Necromunda is a Hive World in Segmentum Solar, and a major producer of munitions for the Imperial Guard. Necromunda's forges produce lasguns, autoguns, shotguns and boltguns, among other weapons. The planet also levies huge numbers of troops for the Imperial Guard (most notably the "Necromundan Spiders"), as well as other supplies. Necromunda is typical of most hive worlds, its hive cites rife with powerful gangs.
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Necromunda was founded 15,000 years ago as a mining and manufacturing colony. It had previously been a part of the Araneus Continuity, a small empire of Humans ruled by Techno-nobility. After defeating the Continuity, It was liberated from an Ork presence by the Imperial Fists during the Great Crusade, establishing the close ties between Necromunda and the Chapter. According to another point of view, it is not Orks but a brief defiance of the former Necromunda's human colony against the coming of the Imperium unleashed a war that made an ash wastes from were hive-cities rise. The ensuing millennia have not changed its basic purpose very much; Necromunda is still a world of mines, factories, refineries and processing plants. The planet is a vast powerhouse of industry, making thousands and thousands of different items for use throughout nearby planetary systems.[Needs Citation]
Nothing which can contribute to the planet's output has been left untouched. From the tops of the highest mountains to the depths of the oceans, the wealth of Necromunda has been ripped out. Mountains have been reduced to rubble for the ore they contain; oceans have been turned into little more than chemical sludge ponds. The once fertile plains have disappeared under huge urban developments of great housing and factory blocks, forming new ranges of man-made mountains every bit as tall as the long since flattened natural land features. These huge towering urban complexes are known as city hives, or simply as hives, and their individual peaks or towers are called city spires or spires. A close group of hives is known as a hive cluster. Between the hives deserts of industrial ash cover the surface of the planet with a mobile, corrosive skin. Over this desert lies a cloud layer of airborne pollution, so that the great spires of the city hives rise from a drifting mist of tainted vapour like islands out of the sea.[Needs Citation]
Despite being reduced to such a hellish state, Necromunda is still a valuable world to the Imperium. Although little of Necromunda's original resources remain, the waste-heaps of previous generations have become a new source of riches. Necromunda lives on the accumulated wastes of its past: its people have learned to scavenge, reclaim and recycle everything in order to squeeze a living from their exhausted world. Necromunda's population has increased well beyond the planet's capacity to support it. As a consequence it is wholly reliant on synthetic and imported food. Each hive has its recycling plants which convert used organic matter into synthetic food. Real food is imported from off-planet, but is an expensive luxury which only the most wealthy and prestigious Necromundans can afford. There are probably more people on Necromunda than have ever lived in the entire history of Terra up until the end of M2. An attempted census of Trazior Hive four thousand years ago revealed an estimated population of a billion in the upper habitation levels alone - no further attempt has been made to count Necromunda's population in Trazior or any other of the several thousand hives on the planet.[Needs Citation]
The planet's capital is Hive Primus (also known as the Palatine), one of Necromunda's many hive cities. The hive, the largest on Necromunda, is enormous in size, reaching from the surface to some 10 miles into the air, and from surface level to roughly 2.8 miles into the ground (although only the first 1.3 miles are habitable by humans), and possesses a population greater than some worlds. Hive Primus, and the planet as a whole, is ruled over by Lord Gerontius Helmawr of House Helmawr. The Hive's Houses are in a constant struggle to gain power and control of the Hive.[Needs Citation]
In the aftermath of the Great Rift's creation, during the Thirteenth Black Crusade, a world wide rebellion broke out on Necromunda. However it quickly ended sometime later, once word reached the Hive World that Lord Commander Guilliman's Indomitus Crusade, was soon arriving to put down the rebellion.
