40K Lore: Necromunda – Bastion of Industry

Today loremasters, we explore one of the thriving hive worlds of the Imperium – Necromunda

top image by Allen Wie

Necromunda is a hive world in Segmentum Solar, and a major producer of munitions for the Imperial Guard. Necromunda’s forges produce lasgunsautogunsshotguns 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.



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. 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.

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.

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.

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.

Necromundan Society

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.

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.

The Hives

The hive cities of Necromunda retain the ancient names of the cities and settlements from which they grew. 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.

Imperial Fists

Necromunda is one of two official recruiting worlds of the Imperial Fists Space Marine Chapter, along with Inwit.


Learn More of Necromunda Here



~More on the world of Necromunda in the weeks ahead.

  • Omnia Incendent

    Will somebody please make a Necromunda real time MMORPG!

    • Loki Nahat

      You could always just move to Liverpool (decayed wasteland), or invent a time machine and visit Kowloon City in 1990 (sci-fi urban jungle), To Kwa Wan/Sham Shui Po are close these days though

    • Carey_Mahoney

      WTF BOLS??? Why was my comment deleted?? I was just agreeing, nothing insulting or anything explicit. Get me an explanation, immediately.

    • The company that made the Mordheim game is making Necro now

      • Omnia Incendent

        isn’t that a turn based game?

  • Erik Manticore

    By “Learn More of Necromunda Here” do you mean learn exactly the same because you’ve plagiarised the entire document?

    • Loki Nahat

      smells like a BOLS author’s MO, waddya know! it’s a BOLS article!

      • This is brand synergy, BoLS does this with Lexicanum articles because they bought Lexicanum several years ago

        • Loki Nahat

          Interesting. I do wonder do we know anything about how much GW pay for the advertising BOLS does for it?

          • The answer to that question is easy, none. Ads have to be labeled or the website is violating us law (BoLS is US based)

    • You know BoLS owns Lex, right?

      • Erik Manticore

        I didn’t but did Larry Vela write the original Lex piece? If that even is the original. The point remains that you can’t learn more by clicking the link and this kind of article “writing” is just slowly copy pasting vast swathes of the internet. Maybe on the next update my anti-virus software will purge LarryVela! Oh LoLS

        • Since Lex is a wiki, there are probably countless authors, who in creating an account with lex gave the site ownership of the content. And the source of the article is clear, after all. You are right that the “learn more” bit is disingenuous. That said I think complaining about duplicate content on the web is dumb. Wire services provide newspapers with identical articles to publish. Serialized books published in magazines are just duplicates of the book. My twitter feed and blog have the same pictures on them, that I often also post on forums. Different platforms have different readership, duplication is inherent in the vastness of the web.

  • 6Cobra

    One of my favorite parts of the old Necromunda lore was the acid sump at the very bottom, inhabited by enormous aquatic spiders that enterprising crews of Ratskins and Underhivers would “whale.” There was even a Moby Dick spider, a rumored white monster lurking down in the acid sea.

    It was that kind of stuff that gave Necromunda so much enjoyable depth.

    • Peter B

      My most memorable games were sump domes, where the table surface itself was toxic sludge (making good use of the green tableclothes usually reserved for grassy WFB tables). Every so often the sludge would rise a few inches, forcing all gangers to scrabble to climb up to higher gantries. Should a ganger get knocked off a gantry into the sludge, usually it would cushion their fall (so no direct fall damage), but the toxic damage from the ooze would be horrendous and usually left scars!

  • memitchell

    With a game and an expansion, 6 House Gangs, 7 Outlander Gangs, 3 magazine series, 9 novels, and two graphic novel series, Necromunda’s background was very developed and unique. There ain’t gonna be anything like it ever again in the 40K universe.

    • 6Cobra

      *pours out some Wildsnake from my 40*

      ‘Aint never gon’ forget ya, Necromunda.

    • I mean, it’s still there, hell they just licensed the property to a vg developer

  • Christopher Witecki

    Except that it’s not coming back. So why bother?

    • Specialist games has been around for less than a year and we already have bloodbowl (admittedly the most popular of the specialist games, but with a lower threshold for maxing out your buy in) and adeptus titanticus (much less popular than necro) assuming they won’t get to necro (which they name dropped in the announcement of specialist games coming back) is just silly. Especially with the core rules getting a new edition.

  • Peter Bejmuk

    Don’t forget the nod to infiltration by the Tau tech into the upper hive nobility, which was hinted in the first Tau codex. yes, it was a ret-con since the Necromunda info was published long before the Tau were introduced to 40k, but it’s a nice little factoid.
    The upper spire Primus nobles possess priceless battle suits of “miraculous pieces of technology, rivaling even Space Marine power armor” when they go on gang-hunting sprees in the underhive to prove their worth (or just to slaughter people with less money than themselves). The suits record and log all action witnessed by the suit and broadcast the data to unknown coordinates, and the noble houses refuse to allow the AdMech nor the Inquisition to study them. The names of the suits happen to correspond to the Tau names for the suits function – 3rd ed Tau codex had translation of Tau terms, and states that the Tau word Or’es means “powerful” (the Orrus Spyrer suit amplifies the strength of the wearer), J’karra means “mirror” (the Jakara suit has a mirror shield that reflects laser shots), Y’eldi means “winged one” (The Yeld suit has wings), and Mal’caor means “spider” (the Malcadon suit spins webs and allows the user to climb up walls). How the Tau got spying tech all the way across the sector is beyond me, but it’s still a cool little ret-con!

  • Spit-Burn

    Call this a Necromunda article, and NOT mention Clovis, Kal Jerico or Mad Donna??? For shame!

    I will now stick my neck out and say Necromunda is my fave GW game of all time. None of that Armageddon hive nonsense.