Total War: Warhammer III – Plague Cauldron Guide

Brief Guide to Plague Cauldron

Basic Overview

From the Plague Cauldron page in-game: “Concoct a plague to spread Nurgle corruption, boost your armies or weaken the enemy. Select a Base Plague and add optional symptoms for additional effects. Unlock new symptoms by spreading Base Plagues. Plagues continue to spread after being created, and this will also count towards unlocking new Symptoms.”

Note that you can also boost your settlements or weaken enemy settlements, add units to your recruit pool, and other things – the list above is narrative, not mechanically exhaustive. Likewise, a few symptoms are unlocked via tech tree rather than by spreading plagues.

Infections are the cost you pay to make new Plagues, and are produced by your settlements each round, as a choice on battle victory, by the spread of all plagues except basic Rot, and by narrative events/dilemmas. The basic cost to infect one of your armies or settlements is 50 (w/ Ku’gath getting half off for his personal army), while the cost to create a Plague Cultist to ram into an enemy settlement (a single use hero similar to the Skaven’s The Pestilent Scheme Priest) is 100. Each added additional symptom appears to cost +50 additional infection.

I do not know what the base durations for plagues are, nor what the base chance of spreading is.

Base Plagues

The backbone to which symptoms messily adhere.

Pox

  • Plague Effects on all armies and settlements: +2 Nurgle Corruption (local province), +5 Infection when plague is spread
  • Plague Effects on Nurgle Settlements: Cycle Time -1 for Infrastructure Buildings, +25 Growth

Buboes

  • Plague Effects on all armies and settlements: +2 Nurgle Corruption (local province), +5 Infection when plague is spread
  • Plague Effects on non-Nurgle Settlements: Casualty Replenishment -7% (local armies), Attrition while under siege +35% (local armies)

Ague

  • Plague Effects on all armies and settlements: +2 Nurgle Corruption (local province), +5 Infection when plague is spread
  • Plague Effects on non-Nurgle Settlements: all units suffer attrition, Campaign movement range -25%

Rot

  • Plague Effects on all armies and settlements: +2 Nurgle Corruption (local province), +1 Nurgling to recruitment pool when plague is spread.

Palsy

  • Plague Effects on all armies and settlements: +2 Nurgle Corruption (local province), +5 Infection when plague is spread
  • Plague Effects on non-Nurgle Armies: -4 Melee Attack

Symptoms

Bleeding Ears

  • Unlocked by: Spread Pox 5 times to unlock
  • Plague effects on Nurgle Settlements: +6 Control
  • Plague effects on non-Nurgle Settlements: -6 Control

Pestilence

  • Unlocked by: Spread Buboes 5 times to unlock
  • Plague Effects on non-Nurgle Armies: Attrition while under siege +35%

Limb Blight

  • Unlocked by: Spread Ague 5 times to unlock
  • Plague Effects on non-Nurgle Armies: Speed -10% for infantry armies

Weeping Eyes

  • Unlocked by: Spread Rot 5 times to unlock
  • Plague effects on non-Nurgle armies: range -10% accuracy -20%

Brain Fog

  • Unlocked by: Spread Palsy 5 times to unlock
  • Plague effects on non-Nurgle armies: base weapon strength -15%

Tier 2

The Sweats

  • Unlocked by: Spread Palsy 25 times to unlock
  • Plague effects on non-Nurgle armies: missile strength -20%

Necrotizing Flesh

  • Unlocked by: Spread Rot 25 times to unlock
  • Plague effects on all armies and settlements: +5 infection when plague is spread

The Flux

  • Unlocked by: Spread Ague 25 times to unlock
  • Plague effects on non-Nurgle armies: all units suffer attrition

Inflamed Glands

  • Unlocked by: Spread Buboes 25 times to unlock
  • Plague effects on non-Nurgle Settlements: Defensive Supplies -500

Violent Spasms

  • Unlocked by: Spread Pox 25 times to unlock
  • Plague Effects on Nurgle Settlements: Cycle Time -1 for Military Buildings, chance of plague spreading +5%

