40K Lore: Necromunda – Welcome to Hive Primus

Today loremasters, we explore Hive Primus, the seat of power of 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.

Hive Primus

Hive Primus (or Hive One) is the capital of the Necromunda hive world, and the setting for the Necromunda game. The hive is known across Necromunda as the Palatine after the fortified palace of Planetary Governor Lord Helmawr which is located at the top of the hive’s spire. It is the largest hive on Necromunda, and is part of the Palatine Cluster, which consists of several hive cities separated by many miles but connected at different levels through a network of travel tubes and through roads across the wastelands.



Primus is effectively the planet’s only spaceport, as it possesses the only shipyard and landing field large enough to handle orbital carrier ships. This is intentional on the part of the planetary government, as it ensures the planetary ruler, Lord Helmawr has a monopoly in off-world trade.

The Imperial Fists Space Marines maintain a fortress in the hive – the original purpose for the Imperial Fists’ presence on the planet being to clear out an invasion of Orks, which had occupied and devastated three entire hives. The presence has since become permanent.

Necromunda’s fortress-precinct – the Adeptus Arbites planetary headquarters – is also located in the hive.

The Spire

Hive Primus’s Spire forms the hive’s upper layer, penetrating the cloud and pollution cover. It is the domain of the six Noble Houses and of Lord Gerontius of the Imperial House Helmawr.


Planetary Governor – Lord Helmawr 

The Noble Houses consist of Catallus, Greim, Ko’Iron, Ran Lo, Ty and Ulanti.

It is from these noble houses that the Spyre Hunters (Spyrers) originate.

Various models of Spyrer hunting rigs

Within the industrial underhives of a hive city, where the gangs of the ruling houses compete for the scarce resources, the upper nobility also commit their own groups of “gangs” to the underhive conflicts for a different purpose.

Traditionally Spyrer groups are composed of the unproven youths of the noble houses born in the upper levels of the hive where they have known little want or hardship. These groups then descend into the lower levels to undertake a vow that has been impressed upon them by a sponsor Patriarch or Matriarch, either to survive unaided in the depths of the undercity for a designated length of time, or to obtain a designated number of kills. They are not permitted to return until their task is complete.

In this way the unproven individuals of the decadent noble houses will prove themselves as ruthless and resourceful and thus suited for leadership roles within hive politics.

Hive City

Below the Spire is the Hive City, separated by a large adamantium barrier known as “the Wall”. The Hive City is five miles in height and home to billions of people.


Hive City is controlled by six Houses of manufacturers that control their own section. Each of these powerful Houses controls a number of hive gangs which enforce the Houses’ territorial control.

  • Cawdor
  • Delaque – a mysterious House whose motives never seem clear. It is rumoured that some members of other Houses (even Noble Houses) are secretly in their employ. They make significant use of spies and prefer to hunt down their foes silently and with the minimum of fuss. Customarily dressed in long coats that conceal plenty of weapons, Delaques affect shorn heads and whispering voices, a presentation that only aids their reputation for espionage.
  • Escher
  • Goliath – Seen as barbarians by the other houses, the Goliath’s are the most physically imposing of the houses. They are fierce enemies of the matriarchal Escher.
  • Orlock – House Orlock is responsible for producing ninety percent of all the iron ore in Hive Primus, earning the house the moniker “House of Iron”. House Orlock and Delaque have been at each others throats for the last five years, following the assassination of Lord Hagan Orlock by members of the Delaque.
  • Van Saar – a House that deals primarily in mechanical goods, House Van Saar is known for the fine quality of their items, ensuring a good reputation and a high asking price for their work. As a result, they are the richest House in the Hive City. Wealth brings with it certain benefits, and so any Van Saar seen abroad is likely to be wearing the finest in armoured bodygloves and equipped with potent weaponry.[1b]


Below the Hive City is the more polluted, violent and lawless Underhive. There is no constant or definite border separating the Underhive from the main hive city. Fighting between the gangs of rival Houses is mostly confined to this level of the hive.

Hive Bottom

The very bottom of the Hive is a dangerous area that is structurally unsound and only mutants or similar dangerous creatures can live there. It is known as the “Sump” and is by all intents and purposes uninhabitable

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.


Learn More of Necromunda Here



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

  • Honest Kairos

    I’m sure Planetary Governor is a tough job, but Lord Helmawr is taking failure to a whole new level.

    • Dusty

      He’ll make Necromunda great again!

      • Honest Kairos

        “Emperor has my “wires tapped.” Sad! Necromunda is beautiful and safe. Don’t believe the FAKE NEWS. #MNGA”

  • Kevin Maloney

    Oh, how I’d love to see the Necromunda gangs remade. Not that it’s going to happen…

    • Zethnar

      It’s still a specialist game. There’s no reason Forgeworld can’t put out both a rulebook and miniatures, especially if Shadow War does well.

    • Sbehling

      It would be great if forgeworld made the models and rules to be used in shadow war. Too birds one stone that way

  • memitchell

    The base game started with only the six House Gangs. Their starting rosters and weapons were identical. The differences were from which skill sets they acquire skills during the campaign. These determine the emphasis of the gangs (Close combat, shooting, techno, etc.). But, skills were random, with the possibility of acquiring those from other sets. The Noble Houses were never portrayed in the game. Spyers were an Outlander Gang, coming from that eponymous expansion. Other Outlanders were Ratskins, Scavvy’s, Redemptionists, and more. Later, more gangs were added, like Pit Slaves, and Enforcers. The game combined an RPG-depth background with small skirmish fights and an extensive campaign system. Plus, clever as hell modular terrain. It’s only real flaw was that it did not directly sell Mothership 40K miniatures.

  • marxlives

    I don’t think this lore is relevant to the new Necromunda coming out right?

    • Senexis

      Especially since, given the name, one might assume it’s set on Armageddon

    • memitchell

      Other than the similarities in rules and concept, no. But, maybe for some who aren’t familiar with Necro, it will help understand the musings and grumblings of the old players. 😉