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White Dwarf 121 (1990-01)

This issue previews the content from Realm of Chaos: The Lost and the Damned, with seven pages covering Nurgle's gifts and magic:

p12-13 — Gifts of Nurgle

A Champion of Nurgle can refuse a Chaos Gift (except Eye of God) in favour of a randomly generated Gift of Nurgle. Once a Gift of Nurgle has been generated it cannot be refused, even if it is a Chaos Attribute. To invite the Power's wrath by attempting to refuse a Gift would be very foolish indeed!

01-06Face of Nurgle. The Champion's face changes so that he now resembles the great Chaos Power Nurgle himself! His flesh becomes swollen and green, his eyes become distended, and his skin turns leprous and slimy. He acquires a long lolloping tongue tipped with a tiny face. His unlovely appearance causes fear.
07-15Biting Tongue. The Champion's tongue grows so that it is long, thick and cylindrical, and its tip develops a ring of snapping teeth. This confers a strength 4 bite attack. The Champion's tongue can retreat right into his body ready to shoot out and bite an unwary adversary.
16-20Face of a Plaguebearer. The Champion's face changes into that of a Plaguebearer. His skin turns green and putrid, his eyes merge into a single orb, and a horn sprouts from his forehead. When he charges into combat he has an extra gore attack during the first round with a +2 to hit bonus.
21-24Face of a Beast. The Champion's face changes into a mass of paralysing tentacles like that of a Beast of Nurgle. This does not affect his sight or other senses. The Champion receives an extra D6 sucker attacks in hand-to-hand fighting. For each sucker hit roll a D6, if the score is more than the victim's toughness it is paralysed. Paralysed models are not killed, but can do nothing for the remainder of the battle. The sticky paralysing fluid released by the tentacles seeps through armour, so no armour saving throw is allowed.
25-30Immensity. The Champion grows and grows until his bulk forms a miniature version of Nurgle's own corpulent figure. The Champion's obese body gives him +1 toughness because it is so massive. His initiative is reduced by -1.
31-38Nurgle's Rot. The Champion becomes a carrier of Nurgle's Rot, the degenerative disease that turns living creatures into Plaguebearers. The Champion can pass the Rot on to his enemies in close combat, but does not suffer from its effects himself. If acquired a second or subsequent time, the Rot is passed on to a follower. Unlike Champions, these followers are affected by the disease.
39-44Horns of Nurgle. The Champion grows a pair of spreading horns like those of Nurgle and the Great Unclean Ones. These twisted and down-curving horns are not used in combat and serve only to alter the Champion's appearance.
45-49Plague. The morbid energies of disease are Nurgle's most special gift. The Champion's body is consumed by disease and its energies channelled into Nurgle's service, creating fresh vigour from its own destruction. Roll a D6 to determine the nature of the affliction.
  1. The Death Dance. The Champion shakes, twitches and throws quaking fits. His weapon skill and attacks are both reduced by -1.
  2. Bulging Eye. The Champion's eyes bulge and become inflamed, his eyelids become fixed open, and sticky fluids drip down his cheeks. His bow skill is reduced by -1.
  3. Creeping Buboes. The Champion's limbs and face are covered with huge boils which burst and leave running sores. His movement is reduced by -1.
  4. Crook Bone. The Champion's limbs become twisted and crippled. He limps or hobbles about and his hands become rigid and claw-like. His strength and toughness are reduced by -1.
  5. Grey Ague. The Champion's mind begins to rot within his skull. His head begins to split and weep putrescent matter writhing with small dark maggots. The Champion's leadership, intelligence, cool and will power are all reduced by -1.
  6. Green Pox. The Champion becomes more and more wasted until he is little more than a walking skeleton. His skin becomes green and taut and his lips wither away revealing his teeth. The Champion's wounds are reduced by -1.

