“If you stare long enough into the warp, the warp will stare back.”
— Navis Nobilite saying
The Navis Nobilite, or Navigators, form a sprawling network of extended families, all of which bear the Navigator gene. Navigators are different to other men, with some seeing them as mutants, but their differences are stable and, unusually, are not only tolerated by the Imperium but are essential to its very existence. A Navigator possesses a third eye in his forehead through which he can perceive the warp itself and read its currents and eddies.
For anyone else to look upon the warp would be to invite madness and possession, but a Navigator’s power allows him to guide a ship through the warp and reach its destination far faster than any ship could travel without him. Navigators use the great psychic beacon of the Astronomican as a fixed point to aid their route-finding. In this way they are able to complete a journey with far fewer drops into realspace to plot position. Vital to space travel, Navigators have close ties to the Imperial Navy, Rogue Traders, and many powerful houses. Many Navigator families are tied to Naval aristocracies by complex bonds of honor, debt and patronage.
Like any other civilized sector of Imperial space, Calixis has several families of the Navis Nobilite operating to ensure spacecraft can successfully travel long distances through the void. There are six major Navigator Houses in the sector: Houses Benetek, Gazmati, Term’L Modar, Yeshar and Rey'a'Nor.
All six have major holdings on Scintilla in Hive Sibellus as well as Hive Tarsus. As with most Navigator Houses, there are fierce rivalries between each of them and they are constantly struggling for dominance. Banetek, Gazmati, Modar, Yeshar and Rey'a'Nor have operated in Calixis the longest, being part of the initial explorations and conquests lead by Lord Angevin long ago, with Term’L more recently extending into this sector. Between them, these families hold the rights, bonds, and contracts for the supply of Navigators for Battlefleet Calixis, as well as for the vessels belonging to other branches of the Calixian Adepta and the sector’s commercial powers.
Each house operates a sizable fleet with a large mercantile division under Hereditary Charters. They conduct standard trading throughout the sector as well as providing specialized transport for their own house members. Many of their vessels are ancient even by Imperial standards, passed down through many generations of these long-lived beings. They also control many of the prime trading routes in the sector.
However, over the centuries, the sector’s needs have outstripped the manpower that these great houses can provide. A dozen lesser houses and a few outcast bloodlines from distant sectors have subsequently established themselves in the area. These lesser houses range in importance from House Xan’Tai who exclusively serve the powerful Machenko Dynasty, and the “pauper house” of Cedd whose Navigators are known to barter their services to the highest bidder with few questions asked, to the legendary, insane bloodline of Nostromo who served the Rogue Trader clan of Haarlock. The great houses constantly vie with one another for dominance, but wary of entering into protracted conflict (lest it weaken them and give an advantage to a lesser house), they usually prefer to use intermediaries to fight their petty wars by proxy.
“A pleasure to meet you, sir. Allow me to introduce myself. I am your charioteer, your gatekeeper to the stars. These trade conferences are such a bore, don’t you think? We have all week to discuss the trade routes of the Expanse. Would you care to join me in a glass of amasec? Wonderful! A toast---to our endeavors.”
–Navigator Gadevillious Obrex, emissary of House Vor’cle
Navigators are a fortunate few born into privilege, their politically affluent clans wellsprings of intrigue as grim and convoluted as their mutating bodies. While some Navigator Houses empower agents to act as intermediaries between themselves and Imperial society, others look within, selecting from among their number cunning Navigators who can wield the political influence of the House to greatest effect. Though the Navis Nobilite are a part of the Imperium, each Navigator House possesses great autonomy, and their influence and power is on par with the Imperium’s great Adepta. Thus, it is only natural that many Houses have diplomats and representatives for dealings with the larger Imperium. These Scions of the Navis Nobilite are the faces of the great Houses, groomed to act as diplomats and power brokers, seeing to it that their family’s interests are protected.
Equally at home in the estates of the Navigator Houses or the courts of the Imperial elite, Navis Scions are masters of conversation and courtly protocol. Often selected from amongst their fellows based on their relative lack of disfiguring mutations as much as their social skills, these Navigators attract a great deal of attention on their many public outings. Fated to be the center of attention in virtually any courtly setting, Scions revel in the gawking of onlookers, using their instant fame to woo potential allies and mock known foes. It is rare to see a Navigator in public, and rarer still to see one surrounded by an admiring (or simply curious) crowd. Whether regaling an audience with tales of travel beyond the reaches of the Imperium or wounding a boor’s pride with a witty remark, Navis Scions are exceptionally socially adroit.
However, a Scion bears a responsibility far greater than providing dazzling conversation. He is still expected to be an adroit Navigator for ships travelling the immaterium, and serves as a vital link between his House and its allies. He is expected to act as an agent and representative, seeking out new clients for his House and seeing to it that existing allies have the House’s best interests at heart. The intimidating presence of a full-blooded Navigator can quickly sway the outcome of a trade negotiation. Likewise, the enemies of the Nobilite must be careful to hold their tongues when a Navis Scion glides confidently into court. Wielding the political and economic power of his House, a Navis Scion is something to be feared and respected.
The extensive education and political experience of Navis Scions make them valuable companions. In the course of their duties, many Scions become advisors to Rogue Traders, Admirals, and other high-ranking officials who respect their expertise and pedigree. Many a noble has turned to a Scion for advice in matters of politics, trade, and even personal matters. Though the rumor that a Navigator’s third eye can glimpse the future is only partly true, that does not stop most Scions from acting as psychic advisors, knowing full well that the right prophesy muttered in the right ear is capable of fulfilling itself.
One cannot simply choose to serve his House as a Scion. Scions must be groomed from an early age, entering courtly life before the mutations that are their heritage manifest. As a result, the highly public lives and exotic inhuman beauty of most Scions lead many to believe the stories of monstrously deformed Navigators to be no more than fables the Houses use to intimidate rivals. A Navigator cannot escape the betrayal of his own body, and as a consequence, most Scions have short public careers. However, the alliances brokered and social doorways opened in this time can serve a Navigator throughout his prolonged existence, and may even be refined and enhanced through clever maneuvering later in life. Still, many Scions become so enamored with the dance of courtly intrigue that they cannot bear to leave it behind when the time comes. More than a few Scions have resorted to extensive reconstructive surgery and invasive bionic augmentation to maintain the almost-human features that once made them presentable and celebrated in Imperial high society.
One becomes a Navis Scion while still in infancy, when the elders of a Navigator House select a newly-born child, one free of prenatal mutation, and prepare for it a life of higher education and social tutoring. Navis Scions are still trained to harness their natural abilities to perceive the Warp and direct the course of mighty voidships, but are also tutored in history, literature, and the realities of Imperial politics. Though their skill in the art of navigation may suffer, Scions emerge from the their studies with sharp minds and sharper tongues, ready to represent their House in all things.
Required Career: Navigator
Alternate Rank: 1 (5,000 XP) only.
Other Requirements: Due to their excessive mutations and marginalized existence at the fringes of Imperial society, Navigators of the Renegade Houses cannot select this Alternate Career.