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Blight-master Ussax

In the Warhammer 40,000 setting, Blight-master Ussax is a Chaos Sorcerer of the Death Guard who appears in Fantasy Flight Games' Deathwatch role-playing game.

First Founding (2011)

First Founding (2011), p85 — Blight-master Ussax of the Death Guard

Ussax is a veteran of the Death Guard Traitor Legion, and known as one of the Daemon Primarch Mortarion's inner circle of sorcerers. He is well known to the Ordo Malleus and to the Grey Knights, having been responsible for countless millions of deaths throughout the millennia. Ussax is held to be one of the most darkly gifted concoctors of blights, afflictions and plagues serving the Death Guard, and his recent appearance in the warzones of the Jericho Reach, attended by a cadre of Plague Marines, is a cause for much concern amongst those with knowledge of what he is capable of.

According to recent findings presented to the Chamber of Vigilance, Blight-master Ussax has been present in the Reach for around three years, travelling from one warzone to the next. At each battlefield, he gathers up a grim and unspeakable harvest from the dead and the dying, before returning to some as yet undiscovered fastness to concoct his latest ague. This he then unleashes upon the next battlefield he attends, once more harvesting the bodies of the victims. Thus, so it is feared, the Blight-master is in some blasphemous manner refining his plagues, using the raging conflicts of the Jericho Reach as some vile breeding ground.

Blight-master Ussax (Master) Profile

Speed: 5/10/15/30

Wounds: 48

Skills: Awareness (Per), Command (Fel) +20, Dodge (Ag), Forbidden Lore (Daemons, Warp) (Int), Intimidate (S) +20, Literacy (Int), Lore: Forbidden (Daemonology, Psykers, The Warp) (Int), Lore: Scholastic (Chymistry, Legend, Numerology, Occult) (Int) +10, Psyniscience (Int) +20, Scrutiny (Per) +20, Speak Language (Low Gothic) (Int), Survival (Int), Swim (S), Trade (Chymist) (Int).

Talents: Astartes Weapon Training, Crippling Strike, Die Hard, Fearless, Hatred (Loyalist Space Marines) Heightened Senses (Sight, Sound, Smell, Touch), Jaded, Quick Draw, Rapid Reload, Swift Attack.

Traits: Dark Sight, Fear (2) (Frightening), Size (Hulking), Stuff of Nightmares, Toxic (1d10), Unnatural Strength (x2), Unnatural Toughness (x3).

Psy Rating: 6

Psychic Powers: Ussax has the Nurgle's Rot Psychic Power (see box).

Armour: Astartes Power Armour (Head 8, Arms 8, Body 10, Legs 8).

Weapons: Astartes Bolt Pistol (30m; S/3/-; 2d10+5 X, Pen 5; Clip 12; Reload Full; Tearing), Plague Knife (1d10+10 R; Pen 2; Toxic 1d10), Force Staff (1d10+10 R, Pen 5; Special)

Gear: Two bolt pistols magazines, Filthy Robes.

Mark of Nurgle: Blight-master Ussax has the Mark of Nurgle (see page 363 of the Deathwatch Rulebook), taking the form of numerous lesion-runes etched all over the sloughing flesh of his body.

Special Rules

Cloud of Corruption: Ussax is surrounded by a thick, black cloud of bloated flies. All those within 30 metres take a -20 penalty to Weapon Skill and Ballistic Skill Tests as an impenetrable cloud of vile flies descends upon them.

Psychic Power: Nurgle's Rot

Action: Half Action
Opposed: No
Range: 5 metres + Psy Rating radius
Sustained: Yes

Description: The grandest and most infamous of Nurgle's contagions, Nurgle's Rot is known by many names and has appeared on countless worlds, leaving entire populations desolated by this terrible daemonic pathogen. Nurgle-devoted Sorcerers take on all manner of diseases, serving as host to the creations of the Lord of Plagues. From this seething mass of decay and entropy, these devotees of pestilence summon forth the psychic echo of this paragon of plagues, inflicting it upon those nearby.

The infectious gift of Nurgle is cast outwards to embrace all who stray too near to the Sorcerer. Creatures within range of the Sorcerer while this power remains in effect suffer 1d10 + Psy Rating damage, with the Toxic (1d10) quality. The damage from this power ignores Armour unless it is environmentally sealed.

