Ghouls (Homo sapiens wichtusare, former known as Manesphagus horridus) are metahumans infected by a virus known as HMHVV, specifically the Krieger strain. While they are not un-dead, they do exhibit the same vampire-like behavior. Ghouls must consume about one percent of their body weight in raw human flesh each week. They also have a mild allergy to sunlight that inhibits them slightly but does not harm them. Though they are physically blind, they are endowed with an enhanced sense of smell and hearing, and have an astral and physical dual-nature that allows them to perceive the astral plane. Ghouls are especially sensitive to the presence of foreign substances within their bodies, which makes it difficult to use cybernetic implants on them. Their strength and body are greater than that of a normal human, but their intelligence and charisma scores suffer greatly. Finally, they are also completely immune to the VITAS plague.
Some ghouls regress to a feral state after the change, while others retain their sanity. Those who remain sane often undergo extreme plastic surgery to pass for human and usually replace their blind eyes with cybernetic implants to allow them to see.
Ghouls infected by the HMHVV III virus has also been shown to possess geographically-localized variants that create distinct ghoul sub-species based not on metatype but on race:
- IIIA Sasabonsam, long-limbed ghouls from Western Africa (The majority of the population of the ghoul nation of Asamando are Sasabonsam)
- IIIB Busaw, ghouls allergic to citric acid from the Philippines.
- IIIC Gaki, from the Japanese archipelago.
- o73009950Portfolio of a Dragon: Dunkelzahn's Secrets, 28, 31
- o22649160Runner's Companion, 76-80, 83
- o90387045Shadowrun Second Edition
- o90760406Shadowrun Fourth Edition
- o21216589Shadowrun Companion Revised
- o30783549Shadows of Europe, 224, 229