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Codex: Chaos Space Marines (2002)

This Codex revises the previous edition (also for the third edition of Warhammer 40,000). In doing so, it also introduces many additional ways to build a Chaos Space Marines army, allowing for legion-specific rules and adding new special characters (notably, Typhus appears here for the first time). It is succeeded by Codex: Chaos Space Marines (2007).

Plague Marine

I have corrected "Istvaan" to "Isstvan" here:

p5 — The Horus Heresy

The instant Isstvan III died the Emperor knew something terrible had occurred.

The Emperor dispatched seven Legions to confront Horus, to call him to account for his actions. The Warmaster's forces had redeployed to Isstvan V, where the first wave of loyalists made planetfall. The details of what has become known as the Isstvan V Drop Site Massacre are vague, for only a handful of Space Marines survived, and their descendants will not speak of it. According to the Mythos Angelica Mortis, the Raven Guard, Iron Hands and Salamanders Legions made up the first wave of the action, and were caught off guard by the ferocity of the traitor counter attack. As the first wave became pinned at the drop site, they attempted a breakout, only to discover that the four Legions of the second wave, listed in the Libra Historica as the Iron Warriors, Emperor's Children, World Eaters and Death Guard, had betrayed them.

The loyalists were slaughtered almost to a man, trapped between the armies of Horus and the newly revealed traitors of the second wave.

p23 — 0-1 Greater Daemon

Great Unclean One

Wreathed in swarms of giggling Nurglings, the Great Unclean one shambles across the battlefield spreading disease and pestilence wherever it passes. To the mortal eye it is the foulest of servants of the Ruinous Powers, appearing as a malformed being of weeping pustules and exposed, diseased organs; few men have the stomach, let alone the ability to oppose such a being.

Great Unclean One150537662310-/4+
Lord of Change160846646310-/4+
Keeper of Secrets160737644510-/4+

Number/squad: 1

Weapons: Although they may carry weapons, the effectiveness of Greater Daemons is exactly as shown on the profile above.

Options: Greater Daemons may not select from the Chaos Armoury except for Major and Minor psychic powers. See the Sorcerer special rule for more details.

Character: Each Greater Daemon is an independent character and follows all the Independent Character special rules as given in the Warhammer 40,000 rulebook except those relating to being shot at. Because of their sheer size it is always possible to fire at a Greater Daemon even if it has joined a unit or is within 6" of another viable target.

Transport: A Greater Daemon may not ride in a transport vehicle.

Special Rules

Possession: A Greater Daemon must possess another model to enter the battlefield. See the Daemon special rules for more details.

Fearsome: Greater Daemons have the Daemonic Visage Daemonic Ability.

Fearless: Greater Daemons never take Morale checks, never fall back and cannot be pinned.

Monstrous Creature: Greater Daemons are huge and powerful opponents. They roll 2D6 for Armour Penetration and ignore their opponents' armour saves in close combat.

Invulnerable: Greater Daemons are unnatural creatures, made from the very stuff of Chaos itself and are therefore very difficult to destroy. They may therefore made an Invulnerable save against all wounds they take, even those that would normally permit no save.

Bloodthirsters are martial daemons clad in the brass armour of Khorne. They, of all the Greater Daemons, receive a 3+ armour save as well as a 4+ Invulnerable save and may choose which to use against any attack.

Daemonic Gifts: A Keeper of Secrets has the Warp Scream ability (see Book of Slaanesh). A Great Unclean One has the Nurgling Infestation and Nurgle's Rot abilities (see Book of Nurgle). The Bloodthirster and the Lord of Change have wings. This allows them to move as if they had the Daemonic Flight ability. Because of their strength and power, a winged Greater Daemon does not have to take a test if it lands in difficult terrain.

Sorcerers: All Greater Daemons, except the Bloodthirster, have psychic powers. Each may select any one psychic power from the Chaos Armoury at no cost. They may have additional Minor Psychic Abilities at the normal points cost.

Living Icons: Greater Daemons are all aligned with one of the Chaos Gods; Bloodthirsters server Khorne, Great Unclean Ones serve Nurgle, Keepers of Secrets serve Slaanesh and Lords of Change serve Tzeentch. Such is the power of Greater Daemons that each counts as an Icon of the deity they serve so lesser Daemons can be summoned adjacent to them.

