

This is the End

A sorcergul, after having for decades attempted to achive full lichhood, has failed and its time is up. It chooses to take as many other with it before it goes and it plans a suitable end for itself.  Seeking a magical disaster allowed by some means, the PCs must prevent it from obtaining the device/ritual/monster, and perhaps advance its timetable of self-destruction.

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Cheka Man