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The Tome of Decay (2014), p40-41 — Plaguemeister

"Every biological system is prone to failure and eventual cessation; such is the fate of all flesh. I, however, desire a much more intriguing conclusion from such unspoilt specimens."
— Sealed Data, from Observations of Kilpengur the Blighted

The infected hordes that spread Nurgle's virulent worship are legion; however, few who venerate the Plague God are as fascinated with the intricacies of their lord's ghastly benedictions as a Plaguemeister. These deranged individuals arise from a variety of backgrounds and origins, but many inevitably flock to the tortured region known as the Screaming Vortex. Here, Nurgle's faithful regard them with reverent admiration, while others view them as dangerous and reckless sycophants whose foolish obsession will be the death of themselves and countless others.

Playing a Plaguemeister

Plaguemeisters are gruesome and macabre physicians whose unnatural fascination with the many manifestations of Nurgle defines and dominates every facet of their blasphemous lifestyle. They are among his most devoted servants, eagerly examining all manner of virulent maladies in order to identify every manifestation of Nurgle's blessings. That such creations are continuously evolving into more virulent forms is a source of repellent delight to these demented apothecaries, who enthusiastically record each new symptom and strain.

Plaguemeisters believe that Nurgle's greatest achievement is not death, but rather the putrescent afflictions that preserve his servants in a state of deathless entropy. Most hold such gruesome processes and necrotic microbes in high regard, fervently placating themselves before the Plague Lord so that he may grant them new specimens to study and dissect. Of particular interest are individuals that have surrendered themselves to Nurgle's maledictions, and many Plaguemeisters take great joy collecting rancid specimens from these decaying servants.

Plaguemeisters strive to emulate their pestilent patron in their endeavours, gleefully blending their collections of poxes and contagions in order to create deadly, new illnesses through which to spread Nurgle's insidious influence. Some are devious and subtle in their approach, often relying on misdirection and other nefarious tactics to gradually innoculate entire populations with deadly maladies designed to bring about decades of suffering and despair. A daring few are much more reckless in their devotions, unleashing their polluted creations indiscriminately in order to better study the unadulterated effects of their chosen malady. However, most Plaguemeisters have little desire to succumb to their own diseases, and most take preventative steps against this fatal irony. As a result, the severity of each Plaguemeister's personal corruption is often discrete enough to allow him to pass unnoticed among potential victims.


A Plaguemeister must be Human.

Characteristic Bonus: Plaguemeisters gain +10 Intelligence, +5 Toughness, +15 Corruption Points, and +9 Infamy.

Starting Skills: Awareness, Charm, Deceive, Charm +10 or Deceive +10, Common Lore (Any Two), Commerce, Dodge or Parry, Forbidden Lore (Heresy), Forbidden Lore (Psykers) or (The Warp), Forbidden Lore (Any One), Inquiry +10, Interrogation +10, Intimidate +10, Medicae +10, Scholastic Lore (Chymistry) +10, Scholastic Lore (Any One) +10, Security or Tech-Use, Stealth.

Starting Talents: Disturbing Voice or Radiant Presence or Unremarkable, Foresight, Furious Assault, Hardy, Jaded, Lightning Reflexes or Light Sleeper, Mimic or Polyglot or Total Recall, Paranoia, Quick Draw or Sound Constitution, Resistance (Poisons, Fear), Street Fighting or Sure Strike, Total Recall, Unshakeable Will, Weapon Training (Primary, Chain, Power), Weapon Training (Las) or (SP).

Starting Gear: Good Craftsmanship Laspistol or Autopistol, Good Craftsmanship Sword or Common Craftsmanship Chain Dagger or Power Blade, 2 Magazines for Chosen Weapon, Light Carapace Armour or Mesh Combat Cloak, Injector, Medi-Kit, 5 doses of any one Disease (see pages 46-47), Filtration Plugs, Dataslate.

Wounds: 10+1d5.

