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Necromunda: The Six Houses Of The Underhive

7 Minute Read
Oct 7 2023

You must be new to the Hive…Let me give you a quick rundown so you don’t get yourself killed!

The Planet Necromunda is a massive Hive World – it’s a major producer of all the key ingredients for waging war. We produce lasguns, autoguns, shotguns and boltguns, among other weapons. The manufacturing and logistics of all those goods are basically run by 6 houses down here in the Hive – or the Habzone.

The Underhive? Well that’s below us – we’re on the middle part of the Hive where slags like you and I work. We don’t get the privilege to live up in the fancy Spire…That’s for all the wealthy bureaucrats and nobility and anybody who’s “made it” lives. If you sign up with the right crew, you might find yourself there one day, too. Rumors are that some of Spyrer-types come down here in the muck from time to time on “expeditions” …we don’t talk about those. Anyhow, best try and avoid the Underhive if you can. If you want to live longer that is…

Like I was saying, where we are, there are basically six houses that run everything. First off you’ve got the Orlocks:


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.

Additionally, they are in charge of running most of the mines and recently they’ve gotten their hands on lucrative transportation contracts across the planet. Sounds nice…also paints a mighty big target on their backs.

Next we got House Delaque? They are the eyes and ears of this place.



House Delaque benefits from a special understanding with House Helmawr, providing not just materials but also information to the rulers of Necromunda. Delaque spies are said to operate throughout the hive, observing the activities of the other Houses. It is rumoured that some of the ruling family members of the Houses, and even some Noble Houses are in the pay of the Delaque.

The other Houses of Necromunda are understandably distrustful of the Delaques. Their look merely upholds the Delaque’s long-standing reputation for swindling and espionage. Delaque gang members usually wear elongated jackets with deep interior pouches to conceal weapons and other such items. The bulk are very pale-skinned and bald-headed, with thin, soft, eerie voices. Most wear dark visors or other such devices to shelter their sensitive eyes. An intolerance of bright lights is known to be a common weakness of Delaques. Despite the entire hive being rather dim by usual standards, House Delaques territory is known to be particularly dim and shadowy.

They give me the creeps…just don’t let them hear that. There is a rumor that they report directly to the planetary governor. Who runs their house? Nobody knows – supposedly they have some kind of shadow council called a “star chamber” or some such. The actual head of the house is kept secret.

Then there is House Escher – don’t let their looks fool you:


Almost all Escher are female, making them unique and perhaps the most strikingly different of the Houses of Necromunda. The few Escher males are physical derelicts; shrivelled and imbecilic, perhaps due to a genetic defect in the House bloodline, or the after effects of a plague which many believe was the same as that which decimated the population of House Aranthus several centuries ago and ultimately led to its downfall.


All their members are born via parthenogenesis aka “spontaneous procreation.”  Word in the Hive is that they are heavy in the bio-meds that the other houses need. In particular, they make the Anti-Rads that keep House Van Saar alive. And Van Saar has tech they need to keep them going…It seems like a pretty solid trading alliance between the two – but things are known to set each of them off when the streets get hot.

And Van Saar? Oh those irradiated fancy lads? You’ll spot them easy based on their clothes:



Van Saars are well-known for the superiority of their arms and equipment. Their technology is no more cutting-edge than any of the other Houses. The House’s manufacturing procedures are clear-cut and its completed products are of the utmost quality. The Noble Houses of the hive are known to pay handsomely for Van Saar-made goods; as a result, the House is undoubtedly the wealthiest in Hive Primus. Due to this familiarity with Imperial weaponry, as well as the abilities to improve and use it in combat, Van Saars are often recruited by the Imperial Guard as “High Utility Conscripts”.

The Van Saars have a well-earned reputation of being serious minded and sombre people, with a deeply deep-seated emphasis placed on order and hierarchy. Like the other gangs of Hive City the Van Saars have a style of clothing which distinguishes them from others. In their case this equates to a close-fitting body suit intended to defend and sustain the wearer in the harsh hive environment. Semi-permeable membranes in the suit reduce the loss of the body’s dampness whilst numerous spots on the material change colour to inform the wearer of airborne pollutants and reduced levels of oxygen.


How did the Van Saar get so high-tech compared to the rest of us? They got their hands on an STC! I saw it once. Okay, well not me directly. I was a pict of a scan of one my cousin’s friend sent to a mutual acquaintance. Dunno how or when, but it’s how they managed to get so advanced…But apparently it’s bad for their health on account of the radiation poisoning them. If you get a job on their turf, you might want to stock up on anti-rads and pick-up one of their rad-suits quick.

Whoa, watch out for those Big Fellas – that’s house Goliath! They are the muscle for the hive…


House Goliath and it’s domains are situated unfavourably in the Hice City, occupying the lowest and harshest areas, close to the Underhive. As a result, most Goliaths are notoriously tough and robust by necessity, and they view everybody else as soft and weak.

The members of the house are often seen as barbaric by everybody else in the Hive, the members of House Escher being the most vocal in this belief. Indeed, many of the Goliath’s traditions, like the fighting pits and the Feast of the Fallen do very little to disprove these beliefs, giving the impression of a violent and brutal people inimical to their neighbours and rivals alike.

The Goliaths have a preoccupation with physique, and their style of clothing is often designed to reveal as much of their bulging muscles as possible. This style of dress usually incorporates large amounts of metal chains and bracers. Most Goliaths also wear their hair in a mohawk.


As brutal and tough as they are they are considered very necessary. They have the forges that convert a lot of the raw ore into usable materials. And even though Escher and the Goliaths don’t get along, they have to trade goods. I heard the deal is manufacturing goods come from Goliath and the Eschers trade them the stims they need to get that bulky in the first place! Heh – figures, right? Oh and don’t call them dumb…at least not within earshot.

Oh and me? I’m a member of House Cawdor.



House Cawdor has dedicated itself entirely to the Redemptionist cause and the Cult has attained the status of an official religion in Cawdor uniquely among the hive’s Houses, making Cawdor the stronghold of the Cult and effectively controlled by it. The unforgiving creed of the Cult demands a strict code of conduct; those who break the rules are driven away and become outlaws. The codes of their religion forbid them from showing their faces in public upon pain of death, and so the Cawdor can be recognised by the hooded jackets or heavy, elaborate masks which they wear to conceal their features, which are often quite bizarre or disturbing in design. The path of righteousness is at its purest in House Cawdor, with regular public witch hunts and mass burnings of heretics and mutants, who they are especially quick to turn on, even in the more tolerant Underhive.

That’s why I have this funny mask on – it’s because of my belief in the Ecclesiarch! We don’t have much in the way of goods, but we look out for each other and take care of our brothers. We are the caretakers of the hive, if you will. We salvage and recycle what others throw away – we redeem it! We’re basically the highest servants of the Emperor on this rock. Speaking of which, have you done your daily prayers to the Emperor today? No? Well maybe you should come with me…


Read more about the Houses of Necromunda at the Lexicanum


Which house of the Underhive is your home?

Author: Adam Harrison
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