Today loremasters, we explore one of the thriving hive worlds of the Imperium – the jewel in the darkness – Necromunda.
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.
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.
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 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.
~Ahh home, sweet home.