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Tabletop Game / Necromunda

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The Underhive; where life is nasty, brutish, and short. If you're lucky.

Beware the shadows of the Hive, where only the strongest endure...

Necromunda is one of several spinoffs of Games Workshop's Warhammer 40,000, and probably the most popular. Notable for functioning on a considerably smaller scale than its progenitor; it trades WH40K's large armies with dozens of models and accompanying vehicles for small gangs with an average of 6-12 models. The gameplay is based heavily on the 2nd Edition WH40k rules (updated for compatibility with 4th Edition and later); with some RPG-like mechanics added on. It also focuses on long-term campaigns and gang development, with gangs actually growing in size and ability with time and experience.

One of the "Hive Worlds" of the Imperium, the titular planet Necromunda is a place where industrialization and pollution have created a Single-Biome Planet consisting of vast, mile-high termite-mound-like "hive cities" devoted primarily to manufacturing weapons and equipment, and providing troops, for the Imperial Guard. Outside the hive cities, the environment has been effectively destroyed by pollution and radiation, and a perpetual smog enshrouds all but the very peaks of the cities. Necromundan society is highly stratified by class, with each class further divided into a small number of feuding clans known as "Houses." The elites reside in the "spire," which juts above the smog cloud, providing sunshine and fresh air. The majority of the population lives, works, and dies in the grim and filthy main hive, and do the bulk of manufacturing and food production. The game setting, the Underhive, is a vast, decaying, multi-level industrial wasteland populated by outlaws from the main Houses, mutants, pyromaniac religious fanatics, escaped slaves, plague zombies, Proud Warrior Race Guys, rogue psykers, and all manner of strange and deadly creatures. The hive floor consists of an immense toxic lake, surrounded by a ring of refuse, and anything that dwells there is best avoided entirely.


Although similarly short-lived, Necromunda enjoyed considerably more support than Games Workshop's other Gaiden Games, featuring more prominently in their publicity, and in their White Dwarf and (now defunct) Citadel Journal publications. It also had two Comic Book series based in Necromunda Kal Jerico (followin the titular rogue) and The Redeemer (following a Redemptionist in his crusade against heretics). However, it too eventually dropped off the radar, with one official expansion and a second edition, Necromunda: Underhive, being produced. The game was eventually discontinued, along with the rest of the Specialist Games range, in the early 2000's. In April 2017 a new 40K Gaiden Game, Shadow War: Armageddon, was released based on the Necromunda ruleset. November 2017 saw the release of a 3rd Edition of the game, also called Necromunda: Underhive, which includes the basic rules, along with the first in a regular series of supplemental Sourcebooks known as Necromunda: Gang War that expand the game with campaign rules, extra gangs, hired guns and other advanced rules.


A video game called Necromunda Underhive Wars was announced in 2017 and is scheduled for release in 2019.

For the fantasy equivalent game see Mordheim.

Being set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe, the game features a large number of the tropes on that page, as well as employing setting and gameplay tropes of its own.

  • Acrofatic: The artwork for the 1st Edition Pit Slave special character Bull Gorg depicted him as extremely obese yet his Initiative stat (the characteristic that represented reaction time, agility and combat speed) was one of the highest in the game.
  • Adipose Rex: Scavvies barely survive scraping a living in the worst parts of the Underhive and therefore consider a large paunch to be a sign of power and success. Redwart, the self-proclaimed Scavvy King, is said to have the largest paunch of any Scavvy.
  • Amazon Brigade: Millennia of exposure to harmful chemicals and other alchemical substances, the male half of House Escher have been left physically and mentally defective used only for genetic breading programs. Due to this deficiency the active members of the House, and the gangs that protect their territory, are universally female.
  • Ammunition Backpack: The 1st and 2nd Edition models for Heavies equipped with high rate of fire heavy weapons, such as heavy stubbers or heavy bolters, were sculpted with backpacks bulging with ammunition for their massive guns.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit:
    • The number of leaders and special fighters a gang can include on their roster is limited, either by total number or by other factors such as the number of regular fighters the gang contains. In the 1st and 2nd Editions of the game gangs could only include 2 Heavies (or their equivalents) while the 3rd Edition limits the number of Champions (or equivalents) to 2 plus 1 more per 10 Reputation the gang has. 3rd Edition Chaos Cult gangs are also only allowed to have up to one Witch.
    • While there is no upper limit to the number of members a gang can contain in 3rd Edition Necromunda, beyond the credits cost of the fighters and their equipment, it is rare for both gangs to use their entire roster for a battle with each scenario detailing how many fighters a player is able to use for the game, known as a Crew. The number of fighters in a Crew is often randomly determined and of the seven scenarios included in the core Necromunda: Underhive rulebook, only one allows both players to use their entire gang. The first Necromunda: Gang War supplement also introduces additional methods of creating a Crew.
  • Arm Cannon: The majority of ranged weaponry fitted to the highly advanced Spyrer suits during the 1st and 2nd Edition of the game were positioned on the wrists or back of the hand. This position kept the Spyrer hunter's hands free to use the suit's integrated close combat weaponry.
  • Attack Animal:
    • During 2nd Edition the Bosses who led Scavvy gangs could be accompanied by a pack of Scavvy Dogs, diseased and savage beasts who would attack anyone their master desired as long as he can keep them fed with titbits of food.
    • The exotic beasts, introduced in 3rd Edition, are animals that can be purchased by Gang Leaders and Champions who will fight alongside their master in a game. Each House has their own unique beast that reflects the character of the House such as the tough but thick Goliath Sumpkroc, the high-tech Van Saar Cyberachnid or the Sheen Birds considered to be embodiments of the Emperor's grace by members of House Cawdor.