Khornate Frenzy: A Bloodthirster must always assault and perform a sweeping advance whenever possible.

p29 — Nurgle Plague Marines

Plague Marines are followers of Nurgle who have chosen to be the vessel for all manner of contagion and pestilence in return for immunity from their effects. Bloated and diseased Plague Marines are horrific to behold but can endure tremendous punishment thanks to Grandfather Nurgle's blessings. The Death Guard Legion was the sole source of all the original Plague Marines although since the Heresy there have been many whose will to live was strong enough to make them sacrifice their souls for continued existence.

Plague Marines are Chaos Space Marines with the Mark of Nurgle. Lords and Lieutenants, Chosen, Possessed, Chaos Space Marines and Chaos Havocs can all bear the Mark of Nurgle, see the Book of Nurgle for more details. Chaos Space Marine squads which are given the Mark of Nurgle will become an Elites choice unless the army is led by a model with the same Mark in which case they remain a Troops choice.

p30 — Daemon Packs

There is no limit to the number of rapacious warp entities eager to feast on the flesh and souls of the living. They have infinite different forms and equally infinite malice. Each of the Chaos Gods has their own favourite servants however and it is these who fill the ranks of their Daemon armies, waging eternal war for the glory of the infernal masters and their own vindictive satisfaction.


Number/squad: 5-15

Weapons: Each type of Daemon has a range of daemonic abilities. Some of these are innate, others are conferred by the weapons they carry.

Special Rules

Bloodletters of Khorne fight with great warp-forged Hellblades, which function like power weapons. They are clad in the Brass Armour of Khorne and receive a 3+ armour save. They must charge and make a sweeping advance whenevr possible.

Horrors of Tzeentch use the Daemonic Fire ability to hurl sorcerous flames at their enemies. Any number of Horrors may be upgraded to Flamers of Tzeentch at +6 points per model. Flamers have the same profile but additionally have the ability to use Doombolt with no Psychic test required.

Daemonettes of Slaanesh can use the Warp Scream ability (see the Book of Slaanesh on page 59) and have Daemonic Talons.

Plaguebearers of Nurgle carry Nurgle's Rot (see Book of Nurgle) and have the Daemonic Venom ability representing the virulent slime that seeps from their knives and talons (note that the extra attack is already included in their profile above).

Summoned: Daemon packs are always summoned to the battlefield. See the Summoning specia rules for more details.

Invulnerable: Daemons are unnatural creatures, made from the very stuff of Chaos itself and are therefore very difficult to destroy. They all have the Daemonic Aura ability and have a 5+ Invulnerable save in addition to the normal armour save shown on their profile.

Instability: Daemon packs are subject to Daemonic Instability, see p. 12 for more details.

The Forces of Nurgle

p31 — Nurglings

Nurglings are the creation of the Chaos god Nurgle. They caper across the battlefield in a putrescent tide, highlighted by a babbling cacophony of shrieks, seeking to drag larger opponents down with their infection-riddled claws and venomous bites.


Number/squad: 3-10 Nurgling bases

Weapons: Claws and teeth

Special Rules

Invulnerable: Nurglings are unnatural creatures, made from the very stuff of Chaos itself and are therefore very difficult to destroy. The saving throw on their profile is therefore Invulnerable.

Vulnerable to blasts: Template, Ordnance and Blast marker weapons inflict two wounds instead of one on Nurglings. A weapon of Strength 6 or higher will of course kill a Nurgling base outright, assuming they fail their Invulnerable save in accordance with the Instant Death rule.

Small Target: Being extremely hard to hit in cover Nurglings' cover save is at +1. Note this doesn't give them a cover save if they woudn't normally get one. Because of their diminutive size they do not block line of sight to anything behind or with them other than more Nurglings.

Children of Father Nurgle: Nurglings tend to follow in the shadow of the Champions of Nurgle consequently an army may only include one unit of Nurglings for each Independent Character or Unit with the Mark of Nurgle.

Mischevious: A unit of Nurglings cannot be trusted to hold an objective as they will inevitably wander off or try to damage it. Consequently they may never hold table quarters or objectives.

Instability: Nurglings are subject to Daemonic Instability, see special rules for more details.

