- "Buboes, phlegm, blood and guts! Boils, bogeys, rot and pus! Blisters, fevers, weeping sores! From your wounds the fester pours."
Nurgle, also known as the Plague Lord, is the Chaos God of Disease, Decay, and Destruction. In particular, the emotion of despair in mortals empowers him. He is known also as Grandfather Nurgle, the Lord of Pestilence and the Lord of Decay. He is the oldest of the four Chaos Gods and is the most directly involved with the plights of mortals, particularly humans who suffer so acutely from a fear of death, perhaps the oldest fear of that species. While Nurgle is the God of death and decay, to be certain, he is also the God of rebirth. After all, decay is simply one part of the cycle of life, without which no new life could grow. In the same way, Nurgle is also the God of perseverance and survival. While those who wish to spread decay and corruption are certainly amongst his followers, there are also those who wish to endure, to become tough enough to handle the difficulties and opportunities presented by an uncaring universe. Many of those affected by Nurgle's poxes usually turn to him in order to escape the pain caused by sickness and disease.
Nurgle is the Great Lord of Decay and the Master of Plague and Pestilence. All things, no matter how solid and permanent they seem, are liable to eventual corruption and death. Even the process of creation is but the precursor to destruction and decay. The bastion of today is tomorrow's ruin, the maiden of the morning is the crone of the night, and the hope of a moment is but the foundation of regret. Though he is the creator of every infection and epidemic to have ever swept the universe, Nurgle is not a morose purveyor of despair and gloom, but a vibrant god of life and laughter. In death, there is life. Upon the decay of the living untold numbers of bacteria, viruses, insects and other carrion-feeders thrive. All life feeds upon other life to exist, and from every plague grows new generations, stronger and more virile than those who came before. Regeneration comes from decay, just as hope springs from despair. The greatest inspiration comes in the darkest moments; in times of crisis mortals are truly tested and driven to excel.
To understand what might otherwise seem contradictory or even perverse in nature, one must first comprehend that which Nurgle embodies. On the one hand, he is the Lord of Decay, whose body is wracked with disease; on the other, he is full of unexpected energy and a desire to organise and enlighten. The citizens of the Imperium know full well that their lives will end one day and that many of their number will live with disease or other torments in the meantime, yet they drive this knowledge deep into the corners of their minds and bury it with dreams and ceaseless activity. Nurgle is the embodiment of that knowledge of mortality and the unconscious response of all sentient beings to the knowledge of their own ending. He is the hidden fear of disease and decay, the gnawing truth of mortality and the power of defiance that it generates.
Nurgle himself takes the form of a titanic flesh-hulk riddled with decay and pestilence. His gigantic carcass is bloated with corruption and exudes an overpowering stench that gnaws the mind. His skin is greenish, leathery and necrotic, its surface abundant with running sores, swelling boils and fruitful infestation. Nurgle's gurgling and pulsating organs are rank with the excrement of decay, spilling and spurting through his rupture skin to hang like obscene fruit around his girth. From these organs burst swarms of tiny Nurglings that chew on Grandfather Nurgle's rotting intestines and suck upon his bountiful, noxious juices.
Every single human being in the galaxy has been touched by Nurgle's foetid hand at some point. Countless trillions are host to his malignant, invisible creations, which corrupt their physical forms and sow despair in their minds. Interplanetary traffic ensures that contagious diseases are carried from world to world by the ignorant, the wilful and the strong. As Nurgle's gifts multiply in full-blown pandemics, his power reaches a peak. Whole star systems -- even whole sectors -- are quarantined as plague runs rife across the stars. Proud civilisations wither away even as Grandfather Nurgle conjures obscene new life from their remains. Wherever there are plague pits and mass graves, the rotting splendour of Nurgle shines through.
Despite his consistent generosity, only an enlightened few truly embrace Nurgle's greatness among men and aliens. Yet his worshippers exist in numbers enough to ensure his daemon servants access the material dimension wherever plague abounds. This is just as well, for of all the Chaos Gods, it is Nurgle who most appreciates the personal touch.
Nurgle's sacred number is seven, his colours are those of rot and ruin, waste and vomit, mucus and pus. Nurgle also embodies the will of Mankind to struggle on no matter what opposes it, albeit perversely. Suffering, death, pain: human beings push these things from their minds and try to forget them by living in the moment in the hope that the future will be a better one. For this reason Nurgle, his daemons and mortal followers usually demonstrate a disturbing joy at the pestilence that he inflicts, seeing the plagues as gifts and the cries of their victims as gratitude for the strength to overcome the obstacles of a mortal life rather than agony. The Plague Lord is often referred to as "Grandfather Nurgle," "Father Nurgle" or "Papa Nurgle" by his followers because of this hideous paternal stance. Nurgle's sacred number is seven. He is represented by the colors of green and brown, generally the most putrid variations of each.