  • Attack Reflector: The mirror shields used by the Jakara Spyre hunters are able to absorb the attacks of energy weapons and fire it back at the enemy. As with other Spyre equipment, the mirror shield is designed to improve as the wielder gains experience so that eventually the shield will be able to reflect projectile attacks as well.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • Flamer weapons in the 1st and 2nd Editions of the game were useful as the player didn't have to have to roll to hit their opponent, and could hit multiple fighters with a single blast. On the downside however, the limited fuel capacity of flamer weapons meant the player had to make an ammo roll every time they were fired, meaning that there was a 50% chance of the weapon becoming useless after every use.
    • In the 1st and 2nd Edition of the game lascannons were the single most powerful weapon available to underhive gangs, capable of destroying anything it hits with a single shot. The fact that the weapon only fired a single shot however meant that it could only kill a single enemy a turn, so that it was rarely worth its extreme cost.
  • Badass Longcoat: The traditional outfit of House Delaque is a long, flowing trench coat in the style of a spy or private investigator. These coats are perfect for concealing weaponry and add to the House's secret agent visual theme.
  • Badass Normal: With the exception of the stimm-enhanced members of House Goliath, the members of the various House gangs tend to be regular humans chosen from the general population of the House for their violent tendencies.
  • Badasses Wear Bandanas: During the 1st and 2nd Editions of the game, the bandana was the signature clothing of House Orlock as part of the their' biker gang visual theme. While the 3rd Edition models have move away from this, some of the head options reference this by wearing goggles around their foreheads in a similar manner.
  • Bat Out of Hell:
    • Some areas of the Necromundan underhive are infested with swarms of carrion bats. These scavengers have ferocious piranha-like jaws that they use to steal mouthfuls of flesh from corpses and living underhivers alike.
    • Ripper Jacks are bat-like alien creatures that inhabit abandoned domes in the Underhive. Ripper Jacks attack by enveloping their prey's head with their wings while biting and gouging their eyes and throat.
  • Beast Man: Gor Half-horn is a Bounty Hunter of the Homo sapiens variatus breed of abhumans. This goat-like abhuman strain, more commonly known as Beastmen, are heavily discriminated against by the intolerant Imperium for their monstrous appearance, and the fact that Gor has been given an official Imperial Sanction has led to many wild rumours. The first hired gun to be released for the 3rd Edition of the game, Gor is also notable for being the first Imperial Beastman model to be produced since the 1st Edition of Warhammer 40,000 itself.
  • The Beastmaster: Some Wyrds have the ability to dominate and control the various mutant creatures that inhabit the underhive. Known as Beastmasters, these Wyrds hire out their services to those with few scruples, personally leading their vicious pets into battle as they have to remain close to their charges to maintain their control.
  • BFG: Heavy weapons, such as the heavy stubber or the 'Krumper' rivet cannon are large and unwieldy weapons with massive firepower. Highly expensive, and often difficult to use, the use of heavy weapons are limited to only the most trusted or technically minded members of a gang such as Heaviesnote  and Championsnote .
  • BFS: During the 1st and 2nd Editions of the game, two-handed swords were available but were unlikely to see much use as the combat system generally favoured using multiple smaller weapons rather than a single, slow and heavy blade.
  • Blade Below the Shoulder: Pit Slaves are generally modified by their owners so that they can perform their duties more efficiently. Scrap slaves will have their arms and hands replaced with buzz saws, mining slaves will be outfitted with rock drills and fungus harvesting slaves will gain a pair of razor sharp shears. Those slaves who find themselves in the fighting pits of the underhive often have chainswords fitted to their arms in place of their hands with the famous rebel slave Bull Gorg having both his hands replaced with a pair of turbo chainswords.
  • Blast Out: A gameplay mechanic for the Shoot Out scenario sees each player make a Nerve check for their gangnote  or a Cool check for each fighternote  each turn. To represent the building tension, these tests are cumulative and once the result reaches a specific value someone snaps and goes for their gun, causing all hell to break loose.
  • Bling of War: Many successful Gang Leaders and Champions like to flaunt the wealth they have acquired with extravagant clothes, items and wargear. The 3rd Edition of the game represents this with Extravagant Goods, rare and expensive items that high-ranking gang members can buy to show off their wealth. One such item of wargear is gold plating for their favourite weapon that has the in-game effect of raising their Leadership characteristic.
  • Blob Monster: The Icrotic slime is a transparent, fist-sized blob monster that feeds on the brain of living creatures. While feeding, the Icrotic slime releases chemicals into its victim's body that give them a highly euphoric feeling and boosts their physical abilities. The positive effects of being host to an Icrotic slime meant that, during 1st Edition, gang fighters could use Icrotic slimes as a highly dangerous combat drug, trusting their comrades to remove the slime before it could totally consume their brain.
  • Booze-Based Buff: During 1st and 2nd Edition Wild Snake was a rare and potent moonshine that could install "Snake Courage" in a gang that drank it before a battle, giving them +1 to their Leadership. The resulting drunkenness resulted in a -2 to their Initiative however.
  • Boring, but Practical: The 3rd Edition background for Orlock gangs states that members of the House look for reliability in their weapons over such things as power or flashy attacks. In-game however Orlock weapons are no more reliable than anyone else's.
  • Bounty Hunter:
    • The underhive is the most common destination for outlaws and mutants, making it a rich hunting ground for those wishing to make some credits bringing these degenerates to justice. Due to their skill and fighting powers Bounty Hunters have been a popular Hired Gun in every edition of the game, with 3rd Edition in particular including detailed rules for various types of Bounty Hunter as well as a number of named character Bounty Hunters.
    • The May 2018 issue of White Dwarf included exclusive rules for using Venator Bands for 3rd Edition. Venator Bands are elite gangs of Bounty Hunters who band together for protection, to track down the most lucrative bounties or for more esoteric and near-religious reasons. The rules for these gangs also include rules for including Bounty Hunters from specific Houses.
