Festus the Leechlord

The Gardner of Nurgle.

Festus the Leechlord, also known as Old Sawbones, the Dark Apothecary, the Fecundite, and later as Festus Empowered, the Gardner of Nurgle, was once a proud physician of the highest caliber, who rose to become one of Nurgle's most exalted servants.[1a][2b]


If an unfortunate traveller were to stray onto the twisted roads that lead from the northern forests into the Chaos Wastes, he might be paid a visit by a most unsavoury individual during the dark of the night. A shuffling, muttering figure stalks these lands, his moth-eaten robes gently clinking with vials containing unimaginable concoctions, which he is seeking to test out upon those he can catch or deceive. A devotee of the plague god Nurgle, this mysterious apothecary is quite, quite mad, though he once bore the respect of physicians, alchemists and scientists across the length and breadth of the Old World.[1a][2b]

Doctor Festus was once a skilled chirurgeon who founded hospices all across the province of Nordland, and was as compassionate as he was gifted. Specialising in curative unguents and salves, the good doctor cured hundreds of people every year. With Festus’ guidance, Nordland overcame outbreaks of the Screaming Ague, Blacklegge, and even the crippling Ghoulpox.[1a][2b]

It was the onset of Gnashing Fever that marked the beginning of the end for Festus. Try as he might, the doctor could not stem the spread of this new and highly contagious disease. Festus locked himself in his laboratory, working ceaselessly to create a healing elixir. Countless sleepless nights passed, and despite his best efforts, Festus still had no cure.[1a][2b]

Those plague victims he had managed to sequester in his laboratory were dying and he was powerless to prevent it. As the last of his test subjects shook themselves to death, Festus dropped to his knees, crying out for help. One by one, the slack-jawed corpses in Festus’ laboratory turned their heads to look at him. With one voice emanating from a score of parched throats, they promised to give Festus the knowledge necessary to cure not only this plague but all the diseases in the world, in exchange for a lifetime of service. In his desperation, Festus agreed.[1a][2b]

In the blink of a bloodshot eye, Festus’ mind was filled with every detail of every sickness, ailment and plague known to the great god Nurgle. This drove him entirely mad, washed away his compassion and left nothing more than an intimate knowledge of disease and a desire to experiment. Festus became the Leechlord of Nurgle, who goes to war in the name of furthering his revolting studies. Though his curative powers are greater than ever before, woe betide the fool who crosses the Doctor, for he is always in need of new test subjects, and not above force-feeding his latest concoctions to his victims in his quest to bring ever more repugnant forms of life into the world. It is a better fate by far to die on the field of battle than to be captured alive by Festus and used for his latest dark experiments.[1a][2b]

In 2516 IC, he posed as a cloaked doctor to tend to the son of Aldebrand Ludenhof, Elector Count of Hochland, when he fell ill with a mysterious illness. He instructed him to drink a potion should the symptoms return, and upon drinking the tainted elixir, he was transformed into a hideous mutant that slaughtered a dozen of the Count’s most trusted advisors before sloping off to the north to obey its new master.[2a]

Four years later, Festus unleashed a strain of Eyeslime Fever so virulent upon the Empire that the death it caused allowed a horde of Daemons to manifest, laying siege to the city of Middendorf.[2a]

Wargear and Abilities

Festus was counted among Nurgle's greatest servants, a hulking, heavily-mutated abomination who was on the very cusp of daemonhood.

  • Pestilent Potions: Festus is a walking repository of alembics and foul-smelling potions. To one blessed by Grandfather Nurgle, these elixirs are restorative brews, but to others, they are deadly poisons.[1a][2b]


  • 7th Edition.


  • 1: Warhammer Armies: Warriors of Chaos (7th Edition)
    • 1a: pg. 78
  • 2: Warhammer Armies: Warriors of Chaos (8th Edition)
    • 2a: pg. 15
    • 2b: pg. 42

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