Strigoi Ghoul King
The Ghoul Kings are a savage breed of vampires. Having been forced to feed on corpses they have devolved into great, hulking monsters. The greatest and first of these being Ushoran and his Strigoi dynasty.
After the destruction of Lahmia, Ushoran, Lord of Masks, travelled to Mourkain, the capital of the Strygos empire in the Badlands. He slew its ruler, the necromancer Kadon, and claimed the land for himself. The Strigoi population grew prosperous, and Ushoran ruled for centuries with a cabal of vampires raised from the human nobility. These nobles were the Strigoi vampires.
However a massive greenskin WAAAGH! came from the World's Edge Mountains, and destroyed Mourkain and the Strygos civilization. The few mortal survivors were forced north and became a wandering nomadic people known as the Strigany. They are often persecuted by the northern civilizations for no other reason than their dark past.
Not all the Vampires of the Strigoi dynasty were destroyed with Ushoran. Some survived and fled to the human kingdoms in the north. In need of succour, they searched for others of their kind, and eventually found them in the forests of Sylvania. But the Vampire Counts of that land still remembered the arrogance of Ushoran, and turned on their would-be allies without a word of parley, hunting them down like animals in the woods. Neferata's kin, the Lahmians, showed them no mercy either. Thus the Strigoi were forced to live on the edges of society. Pursued by vampires and vampire hunters alike, they became desperate creatures. Soon, they were fleeing from the Blood Dragons and Necrarchs, who regard them as challenging foes and interesting specimens, respectively. Afraid to feed on the living, for fear of attracting attention, both from mortals and other vampires, they hid in graveyards, feasting on the blood of those recently dead. Gradually their hate, jealousy and bitterness over what they had lost and their brutal treatment at the hands of their own kind began to destroy their minds and warp their bodies which were already close to the surface, reflecting their relatively barbaric origins.
Years of hiding and feasting on corpses has left them as less than human creatures. They became hunched monstrosities, hulking creatures of muscle that have no human resemblance. They were mostly mad, but still immensely powerful, and like all vampires have a strong grasp on necromantic magic, even if it isn’t as refined as their other vampire cousins. They are often surrounded by Ghouls; indeed, people call them Ghoul Kings.
The Ghoul Kings spend their days creeping through the hidden places of the world, but under cover of night, they will wreak their vengeance at the head of a shambling army of Undead. From catacomb, haunted wood and moss-covered ruin they would spy on the Lahmian and von Carstein Vampires at the balls and banquets of the aristocracy. The nobility and wealth of their finely-dressed kin reminded the Strigoi of what they had lost, and bitterness and envy started to gnaw at their minds. In their desolation, many of them lost their sanity completely and became solitary, pathetic parasites, wary of feeding on humans for fear of attracting the attention of Witch Hunters or, even worse, their own contemptuous kin. For this reason, they hid in graveyards, digging out recently buried corpses to drink their cold, foetid blood and hiding during the day in the dank crypts near their feeding grounds.
Packs of flesh-eating Crypt Ghouls are attracted to these dismal Strigoi and often form grotesque courts around them. Grave robbers, and those who steal from the bodies of the fallen, have learned well that they must practice their depraved crafts in the twilight and be home before nightfall. Under cover of darkness, different breeds of scavengers fall on these places of death: swarms of Ghouls led by deadly hunters, the Strigoi Vampires. It is little wonder that the people of Sylvania refer to the Strigoi as the Ghoul Kings. Even if most of them have to some degree lost their minds during their long exile, the Ghoul Kings still possess many of the innate powers common to all Vampires. They can tear out a victim's throat in the blink of an eye, and their authority over the Undead and the myriad creatures of the night is still strong. The Ghoul Kings have not lost the power to raise the dead from their slumber and bind them to their will, but they do so in their own instinctual way. Their magic is less subtle than the forms of necromancy practiced by other Vampires, but in the cut and thrust of combat, their savagery gives them a definite edge.
At times, powerful Strigoi Ghoul Kings raise vast armies of the living dead around themselves and push south in a desperate attempt to recreate the kingdom they lost. So far, their advance has always been halted by warmongering tribes of greenskins blocking the way to the Badlands, or by disciplined armies of the Tomb Kings that stride out from the desert. Yet across the Old World, the minions of the Ghoul Kings have been sighted ever more frequently. Some say the ancient brethren of the Strigoi are uniting under one leader and massing great armies of degenerate beasts in their cavernous lairs. If this is true, no creature - living or dead - is truly safe from their wrath.
Notes on Terminology
- Originally the term Strigoi referred to the Bloodline of vampires that originated from the Strygos empire. After the Bloodlines were removed from the game and the Ghoul Kings were invented some changes were made to the terms used.
- Strigoi: the people from the Strygos empire / the vampires who escaped its destruction who devolved into the Ghoul Kings.
- Strigany: the decedents of the few mortals who survived the fall of the Strygos empire.
- It is also worth noting that, since the removal of Bloodlines, any devolved vampire can seem to become Ghoul King, with some Von Carstein members being such.