  • Breakable Weapons: Due to the difficulty in maintaining complex mechanisms and the widespread use of homemade ammunition of dubious quality, it is not uncommon for the weapons used by inhabitants of the Underhive to suffer a catastrophic failure. The 1st and 2nd Edition rules represented this by forcing a player to make a second Ammo Roll if the first was failed on a roll of a 1. If this second roll also failed then the weapon exploded, destroying the weapon and causing a hit on the model carrying it.
  • Burn the Witch!: As with many Imperial religious fanatics, House Cawdor and members of the Cult of Redemption possess an intense loathing of psykers and Wyrds, believing that the best fate for such witches is immolation by flamer weaponry. During the 1st and 2nd Edition of the game Redemptionist Crusade even had a rule that they would automatically burn any Wyrd they capture at the stake unless their comrades rescue them.
  • Chainsaw Good:
    • As with the wider Warhammer 40,000 setting, chainswords are a popular weapon but their high cost means that they are often only wielded by gang leaders and their most trusted fighters. In 1st and 2nd Edition chainswords were the most powerful of the Common close combat weapons while in 3rd Edition rules for chainswords weren't introduced until the second Necromunda: Gang War supplement and the release of the Forge World weapon kits.
    • The primary weapon of the Spyrer Matriarchnote  is the chainscythe, a weapon that fits with her techno-Grim Reaper visual theme.
    • Although it had no effect in the rules, the 1st Edition Goliath Leader with meltagun model has replaced his traditional mohawk with a chainsaw blade, something the 3rd Edition models give a Shout-Out to with the inclusion of a similarly designed mohawk as an option on the Goliath plastic sprue.
    • The background for Pit Slaves makes mention of the legendary pit fighter Harkan Vore, who had a chainsaw replacing his lower jaw.
    • During the 1st and 2nd Editions of the game, Redemptionist Crusades were the only gang who had access to Evisorators, massive two-handed chainsaws popular with religious fanatics throughout the Imperium.
  • Chameleon Camouflage: The wings of Yeld Spyre suits, from the 1st and 2nd Edition Spyre hunter teams, were wired with crystalline circuitry that allowed them to change colour and blend into the surrounding environment, something that was represented in the game by a negative to hit modifier for anyone firing at a Yeld from long range. The chameleon cloaks worn by the veteran Spyrer Matriarchs in 2nd Edition used similar, but more sophisticated, technology to camouflage its wearer and gave her enemies a negative to hit modifier for all of their attacks.
  • Church Militant: The Cult of the Redemption are a highly violent offshoot of the Imperial Cult native to Necromunda that has since spread to the wider Imperium. The Cult aggressively persecute anyone who deviates from their strict beliefs of physical and spiritual purity and launch armed crusades against the deviant inhabitants of the underhive.
  • Clam Trap: One of the (many) forms of hostile wildlife found in the on Necromunda is the Ash Clam, a mutated terrestrial bivalve native to the planet's ash wastes, and occasionally found in more run-down areas of the underhive as well. These creaturesnote  essentially function as a biological Bear Trap, which can lead to an ignominious end for any ganger unfortunate enough to get stuck in one.
  • Clingy Costume: The bodygloves worn by members of House Van Saar double as life-support systems that treat the damage done to their bodies by the radiation poisoning that is endemic in the House, and without them members of the House would soon sicken and die. As a side effect of this, in the 3rd Edition rules, the suits grant them limited immunity to the effects of rad-weapons.
  • Cosmetically Different Sides: In earlier editions of Necromunda, this is a possibility for the main ganger houses, your house determined the likelihood of the type of skill you got, but if the Random Number God had been good to you, it's possible to have a Goliath gang as shooty and sneaky as Delaque with exactly the same hardware. In contrast, outlaw gangs like Spyrers and Ratskins had completely different rules and equipment lists. The 2nd Edition began to move away from this slightly with the addition of House specific weapon lists for starting gangs, while 3rd Edition continued this trend by giving the Clan House gangs more differentiation with access to unique equipment and weapons.
  • Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: Averted with the majority of Pit Slaves who have retained their humanity despite the great number of bionic replacements that have been forced upon them. Servitors, lobotomised and programmed cyborgs that have to be programmed to perform tasks, are the only members of a Pit Slave gang who have had their humanity striped from them by the cyberization process.
  • Cyber Punk: While earlier edition mixed it with American Old West themes, Necromunda is one of the better examples of the Cyber Punk asthetic within Warhammer 40,000 canon with gangs of stimm-altered thugs, cyborgs and maniacs fighting each other to expand the business opportunities of their House, in the ruined industrial depths of a Mega City. It does lack many of the Cyber Space elements of the genre however.
  • Deadly Gas:
    • The Pollution result on the 1st Edition Campaign Events Table saw sections of the underhive filled with poisonous fumes from heavy discharges of toxic waste. The in-game effect of this event was to make tunnels and vents (territories that allowed gangs to set up fighters outside their deployment zone) unusable until the gas cleared.
    • 3rd Edition Escher gangs have access to the 'Nightshade' chem-thrower. Developed from the gas injectors used in House Escher's gene-labs, the chem-thrower is able to fill a corridor with clouds of chemical fog. The exact nature of the gas emitted by the chem-thrower varies from the relatively mild choke gas to insidious bio-toxins that attack the target's cellular structure, liquefying their flesh and internal organs. In-game chem-throwers are a deadly weapon that causes has a chance to inflict an Injury against an opponent without any saves and ignores their Wounds characteristic but can be resisted with respirators.
  • Deadly Disc: One of the unique weapons available to the Scalies from the 1st and 2nd Edition Scavvy gangs was a discus. Crude discs of sharpened scrap metal, the Scaly propelled these weapons with lethal force, hitting with similar stats to a low powered plasma gun.
