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The Beast of Nurgle is a daemonic beast in the service of the Plague God Nurgle that is truly a horror on the battlefield. It has the soft, sticky and mottled body of a pallid slug, webbed feet that flap uselessly, a face of writhing green tentacles, and a whip-tail growth that bursts from its back and which wags constantly from side to side. The essence of mindless decay and horrid rot given putrid flesh, Beasts of Nurgle exemplify the Plaguelord’s endless enthusiasm and excitement for forces of life and death. Thus, a Beast delights in discovering new things and making (to its very simple mind) new friends. When brought into realspace they act almost akin to a curious and inquisitive pet, investigating anything and everything in sight, and spreading illness and rot wherever they go.
Immense slug-like monstrosities, Beasts of Nurgle crawl across the ground on their bellies, weakly propelled by clawed flippers, leaving a layer of stinking slime in their wake. While slow, the Beast is implacable in its advance, undeterred by all but the most fearsome of weapons, as relentless as the decay it embodies. Each is a nightmarish conglomeration of parts, with a lengthy neck holding a wide-eyed face of almost blissful idiocy. The gaping tooth-filled mouth houses a lolling tongue dripping with putrid saliva. Clusters of writhing tubes sprout from the Beast’s neck and back, each one spewing forth swarms of buzzing flies, clouds of vomit-inducing gases, flesh-eating fluids capable of finding gaps in even the most secure of armour, or other foul gifts.
The Beast of Nurgle is no less deadly than it is ugly, for its touch causes paralysis and its slimy secretions rot everything they cover. The very proximity of a Beast is sufficient to kill small animals and plants, and even larger creatures may age and decay perceptibly in its presence. Indeed, the Beast is the very embodiment of the universe's mindless decay.
Despite its fearsome appearance and deadly attributes, the Beast is an affectionate creature that behaves in all respects exactly like an over-friendly and easily excited puppy. It craves attention, greeting newcomers by slobbering all over them with its slimy tentacles. Once they get thoroughly worked up they can rarely (if ever) contain themselves and leave little piles of acrid slime in their wake. All this attention is not a problem to other creatures and servants of Nurgle, but tends to kill mortals fairly rapidly.
Unlike most daemons, a Beast kills not with rending claws and ripping teeth, but with a strange form of kindness. Victims are caressed, petted, and stroked with the daemon’s multiple tentacles, while the long tongue delivers slobbery and slimy licks. In very short order, the victim is sickened, infected, dissolved, and then crushed, ground under the Beast’s vast bulk. The Beast, for its part, feels a touch of sadness at the inability of its now-dead friend to join in on the merriment, but quickly forgets about him as something (or someone) new attracts its attention.
Once the Beast's new friend stops moving, its interest quickly shifts to another target, and in this way the creature excitedly and lovingly poisons and kills just about everything it touches. As the Beast has only the most rudimentary sense of intelligence it never anticipates the result of its boisterous behaviour, and registers only a slight sense of disappointment as each new friend goes still and boring.
A prime example of the destructive power of a Beast of Nurgle can be found on the Agri-world of Gabali III in Winterscale’s Realm in the Koronus Expanse. There the province of Gevaudan suffered hundreds of casualties as a Beast wandered about the farm fields, destroying crops, herd animals, and buildings. Seemingly unstoppable, it took the combined efforts of Enforcers and local planetary militia units to finally destroy the daemon. Even after death, however, its presence lingered, as crops grew sickly and many fields had to be torched to the bedrock to remove the diseased corruption.
Particularly favoured Beasts of Nurgle are sometimes chosen to become the putrid daemonic creatures known as Rot Flies and Battle Flies, massive daemonic beasts in the form of putrid corpse flies. Rot Flies serve as aerial mounts for the senior Plaguebearers of Nurgle known as Plague Drones.
- Codex: Chaos Daemons (4th Edition)
- Rogue Trader: Koronus Bestiary (RPG), pg. 118