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40K Lore: House Orlock

4 Minute Read
Feb 11 2018

Today, Loremasters, we venture back from threats of Chaos, to something far less heretical. The gangs of Necromunda.

Not wanting to risk the wrath of the Inquisition, or any other watchful eyes in the Ministorum who might casually toss around the phrase “heretical knowledge” and “corrupt loremasters” and “history of incidents” — today we prove that we are capable of discussing knowledge that isn’t even a little bit classified, heretical, or dangerous. We talk about one of the least threatening things in the galaxy.

No flak armor, no las weapons, no bionics, no Uplifting Primer–no chance.

The average, non-guardsman, non-modified member of humanity. How can it possibly be less dangerous than that? Well, I’ll tell you. The humans we discuss today have no mechanical augmentations, they have no psychic powers, they don’t have the years* of discipline and training that even the most basic company of Guardsmen have. Nor do they have xenos artifacts, or strange relics from a bygone age. More importantly, they don’t have vast wealth, nor the command of a planetary government.

We speak, of course, of the gangs of Necromunda. Relegated to a single world, which is not a hotbed of Xenos activity or Heresy, the gangs of Necromunda are an example of the sort of internecine warfare that can plague a Hive World that allows lax discipline and the Emperor’s decrees to fall by the wayside.

For those of you who have not read about the Necromunda Hive World and its various hives, we are speaking of a faction located in but a single city–Hive Primus:


Hive Primus (or Hive One) is the capital of the Necromunda hive world, and the setting for the Necromundagame. 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.

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.

There are six main houses of Hive Primus, and today we speak of House Orlock, which is responsible for the iron ore produced in Hive Primus.

House Orlock is one of the six families who make their home in the “Hive City” part of Hive Primus, the capital of Necromunda. The Orlocks, as house members are commonly known, are responsible for the production of the majority of the iron in Hive Primus, which has led to the house earning the sobriquet of “House of Iron”.

The Orlocks have a longstanding rivalry with the mysterious House Delaque, due to the Orlocks sabotaging a Delaque factory, which led to the Delaques losing a very lucrative business contract with the noble house Ulanti. When the Orlocks got the contract instead, things only escalated, and the Delaques retaliated by assassinating Lord Hagan Orlock. The chances of either house burying the hatchet is infinitesimally small.

As for the other houses, the Orlocks are on surprisingly good terms with the matriarchal House Escher, due to the Orlocks traditionally treating the women very well, especially compared to the other houses.


The miners and engineers of House Orlock are known for diving deep into the slag pits, sifting through the debris and remnants of the city that once was. Though on occasion their extensive mining has caused ash quakes and the destruction of overlying hives, they have still been able to secure a position for themselves in the Undercity. By finding the discarded refuse of the upper levels, as well as materials long ago left to rot in the Undercity, House Orlock has made a fortune turning waste into wealth. Conjuring iron and from slag–but through mortal means, not magic, they have well earned their nickname. Further, they have control over transportation as well–they control the more popular transmotive routes, ensuring that little gets from one place to another in the desolate wastes of Necromunda without House Orlock to “protect” it.

And as well we know, mining equipment is safe. It is meant for industry, not war. And there’s no way to connect good solid Imperial Industry to heretical knowledge or xenos threats or anything.

So let us all give thanks to the Emperor for that, and remember, knowledge doesn’t have to be forbidden to be useful!

Author: J.R. Zambrano
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