The society of Necromunda is reasonably typical of larger Hive Worlds. No attempt is made to enforce central administration upon the entire population; indeed such a thing would prove impossible on a world where most people remain unrecorded by any authority. Instead, a kind of feudal system has evolved by which individual people owe loyalty to others, who in their turn owe their loyalty to other increasingly more powerful members of the hierarchy. Among the more stable elements of the population these loyalties are owed on a family basis, and closely related families all support each other under the hegemony of the most powerful member of their family group.[Needs Citation]
This form of urban feudalism tends to be self-regulating. Weaker clans naturally seek the protection of more powerful neighbors whose powerbase then expands until it reaches the limit whereby its numbers and resources are simply too few to allow it to expand further. Where rival clans meet it is inevitable that their power will be tested in combat; the ability of a clan to exert its power being the only true measure of its influence. The endless feuds between the warrior gangs of these clans are a fundamental part of the workings of Necromunda.[Needs Citation]
Like most Hive Worlds, Necromunda is home to huge amounts of crime. It might appear that large swathes of Necromunda are anarchic and lawless. This, however, is not true. Necromunda exists only because of its adherence to an ancient canon of rules laid down by the first true lords of the Helmawr line. These knows now, that if Necromunda is to survive, it must be allowed to war with itself. The Great Web of Necromunda must remain intact, facilitating the murderous competition that drives the houses to ever greater heights of productivity while at the same time, inter-house conflict is restricted to the proxy wars fought between gangs. But the balance between sanctioned violence and true anarchy is a fine one, preserved by institutions such as the Palanite Enforcers. There are however crimes not ignored by Imperial technologies, such as Heresy or engaging in A.I. research. These crimes are often dealt with the Adeptus Arbites as opposed to local enforcers.[9b]
Likewise, there are those who are not content to merely rob settlements or Guilder caravans without the benefits of a Clan House blessing. These nefarious souls are the true criminals of Necromunda, and their crimes are crimes not against the decency or morality of human existence but against the absolute authority of the Houses themselves.[9b]
The great criminal houses of Necromunda consist of:
- House Cawdor
- House Escher
- House Delaque
- House Goliath
- House Orlock
- House Van Saar
- House Aranthus - Fallen House
Other Criminal Elements
- Cold Traders - Operate a web of black market goods and do business with all aspects of Necromundan society. Selling all sorts of contraband, xenos artifacts, and military hardware, they wage a constant battle against the authorities of the Adeptus Terra.[9b]
- Imperial Impostors - Charlatans who impersonate Imperial authorities to gain wealth and power. Due to the massive and slow nature of Imperial bureaucracy, this crime is surprisingly simple to pull off. Criminal enterprises exist solely to falsify ones records and impersonate nobility. Usually, they attempt to steal as much as they can before discovery.[9b]
- Rogue Factoria - Hereteks who operate networks of illegal manufactorums churning out non-STC approved designs. They exist in the depths of the Underhive, brutally working swathes of slaves in their factories. The most prominent Rogue Factoria syndicate are the Archwerks.[9b]
- Narco Lords - Drug kingpins who oversee the trade of stimms. Without their drugs, the ruling elite could not extend their lives, work quotas would not be met, and the coffers of the ruling Planetary Governor would be lighter. Many of Necromunda's Ganger Houses, such as House Escher, are heavily involved in the narcotics trade.
- Rebel Lords - These are insurgent leaders, often from Fallen Houses that have since been removed from grace by Lord Helmawr. Rebel lords have high bounties placed on their heads and are formidable fighters, augmented with bionics and exotic weaponry.[9a]
- Chaos Cults - Such as the Corpse Grinder Cults and covens of Rogue Psykers known locally as Psi-Syndica.[9b]
- Genestealer Cults - Such as the Cult of the Slithering Star and Cult of the Second Son.
The hive cities of Necromunda retain the ancient names of the cities and settlements from which they grew. There are several thousand Hives on the planet, some massive and populated by billions while others are desolate and inhabited only by the dead. Each hive spire is also known by a local name. There are approximately a thousand hive clusters on Necromunda; each cluster a group of up to a dozen or so individual hive cities, all linked by a network of overground travel tubes and subterranean passages.[Needs Citation] There are several thousand hive cities on Necromunda, some big and vast in scale, some - decrepit and lost.
