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The Lost and the Damned was previewed in White Dwarf 106 (Oct 1988) (chaos beastmen), White Dwarf 107 (Nov 1988) (chaos renegade army list), White Dwarf 108 (Dec 1988) (artwork), White Dwarf 109 (Jan 1989) (Lords of Change and Great Unclean Ones), White Dwarf 113 (May 1989) (narrative campaigns), White Dwarf 119 (Nov 1989) (Nurgle and his daemons), White Dwarf 120 (Dec 1989) (Tzeentch and his daemons), White Dwarf 121 (Jan 1990) (gifts and magic of Nurgle), White Dwarf 122 (Feb 1990) (gifts and magic of Tzeentch), White Dwarf 124 (Apr 1990) (chaos warbands), and White Dwarf 125 (May 1990) (minotaurs).
The first Realm of Chaos book, Slaves to Darkness, covers the Chaos Powers Khorne and Slaanesh. This, the second of the two books, covers the Chaos Powers Nurgle and Tzeentch. Also included are various additional sections such as a chapter on generating narrative campaigns, various army lists, and additional background for both Warhammer Fantasy and Warhammer 40,000.
When the great plague came to the Brienne valley, threatening to make Brionne a City of Corpses instead of a City of Thieves, there was a great surge of religious sentiment and devotion throughout the region. The shrines and temples of Shallya were flooded with converts, and the goddess's priestesses - whose ranks had been unkindly decimated - were soon driven to the brink of exhaustion by the excessive demands placed upon their magic and their time.
Further upriver, in the town of Coramdram, a score of ugly deaths sharply reminded the people of the duty which they had to pray to the gods who might protect them - a duty which more than a few had by habit neglected.
But there were some among them - as there invariably are, when the god of plague and pestilence sets his footprint upon a region - who quickly abandoned their own gods, choosing instead to address their placatory prayers to the Lord of Corruption. By this means they sought to be independent of the dubious charity of gods who might justly feel that earlier neglectfulness had disqualified their more wayward worshippers from consideration for special blessings.
One of these careful folk was Ophiria, wife of the ruddy-faced harness-maker Remy Brousse, who saw in the advent of the plague a chance of deliverance from a marriage which had come to seem unbearably tedious.
Remy Brousse was not cruel or quarrelsome, nor given to adulterous liaisons. His only crime, if crime it can be reckoned, was to have become very fat and indolent, while his wife had remained slender and energetic - both of which circumstances might not have been unconnected with the fact that they had no children.
Remy Brousse was a popular man in the district, for he was very clever with his hands, and in a region where leather was expensive he was always willing to make harnesses for poorer folk from rope or chord, or anything else which came conveniently to hand. But such virtues as he had were no longer noticed by his bitter spouse, who saw only his ugly massiveness, and longed to be free of him.
Ophiria knew that age would not leave her unmarked for many years longer, and she knew also that if she were to win a husband more to her taste then she would need to inherit her husband's shop, to use as a marriage-portion. And so she prayed devoutly to the god of plague and pestilence, saying to him: 'Please take my husband, who has become useless and burdensome to me, but would make a fine and fleshy morsel for one such as you!'
And the god of plague and pestilence, disposed for once to show generosity, did as he was asked.
While she watched the corpulent body of her husband fade gradually away, as though the flesh were melting from his bones, Ophiria began to feel the stinging pains of guilt - for it is never pleasant to watch at close quarters how disease and decay maltreat a man. She began to imagine, in addition, that her neighbours had somehow overheard her secret prayers, and that they suspected her allegiance to the forbidden god.
In order to disguise her true feelings, Ophiria commenced to make loud protestations against the supposed unkindness of that cruel god who had robbed her of all that she held dear in the world, and when Remy Brousse died she followed his coffin to its resting-place, weeping and wailing most ardently.
The next day and the day after, Ophiria went to her husband's grave, dressed in black and bare of foot. There she knelt beside the freshly turned earth and forced her tears to come in floods by surrpetiously pinching her tenderest flesh. She cried very loudly, before the priests of Morr and all the witnesses who knelt by other graves and shed tears of their own, lamenting the vile injustice of the world - but within her secret thoughts she gave abundant thanks to the Lord of Decay for answering her prayers.
On the first and second day, this performance proceeded exactly as she had planned, and on the night which followed she wondered whether she might have done enough to allay suspicion - but her anxiety was yet unquiet, and she decided that she must continue the pantomime for one more day.
On the next morning, bright and early, she walked yet again to Remy Brousse's grave, still barefoot and black-clad, and knelt down beside it, mustering her careful tears. The others who had taken up their stations at first light looked up at her passing, but paid her little heed.
No sooner had Ophiria begun for the third time to moisten the earth with her false tears than her husband's grave was disturbed by a horrid churning and wriggling. She recoiled in alarm, but it was too late: a monstrous worm had coiled itself around her wrist, holding her tightly down. Then another worm appeared, and another, each one longer by far than any she had ever seen before - and the worms began to crawl upon her body, climbing up her imprisoned arms to her shoulders, neck and face.
The sensation filled her with the purest horror, and she began to scream. She thought she was screaming as loud as she possibly could, until she realised that the worms were forming themselves about her head and shoulders into the shape of a bridle and tackle, and that more were winding themselves about her waist to form a girth, while a huge mass of them rested on her back in the image of a saddle - and a rider.
Only then was she privileged to discover how loudly a human being really can scream, with the right encouragement.
By this time, she was not alone in screaming, for the mourners at the other graves had seen what was happening, and Morr's priests were running from the shrine which stood beside the burial ground, to see what was afoot.
Where Ophiria's peculiar rider took her, when it began lambasting her with its whip of worms, no one ever discovered - but she was never seen in Coramdram again.
Her neighbours shook their heads, and speculated that she must have been driven mad by grief, and brought to her extremity to curse the god of plague and pestilence far too loudly for his liking. All of them agreed that it is an error for a widow to grieve too much for what she has lost - and all of them agreed, also, that Remy Brousse would be sorely missed in the town, for there was no one else in the province who could make workable harnesses out of such unpromising materials.
Nurgle is the Great Lord of Decay and the Master of Plagues and Pestilence, his carcase is riddled with disease and infestation. Nurgle is also the Lord of All because all things, no matter how solid and permanent they seem, are liable to physical corruption. Indeed, the very processes of contruction and creation foreshadow destruction and decay. The palace of today is tomorrow's ruin, the maiden of the morning is the crone of the night, and the hope of a moment is but the foundation stone of everlasting regret.
What is the response of living men to the undeniable and inevitable futility of life? Is it to lie down and accept death and the coming to naught of their every endeavour? No it is not! Faced with the inevitability of death what answer can there be but to run through life at a great and unstoppable pace, cramming each day with hope, laughter, noise and bustle. Thus, happiness and human endeavour are sired by a coming to terms with decay and futility. This realisation is the key to understanding the Great Lord of Decay and his worshippers.
Once we comprehend what it is that the Chaos Power Nurgle embodies, it becomes easier to understand what might otherwise seem a contradictory or even perverse nature. On the one hand he is the Lord of Decay, whose body is wracked with disease; on the other he is full of unexpected energy and a desire to organise and enlighten.
The living know that they will die, and many know that they will live with disease or other torment, yet they drive this knowledge into a corner of their minds and keep it pinioned there with all manner of dreams and activity. Nurgle is the embodiment of that knowledge and of the unconscious reponse to it, of the hidden fear of disease and decay, and of the power of life which that fear generates.
Nurgle is the eternal enemy of the Chaos Power Tzeentch, the Lord of Change. Nurgle and Tzeentch draw their energy from opposing beliefs. While the energy of Tzeentch comes from hope and changing fortune, that of Nurgle comes from defiance born of despair and hopelessness. The two Great Powers never lose an opportunity to pit their forces against each other, from mighty battles on the Chaos Wastes, to complex political intrigues among mortal men.
Greater Daemons of Nurgle (Bahk'ghuranhi'aghkami)
Great Unclean Ones, Fly Masters, Plague Lords, Stench Lords, Nurgle, Father Nurgle
The Great Unclean Ones are the Greater Daemons of Nurgle. In the case of other Chaos Powers, Greater Daemons are servants, albeit immensely able and powerful ones. This is not quite true of Nurgle's Greater Daemons, who are each more or less a facsimile of Nurgle himself, both physically, and in terms of their personality. In other words, it may be said that every Great Unclean One is also Nurgle.
A Great Unclean One is sometimes referred to as Nurgle or Father Nurgle by his underlings, although of course he also has his own daemonic name.
A Great Unclean One certainly looks like Nurgle - a gigantic figure bloated with decay, disease and all imaginable kinds of physical corruption. The skin of the daemon is greenish, necrose and leathery, its surface is covered with pockmarks, sores, and other signs of infestation. The inner organs, rank with decay, spill through the ruptured skin and hang like drapes about the girth. From these organs burst tiny creatures called Nurglings which chew and suck upon the nauseous juices within. Such foulness represents the truth of the universe, of decay and the end of all things.
Yet in character the Greater Daemon is neither deathlike nor morbid. In fact the opposite is true, Great Unclean Ones are motivated by all the trivial human enthusiasms which drive the living. They are ebullient and vociferous, full of a natural enthusiasm to organise and achieve. They are driven by a gregarious and even sentimental nature and hold their followers dear, even referring to them as their 'Children' and taking a noticeable pride in their appearance and endearing behaviour.
This combination of physical corruption and energetic endeavour is the most extraordinary characteristic of Nurgle's daemons. It can be seen most clearly when the Great Unclean One and his daemonic followers appear in the material world.
The horde travels in a great cavalcade of covered wagons, bringing with it all the pestilences and ills that befall the living. The wagons are in no better physical condition than the daemons within. Their shrouds are tattered and rotten, their frames splintered and bent, and their metal-work pitted and rusted. Yet within the plodding caravan of Nurgle all is bustle and activity as the Great Unclean One prepares to launch a festival of decay and destruction upon a human village, a thriving town, or an opposing army. For Nurgle's visitation is like that of a travelling circus or great fair, except that the entertainment it offers is disease, sickness and death.
The space inside the wagon was cavernous out of all proportion to its tiny exterior size. The cacophonies that filled it were indescribable; the squealing, screaming, chattering and bickering of the Nurglings was beyond mere human imagining. A million unruly school children left to their own devices could not even begin to rival the anarchy or intensity of that daemonic din. The grating drones of the Plaguebearers all counting at once produced a sound so bass and penetrating that it made the vital organs of every daemon vibrate and quiver in time with its beat.
Then there were the indescribable noises, the creaks and groans, the little pops of bursting pustules, the sloppering slicky noises of the frantically affectionate Beasts, and other sounds which were impossible to ascribe to any one source in particular. Amidst it all, waving his arms, the Great Unclean One was trying to make himself heard.
"Ahh... Gentlecreatures, Children, pretties... lend your ears to your loving Father, cease thy aimless chatter, banish thy banal burblings..."
It was quite useless, the noise continued apace, the squeals and laughter reaching a new crescendo. The Great Unclean One appeared for a moment to be hurt by his fellow daemons' rudeness.
"SHUT UP," he bellowed.
The noise stopped instantly. Not even the beat of little daemonic hearts or drip of tiny daemonic noses could be heard. The brow of every Plaguebearer furrowed in concentration as each tried desperately to remember the last number he thought of. The Great Unclean One quickly regained his composure, for he was used to such things.
"Gentlecreatures our pretties... now is time to sing the songs of fate, for the moment has come for the Dance of Death!"
