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Plague Zombies

In the Warhammer 40,000 setting, Plague Zombies are the result of a powerful diseases that brings the dead back to unholy life in order to continue sharing Nurgle's bounteous gifts. Poxwalkers are a type of plague zombie. Various individuals have been known to spread zombie plagues, including Typhus, Necrosius, Karloth Valois, and the Vile Savants.

Outlanders Rulebook (1996)

Outlanders Rulebook (1996), p187-188 — Plague Zombies

Cost to recruit: 10 credits for D6 Plague Zombies

Long ago Necromunda was swept by a mysterious neurone plague which boiled up from the Underhive and touched even the highest peaks of the Spire. Victims of the plague fell ill for weeks, days or hours depending on their strength. If they succumbed to the fever their brains were rotted by the terrible disease, all higher reasoning was lost and the victims became little more than beasts.

Unfortunately beasts still need to eat and soon thousands of brainless, half-dead plague victims roamed the boulevards and thoroughfares of the great hives seeking flesh to feast on. Each time they pulled down some luckless citizen and tore into his flesh with teeth and nails another victim was infected and another Plague Zombie was added to their ranks. Anarchy and chaos swept through the hives as Necromundans struggled to fight off the hordes of Plague Zombies and drive the surviving ones down into the Underhive.

Zombie plague still breaks out from time to time in the Underhive and packs of Plague Zombies are yet another of the many dangers in the dark underbelly of the hive. The Zombies live in wild packs like dogs, fighting each other and living off what carrion they can find or anything that's stupid enough to let itself be caught. Scavvies often round up packs of Zombies and send them against outposts, settlements and rival gangs that they are attacking. In sufficiently large numbers these creatures can be fearsome opponents.

Plague Zombies have forgotten the meaning of fear and do not experience pain so they are hard to stop. Also, any wound inflicted by a Plague Zombie carries the dreaded plague and may turn its victim into another Plague Zombie.

A Scavvy gang can 'buy' Plague Zombies for a game, the cost representing bits of food which are used to lure the Zombies to the right place. Every 10 credits' worth of food will bring D6 Plague Zombies along to fight. The Plague Zombies are under the control of the Scavvy player for the duration of the game but they do not join the gang and will go back to their wandering existence when the game is over.


Weapons. Plague Zombies do not have any wargear; they are armed with a variety of spikes, sharpened bones, claws and teeth.

Special Rules

Zombie Shuffle. Plague Zombies usually stagger around with broken, faltering steps. Occasionally when they get the scent of blood in their decaying nostrils, they will break into a loping, shambling run. To represent their unpredictable gait Plague Zombies move 2D6" in the movement phase. Each Plague Zombie is rolled for individually and the controlling player may move them as he wishes up to the distance rolled on the dice.

Plague Zombies may not run or charge, they always move 2D6". However, Plague Zombies always count as charging into hand-to-hand combat if they manage to move into base-to-base contact with an enemy model.

No Pain. Plague Zombies feel no pain whatsoever: you can burn them, shoot them or cut them and they'll just keep trying to bite you until you manage to inflict crippling damage on them. Because of this Plague Zombies ignore being pinned and are not affected by flesh wounds.

No Fear. As the reasoning parts of their brains are long gone Plague Zombies lack the intellect to be afraid of anything. This means that Plague Zombies ignore all Psychology rules and never have to roll Leadership tests to see whether they lose their nerve. If the gang controlling the Plague Zombies bottles out the Zombie pack loses its motivation and scatters as well.

Plague! Naturally, Plague Zombies carry the zombie plague, if you see what I mean. If another model is wounded by a Plague Zombie in hand-to-hand combat he may contract the disease and (ulp) turn into a Plague Zombie. Note which gang members are wounded by Zombies on the gang roster and at the end of the game roll a D6 on the table below to see whether they are infected. Note that this is in addition to the Serious Injury roll if the fighter goes out of action.

D6 rollResult
4-6Zombie Time! The gang member is infected and suffers brain death within hours. Roll a D6: on a roll of 4-6 the new Zombie wanders off into the wastes to join his fellows. On a roll of 1-3 the Zombie attacks a randomly determined gang member, fight out the close combat immediately. In either event all of the model's equipment is infected and counts as destroyed.
2-3Sickness. The victim feels weak and ill for days and must miss the gang's next fight while he recovers.
1Clear. After a few tense days no symptoms of zombie plague have emerged and the gang member is in the clear.