If a plague reduces wounds to zero the character is dead. If toughness is reduced to zero all hits will wound automatically. If strength falls to zero all attacks will fail to cause damage. A Champion gifted with several plagues cannot pass them on to a follower unless he receives the same plague twice.

50-57Hide of Nurgle. The Champion's skin becomes green, necrous and leathery. Numerous sores open all over his body. Tears or wounds remain raw and tattered and do not heal. A buzzing cloud of flies gathers around the Champion. In hand-to-hand combat all opponents suffer a -1 to hit penalty due to the flies buzzing into their eyes, ears, mouths and nostrils.
58-63Crossbreed with Beast. The Champion mutates into a hybrid creature so that he is half Beast of Nurgle. His head gains sticky tentacles while his lower body becomes slug-like. All of his characteristics change to the average value of his own and the Beast's profile, rounding fractions down to the nearest whole number.

The hybridised Champion retains all of his previous rewards. In addition he gains the suckers attacks described under Face of a Beast and he leaves a sticky trail behind him as described under Trail of Slime.

64-71Nurgling Infestation. The Champion becomes the host of a group of small Nurglings. They live in the recesses of his armour and clothes, snuggling into his armpits and nestling in his hair. In hand-to-hand combat the Nurglings leap from the Champion's head and shoulders and clamber about his feet, biting and clawing at his enemy. This counts as an extra strength 3 attack made by the Champion. The Nurglings cannot be attacked themselves, and any who are trampled or squashed in the combat are soon replaced. This gift may be acquired by the Champion more than once, and each subsequent infestation confers another attack. Alternatively, a second or subsequent gift can be passed on to a follower.
72-78Familiar. The Champion is gifted with a single corpulent Nurgling as his familiar. Roll to determine the familiar's type using a D100.

13-34Magic Focus
35-56Magic Power
57-78Magic Spell
79-00Magic Storage

Rules for familiars are given in the Slaves to Darkness volume of Realm of Chaos. A Champion may be gifted with several familiars.

79-84Trail of Slime. The Champion leaves a trail of slime wherever he goes. The slime drips off his body or bubbles incontinently from him. Any model directly behind and within 4" of the Champion is adjudged to have stepped in the trail of slime and risks catching Nurgle's Rot (see Nurgle's Rot).
85-93Rune of Nurgle. The fly rune of Nurgle appears on the Champion's forehead or some other prominent part of his body. The rune bursts forth like an inflammation and develops into a fly-shaped mass of boils or sores.
94-97Daemonic Name. Nurgle honours his Champion by granting him a daemonic True Name. Daemonic names and the generation tables for creating them are described in Slaves to Darkness. Second and subsequent rewards make the name longer and more impressive, reflecting the Champion's growing status in the eyes of Nurgle.
98-00Chaos Attribute. Nurgle perversely awards his Champion with a random Chaos Attribute. Although arrived at as a Gift of Nurgle, this reward is a Chaos Attribute and counts as such when determining a Champion's fate under the Eye of God.

p14-15 — The Spells of Nurgle

Those of Nurgle's Champions who can cast spells are able to use the special Spells of Nurgle described below. Great Unclean Ones and Plaguebearers can also cast these spells, and they may be gained in other ways as decribed later.

Stench of Nurgle

Spell Level: 1
Magic Points: 2
Magic Save: Yes

The Stench of Nurgle can only be used if the caster is engaged in hand-to-hand fighting, and it affects the nearest enemy model. A normal magic save is allowed to see if the spell takes effect. A target affected by the spell exudes a noxious smell of decay. This is so bad that all models within 6" of the target are almost overpowered by the stink, and they are unable to strike blows in subsequent rounds of hand-to-hand combat. However, they may defend themselves as normal. Only Daemons, Champions and Beastmen of Nurgle are unaffected by the odour. The affected model may be slain as a casualty during subsequent fighting. If the model is a rank-and-file trooper, casualties should be randomised amongst those troops fighting to determine whether he is slain. If the model is a Hero then his combat is worked out separately as normal. Once slain, the smelly character has no further effect.

