- "Ah, yes. The Plague Monks. Where to begin? These wretched creatures have wholly embraced the diseased aspect of their horned god. They inflict themselves with sickness, drawing strength from it and gaining some measure of immunity to mundane diseases. So inured are they to pain and discomfort that they hardly feel it any longer. Driven by a fury and zeal that only the truly religious can comprehend, the Plague Monks are certainly one of the Skaven’s most disturbing and terrible innovations"
- —Steffan Paulus Adelhof, Scholar of Wolfenburg.[2a]
Plague Monks are the initiates of infection and disciples of disease, with numerous agents scattered across the cities of the Old World. Hidden away in their underground strongholds the Plague Monks cultivate deadly diseases in bubbling vats filled with warpstone, carcasses and foetid offal. Each new plague they create is unleashed by infected rats released into city sewers by Clan Eshin, bringing great misery and hardship upon the human inhabitants.[1a]
These devout disciples of disease are unique amongst Skaven society in that they are fanatically committed to their clan and its purpose of creating the ultimate disease. Once this plague devastates all surface- dwellers, the Skaven can rise up in the ruins and claim their proper inheritance - nothing short of the entirety of the world. The Great Horned Rat will know who brought his children to their rightful and preordained ascendancy and Clan Pestilens will sit over all and rule supreme.[1a]
- "Plague Monks do not know the true nature of the Horned Rat and kill themselves for it. They are useful, but deride-hate the Grey Seers. This impudence will be their done-death."
- —Skreelin Thurntik, Grey Seer.[2a]
The Plague Monks of Clan Pestilens are masters of contagion and disease. At the lowest levels are fervent and devoted worshippers of the Horned Rat, singing daily praises and liturgies to the Lord of Decay. Each is riddled with disease, covered with self-inflicted wounds and eruptions that ooze blood and pus. When unleashed against the enemies of the Skaven, Plague Monks are much more effective than one might expect. It is easy to discount their abilities, given their sicknesses, yet it seems that they find solace in their constant pain. Mundane discomforts like severed limbs and opened bellies cause them no more than passing discomfort.[2a]
Plague Monks form the bulk of Clan Pestilens' troops. When Plague Monks gather, their squeaky chanting can be heard as they recite from the foul Book of Woe, endlessly repeating the Liturgus Infectus, or the Rites Infection. If they are going to war, the Plague Monks march under one of their Clan Pestilens banners - often a half-rotted carcass hanging from a banner pole bearing unimaginably twisted visions rendered in pigments distilled from blood and warpstone. As the foul brethren march forward towards an enemy battleline, their chanting picks up its pace and the Plague Monks seem to incite themselves into a terrible rage. In combat Plague Monks hurl themselves into the fray with fanatical ferocity, eager to bring death and destruction to their foes.[1a]
It is easy to discount their abilities, given their illnesses, yet it seems that they find solace in their constant pain. With bulging eyes and foaming mouths, the Plague Monks seem possessed of an unnatural and unholy fervour. They relentlessly attack with filth-encrusted blades, iron-tipped staves, or even their needle-sharp teeth. A Plague Monk's exposure to pestilence has rendered its toughened, boil-ridden skin immune to pain. Mundane discomforts like severed limbs and opened bellies cause them no more than passing discomfort. The ability to shrug off crippling injury combined with their near-hysterical zealotism means that the only reliable way of stopping a Plague Monk attack is to wholly dismember the disease-ridden Skaven.[1a]
- 1: Warhammer Armies: Skaven (7th Edition)
- 1a: pg. 44
- 2: Children of the Horned Rat (Fantasy Roleplay)
- 2a: pg. 70