King of Ghouls

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King of Ghouls
Game background
Title(s) King of the Ghouls
Home plane Infinite Layers of the Abyss
Power level Demigod
Alignment Chaotic Evil
Portfolio Ghouls, necromancy
Domains Evil, Hunger, Chaos
Superior Yeenoghu (formerly Orcus) 3rd edition
Orcus (formerly Yeenoghu) 4th edition
Design details

The King of Ghouls is a malevolent undead creature turned demigod (as of version 3.5) created for the Dungeons and Dragons fantasy role-playing game. He is sometimes known as "Doresain."

Publication history[edit]

The King of Ghouls was first mentioned in the first edition Monster Manual under the demon lord Yeenoghu's entry, where the King supposedly paid homage to the gnoll lord.[1] Practically nothing was mentioned about the King of Ghouls until years later in the Dungeon magazine adventure "Kingdom of the Ghouls" by Wolfgang Baur, where he was the major villain and was named Doresain, Master of the White Kingdom. This "Doresain" wasn't explicitly connected to the earlier King of Ghouls, however, and was said to have been summoned to the Prime Material Plane from either the Negative Energy Plane or the Plane of Shadow.[2]

In 3rd edition's Book of Vile Darkness, the King of Ghouls was little more than an advanced fiendish ghoul.[3]

While other unofficial d20 supplements provided alternative statistics for the King, he was promoted to a demigod in Libris Mortis.[4]

Doresain was given full game statistics as a powerful servant of Orcus in the 4th edition Monster Manual,[5] and a temple of Doresain is described in the 4th edition book Open Grave.[6] Doresain is the primary antagonist of the adventure E2 Kingdom of the Ghouls, who marshals his allies and servitors as he "labors towards the culimatination of a secret project, an undertaking designed to catapult his lord and master [...] into a position of unfettered power over the souls of every creature in existence". He sought to discomfit the Raven Queen and put her divine office of Death in peril, sending his servant Elder Arantham to steal souls from her at Death's Reach in the Shadowfell. Elder Arantham acquired the extremely powerful primordial Timesus, and Doresain oversees the preparations for sending Timesus to Orcus. The player characters must confront Doresain in his palace, although he has already sent the primordial to Orcus using a chaos ship by the time the characters arrive.[7]


3rd edition[edit]

The King of Ghouls is said to appear as an especially thin and wasted ghoul, eyes ablaze with a sickly green ghoul light, with hoof-like feet. He wears an elegant coat of supple human flesh and a suit of pale leather armor studded with tiny skulls.[4]

4th edition[edit]

Doresain appears as a ghoul, though he stands upright rather than adopting the hunched posture of his subjects. His eyes blaze with a sickly green light. He wears an elegant coat of supple human flesh and a suit of pale leather armor studded with skulls. A crown of bones rests on his bald head, and he wields a staff called Toothlust, formed of the rigid spinal column of some past victim. The staff is topped by a skull, in homage to his lord, Orcus.[citation needed]

Clergy and temples[edit]

Doresain's favored weapon is the scimitar.


The King of Ghouls was once a vassal of Orcus who ruled his own layer of the Abyss until Yeenoghu invaded. Doresain was forced to swear fealty to the Gnoll Lord, who apparently still holds sway over the White Kingdom.[8]

Gravetouched ghouls[edit]

It is noted in Libris Mortis that the King of Ghouls sometimes appears to incautious necromancers meddling with the Negative Energy Plane, forcibly converting them into ghouls to create worshippers for himself.[4] Ghouls created directly by Doresain are known as gravetouched ghouls, which differ from standard ghouls in that they retain most of their original abilities. The gravetouched ghoul is, in fact, a templated creature based on the standard ghoul.

As a demigod, the King possesses the unique ability to add the gravetouched ghoul template to creatures to which it is not normally applicable.

The White Kingdom[edit]

The layer of the Abyss where the King of Ghouls resides is known as the White Kingdom. This place is sacred to ghouls, who sometimes try to recreate it on the Prime Material Plane.

4th Edition[edit]

In 4th Edition, Doresain serves Orcus once again, as an exarch of Orcus.[5] He rules the White Kingdom, which has been apparently relocated to somewhere within Thanatos. He also has a staff of bones called Toothlust, which is topped with a skull. Stats can be found for him in the Monster Manual.

In the 4th Edition D&D statistics provided, he is listed as a Level 27 Elite Skirmisher.

D&D Miniatures[edit]

A Doresain figure is included in the Dungeons & Dragons Miniatures game release, Against the Giants.


  1. ^ Gygax, Gary. Monster Manual (TSR, 1977)
  2. ^ Baur, Wolfgang. "Kingdom of the Ghouls." Dungeon #70 (TSR, 1998)
  3. ^ Cook, Monte. Book of Vile Darkness (Wizards of the Coast, 2002)
  4. ^ a b c Collins, Andy and Bruce R Cordell. Libris Mortis (Wizards of the Coast, 2004)
  5. ^ a b Mearls, Mike, Stephen Schubert, and James Wyatt. Monster Manual (Wizards of the Coast, 2008).
  6. ^ Cordell, Bruce, Eytan Bernstein, Brian James, Robin Laws, and John Snead. Open Grave: Secrets of the Undead. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2009. excerpts
  7. ^ Cordell, Bruce R. and Chris Sims. Kingdom of the Ghouls (Wizards of the Coast, 2009)
  8. ^ "Demon Lord: Yeenoghu". Fiendish Codex I: Hordes of the Abyss. Retrieved 2006-06-27.