BoLS logo Tabletop, RPGs & Pop Culture

40K Lore: Meet 7 Great Unclean Ones

5 Minute Read
Jan 3 2018
Warhammer 40K Hot story icon

Today Loremasters we take a look at 7 infamous Great Unclean Ones to blight the galaxy.

First the basics:

Great Unclean Ones are the Greater Daemons of Nurgle. In form they are massive and bloated with disease and decay, and their necrotic and boil-covered flesh is rent, where their organs spill out, hanging across their huge girth. Great Unclean Ones can endure tremendous amounts of damage before being felled. Many opponents cannot stomach to look at a Great Unclean One, let alone fight one.

Seven Examples


The Blightfather

The Blightfather is a Great Unclean One, who was part of a Daemonic incursion that occurred on a Maiden World after it was caught in a Warp Storm. Unfortunately for the Daemons, the Harlequins of the Masque of the Laughing Circus discovered the world’s plight and brought the forces of the Craftworld Saim-Hann and the Dark Eldar of Commorragh to save the Maiden World. The Daemons were ultimately victorious though and defeated the Eldar, with The Blightfather personally tearing apart the Farseer Illanor, before they then wrecked havoc on the defenseless Maiden World.


Bubondubon the Smiler, is a Great Unclean One who is considered to be the jolliest of Nurgle‘s Greater Daemons and is constantly laughing and telling jokes. He commands one of the seven legions within Nurgle‘s elite Plague Guard and aided the Guard in claiming the Ultramar world Iax, during the Plague Wars.


Gangrel is a distinct looking Great Unclean One, who is considerably taller and thinner than Nurgle‘s other Greater Daemons. His legs are worthless and he has no control over them, so he is forced to use his hands to walk and drags his legs behind him. Gangrel commands one of the seven legions within Nurgle‘s elite Plague Guard and aided the Guard in claiming the Ultramar world Iax, during the Plague Wars.


Ku’Gath was once a Nurgling sitting upon the shoulder of Nurgle. Whilst Nurgle was mixing his most virulent toxin ever, Ku’Gath tumbled from his nesting place into the cauldron, where he took a great draught of the filthy contents and swelled with its power. Invigorated, Ku’Gath drank and drank until the cauldron was nearly empty and he had grown into a Great Unclean One. Nurgle laughed at the antics of his Nurgling, who had become the embodiment of the perfect disease that had been bubbling within the cauldron. Ku’Gath, however, realised that he had robbed his father of the greatest disease ever concocted; and has since been wandering the universe, searching for the perfect ingredients to recreate the toxin for Nurgle. He also captures those whom his diseases corrupt and take them back to his lair, where he can observe their degeneration more closely.


In 927.M41, Ku’Gath was summoned on the Agri-World of Curwen at the head of the Daemonic Legion. A Grey Knights strike force arrived, and Justicar Anval Thawn led a force into the very heart of the Daemonic horde to avoid encirclement. Ku’Gath swallowed the Purifier whole, but Thawn detonated his weapon inside the Daemon’s throat and burst from its body. Ku’Gath was slain and banished back to the Warp.

In 111.M42 during the Plague Wars, he appeared on Iax leading seven hosts of daemons, trying to destroy it because of its conversion to a hospital-planet, something that caused death to Nurgle’s gifts.

Unlike his fellow Great Unclean Ones, Ku’Gath is a sombre creature. He is also studious and observant, all the better to create the perfect disease.


Septicus the Lord of the Seventh Manse, Keeper of the Seven Codes of Life, Seven of the Many Plagues – is a Great Unclean One and is the second in command to the Greater Daemon Ku’Gath, within Nurgle‘s elite Plague Guard. He was famous in that he often carried with him the glistening stomach sac of some unfortunate creature with protruding hollow antlers, on which he played like on the bagpipe, summoning such a terrible sounds that it exasperated even his fellow daemons. During the later years of the Plague Wars, Septicus aided the Plague Guard in claiming the Ultramar world Iax for Nurgle. The Plague Guard then invaded Parmenio and later clashed with the Imperium forces led by Lord Commander Guilliman. During the battle, Septicus fought Guilliman, but was defeated and banished back to the Warp by the Lord Commander.


Scabeiathrax (Papa G’aap, Lord of the Blighted Pit, Maggotspore and The Wind of Nurgle) is an ancient Great Unclean One, a huge bloated sack of disease and contagion and one of Nurgle’s most favoured Greater Daemons. Scabeiathrax resides wallowing in one of Nurgle’s largest plague pits called the Blighted Pit, until he is called to plague the corporeal universe.

Wherever he treads he leaves a trail of disease, filth and corruption. He carries with him the Blade of Decay, a crude rusting cleaver, imbued with the power to rapidly age and decay all it touches. Those who are hit by it find their wounds become instantly infected, and their flesh rotting away before their eyes.


Ulkair is first known to have engulfed the planet Aurelia into a massive Warp Storm, the aftermath of which left the planet a frozen wasteland. Later, the Daemon was confronted by Moriah of the Blood Ravens, who fell in battle against the Greater Daemon. Moriah’s apprentice, Azariah Kyras, managed to avenge his master by imprisoning the Daemon into Aurelia, where it remained trapped until the world’s invasion by the Black Legion.


As the Black Legion invaded Aurelia, Eliphas the Inheritor concocted a scheme to sacrifice enough Space Marines in a ritual which would break Ulkair from his prison. Manifesting into the body of a Plague Marine, Ulkair was finally set free once more and began to rip the world of Aurelia apart. Only through the efforts of the Blood Ravens Captain Gabriel Angelos was Ulkair defeated and imprisoned once more.

Learn of even more Great Unclean Ones


~A Daemon is a lie made flesh. Fear them for this reason – then fear them once more.


Author: Larry Vela
  • 40K: 5 Changes We Want To See In Codex Chaos Daemons

    Warhammer 40K