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The Blood Bowl game is set in what ostensibly appears to be the Warhammer Old World, but with some changes to better fit the exuberant fun of this brutal sport. One of the teams that competes is Nurgle's Rotters, a group of followers of the Plague God, infected with contagious diseases that they spread to their opponents.
Nurgle's Rotters were a Chaos team made famous by the fact that all of its players were afflicted by a horrible and extremely infectious disease known as Nurgle's Rot. The team won many games by default as it was not uncommon for opponents to simply refuse to take the field against them. Those teams desperate enough to do so were invariably changed by the experience. The Rot affects its victims slowly, deteriorating both body and spirit. As a result afflicted players either kill themselves, go mad or else sign up with the only team loathsome enough to have them: the Rotters themselves.
Unfortunately (well, unfortunate for the Rotters anyway) the team did not survive the collapse of the NAF in '88. Without a regular supply of victims to recruit they, quite literally, went to pieces.
Spike! Magazine Exclusive: The Rotters are back!
You can't keep a good plague down it seems. It's almost ten years since the last appearance of Blood Bowl's most putrid team. But Spike! can reveal that speculation about a revival (if that is an appropriate word) of the Nurgle's Rotters is confirmed. Three members of the Middenheim Marauders hospitalised after their charity game against mysterious newcomers D.K Erengrad are reported to be in a state of advanced and irreperable decomposition tonight. Kislev General Infirmary, where the injured players are being treated, has declined to comment but it has closed its doors to the public, indefinitely. Chaos fans everywhere will be delighted.
Nurgle's Rot is passed on by physical contact. Victims can catch it by being in combat with disciples of Nurgle, being caught in a Stream of Corruption or by becoming a Champion of Nurgle. The Rot usually takes several months to kill its victims; it progresses from match to match, starting with the first match following contraction of the disease. The victim is grotesquely altered as he slowly turns into a Plaguebearer, then his appearance and profile continue to change until he is finally assimilated into the Realm of Chaos as a pool of protoplasm. A Champion of Nurgle who contracts the Rot becomes a carrier of the disease but does not suffer any debilitating side-effects. However he can pass it on to members of his own team. If he is slain then the status of Champion will be conferred upon another team member. If the new champion already has the Rot, its progress is halted at the stage it has reached.
A new Chaos team wishing to devote itself to Nurgle must declare one of its players as a Champion. The Champion has the skill Foul Appearance, as described in the DeathZone supplement. This skill is a measure of the progress of the Rot; consequently the remainder of the team, Chaos Warriors and Beastmen, start with Foul Appearance at Level 0, indicating that they have not yet been touched by the disease. Beastmen of Nurgle lose their Horns initially but gain them as the rot progresses.
After each match, before allocating Star Player Points, roll a D6 for each player on the team. If the number rolled exceeds the player's Foul Appearance level his Rot has progressed further and the Foul Appearance skill is increased by one level. A roll of 1 always indicates no change in condition, hence at level 0 the player must roll a 2 or more to become afflicted. Once afflicted consult the following table:
|Level||Effects on Player|
|0||Skin discolours. No effects on player's profile.|
|1||Pustules break out all over body. -1 AV.|
|2||Skin rots. Additional -1 AV.|
|3||Player sprouts a horn. Gains Horns.|
|4||Eyes grow together. -1 AG.|
|5||Feet grow claws. -1 MA & gain Claw.|
|6||Play one further game with -1 MA, -2 ST and -1 AG.|
No characteristic may go below 1. At Foul Appearance level 0 the player receives none of the effects described for this skill. Upon reaching level 6 the player plays one last match after which he melts into a pool of goo. This makes him somewhat redundant on the Blood Bowl field.
Opposing players wishing to block a player afflicted with the Rot must first roll equal to or less than the player's Foul Appearance level on D6. Failure indicates that the blocking player is so nauseated by his opponent's state of corruption that he refuses to go anywhere near him.
If a Nurgle's Rotter Badly Hurts or inflicts a Serious Injury on an opponent and it is not healed by an Apothecary, roll a D6. On a 1 the victim is afflicted with Nurgle's Rot, gains Foul Appearance level 1 and immediately loses one point of AV. The victim is shunned by his former team mates and has no choice but to join the Rotters if he wishes to continue playing Blood Bowl.
