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Enemies Beyond

Enemies Beyond covers daemons and the Ordo Malleus for the second edition of Dark Heresy, one of Fantasy Flight Games' Warhammer 40,000 RPGs.

p20 — Nurgle - the Plague Father

It is the essential nature of the Ruinous Power known as Nurgle to bring down all by decay, and to cause rampant and chaotic regrowth to sprout from the ruins. Countless times throughout the history of the Askellon Sector, the influence of Nurgle has been spread in a very literal sense, as plagues born not simply of microbial life, but of strains tainted by the fell touch of the Warp, have spread like wildfire throughout a population and brought about the end of millions. Those afflicted by the "blessings" of Grandfather Nurgle might escape death if they demonstrate their willingness to embrace all that the Plague God stands for, welcoming their sickened flesh and allowing their bodies to become ambulatory hives of Warp-borne corruption. Such was the case when one of the orbital necropoli of Ossuar fell to Warp contagion; the dead of millennia rose from the void-tombs and demanded adoration from the horrified mourners until an Ordo Malleus Inquisitor and her warband gave their lives to cast the entire structure burning through the shrine world's atmosphere. Some of these plagues have proved so destructive that cities have been transformed into crumbling ruins jutting up into sickly green air from swamps of living corruption, requiring the final fate of the cleansing fires of Exterminatus.

In the Askellon Sector, Inquisitors have long measured the inexorable ebb and flow of Nurgle's power. Observations made over many centuries liken the waxing and waning of the power of the Pandaemonium to the cycle of infection, decay, and rebirth for which the Plague God is so well known. As the storms rise, so the taint of the Warp, whether it takes the form of a spiritual or physical malaise, takes root, slowly spreading throughout a population before exploding in an epidemic. All that remains is ruin and corruption, and a period of deceptive calm sets in as unseen life stirs below. Inevitably, disease erupts from the ruins, beginning anew the cycle of life and death.

Those who dedicate themselves to the Plague God seek to sow the seeds of corruption - or, as they see it, bestow the blessings of their beneficent lord - upon their fellow man. Though they court the most hideous forms of decay, they do not necessarily bear the outward signs of their taint; some exist in plain sight, seemingly pure in every way yet seething inside with the blessings of their Grandfather. Others are so hideous in form and appearance that they dare not show their faces at all, lurking in the shadows and living in the cracks until such time as the call to rise up and spread their contagion comes. On each occasion of death and rebirth, the power of Nurgle increases an iota more than it decreases, so that incrementally, throughout the ages, the Plague God's power grows, all but unseen except by the servants of the Ordo Malleus and by the Plague God's own hidden worshippers.

p48 — Cursed Carillon

A legendary object said to predate Imperial Compliance, the Cursed Carillon is a herald of woe. Said to appear without warning near towns and cities across the sector, and always shrouded by clouds of green smog, the Carillon's bells ring gently even in utterly still air. Over time, the noise builds to a nauseating barrage capable of sending the sanest man into a pit of despair and madness.

Containing the Corruption

No one is sure what the Cursed Carillon actually is, other than reports that stretch back thousands of years describing it as a series of bells surrounded by rotted parchments. Several Inquisitors postulate that it is some form of Nurgle instrument, as towns visited by the bells usually succumb to famine, disease, and a form of obsessive madness. The smog that accompanies the Carillon quickly overwhelms any who approach, even when they are equipped with sealed armour.

Using the Remnant

When the Cursed Carillon appears it could stay for several weeks. It might move by itself to a nearby location, and seems to vanish in a haze of smoke when attacked directly, only to appear nearby a few moments later. A character must take a Willpower test at the end of every hour of exposure to the Carillon, with a -10 penalty for each day the Carillon has been present, gaining 1 Insanity point for every degree of failure. Mental disorders gained from the Carillon are always Obsession/Compulsion disorders focussed around cataloguing innocuous and unrelated items. A cloud of smog with a radius of 20 metres surrounds it, which increases by 5 metres per day; any living creature within the smoke suffers the effects of suffocation after 30 minutes of exposure (see page 243 of the Dark Heresy Core Rulebook) regardless of sealed armour / breathing apparatus. The cursed bells can alternatively be the source of quavering breaches in reality or even befoul Gellar Fields into puddles of tainted energies. It could also attract the attention of the Daemon who lost it aeons ago, and wishes to reward the unfortunate mortals nearby for finding its prized possession.

