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Citadel Journal 17 (1996), p21-23 — Favoured of Nurgle

Pestilaan, Favoured of Nurgle — 115 points (218 with Wargear Cards)

Not all members of the Renegade Legions are from those impossibly ancient Marines of the Heresy. Some are relatively recent additions to the Long War. Such is the case for Pestilaan, once a normal human but now the semi-daemonic Favourite of Nurgle, God of Decay.

He started life as an ordinary child on a simple frontier planet, long ago cut off from the Imperium by Warp Storms. Without supervision, wild psykers grew unchecked on the planet, though most were destroyed as witches or worse. Pestilaan's powers were unknown to all, even himself, throughout his adolescence. It was not until an outbreak of the Festering Pox swept through his region that his differences appeared.

He grew fascinated by the changes taking place to him and those around him, as all around developed pustules of greenish ichor, which would burst open as the disease ran its course. Observing the twisted patterns of growth, the obscene changes to the flesh, brought him delight.

Many of those he watched died, but those who lived noticed that whilst he did catch the disease, it did not seem to actually weaken him as it did the others. His fellow villagers grew angered, and declared him a Witch, and as was their custom buried him alive in a tomb of solid rock, far below the ground. There he was left to perish, surrounded by the dead bones of those who had been condemned before him.

He grew gaunt and thin, deprived of food and water. His mind, though, seemed to grow from a smouldering ember into a burst of flame as his body weakened. Strange dreams swept his brain from sleeping to waking, growing to obsessive visions of entire worlds made of rotting flesh grown from burst pustules of unearthly gods. Without being aware of his latent powers, he began to reach out with his untrained psychic powers into the Warp - and was noticed.

The warp-entity that is Nurgle detected the faint tendrils of psychic energy reaching out, and tasted the savoury flavour of the mortal's mind.

Daemonic energies were projected back along the Warpline back to the source, and emerged into the universe of real space through a small cup the now wasted husk of a man had been using to gather water dripping from the ceiling. The plain cup grew into a large chalice, overflowing with pestilent Warp-foam. The withered form drew strength from the energies, and thus found favour in the eyes of the daemon. With a small fraction of its power a small flicker in the Warp occurred, opening the Warp-storms and sending a plague-ship of Death Guard Chaos Space Marines towards the newly empowered mortal.

Months later, the dropship oozed out of the dimming sunset and landed on the planet. After brushing aside the feeble opposition, the Plague Marines followed the Warp-trail to the tomb-cell, blowing it open with sustained plasma fire. Inside, they found something that was no longer human. The being that emerged into the faint light almost glowed with daemonic energies. His once-fair countenance now contained a single horn, projecting from the gangrenous brow. Both eyes had merged into a cyclopean orb. Wielding the bloated chalice above his head, he renounced his old life and declared himself now Pestilaan, Favoured of Nurgle. The Plague Marines recognised their god's touch upon him, and led him to the ships.

As he stood before the dripping hatchway of the Thunderhawk Gunship, Pestilaan turned and looked back on the planet of his birth and rebirth and smiled. Bending his cup to the soil, he bestowed his blessing upon all who remained there. Then he rose into the heavens.

Within two months the planet was rediscovered by the Imperium. Seven months later, the order for Exterminatus was given to a world now covered by waves of disease, with millions already dead and many more dying.

Pestilaan was immediately inducted into the Death Guard, who saw the light of their god shining in his eye. His reputation grew further when, after days of communal meditation with daemons, he was gifted with a Plaguesword, which appeared before him from the Warp. Though too old to undergo their half-remembered genetic alterations to become a Chaos Space Marine, Nurgle's energy allowed a suit of power armour to become bonded to his flesh. Wielding his Chalice, he now joins the Plague Marines in battle, using its unholy power as well as his own untrained but puissant psychic abilities. Most importantly, he is a visible symbol of the favour of their god, as he grows closer to full daemonhood.


Armour: Power Armour (3+ save)

Weapons: Bolt Pistol, Frag and Blight Grenades

Marks of Chaos: As a Champion of Nurgle, Pestilaan carries the Mark of Nurgle (included in his profile above). Note that this also means any wounds he causes count double for Nurgle Summoning points.

Wargear: Pestilaan can have 2 Wargear items. These must be the Chaos Reward Plaguesword and the Wargear card Chalice of Lives. Note his number of Attacks includes the extra attack for the two close combat weapons (Bolt Pistol & Plaguesword).

Psyker: Pestilaan is a level 2 psyker, representing his inexperience with using these powers in battle. As he was never trained as a Marine psyker, he can only draw psychic powers from the Nurgle Powers deck.