It has recently been uncovered by the Eldar Harlequins that Nurgle is in possession of the Eldar Goddess Isha (whom he rescued from Slaanesh's imprisonment), and imprisoned her within his realm in the Warp. Nurgle utilises her for his experiments, creating new contagions and diseases to spread into the material universe. With her divine powers of healing, Isha quickly regenerates from these tests, although Nurgle gleans what information is desired from the temporary effects. It is said that, secretly, she whispers the cures to those diseases to the mortals of the universe.
Lord of Plague
- "Indeed the very process of construction and creation foreshadows destruction and decay. The palace of today is tomorrow's ruin, the maiden of the morning is the crone of the night, and the hope of a moment is but the foundation stone of everlasting regret."
- — The Lost and the Damned
One of the four great Chaos Gods is Nurgle. He is most commonly called the Lord of the Decay but is also known by many names such as the Fly Lord, the Great Corruptor, the Master of Pestilence. The power of Nurgle is embodied in entropy, morbidity, disease and physical corruption. Of the four great Ruinous Powers Nurgle is said to be the one most involved with the plight of mortals. Through the gifts of raging fevers and shaking chills Nurgle's hand is upon them from cradle to grave. Few escape the touch of Nurgle in their lives. He is sometimes called the Lord of All because all things, no matter how strong and secure, fall to physical corruption and entropy in the end. Every Chaos God embodies the hopes, fears and other strong emotions generated by mortal beings. In the case of Nurgle, their fear of death and disease is the source of his greatest power. The mortal's unconscious response to that fear, the desperation to cling to life no matter what the cost, gives Nurgle an opening into their souls. The whispered prayer of a parent over a fever-struck child, the anguished pleas of the dying man for one more day of life; these are meat and drink to Nurgle. The power of Nurgle waxes and wanes as his pandemics sweep across the galaxy. When untold billions fall prey to the newest plagues his strength can overshadow that of any of the other Chaos Gods for a period. At other times the power of Nurgle withers away to lie quiescent until circumstances are ripe for it to erupt forth once more.
Cult of Nurgle
Nurgle is the mighty Lord of Decay who presides over all physical corruption and morbidity in Creation. Disease and putrefaction, the inevitable entropic decline of all things, are the favours he bestows upon the universe. The Chaos God's immense body is bloated with corruption and exudes a sickly, diseased stench. His skin is greenish, leathery and necrotic, its surface pock-marked with all of his various boils, running sores and favorite infestations. From his exposed guts spill tiny Lesser Daemons, his Nurglings, who dine upon the filthy fluids that ooze from Grandfather Nurgle's many festering wounds. It is to free themselves from despair -- the eternal mortal dread of disease, starvation and death -- that men and other mortals turn to the Plague Lord. Despite his horrific appearance, Nurgle is a warm, welcoming God who prides himself on the achievements of his followers, gifting them with his most hideous diseases even as he protects them from all pain and the cold sleep of death. The fear of death can be found in the hearts of all the sentient beings of the universe, and so there is no shortage of mortals willing to sacrifice their immortal souls in return for the corrupted preservation of their physical bodies for all time.
Compared to the other Chaos Gods, many of Nurgle's followers worship him by no choice of their own. The taint of Nurgle spreads readily among beasts and humanoids alike, and the awful arcane illness known as Nurgle's Rot may strike even the strongest person and cause him or her to be outcast as a leper. Despite the nature of his influence, Nurgle takes an interest in the victims of the diseases he unleashes (which he considers to be "gifts"), jovially caring for them in a manner similar to a loving grandfather; for which reason he is frequently referred to as Grandfather Nurgle by his servants. This also causes some that would have otherwise never been infected to seek out disease and even poison themselves to earn his favour.
The deranged worshippers of the Lord of Pestilence say that he concocts diverse contagions to inflict on the material universe for his amusement, and many of the most infectious and horrible diseases are Nurgle's proudest creations. It is their belief that those who die caught in the grip of one of Nurgle's terrible poxes are swept directly to his realm. Those that sing the praises of Nurgle loud enough are sometimes spared so that they can spread his blessings further, for the church of the Fly Lord is always open to all. Nurgle has many supplicants but there are few with the fortitude to declare themselves as his Champions. The few that can survive the Great Corruptor's manifold blessings exhibit a feverish, morbid energy and a preternatural resistance to physical damage.