Plague Marine

p51-52 — The Book of Nurgle - The Lord of Decay

Death is the only constant in the realm of Man, and with death comes decay. Nurgle is the embodiment of disease and deterioration, the elemental forces that hold in check the energies of progress and evolution. There exists within every mortal the desire to let all around him rot, and to exult in the processes of disease and decomposition.

Nurgle empowers those who would see every accomplishment of Mankind reduced to mouldering ruin. He is the Lord of Decay, and his servants spread disease and contagion throughout the mortal realm in the name of their festering master.

Yet Nurgle's power embodies, by its very nature, the notion of the eternal cycle of life. Decay is inevitable, but so too is rebirth. The form that rebirth may take is, of course, rarely the ideal and if Nurgle has his way then it will take a form loathsome to Man.

Nurgle's appearance is the most abhorrent of the Chaos gods. His bloated body is home to every form of corruption imaginable, and his skin is covered in weeping sores. Foul Nurglings cavort amongst Nurgle's exposed organs, giggling with insane delight at the latest pestilence inflicted upon Mankind by their master.

Nurgle's followers suffer under the burden of his 'gifts' as much as they benefit from them. These gifts often take the form of repulsive diseases and hideous deformations which, while useful in spreading Nurgle's contagions, may often lead to the death of the carrier. The servants of Nurgle cry out to him to rid them of the gifts they so blatantly invited when they turned to worship him, and he takes great sport in prolonging their suffering through the granting of yet more of his marks.

Nurgle's power within the pantheon of the Chaos gods is inextricably linked to his workings in the mortal realm. When disease and pestilence are rife, then the Lord of Decay's influence is at its height. The very nature of Nurgle's power is such that it will inevitable consume all of its victims and leave few survivors to perpetuate the contagion. At this point the plague god's might wanes and his plans falter. But one thing is certain: the plague is never truly eradicated, and its spores often spread far and wide before exploding into yet another epidemic, when once again Nurgle's legions are swelled with the grotesque living dead.

The only power that can oppose deterioration and decay are those represented by Tzeentch's change and evolution. The two gods are engaged in a galaxy-wide struggle of opposing forces, and whichever wins, the inhabitants of the material realms will be the ones who pay the highest price.

The Mark of Nurgle

The Mark of Nurgle can be bought for an independent character at +10 pts or for all members of a unit at +5 points per model. A model with the Mark of Nurgle is a living host for all manner of poxes and infections, which it spreads for the greater glory of the Lord of Decay. Horrific to behold and almost impossible to kill, Plague Marines are a blight on all life. Models with the Mark of Nurgle are Fearless and gifted with Daemonic Resilience.

No unit with the Mark of Nurgle may carry any of the following weapons: lascannon, autocannon, missile launcher or heavy bolter.

The Primarch of the Death Guard, Mortarion, trained his warriors to fight on foot relying on their bolters to cut down their enemies. Loyal to his teachings down the centuries Plague Marines have learned to use their bolters in close combat, a feat aided by their ability to absorb the ferocious recoil with their diseased bulk. All models with the Mark of Nurgle have True Grit to reflect this.

True Grit

Bolters have a 'pistol grip' which means they can be fired with a single hand. This takes considerable practice and skill and is not normally encouraged. Models with True Grit, however, have learned how to use their bolters in this manner. In game terms, this means that they may count their bolter as a bolt pistol in close combat and will therefore be allowed to roll an extra Attack dice if they have been equipped with a second pistol or close combat weapon. However, a model using their bolter in this manner may not receive the attack bonus for charging, as a bolter is too unwieldy to be fired with one hand while simultaneously hurling yourself at the enemy.

Vehicles of Nurgle

A vehicle dedicated to Nurgle has the Plague Carrier ability. This costs +15 points.

Plague Carrier

The vehicle is equipped with smouldering censers which release billowing clouds of sickly smoke in its wake and has the same effect as the Nurgle gift Nurgle's Rot.

The Gifts of Nurgle

The following items are added to the main Armoury but can only be selected by models with the Mark of Nurgle. The normal restrictions by category of item stated in the main Armoury section apply. Items marked with * can be used by models in Terminator armour.

Blight Grenades25 points
Manreaper* (Daemon Weapon)25 points
Minor Psychic Power*10 points
Nurgle's Rot*5 points
Nurgling Infestation*20 points
Pandemic Staff* (Daemon Weapon)25 points
Plague Banner*50 points
Plague Sword*25/15 points

Blight Grenades

These are made from the shrunken heads of those killed by Father Nurgle's favourite plagues. Any enemy unit charged by one or more models with blight grenades suffers a -1 to hit modifier in the ensuing close combat round.