D6 Modifiers
Only suffered flesh wound-2
Not reduced to 0 wounds-2
Friendly Doc is part of gang's territory-2
Member of gang has Medic skill-1
Gang owns a medi-pack-1

Outlanders Rulebook (1996), p262 — Carrion Bats — Rating: 20

These large bats live in the tunnels of the Underhive, where they hand upside down in seething colonies. If disturbed they flutter down the tunnels in a huge squealing swarm. Carrion bats have ferocious Piranha-like jaws but they live by scavenging meat from the kills made by larger creatures. The bats are drawn by the scent of fresh blood and will flutter down to steal a few mouthfuls of flesh before the rats arrive to pick a carcass clean. Underhivers are afraid of carrion bats because their bite carries diseases caught from their scrofulous diet, including the dreaded zombie plague.


Special Rules

Fly. Carrion bats can fly. This allows them to move up or down levels without having to use ladders. Each 1" of vertical movement up or down use up 1" of the carrion bat's horizontal movement across the battlefield.

Plague! Any fighters taken out of action by carrion bats must roll a D6 in addition to rolling for serious injuries at the end of the game. On a roll of 1, 2 or 3 the bats were carrying the zombie plague, make a roll for them on the Plague Zombie Infection Table just as if they had been injured by a Zombie.

Carrion Bats in Games. Carrion bats will not usually attack groups of fighters but may attempt to overwhelm lone individuals. Carrion bats pose the biggest threat to models that have gone down, as they will move into hand-to-hand combat with them and take them out of action.

Citadel Journal 21 (1997)

Citadel Journal 21 (1997), p40 — Chaos Champion Gift Table

Chaos GodGifts
Khorne1. Subject to Frenzy
2. Chaos armour (unmodified save of 5+ on a D6)
Slaanesh1. The Priest has a Leadership value of 10. This can never be increased above 10, nor can it ever be reduced below 10.
2. One Wyrd primary power chosen at random from the Telepathy Primary Table in the Outlanders book.
Nurgle1. +1 Toughness
2. The Cultist Coven may have D6 Plague Zombies in every game they fight in. They get these Zombies for free, but the Zombies must remain within 16" of the Priest at all times. If the Priest is killed, then the Coven may no longer have these Zombies.
Tzeentch1. One Wyrd primary power chosen at random from either the Pyromaniac Primary Table or the Telekinetic Primary Power Table in the Outlanders book.
2. If a Wyrd power is cast at the Priest or anyone within 12" of him, he may nullify it on the D6 roll of 4 or more.

Codex: Eye of Terror (2003)

Codex: Eye of Terror (2003), p44 — Plague Zombies

To represent the hordes of Plague Zombies unleashed during the Thirteenth Crusade, use Mutants with the Bloated Blessing of Nurgle. Zombies may not take any weapon upgrades or include a Boss. They are however, Fearless, and hence will automatically pass any Morale or Leadership test and cannot be Pinned. Because of their shambling gait, they will always move as if they are in difficult terrain.

Disciples of the Dark Gods (2008)

Disciples of the Dark Gods (2008), p145-151 — The Vile Savants

"To our eyes, human existence is filled with hopes, desires, nobility and weakness. To see mankind through their eyes is to see the corn waiting for the reaper's scythe."
—Inquisitor Herrod, A Discourse on the Enemy Beyond.

The Vile Savants are a warp-spawned disease made flesh, sent to wrack worlds with suffering and drag them into festering ruin. There are no followers to their cause, no fanatics, and no deluded fools worshipping a false god, only the restless dead claimed by their plagues marching to the will of the daemon.

Legend among the worshippers of the Ruinous Powers has it that they were born of an unholy union of contagions unleashed centuries ago in a forgotten war. It said that in the distant past a great hospital ship was sent to tend the outbreaks of sickness and plague occurring as a result of the constant wars around the Eye of Terror. However, as well as alms and healers, it secretly carried another deadly cargo, an arsenal of dreadful weapons - biological agents, necrotic poisons, and alien fevers collected from a hundred worlds.

Legend has it that this great ark of salvation, whose name has been lost to myth, suffered a breach in its Geller Field while traversing the warp close to the Eye. In the moments that followed, the powers of the warp shattered the protective stasis of the deathly vault and sank into the viral samples aboard, filling them with unholy life and consciousness. The horrors that were unleashed quickly overwhelmed most onboard and sent a thousand screaming souls into oblivion. The medicae personnel trapped aboard faced a far darker fate indeed, as a daemon virus possessed them and made them its own flesh. With this, the Vile Savants were born, embodiments of unfeeling, indiscriminate death unleashed by the warp to wage a silent, implacable war against all life.