Those that fashion themselves Champions of Nurgle represent a dire threat to densely populated worlds, where close-packed populations are vulnerable to a single contagion. Ships in the void are particularly vulnerable to disease and many dying crews have beseeched the Lord of Decay for his intercession. Such was the fate of the Death Guard Space Marine Legion when it became marooned in the Warp on the long journey to Terra during the Horus Heresy. While they lay becalmed in the Immaterium, a mysterious contagion spread from one to another of the Death Guard's voidships until the entire fleet was infected. Even the reinforced physiology of the Space Marines could not fight off the dire plague as it bloated the guts, distended the flesh and rotted its victims from the inside. It is said that when even the Legion's Primarch, Mortarion, fell victim to the plague he cried out to the Ruinous Powers of Chaos in his delirium. His desperation to save himself and his Legion called forth Nurgle, and Mortarion became his greatest Champion. These Chaos Space Marines became known as the Plague Marines, his most potent mortal servants. Thus, the Death Guard Legion has enjoyed the favour of Nurgle for the last ten thousand standard years.
Nurgle and the Death Guard
- "In the embrace of great Nurgle, I am no longer afraid, for with His pestilential favour I have become that which I once feared: Death."
- — Kulvain Hestarius of the Death Guard
The Death Guard are a Traitor Legion entirely steeped in the power of Nurgle, the God of Plagues, their very essence the epitome of all that vile Chaos God stands for. Their bodies are hives of filth and decay, their flesh eternally rotting away even as it is renewed by the ceaseless process of death and rebirth. Once, however, the Death Guard were the strongest and most resilient of all of the Emperor's Legions, the inheritors of the Primarch Mortarion in whose genetic image they were created. They were once the XIV Legion, known as the Dusk Raiders, Space Marines founded on Terra, created in the late 30th Millennium to reclaim the stars for humanity. For some time, they fought with distinction and were nearly indistinguishable from the other Space Marine Legions. Operating in the role of heavy infantry, the Astartes of the XIV Legion were experts at survival and endurance, and quickly gained a reputation among the other newly-forged Legions as relentless and disciplined fighters. Their grey and unadorned Power Armour began to carry the symbols of rank and decoration, now modified, that once formed the armorial imagery of the Ironsides of Old Albia, a nation of techno-barbarians on Old Earth before the Unification Wars, and most tellingly their right vambraces, gauntlets and shoulder plates were painted the deep crimson of drying blood, now symbolising the red right hand of the Emperor's justice.
After the XIV Legion was reunited with its Primarch Mortarion on the Feral World of Barbarus, he renamed the Legion the Death Guard. The XIV Legion's Astartes had been primarily Terran-born before Mortarion joined the Legion; after that time almost all of the Legion's Neophytes were drawn from Barbarus. This changed the culture and traditions of the Legion, so much so that by the last days of the Great Crusade in the early 31st Millennium, there were increasing tensions between the Barbarus-born Astartes and the Terran minority who remained in the Legion and who remembered the Dusk Raiders' earlier martial traditions brought out of Old Terra. These tensions became most clear in the period directly preceding the first battle of the Horus Heresy at Istvaan III, when approximately one-third of the Legion was judged by Mortarion to be likely to remain loyal to the Emperor when the Legion joined the Warmaster Horus in his rebellion against the Imperium. Many of these Loyalist Death Guard Astartes were Terran-born, former Dusk Raiders like Battle-Captain Nathaniel Garro of the 7th Great Company whose loyalty to the Emperor outweighed their devotion to their Primarch.
Mortarion's warriors were ever to be found at the centre of the battle line, their strength and determination the inheritance of their Primarch, making them the unbreakable core of any Imperial army of conquest. When the Horus Heresy plunged the galaxy into civil war, the warriors of the Death Guard found themselves becalmed in the Warp and assailed by Warp-born plagues so virulent that not even their legendary resilience could withstand them. Soon, the entire Legion was beset by a sickness that bloated their bellies with corpse gas, caused flesh to slough from their bodies and made these strongest and toughest of warriors into crippled wretches assailed by delirium. Though none can say exactly what forces acted upon the soul of the Primarch of the Death Guard, whether he was already damned or whether he made his pact in some state of fever, he must have called out for deliverance, and his call must have been answered. When finally the Death Guard Legion's fleet emerged from the Warp, its vessels and its warriors were entirely changed. The once-gleaming white and grey armour was stained with filth, and the noble warriors were transformed into walking hives of death and abomination. Worse still, the "Plague Marines" of the Death Guard were now hosts for the most virulent afflictions that their new patron, the Plague God Nurgle, could concoct. Condemned to a deathless state of decay, the Death Guard would spread their pestilent diseases the length and breadth of the galaxy for the greater glory of Chaos.
