Who is Ku’gath Plaguefather: An Interview with Lead Writer, Andy Hall

Behind the Scenes

Total War
February 22 2022

Ku’gath is a tinkerer in his own way, endlessly fascinated by the inner workings of life itself and the intricate damage he can inflict on mortals. He has long preferred lurking on the outskirts of mortal kingdoms, where he can keep a closer eye on the effects of his contagions and pathogens. Thus we find him in the campaign, up to no good slap-bang in the middle of the map.

We sat down with Lead Writer, Andy Hall, to talk everything relevant—in this case: the rot, the stench, the Nurglings, and much more.

Hello Andy – what sets Ku’gath apart from his fellow Great Unclean Ones?

He’s a creative; an artist if you will, although his chosen canvas happens to be a bit of a biohazard! While his fellow Great Uncle Anon(e)s are more focused on spreading Nurgle’s gifts that already exist, Ku’gath wishes to tinker, tweak and experiment. Such a view has brought him into conflict with more than one of his corpulent kin, who believe that it is only the Urfather himself that should create contagion, while a Daemon’s role is solely as heralds and spreaders of infection.

One such sect, led by three Great Unclean Ones, known as The Afflicted Shroud, took it upon themselves to prevent Ku’gath from concocting anymore diseases. They cornered him, upon the mortal plane, in the Dragon Isles. Ku’gath was on the hunt for another rare ingredient, deep down in the sunbaked chasms.

To say they underestimated the Plagueweaver would be an understatement. As the Afflicted Shroud made their threats and demands, Ku’gath looked on amused. The Shroud’s self-designated leader, Grand Paraoxus, was delivering his final demands when Ku’gath briefly looked up with a wide grin. Grand Paraoxus was too involved in his sonorous delivery to notice, but the two other Unclean Ones – standing just behind their leader – did follow Brewmaster’s gaze and saw upon the top of the sheer sides of chasms, countless Nurglings looking down upon them. These were the Brewmaster’s children, and they fell gleefully upon The Afflicted Shroud every one of them infected with Ku’gath’s latest virus – one created specially to render down his own kin; a disease even the infamous constitution of a Great Unclean One would fail to halt!

Yet, Grand Paraoxus survived the Nurgling avalanche and fled across the sea, to Grand Cathay. Ku’gath followed.

So, Ku’gath is known in the Celestial Dragon Empire?

Yes, he is known as Zin-Fa the Ever-Pustulent. A name that sends shivers across all the Grand Courts of Cathay. As Zin-Fa chased his prey he took great delight in visiting the many sights and cities of Grand Cathay and showed his appreciation by reciprocating with the many gifts he had created. In the southern and western provinces, crops withered, rice paddies were blighted, and the people took ill.

But the Ever-Pustulent was in a rush and so could not stop and admire his work, for he sought the remnants of the Afflicted Shroud. He caught up with Grand Paraoxus in the Central Provinces, close to the city of Shang-Wu. Yueyin, the white moon, glowed bright that night. A sign, that the Moon Empress was angered at this trespass. As the Great Unclean Ones sized each other up, a triumvirate of Dragons arrowed down from the sky. Led by Yuan Bo, the Jade Dragon, who rarely takes to the battlefield, and at his side was Zhao Ming, the Iron Dragon, who howled in joy at the thought of skewering fat daemons in front of his brothers! (He knew that Yuan would find that particularly distasteful). The final Dragon was wreathed in fire, Li Dao, ruler of the Southern Provinces who was outraged at the carnage Nurgle’s daemons had wrought!

So it was the Fire Dragon that delivered the killing blow. Yuan Bo, and Zhao Ming hemmed the daemons in… Zhao taunting Grand Paraoxus in his human form. Then Li Dao marshalled the Burning Winds to its fullest extent, both Daemons were set aflame and purged from the mortal plane. The smile never left Zin-Fa’s face as he knew he would soon return. Grand Paraoxus was not so content, for he would now feel the full weight of Ku’gath’s jovial wrath in the Realm of Chaos.

I assume that Ku’gath has had run-ins with many others upon the mortal world?

Oh, yes, he is a regular visitor and actually prefers the real world to the Realm of Chaos, although he has a secret laboratory under the Plague Lord’s manse, where he stashes his accoutrements and most promising experiments. But it’s the mortal plane where he is his most efficacious – assuming he can sustain himself. It is during such forays that the Brewmaster has encountered one race above all others that have penetrated through his scientific detachment to bring forth pure rage, and that is the Dwarfs. On a professional level he hates the bearded creatures for their resilience to disease. But on a more personal level the Plaguefather has suffered two shameful defeats against the Dwarfs that have earned a rare displeasure from his master.

The first was against the walls of Karaz-a-Karak, the Dwarf Capital held firm. The tenacity of the Dwarfs proves too much for his most prized plagues. The Daemons, under the Brewmaster’s direction, breach three layers of defences but four remained unsullied. The Dwarfs rally forth their throngs and Ku’gath is banished by the strong arm of King Stromni Axehand.

What was the second time?

To compound Ku’gath’s hatred further, he suffered an even greater defeat. Three Dwarfholds—Karak Mar, Karak Nal and Dok Duraz are lost to rampaging Daemons. Zhufbar should have fallen too, it is due to the iron resolve of its defenders. Zhufbar’s fall was tasked to Ku’gath. His failure to conquer while three rival Greater Daemons succeeded, lost Father Nurgle a wager against his rival gods and status in the Great Game. Ku’gath is banished to the Forge of Souls for his failure.

Does that mean Ku’gath is exiled, like Skarbrand?

No, Nurgle seems to be a more forgiving god than Khorne. And so only spent a few centuries within the Forge. But as long as Ku’gath keeps creating his poxes and plagues then he will remain one of Nurgle’s most favoured servants even if he keeps failing to crack open those Karaks! Perhaps the player can help with that when we release the game! 

Thanks, Andy!

Does Ku’gath appeal to you? The slow, inexorable victory of a rolling tide of Plaguebearers and Nurglings. The joy of laughter and drone of Nurgle’s incoming gifts, all backed by a master plague artificer and one of the deadliest beings there is. Join him now in Total War: WARHAMMER III.