As the caravan draws near to its destination the excitement of the daemons nears fever pitch. Plaguebearers take stock of pestilence and disease, counting the reserves of sickness, the number of Nurglings, each other, and eventually anything that stands still long enough to be counted. Amidst the deep-throated drone of the Plaguebearers' endless tally, the Nurglings chatter and prance like small children about to embark upon a special treat. They squabble and squirm, snigger and squeal, and their numbers increase and diminish beyond the Plaguebearers' ability to count them. Amid the general hullaballoo and sense of anticipation, the overly affectionate Beasts of Nurgle jump uncontrollably from Plaguebearer to Plaguebearer, like excitable puppies leaving pools of dribble and slime as they pass.
When the Great Unclean One speaks his manner is immediately reminiscent of the great stage manager and leader that he is. He addresses his cast of Plaguebearers, Nurglings and Beasts, building their enthusiasm by recalling the fine aesthetic qualities of famous diseases of the past. He may mention in passing the wine-dark sea of purple-patterned decay, the fine flaky texture and slightly salty tang of eczema. As the multitude clamours for more, he will describe the gem-like shine of a boil as it wells to a head, and the final satisfaction as it bursts exposing a glistening cavity of inflamed flesh.
The Nurglings flocked to their master, squabbling and bickering in their impatience to nestle in the warm comfort of his decaying bosom.
"Ahhh... Nurgle's Children, our pretties, our pets," cried the deep warm voice of the Great Unclean One. "How Nurgle loves his little Children! How Nurgle loves his little pets!"
With a broad and loving smile the great Daemon raised a hand to pluck the Nurgling that had settled into the folds of his chest. The Nurgling squealed and squirmed as the hand enveloped it, caressing it for a moment before popping it whole into the Great Unclean One's mouth.
Special Psychological Traits: None - the Great Unclean One is subject to the standard rules for Greater Daemons.
Magic: A Greater Daemon of Nurgle has a spell pool of 7 randomly determined spells - the first spell generated of any level will be a Spell of Nurgle as described later (see Magic of Nurgle).
Magic Items: A Great Unclean One carries D6 randomly generated magic items (see Summary).
Special Rules: A Great Unclean One has 10 attacks in total, including 8 claw, 1 bite or gore, and 1 stomp. When the Daemon scores a successful hit with a bite attack, his snake-headed tongue makes an additional attack: if successful the damage caused is resolved with a Strength of 4. WFRP only - successful claw and bite attacks cause infected wounds.
Any non-magical weapon which strikes a Great Unclean One will rust away to nothing on the D6 score of a 5 or a 6 leaving the attacker weaponless.
Any living creature engaged in hand-to-hand combat against a Great Unclean One risks catching the dreaded disease Nurgle's Rot (see Nurgle's Rot).
Great Unclean Ones do not need to wear armour. Their corpulent and unfeeling flesh gives them a natural saving throw against damage of 5 or 6 on a D6. WFRP - the Great Unclean One has 2 armour points on every hit location.
Chaos Attributes: A Great Unclean One may be given up to 7 Chaos Attributes - 7 being the mystic number of Nurgle. The Great Unclean One does not have to have the full 7 attributes - he may have fewer or none if the player prefers. The number of Chaos Attributes must be decided by the player and individual attributes generated randomly.
As the great plague carts and wagons of the cavalcade of Nurgle approach their target, the unsuspecting village or the sleepy town, the daemons prepare their campaign of destruction. In all respects it is a performance, and like all performances it has its prelude as well as its climax. In this case the prelude is the Dance of Death, enacted the night before the assault, when the daemons of Nurgle dance a great Dance of Death encircling the town or village three times.
As the moon rises into the sky the Dance of Death begins its course, the cast of daemons moves solemnly over the hills and fields. As the procession moves past the outlying houses, dogs and cattle take up the cacophonous noise, adding their barking and lowing to the rising song. As the night progresses and the first circuit is complete, the excitement begins to mount. The songs become raucous and the dancing more and more animated. As the dancers begin the third circuit they abandon themselves to a frenzy of song, laughter, and madness in which they cry out the terrible things that they intend to do on the morrow.
As the dance nears its completion, the noise drifts through the night air into the houses of the living, where those awakened by the song lie too terrified to move from their beds, whilst those still sleeping experience strange and disturbing dreams. Animals panic in their stalls or break out of their fields; butter curdles and milk turns sour. When it seems that the horror can no longer be endured, all falls strangely silent. The third circuit is now complete and the songs of fate are at an end.
The Burgermeister woke from the nightmare, his heart beating like a drum and his grey limbs quivering with unreasoning terror. Cold sweat ran from his body and stained the bed clothes with fear. On the other side of the bed his fat wife slept soundly on, oblivious to his distress.
The words of the dreamsong echod in his mind, the cries of some daemonic child threatening and taunting him.
"Flies, flies, eat up his eyes! The Burgermeister's lovely eyes!"
He shuddered as he recalled the verse of the childish rhyme ringing even now in his ears. Throwing aside the clammy bedclothes, he walked to the window and threw open the shutters.
As he leaned out of the window, inhaling the cool night air, he looked out over the fields and woods which surrounded the village. His own house, newly constructed from the best timber and sporting a cast-iron weather vane, was situated on a gentle hill, affording fine views of the pastoral countryside.
His gaze swept across the Newfield towards Redfarm Hill. And then his heart almost stopped. There outlined against the hill was the nightmare made real, a carnival of prancing and cavorting daemons vanishing behind the rise as he watched, and there upon the breeze once more the piercing cackle and that maddening song.
"The eyes! The flies! The eyes! The flies! Before the Burgermeister dies!"
Father Nurgle settled his great mass down among the supporting heap of his smallest minions. Those lucky enough to escape being crushed by their master's bulk squealed delightedly as they snuggled into the damp warmth of his flesh. Nurgle reclined comfortably and his corpulent face assumed an air of triumphant expectancy.
Nurgle gave a dignified nod to one of the Plaguebearers. Excitedly, the daemon began to beat its drum, slowly and rhythmically at first, and gradually faster and faster as it became carried away by the sense of occasion. All of his servants cheered and applauded, and Nurgle acknowledged them with a smile and a regal wave of his festering paw.
It was the prelude to battle that excited the daemons, drawing squeals of anticipation from the tumbling little Nurglings. This time the cavalcade was to be joined by others: Champions of Nurgle and their mortal Warbands, who were also going to take part in the great war. The Beasts bounded and fussed in their eagerness to welcome the mortals, causing considerable disarray and the odd casualty amongst the serried ranks of warriors.
The warbands flocked to the sound of the drum. The came in carts and wagons like those of Nurgle's own cavalcade, marched into camp, or simply distilled from the surrounding woods like shadows at sunset. Some of the most severely mutated of them wore bright carnival masks and voluminous robes, completely failing to hide their unique disfigurements if that was in fact their purpose. The Plaguebearers carefully recorded the name of each Champion as he arrived, announcing his titles as loudly as they were able among the rising laughter and squeaking chatter. The show pleased Father Nurgle immensely: the busy scampering daemons, the creaking carts with their tinkling bells, the gaily-coloured masks and carefully decorated palanquins bearing various daemons or Champions. He sighed with satisfaction and patted the little Nurgling that had crawled into the crook of his arm and puddled there.
Lesser Daemons of Nurgle (Aghkam'ghran'ngi)
Plaguebearers, Tainted Ones, Maggotkin, Rotbearers, Nurgle's Tallymen
Nurgle's gift to the world is Nurgle's Rot, a progressive disease combining the worse qualities of all the plagues that infest the living. It is a curse that is all the more horrible because it does not end with death, for it is a contagion of daemonic and not mortal kind, and it infests the soul as it does the body. When a mortal dies from Nurgle's Rot his soul is forfeit to Nurgle, and from that soul-stuff Nurgle fashions his Lesser Daemons the Plaguebearers. It is specifically to avoid this fate that many sufferers of Nurgle's Rot undertake death quests, hoping for a clean and mortal end by this means.
The Plaguebearer carries the marks of Nurgle's Rot throughout eternity. Its skin is tinged green or the colour of mud, running sores cover its whole body, pus and blood run continuously from its single eye, unmentionable filth cakes its clawed hands and feet. It is the Plaguebearer's everlasting role to organise and herd the daemonic forces of Nurgle, to keep stock of the diseases, to allocate appropriate fates to each new victim, and to try and keep order among what is a naturally chaotic horde. Just as the living attempt in vain to impose order and meaning upon their lives, so the Plaguebearers' task is an impossible one. This is characterised most obviously by the constant counting as they try to calculate the ever-changing needs and aims of their master. The Plaguebearer's voice is a deep, bass monotone. The multitude of Plaguebearers all counting at once produces a sound so sonorous and penetrating that untethered objects will vibrate in an unholy harmony. The counting of the Plaguebearers achieves very little because it is impossible to count anything amidst such chaos, though this in no way discourages them in their efforts. They are the daemonic embodiment of the need of the living to impose meaning upon a meaningless and uncaring world.
Special Psychological Traits: The Plaguebearer has standard psychology for a Lesser Daemon.
Magic: A unit of Plaguebearers has 1 randomly determined level 1 spell for every Daemon in the unit. A normal unit of 7 will therefore have 7 spells (see Magic of Nurgle).
Magic Items: A Plaguebearer may carry a randomly generated Chaos Weapon instead of its Plaguesword (see below).
Special Rules: A Plaguebearer has 1 gore attack and 1 weapon attack with its Plaguesword. The Plaguebearer also receives an additional gore attack from its horn in the turn in which it charges into close combat. All horn attacks are resolved with a +1 to hit bonus.
Any living creature suffering a wound from a Plaguesword contracts plague on the D6 roll of 1 4, 5 or 6. Determine the type of plague from the Gifts of Nurgle Table.
Plaguebearers are surrounded by a cloud of flies which buzz around them and their combat opponent. They do not affect the Plaguebearer, but they distract his foe by buzzing into his mouth, nostrils and eyes. A Plaguebearer's close combat opponent therefore suffers a -1 to hit modifier on all his attacks.
The Plaguebearer's toughened necrotic skin and mass of body-slime gives him a D6 saving throw of 6 agsinst damage. WFRP - the Plaguebearer has 1 armour point on all hit locations.
Chaos Attributes: A Plaguebearer may be given up to 7 Chaos Attributes. The daemon does not have to have the full 7, or even any, attributes - the player prefers decides the number and rolls each attribute randomly. A unit of Plaguebearers may all have the same number and type of attribute - or each Plaguebearer may be given attributes individually.
WFRP only - The body-slime of a Plaguebearer is a deadly poison combining the effects of Manbane, Elfbane, Blackroot and Beastbane. Any opponent damaged by a Plaguebearer gore or Plaguesword attack will suffer from infected wounds.
Daemonic Servants of Nurgle (Khan'gurani'i)
Nurglings, Pus Spores, Mites of Nurgle
The rotted bowels of the Great Unclean One swell with pus and contagion, and within each swelling there grows a tiny and malevolent daemon called a Nurgling. As the Nurgling matures it feeds upon the filth of the Great Unclean One and eventually pops out, the very personification (or daemonification) of a boil or pustule. In this sense Nurglings really are the children of the Great Unclean Ones. Perhaps this is why the Greater Daemons take such parental pride in the little creatures, allowing them to suckle upon their sores, and petting them affectionately. However, this does not prevent the proud parent squashing its progeny underfoot, or gobbling one or two up in a moment of impulsive peckishness.
