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The Tome of Decay (2014), p30-31 — Plague Marine

"I have wandered amid the decomposing copses of my master's Garden, and drank deep from the stagnant pools of corruption at his feet. Soon you shall see what true power means."
— Plague Captain Despoidiol, Champion of Grief

The Lord of Decay has many servants that dwell within the swirling eddies of the Screaming Vortex. Among the greatest of these are the Plague Marines, warriors whose putrid appearance is matched only by their determination and unnatural resilience. While the Death Guard are the most notorious of these vile individuals, not every Traitor Marine that follows the path of decay owes his allegiance to that polluted lineage, for Nurgle's corrupt abundance is available to all who prove worthy of his favour. Yet regardless of their origins, the denizens of the Vortex often give these grotesque brutes a wide berth, as each is always eager to share their bounty of disease and death.

Playing a Plague Marine

Plague Marines are amongst the most terrifying and relentless of Nurgle's servants, undaunted in the face of death and heedless of all but the most devastating wounds. Their rusty armour and weapons are coated in filth, pus, and other foulness, while rotting organs burst from rents in their distended forms, and teeming hordes of insects burrow beneath their pallid, leprous flesh. Such is the extent of the decay that wracks their diseased frames that their crumbling armour has long since fused with the decayed flesh beneath, while the very air surrounding them is a cloying miasma of disease.

Yet, despite their ghoulish appearance, these warriors are far from dead. Instead they are living embodiments of the promise of corruption and decay within all living things, a gift of their foul patron in return for their devotion to the propagation of his numerous contagions and poxes. However, though many Chaos Space Marines may dedicate themselves to the Plague Father's service, only those truly worthy of his favour receive the dreadful blessings required to transform them into a Plague Marine.

Many receive their abhorrent favours in exchange for deplorable acts of adulation or through pacts with powerful plague sorcerers and other foul servants of Nurgle. Others embrace the path of decay out of desperation, their disease-addled minds choosing servitude over agony and death at the hands of their afflictions. In the end, such motivations are secondary to the unholy task of spreading Nurgle's sinister bounty, and each Plague Marine embraces his devotions with inexorable energy.

In battle, Plague Marines fight without respite or mercy, their bloated bodies and legendary physiology rendering them immune to nearly every physical limitation as they eagerly kill in the Plague God's name. Most prefer short-ranged engagements where they may more readily appreciate the necrotic effects of the poxes and contagions they spread, all while revelling in the disparaging moans of the dying.

To a Plague Marine, such cries of agony are praise for the virulence of their dark lord's works, while every cry for mercy is yet another opportunity to expand their glorious host. For this reason, some prefer merely to wound their victims so that they can fully experience the agonies of Nurgle's generosity, while for others there is no greater satisfaction than to watch their enemies dissolve into a diseased mass of liquefied flesh.

Plague Marines are rightly feared throughout the Imperium as deadly adversaries whose dreadful appearance directly mirrors the rotten soul within. As such, many warlords within the Vortex find their skills, relentless determination, and resilience to physical damage highly useful on the field of battle. However, a Plague Marine's sole drive is the propagation of his malevolent patron's pestilences, so it is always this inexorable purpose to which his rotting mind returns.

Plague Marine

A Plague Marine must be a Chaos Space Marine.

Characteristic Bonus: Plague Marines -10 Agility, +10 Toughness, +5 Willpower, +15 Corruption Points, and +7 Infamy.

Starting Skills: Awareness +10, Common Lore (Any One), Forbidden Lore (Daemonology) or (Heresy) or (Psykers), Intimidate +10, Parry +10.

Starting Talents: Ancient Warrior or Die Hard, Bolter Drill, Exotic Weapon Training (Plague Knife), Fearless, Iron Jaw, Hardy, Hip Shooting, Rapid Reload, Sure Strike or Deadeye Shot, Takedown or Blind Fighting.

Starting Gear: Legion Boltgun with 2 magazines, Plague Knife, 3 Blight Grenades, 2 Legion Krak Grenades.

Wounds: 18+1d5.

Special Abilities:

Abominable Physiology: The numerous parasites and virulent diseases that eat away at a Plague Marine's armour and liquefy his diseased flesh also make him unnaturally resistant to harm. A Plague Marine never suffers Damage or other negative effects from Diseases, poisons, or the Toxic Quality unless he chooses to suffer these effects (although he can still be infected by Diseases as normal, and can spread them to others).

Hideous Resilience: Plague Marines have been known to walk unflinching through terrible fire and shrug off mighty blows that would cleave other Space Marines in twain. As a Reaction, a Plague Marine may make a Difficult (-10) Toughness Test. If he succeeds, he reduces the Damage from the next hit he suffers before the beginning of his next Turn by 1 per Degree of Success he scores on the Test. If he reduces the Damage to 0 this way, he gains the Fear (1) Trait to the foe whose attack he so easily withstood.

Infectious Miasma: Plague Marines are revolting testaments to the horrific bounties that await those who embrace the Lord of Decay, their bodies dripping with foul pestilences and contagions that hinder their opponents in combat. A Plague Marine may spend an Infamy point to release the swarms of bloat-flies, corpse-gases, and other vile contagions housed within his bloated frame. For the next 1d5+1 Rounds, at the start of the Plague Marine's Turn, each other character within 10 metres of the Plague Marine suffers a single hit for 1d10 Energy Damage with the Toxic Quality, ignoring armour that is not environmentally sealed.

Plague Marines begin play Aligned to Nurgle.

Plague Marines in the Vortex

Plague Marines are among the most revolting and vile of the Chaos Space Marines that inhabit the Screaming Vortex. Yet to those who revel in the glories of the Carrion Lord, these putrid warriors rank among Nurgle's most blessed servants, and most find willing allies within the Vortex's most wretched and polluted throngs.

The following are examples of these repulsive Traitor Space Marines from within the Screaming Vortex and their despicable practices of pestilence and wicked devotion.

Germinatoris: One of the most vital positions within the Adeptus Astartes is that of the Apothecary, a warrior medic tasked with harvesting the precious gene-seed from the fallen in order that the chapter may endure. Yet within the Screaming Vortex there exists a coterie of Plague Marines who grotesquely mirror their noble counterparts. Like carrion feeders, they prowl the battlefield, plundering the gene-seed from any fallen Traitor Space Marines they can find and infecting them with the viscous fluids that ooze from their rotting innards in order to ensure the propagation of Nurgle's putrefying influence.

Forsaken Host: Among the many tales of terror and death found within the Screaming Vortex is that of the Forsaken Host, the solitary survivor of a battle which scoured an unknown planet of life during a forgotten age. Legend says a host of fat, buzzing flies accompanies him - one for each of the fallen during that fateful battle - and that their collective buzzing tears at the sanity of those who hear it, for it is filled with the suffering of billions. Now he is a walking avatar of the devastation of war whose followers relentlessly seek new souls to add to the teeming hordes that swirl about him with ghoulish intensity.

Emissaries of the Wasting Death: The Plague Marines of the Wasting Death are particularly feared among the many denizens of the Screaming Vortex, for their very presence brings with it untold suffering and privation. Wherever they tread the ground shrivels and cracks beneath their feet, and even the heartiest and most resilient creatures shrivel and perish as they draw near. Contact with the malefic air of deprivation that surrounds these desiccated warriors irreparably scars those who survive, often manifesting in incessant pangs of unquenchable thirst and indescribable hunger that lasts for years after the dreadful encounter is a distant memory.