The Savants themselves are hideous to behold, reeking and defiled bio-containment suits filled with bubbling rot that stumble on, boneless and implacable, silent as death itself. These foul entities are possessed of the skills and knowledge of their long dead occupants coupled with a malign warp-intelligence and the occult might of the daemons of rot and pestilence. They are consumed by hatred for all that live and breathe and have the most horrific means of enacting their war of annihilation. The contagion that animates them is their dark harbinger, spilling out through the warp and infecting a single individual whose despair and morbidity attracts it from worlds away. From there, it spreads as plague, the infection runnning rampant and preparing the way for the Vile Savants to emerge, wreaking their vengeance and showering mankind with the gifts bestowed on them by the Lord of Decay.

Daemon Plague

The Vile Savants are daemonic entities who require no scheming mortal agents. They do not plot or foster nests of cultists, nor do they answer a sorcerer's summons when called (unless it suits their purpose). While other cults may spread like a disease, the Vile Savants are literally a warp spawned contagion. They spread and multiply through the flesh of reality just as mortal viruses spread from organ to organ, choking its host with sickness until it fails and collapses. The Vile Savants have a single and consuming desire: spread their contagion and kill until nothing is left alive. These horrors cannot be bargained with, reasoned with, placated, or diverted from this task.

The Ordo Malleus believes that this most unholy contagion is the design and will of the Ruinous Power called the Lord of Decay, known to some as Nurgle, Father of Plagues and Bringer of Despair. As warp entities, they serve to embody several types of daemonic contagions that are categorised by the Ordo Malleus as the Fydae Strain (named after the area of the Calixis Sector where they were first encountered). The Savants themselves are little more than murderous vessels, avatars of these hell-sent plagues. Each stage of a Fydae outbreak cycle escalates the amount of death and horror until it has reached such a weight of destruction that the barriers between real space and the warp can be breached, the dead walk, and the Vile Savants come to claim their master's prize.

When the Dead Do Not Rest

Outbreaks of various strains of zombie plague or incidents where the dead have been known to rise as a result of a warp-spawned rift, fell-technology, or necromantic witchery have been known to the Imperium for millennia but are thankfully comparably rare. In recent decades, however, the sectors and worlds of the Segmentum Obscurus have seen a marked upturn in such incidents linked to disease cults and the ancient enemy.

The involvement of the entities known as Vile Savants in the outbreak of these awful plagues is likewise a new development and a dangerous one. They bring a malign intelligence to these events, making them far harder to combat or contain. The Holy Ordos Segmentum Tabernacle believes that the Vile Savants are responsible for various outbreaks of plague and the massacre of settlements, ships, and cities across the Segmentum Obscurus occurring in the Calixis, Mandragora, Medusan, and Ixaniad Sectors. Of particular concern to the Conclave Calixis is that in the last 50 years there have been five confirmed contacts with what has been named the Fydae Strain (after the Sutter's Rock outbreak) in the Calixis Sector.

Carrionates and Warp Zombies

Although far from the most common of the Holy Ordos's foes, the walking dead have long been known as a blasphemous foe of the Inquisition. Animated at the behest of fell sorcery or creations of the darkest of the psyker's arts, such creatures can make for powerful and loyal servants. Forbidden science can also bring a twitching carcass to a semblance of hungry life. To represent such unnatural abominations, use the Plague Zombie shown here, but remove the references to the Fydae Strain infection and modify them to suit your needs. For example, ravenous daemon-bound corpses with a taste for human flesh might have the Berserk Charge talent and +10 Strength and Agility but will be subject to Warp Instability. Alternatively, shambling creatures created from a baleful chemical spill or forbidden bio-weapon might have the Toxic quality to their attacks and lack the Unhallowed special rule, but have a fear of bright light or fire and continue to rot until they finally collapse.

The Fydae Strain Zombie Plague

Exposure and Chance of Infection:

Incubation Time: Varies between 10 minutes and five days (the GM decides).

Base Toughness Test Modifier to Resist: Hard (-10).

Effects: If the victim succumbs to any degree of failure, he is racked by an intense fever and green marks blossom on his flesh, which quickly withers and sloughs away. The victim also begins to vomit foul blood. These symptoms last for approximately an hour during which the victim suffers a -30 penalty to all Tests. After an hour, the victim is gripped by violent spasms and dies in agony, but may later return as a Plague Zombie.

During this time, medicine cannot save the victim but exorcism might (see the Purge the Unclean Talent, in The Inquisitor's Handbook), though this will likely leave the victim in a precarious state suffering -1d10 permanent Strength and Toughness Damage.

Immunities: Owing to its daemonic nature as a thing of despair and occult corruption, individuals with the Pure Faith or Rite of Pure Thought Talents, the From Beyond, Machine (3+) (unless they contain considerable living matter), or Daemonic Traits, or those with a Dark Pact cannot be infected by the Fydae Strain. Likewise, the Unshakeable Faith Talent provides a +20 bonus to resist infection.

