The Navis Nobilite is an ancient organization predating even the Imperium by several thousand years, and is comprised of a unique form of mutant called Navigators who have the unique ability to navigate spacecraft through the warp. The Navis Nobilite are part of the Adeptus Terra and Imperial Fleet.
The Navigator Gene was first developed by Humanity in roughly M22. The development of the Gene was instrumental in allowing for humans to colonize the Galaxy via Warp Travel. As such, the new Navigator class grew into a powerful organization independent of any government or cartel. The Navigators eventually coalesced into Great Families which in turn formed a broad union known as the Navis Nobilite. The Navis Nobilite was able to weather the Age of Strife and eventually merged into the Emperor's Imperium.
The Navis Nobilite consists of several Houses or Great Families, consisting of a large group of related Navigators who reside in a literal House. This house is generally a large fortress-mansion presided over by the Great Family's leader, or Novator. There the Novator lives with his immediate family and retainers.[Needs Citation]
These Houses have four broad categories:
- 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.[4a]
- 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.
Known Houses include:
- House Achelieux
- House Alosa
- House Andrasta
- House Balevolio
- House Barthus
- House Belisarius
- House Benetek
- House Brobantis
- House Castana
- House Cedd
- House Corval
- House D'Kark
- House Der'cel
- House Ferraci
- House Gibran
- House Granicus
- House Grigoris
- House Heraclius
- House MacPherson
- House Modar
- House Ne'iocene
- House Nostromo
- House Numa
- House Pytheas
- House Ofar
- House Omincara
- House Ptolemy
- House Pytheas
- House Rehata
- House Ranieli
- House Rekkendus
- House Rey'a'Nor
- House Yeshar
- House Zegenda
- House Zuma
The Paternova is the great leader of the Navis Nobilite, who is chosen from the most powerful Navigators of the Great Families. The Paternova rules from the Palace of the Navigators. His position is far more than just one of leadership, he is able to somehow control, or amplify, the warp sight of the other Navigators. Without him, Navigators would suffer a considerable reduction in their ability to navigate the warp, with some losing the power altogether. When this happens warp travel becomes far more unstable. As the Paternova never leaves his Palace he, and the Navis Nobilite as a whole, are represented in the Senatorum Imperialis by the Paternoval Envoy.
Another important position within the Navis Nobilite is the Consul Pre-Eminus.
The Navigator Houses hold a unique position within the Imperium; they are not answerable to Imperial authority, but tend to toe the line because of the mutual benefits each side receives. Furthermore, members of the Navis Nobilite are compelled by ancient and binding oaths to serve with the Adeptus Mechanicus for a set duration in return for the Techpriests' services, serving the Imperial Navy and Merchant Fleets.[Needs Citation]
This autonomy does not however, protect the Navigators from the agents of the Inquisition. The Ordo Malleus has been assigned jurisdiction over the Navigators, to ensure the taint of Chaos is not able to take hold. Given the slightest reason, the Inquisition will ruthlessly purge any offending parties; goods and assets are seized, midnight raids on Navigator palaces are followed by arrests and a purging of those seen as tainted; their fate to be burnt as heretics or locked away in Inquisition torture chambers. As such, the Navis Nobilite are all too willing to tackle this problem internally.[Needs Citation]
The Navis Nobilite has been known to act violently when its status is threatened. During the Horus Heresy, the Paternova dispatched agents to destroy the Dark Glass artifact due to the threat it represented to the Navigator's monopoly on Warp Travel.
The Navigators maintain their own heavily armed security forces, mostly designed to protect the Navigator Houses and guard the Navigator's Quarter on Terra. In times of war the great wealth of the Navigator's allows them to gather mercenary armies that can rival a Planetary Defense Force or System Defense Fleet.
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- White Dwarf 140 (UK), Jervis Johnson, Andy Jones, Simon Forrest & Rick Priestley
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- Specialist Games