The Champions of Chaos lords pack will be launching for strategy game Total War: Warhammer 3 alongside the combined Immortal Empires campaign next month, and Creative Assembly has introduced us to the second leader included in the collection. It’s Nurgle’s lad Festus the Leechlord, who – astonishingly – seems to have some background in medical training from our very own dimension.
Here’s the deal: Festus is a Chaos daemon who brews up his own plagues and generates additional souls for doing so. His vassals gain poison attacks and will spread Nurgle’s corruption throughout their lands. He adds +3 turns to plague durations for local armies, and his army gets a bonus 25% to their healing cap. That’s all well and good.
What throws everything into chaos, as it were, is this line in his background: “Long forgetting the Hippocratic Oath he so vehemently preached as a mortal, Festus can be found concocting a variety of horrific potions and unleashing Lore of Nurgle spells, both of which allow him to manipulate the battlefield in insidious ways.”
The suggestion that a daemon of Nurgle knows – and once practised – the Hippocratic Oath is an earth-shattering bit of lore, right? That would mean that Festus, prior to joining the ranks of Chaos, would have to have been familiar with the Greek physician Hippocrates, who was born around 460 BC and lived on the island of Kos. In Greece. Our Greece!
Hippocrates is credited with being the first physician to believe that diseases were the result of natural causes, rather than being punishments from the gods, and his famous oath, which is still recited by doctors today, includes the dictum to “first, do no harm.” Both of these ideas put Hippocrates in direct opposition to Nurgle, a Chaos god whose chief priorities are causing both diseases and harm.
The question, however, is whether it’s possible for Nurgle or another Chaos god to have travelled through the warp and returned with the teachings of Hippocrates, or whether Festus himself began life in our own world as a medical doctor?
Of course, the other answer may be that Creative Assembly was just letting us know that Festus had a medical career before pledging his life to the service of Nurgle, and that it’s silly to reorder your understanding of the Warhammer universe based on a single Steam update.
In any case, Festus, Azazel, and two other Chaos legendary lords will be available in the Champions of Chaos lords pack when it launches August 23.