With the ending of the Horus Heresy, the Primarch Mortarion led his Legion into the Eye of Terror, and while others had splintered into countless warbands, the Death Guard remained largely whole, thanks in no small part to their legendary strength and resilience. Mortarion led them to a world that would become known simply as the Plague Planet, which he moulded into a new and despicable form, making it a virtual copy of Barbarous. To this day, Mortarion's Death Guard launch their assaults through the Cadian Gate and into the galaxy beyond, sometimes in large bodies and at others lending strength to allied forces. Wherever they travel they spread the joyful, exuberant poxes of Nurgle, gifting those who would know eternal life with the choicest of the Plague God's blessings.
Nurgle is typically depicted as an immense, bloated humanoid, his body swollen with putrefaction. His skin is shown as leathery and necrotic, his surface pocked with running sores, swelling buboes and oozing wounds. Internal organs bulging with decay spill through splits in the ruptured skin to hang like bunches of scrofulous grapes around his vast girth. Nurgle is often illustrated with hordes of tiny daemons bursting forth from its pustules and suckling upon foulness. His sickening, pus-covered form is accompanied by an enveloping cloud of buzzing flies.
Nurgle is the age-old enemy of the Chaos God Tzeentch, the Lord of Change. Their energies come from diametrically opposing beliefs; Tzeentch's power derives from hope and changing fortune while Nurgle's comes from defiance born out of despair and hopelessness. The followers of Nurgle often pit themselves against those of Tzeentch in complex political intrigues in the mortal realm, forever attempting to mire his schemes for change in dull minded conservatism and parochial self-interest. Their corrupting influence is often successful in thwarting the Architect of Fate and they erode his accomplishments constantly, safe in the knowledge that whatever survives the collapse into entropy becomes their inheritance. Nurgle and Tzeentch are in many ways diametrically opposed, for at the heart of the matter the Changer of Ways seeks to build ever more complex and improbable webs of power, while Nurgle embodies continuous growth, destruction, and renewal. The war between the two powers is ceaseless and played out across countless realities. That which Tzeentch creates and evolves to undreamed of heights of complexity and insane perfection, Nurgle's servants gnaw away at, seeking to bring the entire edifice toppling down so that new growth can emerge from the fecund grave.
Garden of Nurgle
While the mortal realm is laid waste by blight and pestilence, the lands of Nurgle in the Realm of Chaos thrive on disease and corruption. Tended by the Lord of Decay, this unwholesome realm is home to every pox and affliction imaginable and is foetid with the stench of rot. Twisted, rotten boughs entangled with grasping vines cover the mouldering ground, entwining like broken fingers. Fungi, both plain and spectacular, break through the squelching mulch of the forest floor, puffing out clouds of choking spores. The stems of half-daemonic plants wave of their own accord, unstirred by the insect-choked air. Their colours puncture the gloom; havens of cheeriness in a dismal woodland. Human-featured beetles flit along the banks of sluggish, muddy rivers. Reeds rattle, whispering the names of the poxes inflicted upon the worlds of mortals by Great Nurgle or lamenting those that have died from the caress of their creator.
Jutting from amidst this primordial mire is Nurgle's manse. Decrepit and ancient, yet eternally strong at its foundations, the mansion is an eclectic structure of rotted timbers and broken walls, overgrown with crawling poison ivy and thick mosses. Cracked windows and crumbling stone compete with verdigris-coated bronze, rusted ironwork and lichen-covered cornices to outdo each other with their corrupted charm. Within these tumbling walls, Nurgle toils. Beneath mildewed and sagging beams, the great god works for eternity at a rusted cauldron, a receptacle vast enough to contain all the oceans of all the worlds. Chuckling and murmuring to himself, Nurgle labours to create contagion and pestilence, the most sublime and unfettered forms of life. With every stir of Nurgle's maggot-ridden ladle, a dozen fresh diseases flourish and are scattered through the stars. From time to time, Nurgle reaches down with a clawed hand to scoop a portion of the ghastly mixture into his cavernous mouth, tasting the fruits of his labour. With each passing day, he comes closer to brewing his perfect disease, a spiritual plague that will spread across the extent of the universe and see all living things gathered unto his rotting embrace.
