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The thoul is a magical crossbreed of hobgoblin, troll, and ghoul. It closely resembles a hobgoblin, but possesses the paralyzing touch of the ghoul and regenerates its wounds in a similar manner to the troll.

The thoul infamously originated as a typo in the original Dungeons & Dragons boxed set, and was subsequently made into a real creature.



Thouls look much like hobgoblins but are especially tall, muscular, and have sharp teeth and claws. They have green skin, black hair and long noses, and are often dressed in black leather armor and in the black and crimson garb favored by hobgoblins.[1] Some more closely resemble the hobgoblin, while others have clear trollish lineage.Thouls have yellow teeth, and yellow or white pupilless eyes.[2]

Personality and alignment[]

Thouls possess a brutal and warlike mindset like that of the hobgoblin, but they are less inclined to military discipline and tactical thinking.

Thouls are often of evil alignment.[1]

Abilities and traits[]

The thoul's notable abilities are the paralyzing touch well known as a trait of the ghoul, and regeneration, like that of a troll. Sources vary as to how powerful its regeneration is; some say it can regenerate when killed unless burned with acid or fire, like a troll;[1] while others say it can still be killed normally.[3][4]

They are not undead, despite possessing the ghoul's paralyzing touch. Some have the ability to cast spells.[5]



Thouls inhabit many worlds, particularly Mystara. They inhabit various terrain, except for arctic.[2]

They can be found natively in the Pyts.[6]


Small thoul tribes inhabit distant ruins or caverns. Most instead integrate into goblinoid societies.[1]

Life cycle[]

Despite some similarities to ghouls, thouls are not undead; they are living creatures. They repoduce as other humanoids do, but have a low birth rate—one of the lowest birth rates of any humanoid species.[2] Most thouls are created intentionally through forced breeding programs in order to create powerful soldiers.[1]

They gain their paralyzing touch ability from a young age.[2]

Thouls typically live around 50 years, often due to poor food and living conditions.[2]


Thouls are omnivorous.[2]

Society and culture[]

Relationships and family[]

Thouls only rarely have tribes of their own, numbering only a few dozen individuals, and typically working as bandits or mercenaries out of necessity.[1] Thoul lairs typically have around two young for each adult.[2]

Most instead live among goblinoids, are treated as second class citizens by hobgoblin society. They are feared and disliked, and commmonly serve as expendable troops. In turn, they hate their hobgoblin masters, who keep them in line by force and discipline. Those who attempt to rebel are punished by burning at the stake.[1] Around a quarter of subterranean hobgoblin lairs have some thoul guards, reducing to around one in twenty in surface settlements.[2]

A few rise to a position of social power in the retinue of high-ranking hobgoblins, who use them as elite bodyguards, gladiators, or special shock troops.[1]

Some are taken into orc society, either voluntarily or captured by raiders. Such thouls find they are able to gain respect in orc society for their strength and combat efficacy, and can rise to the rank of leader of mixed war parties.[1]


Allies and minions[]


Thouls are often ardent worshipers of Bane, marking their clothing and bodies with his holy symbol in the hopes of gaining his blessing. They have a dislike of Malglubiyet and various exarchs of Bane. Thouls believe that the hardships they endure are a divine test.[1]


Thouls speak the language of the culture they inhabit. They do not possess their own "thoul" language.


Thouls are usually equipped with black leather armor. They are capable of wielding weapons effectively, and often serve as warriors, bandits, or bodyguards.[1]



Thouls were created in ancient times by a hobgoblin empire seeking to create the ultimate warriors. They were found to lack the discipline and cunning of hobgoblins, and the project was abandoned. The thouls today are descended from those experiments.[1]

Publication history[]

Original D&D[]

"Thouls" first appeared in a monster table in the fifth printing of the original D&D box set, The Underworld & Wilderness Adventures (1974), p.10, just before Ghouls. However, no corresponding statistics for a "thoul" creature were given in the box set. In fact, between the second and fourth printings of the box set, that entry on the table instead said "Toad".[7]

Basic D&D[]

The thoul was first introduced in the Basic Set (B/X) (1981), p.B43. They subsequently appeared in later Basic Dungeons & Dragons products, although they were largely absent from Advanced Dungeons & Dragons.

The thoul appears again in each edition of the Basic rules: the Basic Rules (BECMI), Dungeon Masters Rulebook (1983), p.38, Rules Cyclopedia (1991), p.178, The New Easy to Master Dungeons & Dragons Game, Rule Book (1991), p.53 and The Classic Dungeons & Dragons Game (1994).

They appear in numerous B-series adventure modules: B1-9 In Search of Adventure (1987), B4 The Lost City (1982), B5 Horror on the Hill (1983) B10 Night's Dark Terror (1986), B11 King's Festival (1989); and M5 Talons of Night (1987), XL1 Quest for the Heartstone (1984) and XS2 Thunderdelve Mountain (1985).

They appear in various Dungeon magazine adventure modules: The Keep at Koralgesh, Dungeon #2 (Nov/Dec 1986), At the Spottle Parlor, Dungeon #12 (Jul/Aug 1988), Them Apples, Dungeon #48 (Jul/Aug 1994), and Carcass Fracas!, Dungeon #57 (Jan/Feb 1996).

AD&D 2nd edition[]

The thouls are detailed in the Monstrous Compendium: Mystara Appendix (1994), p.111, which establishes that some look more like trolls, having green skin and ropy hair.

D&D 3rd edition[]

Thouls did not appear in this edition.

D&D 4th edition[]

The thoul was detailed in Ye Olde Creature Catalogue, Dragon #418 (Dec 2012), which gave stats for the thoul bodyguard. It concurs with the notion that thouls tend to have troll-like green skin.

D&D 5th edition[]

Thouls have yet to appear in this edition.

Creative origins[]

According to a reply in the letters page of Dragon #187 (Nov 1992), sources at TSR say that the "thoul" was originally a typo in Dungeons & Dragons 3-Volume Set (1974) from the sixth printing onward, where it was listed in an encounter table but no stats for it were given. It was subsequently made into an actual monster.

Gary Gygax reportedly produced his own stats for the thoul, which he re-named the "tr'oul".[8]

Reception and influence[]

The Thoul was most recently showcased in Zeitgeist Games' d20 publication Dave Arneson's Blackmoor, where it was updated to the d20 rules system and incorporated into the Blackmoor campaign setting.

External links[]


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 Ye Olde Creature Catalogue, Dragon #418 (Dec 2012).
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 Monstrous Compendium: Mystara Appendix (1994), p.111.
  3. Basic Set (B/X) (1981), p.B43.
  4. Carcass Fracas!, Dungeon #57 (Jan/Feb 1996), p.27.
  5. Rules Cyclopedia (1991), p.209.
  6. Wrath of the Immortals (1992), p.124.
  7. Re: Origin of the Thoul?. Feb 24, 2012. Dragonsfoot.
  8. The Official Thoul. July 2, 2006. Dragonsfoot.