Special Abilities:

The Wretched Tally: Plaguemeisters take immense joy in studying and cataloguing the Plague God's numerous pestilences and poxes. A Plaguemeister is immune to the Fear Trait of entities Aligned to Nurgle, and may make a Routine (+10) Awareness Test as a Free Action to accurately identify (and catalogue) a creature, weapon, ailment, or sorcery that bears Nurgle's mark. He gains a +30 bonus to Common Lore, Forbidden Lore, and Scholastic Lore Tests, as well as to the Diagnose and Chem-Use Special Uses of the Medicae Skill, that he makes involving creatures, objects, plagues, and poisons that he has previously identified and catalogued.

Malevolent Generosity: Plaguemeisters bestow vile concoctions of pestilence on those afflicted with the curse of mortality. When a Plaguemeister removes Damage from a target with the Medicae Skill, he may spend an Infamy Point to remove additional Damage equal to his Intelligence Bonus and end any Critical Effects the target is suffering. However, any character he heals this way must make a Challenging (+0) Toughness Test; if he fails, roll 1d10 on Table 2-1: Boons of the Plague God and apply the results to the patient.

Table 2-1: Boons of the Plague God
1d10 RollEffect
1-4The character develops noxious hives. While grotesque, these are harmless, except to aesthetics and comfort.
5The character becomes infected with the Death's Grasp Disease (see page 46).
6The character becomes infected with the Enfeeble Disease (see page 46).
7Roll 1d10 again. On a result of 7, the character becomes Possessed by a Plaguebearer of Nurgle (see Possessed Heretics on page 56). On any other result, permanently increase the character's Toughness Characteristic by 1d5-3 (minimum 0).
8The character becomes infected with the Nurgle's Breath Disease (see page 47).
9The character becomes infected with the Festering Shroud Disease (see page 47).
10The character gains the Toxic (7) Trait for 7 hours.

Plaguemeisters begin play Aligned to Nurgle.

Plaguemeisters in the Vortex

Plaguemeisters within the Screaming Vortex are seldom idle, often spending their time incessantly probing the spectacularly gruesome manifestations of pestilence which seem so abundant within this chaotic sector. Such studies are a blight upon nearby Imperial worlds, whose unsuspecting populaces often suffer and die in order to satisfy the macabre fascination of these ghoulish fiends.

The following are examples of Plaguemeisters whose morbid interest in disease has made them objects of revulsion and fear within the Imperium.

Plague Mother Septhrix: Sepharia Tourande was once a figure of great renown within the various medical circles that cater to the lavish decadence of the Imperial Aristocracy. Yet as her influence grew, so too did the numbers of emaciated sycophants who spread her ghastly treatments and heretical rejuvenant techniques. The fallout from her inevitable persecution was devastating, and now she roams the outer reaches of the Screaming Vortex, her corpulent bulk sprawling on a palanquin of soiled finery set upon the shoulders of her seven favourite ghouls.

Rheumalicae Surpetiss: Rheumalicae is a particularly wicked chymist whose fascination with the bonds of addiction has allowed him to reap a horrendous tally of souls in Nurgle's name. His diseases are incredibly subtle in nature, often taking decades to slowly dissolve their victims from within, while the various stimulants and narcotics which flow through the victims' bloodstream inure them to the pain of their chronic condition. Eventually, as the necrotic toxins take their toll, Rheumalicae begins their indoctrination in the ways of his vile patron with promises of eternal freedom from the torments of their rotting frames.

The Forlorn Hope: Medicae Cruisers are common within the Departmento Munitorum, often seeing extensive service during the many brutal offensives perpetrated in the Emperor's name. The Forlorn Hope was one such vessel; however, its massive surgery theatres and pristine apothecariums were swiftly overwhelmed with contagion following a cataclysmic brush with Chaos renegades. The valiant crew fought desperately against this nightmarish pathogen that crammed the ship's holds with the dead and dying, but they could not stem the implacable tide of corruption, and so Nurgle's champions won a terrible victory for their dread patron.