Dwarfed by their mighty lord, a host of Plaguebearers are gathered about Nurgle. Each chants sonorously, keeping count of the diseases created, the mischievous Nurglings that have hatched, and the souls claimed by the Lord of Decay's putrid blessings. This hum drowns out the creaking of the rotten floor and the scrape of the ladle on the cauldron, so eternal in its monotony that to hear it is to invite madness. When Nurgle's diseases wax strong in the mortal realm, his garden blooms with death's heads and fresh filth, encroaching upon the lands of the other Chaos Gods. War follows, as Nurgle's adversaries fight back and the Plaguebearers take up arms to defend the morbid forest. From such war springs more of the richness of life and death, of triumph over adversity. Though Nurgle's realm will eventually recede again, it will have fed deeply on the fallen, and will lie in gestate peace until it is ready to swell throughout time and space once more.
The Eldar believe that when Slaanesh the Lord of Pleasure awoke in the early 30th Millennium, their gods were destroyed outright. Yet there is one myth upon a single Craftworld that tells of how the Maiden Goddess Isha was not slain by the Dark Prince and absorbed by Slaanesh like the rest of the Eldar Pantheon after his birth during the Fall of the Eldar. Slaanesh vanquished her as he had all of the other Eldar Gods within the Warp, but only took her prisoner rather than absorbing her energies outright. What fell purpose Slaanesh had in keeping Isha alive, none amongst the Eldar now know, but the Prince of Pleasure was ultimately denied his spoils: for some reason Nurgle, the Plague Lord, waged war against Slaanesh to "rescue" the Eldar Goddess. Why Grandfather Nurgle intervened is unclear, although some Eldar savants believe that the oldest of the major Chaos Gods wanted to give the youngest amongst them a good lesson about his proper place in the order of things. What is known is that Nurgle's daemonic forces proved victorious and he took the Eldar Goddess back to his domain in the Realm of Chaos. A goddess of rejuvenation and a god of decay seemed an odd pairing, but Nurgle came to adore his new companion like no other being in the universe.
Yet the adoration of a Chaos God is a strange thing, for Nurgle shows his affection in cruel ways. Nurgle keeps Isha imprisoned in a rusted cage in the corner of his cauldron chamber within his personal manse. It is there that he keeps the cauldron where he mixes the elements that create all of his plagues and pestilences. When the Plague God creates a particularly pleasing brew, he forces Isha to imbibe the putrid mixture, watching with building excitement for the symptoms of his latest contagion. Though as the Goddess of Healing, Isha can cure herself of the disease's ravages, the speed with which she is free from its grip allows the Plaguelord to evaluate his creation's virulence. If Nurgle is pleased, he returns to his cauldron and empties its contents into a bottomless drain, the noxious liquid falling as rain upon one of the mortal worlds. If the concoction does not meet with Nurgle's approval, he gulps down the contents of the cauldron, vomits it back into the pot and starts afresh. While the Plaguefather is busy at his cauldron, Isha accepts her lot stoically, and fights back against the Plague God's evil in the same way she once fought against Khaine, whispering the cures to these new diseases into the universe so that mortals might know them and resist the hideous designs of Grandfather Nurgle.
Very few mortal eyes have beheld the Garden of Nurgle. Its swamplands constantly wheeze a fog of supernatural diseases, and living beings cannot endure so much as a single breath of its repugnance. Only Nurgle himself can spare visitors from his garden's toxic affections; when he is expecting company, he will open a path through the gurgling fungus-fronds with a single magnanimous gesture. Trespassers are viewed poorly in Nurgle's domain, as the Seers of Lugganath found to their cost. The Eldar of that far-flung Craftworld have long told the story of the Caged Maiden, wherein Isha, the goddess of fertility and healing, is imprisoned in Nurgle's mansion at the mercy of her grotesque admirer. The Eldar believe their legends to be absolute truth and even aspire to one day free their goddess from Nurgle's unctuous grasp. So it was that when Lugganath was ravaged by the Brittle Coma, an army of its most gifted psykers cast their minds into the realm of Nurgle in pursuit of the truth of the myth of Isha's captivity, hoping to find their lost goddess and put a halt to their Craftworld's deadly malaise with her freedom. They knew that they would almost certainly die in the attempt, but believed that their souls would ultimately be drawn back into the glittering Spirit Stones of their comatose bodies. Once safe in their crystal afterlife, they could impart Isha's message to the Spiritseers and lift Nurgle's curse from their homes.