This rusted and corrupted blade has been dipped in the filth seeping from the very throne of Nurgle, and in so doing absorbed the essence of one of the Daemons that cavort there.

The Manreaper is a two-handed power weapon in the shape of a scythe. With each sweep the long blade can cut through several enemies. The bearer gets +D6 extra attacks to reflect this. If the Manreaper's wielder directs his attacks at a single enemy model he will receive only one bonus Attack as the weapon is too long and unwieldy to be easily readied for further blows.

Nurgle Minor Psychic Power

The model may make a single roll on the Nurgle Minor Psychic Power table. Duplicate powers are re-rolled, but rolls of 1 are not.

Nurgling Infestation

Champions of Nurgle are frequently accompanied by swarms of Nurglings eager to feed off the flakes of dead and diseased flesh they trail behind them. If their host is in close combat the Nurglings will attack fiercely providing their host with an extra D6 Strength 3 attacks at Initiative 3 against enemies in base contact. The Nurglings should be modelled on the host's base and person.

Nurgle's Rot

At the end of the Chaos Shooting phase, any model that is within 6" of at least one model with Nurgle's Rot may be affected by the miasma of disease and pestilence exuding from them. Roll a D6 for each affected model, and on a roll of a 6 it takes a wound. Armour and Invulnerable saves may be taken, but not cover saves. Models with the Mark of Nurgle and all Daemon Packs, Possessed, Daemon Beasts and Greater Daemons are immune.

Pandemic Staff

The Pandemic Staff acts as a Vessel for Grandfather Nurgle's favourite contagions when they are carried from the Warp into the real universe.

The Pandemic Staff is a normal close combat weapon. Its bearer may use it in the Shooting phase instead of firing another weapon. An enemy unit within 12" can be targetted. Test to hit every model in the target unit on a roll of 4+. Hits are resolved at Strength 3 and normal saving throws apply.

Plague Sword

The Plague Sword drips with venomous pus. No amrour saves are allowed against its blows and in addition roll a D6 for each model wounded by it but not killed. On a roll of 4+ it will be killed outright no matter how many wounds they have.

Plague Banner

The Plague Banner is a hideous fabrication of rotting hides which flap in a pestilent wind. Not only can it function like a normal Icon but, in addition, a powerful curse is held in the standard that can be released once per battle in the owner's Shooting phase. Any one enemy unit with a model within 6" of the banner will take D6 wounds just as shooting with no armour or cover saves possible.

Nurgle Minor Psychic Powers

1. No usable power

Effect: The psyker's patron pays no heed to his prayers. The roll is wasted.

2. Nurgle's Dance

Phase: Own Shooting
Psychic Test? Yes
Range: 12"

Effect: The psyker calls to the enemy, inviting them to reveal themselves and join in Nurgle's exuberant cavalcade. If the target unit or model is behind cover, it must make a Leadership test or lose the benefits of that cover for the remainder of the player turn.

3. Nausea

Phase: Enemy Shooting
Psychic Test? Yes
Range: 12"

Effect: The psyker is able to invoke nausea and disorientation amongst his foes. An enemy unit or independent character (but not a vehicle) within line of sight will be at -1 BS for this Shooting phase.

4. Affliction

Phase: Own Shooting
Psychic Test? Yes
Range: 12"

Effect: Calling upon Grandfather Nurgle, the psyker bestows a particularly choice contagion upon his foe. If successful, the psyker may target an independent character or unit (the owning player may nominate the target model within a unit, only one model is affected). If you roll over the victim's Toughness on a D6, or roll a 6 regardless of Toughness, then the target model takes a single wound with normal saves allowed.

5. Miasma of Pestilence

Phase: Own Shooting
Psychic Test? Yes
Range: 24"

Effect: The psyker calls forth clouds of pestilent flies and choking vapours, through which few enemies have the stomach to advance. Place the small blast marker at any point within the Psyker's line of sight and roll the Scatter Dice and a D6 to determine its final location (counting the target symbol as a hit). Any enemy unit with models under the template must make an immediate Morale check or fall back using the normal rules.