Subject Zero: The first person infected by Fydae Strain only suffers intense fever for approximately an hour. After this time, they are a contagious carrier of the disease but will suffer no other effects from it. They are also immune to the effects of all other diseases and toxins.

Using the Vile Savants in Your Games

The Vile Savants are a brutal and immediate threat and are ideally suited to high action scenarios focussing on character survival and the defence of innocent bystanders. The Savants and their rotting minions are violent and horrific antagonists, and there is unlikely to be much political subtlety in a scenario involving them! A good way to approach a classic outbreak scenario is to follow the progression of the zombie plague outbreak and then the arrival of the Vile Savants. Such scenarios could start from the beginning of an outbreak of an unknown disease. The Acolytes are then rushed in to determine the nature of the hazard, only to find themselves trapped and having to fend off tides of plague zombies.

Alternatively, an outbreak and subsequent arrival of the Vile Savants is a great, unexpected diversion that can interrupt an investigation in an unconnected matter. This last type of scenario is a classic case of the Acolytes just being in the wrong place at the wrong time. A third option is to break things down and perhaps use the plague zombies without the Savants themselves - perhaps on a hulk or ship in transit, or perhaps a single Vile Savant is behind a diseased mutant cult that hunts down medicae personnel in order to sacrifice them to its hidden master. It is, however, advisable to treat infecting Acolytes with care, as the diseases involved in such scenarios are utterly lethal. It makes for a rather dull roleplay session to have the PCs drop dead as soon as they enter an area of infection! Plan your adventures accordingly.

The Vile Savants are creations of the Chaos powers of disease and pestilence, and, as such, daemonic creatures of the Lord of Decay heed their call and follow in their wake. Such daemonic incursions appearing in the final stages of the outbreak could include the Plague Bearer (see page 354 of Dark Heresy), the Plague Swarm detailed here, or any suitable rot-glutted daemon of your own design.

The Pathology of Corruption

Like any disease, the contagion of the Vile Savants follows a particular pathology and path of infection as illustrated in the following section.

The First Stage: The Occult Infection of Subject Zero

The cascade of events that culminate in the arrival of the Vile Savants begins with the infection of a single person. How this first infection occurs is not known for certain, as the ways of the Chaos Gods are fickle, but the Ordo Malleus believes it may be some deep and dark lesion within a person's spirit calls out to the contagion and it responds to that call. If true, it would be a dark and macabre despair of such singular depth and malice that it resonates in the warp and calls the disease like a moth to a flame. While the exact means of infection are confined to theory, the Inquisition has had several confirmed cases from which to establish how the contagion progresses once it has infected its first victim.

At first, the only sign is a period of intense fever and terrible nightmarish visions that passes in a matter of hours and leaves the host apparently in perfect health. As healthy as the person seems, his soul is now lost and he has become a fever that walks and a vessel for unholy disaster in the shape of the Fydae Strain. Utterly infectious and yet outwardly healthy, he ignorantly goes about his life, not knowing that the contagion inside him is tainting all he comes in contact with.

Thus, the carrier spreads the contagion with a thoroughness that could never be achieved by obviously sick individuals. It is with this subtlety that the Grandfather of Fever shows his genius and his beneficence. This first subject will never be touched by any disease or sickness ever again, but will infect and doom all he meets and so is destined to stand at the centre of a storm of pestilence and see all he cares for dissolve and decay. In the terminology of the Ordo Malleus and the Ordo Sepulturum, this blighted individual and most damned of souls is named "Subject Zero".

The Second Stage: The Colonisation and Spread of Contagion

Once Subject Zero has unwittingly begun to spread the contagion, as time progresses, so will the spread of the plague at an ever-accelerating rate. Unlike mundane diseases, the contagion spread by Subject Zero can take weeks or hours to claim its first lives, dependant on its fickle daemonic nature. It is as if the disease itself is patient and willing to wait to spread to as much of the populace of a locale as possible before it begins the next fatal stage of its cycle. However, if tempted by a particularly choice group of victims (such as medicae personnel) or the threat of discovery, it will suddenly erupt with full force. Its hunger to kill may drive it to full outbreak sooner rather than later as the daemon will not be denied its feast.

Once the disease begins to manifest fully, it presents as a wild and vicious mixture of symptoms ranging from bloody flux, vomiting, and murderous fever, blooming strange green marks on the skin and the rapid necrotising of flesh, all finally resulting in a spasm-wracked death usually within hours of the disease's first symptoms manifesting. Once the first lives have been claimed, matters accelerate and worsen rapidly. Hundreds, even thousands may die within hours causing mass panic and civil disorder and straining any authority's ability to cope to the breaking point.

