The most common types of gang on Necromunda made up of the members of six houses of Hive City - namely House Orlock, House Goliath, House Escher, House Van Saar, House Delaque, House Cawdor - although there are other, smaller houses.
In the hives every manufacturing process, industry, service and transaction is the concern of one house or another. The pressures of competition for limited resources - even such basics as good food, air and water - mean that every house must sometimes resort to armed force to secure its survival.
Every house, and groups of related families within each house, have their own territory or concession, often carved out and defended by their own gangs of young house members. In the this way, forests have been replaced by a jungle of metal and concrete, and society is ordered along tribal lines.
For many ordinary Necromundans running with a gang comes as part of the life cycle. Young members of the gang are expected to play their part in defending the gang territory and upholding the honour of their relative house. Youths in their early teens are initiated into the gang by various rites of passage. From then until their mid twenties they fight for the gang in the same way that young warriors would fight for their tribe in a primitive feral word society. After several years with the gang, a gang member gains the respect and status of his family and other house members and gains the right to found his own family and take part in the house business.
The struggle for supremacy between houses is ceaseless and often violent. House gangs fight each other openly; gang leaders are assassinated and kidnapped; or, most commonly, a gang's resources and territory are destroyed in endless raids. Lord Helmawr and the Noble Houses do little to interfere. They simply wait and then do business with the winners.
Neither Helmawr nor his officials concern themselves with inter House rivalry, as long they fulfill their quota of goods and deliver them on time. Lord Helmawr extracts tolls on all business through off-world shipping and handling charges, recruits the best gangs into the Planetary Defence Force and leaves the hives to manage as best they can. It is an arrangement that suits everyone of consequence.
The co-operation between the houses and Lord Helmawr is an accepted part of life. It operates at many levels, with gangs recruited into the Planetary Defence Force, given semi-official status as Venators and Custodians, or secretly used for Helmarwr's hidden dealings.
The gangs are necessary for the government's dirtier tasks, and the they are glad to do the work for a right price. The commonest use for hired gangs is to profit the nobility and Helmawr, as ruler, takes the lion's share. He charges high rates for his monopoly on off-planet transport, and and he enforces his monopoly by troops and sanctioned gangs. Helmawr maintains his power by a subtle policy of divide and rule over the rival houses and gangs of Neacromunda.
Social Group - Young House members aged between early teens and mid twenties. Most of the population of Neacromunda belong to a House, and they from the most common type of gang. Each group of closely related families living in a distant close-knit territory will have a gang to protect them. A typical House can include hundreds of such gangs.
Territory - The workshops, factories and assorted living areas of the families in the House are the territory of the local house gang. Other houses, gangs, and strangers will be challenged if they violate the gangs territory without permission or payment of tribute.
Ritual - Youths are initiated into the gang by various initiation rites. Some must prove themselves worthy by acts of reckless bravery such as "scragging" an enemy (cutting off an ear or finger as a trophy), others must endure ritual scarification without flinching. Most gang members receive ritual scars or tattoos of some kind. After a time running with the gang, juvies will have gained enough respect and status to found their own families ans take up family business.
Armament - House Gangs can often be quite well armed though trading with the Merchant Guild.
Motives - Gangs of young house members protect the House territory and other members of the their House, as they go about their work. These gangs also make it their business to uphold House honour, which will often lead to long standing feuds between rival clans. Gangs with a good reputation may be hired by other Houses, noble houses, or Lord Helmawr's officials for various tasks. Exceptional House Members may be recruited into the Planetary Defence Force, Imperial Guard or even the Adeptus Astartes.