6. Aura of Decay

Phase: Either Assault
Psychic Test? Yes
Range: 2"

Effect: The psyker surrounds himself in an aura of corruption and filth to such an extent that his enemies have difficulty engaging him. This power imposes a -1 Attack penalty (to a minimum of 1) on all enemy models in base contact. If the psychic test is failed then the modifier will apply to all friendly troops within 2" instead. The psyker may fight as normal in the phase this power is used.

p52 — The Death Guard

Servants of Nurgle, the Death Guard fight only to spread contagion and death throughout the galaxy. These once proud Space Marines have now been reduced to pestilent, disease-infested killers.

The Death Guard consist largely of Plague Marines: creatures so vile they have given their entire existence to spreading Nurgle's Rot amongst the living. Those infected with the rot meet a painful death, their bodies reduced to a mass of weeping sores and pestilent weals. Death is no release for these wretches, who find themselves reborn into service of Grandfather Nurgle, to whom their cries for relief from the ever-present plague are like the clamouring of loving children.

Playing a Death Guard Army

If you want to use a pure Death Guard army you must adhere to the following limitations:

p53 — Typhus - The Traveller, Herald of Nurgle, Host of the Destroyer Hive

When Mortarion, Primarch of the Death Guard, allied his Legion with the forces of Warmaster Horus he did not know the price that would be paid for his decision. One amongst the Death Guard knew full well though, his name was Typhon and he had been recruited like so many others into Mortarion's forces on the feral world of Barbarus where the Primarch had grown up. Barbarus was home not only to men but also to inhuman overlords that preyed upon them. Typhon has some of their blood in his veins for he was possessed of formidable latent psychic powers that made him especially valuable as a recruit. Even as Mortarion led his Death Guard on the Emperor's Great Crusade Typhon communed with the Dark Powers.

Typhon rose to the rank of Captain, commander of the battleship Terminus Est and a full company of the Death Guard. When the Death Guard joined Horus it was he who slew the Death Guard's Navigators claiming their loyalty was still to the Emperor. It was he who promised Mortarion that his powers could lead the Death Guard through the Warp to Terra and it was he who led them to damnation, becalmed in the Warp, adrift and helpless.

When the Destroyer Plague came and the Death Guard for all their resilience were struck down, Typhon received his reward from his true master, Nurgle, Lord of Decay. As the last member of the Death Guard fell, Typhon absorbed the full power of this most terrible plague. His body became a vessel for the ultimate corruption, his armour became a hive of pestilence. He was Typhon no longer, now he was Typhus, Herald of Nurgle and the host of the Destroyer Hive.

In the Eye of Terror Mortarion shaped his Daemon World to resemble Barbarus. Typhus was sickened by the sentimentality. His loyalty was to Nurgle and Nurgle waxed strong when mortals feared death. Taking his ship and his followers Typhus returned again and again to the mortal realms and the legend of the traveller, the Herald of Nurgle was born. The rewards granted him by Nurgle are testament to a score of blighted worlds and countless damned souls.


Typhus may be included in any Death Guard Chaos Space Marine army of at least 1,500 points as its Chaos Lord. He may be accompanied by a retinue of Chosen selected as normal but must otherwise be fielded exactly as specified.

Wargear and Gifts: Mark of Nurgle, Sorcerer, Daemonic Essence (+1 Wound, included in profile), Daemonic Visage, Nurgle's Rot, Nurgling Infestation, Terminator armour, Manreaper, Warp Talisman.

Psychic Abilities: Wind of Chaos; minor powers: Affliction and Miasma of Pestilence.

Destroyer Hive: Typhus' armour and body are host to a horrific plague that manifests as a swarm of insects that pour from the cracks and vents in his armour. When he charges into combat he counts as using frag and blight grenades. When he is charged Typhus and his retinue (if any) count as being in cover. In addition, the Nurgle's Rot carried by Typhus causes wounds on a 5+ instead of a 6.

Independent Character: Unless accompanied by a retinue Typhus is an independent character and all the rules regarding independent characters apply to him. See the Warhammer 40,000 rulebook for full details on independent characters.

In the colour section, the latter half of page 70 showcases Nurgle's daemons, and the latter half of page 72 does the same for the Death Guard models. And finally on page 80 we see a Chaos Lord of Nurgle painted by French Golden Demon 2001 award winner, Jacques-Alexandre Gillois.