Roll D6 for each newly afflicted player. On a 2-6 the player signs up with Nurgle's Rotters and may be added to the team roster for their next game. On a roll of 1 the player climbs onto the roof of the stadium and ends his career abruptly by power diving onto the astrogranite.
If for any reason a Nurgle's Rot victim player has the Regeneration ability, he may actually be able to reverse the progress of the disease. At the end of a match make a Regeneration roll as normal; on a successful roll the player decreases his Foul Appearance level by 1 to a minimum of level 1.
Characteristics are not lost or recovered as a result of Regeneration, but at least the player's life expectancy may be increased. Similarly a Healing Scroll magic special play card may be used to automatically remove one level of Foul Appearance from a player; this may be used at any point during the match or in the post-match sequence.
I started to think about Nurgle's Rotters when the second edition of the game came out. The line drawing of the piles of goo stayed in my mind and over time, these rules have grown. I wrote these and have playtested them exhaustively. Some friends have written to me over the Internet with their comments. These are written below...
Some people complained that the players got too powerful when they got the Claw skill, especially as the opposing coach had to roll a 5 or 6, on a D6, just to block him.
I answered saying...
At FA Lvl 6, the player plays one final game with the following punitive characteristic reduction: -1 MA, -2 ST, -1 AG. As the average Beastman player will be 5/3/2/6 [Horns, Block, Claw], at FA Lvl 5, he suffers a very high chance of deteriorating to level 6 after each game (1-5 on a D6). He is not likely to stay at FA Lvl 5 for many games and for his final game, he becomes 4/1/1/6 [Horns, Block, Claw]. It might be argued that at FA level 5 or 6 the Beastman is virtually unstoppable, but with his AG who on Earth is going to pass to him??
|Creatures||Beasts of Nurgle; Blight Drones; Foetid Bloat-drones; Great Unclean Ones; Lords of Contagion; Mabrothrax; Malignant Plaguecasters; Noxious Blightbringers; Nurglings; Pestigor; Plaguebearers; Plaguebulls; Plague Hulks; Plague Ogryns; Plague Toads; Plague Towers; Plague Zombies; Poxwalkers; Rot Flies|
|Characters||Abcellyoth; Aynthrexes; Bilerot Vomitflesh; Lothar Bubonicus; Bubonis; Vorxec Calvarius; The Carrier; The Entomancer; Epidemius; Ferrue Fayne; Tormus Fayne; Foulspawn; Nathaniel Garro; Ghulroth; Goresqualor; Gulgoth; Jibberjaw; Ku'gath; Mamon; Adrius Meinloka; Mephidast; Mortarion; Mortius; Necrosius; Nurgle; Pestilaan; Putricifex; Scabeiathrax; Achkovas Spengh; The Thanator; Typhus; Ussax; Plaguestrangler Vilestench; Jonas Whitespore; Ystareth|
|Groups||Apostles of Contagion; Blessed Flesh; Bringers of Decay; Callers of Sorrow; Carnival of Chaos; The Cleaved; Company of Misery; Death Guard; Deathmongers; Death Priests; The Grey Death; Inevitable Order; Legio Mortis; Legion of Festering Death; Lords of Decay; Mournful Song; Nurgle's Rotters; Pox Tribes; The Purge; The Reborn; The Scourge; Sorcerer-Kings; The Tainted; Tainted Sons; Vile Savants|
|Things||An'garrach; Balesword; Blight Grenade; Bloodrot Rounds; Bone Maul; Corruption; Cursed Carillon; Death Head; Dolorous Knell; Doomsday Bell; Epidemia; Father of Blades; Foulswarm Grenade; Gem of Nurgle; Horn of Nurgle's Rot; Icon of Despair; Icon of Seeping Decay; Manreaper; Palanquin; Pandemic Staff; Pestilaan Light Cruiser; Pestilent Flail; Plague Banner; Plaguebringer; Plague Cauldron; Plague Chalice; Plague Claw; Plague Flail; Plague Knife; Plague Sceptre; Plague Skull of Glothila; Plaguesword; Poxwalker Hive; Puscleaver; Rot Giver; Scab; Scourge Shells; Staff of Nurgle; TP-III; Undead Heart; War Altar|