Paroxysm

  • Unlocked by: Spread Pox 50 times to unlock
  • Plague Effects on non-Nurgle Settlements: -2 local recruitment capacity (local province)

Gut Rot

  • Unlocked by: Spread Buboes 50 times to unlock
  • Plague Effects on non-Nurgle Armies: -40% ammunition during siege defense battles

Mucus Runs:

  • Unlocked by: Spread Ague 50 times to unlock
  • Plague Effects on Nurgle Armies: Vanguard Deployment all units in army

Constant Vomiting

  • Unlocked by: Spread Rot 50 times to unlock
  • Plague Effects on Nurgle Armies: Army ability “Summoned from Beyond”

Summoned From Beyond

  • Uses: 2 Range: infinite Cooldown: 120 seconds
  • Summons a unit of Plaguebearers (degrade over time per usual for summons)

Acrid Flatulence

  • Unlocked by: Spread Palsy 50 times to unlock
  • Plague Effects on non-Nurgle Armies: Armour -40%

Sores

  • Unlocked by: researching technology “Sores”
  • Plague effects on non-Nurgle armies: casualty replenishment rate -7%

Fever

  • Unlocked by: researching technology “Highly infectious”
  • Plague Effects on all armies and settlements: Total favor +150 when plague is spread

Festering

  • Unlocked by: researching technology “Festering”
  • Plague Effects on all armies and settlements: Nurgle corruption +6

Pustulant

  • Unlocked by: researching technology “Contagious Horde”
  • Plague Effects on all armies and settlements: Plague duration +3 turns

Highly Contagious

  • Unlocked by: researching technology “Plague Infection”
  • Plague Effects on all armies and settlements: Chance of plague spreading +20%

Recipes

These combinations of specific plagues and symptoms have an effect greater than the sum of their parts. The effects listed after the recipe name are the additional effects of this specific combination, in addition to all effects loaded into the recipe.

The Crumbling Ague (Ague + Mucus Runs + Pestilence)

  • Plague effects on all armies and settlements: chance of plague spreading +15%, Nurgle corruption +4, plague duration +5 turns
  • Plague effects on Nurgle armies: +100 experience per turn, Casualty Replenishment +35%

The Black Plague (Buboes + Gut Rot + Weeping Eyes)

  • Plague effects on all armies and settlements: chance of plague spreading +15%, Nurgle corruption +4, plague duration +5 turns
  • Plague effects on Nurgle armies: +250% sacking and looting income (local province)

Green Pox (Pox + Brain Fog + Paroxysm)

  • Plague effects on all armies and settlements: chance of plague spreading +15%, Nurgle corruption +4, plague duration +5 turns
  • Plague Effects on Nurgle settlements: Growth +50

Nurgle’s Rot (Rot + Limb Blight + Constant Vomiting)

  • Plague effects on all armies and settlements: chance of plague spreading +15%, Nurgle corruption +4, plague duration +5 turns
  • Plague Effects on Nurgle armies: +20% physical resistance

The Grim Shakes (Palsy + Bleeding Ears + Acrid Flatulence)

  • Plague effects on all armies and settlements: chance of plague spreading +15%, Nurgle corruption +4, plague duration +5 turns
  • Plague Effects on non-Nurgle Armies: Spell Resistance -50%

Repeating recipes, but this time with component effects listed for reference

The Crumbling Ague (Ague + Mucus Runs + Pestilence)

  • Plague effects on all armies and settlements: chance of plague spreading +15%, Nurgle corruption +4, plague duration +5 turns
  • Plague effects on Nurgle armies: +100 experience per turn, Casualty Replenishment +35%
  • Crumbling Ague component effects for reference
  • Plague Effects on all armies and settlements: +2 Nurgle Corruption (local province), +5 Infection when plague is spread
  • Plague Effects on non-Nurgle Settlements: all units suffer attrition, Campaign movement range -25%
  • Plague Effects on non-Nurgle Armies: Attrition while under siege +35%
  • Plague Effects on Nurgle Armies: Vanguard Deployment all units in army

