Necromunda is a tabletop skirmish war game produced by Specialist Games (a division of Games Workshop).
In Necromunda, players control rival gangs battling each other in the Underhive, a place of anarchy and violence in the depths below Hive City. As in its parent game Warhammer 40,000, play uses 28 mm miniatures (approximately 1:65) and terrain (in this case a heavily polluted cityscape).
Being a skirmish game gangs are usually limited to around a dozen models, but as a result game play can become more detailed. Unlike Warhammer 40,000 , Necromunda also allows players to develop their gangs between battles, gaining experience, adding new members or equipment, according to a set of rules. Gangs which frequently win games acquire more credits (money) and fewer injuries and so are able to grow throughout a campaign.
Rules-wise, the game draws heavily from the second edition of Warhammer 40,000, and the ruleset is commonly considered to be better-suited for the type of skirmish games Necromunda encourages.
Necromunda also stands out from most other games by Games Workshop by having a more 3 dimensional table layout, with buildings generally having multiple floors, interconnecting walkways and bridges. The terrain is constructed to simulate a hive city on the planet Necromunda, a dystopian futuristic city resembling a termite mound many miles high.
Games Workshop's Specialist Games division occasionally publishes new rules on their website They also recently published the full rules for the game for download (as a PDF file), referred to as the Necromunda Living Rulebook As is implicit in the name, this document is often updated and rewritten, based largely on the work of avid volunteers and playtesters in the official Specialist Games forums.
Houses of Hive Primus
House Cawdor is the stronghold of the Cult of Redemption. For this reason all of the gangers wear masks in public to hide their faces from the 'infidels' of the other houses. They are known to hunt mutants and heretics to the point of fanaticism (part of the redemptionist influence) which bring them into conflict with gangs who would utilize them.
Other hivers are justifiably suspicious of House Delaque, who specialise in spying and assassination. The gangers often wear large trench coats, with large internal pockets for concealing weapons and other large items. Most are bald and extremely pale. Many wear visors, goggles or have light filters implanted into their eyes, a sensitivity to light being a common Delaque weakness. Delaque territory is even more dimly lit than the rest of the hive, fitting for a people who are shrouded in mystery.
Strikingly different from the other houses, the Escher population is almost entirely made up of women. The few men that are there are shrivelled and imbecilic and play no part in the normal affairs of the Escher. Men are held in contempt and pitied by the Escher, especially those of House Goliath who are seen as simple, brutish and unsophisticated.
Size and physical strength are everything in House Goliath. Their territory is situated in some of the harshest areas of the Hive City of Solitude. Their gangers favour mohawks, piercings, thick chains and spiked metal bracers as well as heavy coats that protect them from rain water.
Also known as the House Iron, these hivers mine ferrous slag pits deep in the hive. Orlock gangers often wear sleeveless jackets and headbands. Recent events have brought them into direct opposition with the Delaques, involving the sabotage of Delaque facilities and an assassination of Lord Hagan Orlock.
The Van Saar are known for the extremely high quality of its technical produce. Spear Soldiers, or often referred to as Ga-8 in the Spire will pay handsomely for Van Saar goods, making them the wealthiest of the houses. The Van Saar are marked out by their tight fitting body-gloves which help to sustain them in the harsh hive environment. Older Van Saar are often seen sporting a neatly trimmed beard. The Imperial Punishers often recruit regiments from the Van Saar.
The Enforcers are the chief source of law enforcement in the underhive of Necromunda. Modelled closely after the Adeptus Arbites
, the Enforcers apply the laws set down by the High Lords of Terra with an iron fist. Equipped with heavy armour and sophisticated weapons and equipment, Enforcer patrol teams quell riots, suppress inter-gang warfare as much as possible, and monitor mercantile trade to ensure compliance with imperial law
It is important to note that the Enforcers, while maintaining an organizational structure similar to that of the Adeptus Arbites, is in fact a separate force. The Adeptus Arbites enforce Imperial law on a galactic scale, whereas the Enforcers maintain order within the confines of Hive Primus.
The Cult of the Emperor's Redemption
A nod to Laserburn
the 15mm tabletop game Warhammer 40,000
evolved from. The Redemptionists have an extreme hatred of mutants and deviants from the Imperial creed. The most dedicated take up arms and hunt the deviants. They often wear red robes decorated with flame motifs and have a fondness of incendiary weaponry. House Cawdor lends much support to the cult of Redemption and have gone so far as to adopt it as their official Religion.
Slaves of the Guilders with appendages replaced by industrial tools such as giant saws and drills. When a group of slaves escapes, they already have weapons to help them survive along with experience gained in gladiator style combat they are often pressed into.
The Ratskin tribes have lived within the underhive for millennia and treat it as a god, generous in its bounty and merciless in its vengeance. They have little to do with the hivers and are rarely encountered, preferring to steer clear of the heathens who desecrate their sacred hive by poisoning its sacred places.
Scavvies are humans with mutations too obvious to hide, banished from normal settlements. In Scavvie gangs, the very dregs of society scrape out an existence robbing guilder caravans, raiding isolated settlements and just generally scavenging whatever they can to survive. Their bands often include a stable sub-species of mutant, the giant reptilian Scalies.
Young nobles from the Spire come down to hunt underhive gangers and thereby prove their worth in a world of ruthless politics, plotting and assassination. Spyre gangs are few in number, and equipped with state-of-the-art weaponry. It is reported that they get at least some of their technology from doing deals with the Tau Empire
In addition to the gang types supported by the rulebooks, various Games Workshop publications have introduced new groups, sometimes supported by mail-order only model ranges, including Ash Waste Gangers and Squat
Origins as Confrontation
Necromunda was spun off from a previous attempt of Games Workshop to popularize a set of rules for low-key skirmish battles in a hive world setting. White Dwarf magazine published such a ruleset between fall and winter 1990-91 dubbing it "Confrontation". It was set on the hive world of Necromunda but made no reference to houses and such, instead concentrating itself on the various 'types' of gangs: clan warriors from the spires, brat 'poseurs' from the upper levels which went 'down' to experience the thrills of lowlife, undercity mutants, diseased scavengers from the toxic wastes and the Adeptus Arbites ever-ready to deal swift and summary "Judge Dredd"-like justice.
The miniatures released for this game were designed by John Blanche and were highly praised and regarded. The game background also included some elements later re-used in Necromunda, such as the 'spook' psychic drug, and some which were disregarded, such as the 'caryatids', largely unexplained blue skinned cherubs which were presented as unique and integral to necromundan life.
Compared to the current Necromunda, Confrontation had a more complex system for resolving combat, particularly firing - portions of which were similar in style to Laserburn, a miniatures game which had influenced WH40K.
- Priestley, Rick; Chambers, Andy and Johnson, Jervis Necromunda - Rulebook. 1st edition, Nottingham: Games Workshop Ltd.. 1-872-37248-1.
- Priestley, Rick; Chambers, Andy and Johnson, Jervis Necromunda - Sourcebook. 1st edition, Nottingham: Games Workshop Ltd.. 1-872-37248-1.