Navigators are a very particular form of human mutant, possessing the navigator gene, which gives them the unique ability of navigating through warp space. This ability makes them absolutely necessary to the Imperium’s continued survival.
All Navigators have a third eye, commonly called the Warp Eye, on their foreheads, which allows them to perceive the “psychic light” known as the Astronomican, enabling them to fully use their powers in guiding ships through the currents of the Warp. Their ability to sense the tides of the warp is considered psychic, although Navigators never possess any psychic abilities beyond the powers their warp eye affords them.
Navigators possess natural life spans of as much as four hundred years. As they increase in age, their abilities increase in power, and their physical appearance changes: the white and iris of the eye gradually disappears, leaving only a hardened black orb.
Because most humans fear and mistrust mutants and psykers, navigators are kept safely cloistered from society. Most humans aren’t even aware these creatures exist.
Navigators are a sub-species of humanity. Besides the third eye, some Navigators are virtually indistinguishable from normal humans; others possess such extreme deviations that their appearance is utterly alien.
Mutation or deformity is common among Navigators, although the deviations exhibited are limited to specific traits common among Navigators. Navigators tend to be tall and spindly, sometimes with pale and almost translucent skin. Other common traits include << Records Missing >>. Except in the most extreme cases, a Navigator would not possess all these traits. Those born with extreme mutations might be hidden away or even killed at birth.
The Navis Nobilite
Navigators are both a sub-species as well as collectively an organization known as the Navis Nobilite, a powerful organization of the Navigator Families. The Navis Nobilite is exempt to many Imperial laws, and even the Inquisition tends to be careful in the handling of individual Navigators. However Navigators guilty of treason or something equally serious are hunted down without mercy. Such affairs are many times dealt with internally before the Inquisition has any reason to act.
Each family is very close and often very large, and different families are often allied by marriage, while others are rivals.
The families are organised into Houses and have their own unique traditions and positions dependent upon their own histories.
Magisterial Houses are those most closely related to the original Navigator families, they are the wealthiest and most traditional and will have holdings in the Navigator’s Quarter on Terra. Due to the maintenance of their bloodlines, they are less susceptible to the symptomatic mutations of being a Navigator.
Nomadic Houses have relinquished their properties and have taken entirely to spaceborne lifestyles; they are perhaps the most skilled of Navigators but have difficulty relating to planetary cultures.
Shrouded Houses have somehow lost their status in relation to other houses and exist in a state of decline; sometimes referred to as Beggar Houses by other Navigators. Individual Navigators have little support from their own families, making them quite resourceful, while their Warp Eye often becomes more perceptive.
Renegade Houses are those families that have been rejected by the Paternova either by turning from their ancient traditions or have been exiled due to conflicts with other houses. They are unable to maintain their genetic purity and often suffer the most mutation but can also benefit from new strains that might occur.
Although individual Navigators are not controlled by the Imperium, every warp-capable craft in the Imperium has at least one Navigator who acts as the warp pilot.