Ghouls and the creation thereof

A vampire can simply create a ghoul by brute force – use Dominate and/or kidnap them and then force the victim to drink their blood three times on three separate nights, and presto, they’ve got a ghoul. Plenty of vampires do this.

But the ghoul that results is going to have some very complicated and conflicted feeling about their new master, and nine times out of ten, is going to go mad in a matter of a few years. And even before then, will probably require relatively close supervision to ensure tasks are done right. They make a decent spare pair of hands, or a thug, in the short term, but they’re not a reliable retainer for the long term.

It’s worth noting that in the long term, most ghouls go at least a bit mad. But the difference between 5 years unreliable service before complete insanity, and 150+ years of good (if increasingly eccentric) service is quite marked.

When looking for a retainer for the long term, most vampires enmesh themselves in their prospective servant’s life, creating a complex web of connections using some or all of gratitude, obligation, seduction and blackmail long before they ever offer them the chance to become a ghoul. By the time the offer comes, there’s very little chance that the target is going to say “no”.

There are a number of NPCs on this estate that characters might seek to cultivate relationships with. The characters could simply rock up and force feed them their delicious vitae, and that will work for a short while – they’ll have a ghoul with connections in the area they’re looking to exploit. But those ghouls will rapidly become unstable, and the other NPCs around them might well notice in a matter of months, and take steps that would reduce the new ghoul’s usefulness to the characters.

Of course, if a character builds a relationship with them up over a few months, seeking information about them, and being sensible in their approaches when they seek to make the NPC more reliant on them by changing some of the NPC’s status quo (which will itself render the NPC more willing to do what the character might want), and eventually make them their willing ghoul, well, that’s another matter entirely. The character just has to hope that no-one else is making similar approaches…