At first, their astrally projected forms appeared to be able to pass through the grasping foliage of Nurgle's garden with ease. Their ghosthelms kept them as insubstantial as spirits and their rune-shielded minds cut through the dismal vegetation, for they were sharper than any corporeal blade. The Rot Flies of that realm buzzed loud in alarm, however, and whispered of the intruders into Nurgle's ear. Just as the Seers of Lugganath sighted Grandfather Nurgle's manse in the distance, a great host of Plaguebearers rose up from the mud and began to chant in a droning monotone as they came forward. The Seers chanelled their psychic energy into great blasts of cleansing blue fire, boiling away huge chunks of Nurgle's army and darting out of the clumsy reach of their foes, but ever more Plaguebearers emerged from the slurry to block their path.
The battle raged for days, and swathes of Nurgle's garden were blasted to ruin in the process. However, in the material dimension, the physical form of the trespassing Seers began to convulse and shake, succumbing to the very plague they hoped to overcome. Slowly, as their bodies shrivelled and their Spirit Stones turned to rotting mulch, the souls of the Seers that were trapped in Nurgle's realm began to pass fully into the Immaterium. The soupy air of the garden seeped into their lungs, worm-riddled mud spattered up their legs, and white-bodied daemonflies clambered into their mouths. Claimed at last, the Seers' feet took root as their faces hardened into bark. Their arms split and twisted into gnarled branches, each finger hung with ripening Nurgling-fruit. The Seers of Lugganath remain there still, a copse of wailing trees that brighten Nurgle's leisurely walks and strike a note of despair into the heart of Isha, his immortal captive. Such is the fate of those who enter uninvited into the heartlands of Nurgle, for even the generosity of the Grandfather of Plagues has its limit.
The daemons of Nurgle are truly putrid in their appearance and sickening to look upon. Their flesh pulses with the feverheat of corruption, their innards push through lesions in their putrid skin and their bodies ooze with sticky slime. Yet in contrast to their hideous appearance, Nurgle's daemons are cheerful, energetic beings that show a disturbingly friendly demeanour. They are jovial in their work and show great pride in their accomplishments, interpreting the groans of the afflicted as expressions of gratitude justly won by their efforts. The daemons of Nurgle include the following:
- Nurglings - Nurglings are tiny, mischievous daemons who are small facsimiles of Nurgle himself. These rotund imps normally appear in large numbers, forming swarms which accompany armies dedicated to Nurgle. Occasionally, very dedicated Chaos Champions of Nurgle will become infested with Nurglings, which will live in gaping wounds and orifices on the Champion's body; when the Champion comes under attack, these little monsters will help defend their "home".
- Plaguebearers - Plagubearers are rotting, wasted creatures of vaguely humanoid size and appearance, with a single burning eye. These vile Lesser Daemons form the rank and file of the Plague Father's pestilent legions. Flies continually buzz around them, therefore making them more difficult to fight. The many diseases carried by these daemons can be used to terrible effect during battle.
- Plague Drones - High-ranking Plaguebearers are known amongst the daemonic legions as Plague Drones; a title that conveys commendable humility. These overseers of Nurgle's realm ride into realspace mounted upon Rot Flies. From their lofty positions, the Plague Drones can properly tally the diseases running rife across the battlefield, as well as swiftly intervene should Nurgle's divine plans meet with heavily-armed resistance.
- Rot Flies - Rot Flies are colossal daemonic insects whose appearance is so repugnant that it scars the mind. These vile creatures are the most loathsome of Nurgle's creations. Only the forbidden tomes of the Eldar Black Library speak of the forbidden process by which these creatures are birthed, for they hatch in the sticky depths of Nurgle's gardens in the Realm of Chaos, where the visionary and the loon wander in their dreams.
- Beasts of Nurgle - Beasts of Nurgle are truly horrendous daemonic aberrations. They have the soft, sticky and mottled body of a pallid slug, webbed feet that flap uselessly, a face of writhing green tentacles, and a whiptail growth that bursts from its back and which wags constantly from side to side.
- Slime Hounds - Slime Hounds are foul creatures resembling a putrid, overgrown, mutated slug.