While this power remains in effect, the air within the power's range is filled with a thick, acrid fog and swarms of massive bloated flies. Any creature within range that is not devoted to Nurgle suffers a -5 penalty to Intelligence, Perception and Fellowship Tests as the foul vapour and buzzing flies hinder their concentration and drive them to distraction. This effect is in addition to any normal Psychic Phenomena.

Using Blight-master Ussax

Ussax can be used as a middle to high ranking enemy Master, and if the GM has access to Mark of the Xenos he may be accompanied by as many Plague Marines as deemed appropriate to the nature of the Kill-team's mission. He can also be used as a figure of doom, with rumours of his appearance in a warzone precipitating a wave of despair amongst Imperial Guard units. The Kill-team might be despatched to investigate such rumours, and if possible locate the base Ussax is using to concoct his ever more pestilent diseases.

Horus Heresy 54: The Buried Dagger (2019)

Horus Heresy 54: The Buried Dagger (2019) — Interval III: The Grave Lies

Without warning, the primary hatch leading into the bridge deck irised open and Captain Typhon strode in.

Stumbling behind him came a cluster of bony figures in robes, their heads covered by black hoods of sackcloth, their wrists and ankles bound in heavy phase-iron manacles. Hadrabulus Vioss and another of Typhon's Grave Wardens herded the prisoners, prodding them forward with the barrels of their bolters.

Typhon twisted off his horned helmet with one hand and mag-clamped it to his armour's thigh-plate, his gaze catching the querulous look in Morarg's eye. 'Where is he?'

Morarg hazarded a look towards the observatorium. 'The primarch left orders not to be disturbed-'

But the First Captain was already marching towards the other door, gesturing for Vioss to follow. 'Bring the collaborators,' he growled. 'Mortarion must witness this himself.'

Morarg went after them, as Typhon opened the hatch and strode into the dimness beyond. Vioss gave him a warning glare, but said nothing.

Following the group in, the equerry got his first good look at the hooded prisoners and recognised the thick, ornately detailed threading on the sleeves of their robes. The braids varied on each of them, some woven with wire, others with velvet or silks. Each pattern of threads represented a secret rank within their complex dynastic hierarchy. As the observatorium hatch slid shut behind them, Morarg knew who it was that Typhon had clapped in irons.

These were the ship's telepathic Navigators, dragged from the sealed sanctuary of their isolation chambers elsewhere aboard the Terminus Est. Only their kind were capable of steering starships through the inchoate insanity of warp space, their minds uniquely conformed by gene-manipulation and millennia of selective breeding to blot out the turbulent madness and sense the way between stars.

What illumination there was in the shuttered dome was bleed-through from the warp beyond the great baffles locked in place, thin razors of mutilated light cast through millimetre-thin gaps between the metal barriers and their frames. It gave the atmosphere in the chamber a waxen and unpleasant quality.

'What is the meaning of this?' Morarg directed the question at Vioss, but the Grave Warden ignored him.

Ahead, Typhon sketched a bow as Mortarion turned from the shadows to see who had violated his seclusion. 'My lord. You bid me to find an answer for our predicament.' He swept his hand towards the shackled Navigators. 'Behold the quintessential devils in these matters.'

Vioss reached forward and tore the hood from one of the prisoners. Morarg watched the aged mutant hunch forward, hands raised to cover his face and protect his third eye.

Mortarion rose to his full height and glowered at his officers. 'My equerry asked you a question. Answer him. Explain this.'

'The Navis Nobilite have betrayed us, my lord,' said Typhon, casting his accusation into the air. 'I did not speak of this before, as I was not certain, but during my time in separation from the rest of our forces, I came to suspect that the Navigators on the Terminus Est and my other ships were acting in concert. Against my will.'

'Not so!' piped the unmasked man, daring to speak. 'Please, Captain Typhon, my house has served your Legion for decades, we are oath-bound to obey your orders!' Morarg recognised the braids of seniority upon this one, marking him as the ship's Navio Primus.

Like the Navigators aboard every ship in the Death Guard fleet, he was a scion of House Zegenda, who had been bonded in perpetuity to Mortarion's patronage by Imperial fiat as a gift from the Emperor - a bond so strong that not even the rebellion of His sons had severed it.

