Hive Worlds are home to countless teeming millions. The population is so dense that frequently the entire surface of the world is covered with enormous cities stretching from horizon to horizon. Many hivers labour in thankless obscurity, manning huge factories that churn out endless streams of weapons, chemicals, or other vital goods. Others run with violent gangs in the dark of the underhives, living off their wits, guts, and firepower. Hive Worlds are vital to the welfare of the Imperium, producing munitions for the Emperor’s armies in vast factories, mining valuable minerals and refining fuel for the Imperial fleet.
These planets are usually barren and hostile with much of the hive world’s surface inhospitable, sometimes deadly to human life after centuries of pollution. The hives themselves are astonishingly large – massive urban conglomerations, spires of adamantium and rockcrete that can cover continents and stretch for miles into the sky. Each hive houses millions, even billions, of Imperial citizens, and is a nation in its own right, with noble houses ruling mini-empires, trading and sometimes fighting with other hives. Palls of thick, acrid smoke cling to the lower potions of hives below the upper sections – the gleaming spires that extend above the cloud cover. Only the wealthy can afford to live in the upper sections of the hive, and the working class never see the light of the sun. Within the spires reside the noble houses – decadent, wealthy members of great Imperial families, or the richest merchant overlords. Spires contain broad, airy spaces and splendours unimaginable to those who dwell below in the darkness.
Below the spires, heavy gateways and security patrols regulate passage between the upper and lower levels of the hive. Beyond this point lies the vast bulk of the working hive – the hive city. The populations are often so large as to be unmanageable, and the hives rely on constant recycling and imports to provide food and basic materials for the teeming masses. For most people, life in the hive is tough. Conditions are squalid and unsanitary. The very air breathed is recycled from the spire above, and grows more bitter and poisonous the further down you go. Even the water is distilled from the discharge from above, and food is factory produced, sometimes algae-based or spun from corpse starch. Pollution and overcrowding are the least of a hiver’s concerns, as gang violence and outright anarchy are a part of everyday life, especially in the lower levels. Most hivers know only their hive city, and will never leave it in their lifetime. They will never see the sky or set foot on the surface of their own world. Their life is one of servitude in a manufactorum, coupled with a struggle for survival in the crime-ridden hab levels. Those few who do leave tend to be of a nervous disposition and suffer from terrible agoraphobia.
Beneath the hive-city is a lawless frontier known as the underhive. These underhives are creations of catastrophe – explosions, water pollution, power failures and collapsing tunnel access are common occurrences in the lowest parts of the hive city. Sometimes the damage is repaired but more often the appeals of the refugees fall on deaf ears and the underhive expands. In this area, normal habitation is impossible, but the underhive still serves as a refuge for hive scum, outlaws, and the mentally unstable, though in some cases, entire sub cultures emerge, but here the law of the gun is the only authority recognized, and few go unarmed. Underhives are frontiers in more than one way, and are often an necessary evil. They separate the hive city from the hive bottom, a desolate, polluted waste, long since abandoned and partially flooded by centuries of effluence and industrial waste. In the hive bottom, the only living things are the most monstrous mutants. Sometimes these foul creatures will find their way into the underhive, and in hive cities, parents use such stories to scare their children. Minor mutation is common in the underhive and often overlooked. However, sometimes fanatical cults, such as the Redemptionists lead crusades into the depths to cleanse the underhive.
Hive Worlder Skills:
Each Hive Worlder can speak in the language cant of their home. Hive Worlders have Speak Language (Hive Dialect) (Int) Skill.
Hive Worlder Traits:
Hivebound: Hivers take a -10 Penalty to all Survival (Int) Tests, and while out of a “proper hab” (eg, places without manufactured goods, solid ceilings, and electrical power) the hiver takes a -5 Penalty to all Intelligence Tests.
Wary: Hivers gain a +1 bonus to Initiative Rolls.