Miasma of Pestilence

Spell Level: 2
Magic Points: 3
Magic Save: No

This spell affects the caster and creates a 6" radius Miasma of Pestilence around him. Any other model inside the zone has all the characteristics on his profile reduced by half rounding down (ie from 7 to 3). This does not affect Daemons, Champions, or Beastmen of Nurgle. The Miasma of Pestilence lasts until the caster is wounded, when it is immediately dispelled.

Stream of Corruption template

Stream of Corruption

Spell Level: 3
Magic Points: 7
Range: 8"
Magic Save: No

The Stream of Corruption is a stinking jet of putrid blood, pus, maggots, slime and other foulnesses. It forms a triangle 8" long and 4" broad at its end, as shown on the accompanying diagram. Make up a Stream of Corruption template to the design shown using card or paper. When the spell is used the template is positioned over the targets. Each model within the template must roll a D6 and consult the chart below.

Target's InitiativeChokes to death on D6 score of:
1-44, 5 or 6
5-75 or 6

Models with high initiative characteristics stand a good chance of diving or ducking out of the way of the Stream. Other models are less lucky! Models which are unable to move for any reason are choked automatically. A Greater Daemon of any kind is not automatically slain on rolling the appropriate D6 score, but sustains D6 wounds instead.

Plague Wind

Spell Level: 4
Magic Points: 15
Range: 24"
Magic Save: No

The Plague Wind may be cast against any target unit within 24". It is accompanied by wind-carried moaning, insane laughter, and other sounds of death and delirium. Each model in the unit must test for Nurgle's Rot. The unit must then take an immediate rout test.

Kalem Tarnel Champion of Tzeentch, struck the head from the last of his adversaries. The creature's body fell to the floor and the leprous leathery orb rolled to his feet. His Warband gave a cheer and raised their swords in a proud salute of victory. The severed head glared at him malevolently with its single eye. The head bore no nose and a single horn grew from its pustulent forehead. Its teeth chattered strangely, as if unwilling to accept the biological inferences of sudden decapitation.

"The Warband of Gorak Champion of Nurgle is no more!" he cried. His followers cheered again. A small cloud of flies began to gather around the severed head.

The long fingers of Gorak Champion of Nurgle twitched spasmodically. His eyes fluttered open, and he saw Kalem Tarnel, his most hated enemy. He tried to move, but found he could not because the sword wound in his side hurt so abominably. Kalem Tarnel had left him for dead. He hadn't been far wrong either. Gorak smiled to himself and his fingers twitched again, but this time with purpose. He moaned softly as the power flowed through him.

The unexpected blast caught Kalem Tarnel's cloak and pulled him to the floor. The rest of his Warband failed to keep their footing and fell into a formless spluttering heap. The severed head rolled off, followed by its entourage of insects. Gorak had summoned a Plague Wind with his dying breath. It was both his final act and a parting gift to his old enemy and rival Kalem Tarnel. The wind howled like a banshee, driving something that tasted like bone dust into the eyes, ears and mouths of the Tzeentch Warband. A rumbling laughter filled the air, like the bellowing of some huge, enormously fat, but companionable old uncle. The spell passed over them one by one, catching the unlucky, missing others, and eventually fading with the wind itself.

The Rot progresses

p16 — Nurgle's Rot

Nurgle's Rot, often known simply as the Rot, is a terrible contagious disease which affects the victim's mortal body and his shadow-self or spirit. A person who dies from Nurgle's Rot is turned into a Plaguebearer and becomes a servant of Nurgle himself. Nurgle's Rot epitomises the core of Nurgle's ethos: suffering and overcoming suffering by great bravery and resolve. Those who contract the Rot often slay themselves in reckless battle, hoping to die quickly and cleanly and by this means to avoid becoming a Plaguebearer.