Known Hives and notable locations on Necromunda include:
- Hive Primus — Largest and oldest surviving Hive and planetary capital under Lord Helmawr. Hive Primus boasts the most magnificent and grandiose architecture on Necromunda.
- Ring of Selene — Orbital trade port, one of the busiest such localities in Segmentum Solar. The Ring is the only means by which goods are legally brought to or from Necromunda. Goods from the Ring are shipped to Hive Primus then sent out by land to other Hives in exchange for manufactured goods.
- Hive Trazior — Known as the Three Sisters due to the three huge spires that can be seen from this great hive-city. Trazior is located on the edge of the Great Equatorial Waastes and is the southernmost "frontier" Hive of the great Palatine Cluster. Many important merchant clans are based in this hive. The Hive is dominated by House Orlock.
- Acropolis Hive — Another old and ornate Hive in the Palatine cluster, located at a vital intersection of several great road tunnels. The Acropolis Hive is home to some of the most powerful merchant clans and is also home to massive shanty towns from those who hope to get a share of some of the wealth. House Delaque is the dominate force in the Acropolis.
- Hive Temenos — This hive sees the headquarters of the Ecclesiarchy on Necromunda, and its population is said to be the most devout and pious. Many of the resident Clan Houses manufacture ritual items for the Ecclesiarchy while others work in their scriptoriums. Hive Temenos is a major powerbase for House Cawdor.
- Quinspirus Cluster — Located on the edge of the solidified sludge sea called the Worldsump Ocean. When the sea was still navigable, it was home to great dockyards which are now buried deep under the surface. The Hive has five great spires and is home to constant gang wars between House Orlock and House Delaque.
- The Skull — This derelict hive is the largest of a cluster of three remote ruined Hives, once populated but abandoned due to Ork raiders many years prior.
- Hive Secundus — Originally the second greatest hive city on Necromunda, around a century ago it fell to Genestealer infestation due to unsanctioned Adeptus Mechanicus biological research. The Inquisition was forced to intervene and terrible destruction followed. Under intense fire from Necromunda's PDF defense batteries, the central spire was toppled. Despite this the Genestealers were not fully purged and remain among the ruins alongside feral humans, which are now guarded by a defensive line manned by Necromundan Conscripts and Penal Legion troopers.
- Hive Mortis — Once an industrial lynchpin of the equatorial city clusters, it has now been reduced to a barely-populated wreck after an outbreak of plague. Mortuary cults have since been created in the Hive, which subsist by harvesting and breaking down corpses. House Escher holds sway in Hive Mortis.
- Gothrul's Needle — A spire rivaling Hive Primus, Gothrul's Needle was one of the first original spaceports on Necromunda. The Needle is rare in that it is ruled by democracy and a council of elected representatives. Considered insidious, the Houses of other hives have tried to bring down the rulers of Gothrul for years, sometimes in the form of blockades while other times in the form of a campaign known as the shadow war. Gang warfare is prohibited in the needle but criminal elements still run rife in the lower levels. These are combated by Gothrul's citizen protection officers.
Known Planetary Governors
- 1: "Above & Beyond" part 3, Warhammer Monthly 58
- 2: Space Marine (Novel) by Ian Watson, Chapter Two
- 3: Index Astartes II — Emperor's Fist, pg. 13
- 4: The Horus Heresy Book Three pg. 77
- 5: Codex: Space Marines (8th Edition), pg. 20 — The Indomitus Crusade
- 6: Necromunda cite, 2017 (last accessed 14 November 2017)
- 7: Necromunda: Underhive — Hive Cities of Necromunda
- 8: Apocrypha Necromundus: House Helmawr
- 9: Necromunda: The Book of Judgement
- 10: Necromunda Sourcebook pg.12-13
- 11: Forge World Webstore: The Eightfold Harvest Lord (Last accessed on 24 January 2020)
- 12: Necromunda: The Book of Ruin pg.47
- Necromunda Rulebook, by Rick Priestley, [Needs Citation]
- White Dwarf 130, Confrontation by Bryan Ansell, Rick Priestley and Nigel Stillman