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In the Warhammer 40,000 setting, the Tainted Sons are a vectorium of the Death Guard, Chaos Space Marines devoted to Nurgle. Not to be confused with the Tainted.
The Tainted Sons were included as the default army in the Dark Imperium starter boxed set for the 8th edition of Warhammer 40,000. They are led by Gulgoth the Afflictor. The Dolorous Strain (Gurloch Thrax, Bubox Glouch, Mulgh the Curdled, Shurgholgh, Suppurax Volghor) are members of the Tainted Sons.
A conquering vectorium led by Lord Gulgoth the Afflictor, the Tainted Sons are line-breakers and trench-fighters without compare. They are a warband as brutally direct as the Lord of Contagion who leads them, pouring scorn on those who concern themselves with such matters as danger or losses.
The roar of massed bolter fire and the croak of glottal war cries fills the air as the Tainted Sons go to war. Their advance is methodical and direct, a slow but unstoppable hammer blow swung hard into the teeth of the foe. Under the yellowed eye of their lord, the Chaos Space Marines display terrifying fire discipline, picking a single, priority target and engulfing it in a merciless hail of shots. Only once their first mark is completely obliterated do the Tainted Sons shift their attention, eradicating their victims with an obsessive efficiency that borders on madness.
This vectorium has lingered long in the warp, serving Mortarion faithfully during his wars within the Eye of Terror. Though they have been unleashed once more upon the worlds of realspace, Nurgle's empyric blessings still cling to these diseased traitors like a miasma. The ground curdles into churned filth beneath the Sons' feet, while unnatural spores and warp-tainted fumes thicken the air around them. Nothing natural can survive for long in the presence of these virulent Death Guard warriors. Undergrowth dissolves to blackened mulch while the flesh of foes begins to rot and break out in foul clusters of buboes.
Gurgling their vectorium's motto, 'All will rot', the Tainted Sons mow down enemy battle-lines, sweep chamber to chamber through bunker complexes, and overrun the desperate defenders of starships and shrine fortresses alike. Their reputation for close-quarters brutality is well earned, and their tenacity is second only to their unnatural virulence.
A great wound in the stars has torn open, and now all can be blessed with Grandfather's afflictions. The corpse-worshippers come to fight that which they cannot understand, and through their blindness they try to form scabs to hold back Nurgle's sacred disgorgements. Oh, how we have been favoured, to be able to pick at the clotting bodies, to be able to savour the sores that will never close.
— Gulgoth the Afflictor, Lord of Contagion of the Tainted Sons
One of the most renowned and feared of the Death Guard vectoriums, it is said that the Tainted Sons have earned the favour of Mortarion himself, having fought alongside the fallen Primarch during his endless campaigns within the Eye of Terror. Finally unleashed upon the ailing Imperium, Lord Gulgoth the Afflictor and his bloated, hideous warriors embody the implacable fortitude and relentless aggression of the XIV Legion, Nurgle's favoured mortal followers.
A rot had seeped into the sacred districts of Ancestor's Row. Where once the pristine halls and undercrofts of this complex has been places of serene calm and quiet, now they echoed with the buzzing of plague flies and the screams of the hideously afflicted.
Gurloch Thrax hummed along with the dirge as he worked, carving the symbols of the Plaguefather into the corpses of the slain with his rusted blade, fashioning their mouldering flesh into totems of noxious strength that would empower the supernatural afflictions his Dolorous Strain had brought to Hyperia Hivesprawl.
Thrax stood, his Cataphractii plate groaning with the motion, and observed the work of his brethren. The chamber of sanctity had been transformed into a shrine to Nurgle, filled with bubbling pits of toxic slime and fetishes of yellowed bone carved into the tri-lobe of the Plague God. Some of the bodies hanging from the arched ceiling writhed and burbled. Either they were in the last, agonised throes of mortality, or bountiful life was about to erupt from their bellies.