  • Desert Punk: The Ash Wastes setting sees gangs of nomads, outcasts and mutants fighting each other from the backs of giant lizards and rust covered vehicles in the desolate industrial wastes that separate the Necromundan Hive Cities.
  • Disney Villain Death: The background for the 1st Edition special character Karloth Valois, a feared vampiric wyrd, mentioned that he fell into the Abyss, the massive chasm near the centre of the underhive, to his presumed death, while being hunted by Redemptionists.
  • Disposable Vagrant: The Spyrer hunters target the population of the underhive for their murderous Rite of Passage as the s of the outlaws and gangs who reside in the dilapidated area won't adversely affect the industrial output of the manufacturing zones further up-hive, and because they pose the greatest challenge.
  • Double Weapon: The double-bladed knife is a weapon unique to the Ash Waste Nomads. Although it isn't any more powerful than a regular knife the Nomads use the double-bladed knife as a defensive weapon and are so skilled in its use that they are able to parry attacks as easily as a warrior armed with a regular sword.
  • Dumb Muscle: Scalies are recruited into Scavvy Gangs for their considerable size and strength rather than for their somewhat limited intelligence. To represent this, the 2nd Edition rules for Scalies barred them from becoming a gang leader as their high Leadership represented the fact that they are unlikely to run away (due to being too stupid to understand the danger they are in) rather than their command abilities.
  • Dungeon-Based Economy: The game is located in a hive city, a kilometers-tall spire continually built up, so lower levels are full of archeotech, advanced weaponry and valuable raw materials that locals dig for. These levels are also full of mutants, outcasts and giant spiders, as well as rival gangs after the same thing.
  • Dystopia: The mid-levels of Hive Primusnote  is a wretched place consisting of massively overcrowded hab zones and heavily polluted manufactory zones where the population labour to produce goods and services for their Houses and the elite on the Spire. These levels are probably the safest part of the hive. The underhive is where those exiled from further up the hive go where even the safer districts, protected by vicious gangs loyal to the Clan Houses, are still places where life is nasty, brutish and short and law extends as far as a gun can shoot. Even further downhive, outlaws and mutants fight to the death over a few scraps of food and law has completely broken down. Oh, and the Spire? It's a Deadly Decadent Court where the Noble Houses live off the wealth produced by the Clan Houses and cold-bloodedly murder each other for control of the hive, and they look on sending a small band of their kids down to the worst parts of the underhive as a rite of passage.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: The underhive is an incredibly hostile environment full of mutant tribes, hostile fauna and poisonous fungus. Even the terrain itself is insanely hazardous with industrial pollution poisoning entire areas of the underhive and hive quakes threatening to bury the unwary beneath a near infinite amount of rubble. The 1st and 2nd Edition of the game included expanded rules for fighting in such a hostile environment with random events such as toxic fog, swarms of dangerous vermin and deluges of pure acid interrupting a battle. The third Necromunda: Gang War supplement for 3rd Edition meanwhile includes random events such as hive quakes, disease outbreaks and outbreaks of dangerous flora that can effect all gangs involved in a campaign at the same time.
  • Evolving Weapon: The suits and equipment used by the Spyre on their hunts in the underhive are designed to increase in power and unlock more abilities as the wearer gains experience. In the 1st and 2nd Editions of this game, this was represented in a manner similar to how normal gang fighters gained skills, only effecting the Spyre's weaponry instead of the fighters themselves.
  • Experience Points:
    • During the 1st and 2nd Editions of Necromunda, fighters could gain experience for surviving and achieving objectives in each battle to gain increase in their level and earn skills or stat increases.
    • The 3rd Edition experience points system focuses on Gang Leaders, Champions, Specialistsnote  and Juves, who can use their experience points to purchase improved statistics or skills during a campaign's pre-battle sequence. Regular Gangers meanwhile have a simplified experience points system, randomly acquiring statistic increases for every 6 experience points they earn.
  • Eye Scream: Before becoming an infamous hired gun, Mad Donna was a noblewoman in the spire, until she gouged out the eyes of her fiancé with a silver fish fork. Years later Donna ripped out one of her own eyes after a bartender said she was pretty.
  • The Faceless: The background for the 3rd Edition named character void born Bounty Hunter Yar Umbra states that he has never been seen without his hood. This has led to some speculation as to what he is hiding and the belief that, whatever it is, it was the reason he was marooned on the hive world by his merchant vessel.
  • Feudal Future: Due to its massive population it is impossible to establish any kind of central authority on Necromunda so, as with most other Imperial hive worlds, an urban feudal society has evolved to maintain order. At the lower end of the hierarchy, individual loyalties are owed to immediate family with closely related families supporting each other under the control of the head of the most powerful family. These family groups then cooperate with other family groups to form Houses, each of whom owe alegence to a more powerful House. All the Houses owe allegiance to one of the Great Housesnote  who in turn swear loyalty to House Helmawr, the Imperial House whose leader, Lord Gerontius Helmawr, is Necromunda's absolute ruler.
  • Fragile Speedster: In all editions of the game, the Escher concentrate on speed and agility in battle and are the only gang able to give Agility skills to any member but they lack Muscle/Brawn skill and, in 3rd Edition, have limited access to Ferocity skills.
  • Gaiden Game: Necromunda was the first Specialist Games released based on the 2nd Edition rules of Warhammer 40,000 and was the second Gaiden Game to be rereleased after the re-establishment of Games Workshop's Specialist Games Department.
  • Game Master: The Outlanders supplement for 1st Edition and the Necromunda: Gang War books for 3rd Edition introduce rules for campaigns run by a Game Master known as an Arbitratornote . During such campaigns it is the job of the Arbitrator to organise games, keep track of campaign turns, introduce random events and generally make sure that all those involved in the campaign have the most fun possible.