p53 — Daemon Weapon Attributes

Table 2-11: Nurgle Attributes
1d5 RollAttribute
1Bile-Quenched: A creature wounded by this Daemon weapon loses a Half Action in its next turn. This does not affect creatures with the From Beyond, Daemonic, or Machine traits.
2Enfeebling: Each time the weapon inflicts a hit that causes damage, the target suffers 1d10 Strength damage.
3Plague Carrier: Each time this weapon inflicts a hit, it infects its target for the next 7 rounds. At the beginning of each of his turns, an infected target must make a Challenging (+0) Toughness test or suffer 2d10 Impact damage (ignoring armour and Toughness bonus). Any living creature that an infected target touches also becomes infected for 7 rounds (and suffers the effects listed above as well). The bearer of the weapon is immune to this infection.
4Stream of Corruption: The weapon can be used make a ranged attack as a Basic weapon with a range of 30m, dealing 2d10 plus the Daemon's Willpower bonus in Impact damage, with the Felling (2), Corrosive, Spray, and Toxic (3) qualities.
5Pestilent Stench: While the weapon is drawn, all creatures within the Daemon's Willpower bonus in metres, except for the wielder and those devoted to Nurgle, suffer a -10 penalty on Weapon Skill, Ballistic Skill, Agility, Intelligence, and Perception tests.

Rules for Daemonhosts (pages 62 to 67) include various god-specific adjustments to make. These are not reproduced here.

p73-74 — Pact of Survival

Foolishly, some individuals are willing to sacrifice their immortal souls in order to preserve their mortal lives. The Daemons of the Plague Lord are often called on to grant such a boon, but at a grotesque cost.


Infernal Vitality: The character is immune to poisons and the effects from the Toxic quality or trait.

Leech Life Force: Whenever the character kills an opponent, he recovers 1d10 damage.

Timeless: The character slowly returns to the physical appearance and status of his prime, and thereafter does not age. In addition, the character need only spend 2 Fate points, rather than Burn Fate Threshold, in order to survive death.

Unsettling Recovery: The character always heals all damage (including critical damage) within 24 hours, although this does not restore lost limbs or restore him to life should he die.

Unholy Resilience: The character gains the Unnatural Toughness (2) trait.


Deathly Pallor: The character develops a sickly appearance and is as pale as a corpse.

Diseased: The character develops the symptoms of plague, but remains unharmed.

The Hunger: The character is always ravenous, especially for fresh, dripping meat.

Verminous: Flies, maggots, rats, or other vermin always seem to be found around the character.

The forces of Nurgle battle the Imperial Guard

p99 — The Lost...

The space above Tuchulcha is now filled with the abandoned remnants of the grand fleet. Refuelling depots, orbital shipyards, and other smaller stations float above the world. Some of these hold great riches, bays filled with treasures brought back by the initial explorers who first set off for the unknown lands. Tales of these waiting treasures have been the stuff of legends for centuries, and almost all captains who travel in Askellon know of these lost stations. While few are foolhardy enough to attempt to seek out these items, there are those who would risk anything to gain access.

The largest of the lost islands above Tuchulcha is Errant Station. Created as a refuelling and resupply facility, it is now the domain of Nurgle and his minions. Walls, floors, and ceilings - every inch of the station - are now home to pestilence hidden behind a veneer of normalcy, and Nurglings caper across the station looking to bring new blessings in the Plague Father's name. The station holds much of the initial treasure found in the worlds beyond Tuchulcha, a tempting destination for those who value riches over their own sanity. Plaguebearers endlessly count these riches, serving as tallymen and attributing a new plague to each of the riches, ensuring that any items leaving the station continue to spread the glory of Nurgle.

Long before Errant Station fell, a treasure was discovered that helped to seal its fate. Today, deep in the heart of the station, an ancient door sits in the centre of a cavernous hall. This artefact was found in early probes of a world deep in the fringes beyond Tuchulcha. It was the last standing remnant of a huge city whose name only dead xenos races would remember, its intricate carvings depicting a garden of beauty and seduction. The explorer who found it, Captain Uless Barr, was so taken with the design that he demanded its excavation and removal from the planet. Barr would spend hours staring at the designs, swearing that the garden called to him, inviting him to enter. No one else ever heard these supposed voices, leading many to believe that Barr was mad. Eventually his obsession with the artefact caused House Roth to remove him from his captaincy. Uless Barr would spend the rest of his days confined to a cell aboard a Hospitaller ship, ranting about the garden and how he had to get to it.