'Lucky souls,' said Thrax, nodding in satisfaction. It had hardly been glorious work for some of Lord Mortarion's most trusted agents, but the corruption of Hyperia was proceeding entirely as planned. The servants of the Corpse Emperor had not even noticed the horror building beneath their streets, so focused were they on the crude attacks of the Orks and the anarchy caused by xenos-worshipping scum across the hives of Vigilus. By the time they realised their doom, it would already be far too late.
There was something entirely satisfying about this particular vector of infection, as far as the Blightlord Terminator was concerned. This midden-pit of dead men and monuments to the false prophets of the Corpse Emperor would breed a new and wonderful disease, a gift of boils and pustulating lesions that the faithful of Vigilus would swiftly spread to their flock.
'We have movement in the outer catacombs,' said Suppurax Volghor, his voice like the rattling last breath of a dying man.
Thrax cocked his helmeted head. He heard a thundering in the distance. The roar of bolter rounds, but distorted strangely. Each volley almost sounded like a chorus of screams. Most intriguing. The wailing cacophony of the Poxwalkers that had been placed around the perimeter of the Death Guard's encampment was swiftly silenced. Whoever these intruders were, they were capable.
'The Emperor's wretches?' asked Mulgh the Curdled, immediately reaching for his plague spewer. The Blightlord's treasured weapon had been filled with the latest biological horrors brewed by the disease factories of the Plague Planet before the Dolorous Strain embarked upon this mission, and Mulgh was itching to observe their effects upon the hated warriors of the Adeptus Astartes.
'Perhaps,' said Gurloch Thrax, checking the magazine of his combi-bolter and drawing his balesword. 'But I smell the stench of sorcery upon the wind. In any case, our work cannot be endangered. Come, brothers. Let us reward these interlopers with the bounteous gifts of Grandfather Nurgle.'
The Dolorous Strain advanced through the labyrinth of catacombs and ossuary halls, lit only by the flickering light of braziers. They made no secret of their presence. That was not their way. Their droning voices joined in a phlegmy dirge that echoed through the halls, and their thundering footsteps shook loose clouds of dust. Let the enemy know that death was coming for them, relentless and unstoppable. Let them know despair.
They found the first corpses at the entrance to the grand vestibule. Poxwalkers, their bloated, pustule-covered bodies burst apart by bolt rounds. Shurgholgh leaned over the pile of ruined dead, picking at their ruptured flesh with the insectoid forelimbs that protruded from his Terminator armour.
'What do you see, brother?' said Gurloch Thrax. Shurgholgh gestured to the craters blasted into the Poxwalkers. The wounds were cauterised, the flesh around them warped and melted by unnatural heat.
'Warpfire,' muttered Bubox Glouch, hefting his immense flail of corruption, and scanning the colonnaded chamber beyond, which was filled with the hooded statues of Imperial saints and martyrs. Several of the monuments lay toppled and smashed upon the floor. Thrax saw more bolt craters in their marbled surfaces, and more Poxwalkers slumped inert around the hall. Despite the detritus and carnage strewn across the vestibule, it was strangely quiet.
Far too quiet, in Thrax's opinion.
'The enemy awaits,' he muttered. He might not care for subtlety, but the Blightlord Terminator was no fool. This had all the markings of a trap. So be it. More than once an enemy had sought to ambush the Dolorous Strain, only to discover to their horror that no matter how much firepower they poured into the champions of the Death Guard, their Cataphractii armour and rancid flesh could not be breached.
The Dolorous Strain resumed their battle-dirge. Droning flies whirled around their hulking forms, and choking smoke spilled from the head of Glouch's heavy flail. They marched into the vestibule, bolters and weapons ready, inviting their hidden foes to strike.
Figures stepped from the shadows. They were as tall and broad as the Blightlord Terminators, but where the Death Guard's armour was rusted and seeping with hideous fluids, these warriors wore archaic yet pristine suits of elaborate plate. Their crested helms gleamed with gold and silver, and their bolters and curved blades burned with sickly warp-light. Terminators of the Thousand Sons.