  • Gang of Hats:
  • Genius Bruiser: During 1st and 2nd Edition, Heavies are big guys both strong enough to carry BFGs and have the technical skill to keep them in working order despite the lack of supplies in the underhive.
  • Giant Spider:
    • The hives of Necromunda are infamous for their giant spiders that can range in size from several feet across to larger than a man. Species include the long-legged wolf spiders, the stealthy orb spidersnote  and the amphibious sump spiders that have precious gems for eyes.
    • In 3rd Edition, House Van Saar are known to capture, breed and cybernetically enhanced Necromundan giant spiders for various purposes. In-game, Van Saar gangs can purchase these cyberarchnids as pets from the Campaign Trading Post.
  • Grappling-Hook Pistol: The Grapnel Launchernote  is a magnetic grappling hook that can be purchased at a trading post. The 1st and 2nd Edition versions were Rare Items of wargear that allowed a model to winch themselves up and down levels instead of moving normally and could also be used as weak Improvised Weapon. The 3rd Edition version meanwhile is a Common Item what allows the user to move in any direction by using a special action but cannot be used as a weapon.
  • Gun Accessories: In all editions of the game, the underhive Trading Post has a number of different accessories that can be fitted to a variety of different weapons. These accessories range from mundane gunsights and silencersnote  to more exotic accessories such as single-shot flamers, las-projectors (that extend the range of laser weapons) and suspensors (hydraulic or anti-grav accessories that make it easier to carry heavy and unwieldy weapons.
  • Guns Akimbo:
    • In 1st and 2nd Edition, any model with access to the Shooting Skill chart was able to acquire the 'Gunfighter' skill when they leveled up. This skill allowed the model to fire a pair of pistols at a target. This skill was also one of the common randomly generated skills available for the Bounty Hunter and Underhive Scum hire guns.
    • In 3rd Edition, all models equipped with a pair of pistols are able to fire them both at a single enemy fighter but suffer a to hit penalty if they do so. The 3rd Edition 'Gunfighter' skill however allows the model to ignore the to hit penalty and target multiple enemies.
  • Harpoon Gun:
  • Healing Factor: Scalies, from 1st and 2nd Edition Scavvy gangs, had the ability to heal almost any injury that they suffered and, given enough time, they could even regenerate whole limbs. In-game this was represented by a 1 in 6 chance of recovering from any injury they had suffered during a campaign.
  • Hidden Weapons: Skinbladesnote  are small knives that can be concealed beneath a ganger's skin. Hidden from all but the most intensive of searches, a character is able to use these knives to mount an escape attempt if they are captured by an opposing gang.
  • Homing Projectile: Executioner shotgun rounds are the traditional ammunition used by the Adeptus Arbites and the Necromunda Enforcers, as well as the rarest type of shotgun ammo available in the 3rd Edition Trading Post. These shells are adamantium-tipped projectiles contain sensors and a primitive robotic brain that allow it to lock onto energy patterns and seek them out with unerring accuracy. The rules for Executioner rounds represented this by giving them a bonus to their to hit roll, but due to the fact that it takes some time for the shell to lock on, this only applied to shots fired at long range.
  • Human Subspecies:
    • While relatively uncommon in the hives of Necromunda abhumans, such as Ogryns and Beastmen, are still present and often work as bodyguards and bounty hunters. Due to the discrimination they suffer in regular Imperial society, many abhumans gravitate to the underhive where their superior physical abilities often make them popular hired guns.
    • The Scales were a race of large, reptilian abhumans that accompanied the 1st and 2nd Edition Scavvy gangs. Of limited intelligence, Scales were nonetheless popular with their comrades for their massive strength.
    • The 3rd Edition background for House Goliath mentions that, due to years stimm-abuse and selective breeding, many members of rival Houses consider the massive Goliaths to be a strain of abhuman.
  • Hunting the Most Dangerous Game: Spyrers are young nobles from the Spire equipped with high tech equipment who come down to the underhive so that they can hunt the most violent and hardened gangers and outlaws as a Rite of Passage with some enjoying the hunt so much that they keep coming back.
  • Hypnotic Eyes: Some of the Adepts who lead Genestealer Cult gangs in the 3rd Edition rulesnote  share the hypnotic gaze exhibited by some Purestrain Genestealers and are able to dominate the mind of the weak-willed with nothing more than a piercing stare. This is represented in-game by the 'Hypnosis' Adept Ability that allows the Adept to stop an attack by an opponent before they can make it.
  • I'm a Humanitarian:
    • Scavvies have no qualms about consuming other sentient creatures if they do not have enough resources to buy food for the entire gang. Capture enemies or those Scavvies too badly injured to be useful anymore are most likely to be the victims of such a fate. While a single model was enough to feed an entire gang in 1st Edition, 2nd Edition introduced a formulanote  to work out how many gang members each model could feed.
    • Ghouls, from the 2nd Edition version of Scavvy gangs, are individuals driven so mad by their hunger that they began to eat the dead and acquired a taste for it. Ghouls are so driven by their hunger they will even stop and feed in the middle of a battle. Even their Scavvy friends think these guys take it too far; after all a Scavvy only eats resorts to cannibalism until it gets something better.
  • Identity Amnesia: The special character Brakar the Avenger was found alone and near death in an isolated Underhive tunnel with no memory of who he was or how he got there. The Ratskin natives who rescued Brakar adopted him into their tribe, but although his physical wounds healed, he never regained the memories of his previous life.
  • In-Series Nickname: The Luther Pattern Excavation Automatanote  are a common sight on Necromunda, and are often called 'Ambots' in the underhive vernacular due to their resemblance to the xenos creature known as Ambulls.
