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Imp Navy icon2

Variant Icon of the Imperial Navy.

This page outlines the Rank Hierarchy of the Imperial Navy. The Navis Imperialis, or Imperial Navy as it is known in Low Gothic, utilises a rigid command structure, seemingly unified across this entire military branch of the Imperium of Man, unlike their Astra Militarum counterparts, who have no truly standard organisation below the high command level due to the enormous cultural differences between the worlds of the Imperium.

The Imperial Navy is an institution with millennia of dusty tradition behind it and regulations so lengthy that they fill moon-sized scriptoria and data-vaults to bursting. Attempts to modernise the Imperial fleet and update its protocols have always been doomed by the sheer size and inertia of an organisation spread across 100,000 light years of space and potentially Terran centuries of time.

On top of this, each Segmentae Majoris battlefleet is so riven with its own traditions and precedents that it is hard to be definitive about even something so fundamental as rank below the very highest echelons.

ImperialNavyOfficers MarcLee

Imperial Navy officers of various ranks.

In all cases, the constant risks attendant to fighting starships mean that the Imperial Navy chain of command has to be robust enough to survive shocking casualties in battle and still keep functioning. A great deal of ink has been spilled codifying responsibilities and duties such that each voidsman will know his or her place, although in practice these become guidelines at best, useless bureaucratic nonsense at worst.

Incessant training still drums the same message into every voidsman's head -- keep doing your duty even when the world turns to flame and death and the frozen void yawns just millimetres away.

What follows is a breakdown of commonly-held ranks and responsibilities within the Imperial Navy. Even within this broad structure many variations occur at the sector battlefleet level that are unique to the needs and necessities of that locale; commodores may command fleets, admirals may command squadrons and warrant officers may command starships according to necessity.

Flag Officers[]

Commissioned officers represent the highest ranks of the Imperial Navy's personnel and their commissions usually can only be granted by the battlefleet Administratum. In some Segmentae Majoris, a certain number of officers are generated by the "commissions" issued to planetary governors and Schola Progenium worlds each standard year to fulfill.

Each commission is for a single child of "good character" to attend Port Wrath, there to become a midshipman in the Imperial Navy. Commissions issued to planetary governors are commonly sold to noble families or bestowed in a politically expedient fashion to reward a trusted noble or remove a troublesome sibling.

A career in the Imperial Navy is viewed as a glorious, honourable and very probably fatal enterprise by noble houses, but a sacrifice that enhances the family's prestige immeasurably.

The various Schola Progenium, on the other hand, send their best charges to serve, especially those with naval heritage. The rivalry between the arrogant offspring of Imperial nobility and the earnest young orphans of the Scholas among the officers of the Imperial Navy is legendary.

A good portion of midshipmen join the Imperial Navy through a more informal system of patronage. It is not uncommon for an Imperial Navy captain to take on a noble's son or daughter as a midshipman at their family's request.

This may be a favour to an old friend, or a means to repay an ancestral debt. However, even in this case, most noble children find the Navy a harsh and uncompromising environment, where most must excel on their merits, or likely perish.

Presented below are the flag officer ranks within the Imperial Navy:

Lord High Admiral of the Navy[]

A lord high admiral (also referred to as a lord militant commander or lord commander) is the senior-most command rank within the Imperial Navy.

The prior position held by most of these supreme naval commanders was lord high admiral of the Segmentum Solar.

The lord high admiral of the Navy oversees the Imperial Navy's political interests on the Senatorum Imperialis on Terra, while the five segmentum lord high admirals manage the fleet affairs of their segmentum battlefleets.

Lord High Admirals[]

Lord Admiral 1

An Imperial Navy Lord High Admiral.

Also called a battlefleet commander, lord high admiral is the highest rank normally obtainable in the Imperial Navy. Only five of these august individuals exist, one for each of the Segmentae Majoris.

Each is responsible for the Imperial Navy's fighting forces across thousands of sectors in their allotted portion of the galaxy, or in the case of the lord high admiral solar, the substantial volumes of space around Terra itself.

Although all five lord high admirals hold equivalent rank, traditionally the commander of the Segmentum Solar is considered the most prestigious office of the five.

