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Codex: Chaos Space Marines (2007), p38 — Plague Marines

The first Plague Marines were warriors of the Death Guard Legion trapped in the Warp upon their spaceships when the virulent Destroyer Plague struck their fleet. Mortarion and his Legion offered themselves up to the service of the Lord of Decay in return for having their lives spared. Their bodies became bloated and swollen with the corruption festering within them, but they no longer felt the agony of the warp-pox and did not die from its horrific symptoms.

Though may other Space Marines have dedicated themselves to Nurgle since the Horus Heresy, few ever achieve the ranks of the Plague Marines. Those who truly wish to join this most elite of foetid cadres swears loyalty to the Death Guard and their Primarch Mortarion. Only then will Nurgle bestow upon them the corrupting ague that created the Plague Marines.

Outside of the Death Guard, a favoured few Sorcerers of Nurgle know the secrets of the Plague Marines, and Abaddon of the Black Legion has won most of these foetid spellcasters to his cause. For many favours and service, these blight-carriers will bestow the gift of Plague Marinehood to the worthy who swear loyalty to Nurgle and to the Black Legion.

Plague Marines have disgusting, rotted bodies that stink of decay. The putrescent slime that oozes from their many weeping sores pits and corrodes their armour, but the Plague Marines are still fearsome, skilled warriors.

Their decaying brains are inured to the agony of their bodily corruption, making them all but immune to any pain or discomfort caused by battle wounds. The Plague Marines prefer short-ranged firefights, where they can see the festering wounds inflicted upon their enemies even while they laugh off the bullets and las-bolts directed back at them. Should the enemy close to within assault range, the Plague Marines can defend themselves with blight grenades. These contain virulent toxins that eat away at armour, and fill the air with thick clouds of blinding spores. The most ostentatious blight grenades are 'death's heads' made from the severed heads of fallen enemies. The brains are infected and pustulent, and maggots, slime and other noxious ingredients are added, before the head is sealed with ancient wax.

As well as fighting in the armies of the Chaos Lords, the Plague Marines dedicate their lives to spreading corruption and decay. The Plague fleets of Nurgle that spew from the Eye of Terror are captained by the Plague Marines, spreading contagion and pestilence across dozens of star systems. The Plague Fleets carry followers of Nurgle to inhabited worlds, where the Plague Marines' destructive raids are inevitably followed by outbreaks of no less destructive contagions. Once the Plague ships are abandoned or their crews finally destroyed, the hulks float back to the Warp and eventually, perhaps guided by the hand of Nurgle himself, find their way back to the Plague Planet where they are re-crewed for new attacks.

Plague Marine4444(5)13193+
Plague Champion4444(5)132103+

Unit Type: Infantry

Special Rules

Fearless, Feel no Pain, Mark of Nurgle (included in profile).

Blight Grenades: These are defensive grenades, which means that enemy units do not gain their bonus Attacks for charging if they are assaulting a unit of Plague Marines.

The Cloud of Flies

During a Plague Ship's journey through the Warp, the interior of the craft erupts with large furry black flies. They burst from every surface, covering the insides of the ship, filling whole rooms with their decaying carcasses. When the Plague Ship reaches a world, the Champions disembark by atmospheric craft or by landing the ship itself. As soon as the transport's hatches are opened, a thick cloud of insects is released, each a tiny bearer of disease ready to spread the foulness of Nurgle over a virgin planet. Even when the Plague Marines disembark by teleporter enough flies are transported with them to form a dense cloud of choking darkness.