  • Join or Die: All enemies captured by the Redemptionists (except wyrds and other mutants) are given a choice, to join the Crusade or be burned at the stake as a heretic. The 1st and 2nd Edition rules represented this with the Redemptor Priest's 'Redeemer' special rule where any captive not rescued by their comrades had to roll off against the Priest and became a fanatical Redemptionist if they lost. Any other result saw the captive killed as a heretic.
  • King of the Homeless: Every generation a Scavvy King will arise who attempts to unite the disparate Scavvy gangs into a shambolic tribe. The current Scavvy King is Redwart the Magnificent whose growing fame and influence amongst the destitute Scavvies is quickly coming to worry the other inhabitants of the underhive.
  • Klingon Promotion: The violent and musclebound House Goliath are great believers in the notion that might makes right and the traditional method of promotion up the House's hierarchy is to kill the previous holder of the position. The 3rd Edition background section of the rulebook mentions that the current House head, Over-tyrant Gor Iron-eye, earned his rank by killing his predecessor at a grand banquet attended by the Imperial Governor Lord Helmawr himself.
  • Lizard Folk: Scalies are large reptilian abhumans with tough scaled skin and the ability to regenerate wounds. While there are rumours of Scaly tribes existing in the most isolated and polluted sections of the underhive, they are most often encountered fighting alongside tribes of mutant Scavvies.
  • Mix-and-Match Weapon:
    • The Exterminator is a single-shot flamer used by the fanatics of the Redemption that can be attached to any basic, special or close combat weapon, turning them into this trope.
    • The 3rd Edition of the game introduces a number of new forms of combi-weapon that reflect the nature of the Hoses that use them including the Escher needler-bolter that utilises the potent pharmaceuticals of the House, the more rugged and brutal Goliath plasma-stub combi-pistol, and the high-tech lasgun-melta of House Van Saar.
    • One of the signature weapons of House Cawdor gangs in the 3rd Edition of the game is a long polearm that sports an axe or halberd blade alongside a ranged weapon such as a blunderbuss or autogun. Created as a crude imitation of the guardian spears wielded by the Emperor's Custodian Guard, members of House Cawdor consider these polearms to be divine weapons that confer the blessings of the God-Emperor to those who wield them
  • Multi-Armed and Dangerous:
    • In the 1st and 2nd Edition of the game, Mutants in a Scavvy gangs could purchase extra arms that allowed them to wield more weapons during combat.
    • The 1st and 2nd Edition rules for Pit Slave gangs gave their leaders, Pit Slave Chiefs, the option to take a number of extra bionic arms that allowed them to use multiple weapons during combat.
    • Spyre Patriarchs, from the 2nd Edition of the game, were equipped with four cybernetically controlled combat arms. Two of these arms were sported high powered lasers similar to those fitted to the Yeld suit, while the remaining two were equipped with a pair of crushing power claws.
    • Genestealer Hybrids typically have between two and four arms. The 3rd Edition rules for Genestealer Cult Gangsnote  allow a player to purchase an extra arm for their fighters as an item of wargear, allowing them to easily handle an unwieldy weapon or to gain extra attacks in combat.
  • Multiple Head Case: Having two heads was one of the options for mutant Scavvies in the 1st and 2nd Edition versions of the game. The mutation gave the model a 180 degree field of vision and allowed them to fire two pistols at the same time as each head is able to aim and fire one of the guns independently.
  • Nail 'Em: The 3rd Edition Goliath weapon known as a 'Krumper' rivet gun is designed to nail together the armour plates of battle tanks but is equally useful in battle, firing streams of rivets at a breath-taking rate. In-game, the 'Krumper' is an unwieldy and short-ranged, but powerful weapon that has a chance of setting its target on fire.
  • Nemean Skinning: The Ratskins got their name from their tradition of wearing cloaks made from the skins of the Necromundan Giant Rats that they hunt for food. This is most prominent with the 1st Edition models with the 2nd Edition versions going in more of a rat fur clad, techno-barbarian direction.
  • New Old West: Although each successive edition of the game has downplayed these elements, the underhive can basically be seen as a pseudo-Cyber Punk version of the Wild West with Bounty Hunters, techno-barbarian native tribes, shootouts and the like combined with mutants, cyborgs and ancient technology.
  • Noble Fugitive: The crazy hired gun Mad Donna was formally known as D'onne Ulanti, twelfth daughter of the patriarch of House Ulanti. Years after she fled to the Underhive, bounty hunters employed by her family are still after her due to her bloody escape from the Spire. During the 1st Edition of the game this meant that any gang fighting against an opponent who hired Donna had a 1 in 6 chance of being accompanied by a free Bounty Hunter.
  • One-Man Army:
    • Due to their training and sophisticated off-world technology, a handful of Spyre hunters, young nobles from the Spire undertaking a Rite of Passage, are match for many times their number of regular gang fighters. It is the Spyre Matriarchs and Patriarchs, veteran Spyres introduced during 2nd Edition, who are the true embodiment of the one-man army in the underhive with statistics and equipment that allow them to solo entire gangs.
    • Many trained military personnel from the parent game (with the exception of low-level basic troops like Imperial Guard soldiers or Eldar Guardians, who would be merely high-level elite troops) are able to decimate underhive gangs. The 1st Edition rules for Space Marines and Eldar Scouts give them individual ratings around three times as high as that of a starting ganger.
  • Outlaw: Even in the underhive, there's a kind of law, and if a gang runs afoul of the Merchant's Guild or the House authorities. Scavvies, Spyrers and Ratskin Renegades are inherently outlawed, while Redemptionists usually have bounties on their heads, but never have to live as outlaws because they hide among more law-abiding communities. The 1st Edition Outlanders supplement introduced rules for such outlaw gangs where they were forced to keep their gang fed while living hand-to-mouth, had a more difficult time acquiring relatively standard equipment and had large bounties placed on their heads that opponents could collect.