The Black Plague (Buboes + Gut Rot + Weeping Eyes)

  • Plague effects on all armies and settlements: chance of plague spreading +15%, Nurgle corruption +4, plague duration +5 turns
  • Plague effects on Nurgle armies: +250% sacking and looting income (local province)
  • Black Plague component effects for reference
  • Plague Effects on all armies and settlements: +2 Nurgle Corruption (local province), +5 Infection when plague is spread
  • Plague Effects on non-Nurgle Settlements: Casualty Replenishment -7% (local armies), Attrition while under siege +35% (local armies)
  • Plague Effects on non-Nurgle Armies: -40% ammunition during siege defense battles, range -10% accuracy -20%

Green Pox (Pox + Brain Fog + Paroxysm)

  • Plague effects on all armies and settlements: chance of plague spreading +15%, Nurgle corruption +4, plague duration +5 turns
  • Plague Effects on Nurgle settlements: Growth +50
  • Green Pox component effects for reference
  • Plague Effects on all armies and settlements: +2 Nurgle Corruption (local province), +5 Infection when plague is spread
  • Plague Effects on Nurgle Settlements: Cycle Time -1 for Infrastructure Buildings, +25 Growth
  • Plague Effects on non-Nurgle Settlements: -2 local recruitment capacity (local province)
  • Plague effects on non-Nurgle armies: base weapon strength -15%

Nurgle’s Rot (Rot + Limb Blight + Constant Vomiting)

  • Plague effects on all armies and settlements: chance of plague spreading +15%, Nurgle corruption +4, plague duration +5 turns
  • Plague Effects on Nurgle armies: +20% physical resistance
  • Nurgle’s Rot component effects for reference
  • Plague Effects on all armies and settlements: +2 Nurgle Corruption (local province), +1 Nurgling to recruitment pool when plague is spread.
  • Plague Effects on non-Nurgle Armies: Speed -10% for infantry armies
  • Plague Effects on Nurgle Armies: Army ability “Summoned from Beyond”
  • Summoned From Beyond
  • Uses: 2 Range: infinite Cooldown: 120 seconds
  • Summons a unit of Plaguebearers (degrade over time per usual for summons)

The Grim Shakes (Palsy + Bleeding Ears + Acrid Flatulence)

  • Plague effects on all armies and settlements: chance of plague spreading +15%, Nurgle corruption +4, plague duration +5 turns
  • Plague Effects on non-Nurgle Armies: Spell Resistance -50%
  • Grim Shakes component effects for reference
  • Plague Effects on all armies and settlements: +2 Nurgle Corruption (local province), +5 Infection when plague is spread
  • Plague Effects on non-Nurgle Armies: -4 Melee Attack
  • Plague effects on Nurgle Settlements: +6 Control
  • Plague effects on non-Nurgle Settlements: -6 Control
  • Plague Effects on non-Nurgle Armies: Armour -40%

I have seen some streamers commenting on Nurgle’s difficult/slow economy. It looks like the research for Fever is in the first cluster of research you can do, and that Pox/Bleeding Ears/Fever would be a very strong early game builder plague, giving +2 Nurgle Corruption, +5 Infection when plague is spread, Growth +25 in your provinces, Infrastructure Building Cycle Time -1, +6 Control for you, -6 Control for enemies, and +150 Favor on spread. It also would set you up for a relatively fast unlock of Pox/Violent Spasms/Fever, which gives Growth +25, Infrastructure *and* Military Building Cycle Time -1, +5% chance to spread, +150 Favor on spread. While nowhere as explosive as Khorne’s endless horde of raze-for-profit sieges, it does seem like a quite solid base for an economy if you can get the critical infection mass rolling into a heavily populated area of the map (particularly as it looks like you can re-infect the same target over and over).

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