The attention demanded by the dizzying array of plans, schedules and staffs under the auspices of a lord high admiral mean they are seldom seen outside their towering fleet headquarters at the Segmentum Fortress.

Lord Admirals[]

A lord admiral, or sector commander, is responsible for all naval operations in a given Imperial sector and has direct command of units of the segmentum warfleet allocated to that sector.

Nominally a lord admiral is based at the Segmentum Fortress with other sector-level Administratum officials, but most choose to base themselves at the foremost naval facility of the sector under their charge.

A lord admiral answers not only to his superiors in the fleet but to the Adeptus Terra as well. Deploying warships and voidsmen to patrols, permanent stations and reserve fleets in a way that satisfies both military and civilian needs is a headache most naval officers dread.


Solar Admiral[]

Solar admirals are often prospective sector commanders waiting for assignment to a sector. As such opportunities are rare, it is far more common for solar admirals to be despatched to warzones in command of a reinforcing fleet or kept busy on "special duties" with their own independent flotilla.

High Admiral[]

The rank of high admiral is granted to those admirals that command all Imperial Navy warships participating in an Imperial Crusade or vessels from several battlegroups drawn from different sectors.


An admiral is allocated command of a portion of a sector's battlefleet and responsibility for the security of a handful of star systems and the vast tracts of Wilderness Space that lies in-between.

It's rare for an admiral to amass their starships in one place as they are generally busy patrolling Imperial worlds and trade routes light years apart.

Perhaps twice in a standard century the entire sector battlefleet might be mustered for a punitive strike or to defend against a sector-wide incursion.


By long tradition, a vice-admiral commands the leading division of a fleet, the part that would equate to the vanguard of a terrestrial force.

In later times this has come to mean commanding a force of light cruisers and destroyers charged with scouting for the enemy, charting navigational hazards and long-range patrolling.

It is common for a vice admiral to choose a light cruiser as their flagship to better keep pace with their far-flung squadrons.

Rear Admiral[]

In ancient times when an entire battlefleet might be massed together, the thousands of starships present would be divided into three commands, each under the command of their own admiral.

The rear admiral was the youngest and least experienced flag officer in the fleet and so would be given charge of the rearmost division as the one least likely to see combat.

Over time this flag rank has evolved into a largely administrative post charged with coordinating repair facilities, refuelling voidships, forming convoys and other rear echelon activities.

Time spent as a rear admiral is seen as essential for a flag officer who aspires to higher ranks to demonstrate their facility with logistics and high-level strategic planning.

Battlefleet Ranks[]

Senior Commissioned Officers[]


Commodore Teodor Naremmus

An Imperial Navy Commodore

Also sometimes called a group commander, the rank of commodore was originally only a temporary one given to a senior captain placed in charge of a squadron of Imperial starships.

Over time the rank of commodore has found its way into permanent usage as what were once temporary squadrons stabilised into regular patrol routes and areas of responsibility.

On rare and terrible occasions when capital ships join together in squadrons, the senior captain is still promoted to the temporary rank of commodore for the duration of the engagement.

Lord High Captain[]

A lord high captain is an intermediary rank sometimes granted between lord captain and commodore.

Lord Captain[]


An Imperial Navy Lord Captain

Sometimes also referred to as flag captain, lord captain is an honourific rank normally applied to captains who command vessels on detached duty. A lord captain speaks backed by the full authority of the segmentum or sector battlefleet.

This is an important distinction when dealing with arrogant planetary governors or petty Administratum officials that might be inclined to dismiss the words of a "mere" Navy captain. For this very reason, many Rogue Traders have adopted the title of "lord captain."

The lord captain is the ultimate decision-maker on matters of strategy, void-law, and negotiation, responsible for the lives and souls of all who pledge to their banner.

The fate of thousands hangs upon their decisions, though a wise lord captain takes council with their advisors and bridge crew, and listens well to their wisdom before giving their orders.


Imperial Navy captains are the masters of all that they survey. The Emperor is the Master of Mankind, but aboard an Imperial Navy voidship the captain's very word is His law.