As one, the enemy warriors fired, and sorcerous bolts of flame screamed across the hall and smashed into the Blightlords' armour. Thrax felt the agonising heat even through the thick layers of twisted flesh and ceramite.
'Servants of the God of Lies,' he roared, raising his combi-bolter and unleashing a volley of his own. 'Destroy these lifeless husks.'
The vestibule erupted into chaos. Hails of bolt rounds filled the air, the chattering roar of the Death Guard volleys meeting the screaming chorus of inferno rounds. Bubox Glouch barrelled forwards, foul-smelling smoke seeping from the head of his flail, and was met by one of the Scarab Occult Terminators. The silent warrior wielded his khopesh with surprising dexterity, slipping beneath the whirling head of Glouch's weapon and carving a furrow across the Blightlord's armoured belly.
If Glouch even noticed the strike, he gave no sign. He simply accepted the hit and set his feet, swinging his flail of corruption with hideous force and striking the Thousand Sons warrior full in the chest. Ceramite armour splintered, and the silent warrior stumbled backwards, warp-light spilling from the breach in his armour.
Mulgh the Curdled chortled in delight as his plague spewer hurled torrents of acidic effluvia across his foes. The flawless armour of the Thousand Sons began to fester and boil, a patina of rust and filth smothering the royal blue of their heraldry. The noxious fluids seeped into armour joints and visors, and the air was filled with a wet, sizzling sound. Clearly, the alchemists of the Plague Planet had outdone themselves with this latest concoction.
Thrax exchanged blows with the nearest Terminator, his filth-encrusted balesword clashing upon the ornate khopesh of his foe. Empty shells they might be, but the warriors of the Scarab Occult were fearsome fighters. He struck the blue-armoured warrior several times, but could not breach the Terminator's sorcerous plate armour. He growled in frustration and disgust. These hateful beings were anathema to the glory of Nurgle, mindless automata unable to appreciate the Plague God's blessed gifts. Thrax would grind them into dust.
A wave of blue fire swept across the chamber and struck the Blightlord champion in the chest with fearsome force. To his astonishment Thrax found himself tumbling backwards, crashing to the stone tiles as if he had been struck by a comet. His entire body was wreathed in fire. Through the haze of pain and confusion, Thrax hauled himself to one knee and peered though the roiling flames.
A figure strode down the steps at the far end of the vestibule, clad in Terminator plate like his fellow Thousand Sons, but dressed in flowing robes of white and moving with a grace quite unlike the mechanical strides of his kin. He carried a gleaming staff in one hand, and from the tip of that weapon poured a steady stream of purplish fire.
'Repulsive creatures,' said the Exalted Sorcerer, surveying the carnage before him. 'What secrets might I prise from your putrid flesh, I wonder?'
Thrax began to laugh. Wet, gurgling rasps spilled from his throat as he staggered upright. His Cataphractii plate was bubbling under the supernatural heat of the witchflame, but it was not breached and he could still move unhindered.
'Is that all you have, little mageling?' he said. 'Not enough. You will make a fine offering. I will sow the twelve plagues of Nurgle into your undeserving flesh, and watch you be reborn anew in his image.'
Gurloch Thrax has fought at the side of Lord Mortarion for centuries, at the forefront of the fallen Primarch's endless wars. In that time Thrax has become suffused with entropic diseases and warp-spawned plagues, gifts that the Dolorous Strain - his elite kill team - delight in sharing with their foes.
The origins of the Dolorous Strain hearken back to Mortarion's long campaigns against the forces of Tzeentch, Khorne and Slaanesh, a campaign fought within the enormous warp rift known as the Eye of Terror. The scale and ferocity of these battles would be impossible to conceive for a mortal mind. In a battleground where concepts as crude as time and space have no meaning, daemonic and Heretic Astartes forces engaged in a cataclysmic war on behalf of their foul patrons.
