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Realm of Chaos: The Lost and the Damned (1990), p24 — Nurgle's Rot

Nurgle's Rot, often known simply as the Rot, is a terrible contagious disease which affects the victim's mortal body and his shadow-self or spirit. A person who dies from Nurgle's Rot is turned into a Plaguebearer and becomes a servant of Nurgle himself. Nurgle's Rot epitomises the core of Nurgle's ethos: suffering and overcoming suffering by great bravery and resolve. Those who contract the Rot often slay themselves in reckless battle, hoping to die quickly and cleanly and by this means to avoid becoming a Plaguebearer.

Catching the Rot

Nurgle's Rot only affects mortals; it cannot affect daemons of any kind or allegiance. It is passed on by physical contact such as hand-to-hand combat. Models engaged in combat against a Daemon of Nurgle risk catching the Rot. Victims can also catch the Rot as a result of a Plague Wind spell, touching a Death Head, treading in the slime-trail of a Beast, stepping into a sticky pool left by a Palanquin, or simply by being a Champion of Nurgle.

To determine if a victim has caught the Rot, roll a D6, and apply the following modifiers:

+3Engaged in combat with a Great Unclean One
+2Engaged in combat with a Plaguebearer
-1If victim is the Champion of another Chaos Power

If the result is 6 or more the victim has contracted the Rot with the following effects.

  1. If the target is part of a unit, the entire unit must take an immediate rout test. If not part of a unit, the model must take a rout test.
  2. A model which has the Rot may pass it in to other creatures it strikes in combat. Any model engaged against the victim can catch the Rot and must make the test described above.
  3. The Rot cannot be cured or its progress halted in any way.

The Progress of the Rot

Nurgle's Rot often takes several months to kill its victim. Victims who are Champions of other Chaos Powers, or members of the retinues of these Champions, may be 'retired' from future games on the grounds that they can no longer live safely alongside their fellow men.

Retiring victims may be simply dropped from the game, or if they are Champions they can undertake a special Death Quest. In a Death Quest the Champion and any affected members of his warband will seek out and fight an enemy warband. Models engaged in a Death Quest are immune to psychology and cannot be routed. If a Death Questing Champion pleases his Chaos patron he may be promoted to Daemonhood and thus saved from the Rot.

Unless a victim retires from a warband or goes on a Death Quest as described above, he risks passing the disease on to the other members. This applies both to warbands of Nurgle's Champions and to those of Champions of other Chaos Powers. A test must be made before each battle to determine if the disease has been passed on to anyone else. On the D6 roll of a 6 the disease has been passed on to another randomly determined member of the warband. This may include the warband's Champion if he does not already have the Rot.

The Rot progresses from battle to battle, starting with the first battle following contraction. The victim slowly begins to turn into a Plaguebearer, his appearance and profile starts to change, so that eventually he dies and is re-embodied in the Realm of Chaos as a Plaguebearer.

1Skin bcomes pale yellow-brown. Change characteristic to M=4/WS=5.
2Green and purple blotches break out on the victim's skin. BS=5/Ld=10.
3The skin begins to rot and a small cloud of flies gathers about him. S=4/Cl=10.
4A single horn sprouts from the victim's forehead. The model gains the Plaguebearer's additional horn attack when it charges. T=3.
5The eyes start to grow together and the nose atrophies. I=6/Int=10.
6The victim's feet grow into two huge claws. A=2 as per a Plaguebearer.
7The victim's face and flesh dissolve into a mass of tissue. W=1/WP=10.
8The victim finally dies and his shadow-self becomes one of Nurgle's Plaguebearers.

The Rot and Chaos Champions

A Champion of Nurgle who contracts Nurgle's Rot is not personally affected by it. However, he can pass it on in hand-to-hand combat and it can be caught by members of his own retinue. A member of a Chaos Warband who already has the Rot could becomes a Champion if the original Champion is slain. Should this happen the progress of the Rot is halted at the stage it has already reached.