Last edited by Cthell; 21-07-2012 at 21:05.
The hive is constructed of domes. Domes collapse but domes also get reopened. Some domes have pretty good atmospheric quality, other domes get air and water that's been recycled through who knows how many machines. If you go deeper the domes don't have any life support at all, they're just running on whatever atmosphere is trapped or trickles through vents, holes or get's generated by the local ecosystem.
Up in hive city there is relative social stability and life support is maintained to the best of their ability. Below on the frontier of the underhive there's never a shortage of people risking their lives exploring ruined domes. Discovering a passageway that can be cleared to open up a "new" tunnel between domes can mean new life for ruined domes as settlers and explorers colonize the new area. Discovering a way into a lost dome that contains valuable archeotech could make a man wealthy for the rest of his live.
This is exactly the kind of thing gangs fighter over in the necromunda game. Territory matters. Having territory with valuable assets like quality life support that makes habitation possible, valuable organic or mineral deposits worth mining or even a secret entrance into a dome full of old tech nobody else knows about is worth killing for. So yes, **** does break down in the hive. Disasters happen, entire inhabited domes can collapse in hive quakes. But domes are also discovered and opened up.
Also gangers will pick up any archeotech they find in the collapsed domes and sell it on to guilders. The tech then trickles up hive, gets repaired and restored in to working conditions. And as I said, firewalls.
Here's a little extract from Necromunda Source Book to give you an idea of what lurks at the bottom of the hive (at the lower reaches of the underhive):
The Hive Bottom
At the base of the hive buildings become so structurally dangerous that the region takes on a different and even more inhopsitable character. This is the final and deepest zone called the Hive Bottom. Hive Bottom is so decayed and cumbling that the original domes and foundation piles have long since collapsed, forming a layer of almost solid rubble. Within the rubble are enclosed pockets linked by holes and tunnels worn by liquids leaking from above. These pollutants and effluents, the discharge fluid of the entire hive, form a vast lake of radioactive putridity called the Sump.
Nothing can live in the Hive Bottom other than the most monstorus mutants. Its denizens are the spawn of darkness and pollution. Some of these foul creatures find their way into the underhive, or even into the lower parts of Hive City, but their natural domain is the darkness of the Hive Bottom.
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Thanks for all the replies. Before this thread, I thought that infecting a Hive World would be an interesting way of speeding its decay and depletion, that - over time - the Orks would be drain and a nuisance that would be worth directly combating. But it sounds like there's so much ruin down there that the local denizens would be the ones handling the problem, and that they don't really 'contribute' to the productivity of the Hive either.
They could be a good short term nuisance; perhaps a number of key events occur that combined allow an ork uprising to occur? Perhaps a spate of gang wars keeps the local enforcers busy whilst the PDF is dealing with a cult uprising in a secondary hive city? With less putting the boot down on the orkosystem I could imagine things getting out of control pretty quickly.
Occasionally massive tragedies do happen; sticking to Necromunda hive primus as an example, the zombie plague managed to spread from the depths of the Underhive, up to the higher echelons of the Spire before it got under control. The thing is, Hive Cities seem to be pretty good at healing up, and even in the worst case situations a new population can be shipped in (e.g. post 1st War Armageddon) and the city will be back to it's overcramped default state in no time.
Last edited by Harwammer; 22-07-2012 at 14:19. Reason: can't spell plague/plauge :S
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Imagine the poor nutri-moss farmer of an underhive settlement, with grots pilfering things not nailed down, snotlings getting thrashed in the harvesting machine, and your brother-in-law getting a crude spear through the chest as you are ambushed by a desperate feral ork.
...and then the week goes from bad to worse as a Redemptionist crusade rolls into your village with flamers at the ready to purge the taint of the foul alien. Not unlikely they will judge a few settlers as having failed in the Emperors eyes by not purging the greenskins themselves, or even being actively traitorous Xeno-lovers, and put them to the pyre as well...
So a lot of the violence in the upper reaches of the underhive is not senseless. But it does mean there's a strong presence of a variety of armed people who don't put up with anything that disrupts business. Whether it's other gangs, hive nasties or something more exotic like orks. If you go further down the presence of the gangs might decrease but that just means an increase in monsters, mutants and other hazards. All of which are in the business of surviving a very nasty environment and they don't go down easy either.
So the short of it is really that ork infestations won't have the opportunity to grow into a nuisance or a threat. Unlike other planets, Necromunda is not a place where orks can quietly grow into tribes of raiders. Compared to the other stuff that lives down there, orks simply aren't that bad. They can survive and scrape by, they're good at that. But they won't rise above the rest into a new threat to the underhive or even hivecity and the spire.
The underhive is kind of an "there's always a bigger fish" scenario. The enforcers, guilders and gangs can organize into a fairly migthy if disorganized army if need be. It's just never necesary because whatever wants to kill them has plenty of things that try to kill it right back down there.
Hive Worlds are mostly uninhabitable on the surface right? That would make Ork growth more difficult.
I would probably think Agri-worlds are better places to start an Ork infestation, grow it there then move onto the Hive World with large numbers.
“For a long time humour was thought to be the most potent antidepressant; recently, though, it was found that the bitter suffering of one's enemies, with the placing of sensible limitations on the success of one's friends, was still more effective.”
It should probably be pointed out that Necromunda was GW's playground for every post apocalyptic stereotype and fantasy they could come up with though. Expansions and Fanatic articles (an article that published additional rules for gw games) brought some pretty outlandish ideas to Necromunda. As such Necromunda is a complete madhouse of unlikely characters and factions in an even unlikelier world.
One of my favorite pieces of fluff chronicles the travels of a down on his luck underhiver who descends all the way to the edge of the sump. There he joins up with a crew of rough men who sail a scrapyard craft across a massive acid lake where they hunt and harpoon titanic arachnid creatures that swim in the lake for their valuable diamand like eyes. The captain of this vessel is a fanatical man with one leg, the other replaced with a spider fang. This captain is hell bent on hunting down the arachnid who took his leg, a near mythical creature that dwarves it's lesser kin and sank many a ship.
Sound familiar? That's about the level of seriousness you can expect from Necromunda. In a 40k universe that's about as far away from making sense as possible, Necromunda takes a few steps further.
Oh yeah, agri-worlds would get decimated (in the long-run) my an Ork infestation. As their ability to export foodstuffs was diminished, they'd get less and less support from their trading partners. Without steady imports, their technological base would crumble. I wouldn't be surprised to see one degrade into a feudal world over the course of a dozen centuries.
Well, of all the varieties of planets, agriworlds are the ones that would tithe regularly. They'd not be able to maintain a constant output of (spoilable) exportable foodstuffs without a steady stream of compensatory income. A couple of seasons without export would decimate their economies to the point where they'd need to reshift to internal needs.