It was in this hellish conflict that Gurloch Thrax came to Lord Mortarion's attention, for the Death Guard warrior exemplified the utter implacability that the Daemon Primarch prized in his warriors. Thrax was soon granted his own band of Blightlord Terminators, and trusted with the honoured task of testing the latest bio-weapons, alchemical fluids and daemonic viruses brewed in the disease factories of the Plague Planet. Wielding prototype plague spewers, blight launchers and bubotic axes bubbling with flesh-rotting afflictions, the Dolorous Strain battled the daemonic and mortal servants of their rival Chaos Gods, mowing down countless foes whilst burbling throaty dirges of worship in honour of the Plague God. These lethal implements thoroughly contaminated the members of the Dolorous Strain with all manner of empyric mutations and hideous sicknesses, which the Blightlord Terminators took great satisfaction in passing on to their enemies.
When finally the Tainted Sons were unleashed upon the ailing Imperium in the wake of the Great Rift, they employed all of these disgusting gifts in the obliteration of loyalist forces, fighting at Lord Mortarion's side as his armies tore their way into Imperial space, setting their sights upon the Realm of Ultramar. To Thrax, the enlightenment of the naive servants of the Emperor was his holy task, an act of benevolent generosity to draw them into the embrace of Grandfather Nurgle. At Espandor and at Drohl, shining worlds of Ultramar were reduced to festering wastelands, and the Dolorous Strain were instrumental in the fates of both. Thrax led precision strikes to contaminate several vital agri-plants and hive cities, butchering all opposition and paving the way for the Death Guard to enact their campaign of biological warfare.
The monster called Bubox Glouch is the combat specialist of the Dolorous Strain, wielding a two-handed Flail of Corruption with frightening strength as he lumbers into battle. Both the power weapon and Glouch himself radiate a miasma of reeking gases, causing foes to double up in sickened agony, vomiting and bleeding from the eyes and nose even as Glouch smashes their bones to fragments. Due to his size and unstoppable momentum, Glouch is a formidable combatant, accepting a hundred strikes from his enemies before responding with a single, devastating blow of his own. He marches at the head of the Dolorous Strain as they advance, humming contentedly to himself as bolts and energy blasts deflect from his Terminator plate.
So named because his bloated gut seeps a steady trail of yellowish pus and slime, Mulgh the Curdled is responsible for wielding the kill team's plague spewer. This appalling weapon is filled with the latest concoctions brewed by the alchemists of the Death Guard's disease factories, and Mulgh is responsible for testing and observing their effects on mortal flesh. It is a task the Blightlord Terminator takes to with great glee, chuckling wetly as he watches flesh slough away like sodden paper, and his foes scream as their bodies inflate and detonate in a gory shower. He has a talent for aiming his cascades of toxic effluvia, catching multiple foes in a single arcing torrent, or managing to douse heavily armoured foes in such a manner that the bubbling bile seeps into armour breaches or weak points to liquidise the being within.
Even within the ranks of the Tainted Sons, the mutations that have broken out across Shurgholgh's body are seen as a true gift from the Plaguefather. The Terminator's Cataphractii plate has morphed and twisted to accommodate a body that has taken on the appearance of one of Nurgle's beloved rot flies, covered in spear-like hairy bristles and clawed appendages. Shurgholgh clicks and hisses in his own strange tongue as he cuts down foe after foe with sawing bursts from his reaper autocannon. When an enemy lies ruptured and slain, the Blightlord crouches over their corpse, his dextrous forelimbs gathering samples and trophies with which he conducts his own hideous experiments in the name of the Plaguefather.
Suppurax Volghor is the newest addition to the ranks of the Dolorous Strain, a veteran of the Plague Wars who has reaped an impressive tally of Ultramarine kills, and thus drawn the appraising gaze of Lord Mortarion.