Plague Hulk

p117-119 — Bringers of Decay: The Pantheon of Nurgle

"Hurry, my children. We have gifts to share!"
— The Great Unclean One Abscessas, during the Pustulance of Hive Kallin

The Ruinous Powers each bring madness and destruction to the mortal realm in their own way, yet none delight in their work quite like Nurgle, the Plague Father. For it, destruction is not an end, but merely a new beginning - the start of the next cycle of life. For the Lord of Flies, death and decay lead to rebirth and revitalisation.

Nurgle's foul minions work tirelessly to bring their master's grand plan to fruition. From the most corpulent Great Unclean One, to the tiniest mite of a Nurgling, all do their part. They are the soldiers of his armies, the deliverers of his plagues, and the recorders of his efforts. The cycle is eternal, and the plans to keep it churning ever forward are complex, but Nurgle has faith in his work, and his minions have faith in him.

A Diseased Sector

Askellon has seen the attentions of Nurgle throughout its long history. Hive Desoleum has been victim of the cancerous Callers of Sorrow for untold years. The entire world of Oris Minor in the Rubicon Sub-Sector fell to a horrid swarm of Plague Drones that overwhelmed local defences to attack the single Arbitrator there responsible for banishing a Beast of Nurgle years ago. On the night known as Wailing Eve, many thousands died when a single Great Unclean One stepped onto the farming colony of Hulmerk for reasons still undiscovered. Dawn brought screams from the survivors, who discovered grotesquely rotted corpses laying in permanent repose in beds across the burgeoning settlement. The entire region, along with any left alive, was burnt from orbit under orders from a stern Ordo Malleus Inquisitor, lest the unnatural contagion spread farther.

New Nurgle Trait

All Daemons of Nurgle in this section gain the following new trait:


A character who fails a Fear test against a foe with the Nauseating trait does not roll on Table 8-11: Shock (see page 287 of the Dark Heresy Core Rulebook). Instead, the character is Stunned for one round per degree of failure, as he doubles over and retches uncontrollably. The character still suffers all other effects of failing a Fear test, such as possibly gaining Insanity points. If the character succeeds on the Fear test, he suffers one level of Fatigue as he contends with the bile rising in his throat.

Beast of Nurgle

As Grandfather Nurgle's other children brew their poxes, count each other's boils, and tend to the suffering of festering souls, his Beasts crash about playfully, their massive, tentacled frames leaving trails of slime and upturned soil behind them. Though their reckless bounding creates havoc, none mind it, for the enthusiasm and glee the Beasts display reminds all of Nurgle's Daemons that theirs is a joyful burden.

While many Beasts spend their entire existence playing only in the great Garden, those who enjoy their master's special favour may be allowed to venture in the mortal realm. Here they eagerly crash into new playmates, rotting even the strongest steel in seconds as their poisoned tongues burn flesh. As they latch on to their newfound companions, their tentacles and sheer bulk shatter bones and rip limbs from sockets. Inevitably, their unfortunate victims stop moving. When this happens, the Beasts may whimper or sniff for a moment, but soon spot a bit of motion nearby and shuffle off to greet their new friends. This can result in the befoulment of entire cities, as was seen when a single Beast began the infamous Pustulance of Hive Kallin.

Beast of Nurgle (Elite)

Wounds: 25

Armour: Head 13, Arms 14, Body 16, Legs 14

Movement: 4/8/12/24

Threat: 13

Claws: Class Melee, Rng -, RoF -, Dmg 1d10+5SB (R), Pen 0, Clip -, Rld -, Wt -, Avl -, Toxic (3)

Tentacles: Class Melee, Rng 3m, RoF -, Dmg 1d10+105+SB (I), Pen 0, Clip -, Rld -, Wt -, Avl -, Corrosive, Flexible, Toxic (2)

Skills: Athletics (S), Awareness (Per)

Talents: Thunder Charge

Traits: Baneful Presence (10), Crawler, Daemonic (3), Dark-sight, Fear (2), From Beyond, Nauseating, Regeneration (2), Size (6), Spewing Tentacles†, Sturdy, Toxic (2), Trail of Slime††, Unnatural Toughness (3), Unnatural Willpower (2), Warp Instability

† Spewing Tentacles: As a Full Action, a Beast of Nurgle can unleash one of the following effects from its tentacles:

†† Trail of Slime: Beasts of Nurgle leave a wake of disgusting slime wherever they crawl. Any character who walks through an area so defiled must make a Difficult (-10) Toughness test or suffer 1d10 Impact damage (ignoring armour and Toughness bonus) from the diseases in the rotting path.

