“Of course humanity was meant to cross the void between the stars. It is our destiny, and it is for this purpose, the God-Emperor has seen fit to grant us the power necessary to ply the roiling Warp. The Navigator guides us by His light. The Astropath carries His torch to the darkest corners of space. We go in His Name, by His Will, for His Glory. And, of course, for the tidy profit we earn for our efforts in his grandest of plans."
–Rogue Trader Raol Straud
The release of The Navis Primer, the upcoming supplement for Rogue Trader, is just two weeks away! This powerful volume reveals the secret history of the Koronus Expanse’s Navigator Houses, while unveiling the Astropath Voidfrost and Soul Ward Disciplines. Players can unleash the unpredictable might of the Waaagh! with the Ork Weirdboy Career Path, and uncover new warp-touched powers, alternate career ranks, and elite advances for Explorers of all kinds. What’s more, The Navis Primer provides expanded rules for navigation and astrotelepathic communication, and presents terrifying new hazards and foes from the depths of the Expanse!
To prepare for its release, we’re pleased to present a two-part article series focusing on some of its artwork. For more, here’s a word from developer Max Brooke:
A Navigator's Perspective
When The Navis Primer was in early stages of development, we knew that it should have a new map of the Koronus Expanse, this time through the lens of the Navigators. These strange and esoteric individuals wield a power that not only allows a Rogue Trader’s vessel to make its daring leaps into the stuff of Chaos itself, but also gives them an incredibly different view of the universe around them, and we wanted to reflect one way that this unique perspective might manifest itself.
However, we would be remiss if we didn’t first trace our way back to the original maps for the Rogue Trader RPG, and so that is exactly what this first article will do. To get a sense of what the thought process behind these maps and their creation, I spoke to Ross Watson, Lead Developer of the Rogue Trader Core Rulebook.
Ross described to me how both maps in the Rogue Trader Core Rulebook were designed to evoke ancient nautical maps. Though the stylized map that has dutifully appeared in every Rogue Trader volume does this more obviously, emblazoned as it is with compasses, calipers, and menacing creatures that represent mankind’s fear of the unknown, both maps depict a realm influenced by historical periods of exploration. The Koronus Expanse is a realm very different from Earth today, or even hundreds of years ago, of course, but it carries the echoes of eras in which maps depicted the world with far less certainty and far more trepidation. Describing the Koronus Expanse, Ross recounted to me a description he had used early on:
“Imagine a dark room with a door that opens into a bright hallway. The room is the Koronus Expanse, and the hallway is the Calixis Sector. You can see a few things in the room where the light touches, and that’s what’s on the map, but it eventually fades off into shadow.”
Places of Shadow
These places of shadow include vast realms such as the Rifts of Hecaton, into which ships vanish, never to return. Besides the most imposing of unknown places, though there are many other wells of darkness surrounding the rare points of light, some named and others marked only by cryptic warnings such as “beware the Siren Star” or renderings of dread beasts that one hopes were merely the artist’s embellishments.
These maps give us two views into ways that the Koronus Expanse is organized and interpreted by Rogue Traders and their daring crews as they shuffle from star to star, skittering through patches of darkness with the hope that they will someday reach light again. To them, the Expanse is a grand unknown and an even grander opportunity—assuming, of course, that they do not disappear somewhere in the uncharted swathes, their fortune and fame overshadowed by the vastness of the Koronus Expanse.
But how might a Navigator, whose Warp Eye grant a truly unique perspective on the universe at large, see the Koronus Expanse? After all, for all the Rogue Trader’s flair or the helmsman’s skill, it is the Navigator alone who guides a vessel through the roiling dream-sea of the Warp. For that, you’ll have to wait for our next article; Mike Linnemann, Art Coordinator on The Navis Primer, will share his insights.
Keep checking back for more, and in just two weeks, unleash the power of the warp in your Rogue Trader campaigns!