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Chortling Murrain

Codex: Chaos Daemons (2018)

Codex: Chaos Daemons (2018), p55 — Heralds of Nurgle

Sloppity Bilepipers

Not all of the plagues created by Nurgle turn out as planned, many of them being just a minor inconvenience rather than a world-sweeping contagion. Some attempts prove even more disastrous, such as the pox that was meant to gnaw flesh but instead proved to be something of a disinfectant. That catastrophe was never spoken of again, not even by the boldest of Great Unclean Ones. The disease that eventually became known as the Chortling Murrain was at first believed to be a damp squib, but, when it was re-purposed as a punishment, it swiftly became one of the Lord of Plagues' favoured creations.

The Chortling Murrain becomes truly infectious when it settles into a Plaguebearer. Ever the most organised and glum of Nurgle's creations, a Daemon infected with Chortling Murrain - usually as a result of failing in his counting - abandons his characteristic shuffling gait and steady, measured droning as he falls into what can only be described as a comedic fever. So infected, he capers and quips, jabbering light-heartedly at any who will listen. Amidst the dour, endless counting of Plaguebearers it is only too obvious to pick out one who is so afflicted.

Once the symptoms of the Chortling Murrain fully manifest, its victim is given the title of Sloppity Bilepiper and a new task. Gifted with a gutpipe and marotter, these budding Heralds are sent to amuse Nurgle's Tallybands as they march to war. Admittedly, the antics of the Bilepipers wholeheartedly fail to impress the gloom-ridden Plaguebearers, but Great Unclean Ones and Nurglings find the steady stream of jokes and nonsense-songs hilarious. The Greater Daemons unleash booming belly laughs that send rotted innards splashing out in waves, while Nurglings shriek with laughter. Even Beasts of Nurgle flop about with extra enthusiasm, not understanding but eager to join the fun. Invigorated by the Bilepiper's exploits, Great Unclean Ones and Nurglings set about their vile work with extra vigour.

Unfortunately for Nurgle's foes, Daemons with the Chortling Murrain are infectious, and the warp-borne disease can cause mortals and the Daemons of other gods to laugh with ever-growing hysterics until their hearts burst or their sides split open. Despite their augmentative roles, Bilepipers themselves are doomed, for the Chortling Murrain always gets the last laugh - or not. As the disease goes into remission and the bearer fails to raise the least of titters from even the jolliest of Great Unclean Ones, the Herald is subjected to cruel magic that devolves him in twisting agony, reshaping him into a set of pestilential gutpipes - the tools of the trade that will eventually be given to his desperately grinning replacement.

Codex: Chaos Daemons (2018), p55 — Heralds of Nurgle

Spoilpox Scriveners

The Heralds known as Spoilpox Scriveners are given a specific task by Grandfather Nurgle. It is their lot to tally the Tallyband, to audit their ceaseless counting, and to ensure that their calculations are accurate. To accomplish their role, Scriveners are equipped with endless hidebound scrolls upon which they use special quills made from the plucked tail feathers of a Lord of Change. They record the number of diseases counted by the Plaguebearers - to double-check later - and scribble down the names of any Plaguebearers that lose count. All the while, Scriveners verbally browbeat those around them, their nasal voices amplified by their distended jaws, which can bite a man in half. Such constant abuse has a strange motivational effect upon the Plaguebearers, forcing them to concentrate upon their chanting count and move with all the haste their swollen, fluid-ridden joints can muster. Spoilpox Scriveners themselves are sullen and spiteful creatures; they long to catch their fellows out with a mistake or, even better, to record enough wrongdoing to actually punish them. Those found to make repeated mistakes are slated for the dread fate of the Chortling Murrain.