Plague Drone

Not all Beasts overcome their playthings, and some are even banished back to Nurgle's Garden where many years might pass as they develop new forms, protected by thousands of bloated flies. They emerge as Rot Flies - their joy gone, replaced by hatred and a need for revenge. Their form also changes: legs are replaced by sharpened limbs, slimy flesh hardens into armoured chitin, and tentacles are replaced with enormous, insectoid wings.

The Pus Lord cannot bear to see such madness take root in one of his children, so he sends elite Plaguebearers known as Plague Drones to care for these Daemons. Riding airborne atop their Rot Fly steeds, Plague Drones eagerly spread disease and decay at the forefront of Nurgle's children. Though few have been sighted in Askellon, or at least few have survived to report such occurrences, Poxifex Spengh of the Callers of Sorrow has performed many ritual supplications to his Grandfather for aid in summoning these foul creatures to his side.

Plague Drone (Elite)

Wounds: 20

Armour: Head 16, Arms 17, Body 17, Legs 17

Movement: 6/12/18/36

Threat: 18

Plague Sword: Class Melee, Rng -, RoF -, Dmg 1d10+137+SB (R), Pen 0, Clip -, Rld -, Wt 7kg, Avl UN, Toxic (2)

Skills: Athletics (S) +20

Talents: Iron Jaw, True Grit

Traits: Baneful Presence (20), Daemonic (3), Dark-sight, Fear (2), Flyer (6), From Beyond, Nauseating, Size (5), Unnatural Strength (2), Unnatural Toughness (3), Unnatural Willpower (2), Warp Instability

Gear: Rot Armour

Drone Gulp: When fighting an opponent of Size (4) or less in melee combat, should the Plague Drone score more degrees of success than the Weapon Skill bonus of its foe, the Daemon immediately swallows the target whole. The target immediately suffers a result of 1d5 on Table 7-16: Impact Critical Effects - Body on page 238 of the Dark Heresy Core Rulebook. Breaking out requires a Hard (-20) Strength test, or some other challenge at the GM's discretion. Failure on a test to escape means the character immediately suffers a result of 1d5 on Table 7-8: Energy Critical Effects - Body on page 234 of the Dark Heresy Core Rulebook.

Herald of Nurgle

Mortals who manage to resist Nurgle's Rot for a lengthy time become powerful Plaguebearers, which are known as Heralds of Nurgle. These nightmarish creatures embrace their role and lead their daemonic brethren from the Garden of Nurgle to the mortal realms of man.

Herald of Nurgle (Master)

Wounds: 33

Armour: Head 19, Arms 20, Body 20, Legs 20

Movement: 4/8/12/24

Threat: 31

Vomit Attack: Class Pistol, Rng 5m, RoF S/-/-, Dmg 1d10+2 (E), Pen 4, Clip -, Rld -, Wt -, Avl -, Corrosive, Spray, Toxic (3)

Virulent Plague Sword: Class Melee, Rng -, RoF -, Dmg 1d10+157+SB (R), Pen 0, Clip -, Rld -, Wt 7kg, Avl UN, Corrosive, Toxic (2)

Skills: Athletics (S) +20, Awareness (Per) +10, Command (Fel) +10, Intimidate (S) +20, Logic (Int), Medicae (Int), Parry (WS), Psyniscience (Per) +20, Scrutiny (Per), Survival (Per)

Talents: Iron Jaw, Thunder Charge, True Grit

Traits: Baneful Presence (20), Daemonic (4), Dark-sight, Fear (3), From Beyond, Nauseating, Psyker (PR 4), Regeneration (1), Size (5), Unnatural Strength (3), Unnatural Toughness (6), Unnatural Willpower (2), Warp Instability

Psyker: A Herald of Nurgle can use any 4 powers from the Biomancy discipline, plus the power Nurgle's Rot (see page 406 of the Dark Heresy Core Rulebook).