Catching the Rot

Nurgle's Rot only affects mortals; it cannot affect Daemons of any kind or allegiance. It is passed on by physical contact such as hand-to-hand combat. Models engaged in combat against a Daemon of Nurgle risk catching the Rot. Victims can also catch the Rot as a result of a Plague Wind spell, touching a Death Head, treading in the slime-trail of a Beast, stepping into a sticky pool left by a Palanquin, or simply by being a Champion of Nurgle.

To determine if a victim has caught the Rot, roll a D6, and apply the following modifiers:

+3Engaged in combat with a Great Unclean One
+2Engaged in combat with a Plaguebearer
-1If victim is the Champion of another Chaos Power

If the result is 6 or more the victim has contracted the Rot with the following effects.

  1. If the target is part of a unit, the entire unit must take an immediate rout test. If not part of a unit, the model must take a rout test.
  2. A model which has the Rot may pass it in to other creatures it strikes in combat. Any model engaged against the victim can catch the Rot and must make the test described above.
  3. The Rot cannot be cured or its progress halted in any way.

The Progress of the Rot

Nurgle's Rot often takes several months to kill its victim. Victims who are Champions of other Chaos Powers, or members of the retinues of these Champions, may be 'retired' from future games on the grounds that they can no longer live safely alongside their fellow men.

Retiring victims may be simply dropped from the game, or if they are Champions they can undertake a special Death Quest. In a Death Quest the Champion and any affected members of his warband will seek out and fight an enemy warband. Models engaged in a Death Quest are immune to psychology and cannot be routed. If a Death Questing Champion pleases his Chaos patron he may be promoted to Daemonhood and thus saved from the Rot.

Unless a victim retires from a warband or goes on a Death Quest as described above, he risks passing the disease on to the other members. This applies both to warbands of Nurgle's Champions and to those of Champions of other Chaos Powers. A test must be made before each battle to determine if the disease has been passed on to anyone else. On the D6 roll of a 6 the disease has been passed on to another randomly determined member of the warband. This may include the warband's Champion if he does not already have the Rot.

The Rot progresses from battle to battle, starting with the first battle following contraction. The victim slowly begins to turn into a Plaguebearer, his appearance and profile starts to change, so that eventually he dies and is re-embodied in the Realm of Chaos as a Plaguebearer.

1Skin bcomes pale yellow-brown. Change characteristic to M=4/WS=5.
2Green and purple blotches break out on the victim's skin. BS=5/Ld=10.
3The skin begins to rot and a small cloud of flies gathers about him. S=4/Cl=10.
4A single horn sprouts from the victim's forehead. The model gains the Plaguebearer's additional horn attack when it charges. T=3.
5The eyes start to grow together and the nose atrophies. I=6/Int=10.
6The victim's feet grow into two huge claws. A=2 as per a Plaguebearer.
7The victim's face and flesh dissolve into a mass of tissue. W=1/WP=10.
8The victim finally dies and his shadow-self becomes one of Nurgle's Plaguebearers.

The Rot and Chaos Champions

A Champion of Nurgle who contracts Nurgle's Rot is not personally affected by it. However, he can pass it on in hand-to-hand combat and it can be caught by members of his own retinue. A member of a Chaos Warband who already has the Rot could becomes a Champion if the original Champion is slain. Should this happen the progress of the Rot is halted at the stage it has already reached.

p17 — The Palanquin of Nurgle

Great Unclean Ones are Daemons with a sense of the dramatic. They enjoy the decorative trappings of power almost as much as they enjoy power itself. The Palanquin of Nurgle is an ornate and mobile throne that allows the Great Unclean One to be carried aloft by a tide of surging Nurglings. The tiny creatures propel the Palanquin wherever their master wishes. From his elevated position the Greater Daemon is able to speak to his slaves, or strike at his foes, confident that he will remain the centre of attention at all times. The Palanquin itself is decorated with mouldered finery, while the Great Daemon rider sits casually upon a mound of decaying cushions. Palanquins may also be gifted to Champions and Plaguebearers.