The Third Stage: The Walking Dead

In this stage, the disease does not simply attack the bodies of the infected but moves to overwhelm the few threads that keep humanity together in the plague's aftermath or may contest its decaying dominion. Rising from their graves, the plague dead walk in search of the living, the daemonic plague driving their corpses like the many cells of a single vile organism.

The walking dead fall on the living, hunting them down implacably, and each person they kill rises to join them in turn. As the walking dead multiply, wild terror and anarchy is the natural consequence unless the Inquisition, the Imperial military, or some other powerful force can step in. Short of total cleansing with fire and faith, there is now little that can be done to avert the next stage of the cycle, save contain it with brute force and merciless purpose.

The Fourth Stage: Cometh the Vile Savants

Once the dead have risen in great numbers, the hour of their masters' arrival has come. At the centre of the outbreak, in a silent, dark place bathed in death and despair, reality falls apart to the buzzing of flies. The Vile Savants step through into reality, and in their wake come the daemons of the Lord of Decay.

The number of Vile Savants that appear is dependant on the extent of the contagion's spread. If a great city is consumed by the contagion and the walking dead numbers are legion, dozens of Vile Savants may come, while the death throes of a small settlement may bring a single savant to perform its final rites. As manifestations of the contagion itself, the Vile Savants can command the throng of walking dead, wield diseased powers of the warp, and consume life like a hungry cloud of locusts. With a deliberate will at the centre, the walking dead begin to destroy any remaining resistance and a disaster becomes a war.

The Fifth Stage: Disintegration and Proliferation

The final stage of the contagion's cycle occurs only if the Vile Savants are victorious and have brought their targets to ruin. With death and decay holding limitless dominion, the walking dead begin to collapse, their flesh putrefies, and the air is filled by the buzzing of bloated corpse flies. In this perfect garden of decay, the Vile Savants move about, harvesting the outpouring of death and decay and sampling the changing contagions born by the outbreak. Not all are killed, however, as a few people are allowed to survive and the Vile Savants do not seek them out - for the Lord of Decay needs life and flesh upon which to work his wondrous diseases and requires witnesses to bear testament to his all-consuming power. Finally, the Vile Savants step back through the hell that made them and wait until the next outbreak, wherever and whenever it may be.

Inquisitorial Threat Briefing

The Vile Savants and the Fydae Strain contagion are a threat not simply because of the destruction that they cause, but because the Inquisition fears it is geared to some greater dark design. It is the considered opinion of the Conclave Calixis that it is only the gift of the Emperor's providence and thanks to the valiant actions of his servants that there has not already been far greater loss of life at their hands in the sector. All of the Holy Ordos must be ever watchful for the reappearance of this threat and take whatever action is needed to confound and destroy them wherever and whenever they are encountered. It is also the duty, particularly of the Ordo Malleus, to further pursue these terrible creatures and learn of their nature and limitations so that they may be more effectively countered in the future, as the threat posed by the Vile Savants is not only severe but perhaps eternal. They are truly the disease that walks, always searching for a time and place to surface and whose only goal is suffering and death.

The Children of Decay: The Vile Savants

Fydae Strain Plague Zombies

Fydae Strain Zombies first appear to be no more than gaunt, dead-eyed plague victims in soiled and blood spattered clothing, but this does little to dim the horror for friends and loved ones wracked with grief. As the outbreaks worsen and the Vile Savants themselves make an appearance, the Fydae Zombies decay at an unnaturally accelerated rate. They turn into horrific rotting husks of putrescent flesh, but no less active or deadly for it.

Fydae Strain Plague Zombie Profile

Movement: 1/2/3/-

Wounds: 10

Skills: None.

Talents: None.

Traits: Dark Sight, Diseased (Fydae Strain), Fear 1 (Disturbing) (but may increase to 2 for particularly horrifically decomposed examples), From Beyond, Natural Weapons (Dead Hands and Teeth), Unhallowed, Unnatural Toughness (×2), Walking Dead.

Walking Dead: An animate corpse propelled into life by dark forces is, as might be imagined, quite difficult to "kill". These creatures do not need to breathe, they do not tire, and they are immune to poisons and diseases, as well as many environmental hazards. They do not suffer the effects of being Stunned or the penalties for being injured. In addition, only Critical Wounds suffered to the head or body can destroy them, any suffered to an arm or leg simply renders that limb useless.

Unhallowed: Blessed and Holy weapons inflict double Damage to Plague Zombies.

Weapons: Dead hands and teeth (1d5+4 R; Primitive, plus infection).
Includes Strength Bonus.

Gear: None (Zombies are able to use basic tools and weapons if directed to so by a Vile Savant, although firearms and other complex devices are largely beyond them).

Threat Rating: Malleus Minima.