Nurglings may also grow from the pus shed by a Great Unclean One as it moves. Such pus hides in little sticky pockets in the ground. When a mortal steps upon it, the foulness enters his body, making its way into his gut. There the Nurgling encysts and develops until it is ready to emerge. As the Nurgling approaches maturity its obscene cries may be heard from within the victim's abdomen, insulting anyone and everyone nearby. When ready, the Nurgling climbs through the alimentary canal and leaves its host by one or other end. The Nurgling is then free to flock with others of its kind or to take up residence in some household cess pit, rubbish pile or other equally unpleasant place. They have a naturally malicious but sociable nature and like to hang around human settlements if they cannot find other Nurglings. They enjoy stealing small but precious objects, turning milk sour, and perpetrating misdeeds of that sort. Nurglings always remember their parent human with affection, and periodically creep back to bestow their gratitude in the form of a crop of boils or some interesting disease.
Nurglings are miniature images of Nurgle himself, with friendly mischevious faces, tiny bloated green bodies, and limbs which are often distorted or disproportionate. They are gregarious, agile and constantly active. Normally they swarm over the body of a Great Unclean One, picking at his skin, squealing with pleasure if their master favours them with a tit-bit or a caress, otherwise squabbling among themselves over the most comfortable recess of the Great Unclean One's carcase. When faced with an enemy they advance in a furious little swarm, clawing and gnawing at their foe's legs, biting his ankles and licking at any interesting sores or abrasions they discover. Their tiny teeth are sharp as razors, leaving festering little bites upon their victims but rarely killing them outright.
Special Psychological Traits: Nurglings are subject to frenzy against all Daemons and Champions of Tzeentch, the hated adversary of their lord and master Nurgle. Otherwise they have standard psychology for Daemonic Servants.
Special Rules: Nurglings are mounted on a 40 x 40mm base in groups of up to nine models. Each base is treated as a single model with several wounds and attacks, in exactly the same way as a base of Snotlings. Nurglings actually attack by biting their opponents - but because there are so many on a base they can fight to the front, side or rear.
Any living creature engaged in hand-to-hand combat against Nurglings risks catching the dreaded disease Nurgle's Rot (see Nurgle's Rot).
Creatures of Nurgle (Gu'nagh'ghyran)
The Beasts, Slime Hounds, Nurgle's Lapdogs
The Beast of Nurgle looks like some horrendous mish-mash of creatures. It has the soft and sticky body of a pale brown slug, webbed feet that flap uselessly, a face of writhing green tentacles, and a whiptail growth that bursts from its back and which wags constantly from side to side. The Beast is no less deadly than it is ugly, for its touch causes paralysis and its slimy secretions rot everything they cover. The very proximity of a Beast is sufficient to kill small animals and plants, and even larger creatures may age and decay perceptibly in its presence. The Beast is the very embodiment of decay.
Despite its fearsome appearance and deadly attributes, the Beast is a friendly and effectionate creature behaving in all respects like an over-friendly and easily excited puppy. It craves attention, greeting newcomers by slobbering all over them with its slimy tentacles. Once they get thoroughly worked up they can rarely if ever contain themselves and leave little puddles of acrid slime behind them. All this attention is not a problem to other creatures of Nurgle, but tends to kill mortals fairly rapidly. Once the Beast's new friend stops moving, its interest quickly shifts to another target, and in this way the creature excitedly and lovingly kills and destroys just about everything it touches. As the Beast has only the most rudimentary sense of intelligence it never anticipates the result of its friendly behaviour, and registers only a slight sense of disappointment as each new playmate goes all still and boring.
In battle, the Beasts run backwards and forwards in their eagerness to meet new friends, constantly rolling over and inviting the Plaguebearers to scratch their backs and pop their pustules. The Plaguebearers try to maintain order, encouraging the Beasts to move in certain directions or to attack or hold back as appropriate. As the administrators and leaders of the Nurgle horde, the Plaguebearers are seen by the Beasts as their masters and special friends. Beasts are intensely loyal creatures and always eager to please, so they usually attach themselves unshakeably to one particular Plaguebearer.
Special Psychological Traits: Beasts fear troops bearing fire and attacks by flaming missiles. They are otherwise completely immune to psychology.
Special Rules: The Beast attacks models directly to its front with D6 sucker strikes. Suckers secrete a paralysing mucus which seeps through armour, so an opponent's armour save is ignored. If a model is hit by one or more sucker attacks during combat a D6 is rolled for each hit; if the total score is greater than the target's Toughness the model is paralysed. Paralysed victims are immediately grasped by the Beast's single tentacle. Paralysed victims are carried in this manner so that they can be eaten once the fighting is over or playfully presented as an offering to a Plaguebearer. If a Beast is slain it will release its victims, but they remain paralysed for several hours. WFB and WH40K players should remove paralysed models as casualties during the game.
As the Beast moves along the ground it leaves a slimy trail like a slug or snail. This slime trail is represented by six 1" diameter circular counters. As the creature moves, counters are placed behind it to indicate its path. Counters are removed from the end of the slime trail as they are needed, so the trail always indicates the path taken by the creature during its previous 6" of movement. Contact with this slime whilst it is fresh causes Nurgle's Rot. Any model which touches the counter trail is adjudged to have stepped in or touched the slime while it is still dangerous (see Nurgle's Rot for details of the test to be taken).
Any creature engaged in hand-to-hand combat with a Beast also risks catching Nurgle's Rot (see Nurgle's Rot).
Chaos Attributes: A Beast may be given up to 7 Chaos Attributes. It may be given fewer than 7, or even no attributes at all. The player decides the number and rolls each attribute randomly. A unit of Beasts may all have the same number and type of attribute.
There were times when the weight of millennia weighed heavily on Ischbak Gatrog Nurgle. Not even the contemplation of all the lovely pestilences he had spread could cheer him up. The crop of bright new purple pustules that grew like grapes on his chest gave him not a flicker of pride, and the capering of his daemonic minions seemed tawdry and tedious.
He looked out across the cavernous interior of his great wagon and it brought him no joy. The symphony of flatulence being performed by his followers faded under his empty angry gaze till only a solitary Beastman, too stupid to stop, twanged his goiter.
Ischbak loomed up from his cart, feeling his huge bulk shake his rickety throne. He glared down on his silent followers, unable to derive any pleasure from their terror any more. He let out a long groan. It was all so unbearably tedious.
'I'm bored,' he said, letting eons of ennui show in his voice.
'Nurgle is bored. Two thousand two hundred and twenty two,' muttered Fabian, most conscientious of his Plaguebearers.
'Nurgle is bored,' roared Manthrax the Minotaur, swatting at a Nurgling who came too close.
'Nurgle is bored.' The muttered undercurrent passed round the interior of the wagon. A few of the wiser champions were beginning to back off towards the edge of the room.
A few Nurglings broke out of Ischbak's exposed innard and swam like tadpoles in the pus that surrounded them. Ischbak gently raised one and placed it on the arm of his throne. He tickled its stomach gently so that it giggled.
The Great Unclean One surveyed his followers' blank, uncomprehending faces. None of them showed the slightest glimmer of understanding. Ischbak had spent all the time since the beginning of the world creating, spreading and observing new diseases. Had he not invented the Crimson Death which covered its victims in great blisters while they writhed in fever? And the loathsome Gutrot whose sufferers' bellies swelled until they burst, and many others.
Once he had been proud of his creations, taking as much pleasure in them as any other artist. Now they seemed shallow and meaningless. Was he really going to spend the rest of eternity engaged in such petty activity? He had heard that his great rival Gzarik Redclaw Nurgle had perfected a new form of food poisoning that infected fresh crops with tiny Nurglings. It was so depressing.
The door burst open and his driver Jurt burst in, a smile on what was left of his leprously eroded lips.
'A settlement, Great Nurgle,' he yelled. The noise hurt Ischbak's ears. He gestured for the coachman to speak more quietly. He tried to work up some enthusiasm for the task at hand. He gave a phlegmy sigh.
'What kind of settlement,' he asked wearily.
'Halflings, oh loathsome one.'
His followers waited with baited breath for his response. Halflings, he thought, feeling a slight glimmer of interest almost in spite of himself. A part of him had been enjoying wallowing in melancholia.
Then inspiration struck him. Perhaps he should treat the runts to the joys of depression. Yes that was it! He would do it!
He looked down on his children and smile. They tittered in relief.
'A lesson for you, my pretties,' he said. 'No matter how we feel we must always think of our public. The show must go on!'
He brought his fist down hard on the Nurgling. It burst with an emphatic squelch.
Those of Nurgle's Champions who can cast spells are able to use the special Spells of Nurgle described below. Great Unclean Ones and Plaguebearers can also cast these spells, and they may be gained in other ways as decribed later.
Spell Level: 1
Magic Points: 2
Magic Save: Yes
The Stench of Nurgle can only be used if the caster is engaged in hand-to-hand fighting, and it affects the nearest enemy model. A normal magic save is allowed to see if the spell takes effect. A target affected by the spell exudes a noxious smell of decay. This is so bad that all models within 6" of the target are almost overpowered by the stink, and they are unable to strike blows in subsequent rounds of hand-to-hand combat. However, they may defend themselves as normal. Only Daemons, Champions and Beastmen of Nurgle are unaffected by the odour. The affected model may be slain as a casualty during subsequent fighting. If the model is a rank-and-file trooper, casualties should be randomised among those troops fighting to determine whether he is slain. If the model is a Hero then his combat is worked out separately as normal. Once slain, the smelly character has no further effect.
The Champion of Tzeentch hacked his way viciously towards his sworn blood-enemy, axe rising and falling atop a sea of bloody destruction. Over the waves of weapons and blood-spray he could see the Wizard Champion of Nurgle on the low hill ahead. Hatred filled his heart with fire and bitterness, and he redoubled his efforts, forging through the surging mass of warriors between them. His axe became a blur of motion, bodies and limbs tumbling in his wake like red straw.
On the rise, the Wizard Champion followed his enemy's advance with a cold, secret smile. He closed his eyes and gathered his will. Writhing green and orange runes gnawed at the edge of his mind as he prepared the way for power, but he denied their siren call of madness. Ready, the knife edge achieved, the path chosen, his eyes snapped open. He raised his arms and began to chant.
The Champion of Tzeentch finally broke through the hordes of Nurgle. Now no-one stood between him and the Wizard. He started up the rise and was suddenly crippled by the heat of a debilitating fever. He staggered to a halt and fell to his knees, axe dropping from sweaty hands. Too weak to resist, he watched in helpless horror as the Wizard closed to deliver the death blow.
Spell Level: 2
Magic Points: 3
Magic Save: No
This spell creates a 6" radius Miasma of Pestilence around the caster. Any other model inside the zone has all the characteristics on his profile reduced by half. Round fractions up on the D6 score of a 4, 5 or 6 and down on the score of a 1, 2 or 3. This does not affect Daemons, Champions, or Beastmen of Nurgle. The Miasma of Pestilence lasts until the caster is wounded, when it is immediately dispelled.
Spell Level: 3
Magic Points: 7
Magic Save: No
The Stream of Corruption is a stinking jet of putrid blood, pus, maggots, slime and other foulnesses. It forms a triangle 8" long and 4" broad at its end, as shown on the accompanying diagram. Make up a Stream of Corruption template to the design shown using card or paper. When the spell is used the template is positioned over the targets. Each model within the template must roll a D6 and consult the chart below.
|Target's Initiative||Chokes to death on D6 score of:|
|1-4||4, 5 or 6|
|5-7||5 or 6|
Models with high initiative characteristics stand a good chance of diving or ducking out of the way of the Stream. Other models are less lucky! Models which are unable to move for any reason are choked automatically. A Greater Daemon of any kind is not automatically slain on rolling the appropriate D6 score, but sustains D6 wounds instead.