Cloud of Flies

The Palanquin is surrounded by a cloud of flies which buzz and swarm around it. If the Palanquin is carried into hand-to-hand fighting the cloud of flies will buzz into the eyes and ears of all engaged enemy models, reducing their D6 to hit roll by -1. If the rider is a Plaguebearer, then his own cloud of flies merges with that of the Palanquin, but the combined effect is still to reduce the D6 to hit roll by -1.

The cloud of flies has another effect, for each insect embodies a tiny fraction of protective magic. The cloud thus represents a onsiderable protective spell. The palanquin and its rider cannot be affected by a magical spell of any kind. Both are affected normally by a hand-to-hand combat blow struck by a magical weapon, but not by spells cast by such a weapon.

Movement and Combat

During a turn, the Palanquin moves up to 6" and can charge into combat just like any normal model, doubling its maximum movement to 12" as it does so. The rider can fight from the Palanquin and strike the enemy in any direction, whether they lie to the front, sides or rear. The Nurgling bearers also fight in hand-to-hand combat, automatically causing D6 hits with a strength of 3. The Nurgling bearers cannot be struck as such, indeed their very numbers would make this a futile business, but the Palanquin can be attacked. The attacker has the choice of striking blows or aiming missiles at either the rider or the Palanquin. Blows against the Palanquin hit automatically. The Palanquin has a toughness of 5, and once it has sustained 3 wounds it is completely destroyed, dissolving into an unpleasant slippery mass along with its attendant Nurgling bearers.

Sticky Pools

As the Nurgling bearers move across the battlefield, small pools of something unpleasant and sticky form behind the Palanquin. These pools of filth contains pus, excrement, urine and other foul substances which are produced by the Nurglings. The sheer quantity of Nurgling bearers makes these pools very dangerous! Roll a D6 when the Palanquin moves, and on the roll of 6 the Nurglings have produced a sticky pool as described. A sticky pool is represented on the games table by a card circle 1" in diameter. These pools remain in place for the remainder of the game. Any model moving over a sticky pool may be unfortunate enough to catch Nurgle's Rot as described already under Nurgle's Rot.

Palanquin of Nurgle

Staff of Nurgle

A small thing to note: the use of "slaves" in the description of the Staff here is changed to "servants" in the final book.

p18 — The Staff of Nurgle

A Staff of Nurgle is a tall staff which is carved from either the branch of a cankered tree or the bones of a plague victim. The staff is decorated with complex organic carvings depicting the various malformities of nature. Staffs may also bear an appropriate carved emblem or figure, such as the image of a shrivelled leper, or the twisted face of a pox victim. A Staff of Nurgle may be gifted by Nurgle to his Champions if he thinks them worthy of the honour. Such is Nurgle's consideration for his slaves that he always tries to match the appearance of the staff to some especially interesting or impressive mutation or disease which the Champion has.

The Magic of the Staff

During the magic phase the bearer can point the Staff of Nurgle at any one model within 12". He can do this even if engaged in hand-to-hand combat and this does not affect his ability to fight normally. The target is entitled to its normal magic saving throw and is not affected by the staff if this is successful. If he fails the test, the victim suffers the full and unpleasant effects of the staff's magic. He erupts with a multitude of worms, larvae, maggots and other greasy wriggling things. This living mass spews from every orifice of the victim and forms a writhing pile around him. The victim is eventually consumed by these horrible things and killed, and a 1" diameter card circle placed on the table to represent the worm pile. This writhing mass remains for the rest of the battle, and will automatically attack and hit any model which moves over it, causing a single strength 5 hit. Any victim slain suffers the same fate as the staff's original victim, this time without the chance of a magic saving throw.