Shurgholgh, Blightlord Terminator Heavy Specialist
Suppurax Volghor, Blightlord Terminator
Gurloch Thrax, Blightlord Champion Kill Team Leader
The Dolorous Strain seek to spread their feculent corruption across the tundras of Kaelac's Bane, drawing the ire of Drukhari raiders.
Warriors of the Thousand Sons ambush Gurloch Thrax and his warriors, but the Blightlord Terminators prove horrifyingly resilient foes.
Mulgh the Curdled, Blightlord Terminator Demolitions Specialist
Bubox Glouch, Blightlord Terminator Combat Specialist
A kill team of Ultramarines Infiltrators battle the Dolorous Strain for control of a vital promethium depot in the tangle of Dontoria Hivesprawl.
Amongst the most trusted champions of Lord Mortarion, the kill team known as the Dolorous Strain have spread the malign gifts of Nurgle far across the galaxy. By their foul hand have entire worlds been consumed by rot and pestilence, and the Imperium's mightiest servants reduced to corrupted husks.
In the depths of the Eye of Terror, Mortarion's Death Guard lay siege to the Slaaneshi stronghold of Qor Luxiss, a nightmarish spire of glass and sinew which channels the haunting cries of a million agonised souls into a melodic chorus. This siren song echoes across tormented space, driving both the daemons of the Dark Prince and their Heretic Astartes allies into an exultant killing frenzy. The Dolorous Strain is given the task of cutting off this signal. Breaching the fortress in a precision teleportarium strike, Gurloch Thrax and his Blightlords fight their way past both Daemons and the depraved warriors of the Flawless Host. At the heart of the structure they unleash swarms of daemonic plague flies into the intricately fashioned workings of the super-structure. The atonal buzzing of the foul insects drowns out the choir of agony, confusing and disrupting the Slaaneshi forces long enough for the Death Guard to force an opening and pulverise Qor Luxiss with a ferocious artillery barrage.
Abaddon the Despoiler, Warmaster of Chaos, unites the warring factions of the Eye of Terror in common cause. The horror and destruction of the 13th Black Crusade shatters the fragile barrier between realities, and the immense warp rift known as the Cicatrix Maledictum tears open across the galaxy. Lord Mortarion leads the Death Guard in an invasion of Ultramar, shining empire of the Ultramarines and the domain of his hated rival, the resurrected Rouboute Guilliman. At Espandor and Drohl the Dolorous Strain strike at the heart of the loyalist defences, clearing the way for the construction of immense plague engines to spread Nurgle's bounty.
The Dolorous Strain are tasked with destroying the Valentus Hydro-Bastion, an immense wall of rockcrete and gravitic generatorums which holds at bay the diseased waters of Drohl's alpine rivers. Within the belly of this wonder of Ultramarian design they are met in battle by Primaris Intercessors of the Novamarines Chapter. Though the Space Marines fight fiercely, one by one they are cut down by rusted blades and fusillades of bolter fire. Mulgh the Curdled oversees the demolition of several gravitic generatorums, and as the dam collapses under the pressure, a flood of brackish plague-water floods across the southern plains of Drohl.
Roboute Guilliman leads a formidable counter-offensive against Mortarion's forces in Ultramar, driving the Death Guard into retreat. The Daemon Primarch broods over this defeat, but word soon reaches him of a new front that may be worthy of his attention - the isolated world of Vigilus, a furiously contested war zone that is drawing in forces from across the galaxy. The Tainted Sons - and by extension the Dolorous Strain - are despatched to sow the first seeds of corruption...
Slipping through the embattled Vigilus blockade upon disguised Imperial vessels, agents of the Death Guard infiltrate several of the planet's major population centres, with the goal of sowing rot and disease throughout the populace and paving the way for a major planetary assault. The Dolorous Strain are one such strike team, armed with the latest biological horrors from the factories of the Plague Planet to test upon the flesh of loyalist warriors.