Spell Level: 4
Magic Points: 15
Magic Save: No
The Plague Wind may be cast against any target unit within 24". It is accompanied by wind-carried moaning, insane laughter, and other sounds of death and delirium. Each model in the unit must test for Nurgle's Rot. The unit must then take an immediate rout test.
Kalem Tarnel Champion of Tzeentch, struck the head from the last of his adversaries. The creature's body fell to the floor and the leprous leathery orb rolled to his feet. His Warband gave a cheer and raised their swords in a proud salute of victory. The severed head glared at him malevolently with its single eye. The head bore no nose and a single horn grew from its pustulent forehead. Its teeth chattered strangely, as if unwilling to accept the biological inferences of sudden decapitation.
"The Warband of Gorak Champion of Nurgle is no more!" he cried. His followers cheered again. A small cloud of flies began to gather around the severed head.
The long fingers of Gorak Champion of Nurgle twitched spasmodically. His eyes fluttered open, and he saw Kalem Tarnel, his most hated enemy. He tried to move, but found he could not because the sword wound in his side hurt so abominably. Kalem Tarnel had left him for dead. He hadn't been far wrong either. Gorak smiled to himself and his fingers twitched again, but this time with purpose. He moaned softly as the power flowed through him.
The unexpected blast caught Kalem Tarnel's cloak and pulled him to the floor. The rest of his Warband failed to keep their footing and fell into a formless spluttering heap. The severed head rolled off, followed by its entourage of insects. Gorak had summoned a Plague Wind with his dying breath. It was both his final act and a parting gift to his old enemy and rival Kalem Tarnel. The wind howled like a banshee, driving something that tasted like bone dust into the eyes, ears and mouths of the Tzeentch Warband. A rumbling laughter filled the air, like the bellowing of some huge, enormously fat, but companionable old uncle. The spell passed over them one by one, catching the unlucky, missing others, and eventually fading with the wind itself.
Nurgle's Rot, often known simply as the Rot, is a terrible contagious disease which affects the victim's mortal body and his shadow-self or spirit. A person who dies from Nurgle's Rot is turned into a Plaguebearer and becomes a servant of Nurgle himself. Nurgle's Rot epitomises the core of Nurgle's ethos: suffering and overcoming suffering by great bravery and resolve. Those who contract the Rot often slay themselves in reckless battle, hoping to die quickly and cleanly and by this means to avoid becoming a Plaguebearer.
Nurgle's Rot only affects mortals; it cannot affect daemons of any kind or allegiance. It is passed on by physical contact such as hand-to-hand combat. Models engaged in combat against a Daemon of Nurgle risk catching the Rot. Victims can also catch the Rot as a result of a Plague Wind spell, touching a Death Head, treading in the slime-trail of a Beast, stepping into a sticky pool left by a Palanquin, or simply by being a Champion of Nurgle.
To determine if a victim has caught the Rot, roll a D6, and apply the following modifiers:
|+3||Engaged in combat with a Great Unclean One|
|+2||Engaged in combat with a Plaguebearer|
|-1||If victim is the Champion of another Chaos Power|
If the result is 6 or more the victim has contracted the Rot with the following effects.
Nurgle's Rot often takes several months to kill its victim. Victims who are Champions of other Chaos Powers, or members of the retinues of these Champions, may be 'retired' from future games on the grounds that they can no longer live safely alongside their fellow men.
Retiring victims may be simply dropped from the game, or if they are Champions they can undertake a special Death Quest. In a Death Quest the Champion and any affected members of his warband will seek out and fight an enemy warband. Models engaged in a Death Quest are immune to psychology and cannot be routed. If a Death Questing Champion pleases his Chaos patron he may be promoted to Daemonhood and thus saved from the Rot.
Unless a victim retires from a warband or goes on a Death Quest as described above, he risks passing the disease on to the other members. This applies both to warbands of Nurgle's Champions and to those of Champions of other Chaos Powers. A test must be made before each battle to determine if the disease has been passed on to anyone else. On the D6 roll of a 6 the disease has been passed on to another randomly determined member of the warband. This may include the warband's Champion if he does not already have the Rot.
The Rot progresses from battle to battle, starting with the first battle following contraction. The victim slowly begins to turn into a Plaguebearer, his appearance and profile starts to change, so that eventually he dies and is re-embodied in the Realm of Chaos as a Plaguebearer.
|1||Skin bcomes pale yellow-brown. Change characteristic to M=4/WS=5.|
|2||Green and purple blotches break out on the victim's skin. BS=5/Ld=10.|
|3||The skin begins to rot and a small cloud of flies gathers about him. S=4/Cl=10.|
|4||A single horn sprouts from the victim's forehead. The model gains the Plaguebearer's additional horn attack when it charges. T=3.|
|5||The eyes start to grow together and the nose atrophies. I=6/Int=10.|
|6||The victim's feet grow into two huge claws. A=2 as per a Plaguebearer.|
|7||The victim's face and flesh dissolve into a mass of tissue. W=1/WP=10.|
|8||The victim finally dies and his shadow-self becomes one of Nurgle's Plaguebearers.|
A Champion of Nurgle who contracts Nurgle's Rot is not personally affected by it. However, he can pass it on in hand-to-hand combat and it can be caught by members of his own retinue. A member of a Chaos Warband who already has the Rot could becomes a Champion if the original Champion is slain. Should this happen the progress of the Rot is halted at the stage it has already reached.
Great Unclean Ones are daemons with a sense of the dramatic. They enjoy the decorative trappings of power almost as much as they enjoy power itself. The Palanquin of Nurgle is an ornate and mobile throne that allows the Great Unclean One to be carried aloft by a tide of surging Nurglings. The tiny creatures propel the Palanquin wherever their master wishes. From his elevated position the Greater Daemon is able to speak to his slaves, or strike at his foes. The Palanquin itself is decorated with mouldered finery, while the Great Daemon rider sits casually upon a mound of decaying cushions. Palanquins may also be gifted to Champions and Plaguebearers.
The Palanquin is surrounded by a cloud of flies which buzz and swarm around it. If the Palanquin is carried into hand-to-hand fighting the cloud of flies will buzz into the eyes and ears of all engaged enemy models, reducing their D6 to hit roll by -1. If the rider is a Plaguebearer, then his own cloud of flies merges with that of the Palanquin, but the combined effect is still to reduce the D6 to hit roll by -1.
The cloud of flies has another effect, for each insect embodies a tiny fraction of protective magic. The cloud thus represents a onsiderable protective spell. The Palanquin and its rider cannot be affected by a magical spell of any kind. Both are affected normally by a hand-to-hand combat blow struck by a magical weapon, but not by spells cast by such a weapon.
During a turn, the Palanquin moves up to 6" and can charge into combat just like any normal model, doubling its maximum movement to 12" as it does so. The rider can fight from the Palanquin and strike the enemy in any direction, whether they lie to the front, sides or rear. The Nurgling bearers also fight in hand-to-hand combat, automatically causing D6 hits with a strength of 3. The Nurgling bearers cannot be struck as such, indeed their very numbers would make this a futile business, but the Palanquin can be attacked. The attacker has the choice of striking blows or aiming missiles at either the rider or the Palanquin. Blows against the Palanquin hit automatically. The Palanquin has a Toughness of 5, and once it has sustained 3 wounds it is completely destroyed, dissolving into an unpleasant slippery mass along with its attendant Nurgling bearers.
As the Nurgling bearers move across the battlefield, small pools of something unpleasant and sticky form behind the Palanquin. These pools of filth contains pus, excrement, urine and other foul substances which are produced by the Nurglings. The sheer quantity of Nurgling bearers makes these pools very dangerous! Roll a D6 when the Palanquin moves, and on the roll of 6 the Nurglings have produced a sticky pool as described. A sticky pool is represented on the games table by a card circle 1" in diameter. These pools remain in place for the remainder of the game. Any model moving over a sticky pool may be unfortunate enough to catch Nurgle's Rot as described already under Nurgle's Rot.
A Staff of Nurgle is a tall staff which is carved from either the branch of a cankered tree or the bones of a plague victim. The staff is decorated with complex organic carvings depicting the various malformities of nature. Staffs may also bear an appropriate carved emblem or figure, such as the image of a shrivelled leper, or the twisted face of a pox victim. A Staff of Nurgle may be gifted by Nurgle to his Champions if he thinks them worthy of the honour. Such is Nurgle's consideration for his servants that he always tries to match the appearance of the staff to some especially interesting or impressive mutation or disease which the Champion has.
During the magic phase the bearer can point the Staff of Nurgle at any one model within 12". He can do this even if engaged in hand-to-hand combat and this does not affect his ability to fight normally. The target is entitled to its normal magic saving throw and is not affected by the staff if this is successful. If he fails the test, the victim suffers the full and unpleasant effects of the staff's magic. He erupts with a multitude of worms, larvae, maggots and other greasy wriggling things. This living mass spews from every orifice of the victim and forms a writhing pile around him. The victim is eventually consumed by these horrible things and killed, and a 1" diameter card circle placed on the table to represent the worm pile. This writhing mass remains for the rest of the battle, and will automatically attack and hit any model which moves over it, causing a single strength 5 hit. Any victim slain suffers the same fate as the staff's original victim, this time without the chance of a magic saving throw.
A Death Head is made from the skull of a conquered foe of Nurgle. The more powerful the enemy the better, so the head of a fallen Champion is the most highly favoured. The head is covered with wax mixed with blood to make it watertight. Pus drawn from a Great Unclean One is poured into the brain cavity and then sealed in with more wax. The result is a missile which will burst when it is thrown, scattering its noxious contents over the unfortunate enemy.
A Death Head can be thrown up to 6". It is represented by a circular card template with a 1" radius. All models within the template automatically contract Nurgle's Rot - no test is taken, the victims contract the disease automatically.
Nostag Champion of Nurgle looked at the Death Head. Once it had adorned the shoulders of Doras Varn, the most handsome of all Champions of Slaanesh. Nostag took a firm grip on the waxy orb, thinking as he did so how Doras' famous profile had lost much of its boyish charm. He lobbed the object high into the air, watching with satisfaction as it sailed into the enemy ranks.
The dark object spun through the air and smashed onto the naked pate of Gorban Champion of Khorne, spattering blood and pus over his luckless followers. Gorban reeled as the putrid stuff burned into his face.
"Khorne," he cried, "Pity me!" But it was too late. He felt his flesh churning with the foul energy of the Death Head and knew he was doomed.