Gear: Rot armour

Essence of Decay: Mere exposure to a Herald of Nurgle's foul presence can rust and degrade even the strongest materials. While within 20 metres of this Daemon, all equipment, weaponry, and armour functions as though it were of Poor craftsmanship, regardless of its actual craftsmanship, unless it possesses the Sanctified weapon quality. At the GM's discretion, other items may also be immune to this rule.

Great Unclean One

The Greater Daemons of Nurgle are said to closely represent their patron god: massive, loathsome creatures made of rotting flesh, burrowing maggots, infesting Nurglings, and diseased buboes that invoke retching horror in all that witness their terrifying appearance. Despite their horrific visages, these Daemons are jovial and enthusiastic, just like Grandfather Nurgle itself. They eagerly lead their minions to greet new friends, spreading filth and plagues wherever they go. That few survive such encounters is of little care, for thanks to the blessings of Nurgle's Rot these sluggards soon rise as energetic Plaguebearers to join the Plague Lord's cause. Often, a Great Unclean One takes a particular liking to mortals who catch its pox-ridden eye, and bestows gifts on them through the years. Many in the Askellian Ordo Malleus speculate that this is the hidden source of Poxifex Spengh's power within the Callers of Sorrow in Hive Desoleum.

Great Unclean One (Master)

Wounds: 230

Armour: Head 28, Arms 32, Body 34, Legs 32

Movement: 5/10/15/30

Threat: 79

Great Plague Sword: Class Melee, Rng -, RoF -, Dmg 2d10+177+SB (R), Pen 6, Clip -, Rld -, Wt 20kg, Avl UN, Corrosive, Power Field, Toxic (4)

Skills: Awareness (Per) +10, Command (Fel), Intimidate (S) +20, Parry (WS), Psyniscience (Per) +20, Scrutiny (Per), Survival (Per)

Talents: Nowhere to Hide, Thunder Charge

Traits: Baneful Presence (40), Daemonic (4), Dark-sight, Fear (4), From Beyond, Nauseating, Psyker (PR 7), Regeneration (5), Size (7), Stuff of Nightmares, Sturdy, Unnatural Strength (5), Unnatural Toughness (9), Unnatural Willpower (4), Warp Instability

Psyker: A Great Unclean One can use any 4 powers from the Biomancy discipline, plus the power Nurgle's Rot (see page 406 of the Dark Heresy Core Rulebook).

Gear: Ironrust armour

Nurglings!: A Great Unclean One is always covered with Nurglings, who grow and caper amidst the folds of rotting flesh that cover its body. Once per encounter, as a Full Action a Great Unclean One can release 1d5 Nurglings (see page 416 of the Dark Heresy Core Rulebook) to further spread the Grandfather's blessings. These lesser Daemons fight together as a group starting in the following round.

Embodiment of Decay: Proximity to a Great Unclean One's unnatural corpulence can rust and degrade even the strongest materials. While within 20 metres of this Greater Daemon, all equipment, weaponry, and armour functions as though it were of Poor craftsmanship, regardless of its actual craftsmanship or even if it has the Sanctified quality.

p120 — Investigation Template: The Lingering Stench

Overview: In a remote corner of Askellon, the Acolytes discover that a once-defeated Nurgle cult may have risen again in the area, and that it was more powerful than its remains would have indicated. Its true power descended from a manifested Daemon, which continues to empower its worshippers.

This template can be introduced whenever or wherever the PCs are conducting research, where they can discover information that leads to investigating the cult, its supposed eradication, and possible daemonic influences. The template includes not only investigative efforts but also fierce combat with cultists and the Plague Drone that is leading them into Nurgle's foul embrace.

Act I: Buried in Bureaucracy

While conducting research at an Imperial facility, possibly as part of an ongoing investigation or at their Inquisitor's direction, unsettling information comes to the Acolytes' attention concerning a recently-defeated cult of the Plague Lord. Uncovered data indicates the cult should not have been able to sustain itself and its Warp-tainted weapons for as long as it did, and the surrounding area has not recovered from its presence in the expected way. There have even been sporadic attacks against this facility, originating from the supposedly-pacified region. As it is not a vital location, the slow progress of revitalisation and ongoing minor skirmishes has not troubled anyone - until now.

