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House Helmawr

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Emblem of the Royal House of Necromunda[4]
House Helmawr is the ruling Noble House of the planet Necromunda. Also called the Ruling House, Imperial House, Royal House of Necromunda, Guardians of all Necromunda or Lords of the Spire, they use a hereditary system of succession, with the leader of the house (styled Imperial Commander Lord Helmawr, Adeptus of the Imperium of Man, and Guardian of Necromunda in the Holy Name of the Undying Emperor) being the Planetary Governor of the planet, in effect personifying Necromunda to the Imperium, and representing the Imperium to the inhabitants of Necromunda. Occupying the very top of the feudal Necromundan hierarchy, the planet is effectively his to rule as he pleases, the Adeptus Terra leaving him to do as he pleases so long as he fulfils his feudal obligations to the Imperium and maintains the planet's production capacity.[1a][2a][2b][3][4]


Lord Helmawr. Note the spider symbol on his left epaulette and spider web face tattoo, important Necromundan symbols.[1a][1c]

Imperial records of the Adeptus Administratum are remarkably silent on the history of Necromunda in the early days of the Imperium. The ancestors of Lord Helmawr are known to have reigned over Necromunda since at least three thousand years after the Emperor was installed in the Golden Throne, before which time records of Necromundan government have long since disappeared.[1a]

House Helmawr began as House Helm'ayr. Helm'ayr's progenitor, Martek Helm'ayr, unified Necromunda in 085.M34 and was made Planetary Governor for his efforts.[9b] By M36, however, Martek's last true gene-descendant Jar Helm'ayr developed into a deformed and sickly individual. With genetic engineering and foresight, he grew vat-born children, created House Helmawr for them, and made preparations for their rise after his own death.[9a]


Trueborn are the Noble children of House Helmawr's reigning Planetary Governor, who have a chance to succeed their parent when the time comes to do so. While they may have many children during their reign, both recognized and illegitimate, the laws of autocratic hereditary dictate that only Nobles who the Governor wishes to have a chance to succeed them are named as Trueborn. Normally, however, a Governor will pick one Trueborn to serve as their heir and this choice is accepted by the House, when a reigning Governor is replaced.[10]

Should the chosen heir not be accepted or that a Planetary Governor pass without naming a successor, then each Trueborn can make the case for why they should become the new Governor. Some will even increases their chances of doing so, by eliminating their rival siblings through assassinations or subterfuge. This can occur even before their parent's reign as Governor is over and makes the life of a Trueborn far from safe. Also adding the natural hazards of being a Noble on Necromunda, means few of the Trueborn live long enough to have the chance to succeed their parent.[10]

This was proven true for Gerontius Helmawr's Trueborn, when the Great Darkness began on the Hive World. By the end of the upheaval, only eight of Gerontius' thirty Trueborn heirs survived and one was his daughter Haera[10], who succeeded her Father as Planetary Governor. This was after she killed several of her siblings, in order to secure the title for herself.[11]

Imperial Obligations

As Planetary Governor, Helmawr forms a link in the feudal chain that extends throughout the Galaxy to Terra. Like all Imperial Commanders, he is given a free hand to do what he pleases so long as he fulfils certain obligations to the Imperium. The Imperial Tithe is his main obligation, and as Necromunda manufactures so many goods for the Imperium, the tithe is taken as the discount of a percentage of revenue earned. Necromunda must also provide recruits for the Imperial Guard and even Space Marines, and one regiment of Helmawr's personal guard is generally provided as the compulsory requirement from his own troops. Finally, as a major threat, the number of Psykers must be controlled, which on a hive world such as Necromunda is no easy task.[1a]


Hive Primus is known across Necromunda as the Palatine in reference to the fortified palace complex at the very top of the central and tallest spire that serves as the dynastic home of Lord Helmawr. House Helmawr's domain is the most desirable territory on Necromunda, with the hive boasting some of the most magnificent and grandiose architecture on the planet, and is separated from the rest of the Spire (the domain of the other six Noble Houses) by a smaller version of the Wall that divides the Spire from Hive City.[1d][2a][2b]


Helmawr has also been known to send his troops in expeditionary forces, such as to claim the Space Hulk Kronos when it emerged from the Warp, sending about 14 troops with lasguns, helmets and body armour, accompanied by a heavy weapon specialist and led by a captain with a power sword and a laspistol. Following the ship of Lady Inquisitor Heleana Jerico, they got deep into the hulk before her retinue, but took heavy casualties from traps along the way. The Lady Inquisitor caught up with them finding them in combat with a giant floating disembodied Necron head, and used her team's combined firepower to destroy it. Rather than thank her for her help, the captain warned her that they were trespassing on House Helmawr property, not backing down even when she provided proof of her station. While they argued, a force of Necrons appeared and the two bickering groups joined forces to fight them off, Jerico losing her Magos while only three of Helmawr's troops survived. These were later lost either during the awakening of the Setekh or the subsequent destruction of the hulk by Cyclonic torpedo.


Helmawr controls the financial resources of the whole planet, with Hive Primus alone being more productive and richer than most planets in the Imperium. It also has Necromunda's only spaceport with a shipyard and landing field big enough to take orbital carriers, and as such is the embodiment of Helmawr's monopoly in offplanet trade.[2e][1d]

Lord Helmawr deals directly with the most powerful factions, completely unconcerned with the activities of lesser powerbrokers, while the patriarchs and merchant families of the Noble Houses constantly compete and co-operate for his attention, trying to secure landing and shipping rights, trade licences and tax concessions, giving rise to endless change in the feudal hierarchy. While currying his favour by doing whatever is necessary, they secretly scheme behind his back, hoping that their own House will one day inherit the Imperial House and House Helmawr brought low. But if a major player in the power game proves weak or treacherous, Helmawr can simply withdraw his support; even the rumour that he is about to do this can encourage their enemies to turn against them and destroy them.[1a][2b]

House Delaque had long been known associates of House Helmawr and a number of other Noble Houses before the Drypus incident - the massacre of dozens of House Orlock gangers sent to seize the chemical resources of Drypus falls during the dispute between the Houses over the Ulanti contract many centuries ago. Lord Arius Helmawr stepped in, ostensibly to prevent the unacceptable open warfare between the two sides, but also using this as an opportunity to reconstruct the relationship with the Delaques, which Helmawr had long feared was too obvious and stymied the Delaque spies and informants. Clearly the guilty party, Helmawr openly ruled the Delaque's actions unacceptable and voided all contracts with them, but privately he assured them that from then on they would be handsomely rewarded to act as his eyes and ears throughout Hive Primus, on the condition that they never disclosed the arrangement, thus avoiding Delaque enmity and indebting them to him permanently. To this day the House has a special understanding with House Delaque, who provide not just materials but also information to the ruling house.[5][2d]

The territory and assets of House Aranthus were dissolved by Lord Helmawr himself several centuries ago after a plague swept through their population making them so vulnerable and under resourced that their spiraling debts effectively led to their destruction.[5]

Known Helmawrs

Past Lord Helmawrs

See also

See Also