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'Decay and corruption of the flesh are their secret joys, and they are abominations in the eyes of men...'
Plague Marines are Chaos Space Marines who have sworn themselves to Nurgle, the Chaos God of pestilence and entropy. The first Plague Marines were warriors of the Death Guard Legion, trapped in the Warp upon their spaceships when the virulent destroyer plague struck their fleet. Mortarion and his Legion offered themselves up to the service of the Lord of Decay in return for their lives. Their bodies became bloated and swollen with the corruption festering within them, but they no longer felt the agony of the Warp-pox and did not die from its horrific symptoms.
Since then, many Space Marines have dedicated themselves to Nurgle, though few achieve the vaunted ranks of the Death Guard. Those who truly wish to join this most foetid of cadres must first swear loyalty to the Primarch Mortarion. Only then will Nurgle bestow upon them the corrupting ague that created the Plague Marines. Outside of the Death Guard, a favoured few Sorcerers of Nurgle know the secrets of the Plague Marines, and Abaddon of the Black Legion has won many of these spellcasters to his cause. In return for fealty and long service, these blight-mages will bestow their pestilent gifts in the Warmaster's name.
Plague Marines have disgusting, rotted bodies that stink of decay. The putrescent slime that oozes from their many weeping sores corrodes their armour and boils away their skin, but despite their horrific disfigurements, the Plague Marines are fearsome warriors indeed. Their rotting brains are inured to the agony of bodily corruption, making them all but immune to the pain or debilitation caused by battle wounds. The Plague Marines prefer short-ranged firefights, where they can appreciate the festering wounds they inflict upon their enemies even as they laugh off the bolts and las-blasts directed back at them. Should the enemy close to within arm's reach, the Plague Marines will defend themselves with plague-riddled knives and toxic blight grenades. These contain virulent toxins that eat away at armour and fill the air with thick clouds of blinding spores. The most ostentatious blight grenades are 'death's heads' made from the severed heads of fallen enemies, each filled to the brim with a cocktail of disease before being sealed with ancient wax.
As well as fighting at the behest of the Lords of Chaos, the Plague Marines dedicate their lives to spreading corruption and decay across the galaxy. The fleets of Nurgle that spew from the Warp spread contagion and pestilence across dozens of star systems. Once the Plague Ships are abandoned or their crews finally destroyed, the hulks float back to the Warp and eventually, perhaps guided by the hand of Nurgle himself, find their way back to a Plague planet where they are re-crewed for new attacks.
Plague Champion is Infantry (Character).
Power armour (pg 68), boltgun, bolt pistol, plague knife (pg 64), blight grenades (pg 66), krak grenades.
Champion of Chaos (Plague Champion only) (pg 28), Fearless, Feel no Pain, Mark of Nurgle (pg 30).
During a Plague Ship's journey through the Warp, the interior of the craft erupts with large, furry black flies, which fill the ship with their decaying carcasses. When the Plague Ship reaches a world, the Plague Marines disembark to make planetfall. As soon as their transports' hatches open, a thick cloud of insects is released, ready to spread its foulness over a virgin planet.
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