The Vile Savants

The Vile Savants are horrific manifestations of the daemonic diseases that claimed the mortal lives of the putrescent remains of the flesh they wear, and are avatars of plague and destruction. They appear as figures wearing sealed containment suits that are slick with filth and beaded with moisture like sweat on fevered skin. Inside, there is nothing but putrefied liquid flesh and writhing vermin, held together by the sagging structure of the suit. The daemonic forces that motivate them drive their stumbling, boneless limbs on with macabre and implacable purpose. A palpable aura of utter horror and rotting miasma surrounds them, and to simply be unfortunate enough to witness these awful things is terrifying. Worse still is to hear their buzzing voices inside one's head or become the subjects of their experimentations in the death of flesh.

Vile Savant Profile

Movement: 3/6/9/18

Wounds: 15

Skills: Awareness (Per), Chem-Use (Int), Climb (S), Common Lore (Tech) (Int), Deceive (Fel), Evaluate (Int), Forbidden Lore (Warp) (Int) +20, Medicae (Int) +20, Psyniscience (Per), Speak Language (any needed) (Int), Tech-Use (Int) +10.

Talents: Melee Weapon Training (Chain, Primitive).

Traits: Daemonic (TB 6), Dark Sight, Diseased††, Fear 3 (Horrifying), From Beyond, Strange Physiology, The Horror Within, The Stuff of Nightmares.

Daemonic Presence: All those within 20 metres hear snatches of technical medicae chatter, weeping noises, and pleading screams, all overlaid with the buzzing of insects, while colours appear to fade, paint to blister, and metal to rust. All creatures within this area take a -10 penalty to Willpower Tests.

The Horror Within: A Vile Savant may peel away its containment suit to release the daemonic essence within. This takes a Full Action, and once complete, the Vile Savant is replaced by a Plague Swarm. If the Vile Savant is destroyed by mundane weaponry, this also has a 50% of occurring, rather than the daemon being slain outright.

††Diseased: Vile Savants carry the Fydae Strain and are infectious at will (as per a Plague Zombie), additionally all their attacks carry the Toxic quality, as Wounds caused by them instantly become infected and rot.

Telepathy: The Vile Savants have no mouths to speak but can use the Telepathy Psychic Power automatically and with no possibility of Psychic Phenomena or Perils of the Warp. When heard inside a person's head, a Vile Savant's voice sounds like a buzzing swarm of insects crawling in one's mind. Hearing this voice automatically inflicts 1d5 Insanity Points unless a Challenging (+0) Willpower Test can be made to resist the horror. This power is treated as a Psychic Power in all other respects.

Zombie Mastery: Fydae Strain Plague Zombies are an extension of the disease contained within the Vile Savants. This connection allows them to have complete control of all Fydae Strain Plague Zombies within 300 metres, and they are able to perceive and act through them. Controlling the zombies within this area is a Free Action. This power works automatically but is treated as a Psychic Power in all other respects.

Armour: Soiled containment suits (All 2).

Weapons: Filthy surgical blade (3m; 1d5+3 R; Pen 3; Toxic), bone severer (1d10+4 R; Pen 2; Toxic, Unwieldy, Tearing) or contaminated corrosive spray from its suit (10m; S/-/-; 1d10+2 E; Pen 6; Toxic, Infectious, Flame).
Includes Strength Bonus.

Gear: None other than rusted and contaminated medical equipment.

Threat Rating: Malleus Majoris.

Plague Swarm

A plague swarm is a daemonic force of mindless destruction that materialises in the corporeal universe as a rippling mass of locusts, beetles, flies, or other such creatures twisted into utterly horrific form and redolent with rot and decay. These hellish swarms move as one implacable and unholy mass, stripping flesh from victims as they pass, tainting and destroying everything they touch.

The following profile indicates a swarm with the approximate mass of an adult human being. Smaller and much larger swarms are possible.

Plague Swarm Profile

Movement: 4/8/12/24

Wounds: 25

Skills: Awareness +20 (Per), Dodge (Ag), Psyniscience (Per).

Talents: None.

Traits: Bestial, Daemonic, Daemonic Presence, Dark Sight, Fear 2 (Frightening), 50% chance of Flyer (roll 2d10 to determine Speed), From Beyond, Natural Weapons (A Thousand Gnawing Maws), Swarm Creature, Warp Instability.

Daemonic Presence: All creatures within 20 metres feel the scuttling of numberless things under their skin and hear a sound like the buzzing of flies from all around. All creatures within this area take a -10 penalty to Willpower Tests.