Special Rules:

Rapid Fire: As Pestilaan never received the specialist Space Marine training, he does not benefit from Rapid Fire rules.

Daemonic Constitution: Pestilaan's body is slowly altering from human to daemon, and fluctuates as it changes, sometimes swollen with bile and corruption, other times lean with running sores. Thus his number of starting wounds is variable. Add D3 to his base number of 2 to arrive at his Wounds total for the game, re-rolling this number at the start of each game in which he fights. As his body is partially daemonic, he cannot be Possessed, though he does count as a living model for all other purposes.

Chaos Cult Commander: Pestilaan may be chosen to lead a Chaos Cult army, representing a summons from an emerging cult for his aid in battle. He can only be chosen by Chaos Cults of Nurgle (all members must be followers of Nurgle as per page 17 of Dark Millennium). If chosen, he must be the army commander, replacing the Demagogue. He has a Strategy Rating of 2, and his points are taken from the Characters allocation. If desired, he can bring a bodyguard of 3-9 Plague Marines, chosen as normal from the Chaos Space Marines list. They must remain within 6" of Pestilaan at all times, and are paid for out of Squads points allocation.

Plaguesword — 15 points

Nurgle has gifted Pestilaan with a Plaguesword. It is identical to the ones carried by his Plaguebearers, and on a roll of 4+ will kill outright any living foe it wounds. It can also be used to parry.

Blight Grenades — 3 points

The Death Guard who rescued Pestilaan soon returned to his home planet, and collected the heads of diseased corpses they found. Fashioning them into bandoliers of pus-filled skulls, they presented Pestilaan with these new Blight Grenades, which he cherishes as reminders of his homeworld. These follow the normal rules for Blight Grenades.

Blessing of Nurgle — 45 points

Pestilaan benefits greatly from his patron god's benevolent protection. He has a fixed save of 4+ against all psychic powers and warp-based attacks, such as Vortex Grenades, Wraithcannon, Shokk Attack Guns, and the like. Note that this save does not nullify the power or attack, but only protects him. Move him to the edge of any templates if he saves against them. Pestilaan may also add +1 to his die roll if subject to Daemonic Attacks, representing his patron's protective gaze.

Chalice of Lives — 40 points

After being entombed on his home planet, Pestilaan used a small cup to gather water dripping from the stone ceiling. His obsessions with decay drew Nurgle's attention, who projected some of the daemons' unholy energies into the cup, which grew into an unholy object bubbling over with pestilent warp-foam. Pestilaan began to draw sustenance from the normally lethal energies, keeping him alive for the long months before his rescue and beginning his slow transformation into daemonhood.

The Chalice can be used to both sustain Pestilaan, or cause his enemies to sicken and die. During his shooting phase, Pestilaan can direct the energies from the Chalice towards his foes, spraying warp-foam from the Chalice. This counts as a normal shooting attack. It can be used in three different ways, depending on how far he wishes to spray the foam. Each attack type uses one of the Flamer templates. Put the template used so that its pointed edge touches the base and the rounded edge covers his target. All living beings under the template which do not carry the Mark of Nurgle are affected; those partially under it are affected on a D6 roll of 4+. All models affected must make an immediate Leadership test using the chart below:

Template UsedNo. of Dice used in Test
Heavy Flamer Template1D6
Flamer Template2D6
Hand Flamer Template3D6

If a model fails its test, it will take 1 wound with no armour or field saves allowed. Models with saves against psychic effects may attempt to save as normal. If Pestilaan wins a round of Close Combat, he can force his opponent to drink from the Chalice, trading all his hits for one Leadership test on 3D6 as described above. When in close combat against a vehicle, if he penetrates the hull or any other location with crew inside, he can (after resolving the damage for that location) also pour the Chalice into the opening, forcing all crew inside to test as above on 2D6. Note that as a carrier of the Mark of Nurgle, any wounds caused via the Chalice will count as double summoning points for Nurgle daemons.

Nurgle has also empowered the Chalice with healing abilities, via the foul warp-foam it always contains. If Pestilaan is wounded, place wound counters next to him as normal, but continue placing them even if he reaches his maximum number (as determined before playing). If he reaches his maximum number, place him on his side; he can still be targetted by weapons, and hit in Close Combat as if he was taking Free Hacks. At the end of that turn, he can attempt to heal his wounds by drinking from the Chalice. Roll a D6, and deduct this number of wound counters. If this brings Pestilaan to less than his maximum, stand him up and he can continue fighting. If he still has more than his maximum, even Nurgle's warp-foam cannot heal his grievous injuries and he is slain. Note that if he is affected by a weapon that kills outright (such as a Vortex Grenade), the Chalice cannot be used to save him.