'In the Paternova's name!' cried the Navigator. 'Blind my Eye, I swear it!'

Typhon ignored the interruption. 'I lost vessels in the warp. A sad reality of interstellar travel across galactic distances, to be sure. But it began to happen with regularity... And now I curse myself to think that I did not act on this suspicion sooner.'

'No!' said the Navigator. 'Any ships lost have been to the predations of the ethereal, not through deliberate acts!' He seemed aghast at the idea. 'No son or daughter of Zegenda would ever deliberately guide a vessel to wreck and ruin! It is unthinkable-'

Vioss stepped forward and clubbed the Navigator to the deck with the butt of his bolter. Morarg heard bones break as he rebounded off the plasteel floor and lay there, panting.

'The Navigators do not take sides,' Mortarion intoned.

'They have now.' Typhon removed something from a pouch on his belt and held it up between the thumb and forefinger of his gauntleted hand. A white gemstone, it glittered and caught the chamber's ill light. A strange haze faded into being around the jewel and defined itself into patterns of arcane symbols.

'Psionic glyphs,' offered Vioss. 'Encoded upon hololithic diamonds.'

Typhon handed the jewel to his commander. 'My specialists found them on every vessel we searched. I received reports from Ussax, Blathlok and a dozen others. The same gems, each time hidden in the Navis Sanctorum. The same words encoded upon them all.'

'What does it say?' Mortarion's words were grave. 'You can decipher this witch-speak, Calas. Tell me!'

Typhon's expression became equally severe. 'It is a communique from your father's regent, Malcador the Sigillite. He tells them that the nobles of House Zegenda have sworn fealty to the Emperor and all her children are so bound. He tells them they are to ignore whatever course the Death Guard give them and take us instead to the Falkurien Maw.'

'The Maw is a killing void,' said Morarg. 'A supermassive black hole surrounded by a molten accretion disc one and a half million kilometres wide.'

'From which we would never escape,' said Typhon. 'Yes. This is what sent the sickening effect through our fleet. It was the metapsychic backwash of a concerted effort to misguide us to our deaths.'

'No, no, no...' whimpered the Navigator. 'We felt the effect, yes, but it did not come from us. It came from the warp itself! Our course is...' He slurred the words. 'Our course is true.'

'A lie.' Typhon glanced down at the figure cowering on the deck. 'Your telepathic spoor is upon the stone. You communed with it.' He looked back at Vioss and gave a nod. 'I will not allow you to keep the Death Guard from its destiny.'

Vioss whispered something into his vox, and then there was a ripping crash of gunfire as the two Grave Wardens blasted the captive Navigators into bloody rags.

The shock of the act struck Morarg silent, and even the Reaper of Men was briefly taken aback. Then he was looming over the First Captain, seething with fury. 'Have you lost all reason? Without them, this ship will be becalmed in this hell! Do you realise what you have done?'

Typhon smiled, and an icy chill washed over the equerry to see it. Yes, he knows, thought Morarg. He knows exactly what he has done.

'I have saved us,' said Typhon. 'The treacherous Navigators are dead. All of them, my lord. On every ship. Executed, in this instant.'

Mortarion grabbed Typhon by the neck ring of his battleplate, on the cusp of striking his First Captain in open anger. 'Then you have doomed us all!'

'No.' Typhon echoed the tone of the dead Navigator. 'We can still travel onward, my lord, and this time we will go where we need to. I will see to it. My men will see to it. Ussax, Blathlok, all of them. We can guide the fleet.' He tapped a finger on his forehead, where a scion of the Navis Nobilite would have their psychic third eye, their manner of seeing into the paths of the infinite. 'My mind is strong enough. The Terminus Est will lead the way.'

'What choice do we have but to do so?' Mortarion released him and stepped back, his manner growing cold. 'You should not have acted without my approval. You have been your own master too long, Typhon! You forget yourself.'

'I did only what was necessary,' said the First Captain, keeping his tone neutral. 'If I had delayed, the Navigators would have moved against us. They had to be killed in the same moment, so no alarm could be sent.' He paused. 'I will guide us to our deliverance, Mortarion. I promise you that.'