A Champion of Nurgle can refuse a Chaos Gift (except Eye of God) in favour of a randomly generated Gift of Nurgle. Once a Gift of Nurgle has been generated it cannot be refused, even if it is a Chaos Attribute. To invite the Power's wrath by attempting to refuse a Gift would be very foolish indeed!
|01-06||Face of Nurgle. The Champion's face changes so that he now resembles the great Chaos Power Nurgle himself! His flesh becomes swollen and green, his eyes become distended, and his skin turns leprous and slimy. He acquires a long lolloping tongue tipped with a tiny face. His unlovely appearance causes fear.|
|07-15||Biting Tongue. The Champion's tongue grows so that it is long, thick and cylindrical, and its tip develops a ring of snapping teeth. This confers a strength 4 bite attack. The Champion's tongue can retreat right into his body ready to shoot out and bite an unwary adversary.|
|16-20||Face of a Plaguebearer. The Champion's face changes into that of a Plaguebearer. His skin turns green and putrid, his eyes merge into a single orb, and a horn sprouts from his forehead. When he charges into combat he has an extra gore attack during the first round with a +2 to hit bonus.|
|21-24||Face of a Beast. The Champion's face changes into a mass of paralysing tentacles like that of a Beast of Nurgle. This does not affect his sight or other senses. The Champion receives an extra D6 sucker attacks in hand-to-hand fighting. For each sucker hit roll a D6, if the score is more than the victim's toughness it is paralysed. Paralysed models are not killed, but can do nothing for the remainder of the battle. The sticky paralysing fluid released by the tentacles seeps through armour, so no armour saving throw is allowed.|
|25-30||Immensity. The Champion grows and grows until his bulk forms a miniature version of Nurgle's own corpulent figure. The Champion's obese body gives him +1 toughness because it is so massive. His initiative is reduced by -1.|
|31-38||Nurgle's Rot. The Champion becomes a carrier of Nurgle's Rot, the degenerative disease that turns living creatures into Plaguebearers. The Champion can pass the Rot on to his enemies in close combat, but does not suffer from its effects himself. If acquired a second or subsequent time, the Rot is passed on to a follower. Unlike Champions, these followers are affected by the disease.|
|39-44||Horns of Nurgle. The Champion grows a pair of spreading horns like those of Nurgle and the Great Unclean Ones. These twisted and down-curving horns are not used in combat and serve only to alter the Champion's appearance.|
|45-49||Plague. The morbid energies of disease are Nurgle's most special gift. The Champion's body is consumed by disease and its energies channelled into Nurgle's service, creating fresh vigour from its own destruction. Roll a D6 to determine the nature of the affliction.|
If a plague reduces wounds to zero the character is dead. If toughness is reduced to zero all hits will wound automatically. If strength falls to zero all attacks will fail to cause damage. A Champion gifted with several plagues cannot pass them on to a follower unless he receives the same plague twice.
|50-57||Hide of Nurgle. The Champion's skin becomes green, necrous and leathery. Numerous sores open all over his body. Tears or wounds remain raw and tattered and do not heal. A buzzing cloud of flies gathers around the Champion. In hand-to-hand combat all opponents suffer a -1 to hit penalty due to the flies buzzing into their eyes, ears, mouths and nostrils.|
|58-63||Crossbreed with Beast. The Champion mutates into a hybrid creature so that he is half Beast of Nurgle. His head gains sticky tentacles while his lower body becomes slug-like. All of his characteristics change to the average value of his own and the Beast's profile, rounding fractions down to the nearest whole number.|
The hybridised Champion retains all of his previous rewards. In addition he gains the sucker attacks described under Face of a Beast and he leaves a sticky trail behind him as described under Trail of Slime.
|64-71||Nurgling Infestation. The Champion becomes the host of a group of small Nurglings. They live in the recesses of his armour and clothes, snuggling into his armpits and nestling in his hair. In hand-to-hand combat the Nurglings leap from the Champion's head and shoulders and clamber about his feet, biting and clawing at his enemy. This counts as an extra strength 3 attack made by the Champion. The Nurglings cannot be attacked themselves, and any who are trampled or squashed in the combat are soon replaced. This gift may be acquired by the Champion more than once, and each subsequent infestation confers another attack. Alternatively, a second or subsequent gift can be passed on to a follower.|
|72-78||Familiar. The Champion is gifted with a single corpulent Nurgling as his familiar. Roll to determine the familiar's type using a D100.
Rules for familiars are given in the Slaves to Darkness volume of Realm of Chaos. A Champion may be gifted with several familiars.
|79-84||Trail of Slime. The Champion leaves a trail of slime wherever he goes. The slime drips off his body or bubbles incontinently from him. Any model directly behind and within 4" of the Champion is adjudged to have stepped in the trail of slime and risks catching Nurgle's Rot (see Nurgle's Rot).|
|85-93||Rune of Nurgle. The fly rune of Nurgle appears on the Champion's forehead or some other prominent part of his body. The rune bursts forth like an inflammation and develops into a fly-shaped mass of boils or sores.|
|94-97||Daemonic Name. Nurgle honours his Champion by granting him a daemonic True Name. Daemonic names and the generation tables for creating them are described in Slaves to Darkness. Second and subsequent rewards make the name longer and more impressive, reflecting the Champion's growing status in the eyes of Nurgle.|
|98-00||Chaos Attribute. Nurgle perversely awards his Champion with a random Chaos Attribute. Although arrived at as a Gift of Nurgle, this reward is a Chaos Attribute and counts as such when determining a Champion's fate under the Eye of God.|
Monuments to Nurgle almost always look old and crumbling no matter how recent they are, for the Lord of Decay makes no effort to preserve the physical appearance of monuments erected in his name. Shale and slate are favoured for making the monolith, and some are cast in rusting iron or green-crusted copper. Moss, mould, lichen and slime cover its surface, and its many nooks and crannies are home to all sorts of slithering beasts including snakes, lizards, toads, slugs and snails. When anyone approaches a great black mass of flies appears from within the monolith and surrounds it. Champions of Nurgle will toss the bodies of comrades or enemies at the feet of the stone, to rot and contribute to the growing mound of refuse around it.
And I've included the following paragraph just for the documented confirmation that Warhammer's Old World is indeed part of the wider Warhammer 40,00 universe (implicit ties can be seen in several places, but this is rather more expicit):
The Warhammer World is bound by storms of magic so that it remains isolated from the other worlds of the human galaxy. Elsewhere, the forces of the Imperium tenaciously fight the influences of Chaos, so that the open aggression of Chaos Champions and their forces is restricted to zones not controlled by the Imperium. On worlds where Champions of Chaos attain daemonhood or death there are monoliths to their memory just as on the Warhammer World. Cosmis monoliths are tablets, flat stones, or death caskets that float through space itself. They can celebrate a Champion whose mortal life ended while battling an engagement between space fleets. Often they orbit a world, transmitting their inscriptions to passing craft or projecting their image directly into spaceships.
An example of a monolith for a Champion of Nurgle is that dedicated to Lothar Bubonicus. See below or on his page for the full tale. There is also a full page illustration with another example monolith for a Nurgle Champion:
You may note, on the picture above, some strange characters carved at the top of the stone. This is the Dark Tongue, for which both transliterative symbols and conceptual glyphs are detailed in the book. As an example, the monolith above displays the text Gh-O-Rh-S-Kh-U-Aa-L-O-Rh, or Goresqualor. A whole bunch of artwork in The Lost and the Damned includes Dark Tongue insertions (none of the art in the earlier Slaves to Darkness does). See pages 80-84 for how to translate it.
The Dark Tongue, also known as the Black Speech, is the language of Chaos as spoken by its servants and followers. It has undoubtedly earned its colloquial names because it is uttered in shadows by those clad in robes of darkness.
The Dark Tongue is a ritual language and the only tongue in which the mysteries of Chaos can truly by expressed. It is the language of Daemons, Beastmen and Chaos Creatures who have the power of speech. Daemon names and the secret daemonic names of Champions are all of the Dark Tongue. The servants of Chaos learn the Dark Tongue so that they can converse with daemons and other creatures that speak it. Chaos Warriors, Wizards and Cultists can communicate in the Dark Tongue, and most can carve the Runes of Chaos which are used to write it. The Skaven know the Dark Tongue, but find it impossible to pronounce properly; their own squeaky language, Queekish, is ultimately derived from the Dark Tongue. The Dark Elves also speak a related language known as Black Elvish, a cross between High Elvish and the Dark Speech. Dark Elves still use the pure Dark Tongue for their rituals and magic.
The Dark Tongue is written in Chaos Runes. The inscriptions on Champions' banners, Chaos Monoliths, and Beastman Braystones are al made using Chaos Runes. Runes are also used on magic weapons and items, and are daubed on Chaos temples and shrines. Each rune represents an individual Reward of Chaos, but there are also special phonetic runes which can be used to write any language including the Dark Tongue. Phonetic runes evolved when Chaos Wizards recorded their spells, incantations, and other occult works. Examples of the Dark Tongue and Chaos Runes are sought after by cultists and witchfinders alike, but where the cultists seek to collect and preserve, witchfinders are intent on expunging Chaos lore by erasing inscriptions and burning the texts. Despite these efforts, the Dark Tongue persists and flourishes, passed down by word of mouth and preserved on Chaos Monoliths.
The Dark Tongue is rich in words and phrases which express the mystical, arcane and complex cosmology of Chaos. Although it is convenient to attach basic meanings to these words, they are imbued with far greater and deeper significance. Each word really encompasses a myriad of associated meanings and concepts. For this reason the Dark Tongue, in its pure and archaic form, has become the most powerful language of sorcery and ritual. Debased versions of the language have far less power to evoke the mysteries of Chaos.
The core of the Dark Tongue is a collection of root words, heavily endowed with meaning. The root word is altered by the addition of prefixes and suffixes to bring out the various potential meanings held within the root. Yet more meanings are yielded from the root by mutation of the root itself.
Although there are relatively few root words compared to other languages, such as High Elven for example, there are innumerable potential root mutations in the Dark Tongue. Few human cultists will ever learn all of them and so be able to unlock all the secrets held within the language. It is this characteristic of the Dark Tongue which makes it such an effective and potent means of expression for arcane and occult lore and lends it the haunting quality which gives power and eloquence to ritual incantations.
The following root words demonstrate how the Dark Tongue works in its crudest form including the principle elements of the names of the four great Chaos Powers. In the most ancient and purest texts of the Dark Tongue, used in Chaos rituals, they are named as Kharneth, Slaaneth, Nurgleth and Tzeeneth. From these are derived the names by which they have become commonly known: Khorne, Slaanesh, Nurgle and Tzeentch.
|Root Word||Simplified Basic Meaning|
|Khaos||Chaos, the sea of souls, magic power|
|Phaos||Psychic essence, soul, will|
|Dhaos||Psychic entity, spirit, daemon, power|
|Tzeen||Change - the will to change|
|Nurgh||Decay - the will to live / defy decay|
|Slaa||Ecstasy - the will to feel and sense|
|Khar||Rage - the will to dominate|
|Leth, neth||Lord of, Master of, Ruler of|
Rewards bestowed upon followers by the Chaos Powers, including Chaos Attributes, are expressed by specific Chaos Runes. It is traditional for Champions of Chaos to indicate their progress on the Chaos Path by inscribing the appropriate Chaos Rune or Runes on their shields, armour, weapons or other items of equipment.
Every Chaos Reward, be it a Gift or Chaos Attribute, is represented by its own rune. When the Champion writes his name he will append it with the runes indicating his Rewards. Should his followers raise a monolith to his memory then his runes will be displayed prominently upon it as a testament to his achievements.
The Chaos Runes are illustrated on the following pages. They provide a complete catalogue of Chaos devices which can be painted onto a Champion model's armour or shield, or drawn onto his banner. As decorative features, the Chaos Runes can be drawn in different styles should players wish to do so; after all, the Chaos Warriors and their followers come from a wide variety of backgrounds and there is no reason to assume that they would all draw a rune in exactly the same way.
So long as the rune is recognisable for what it is any degree of variation or decoration can be used. The highly elaborate runes of Nurgle and Tzeentch which are illustrated throughout this book show just one way in which this can be done. You can copy these designs or make up new variations of your own - as simple or as elaborate as you like.