Aloof and uncompromising, these figures are unbowed by the awesome responsibility entrusted to them. They may be a tyrant, martinet, swashbuckler, strategist or saint but a captain will always be an exceptional individual to have earned full command of an Imperial Navy warship and all the souls that reside within it.


A commander is a subordinate commissioned officer rank who is in charge of individual escort-class vessels, with a captain or commodore holding overall command of an escort squadron.

However, an officer with the rank of commander might also be found as the commanding officer of a squadron of system vessels, wing commander of the attack craft onboard a carrier ship, or placed in charge of an orbital station.

Many Navy officers aspire to nothing more than attaining this rank and becoming the captain of a frigate with its frequent opportunities for action and glory.

Lieutenant Commander[]

Lieutenant commanders represent the lowest rank of senior commissioned officers who usually hold administrative responsibility over some specialty department in the crew of an Imperial warship.

Lieutenant commanders often serve as senior bridge officers in their area of specialisation, but rarely as first officer. If they perform well, they are in line to eventual promotion to the rank of commander and their own command over a voidship.

Junior Commissioned Officers[]


An Imperial Navy Flag-Lieutenant.

Flag Lieutenant or Lord Lieutenant[]

In some segmentae, a flag lieutenant (or lord lieutenant) serves as an executive officer aboard a ship-of-the-line. Those first lieutenants who show their resourcefulness may eventually rise to the rank of flag or lord lieutenant, the second-in-command aboard a capital ship.

Though a lord captain's power is absolute, their time and energy are finite. Someone must stand at their right hand, acting as their voice and serving as an instrument of their will. The first officer speaks and acts with the full authority of their lord captain, ever prepared to assume the mantle of leadership should their lord become indisposed.

If a flag lieutenant can prove themselves to be a resourceful and competent officer, they may eventually be promoted to the rank of commander, and given the chance to take command of their own vessel.

Lieutenant (First, Second or Third)[]

A lieutenant is a junior commissioned officer who is usually placed in direct command of system defence ships and monitors. Many officers in the Navy rise no higher than lieutenant.

It is more common for them to be found acting as second-in-command aboard escort-class voidships, as part of the vast bridge crew found on a capital vessel, or in an attack craft squadron acting as flight leader.

A lieutenant is regarded as having true potential and the opportunity for eventual greatness. Some of the most renowned lord captains first began to forge their reputation by taking over the helm of the ship when their commander was killed or injured.

If they succeed, a lieutenant can expect to advance through the ranks as a third, second, and finally first lieutenant, steadily gaining more responsibilities as he does so. However, many lieutenants never make that leap, and spend their days serving as valued junior officers on a voidship's bridge.

Sub-Lieutenant or Ensign[]

These are junior-grade lieutenants who have recently been promoted from midshipman. An ensign is often given minor responsibilities such as commanding small craft, boarding parties, or press gangs.

They are often paired with a senior warrant officer to provide valuable guidance, and in the eyes of their superiors and the crew they're treated with respect for their rank, and caution due to their lack of skill and experience.


A midshipman is the junior-most officer rank in the Imperial Navy. Midshipmen are actually better described as students with an officer's rank. Technically afforded an officer's respect, they are nevertheless still in demanding training to become true officers, and many of their duties are "hands-on" opportunities to learn.

Midshipmen are so-called because they traditionally have quarters somewhere in a warship's midsection, far from the command bridge. Not quite trusted with true responsibility, they remain under constant scrutiny as they complete their training.

Should they prove successful, Segmentae Command often adheres to the tradition of requiring them to pass difficult examinations to become Lieutenants, though some have been known to receive "void promotions" for particularly impressive actions under duress.

Warrant Officers[]


Imperial Navy Sergeant-at-Arms and Armsmen.

Warrant officers (also known in some quarters by the archaic term "petty officers") act as the equivalent of non-commissioned officers like sergeants and corporals in planet-bound Astra Militarum regiments. They disseminate orders from higher authority, ensure that those orders are carried out by the rank and file of enlisted ratings and maintain discipline with regular floggings.