Genestealer Cultists of the Pauper Princes lead subterranean ambushes upon infection cells of Death Guard warriors, stymieing the legion's attempts to spread the taint of the Gellerpox across Vigilus. The Dolorous Strain are dispatched to repel the xenos-tainted dissidents. While his fellow Blightlord Terminators butcher scores of Neophytes and Genestealers, Mulgh the Curdled laces several of the local water supplies with a horrendous cocktail of biological agents. The cultist attacks falter in the following weeks, as entire regions of Dontoria are ravaged by bone-breaking agues and other appalling diseases.
Having successfully infected several major population centres of Dontoria, drawing badly needed Space Marine forces into a thankless quarantine action, the Death Guard set their sights upon the Hyperia Hivesprawl, home to the Imperial capital. The Dolorous Strain are at the forefront of this new offensive, but they soon find themselves facing an unexpected foe - warriors of the Thousand Sons, seeking to reignite the bitter rivalry between the worshippers of Tzeentch and those of Nurgle.
|Creatures||Beasts of Nurgle; Blight Drones; Foetid Bloat-drones; Great Unclean Ones; Hooktors; Lords of Contagion; Mabrothrax; Malignant Plaguecasters; Noxious Blightbringers; Nurglings; Pestigor; Plaguebearers; Plaguebulls; Plague Hulks; Plague Ogryns; Plague Toads; Plague Towers; Plague Zombies; Poxbringers; Poxwalkers; Rot Flies; Sloppity Bilepipers; Spoilpox Scriveners|
|Characters||Abcellyoth; Aynthrexes; Bilerot Vomitflesh; Lothar Bubonicus; Bubonis; Vorxec Calvarius; The Carrier; The Entomancer; Epidemius; Ferrue Fayne; Tormus Fayne; Foulspawn; Nathaniel Garro; Ghulroth; The Glottkin; Goresqualor; Gulgoth; Horticulous Slimux; Jibberjaw; Ku'gath; Mamon; Adrius Meinloka; Mephidast; Mortarion; Mortius; Mulch; Necrosius; Nurgle; Pestilaan; Putricifex; Rotigus; Scabeiathrax; Septicus; Achkovas Spengh; The Thanator; Typhus; Ussax; Karloth Valois; Plaguestrangler Vilestench; Jonas Whitespore; Ystareth|
|Groups||Apostles of Contagion; The Befouling Host; Blessed Flesh; Bringers of Decay; Brotherhood of Plague; Callers of Sorrow; Carnival of Chaos; The Cleaved; Company of Misery; Death Guard; Deathmongers; Death Priests; Flylords; The Grey Death; Inevitable Order; Legio Mortis; Legion of Festering Death; Lords of Decay; Mournful Song; Nurgle's Rotters; Plague Legions; Pox Tribes; The Purge; The Reborn; The Scourge; Septicus Legion; Sorcerer-Kings; The Tainted; Tainted Sons; Vile Savants; House Zegenda|
|Things||An'garrach; Balesword; Blight Grenade; Bloodrot Rounds; Bone Maul; Corruption; Cursed Carillon; Death Head; Dolorous Knell; Doomsday Bell; Entropic Knell; Epidemia; Father of Blades; Foulswarm Grenade; Gem of Nurgle; Horn of Nurgle's Rot; Icon of Despair; Icon of Seeping Decay; Manreaper; Palanquin; Pandemic Staff; Pestilaan Light Cruiser; Pestilent Flail; Plague Banner; Plaguebringer; Plague Cauldron; Plague Chalice; Plague Claw; Plague Flail; Plague Knife; Plague Sceptre; Plague Skull of Glothila; Plaguesword; Poxwalker Hive; Puscleaver; Rot Giver; Scab; Scourge Shells; Staff of Nurgle; TP-III; Undead Heart; War Altar|