Chaos is the stuff of raw magic used by Wizards to work their spells. When Chaos enters the material world it fragments into eight different colours of magic. These colours plus two others (Dark and Rainbow representing undivided and reunited Chaos) are the Colours of Magic. They are represented in the Dark Tongue by their own names and runes. Each is also known by a common magical name which identifies the Wizard's allegiance or College as this is known. For example a Wizard who uses Yellow Magic is a Golden Wizard and the Chaos Rune Chamon appears on his clothes and regalia.
|Colour||Common Name||Chaos Name||Rune|
Like all root words in the Dark Tongue these magic names can be mutated to draw out deeper and more diverse meanings. For example, the root word aqshy which refers to the red or bright shade of Chaos can produce the following range of meanings:
|Aqshy'y||Bronze or brass|
|Aqsh||The colour red|
|Akh||Battle, bloodshed, to slay in battle|
|Ksy||Key or solution|
|Iakash||Lock or obstacle|
|Akhamshy'y||Slayers or warriors|
The Chaos Language is written in special Phonetic Runes. Phonetic Runes are runes which represent sounds in the same way as our familiar latin alphabet. Any language can be written using the phonetic runes, including English. We like to use these runes to write messges or slogans on our own Chaos Champions' banners. In the Warhammer World itself, Chaos devotees often use the phonetic runes to write languages other than their own. In fact, many Chaos Champions are humans and the language they speak and write will be human and not the Dark Tongue.
The phonetic runes are shown below with their nearest English sound equivalent. In some cases there is no direct English equivalent to a sound in the Dark Tongue, in which case one of several runes can be used depending on which the writer believes is closest in nature to the intended sound.
Numerals are also represented by specific runes. These runes can be written together to indicate multiple values. The runes for ten, a hundred and a thousand are simply repeated as many times as necessary to produce a number like three hundred or eight thousand. Because this repetition of the rune may be a little cumbersome, it is also acceptable to represent a number such as three hundred by writing the number three followed by the number hundred. Both systems are used and it is really up to the individual to decide which they prefer - some scribes combine both systems in the same document, using whichever best fits the space available.
The colour 'Eavy Metal section of the book (pages 105-120) has many examples of painted models. In particular, page 107 covers Daemons of Nurgle and page 114 has colour examples of Nurgle symbolism and banners. The warband of Lothar Bubonicus gets a couple of pages too (119-120).
Champion of Nurgle, Lothar Bubonicus
When the Green Death raged
I swore an oath to Father Nurgle.
I bade him spare me that I might live in his service
And Father Nurgle chose me as his own.
Though all the village perished
I alone survived.
In the great forest I dwelt.
Amid the wild Beastmen, I was their shaman.
THE BEGINNING: Lothar was the only survivor of his plague-stricken village. He believed he was saved because he swore to serve Nurgle, though it is more likely that he survived due to his almost supernatural physical endurance. He ventured into the trackless forests and was befriended by Beastmen, who recognised him as chosen by Nurgle and accepted him as their Champion.
Nurgle blessed me with endurance.
My blood ran yellow with his power.
When the wicked ones caught me
The torturers caused me no suffering
For Nurgle lent me his great strength
And my brave followers rescued me from the stake.
BATTLE OF THE PYRE: Lothar was captured by witch hunters, tortured and tied to a stake for burning. His Beastmen followers emerged from the forest and hacked their way through the soldiers to rescue him.
|Mark of Nurgle:||+1 Toughness|
|Initial Attribute:||Blood Substitution - Acid Blood +1 Toughness|
|Initial Followers:||6 Beastmen|
The rot approached.
Longhorn bellowed loud in Nurgle's praise.
Five Dwarfs from the wilderness
They heard the call, and knew that they were saved
From death in the darkness of the woods.
By Nurgle's will.
TRIUMPH IN THE FORESTS: One of his Beastmen sent out a call of triumph in the forests. A band of Dwarfs, lost in the woods, made their way to the sound and, since Nurgle had saved them, they willingly joined Lothar's retinue, which now numbered 6 Beastmen and 5 Dwarfs.
|First Reward:||Chaos Gift - Horrible Stench|
|Follower's Reward:||Enormouse Noise for a Beastman|
|New Followers:||5 Dwarfs|
Slew herd-kin in the glades.
They cooked his flesh upon their fire
And Nurgle punished them with death
Save only one, robust and strong.
He called on Nurgle and so death passed him by
To serve me as my henchman
When I was consumed with the rot.
BATTLE OF THE GLADES: A band of knights slew one of Lothar's Beastmen in the forest glades and ate his flesh only to die from the infected meat of Nurgle's herd. Lothar's retinue now numbered 5 Beastmen and 4 Dwarfs, one Dwarf having been slain in battle. However one of the knights miraculously survived his wounds, and recognising the will of Nurgle, Lothar accepted him as his personal henchman.
|Second Reward:||Nurgle's Rot as a Champion of Nurgle, Lothar was not affecetd by the Rot but became a carrier|
|Follower's Reward:||Hideous Appearance for a Beastman|
|New Followers:||Chaos Warrior|
The lands beyond the forest were in turmoil.
Warriors stalked the land.
Nurgle prepared us for this time of strife.
Armour for Grod, my henchman;
The rust that turns a blade.
For me, mites of Nurgle, my little friends, to lick my sores.
|Third Reward:||Chaos Gift - Nurgling Infestation|
|Follower's Reward:||Chaos Armour for the Chaos Warrior|
Profane ones violated our sacred woods
With foul relics in their train.
Nurgle told us in the dance of flies
To purify his wilderness forthwith.
Grod, my henchman barred the way.
While Dwarfs and Beastman slew the impure ones.
Amongst the booty, a Palanquin to serve me as a mount.
For the rot was great.
AMBUSH OF THE RELICS: Lothar's retinue ambushed a band of monks escorting holy relics through the woods. They were warned in advance by observing the movements of flies, a divination technique known to Nurgle cultists. The monks were driven out and abandoned their wagons. In them Lothar found a high priests's golden Palanquin which tarnished as soon as he laid hands on it. This was seen as a great reward. Lothar's retinue was reduced to 4 Beastmen and 3 Dwarfs due to losses during the ambush.
|Fourth Reward:||Chaos Gift - Palanquin|
|Follower's Reward:||Skull Face for a Dwarf|
|New Followers:||5 Humans|
The peasants fled and joined my band.
Nurgle saved them from the famine and the harsh hand of man.
We sacrificed to Nurgle, I grew green in his image.
He who tilled the fields beneath the yoke
Became one who wields the wand and brings the rain.
PEASANTS' REVOLT: Peasants living on the forest edge rebelled and fled to join Lothar's growing band. One of them turned out to be a witch. Lothar increasingly grew to resemble his inhuman master. His band now included 4 Beastmen, 3 Dwarfs, the Chaos Warrior Grod, 5 Humans wearing armour stripped from slain lords, and a Human Wizard.
|Fifth Reward:||Chaos Gift - Hide of Nurgle|
|Follower's Reward:||Multiple Rewards for the Humans|
|New Followers:||1 level 5 female Wizard|
Into the city we came at night.
Through the sewers we were led by Nurgle's scouts.
Vermin of valour did their work well.
Now the high lords scratch and wither.
The justice of Nurgle is delivered.
PLAGUE RAID ON UBERAVERGLAU: Led by Skaven into the heart of the town through the sewers, Lothar infected the castle of the prince and the houses of the rich burghers with plague in vengeance for the oppression of the peasants and the persecution of witches and Beastmen. Lothar was honoured with the Skaven title Bubonicus and his band swelled by 4 Skaven.
|Sixth Reward:||Chaos Armour (Lothar's hide is now uncannily tough)|
|Follower's Reward:||Overgrown Arm for Grod|
|New Followers:||4 Skaven|
I saw a vision of Nurgle's realm.
A green wood stretching as far as eyes could see
Seething with life and the drone of fat flies.
When I awoke, I saw the master's rune in snail-trails.
We followed, seeking for the runes
Until we crossed the edge of fate.
We found three herdkin and the Ogre of the hills.
But Nurgle's Steed I gave to Grod
And Nurgle strengthened his arm that he might protect me.
TREK TO THE CHAOS WASTES: Lothar, having seen a vision of the Realm of Nurgle, led his band into the Chaos Wastes by following the runes made by snails with their slime-trails. On the journey Lothar was rewarded with a Daemonic Steed which he gave to Grod, whose arm had grown out of all proportion. Lothar, confined to his Palanquin, increasingly relied on Grod to fight for him as a henchman.
|Seventh Reward:||Chaos Gift - Daemonic Steed given to Grod|
|Follower's Reward:||Mane of Hair for Grod|
|New Followers:||3 Beastmen and 1 Ogre|
Twice twenty years within the Wastes.
The green glades of Nurgle eluded us.
I called to Father Nurgle: are we unworthy?
Then herdkin found the scent of Nurgle's foes.
It was a time of trial
For only the strongest live to run wild in Nurgle's glades.
We slew them, a feast for the flies.
They who followed The Changer, change no more.
The slaying of exalted ones brings great reward.
Flies swarming on the blood-drenched sword
Merged with the metal.
Runes spelled its name: Plaguebiter.
The leaderless ones flocked to my fly banners
As we march to the last battle.
CLASH OF THE WARBANDS: This was undoubtedly the most decisive battle in Lothar's career. Lothar's warband clashed with an exalted Champion of Tzeentch and his retinue. Their opponent was certainly a very great Champion on the verge of Daemonhood himself. When Lothar defeated him it was also a great triumph of Nurgle over Tzeentch. In their fervent belief that Nurgle was testing them after twenty years wandering in the Wastes, Lothar's retinue fought ferociously and annihilated their foes. For this they were well rewarded. The battle was hard-won and 3 Humans were slain together with a valiant Skaven and 5 Beastmen. Grod and Lothar, high in the favour of their lord, escaped serious wounds. Lothar gathered to himself more Beastmen and hsi band was renewed in strength, now containing Grod mounted on his Steed, 9 Beastmen, 3 Dwarfs, 3 Skaven, 2 Humans, an Ogre called Skas and a witch called Utterblight.
|Eighth Reward:||Chaos Gift - Rune of Nurgle|
|Follower's Reward:||Horns given to Grod|
|Ninth Reward:||Chaos Gift - Daemon Weapon in which a Plaguebearer is locked|
|Follower's Reward:||Plague creeps over Grod's Steed|
|New Followers:||7 Beastmen|
The green glades of Nurgle
Seething with growth and the drone of fat flies.
Beastmen gasping to drink the sweet green waters.
They who dared to bar our way
We slew them; to Plaguebiter they fell.
Not one escaped.
Nurgle rewarded us
For only the worthy may enter his realm.
The road was long.
Suffering I endured in Nurgle's name.
He did not desert me.
Beside this stone I shed the rags of plague
An exalted one of Nurgle, rewarded with immortal flesh.
BATTLE OF THE GLADES OF NURGLE: This was the last battle and Lothar felt it in his bones. He knew he must win at all costs and the costs were high. Lothar finally arrived at the Realm of Nurgle, but a rival warband barred his way. Lothar's retinue were overcome with thirst and charged headlong for the shade of Nurgle's glades. The sight of Lothar utterly destroying yet another foe in his unswerving determination to follow the way of Nurgle caught the eye of the Plague Lord. At long last, after years of struggle and suffering, Lothar's superhuman endurance was rewarded with immortal form as a Daemon Prince of Nurgle. Grod survived to take over the remnants of Lothar's band. Many had fallen in the battle, never to see Nurgle's glades. Grod honoured his former master by instructing the remaining Dwarfs to inscribe a monolith for Lothar, on which this saga is carved.
|Tenth Reward:||Eye of God - Lothar becomes the Daemon Prince Ghur'urgh bu'yue, known as Bubonicus|
Following the saga of Lothar Bubonicus (and Werner Flamefist, Champion of Tzeentch), there are full stat blocks for both warband's members on page 126.