They are called warrant officers because their rank is created through the issue of a written warrant from either fleet administration or the captain of their warship. Warrant Officers occupy positions of trust on the voidship and a captain with even the most mutinous of crews can keep the ship running as long as he can rely on his Warrant Officers.

It is common practice in the Imperial Navy to promote warrant officers from among the ratings already on board a warship, but large numbers of warrants are also issued to Civilised Worlds as part of their Imperial tithe of experienced personnel for the Emperor's military, often with a promise of reward to entice skilled individuals.

  • Ship's Master - The ship's master is generally the senior-most Warrant Officer and most experienced voidsman on board a given starship. Often the master is tasked with critical responsibilities, such as stellar navigation and the keeping of the starship's log. In addition, he or she might oversee the keeping of the ship's attitude jets, hangar decks, and stores and supplies.
  • Gun Captain - A gun captain is a highly respected non-commissioned officer who has the great responsibility of commanding a single gun crew on an Imperial warship. The gun captain is the foremost expert on performing all the duties of the subordinate ratings in his or her command and often achieves the post only after solar decades of working his or her way up through all the different enlisted ratings.

Non-Commissioned Officers[]

  • Master Chief Petty Officer
  • Senior Chief Petty Officer
  • Chief Petty Officer
  • Sergeant-at-Arms or Senior Armsman - A sergeant-at-arms is placed in charge of a squad of Armsmen anywhere between six and twenty-strong with responsibility for close action in naval combat (such as hit-and-run attacks and boarding actions). A sergeant-at-arms' greatest responsibility is the keys entrusted to him for the weapons lockers found on every deck of a warship. When battle commences the master-at-arms signals the sergeants to clear the decks and prepare for action, indicating at that time whether to arm the crew. Sergeants-at-arms are often recruited via warrant or planets from among former Imperial Guardsmen to ensure they do not have prior associations with the current crew of their warship.
  • Bosun (Boatswain) - A starship's bosuns are disciplinarians and taskmasters in a crew, assigned to oversee the common enlisted ratings and indentured workers, determine their duties and ensure that they are carried out efficiently. Voidfarers are often trained from birth in the tasks they will be expected to perform aboard ship, and this training does not end when a position is secured. To keep skills sharp, all crew are expected to participate in regular drills and practice sessions. A steady regimen of drills makes for an efficient crew. This often means that Bosuns are responsible for enforcing discipline on recalcitrant crewmembers, and are likely to handle that task personally. This makes them unpopular figures, and aboard many warships they find themselves naturally allied with a ship's sergeant-at-arms, as their duties are similar.
  • Crewboss - A crewboss is a veteran rating who has been given authority over a small group of his fellow voidsmen in a given functional specialty or task.


Fleet Crew2

Imperial Navy Enlisted Crewmen.

Ratings are the basic enlisted voidsmen aboard an Imperial warship who take care of the menial tasks: hauling shells and missiles, re-routing cables, clearing debris and conducting basic maintenance.

Men and women in this class typically have a myriad of sub-classifications ("ratings") that specify their role further, e.g. gun-layer third class, fuse-changer second class and so on.

Ratings make up the great bulk of a starship's crew and will be the ones doing most of the fighting during boarding actions. Contrary to popular belief, many Imperial Navy ratings are volunteers, for the pay is good and the conditions are better than those on many Imperial worlds.

If there are not enough volunteers to fulfill a captain's requirements he or she always has the right to send press gangs to tithe more crew directly from any planet along the warship's course, which may include penal colonies or hab-blocks.

In practice, this is often achieved through collusion with the local planetary governor, but an Imperial Navy captain does not need civilian permission to take crew from any world.

As stated previously, there are multitudes of different types of ratings, but they can often be divided into two broad classifications, armsmen and voidsmen.

