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Ystareth is the prime antagonist and title character of the Warhammer Fantasy novel Plague Demon by "Brian Craig" (an early pseudonym of Brian Stableford). This is the second of the Orfeo books (after Zaragoz) and is set in the year 2470 of the Warhammer Old World.

White Dwarf 125 (1990-05)

White Dwarf 125 (May 1990), p10 — Plague Daemon

WFRP characters by Andy Warwick, Border Princes background taken from the novel Plague Daemon by Brian Craig

This article takes the major characters from Games Workshop's latest novel, Plague Daemon by Brian Craig, and presents them as Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay characters to use in your games.

The statistics given here are for the characters as they appear at the start of the novel, before any of the events described take place. This is because not all of the characters survive. To find out who survives and who doesn't you'll have to read the novel!

The Border Princes

The Minstrel Orfeo, guest of Alkadi Nasreen, Caliph of Arjijil, begins the tale of Harmis Detz and his battle against Chaos with an introduction to the Border Princes and Harmis' home, the city of Khypris. (An extract from Brian Craig's new Warhammer novel, Plague Daemon.)

"You will have heard, my lord, of a region to the east of the Tilean city-states, divided from them by the Apuccini mountains, which is sometimes known as the land of the Border Princes. It has the Black Mountains to the north, the mountains of the World's Edge to the east, and the Black Gulf to the south, so that it forms a wide rectangle which is virtually cut off from what we would reckon the civilized world.


"Nowhere is the land of the Border Princes very fertile; much of it is wilderness, and even in the valleys where its life-giving rivers run the soil is often very poor. Its woodlands, such as they are, consist in the main of short and thorny trees which usually form a thick and impenetrable undergrowth. The eastern princedoms are perennially plagued by unruly goblins, and in many of the hilly regions there are bands of creatures called mutants, which some people believe - wrongly, I am certain - to be half-castes birthed by human women who have been impregnated by daemons. The presence of such quarrelsome and nasty creatures makes order very difficult to maintain, and it must often be dearly bought by the ruthlessness of princes and their men-at-arms.

Plague Daemon

The monster roared like thunder, and its foul breath caught Harmis in the face like a wind from the grave

White Dwarf 125 (May 1990), p17 — Ystareth - Plague Daemon

"Know, Harmis, that every nation on earth is but appearance and illusion... What can it matter to the masters of Chaos, if a world such as yours were here, or gone, or never here at all?"

Ystareth was once a human being, who had entered voluntarily into the service of Nurgle, the Lord of Decay, to become a champion of plague and pestilence. The motive behind this obscene act was revenge - Prince Faramond had been indirectly responsible for Ystareth's brother's death, and in a fit of anger the estranged sibling had made a pact with the Powers of Chaos for the power to exact terrible and bloody revenge.

Warped by bitter and angry feelings more than any effects of worship, what was once a human form became twisted and disease-ridden. The newly-initiated champion's body became bloated in the image of Nurgle himself, and the stench of decay and foetid odour of death smothered the last remnants of normality.

Ystareth is the true name - given by Nurgle himself - of this Champion of Chaos, who by sheer force of will has risen to the heady ranks of Daemon almost immediately, rather than suffer the ritual gathering of a warband in an attempt to gain favour with the Chaos Power of pestilence and plague.

Ystareth has conceived a plan of such proportions, a plan that will bring the decaying realm of Nurgle to the Border Princes in all its putrefying glory, that everything Ystareth needs to exact revenge on the claret-and-gold livery of Faramond has been provided.

Ystareth appears exactly as a Greater Daemon of Nurgle. However, Ystareth has none of a Greater Daemon's abilities other than those given here. Although eventually destined to become a Greater Daemon, Ystareth still has some way to go to reach such a level of power.

The obvious way to use Ystareth is as an enemy for the characters. If you plan to do so, then reading the novel is the first step - it explains the way that the Daemon plans to carry out its attack on Faramond's realm, and how it can move amongst the unsuspecting populace clothed in the magic of illusion. Ystareth is not always so recognisable...


Ystareth has 2 APs on all locations. Ystareth can make 4 claw, 1 bite or gore, and 1 stamp attack - successful bite and claw attacks cause infected wounds.

Every time a non-magical weapon hits Ystareth its damage modifier value is reduced by -1 as the weapon rots away.

Any living creature in combat with Ystareth runs the risk of catching Nurgle's Rot.

Spells: Ystareth has a spell pool of 5 randomly determined spells - the first spell of each level will be a Spell of Nurgle. For ease of play, Ystareth starts with the following spells:

In addition, Ystareth can assume an illusionary appearance at will. It may be maintained under all circumstances except spellcasting and will mask both Ystareth's appearance and stench. A character must make a successful Intelligence test at -25 to realise something is wrong and see through Ystareth's disguise.