The Beastmen of Nurgle have blistered and broken skins, often red with cracked flesh and sores which have been given to them by a generous master. Their fur is matted and coarse, and their bodies are riddled with all kinds of disease. Yet they retain the morbid vigour that characterises their master so their afflictions in no way mar their battle-worthiness.
The sign of Nurgle is carved into their armour, daubed upon their clothes, and sometimes etched on their skin by the path of disfiguring disease.
A Beastman of Nurgle has a 50% chance of carrying Nurgle's Rot, although thanks to his loyalty to Nurgle the disease will not affect him. Nurgle's Rot can be transmitted to opponents in hand-to-hand combat (see Magic of Nurgle).
A Beastman Shaman of Nurgle always has the spells of Nurgle appropriate to his level. Remaining spells are generated randomly as normal. For example, a Feralflux with a magic level of 2 has the level 1 and 2 Nurgle spells Stench of Nurgle and Miasma of Pestilence.
Beastmen of Nurgle hate all enemies who are mortal followers of Tzeentch including Beastmen who follow that Patron.
When a Daemon Prince takes control of his hard-won world he uses his mighty powers to reshape it to a form which pleases him. Because of this, every world is different and all are equally spectacular in their own way. The most powerful psykers in the Imperium have reported dreams or visions in which worlds of the Eye of Terror have been revealed to them. On one world a black sun stands in a white sky and smoky threads pour from it onto a tangled black city - this is said to be the homeworld of the Daemon Prince Perturabo, formerly the Space Marine Primarch of the Iron Warriors. Another world has boiling lakes of blood from which spheres of fire float into the sky and spread their light across the firmament - the ruler of this world is the Daemon Prince Bubonicus, formerly a mortal Champion of Nurgle on one of the myriad lost worlds in the galaxy. Visions of such places disturb the psychically sensitive throughout the entire galaxy.
Just as industrial slaves labour to produce the weapons and armour for battle, so vast prayer-gangs are put to work worshipping their masters. On the Daemon World of Bubonicus, for example, the equator is surrounded by a dancing human chain which sings and dances the praise of Nurgle as it circles the world. The dancers develop Nurgle's Rot and gradually mutate into Plaguebearers. The Plaguebearers join their master and new mortals take their place so that the circle is never broken. This theatrical conceit pleases Nurgle tremendously, so that Bubonicus has commanded it should never cease.
This is a typical example of the vast scale of worship which the Chaos Powers enjoy. Other examples include planets where millions of people chant the same mantra in a city of perpetual worship so that the whole world vibrates to their voices. The entire energies of another are spent building and tolling bells as big as cities, whose thunderous peals rebound around the globe while thousands of slaves labour to swing them. There is said to be a world belonging to Nurgle where the entire population is enslaved keeping the accounts of disease and pestilence, recording every incidence of sickness in the entire galaxy.
A useful paragraph in terms of timings:
The Chaos Powers sensed the presence of the New Man and his efforts to curb their own power and growth. Even before they became fully conscious the Chaos Powers recognised the Emperor as their greatest enemy. Khorne was the first of the Great Powers to wake fully, and an era of wars and conflict raged across the globe. Tzeentch was next, and nations and politics grew to adulthood with all of their implicit intrigues and double-dealings. Nurgle was the third to awake and plagues swept across continents claiming many souls for the Lord of Decay. By the end of the Middle Ages all three of these Chaos Powers had awoken to full consciousness. The fourth Power, Slaanesh, still slumbered.
The Emperor never made the mistake of underestimating the threat of Chaos, and in order to meet that threat he put the best scientific brains on Earth to work. Weapons and spacecraft poured out of the Martian factories to bolster beleaguered forces throughout the galaxy.
The Emperor's most long-sighted plan to counter the insidious influences of the Chaos Powers was the creation of the Primarchs: genetically engineered super-humans with god-like powers. The Emperor's intention was to create a whole race of super-humans from the genetic blueprint of the Primarchs. By making them loyal and strong he hoped that they would prove immune to the malign psychic influences of Chaos.
The Primarchs were to be shining examples of humans free from the taint of corruption. The energy of the uncorrupted warp would flow through them as it flowed through the Emperor himself, invigorating them and conferring special powers such as were possessed by the shamans of old.
Unfortunately, things did not go quite according to plan. Despite the Emperor's best attempts to shield the project from the penetrating eyes of the Chaos Powers they still managed to learn of it. The Primarchs were still in their foetal stage, growing in special amniotic tanks, when the Chaos Powers combined their energies to spirit them away in an unexpectedly bold move.
Even for the Chaos Powers this kidnapping represented a colossal expenditure of energy. The Primarchs were sucked through the warp and scattered on separate human worlds in distant parts of the galaxy. The Chaos Powers did not have the resources to destroy the Primarchs, but they did the next best thing which was to hide them from the Emperor. They were to remain hidden until after the waking of Slaanesh.
The Emperor had lost the Primarchs and the first action of his renewed war against the Chaos Powers. The Primarchs could not be recreated and even if this were possible there was not time to do it. The birth pangs of Slaanesh grew louder and louder as the time of his waking grew near. The Emperor evolved another plan. Using genetic material which had been imprinted from the Primarchs into laboratory gholems, some of their qualities could be reproduced as discrete biological organs. By implanting these organs into a young growing body a person with some of the qualities of the Primarchs could be created. In this way the first Space Marines Chapters were founded. Each Chapter utilised genetic material derived from one of the Primarchs.
By the time that the warp storms were ended, the Space Marines and other Imperial forces were ready to begin their reconquest of the galaxy. The forces of Chaos were already strong, and many human worlds had been taken over by Chaos Cultists or other aliens. It was a long hard struggle, but with every victory the Imperium grew stronger as new warriors joined the Great Crusade.
The initial conquests concentrated in areas where the Primarchs had been hidden. Using his psychic powers the Emperor gradually located and found each of his original creations and united them with the Space Marine Chapters created from their genetic imprints. They seemed none the worse for their brush with Chaos, having grown up to be great leaders and warriors among the local human populations. In fact this appearance of normality was to prove deceptive, for some of the Primarchs had become tainted by their early contact with Chaos. With the help of the Primarchs the Great Crusade swept across the galaxy. Humanity rose to the task of rebuilding its ancient heritage, and everywhere the alien oppressor was defeated and driven out. Chaos retreated to its own realms, to the zones of warp-real space overlap such as the Eye of Terror.
The forces of Chaos were not quite so easily beaten. They whispered to the Primarchs from the warp, disturbing their dreams with promises of power, appealing to their pride, their martial prowess, and their courage. No single Primarch was wholly resistant to these unspoken temptations. The character of each was sorely tested, and fully half of them failed that test. So subtle was their temptation that they never even suspected how their own loyalties were changing.
For example, Mortarion Primarch of the Death Guard Chapter fully believed that he was the herald of a new age of justice. Angron of the World Eaters genuinely thought that he alone could save humanity from destruction. Horus too, the greatest Primarch of all, was convinced of the virtue of the martial ideals for which he fought.
By appealing to their virtue and courage, they were tempted to lead their Space Marine Chapters against the Emperor. Initially, even the Primarchs had little idea that they had fallen to Chaos, but when they rebelled their good intentions gradually fell away as Chaos saturated their souls. By the same token the Marine Chapters that they led also turned slowly but inevitably to Chaos.
The leader of the rebellion was the Warmaster Horus, the greatest and most trusted Primarch of all. He had stood by the Emperor's side throughout the long years of the Great Crusade. They had fought back-to-back at the siege of Reillis when the Emperor saved Horus's life. On the battlefield of Gorro, Horus had repaid the debt by hacking the arm from a frenzied Ork as he struggled to choke the Emperor's life out of him.
Horus's fall came as a great shock to the Emperor. For a vital month the Emperor hesitated, stunned by the extent of Horus's treachery, unable to believe that his friend and general was really gathering forces against him. When the war finally broke out it was savage and bloody. Marine fought Marine as the rival factions battled for supremacy.
There are several army lists in the latter half of the book, including the Chaos Army of Nurgle (p197-215), the Daemon Legion of Nurgle (p243-246), and the Chaos Renegades of Nurgle (p256-266). Here are the introductions to each, leaving out the full detail of each unit and option...
Chaos Warriors of Nurgle
The approach of a Chaos Army of the Patron Power Nurgle is foreshadowed by a dark plague of flies. These flies are part of the army, and live upon the foulness of the horde itself. During the battle, the flies congregate into an especially dense mass around any one enemy unit, causing much inconvenience as they buzz into the eyes, ears, and mouths of the enemy. The Army of Nurgle uniquely includes units of undead. The body of a plague victim belongs to Nurgle, should he care to claim it, for a year and a day. As the army advances, plague victims burst from their graves in the form of Zombies and Skeletons, ready to serve the Lord of Decay.
The Chaos Army of Nurgle write-up ends with a page of Emblems of Nurgle, giving a range of (black and white) designs for decorating units. These include the eight-arrowed symbol of Chaos, various tripartite shapes (from the most-abstract trio of circles, to designs including skulls or flies), variations on the theme of flies, the Plague Chalice and the Maw, and generic horned heads, helms, and more.
Nurgle is probably the greatest showman of all the Chaos Powers and revels in the spectacle and drama of battle more than any of the others. The Nurgle player is faced with a wide choice of daemonic and mortal troops including the anarchic little Nurglings, wildly enthusiastic Beasts, sombre Plague Skeletons and uncaring Zombies. The Legion can perhaps be visualised as a grotesque and macabre carnival. Wild jollity, laughter and mad-cap capering is combined with the most horrible manifestations of disease and deformity like an insane circus parade of all the worst ills imaginable. In charge of this parade of disease and infirmity are the Great Unclean Ones - Greater Daemons of Nurgle.
In the third year of the Horus Heresy the rebel Death Guard Chapter was marooned in the warp while attempting a long-range jump to Earth. Months passed while the fleet's Navigators searched for a warp-tide that would bring them back to the material universe. Meanwhile a mysterious contagion began to spread from ship to ship. The stinking pestilence bloated the gut, distended the flesh, and turned its victims rotten from the inside. Eventually the Chapter's Primarch Mortarion became infected and in his delirium he called upon the Powers of Chaos to aid the Space Marines. Mortarion's fevered ravings were answered by Nurgle, and Mortarion became Nurgle's Champion and eventually the Daemon Prince Mortarion, Lord of the Plague Planet. The Plague Planet he rules over lies deep inside the Eye of Terror. From this dark and slimy orb Mortarion launches fleets of Plague Ships into the warp to carry their contagions through the galaxy. On board are Champions of Chaos and their followers from the Plague Planet accompanied by warriors of the ancient Death Guard - the heinous Plague Marines of Nurgle.
The Death Guard Chapter was one of the original twenty Space Marine Chapters founded by the Emperor. During the Horus Heresy the Chapter joined the rebel Warmaster Horus and took part in many battles against the Emperor's forces. Their commander, Mortarion, became an open worshipper of Nurgle when the entire Chapter was trapped inside the warp and ravaged by plague. Subsequently he led his Space Marines in a merry dance of destruction over a score of planets. As disease began to disfigure the Marines, their appearance changed into the disgusting form they still bear today. Now te once tall and erect Space Marines of the Death Guard are the Plague Marines of Nurgle. Their flesh bubbles with corruption, their innards spill through lesions in their putrid skin, and their bodies ooze with sticky slime.