  • Playing with Fire:
    • One of the four types of Wyrds that gangs could hire in the first two editions of the game was the Pyro Wyrd. Possessing powerful pyrokinetic abilities Pyros were capable of flinging fireballs at their enemies, create walls of flame or unleash a blast of heat equivalent to an anti-tank meltagun.
    • One of the powers available to the Witches who accompany Chaos Cult gangs in the 3rd Edition of the game is Scouring. This Psychic Power causes balefire to engulf his enemies, inflicting damage equal to auto or las weaponry.
    • One of the Strange Powers that a fighter can gain from consuming raw spook in the 3rd Edition of the game is 'Flame Burst', the ability to produce a sheet of flame from their hands. In-game this counts as an attack from a flamer.
  • Poisoned Weapon:
    • The Outlaw Trading Post from the 1st and 2nd Edition of the game had blade venom available to purchase. Brewed from mutant fungi, blade venom could be used to envenom any bladed weapon so that it caused more damage to an opponent, but the user had a chance of harming themselves if they fumbled their attack.
    • In 3rd Edition, any weapons with the 'Toxin' Weapon Trait are poisoned weapons. How effective such weapons are dependent, in part, on the victim's Toughness characteristic but if it does take effect the victim will be taken Out of Action immediately. House Escher are particularly well known for their use of such weapons.
  • Posthumous Character: The 1st Edition Special Character Bull Gorg was the most famous gladiator Pit Slave to have ever lived and lead a slave revolt that captured one of the more populous settlements in the underhive. After his defeat and capture, Gorg was executed by the Guilders and although there have always been in-universe rumours of his survival he is officially dead, yet still received rules and was available as a hired gun.
  • Power Fist
    • In the 1st and 2nd Editions of the game, power fists were the most powerful close combat weapon available. Such weapons were rare items at underhive Trading Posts where they were incredibly expensive, costing more than three Juves to purchase.
    • In 3rd Edition the servo-claw is a more less advanced version of the power fist that boosts the wearers strength so that they can carry heavy objects, or tear their opponents apart in close combat.
  • Railing Kill: Much of the terrain in the 1st and 2nd Editions of the game consisted of decaying and dilapidated catwalks, gangways, and bridges; all of which are decaying and unstable. Since characters could be pushed, shot, or otherwise induced to fall off, there were rules for falling damage with falling more than one level generally resulting in instant death. While the basic rules for 3rd Edition set the game within tunnels and other close confines, the first Necromunda: Gang War supplement reintroduces rules for battling in three-dimensional environments including falling damage and rules for being knocked from the terrain after suffering a hit.
  • Razor Wings: In the 1st and 2nd Editions of the game, the wings fitted to a Yeld Spyrer suit were razor sharp, allowing their wearer to use them as deadly close combat weapons. As with all other Spyre equipment, Yeld wings were designed to grow deadlier as their wearer gained experience (granting them a bonus to their Strength characteristic), until they become near monomolecular weapons.
  • The Red Mage:
    • The Wyrd Hired Guns from the 1st and 2nd Editions of the game randomly generated two Psychic Powers, one from their primary focus (pyromancy, telepathy or telekinesis) and one random minor power. This could lead to a Pyro Wyrd being able to throw fireballs, as well as heal his comrades with a touch of his hands; or a Telepath Wyrd being able to induce hallucinations in the enemy, whilst also being able to stop time for a limited period.
    • The Witches from the 3rd Edition Chaos Cult gangs have access to list of psychic powers including offensive powers such as 'Scouring' (which causes hellfire to erupt from the Witch's hands and burn enemies) as well as defensive powers such as 'Dark Shield' (which protects the Witch and his allies from harm) so is able to develop into a Red Mage after gaining experience.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: The Ratskin special character Brakar the Avenger, from 1st Edition, has been stalking the underhive killing anyone he believes has wronged his adopted people, ever since the tribe that took him in and nursed him back to health was slaughtered.
  • Rodents of Unusual Size: After giant spiders the most infamous species of animal life to inhabit Necromunda is the Necromundan giant rat, some of which have been reported to grow up to four feet long (not including the tail). The underhive in particular is rife these mutant vermin that the native Ratskins hunt them for food and clothing.
  • Sawed-Off Shotgun: During the first two editions of the game, the type of shotgun a gang fighter used was merely cosmetic but 3rd Edition introduced different stat lines for the different types of shotgun. The 3rd Edition sawn-off shotgun, available to Orlock starting gangs and as a Common Item at the Campaign Trading Post, lacks the various ammo types of a regular shotgun but, due to the improvised nature of its ammo, automatically passes ammo rolls.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Spyrers fight for fun and glory but should their prey put up too much of a fight they will retreat to find easier game. To represent this 2nd Edition Spyre hunter teams had to start testing to see if they would retreat from a battle after they lose a single member rather than 25% of their number as with other gangs.
  • Skull for a Head: The 2nd Edition models for Ratskin Renegade Chiefs and Totem Warriors wear the skulls of Necromundan giant rats as helmets to complement their rat pelt capes and to infuse themselves with the rat's spirit.
  • Shield Bash: The 'Hystrar' pattern energy shields, a unique piece of equipment for Van Saar gangs in 3rd Edition, can be used to batter an enemy as well as protect the wielder. In-game, when used as a weapon, the shield is only as powerful as a knife but can be used to push an enemy back from the wielder.
  • Shotguns Are Just Better: Shotguns have been one of the most useful and versatile basic weapon in every edition of the game due to their low cost, the variety of different ammo types they can be equipped with and their ability to knock enemy fighters from high scenery. The style of shotgun used tends to vary from House to House with the Goliath preferring rugged designs, while Esher shotguns are more elegant.