- Great Unclean Ones - Undoubtedly the foulest of the daemonic servants of the Ruinous Powers, each of these Greater Daemons are shaped in the fashion of Nurgle himself; massive, bloated disease carriers whose decaying flesh bulges with corpulent cancers. They usually carry a great rusted blade known as a Plague Sword into battle, said to be dipped in the foul pus and contagion that lies at the base of Nurgle's throne in the Warp. They are the most powerful of Nurgle's daemons and generally act as the leaders and father figures for the other daemons of the Plaguelord, epitomising Nurgle's joyful, paternal nature.
- Epidemius - Epidemius is Nurgle's chosen Tallyman, one of the seven Proctors of Pestilence and the cataloguer of all the Plague Lord's diseases. Epidemius' task is an unending one, and it generates a great deal of paperwork, so he rides a palanquin to share the burden -- and to more easily force a path through Nurgle's hordes. Two dozen Nurglings attend the Tallyman's every need, providing the parchment, operating the death's head abacus, excreting the ink for the quill pens and even defending Epidemius from harm should a foolish enemy venture too close.
- Vile Savants - The Vile Savants are horrific manifestations of the daemonic diseases that claimed mortal lives and appear as the putrescent remains of the flesh they wore. The Vile Savants are avatars of plague and destruction. They appear as figures wearing sealed containment suits that are slick with filth and beaded with moisture like sweat on fevered skin. Inside, there is nothing but putrefied liquid flesh and writhing vermin, held together by the sagging structure of the suit. The daemonic forces that motivate them drive their stumbling, boneless limbs on with macabre and implacable purpose. A palpable aura of utter horror and rotting miasma surrounds them, and to simply be unfortunate enough to witness these awful things is terrifying. Worse still is to hear their buzzing voices inside one's head or become the subjects of their experimentations in the death of flesh.
- Plague Swarm - A Plague Swarm is a daemonic force of mindless destruction that materialises in the corporeal universe as a rippling mass of locusts, beetles, flies, or other such creatures twisted into utterly horrific form and redolent with rot and decay. These hellish swarms move as one implacable and unholy mass, stripping flesh from victims as they pass, tainting and destroying everything they touch.
Nurgle the Plague Lord is the most ancient of the four major Chaos Gods, for he is the psychic manifestation of the most predominant collective fear of all sentient beings: the fear of death. Nurgle is the embodiment of disease, decay and the death these states ultimately bring to all living things. Most Nurgleites rarely end up in the service of the Plague Lord willingly; for those who contract a deadly disease or are forced to face the reality of their own mortality, Nurgle offers a potential escape from the painful ravages of illness or an untimely death--in return for an individual's soul and his eternal damnation. Among all the major intelligent species of the galaxy, Mankind fears death and the onset of nonexistence the most, and it is humans who have always been the majority of the Plague Lord's servants. In return for their allegiance and service, Nurgle offers his worshippers complete immunity to all disease and pain--by infecting them with every natural disease in existence and many that are unnatural extensions into realspace of the arcane power of Chaos. Champions of Nurgle can become among the most powerful Chaotic servants in the galaxy, though they will also be afflicted with some of the most all-encompassing, and disgusting, physical mutations that Chaos can bestow. Nurgleites become swollen, walking bags of pus and putrescence, their very skin swelling and rotting from their bones even as they continuously leak organic fluids infected with every loathsome bacteria, virus, fungus and infectious agent that can be conjured by the imagination. In return, Nurgleites are completely immune to these diseases, or any disease, and their rotting bodies also become physically robust, capable of withstanding injuries and damage that would destroy even those enjoying the most robust health. At the same time, despite their seeming infirmity, those who have sworn their souls to Nurgle feel no pain; in fact, quite the opposite, for many Nurgleites report feeling a sense of power and and almost drug-like well-being that is far more pleasurable than they felt before the mutations began
The inspiration for Nurgle comes from the ancient Babylonian god Nergal. Portrayed in hymns and myths as a god of war and pestilence, Nergal seems to represent the sun of noontime and of the summer solstice that brings destruction, as high summer was the dead season in the Mesopotamian annual cycle.
