Plaguebearers are the footsoldiers of Nurgle’s daemonic legions. These loathsome creatures are crafted from the blighted souls of mortals who have been slain by the virulent plague known as Nurgle’s Rot. These Lesser Daemons of the Lord of Decay are shambling, pustulent creatures. Plaguebearers have gangling, bony limbs, their bodies swollen with decay, so much so that glistening innards are exposed through rents in their skin. They possess a single, cyclopean eye and a single horn rising above their haggard, drawn faces, their bodies covered in filth and parasites. Despite the Plaguebearer’s unusual appearance, they are supernaturally resilient to harm, the gifts of their master having inured them to all pain.
Plaguebearers are constantly surrounded by clouds of droning flies and chant monotonous hymns, their gait a staggering lope. Their sonorous voices attempt to keep count of the number of noxious plagues unleashed by Nurgle; an impossible task, for the Grandfather of Plagues constantly invents new strains of viruses. They also serve as the “Tallymen of Nurgle,” eternally bound to record all of their Dark God’s pestilential creations. Many believe that Plaguebearers are in fact created by such diseases, incubating within plague victims and feeding upon their dying energies, only to later fully emerge from their heaped bodies.
In battle, Plaguebearers shamble purposefully towards their foes. Packs of these Lesser Daemons — often up to seven of them — are known as the “Tallybands,” and form the core of many of Nurgle’s daemonic Plague Legions. Each Plaguebearer wields a rusted blade called a Plaguesword that corrupts flesh in an instant. Should a foe endure the stench and not be struck down, they will find their own blows hampered by swarming flies. When strikes do land upon Plaguebearers they seem to have little effect, for the minions of Nurgle feel no pain, and shrug off what should be lethal strokes.
Plaguebearers are pestilential and bloated, riddled with disease, and they trudge forward in massed ranks to overwhelm the enemy. The rotted bodies of Plaguebearers are unnaturally hardy, soaking up volleys of explosive bolt shells and searing las-blasts without faltering. Meanwhile, their entropic Plagueswords are hideous weapons, whose virulent slime rusts metal and rots flesh upon contact. As inexorable as the onset of a terminal sickness, the Plaguebearers shrug off everything the foe can hurl at them before bludgeoning them mercilessly into the dirt.
It is the Plaguebearers’ role to keep stock of new diseases and symptoms inflicted by the worshippers of Nurgle. The daemons’ obsessive need to organise is characterised by their constant counting as they try to calculate every new outbreak of plague. This monotonous chanting achieves little, for it is practically impossible to catalogue anything amidst the ever-changing nature of Chaos. This in no way discourages the Plaguebearers, for they are the embodiment of the need to impose order upon the universe. Unfortunately for the Plaguebearers, they are prone to losing count during combat. They often find themselves standing over their dying foes, groaning in frustration before starting their count anew.
For some individuals, the greatest terror is the failure of the mortal shell. Decay, pestilence, and rot are constants in a galaxy populated with an uncountable number of living souls. Life begets filth and plague, and in a twisted mockery of this fact, it is human life which begets the Lesser Daemons of the Lord of Flies. Nurgle’s Rot is perhaps the greatest gift that the Plague God has granted to an ungrateful galaxy, and it is this sickness that creates new Plaguebearers. Nurgle’s Rot is utterly incurable and highly infectious with an excruciatingly slow course. When Nurgle’s ubiquitous plague consumes the body of a human victim, the soul is likewise consumed. This process brings into being the wretched Plaguebearers.
These one-eyed daemons appear as frail, wasted human bodies with bloated stomachs, long gangling arms, and broad mouths full of broken fangs and dripping with infectious spittle. Their foreheads are peaked with a single ivory horn, crusted with dried blood, mucus and pus. In their gnarled hands, they carry thick, rusty cleavers known as Plagueswords and broad slashing blades which they use on the battlefield to spread their virulent infections. Surrounded by a thick cloud of enormous black flies, they are a horrific foe, even from across the field of battle, as their host buzzes with the wings of the flies and rumbling with a dolorous dirge. The body of a Plaguebearer appears weak and fragile, but their constant exposure to the vilest concoctions of Nurgle’s cauldron has made them unnaturally resilient. Inured to pain, ignorant of the idea of injury, they fight on, even laughing at the sight of their own dismemberment.
The attitude of a Plaguebearer is often more frightening to mortals than their appearance. They solemnly drudge along, steady in the suffering and despair they cause. This is not some sadistic pleasure, like that of Slaanesh, but rather a determined appreciation of Nurgle’s genius, a devotion to his art and an acknowledgment of the eventual disintegration of all things. Their wish to spread disease is driven by their wish to share their Father’s gifts with the galaxy. As they march, they chant out the list of poxes, plagues, and pestilence their Father has created, ever certain in their growing number and increasing virulence.
Bands of Plaguebearers are the most organised and efficient of daemons upon the battlefield, shambling purposefully towards a chosen foe before hacking them apart with Plagueswords. 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. Should a foe endure long enough to strike back, his blows will have little effect on the Plaguebearers. Their corrupted forms feel no pain and regenerate damage at a frightening rate.
Death Guard Sorcerers often summon Plaguebearers to the battlefield in order to bolster their ranks or plug gaps in the line. At other times, the sheer pestilence and despair spread by the Death Guard sunders the veil of reality and allows Plaguebearers to manifest spontaneously upon the field of battle. The droning daemons perfectly complement the ponderous Death Guard advance, soaking up inordinate amounts of enemy fire even as they spread terror and sickness before them. The warriors of the Death Guard see the Plaguebearers’ presence as Nurgle’s manifest blessing bestowed upon their endeavours. At the same time, Mortarion’s sons are pragmatists at heart, and gladly allow the daemons to wear down the enemy and bear the brunt of their fury, providing the Death Guard ample opportunity to close in for the kill.
Duties of a Plaguebearer
It is the Plaguebearers’ role to keep stock of new diseases and symptoms, and to maintain some semblance of order amongst Nurgle’s naturally mischievous hordes. The Plaguebearers’ obsessive need to organise is characterised by their constant counting as they try to calculate every new outbreak of plague. However, this monotonous chanting achieves very little — it is practically impossible to catalogue anything amidst the ever-changing nature of Chaos. This in no way discourages them, however, for they are the embodiment of the need to impose order upon a meaningless and uncaring world. In battle, their corpulent forms resist all but the most fearsome weaponry, and they wield rusted blades that corrupt flesh and rust metal in an instant. Unfortunately for the Plaguebearers, they are prone to losing count during combat, and they stand above their dying foes groaning in frustration before starting their count all over again.. These onerous duties have earned Plaguebearers the title of “Nurgle’s Tallymen” in popular lore.