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Warhammer 40K: Plagues of Grandfather Nurgle

5 Minute Read
Mar 1 2023

Today with the Arks of Omen at our door, we look into the most infamous of daemonic plagues of the Lord of Decay – Nurgle.


Bonewrack is one of many diseases invented by Ku’Gath, Nurgle‘s Great Unclean One.

For some time it was thought lost, until 998 M41 during the Red Waaagh!‘s invasion of the Sanctus sub-sector in Ultima Segmentum. Inquisitor Malia Orbiana went to the Agri Worldof Squire’s Rest seeking biological weapons with which to hold back the invading Greenskins, prompting the intervention of Justicar Styer and his Grey Knights. Their actions, however, led to the virus and its maker manifesting in realspace and it broke free. In a cruel, ironic twist, the Orks themselves proved to be completely immune to the plague. The Grey Knights were successful in repelling the Great Unclean One back into the Warp, ending the daemonic incursion.

When Bonewrack infects a victim, their bones are warped in all directions. The progression crushes internal organs, twisting the victim’s body. Bonewrack causes incredible pain, and eventually death by asphyxiation.

Destroyer Plague

The Destroyer Plague is a disease conjured by Nurgle, the Chaos God of Decay. It takes the form of warp-spawned flies that infest every orifice of the body and lay their eggs in their hapless victims. The victims’ abdomens become bloated until they finally burst, unleashing another wave of plague flies to spread the contagion once more. The Destroyer is described as the most horrific and vile plague in Grandfather Nurgle’s arsenal.

When Calas Typhon, First Captain of the Death Guard, led his Legion into the warp, the Legion was struck down by a curious paralyzing illness, a precursor of what was to come. Though Astartes are normally resistant to disease, against the power of Nurgle they had no defense. As the Destroyer spread throughout the Death Guard fleet, bursting the guts of the hardy Space Marines, Typhon – on the bridge of his flagship, Terminus Est – was the first to stir. He came uncertainly to his feet, and spoke only one phlegm-laced word: “More.” With that word, the flies left their hosts broken and bloated, and entered Typhon’s body like a wave. Surprisingly, he remained on his feet, but was now a hive of pestilence. He is now known as Typhus, Herald of Nurgle and host of the Destroyer Hive.



The Doubtworm is a type of Plague Zombie used by Nurgle.

The plague spreads through the mind rather than by germs, meaning that infection spreads at a very fast rate. The plague appears at first as a zombie plague with survivors. These “survivors” may appear to be immune, with any Imperial Guard protectors quickly getting infected and the survivors being torn apart rather than infected. The zombies will also ignore Space Marines; the plague exploits a grain of its victim’s doubt in the Emperor – hence it knows better than to look for this doubt in the Adeptus Astartes, who carry a fraction of the Emperor Himself in their geneseed. The Doubtworm’s victims later turn into humans again, appearing to resist the other zombies, and even grow in numbers. In the second stage of infection, they mutate into a worm, noted to have many eye-mouths and one giant eye.

Morbus Metallum

Morbus Metallum is a disease created by the Death Guard. It was created after a failed takeover of the Albarnan Sector to turn the local Jungle Worlds into Plague Factories. Three companies of the Iron Hands and forces of the Adeptus Mechanicus thwarted the plan.

The disease was specifically designed to infect the Iron Hands. After infecting a person’s skin it would attack the cybernetics to drive their Machine spirits into a mad frenzy.

Nurgle’s Rot

Nurgle’s Rot is the most foul of the countless contagions which afflict mortal beings. It is Nurgle’s gift to the mortal universe. The Rot is completely incurable, highly infectious, has a very slow course that turns the infected into bloated, rotting, corpses, and worst of all it corrupts the souls of the infected into new Plaguebearers.


It is as much a spiritual plague as a physical one. The souls of those infected are slowly leeched into Nurgle’s realm. There they reappear as warty seed pods growing from cracked branches of gloomy willows. Each pod swells and ripens as the plague destroys its host in the real world and the nascent Plaguebearer feeds upon the victim’s dying energies. When fully mature, the podule drops and the newly created Plaguebearer tears himself free. A mortal who resists for a significant period produces an equally long incubation period resulting in a larger, tougher and more disgusting Daemonic Herald of Nurgle. Many sufferers undertake death quests in order to be killed and avoid this fate

Walking Pox

Walking Pox is a new type of Nurgle disease. It turns it’s infected victims into Poxwalkers.  The victims become rotting, bloated corpses, with spikes protruding from their mutated bodies. Though the victims of this disease becomes irrevocably dead, they are still horribly conscious and trapped in their mutated bodies, therefore helplessly watching as their diseased corpse shambles out in a eternal search for living souls and fresh meat to devour.

More Diseases of Nurgle


~Guard your soul against corruption brother.

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