- Apocalypse (Supplement), pp. 171-172
- Black Crusade: Core Rulebook (RPG), pp. 11-13, 215-216, 300, 355-357
- Black Crusade: The Tome of Fate (RPG), pp. 6, 9-10, 17, 44, 47-49, 64, 66, 110, 127, 130
- Codex: Chaos Daemons (6th Edition), pp. 14-15, 46-52, 61-65, 74, 78, 83, 91-92, 96-100
- Codex: Chaos Daemons (4th Edition), pp. 13, 30, 34, 38, 42, 48, 52, 59, 64, 69, 75-76, 78-85
- Codex: Chaos Space Marine (6th Edition)
- Codex: Chaos Space Marines (4th Edition)
- Codex: Chaos Space Marines (3rd Edition, 2nd Codex)
- Codex: Chaos Space Marines (3rd Edition, 1st Codex)
- Codex: Chaos (2nd Edition)
- Codex: Eye of Terror (3rd Edition), pp. 9, 17
- Dark Heresy: Creatures Anathema (RPG), pg. 124
- Dark Heresy: Daemon Hunter (RPG), pg. 92-93, 98
- Dark Heresy: Disciples of the Dark Gods (RPG), pp. 147-151
- Deathwatch: First Founding (RPG), pp. 84-85
- Horus Heresy: Visions of Death by Alan Merrett
- Imperial Armour Volume Seven - The Siege of Vraks - Part Three
- Index Astartes III, "The Lost and the Damned - The Death Guard Legion"
- Realm of Chaos: The Lost and the Damned
- Imperial Armour - The Horus Heresy - Book One: Betrayal, pp. 120-137
- Imperial Armour Volume Six - The Siege of Vraks, Part Two
- Imperial Armour Volume Seven - The Siege of Vraks, Part Three
- Liber Chaotica
- Liber Chaotica: Nurgle
- Realm of Chaos: The Lost and the Damned
- Rogue Trader: The Koronus Bestiary (RPG), pg. 118
- Warhammer 40,000 Rulebook (6th Edition)
- White Dwarf 304 (UK), "The Enemy within – The Followers of Chaos Walk Among Us"
- White Dwarf 303 (US), "Crux Terminatus - Plague Marines", pp. 24-29
- White Dwarf 291 (US), "Plague Bearers: Death Guard Fiction" & "Tactica Death Guard"
- White Dwarf 282 (AUS), "Heroes and Villains of the 41st Millennium – Typhus, Herald of Nurgle"
- White Dwarf 274 (UK), "Index Malleus: Daemon of the Warp"
- White Dwarf 272 (UK), "Nurgle, the Lord of Decay"
- White Dwarf 264 (US), "Index Astartes (First Founding): The Lost and the Damned - The Death Guard Space Marine Legion", pp. 68-75
- White Dwarf 224 (UK), "Chaos Cultists"
- White Dwarf 218 (UK), "Realm of Chaos"
- White Dwarf 217 (UK), "Realm of Chaos Preview"
- White Dwarf 216 (UK), "Chaos Warriors"
- White Dwarf 207 (UK), "Great Unclean One"
- White Dwarf 205 (UK), "Veteran Chaos Space Marines"
- White Dwarf 204 (UK), "Plague Marines: Chaos Plague Marines of Nurgle", pp. 33-35
- White Dwarf 201 (UK), "Chaos Terminators"
- White Dwarf 200 (UK), "Chaos Dreadnoughts"
- White Dwarf 188 (UK), "Plague Engines of Nurgle"
- White Dwarf 182 (UK), "Plaguebearers, Daemonettes and Mounts of Slaanesh"
- White Dwarf 170 (UK), "Chaos Space Marines"
- White Dwarf 148 (UK), "Daemons and Daemonic Warmachines"
- White Dwarf 132 (UK), "Realm of Chaos, Pt. 2"
- White Dwarf 131 (UK), "Realm of Chaos, Pt. 1"
- White Dwarf 122 (UK), "Traitor Terminators, Pt. 2"
- White Dwarf 119 (UK), "Nurgle"
- White Dwarf 116 (UK), "Traitor Terminators, Pt. 1"
- White Dwarf 114 (UK), "Palaquins of Nurgle"
- White Dwarf 109 (UK), "Lords of Change and the Great Unclean Ones"
- White Dwarf 107 (UK), "The Lost and the Damned - Chaos Renegades"
- Flight of the Eisenstein (Novel) by James Swallow
- False Gods (Novel) by Graham McNeill
- Blood of Asaheim (Novel) by Chris Wraight
- Cadian Blood (Novella), pp. Aaron Dembski-Bowden
- Down Amongst the Dead Men (Novella) by Steve Lyons
- Hive of the Dead (Novella) by C.Z. Dunn
- Labyrinth of Sorrows (Audio Book) by George Mann
- The Unkindness of Ravens (Novella) by George Mann
|The Major Powers of Chaos|
|Khorne • Nurgle • Slaanesh • Tzeentch|