Swarm Creature: Any attack from a weapon that does not either have the Blast, Flame, Scatter, or Holy qualities only inflicts half Damage. In most circumstances, a swarm creature cannot be Grappled, Knocked Down, or Pinned, and the swarm may "pour" through suitable small openings such as ducts, vents, and the like, but they may not Jump. The swarm is counted as being destroyed once all its Wounds are lost. The swarm's attacks have a variable Penetration value (roll each time an attack lands), representing its ability to engulf their victims and attack vulnerable areas. Because of its diffuse nature, plague swarms suffer double Damage from Blessed attacks and the effects of warp instability.

Weapons: A thousand gnawing maws (1d10 R; Pen 1d5; Tearing).
Includes Strength Bonus.

Threat Rating: Malleus Minoris.

They come, in the depths of the starless dark. They come, with pestilence and plague. They come, faceless and shambling and hungry. They come, bidden by the Grandfather. They come, to share their gifts with all they meet.

Imperial Armour 7: The Siege of Vraks, part 3 (2009)

Imperial Armour 7: The Siege of Vraks, part 3 (2009), p176 — Renegade and Heretic Troop Types

Plague Marine Exalted Champion

Champions of Nurgle are the chosen of the Lord of Decay, great warriros who have risen from the ranks to become a leader by dint of their prowess and strength. Exalted Champions are Space Marines, the lieutants of the Chaos Lords and one day they may rise to replace their master at the head of a warband of Plague Marines.


Enforcers are strongmen, appointed by the Cardinal's hierarchy as overseers within the ranks, forcing men to fight and follow orders, often at gun point. All are chosen for their loyalty and brutality.

Apostate Preacher

These are the corupt priests of the Apostate Cardinal, preaching heresy and building the rank and file troopers' belief in their cause, in the process unwittingly corrupting their souls into the worship of Daemons and Nurgle.

Disciples of Xaphan

The inner circle of Chaos worshippers are fanaticals dedicated to the cause. These are the Disciples of Xaphan who form an inner circle of guards around the Apostate Cardinal and his commanders. The disciples will fight to the last, with fanatic zeal for their new messiah! They are superbly trained and have access to the best weapons in the armoury.

Plague Marines

The chosen warriors of Nurgle are the Plague Marines - warriors who have dedicated themselves to death and decay for their master. They seek only to corrupt the galaxy and spread Nurgle's diseases to all. Their rotten bodies are only kept alive by Nurgle's dark sorcery.

Plague Ogryn

The Vraks Labour corps contained a large number of Ogryns to perform heavy manual labour. These large, brutish creatures are well adapted to hauling heavy loads and smashing rocks, but are not very bright. An Ogryn will pretty much do whatever it is told by whoever is in charge of its daily rations! Many Ogryns have been subjected to hideous mutation by Nurgle; drive insane by the pain, they are a horrible mockery of their former selves, drooling and noxious with diseases.

Renegade Militia

Most of the Cardinal's renegade army has retained the vestiges of its former command structure, with officers being replaced by loyal champions; men who have embraced their new gods and are seeking to win their favour.

The vast bulk of the Apostate Cardinal's army are Renegade Militia. These are men that once served the Emperor as Vraks' garrison, its labourers and frateris militia. Many have basic military training, and retain their weapons and equipment, as well as having access to Vraks' vast stores.

Mutant Rabble

After the cash landing of the Aharon's Bane transport, vast numbers of mutants and degenerate scum were unleashed onto Vraks' surface. Although lacking military training or equipment, these degenerate worshippers of Nurgle attack as a rampaging horde.

Plague Zombies

Nurgle has mastery over the dead and decayign bodies that litter Vraks' battlefields. Through his sorcery he can raise and re-animate the corpses, bringing them back to life to fight again and again and again. Hordes of these creatures shambled over Vraks' toxic landscape, seeking the warm flesh of the living to feast upon.

Chaos Spawn

Mindless and violent, Spawn are the hideously corrupted and mutated followers of Chaos that have displeased their god and been turned into Spawn. Their lives are worthless but they can still kill.

Tanks and Artillery

The Renegades are well supplied with tanks and artillery from the storehouses.

Hell Blade and Hell Talon

Small, fast and deadly, Hell Blades fly in constant support, harassing the enemy with strafing runs and attacking enemy aircraft.

Turret Emplacement

These are small bunkers mounting a single heavy weapon and crewed by three men. They are commonly mounted in the Vraks defence lines, forming strong points and providing excellent protection for the heavy weapons.

Artillery Strike

An artillery strike is indirect fire from artillery units well to the rear, called for by commanders or forward observers at the front. There are many forms of artillery available to the Renegades, from mortar teams up to large Manticore missiles and Bombards.

The Tome of Decay (2014)

Plague Zombie

Imperial Armour 13: War Machines of the Lost and the Damned (2014)

Imperial Armour 13: War Machines of the Lost and the Damned (2014), p165 — Plague Zombie Horde — 30 Points

(May only be selected through use of the Master of Renegades special rule)

As the Warp Plague spreads across areas of the Imperium subjected to attack by Typhus and the Death Guard of Nurgle, many worlds are falling to hordes of war-spawned undead. For the inhabitants of these worlds there are only two choices left, death or abasement to the putrescent power that is Father Nurgle.

Plague Zombie2233121--

Unit Composition

Unit Type


Special Rules


Warp Plague

Every bite and scratch inflicted by Plague Zombies carries the Warp Plague, and can quickly infect and overcome even the most resilient warrior, ravaging his body and remaking him as one of the living dead.

If a unit of Plague Zombies defeats a unit in close combat, either destroying it outright or forcing it to flee, it may add D3 new Plague Zombies to the unit adter it has consolidated - this may bring the unit above its starting unit Strength. If no appropriate models are available to be placed on the table, then no additional Plague Zombies are added to the unit.

Warhammer 40,000 (2017)

Warhammer 40,000 (2017), p92 — Forces of Chaos

The Ruinous Powers attack the galaxy in interwoven ways, using unexpected guises. It is beyond mortal comprehension to follow such machinations. Was the slaughter on Van Horne's World related to a greater plan, or was the bloodbath merely an opportunity for the denizens of the warp to enter realspace? What was the endgame for the corruption of the planetary governor of Drakus Prime? Only now can it be seen what foul seeds were planted upon the worlds infected with the Zombie Plague. What hope has Mankind to fathom such random, bloodthirsty and immortal foes?

Warhammer 40,000 (2017), p159 — War Zone: Ultramar

Forces of Chaos

The invasion of Ultramar began as separate spearheads, but as the campaigns slowed, Mortarion and Ku'gath formed an alliance. Unlike the Champions of the other Dark Gods, Nurgle's lieutenants were more capable of cooperation. This was not the case, however, between Typhus and Mortarion.

Invaders of Ultramar

Bubonic Force Infectus (Iax)
Siege Bringers (Ardium)
War of Flies Campaign
The Plains of Hecatone
Final Battle of Iax

Bursting with life. Bursting with life. Bursting with life.
— War Drone of the Sloughskins

Warhammer 40,000 (2017), p161 — The Fall of Cadia

Forces of Chaos

Abaddon led the final assault force against Cadia in person. With him came the legions of the hellish Eye of Terror, the manifold hosts of the Dark Gods amassed under a single banner. The cause that united them was not just the destruction of the Imperium, but the demise of the material realm itself.

Final Assault upon Cadia

Abaddon's Vanguard
Red Legions
Plague Armies
The Host Iridescent
The Decadent Horde
The Damned

As befits Abaddon's cruelty and meticulous planning, thirteen massive transports of combat-drugged mutants, wretches, zombies and Chaos Spawn were crash-landed into the ruined city of Kasr Kharkovan, ensuring that many of the final assaults were performed by the least storied among his armies.

Destroy it all. Do not stop until it is ruins. Let it become a monument to death.

Index: Chaos (2017)

Index: Chaos (2017), p88 — Nurgle's Bounty

Even if they are driven from the battlefield with barrages and firestorms of promethium, the profane gifts of Nurgle's children still linger. These include the disease known as Nurgle's Rot, a slow-acting but utterly fatal malady that agonisingly transforms the victim into a Plaguebearer, as well as the many strains of the dreaded zombie plague. The latter is a particular favourite amongst followers of the Lord of Decay, especially the hated Death Guard warbands. There are countless variations of this disease. Some are delivered by skyburst mortars into the upper atmosphere, while others are poured into a planet's water reserves or summoned in a pestilential monsoon by a pox-sorcerer's ritual. The most common strain deployed by the Death Guard keeps its victims alive and coherent even as it agonisingly reshapes their flesh. They become the shambling, rotting monsters known as Poxwalkers, whose role it is to soak up enemy fire before the advance of the Heretic Astartes, spreading their hideous infection amongst the foe even as las-fire and explosions blast them apart in gouts of pus and gore. The victim's mortal soul is trapped within this horrifying shell, unable to act or do anything but scream and beg for the blissful release of obliteration.

Codex: Chaos Daemons (2018)

Codex: Chaos Daemons (2018), p59 — Nurglings

Since the coming of the Great Rift and the outpouring of warp energies into the galaxy, Nurglings have become far more prevalent in realspace. Several new diseases, including the latest strains of the Zombie Plague, are so virulent that they allow Nurglings to develop inside those afflicted. When the malevolent creatures slop forth - eating their way out or perhaps bursting from a cyst - they do their best to spread even more diseases.