Requests for further records to gain more access meet with misdirection and obfuscation. After several delays, the Acolytes gain limited access. Navigating the information is laborious, and on more than one occasion they are pulled from the search to aid local defences in repelling assaults on the facility. Though minor, these continued assaults are aimed at stymieing any progress in researching the cult or its current activities. The revealed data is still incomplete, but hints at deliberately-buried tales of horrific possessions and other daemonic activities.

Act II : A Trail of Corruption

Now possessing evidence that the cult was greater than official records indicated, the PCs begin investigation in the field. Further research and questioning of those who purged the cult reveals where it was most concentrated, and the Acolytes make their way to a small settlement in an underhive or beyond the city's borders.

A series of interrogations and minor skirmishes (with enemies wielding powerful, Warp-tainted, and toxic weapons) leads to a tunnel connecting the cult's old headquarters to an underground cave system. It is filled with plant and animal life, all thriving despite showing clear signs of disease and decay. Flies of unnatural shape and size buzz through the dank air in thick clouds. As the Acolytes travel through the tunnel system, they encounter increasingly warped resistance. This could include shambling, infectious humans or even animated corpses (see page 23 of the Dark Heresy Game Master's Kit) and Nurglings eager to greet their new playmates.

Act III : The Foul Garden

At the end of the winding caves, the Acolytes discover the final lair, where a fat Plague Drone buzzes contentedly with devoted humans. This Daemon was summoned years ago, and has sustained itself on sacrifices and spreading diseases since then. It is also the source of the tainted weaponry the cult members wield, as well as why the region never recovered after the battles against the cult.

The lair is on the other side of a toxic pool of bubbling pus; at least one Acolyte might need to swim through the foul muck to reach the Daemon and risk almost certain Corruption and mutation. The creature awaits them, planting festering heads and rotting limbs with its foul proboscis to create a pestilent garden which Father Nurgle can use to share his gifts. The Acolytes must fully destroy it and its diseased disciples if this world is to ever fully recover from the attentions of the Lord of Flies.

Possible Complications

Rules for Daemon Princes (pages 127 to 131) include various god-specific adjustments to make. These are not reproduced here.

p133 — Daemons of Nurgle

The power of Nurgle lies in processes of decay and loss, but it ceases at their conclusions. For as long as mortals struggle against the inevitability of entropy, Nurgle draws strength from their desperation and their doom, but only until it consumes them - the Fly Lord cannot feast on what his victims do not have. Nurgle's Daemons embody this paradox, revelling in rot and foulness but also nurturing their plagues with a grotesque parody of affection. These Daemons are forever jovial and good-humoured, constantly amused by the cruel jest of mortal life. The only thing that spoils the mood of one of Nurgle's Daemons is when their playthings and pets finally die, robbing them of carefully produced entertainment.

The actions of Daemons of Nurgle follow the ebb and flow of Nurgle's power. Where there is health and strength, they seek to spread corruption and putrescence, but where there is squalor and despair, they seek to preserve and expand it. An unchecked Daemon of Nurgle seeks to savour the slow death of worlds, tending them lovingly, and spreading diseases throughout the populace like thoughtful gifts for all they encounter.

The good humour of these Daemons continues even when confronted with a true threat, such as when an Inquisitor steps in to cut out the rot they spread and purge the affliction with holy fire. Advancing forces are frequently greeted as long-lost friends, and as the Daemons strike at them with their slime-coated claws or rusty blades, they might laugh over each blow, or comment on the favour they do to their victim by sharing the gifts of Grandfather Nurgle. For all their cheer, the Daemons are no less deadly to those who oppose them, and they do not hesitate to end a life quickly if it means they can return to spreading their plagues more easily. However, they most often cannot resist toying with opponents. Some Daemons of Nurgle enjoy pretending to spare those who defy them, only to use them as vectors for a new contagion when their victim flees from his tormentor. Such poor souls find their respite only lasts long enough to spread a new plague, before the Daemon returns to recover its wayward "friend".

Pages 134-135 of the book gives a method for randomly generating daemonic names (true names only). There is an implementation of that methodology on the Daemon Names page of this website, which randomly generates sets of Nurglesque names for you.