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"Through his blessings, death itself is stayed. In his embrace, there is only affection and love. Let us share his munificence with those still ignorant of our cherished Grandfather, lest they perish before knowing his generosity."
— Pox Magister Effluvias Plo, before the Putrefaction of Hive Kappax
To live is to eventually die, the inescapable fact of all mortal life. Almost all of those aware of their lives fear and dread this final end, which echoes the collapse of all order into disorder through remorseless entropy. Many strive to avoid such a fate, and are willing to perform any deed or suffer any woe to keep death from their door, if only for one more day. This is perhaps futile, but can attract the attention of one who represents both ruin and the struggle against it that typifies all life. For wherever there is life, there is decay - and where there is decay, there is Nurgle.
Nurgle represents this seemingly contradictory state of both loathsome decay and energetic struggle. Despite embodying entropy and the foulest of appearances, he and his Daemons are filled with vitality. All enthusiastically offer their gifts of ruinous diseases to both the lowly and powerful, for Nurgle embraces all to his loathsome bosom. They delight in sharing these blessings to mortals, offering escape from the horrors of death but at the price of utter corruption to their flesh. None are beneath his notice, from the smallest of underhive hovels to the most lordly of sectors. Each new disease, each new mortal brought low, is carefully recorded in a never-ending tally of his loving beneficence. Nurgle exists everywhere, for all living things erode and fail, and with each fall his power grows.
The Tome of Decay is the fourth and last book examining the dark secrets and foul plots of the four Chaos powers and their role in the Black Crusade roleplaying game. It is devoted to Nurgle, the Lord of Pestilence, and those who follow him. He is the god of blight and decay, yet also one of boundless energy. In many ways, Nurgle personifies a struggle against death, as despite the terrible diseased and decayed state of his followers, they resist actual death and injury to unnatural degrees. Heretics also learn more of the other fate that can await them, should they prove worthy: Apotheosis to the elevated rank of immortal Daemon Prince. With such power comes the need for even greater power, and Heretics can learn how to launch Black Crusades to burn the galaxy and depose the False Emperor.
This chapter covers the Grandfather of Decay, the Master of Plagues. From his pestilent garden within the Warp, where carrion-flowers sway in the polluted breezes and horrid fungi sprout from rotting corpses, he lovingly concocts new afflictions. His Daemons emerge forth to bring his gifts to mortals across the galaxy, for Nurgle is a generous god who rejoices with each successful plague. Billions fall to his carefully-wrought endeavours, even as the truly appreciative turn to him seeking power through his gifts. His apostles are often shambles of putrefying flesh and dripping sores, but with unnaturally resilient bodies that vigorously resists final death even as they bring it to those who reject Nurgle's offerings. Just as all life falls to decay, so do those who oppose the Lord of Flies fall to his children.
In this chapter, Heretics can find six new Archetypes worthy of the Lord of Ruin: Plague Marine, Veteran of the Long War, Warpsmith, Writhing World Sorcerer-King, Death Priest of Mire, and Plaguemeister. They can also discover new corrupted blessings from Grandfather Nurgle, as well as new rules for Daemonic Possession, Daemon Engines, and powerful mutations suitable for newly ascended Daemon Princes.
Here players find new rules for Apotheosis to Daemonhood, allowing them to continue playing their characters after reaching the highest levels of Infamy and Corruption as the mightiest of their god's followers. They can also lead Black Crusades against the hated Imperium. This chapter also contains new details on pestilent worlds within the Screaming Vortex that the Heretics might conquer or ally with in their quest for power, such as the worm-ridden Writhing World, foetid Mire, and murderous Guelph.
This adventure takes the Heretics through the challenge of gaining access to the Lower Vortex, and a mind-bending confrontation with the incomprehensible forces within. Calling on the events from the previous three Tomes, it allows Game Masters to run all four adventures as a complete campaign. If the Heretics survive, they have the chance to rise to Daemonhood, as well as an opportunity to reach the Ascendent Spiral and rise out of the Screaming Vortex.
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