  • Snakes Are Sinister: The spies and assassins of House Delaque are the most sinister and creepy of all the Necromundan Clan Houses and incorporate a snake into their heraldry. The models for the 3rd Edition of the game take this even further, the high collars of their stormcoats resembling a cobra’s hood, their armour having a segmented scale-like look and the models themselves being tall and sinuous.
  • Spiders Are Scary:
    • During the 1st Edition of the game, the largest Gigantic Spiders that inhabited the underhive caused 'Terror', making it more difficult for the enemy to engage them and possibly causing nearby enemy fighters to flee.
    • The 3rd Edition Cyberachnids created by House Van Saar have such a terrifying appearance that many denizens of the underhive prefer to keep them as far away as possible. In-game this is represented by the 'Fearsome' (Ferocity) and 'Horrific' special rules that make it more difficult for enemies to attack their master and make them impossible to capture as the enemy keep their distance.
  • Spiritual Successor: The game Confrontation as serialised in White Dwarf, dealt with running underhive gangs in small scale skirmishes and what went on in the downtime between them. Exceedingly complex and terrifyingly lethal (roll up a gang in a few hours, have the first guy killed within a minute of starting to play) but interesting nonetheless. Necromunda vastly streamlined gameplay and fleshed out the background.
  • Testosterone Poisoning: The entire culture and appearance of House Goliath is based around the concepts of aggression, strength, toughness and massive muscles, something the other Houses ridicule them for.
  • The Theocracy: The Cult of the Redemption is effectively the state religion of House Cawdor and the Cult's rules are strictly enforced by the House's ruling council. Lord Mormaer Cawdor, the current head of the council also considers himself the highest and most pious servant of the God-Emperor on Necromunda, something that causes friction with the Imperial Governor Lord Helmawr.
  • This Is a Drill: Pit Slaves altered for mining duties have their limbs replaced with powerful rock drills. During the 1st and 2nd Editions of the game, a Pit Slave equipped with a Rock Drill could exchange multiple hits for a single attack with increased strength to represent the Pit Slave drilling through the target's body.
  • Toxic Phlebotinum: The STC that is the source of the Van Saar's technical brilliance is so badly damaged and incomplete that is has irradiated the entire House, resulting in every member becoming terminally ill by the time they come of age and the discovery of a way to repair the STC is the ultimate goal of the House. In-game, the sickness suffered by members of the house is represented by members of the gang fighters being unable to gain more than a single Toughness advancement when they go up a level (rather than the two that other Houses can receive).
  • Unskilled, but Strong: The fighters of House Goliath prefer simple weapons and brute strength over all other forms of combat. In all editions of the game this is represented by members of the House having easy access to the more physical skill sets such as Brawn/Muscle, Combat and Ferocity rather than the more intelligence driven skills such a Cunning/Stealth and Savant/Techno.
  • Use Your Head: Fighters with the 'Headbutt' Musclenote /Brawnnote  Skill can choose to deliver a punishing headbutt against an opponent in close combat. How this is worked out depends on the edition with the first two editions requiring the fighter to give up at least two regular hits in combat while the 3rd Edition makes the headbutt attack a Basic action.
  • We Will Use Manual Labor in the Future: As with the wider Imperium, the one resource that Necromunda has in abundance is manpower. As a result the massive population of the Necromundan hives spend the majority of their lives labouring away in the manufactories to produce the planets manufactured goods. This is taken even further in the underhive where the lack of resources means the population have to partake in backbreaking labour just to survive and has resulted in a thriving slave trade. In the first couple of editions of the game, the Pit Slaves were a gang made up of escaped slaves who had been fitted with crude cybernetics to make them more efficient at in their roll.
  • Whip It Good: The shock whipnote  is a long, coiling weapon popular amongst the more experienced members of House Escher gangs. When fully energised a shock whip resembles a handheld bolt of lightning that can incapacitate enemy fighters with the slightest tough.
  • With This Herring: Averted. While in the main Warhammer 40,000 game, the Imperial Guards' lasguns and flak armour are compare poorly to the equipment of other factions, it's usually because those other armies are immortal death machines, spore-based super warriors, or Sufficiently Advanced Aliens. The Imperial Guard still has ten thousand years of technology and the resources of the quadrillion strong Imperium of Man. Compared to them, the gangs of Necromunda are, well, slum dwellers. The general lack of armour or sophisticated weapons in the game's underhive setting makes even basic and improvised weapons like knives, big chunks of pipe, and ordinary pistols (aka "stub guns") reasonably effective. Lasguns are actually toward the high end of the effectiveness scale, and flak armour is elite gear. A single Space Marine or Genestealer would be a One-Man Army.
  • Wolverine Claws: In the 1st and 2nd Edition of the game, the Malcadon Spyre suit was equipped with a pair of blades on the back of each hand to use in combat and to help with climbing.
  • Wretched Hive: The entire planet of Necromunda is covered in enormous hive cities, populated dominantly by criminals, gangsters and scavengers who fight proxy wars against each other for the Houses that control all aspects of life in the hives. The underhive, where the game is primarily set, is even worse with the addition of highly dangerous fauna, an environment polluted by millennia of industrial waste, tribes of mutants and deadly monsters.
  • Zerg Rush: Although very small scale compared to nearly all other Games Workshop games, it was still possible to do this with Scavvy gangs during the 1st and 2nd Editions of the game as they could field a large number of weak plague zombies. Such tactics could potentially become Game Breakers due to plague zombies being incredibly cheap, moved with ridiculous speed (2D6" per turn meaning that they had a good chance of moving faster than the 8" normal humans could run) and if they took someone down in combat there was a pretty good chance they'd turn into a zombie too, in stark contrast to how hard it is to lose a ganger normally.


Example of: