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The Tome of Decay (2014), p38-39 — Death Priest of Mire

"After disembowelling Sergeant Makrx, those things fell on him like ravenous hounds, their filthy hands tearing bloody chunks of meat from his ruined gut. I will not call them men; men don't eat like that."
— General Mortswain's personal account following the pacification of the Degradant Uprising

Of the various worlds within the Screaming Vortex that exhibit signs of Nurgle's pestilent touch, few are as prominent as the barren and blighted planet of Mire. Here the squalid denizens forage aimlessly amidst endless foetid pools of festering muck and decaying vegetation, their diseased bodies enduring solely due to Nurgle's unnatural ministrations. Perhaps the most dangerous of these are the so-called Death Priests who prey upon their fellow Mirens in order to perpetuate their disgusting adulation of the Plague God's bountiful corruptions. These feculent warriors are highly prized within the debased warbands of the Screaming Vortex, and many opportunistic slavers exploit their infamous enthusiasm for slaughter by luring these voracious killers off-world with promises of fresh carcasses to consume.

Playing a Death Priest of Mire

Death Priests of Mire are hardy warriors who feed on the bodies of their victims in order to nourish the parasites, diseases, and other foul poxes that writhe in their bloated guts. They believe these afflictions to be a blessing from the Plague Father. On Mire, they see it as their unholy duty to hunt down the so-called "Pyrions" - clean ones - and devour them. After slaying any foe, though, they usually gorge themselves on every scrap of putrescent sustenance to feed the ravenous diseases that wrack their ghoulish forms.

Death Priests are notorious for the frenetic eagerness with which they devour their victims, often violently ripping the flesh with their bare hands in order to assuage their blasphemous appetites. Afterward, they abandon their kill, content in the knowledge that each ravaged carcass is yet another monument to Nurgle's unending bounty. Such is the path of a Death-Priest, and each is content to endure amidst endless decay and ruin while suckling at the font of corruption as their loathsome afflictions flourish and multiply.

Death Priests are pallid, sickly creatures whose emaciated frames, leprous, bubo-pocked skin, and horrifically distended paunches bear witness to the extent of their physical corruption. Like many of Nurgle's servants, they are coated in filth, both from their own diseases and their mud-covered home world, and their touch often carries with it the risk of lethal infection. Yet despite their deathly appearance, they are incredibly savage killers, eagerly stalking their prey with a feverish intensity and remarkable vigour born both of their devotion to Nurgle and the perpetual, ravenous hunger that festers within them.

Most Death Priests favour blades and other melee weapons, which they then coat in their own rancid filth or smear with the rotting offal of their most recent kills; however, those who abandon the desolation of Mire often become surprisingly adept with a number of other grisly weapons. Yet despite this proficiency for killing, most Death Priests view any weapon that destroys the victim's body with contempt, believing such acts to be anathema to their unholy work. To these vile warriors, manifestations of decay and putrefaction are evidence of Nurgle's approval, and many delight in wallowing amidst the foetid, decomposing corpses of the fallen.

Death Priest of Mire

A Death Priest of Mire must be Human.

Characteristic Bonus: +5 Strength, +5 Weapon Skill or Perception, +5 Toughness, +15 Corruption Points, and +7 Infamy.

Starting Skills: Athletics +10, Awareness +10, Common Lore (Mire), Dodge, Parry, Dodge +10 or Parry +10, Forbidden Lore (Psykers) or (Daemonology), Interrogation or Command or Intimidate +10, Intimidate, Linguistics (Miren), Navigate (Surface), Navigate Surface +10 or Scholastic Lore (Occult), Survival, Stealth or Survival +10.

Starting Talents: Ambidextrous or Berserk Charge, Betrayer, Cold Hearted, Combat Sense, Die Hard, Disarm or Takedown, Disturbing Voice or Sound Constitution, Frenzy, Furious Assault or Two Weapon Wielder, Hardy, Jaded, Light Sleeper, Resistance (Fear, Poisons), Street Fighting or Unarmed Warrior, Sure Strike, True Grit, Unshakeable Will, Weapon Training (Primary, SP, Las) and (Bolt) or (Chain).

Starting Traits: Toxic (Corruption Bonus).

Starting Gear: Good Craftsmanship Autogun or Shotgun or Scavenged Bolter, Good Craftsmanship Stub Revolver or Poor Craftsmanship Bolt Pistol, Good Craftsmanship Sword or Common Craftsmanship Chainsword, 2 Magazines for Selected Weapons, Flak Jacket, Melee Attachment for one Selected Weapon.

Wounds: 12+1d5.

Special Abilities:

Contaminated Blades: Death Priests often smear their weapons with the rancid remnants of their recent kills and other putrid sources of decay in order to better spread the vile maladies of their diseased patron. As a Full Action, a Death Priest of Mire may make a Routine (+10) Survival Test to coat his own melee weapons and solid projectiles ammunition in filth from a suitable source. These weapons gain the Toxic (2), Corrosive, or Irradiated (2) Quality for a number of Rounds equal to the Death Priest's Degrees of Success on the Survival Test.

Grotesque Appetite: Once per encounter, as a Full Action, a Death Priest of Mire may consume and desecrate a fresh corpse within reach. When he does so, he gains the Unnatural Toughness (1d5) Trait (or increases the value of this Trait by 1d5 if he already possesses it) until the end of the encounter.

Putrescence Within, Putrescence Without: Death Priests of Mire exude all manner of corruption and filth from the many contagions and parasites that fester within their distended guts. Whenever an enemy strikes the Death Priest with a melee attack, the Death Priest may spend an Infamy Point to destroy the weapon that struck him after the attack is resolved. Whether or not the weapon can later be restored through cleansing, devotion, and sacrifice is left to the GM.

Death Priests of Mire begin play Aligned to Nurgle.

Death Priests of Mire in the Vortex

Death Priests of Mire are well suited to life within the Screaming Vortex, often earning a fearsome reputation as vicious and accomplished killers despite their savage origins. For those who survive this transition, the Vortex is an endless and enticing smorgasbord of corrupt sustenance, its every morsel oozing with untapped potential for gangrenous new life.

The following are vile examples of Death Priests whose abhorrent practices rank them among the most revolting of the Vortex's denizens.

The Brood Kine: Long ago, a pack of Death Priests discovered a swarm of Nurglings frolicking inside a disease-infested mud pit while wandering the squalid wastes of Mire. Upon beholding these creatures, they immediately turned on each other, hacking their companions apart in order to entice the Daemons with offerings of rancid meat. The survivors are now hosts for this repugnant clutch of spiteful imps, housing them within their filth-lined bowels in order to ensure their continued sustenance.

Calorracts: Few of the Death Priests that brave the sunken, mouldering swamps of Mire's crumbling cave system ever return, most falling victim to ancient toxins and other foul hazards within that accursed darkness. Those who do emerge are greatly feared among the cannibal lords of Mire, for each is bursting with maladies so potent that only the most blessed of the Plague Lord's servants can survive in their presence. They are nearly impossible to kill, often bearing scores of seemingly debilitating wounds which neither hinder nor heal as they relentlessly stalk their prey with sunken, yellow eyes.

The Slavering Synpestulent: The Corpse Reapers are a terrifying warband within the Screaming Vortex known for their brutal raids and the mounds of dead and mutilated left in their wake. The original members were harvested from Mire by a particularly ruthless pirate warlord who now allows his captive Death Priests free reign over any survivors of their raids in exchange for the skulls of the slain. Meanwhile, the unfortunate captives are compelled to join in a revolting feast that lasts for seven days and nights wherein they are force-fed the putrid remains of their dead and dying comrades. Those who survive this horrific ordeal often elect to join their captors in order to satisfy the peculiar, gnawing hunger that now festers inside them.