Following the death of Horus and the effective end of the Heresy, Mortarion fled with the remnants of his Chapter into the Eye of Terror where he received Nurgle's ultimate reward and became the Daemon Prince Mortarion. He rules over a Plague Planet where sickness and pestilence are the norm, where miasmic clouds being corruption and death and where the diseased pray to Nurgle for relief from their constant agony. Some of them are favoured and become Champions, and then fight among themselves for mastery and the chance to become Daemon Princes in their own right. The Plague Marines rarely interfere in battles between rising Champions. In fact they are not commonly seen by the world's inhabitants except during the time when new Champions are selected to fight with the Chaos Renegades. Most of their time is spent attending on Mortarion or carrying out his wishes, spreading new diseases and travelling to other worlds to carry Nurgle's plagues to new victims.
Not even the ministrations of advanced technology can entirely eradicate the dangers of disease on long space voyages. A ship travelling between far flung planets always risks contamination by alien viruses or mutated bacteria. Such perils can quickly infect and slay the crew, or incapacitate the ship's Navigator stranding the ship in the warp. The empty husks of Plague Ships drift through the warp, sometimes for thousands of years, until they are drawn to that bosom of pestilence which is the Plague Planet of Mortarion. Here they are gathered into Plague Fleets and filled with the diseased followers of Mortarion before being cast back into the warp to spread their pestilence throughout the galaxy.
The Plague Fleets carry followers of Nurgle to inhabited planets where their destructive raids are inevitably followed by an outbreak of a no less destructive contagion. Once the Plague Ships are abandoned or their crews finally destroyed, the hulks float back into the warp where the currents carry them back to the Plague Planet.
During the Plague Ships' journey through the warp the insides of the craft erupt with large furry black flies. They burst from every surface, covering the interior of the ship, filling whole rooms with their decaying carcasses. When the ship reaches a new world the Champions and their followers prepare to disembark by landing craft, teleport, or by landing the ship itself. As soon as the ship's hatches are opened a thick black cloud of insects is released, each a tiny bearer of disease ready to spread the foulness of Nurgle over a virgin planet. Even when the Marines disembark by teleporter enough flies are transported to form a dense cloud of choking blackness.
On the Plague Planet of Mortarian Chaos Champions pay homage to Nurgle, to Mortarion himself, and to many locally raised Daemon Princes. Every Champion struggles to become a Daemon Prince and hence a patron of new Champions. The Renegades may therefore include Champions of a great many Daemon Princes other than Nurgle himself. A player who raises a Chaos Renegade Champion to Daemon Prince status can use him as a patron for future Champions. A player can also use the Mortarion himself as his patron.
Mark of Chaos. Champions of the Daemon Prince Mortarion receive +1 toughness and a randomly generated chaos attribute in the same way as Champions of Nurgle.
Gifts of Mortarion. A Champion of the Daemon Prince Mortarion can refuse a gift rolled on the Chaos Rewards table in favour of a randomly rolled Gift of Mortarion on the table below. The exception is the Eye of God result - which must be accepted and cannot be rerolled.
|01-08||The Dark Contagion. The Champion's whole body swells and turns blotchy purple and black. His skin splits and a pool of thick evil-smelling pus spills out. If the Champion receives one or more wounds from a hand-to-hand combat blow the pus will burst out and splatter his opponent on the D6 roll of a 5 or 6. If hit by this foul stuff a model must roll equal to or less than his WP on 2D6 to avoid being overcome with nausea and vomiting. A model overcome in this way loses any remaining attacks it has in this combat round and cannot attack at all in the following combat round. Worst of all, any model hit by the revolting pus must test after the battle and may catch the Dark Contagion. This is particularly important in the case of an enemy Champion. On the D6 roll of a 6 the model catches the Dark Contagion and, being unprotected by Nurgle, will automatically die after fighting in a further D6 games. Should the individual be a Champion then he can still reach daemonhood so long as he does so within the allotted time. Meanwhile the model can spread the Dark Contagion to his opponents in the same way. Note that a follower of Nurgle or a Daemon Prince of Nurgle may contract the Dark Contagion but cannot die of it.|
|09-16||Yellow Dementia. The Champion succumbs to the peculiar malady of Yellow Dementia. His skin turns bright yellow and his eyes swell up like poached eggs. The Champion's facial muscles contort into a manic grin displaying his snarling teeth. The victim of Yellow Dementia cannot resist hand-to-hand combat, and as soon as enemy move close by he breaks into a whooping war cackle and dashes towards them. If any enemy is within charge range of the Champion he will charge as soon as he can. If the enemy run away then he is not adversely affected, but will continue to charge in his following turn, until he enters hand-to-hand combat. Once engaged in hand-to-hand combat the demented character fights with the infamous ferocity of the hardened lunatic, doubling his weapon skill and strength up to a maximum value of 10.|
|17-24||Gigantic Boil. A gigantic boil grows right in the middle of the Champion's forehead. It swells until it is the size and colour of a shiny ripe melon. The boil may burst during any hand-to-hand combat round. Test at the beginning of the round before any blows are struck. On the D6 roll of a 6 the boil bursts and showers a chosen opponent with rank pus - knocking him to the ground on a 2D6 roll equal to his strength or less. An opponent knocked to the ground is glued to the floor by all the pussy mess and can neither attack nor move until the hand-to-hand combat engagement is over. Once the gigantic boil has burst it has no further effect in that game but a new boil will grow before the next game.|
|25-33||Spouts Blood. The Champion's ears, eyes, mouth and nose all drip with blood making him look especially horrific. This has no effect other than to enhance his appearance.|
|34-41||Sleeping Sickness. The Champion is susceptible to a curious sleeping malady in which he falls into a deep sleep at inconvenient and unpredictable moments. If there are no enemy within 12" at the start of his turn the Champion may slip into sickly sleep on the D6 roll of a 6. He will sleep until he rolls a 4, 5 or 6 at the start of a following turn. While asleep he can do nothing but can be carried by any model with a strength equal to or more than his own - the carrying model may do nothing else.|
|42-49||Feels no Pain. A degenerative disease of the nervous system means that the Champion loses the ability to feel pain. Even if he chops off a finger he feels nothing. As a result he can ignore all but the most severe wounds, and can fight on despite the most terrible injuries. To represent this the model receives an additional D6 wounds at the start of the game and the number of extra wounds is noted. Once the game is over any serious damage sustained will ultimately catch up with him, as even wounds which cannot be felt may still kill. After the game is over the number of extra wounds are removed. If the Champion has no wounds after the extra wounds have been taken away he collapses after the battle and is considered as a casualty. He must roll for casualty recovery like any other model removed from the table during the battle.|
|50-57||The Rune of Mortarion. The Champion's skin erupts with disfiguring pustules. When they heal they leave a puckered scar in the shape of Mortarion's triple skull Rune.|
|58-65||Twisted Gut. The Champion's intestines burst through his skin and writhe about like a huge long tentacle. The Champion can retract or extend his gut as he pleases. If damaged the gut regrows inside his body, so he can't be permanently damaged if an enemy slices through his intestines. The gut can be used to make an additional attack in hand-to-hand combat.|
|66-73||Gastric Gripe. The Champion's insides swell with gas and gastric juices until his whole abdomen is distorted like a balloon. Every so often the gas finds a vent through some natural orifice or by means of a tear in his body, and a cloud of noxious fumes surrounds him. The release of gas is accompanied by a distinctive ripping or slow burbling noise which the Champion's followers take as a cue for them to cheer enthusiastically. The exertions of hand-to-hand combat aggravate the condition and cause great clouds of noxious gas to surround the Champion. In the second or subsequent round of any hand-to-hand combat engagement the Champion is obscured by sickening fumes causing any enemy who strikes against him to suffer a -1 to hit modifier.|
|74-81||Peeling Skin. The Champion's skin peels off him as he moves, leaving great bare patches of flesh of his body. Apart from enhancing his appearance and making the immediate area untidy this has no further effect.|
|82-97||Bloat. The Champion swells up like a great round ball and his skin gradually turns green and pustulent. The Champion's extra bulk adds a further +1 to his toughness but reduces his initiative by -1.|
|98-00||Chaos Attribute. Mortarion is as fickle with his favours as any other Power of Chaos. He decides against awarding the Champion with a gift and gives him a randomly determined Chaos Attribute instead.|
Fun fact: this book mentions the Word Bearers (along with Night Lords and Alpha Legion) in passing, but here they are consistently called the "World Bearers" (see pages 260, 271, 273). Note that they were more correctly referred to as "Wordbearers" in Slaves to Darkness on page 167.
|Warhammer Fantasy||Third Citadel Compendium; WFRP (1st ed); RoC: Slaves to Darkness; RoC: The Lost and the Damned; Beasts of Chaos; Blightwar; Malign Portents website|
|Man O' War||Plague Fleet|
|Mordheim||Empire in Flames|
|Warhammer 40,000||Warhammer 40,000 (1993); Codex: Chaos (1996); Codex: Chaos Space Marines (1999); Chapter Approved 2001; Codex: Chaos Space Marines (2002); Codex: Eye of Terror; Chapter Approved 2004; Imperial Armour 5; Codex: Chaos Space Marines (2007); Imperial Armour: Apocalypse (2007); Codex: Chaos Daemons (2008); Imperial Armour 6; Imperial Armour 7; Imperial Armour: Aeronautica; Codex: Chaos Space Marines (2012); Codex: Dark Angels (2013); Codex: Chaos Daemons (2013); Stronghold Assault; Codex: Imperial Knights (2014); Codex: Militarum Tempestus (2014); Imperial Armour 13; Codex: Imperial Knights (2015); Codex: Chaos Daemons (2016); Codex: Traitor Legions; Warhammer 40,000 (2017); Dark Imperium; Index: Chaos; First Strike; Codex: Space Marines (2017); Codex: Chaos Space Marines (2017); Codex: Grey Knights (2017); Plague Brethren; Codex: Adeptus Mechanicus (2017); Codex: Chaos Daemons (2018); Tales from Vigilus webpages|
|Epic||Adeptus Titanicus; Space Marine (1st ed); Codex Titanicus; Renegades; Titan Legions; Epic 40,000|
|White Dwarf||Oct 1988 (#106); Dec 1988 (#108); Jan 1989 (#109); May 1989 (#113); Jun 1989 (#114); Nov 1989 (#119); Jan 1990 (#121); Feb 1990 (#122); Apr 1990 (#124); May 1990 (#125); Dec 1990 (#132); Jan 2002 (#265)|
|Citadel Journal||Jul 1994 (#4); Mar 1995 (#8); May 1995 (#9); Dec 1995 (#12); Sep 1996 (#17); Nov 1996 (#18); Aug 1997 (#21); Apr 1998 (#25); Jun 1998 (#26); Aug 1998 (#27); Oct 1998 (#28); May 1999 (#32); Jan 2002 (#48)|
|Battlefleet Gothic Magazine||Nov 2002 (#12); Aug 2003 (#16)|
|Black Library Novels|
|Warhammer 40,000||Ravenor Returned|
|Fantasy Flight Games|
|Dark Heresy||Shattered Hope; Dark Heresy (1st ed); Disciples of the Dark Gods; Creatures Anathema; Radical's Handbook; Daemon Hunter; Dark Heresy (2nd ed); Game Master's Kit (2nd ed); Forgotten Gods; Enemies Within; Enemies Beyond|
|Rogue Trader||Rogue Trader; Citadel of Skulls; Battlefleet Koronus; Koronus Bestiary; Navis Primer; Stars of Inequity|
|Deathwatch||Mark of the Xenos; Achilus Assault; First Founding; Jericho Reach; Rising Tempest|
|Black Crusade||Black Crusade; Game Master's Kit; Hand of Corruption; Tome of Fate; Tome of Blood; Tome of Excess; Tome of Decay|
|Only War||Enemies of the Imperium|