Here the Death Head is described as being made from the skull of a follower of Nurgle. Contrast this with the final text in Realm of Chaos: The Lost and the Damned, wherein a Death Head is described as being made from the skull of an enemy. This latter definition ties in with the piece of fiction, which is the same in both sources.

p18 — Death Head of Nurgle

A Death Head is made from the skull of a former mortal worshipper of Nurgle. The more powerful the servant the better, so the head of a fallen Champion is the most highly favoured. The head is covered with wax mixed with blood to make it watertight. Pus drawn from a Great Unclean One is poured into the brain cavity and then sealed in with more wax. The result is a missile which will burst when it is thrown, scattering its noxious contents over the unfortunate enemy.

A Death Head can be thrown up to 6". It is represented by a circular card template with a 1" radius. All models within the template automatically contract Nurgle's Rot - no test is taken, the victims contract the disease automatically.

Nostag Champion of Nurgle looked at the Death Head. Once it had adorned the shoulders of Doras Varn, the most handsome of all Champions of Slaanesh. Nostag took a firm grip on the waxy orb, thinking as he did so how Doras' famous profile had lost much of its boyish charm. He lobbed the object high into the air, watching with satisfaction as it sailed into the enemy ranks.

The dark object spun through the air and smashed onto the naked pate of Gorban Champion of Khorne, spattering blood and pus over his luckless followers. Gorban reeled as the putrid stuff burned into his face.

"Khorne," he cried, "Pity me!" But it was too late. He felt his flesh churning with the foul energy of the Death Head and knew he was doomed.

There is a new scenario for Advanced Heroquest published here, called "The Quest for Sonneklinge", which involves the heroes questing to retrieve a lost magical sword.

p42 — GM's Information

The sword has indeed been stolen. On the advice of Hemler Rottingflesh, the Chaos Sorcerer of Nurgle who is ultimately responsible for Hagrod's sudden rise to a position of power, the Ogre sent a band of Orcs to loot Karad's tomb. Hemler assured him that if he possessed the sword he would able to cast a apell powerful enough to raze the town of Carroburg to the ground.

But Hemler lied; or rather he had too much faith in his own abilities. Now the sword lies useless in the Ogre's stronghold while the Sorcerer works out what to do with it.

Meanwhile, Karad's eternal rest has been disturbed. He walks the streets of Carroburg in the middle of the night, a translucent figure emitting a wailing shriek of anger as he calls for justice and revenge.

It is up to the Heroes to retrieve the sword and lay Karad's soul to rest. Even then, there is one last surprise in store...


The Sorcerer of Nurgle in the Ogre Chieftain's Stronghold is a member of the Jade College. He has the following spells: The Green Eye, The Pool of Many Places, The Cloak of Dainne and The Emerald Waterfall. He has enough material components to cast each spell once.

p47 — The Halls

Location G

Locations G and H are a Chaos Temple dedicated to Nurgle. This is where Hemler is usually found; if he is still alive, he may be played when you place the Orcs in these rooms. The monsters here are never surprised.

As soon as the Heroes open either door you should read the following text:

You are immediately struck by the stench of decay and disease that assails your nostrils. The smell is awful: it is like the stink of a thousand corpses rotting away.

The floor is thick with slime and waste material, bubbling slowly as if it is boiling from within. A pale green mist rolls around the room, easing out of the door into the passageway.

The symbol roughly gouged into the wall opposite reveals you have stumbled across a temple to Nurgle: the Chaos Power of Decay.

Location H

This is the temple itself. Read the following as the Heroes open the door.

The door to this room seems reluctant to open; only when you put all of your weight behind it does it respond. As you ease it back a thin curtain of slime spreads between the door and the frame.

Looking into the room your eyes are immediately drawn to the far wall. A huge stone altar, covered in mucus and moss, juts out of the wall. Lying on top there is a pile of treasure, the glint of the coins barely visible beneath the dirt and excrement.

You should roll three times on the Treasure Chests Table to determine the treasure on the altar.

The Advanced Heroquest stat block for a Sorcerer of Nurgle is on page 50.