  • Armsman - Armsmen are crewmembers trusted to carry weapons at all times on board the warship and maintain the contents of the weapons lockers. They keep discipline among the lower ranks and protect the crew as needed. Unlike most ratings, armsmen get to move around different decks of the warship in the course of their duties and their loyalties are carefully scrutinised. Armsmen are essentially the Imperial Navy's equivalent of marines in the most ancient sense of that term.
  • Trusted Crewman, Voidsman or Shipman (Archaic) - Voidsmen (also referred to by the more archaic "shipmen" on some Imperial Navy vessels) are a warship's enlisted crewmen who possess some training and skill, and are the ratings most likely to be entrusted with tasks such as conduit-maintenance, bulwark repairs, cog polishing, or other menial jobs that might require some skill and autonomy. Hive Worlders are favoured as voidsmen due to their familiarity with advanced technology and the fact that they are inured to the worst of the noise and claustrophobic conditions found on Imperial warships.

Indentured Workers[]

Slave Gang Loading Nova Cannon Ammo

Indentured Deck Gang loading munitions into a Macrocannon.

Indentured or slave workers are those unfortunate individuals who rank even below enlisted personnel on an Imperial warship and are press-ganged from a world's slums or taken en masse from penal colonies for their ability to perform unskilled hard labour.

They are given duties such as hauling guns into position, turning flywheels, and carrying supplies, heavy equipment, and Macrocannon shells. Most warships must replenish their crews of indentured workers every so often, as a steady stream die due to malnutrition, accidents and disciplinary actions.

Attack Craft Ranks[]

  • Wing Commander or Wing Captain - A wing commander, also sometimes called a wing captain, is the Imperial Navy officer who commands all of the squadrons of Aeronautica Imperialis or spaceborne attack craft assigned to an Imperial warship. These officers often bear the formal commissioned rank of commander.
  • Squadron Commander - A squadron commander is the Imperial Navy officer assigned to command one of the squadrons of attack craft assigned to an Imperial warship.
  • Flight Marshal - A flight marshal is an elite pilot who is a breed apart from their fellows and commands a flight within a squadron of other pilots. Within the squadrons of the Imperial Navy's powerful aerospace craft and among a company of other talented flyers, the true warriors emerge -- those who can not only out-fly but out-think their opponent while issuing commands and protecting their comrades. A flight marshal possesses not only the flying skills to humble their charges, but also the leadership skills to transform a group of daredevil individuals into a cohesive combat force. Whether in the cockpit, the briefing room, or the tavern, they have to be better than the best to ensure the continued loyalty and respect of their pilots. That continued drive for constant excellence sets the flight marshal apart. Often, the pilots under a flight marshal's command constantly seek to challenge them. Their leader may not be the finest technical pilot, but must be smarter and sharper, using superior experience and knowledge to demonstrate they can still out-fly anyone. They must also be as inspirational as any Adeptus Ministorum Missionary, motivating their pilots with fiery speeches of death and glory. Knowing what will maintain esprit de corps and keep their flyers the deadliest group in the void is another of the arts a flight marshal must learn in order to lead effectively.

Honourific & Specialist Ranks[]

The following titles and positions are acknowledged in Navy regulations aboard voidships. Many of these political niceties exist as necessities to slot the diverse specialists necessary to a starship's functioning into the framework of Navy command.

  • Tech-priest Majoris (Enginseer Prime) - The tech-priest majoris is the Adeptus Mechanicus representative on a warship's bridge crew and is responsible for communicating the needs of the Mechanicus to the ship's captain and their officers. In the eyes of the Cult Mechanicus, an Imperial voidship is a living shrine, rife with tech-adepts and servitors, its machine sections constantly rebuilt, repaired, and encrusted with shrines and prayer-works. Constant labour is necessary to sustain the vessel's great Machine Spirit and so please the Omnissiah -- and moreover, it is vital preparation to stand against the disorder of battle damage and the great efforts needed to repair such violations of a holy place. The enginseer prime directs this holy toil, and their solemn pledge to the captain holds them responsible for maintenance of the voidship's strength, resilience, and tech-secrets.
  • Navigator Primaris (Warp Guide) - The Navigator Primaris, also called a Principle Navigator, is the senior-most Navigator on an Imperial warship who has the terrible responsibility of charting a passage through the Warp and bringing the starship through unharmed.
  • Chief Astropath - A chief astropath is the senior astropath aboard a warship and has direct dealings with the captain. He or she is responsible for ensuring that the warship's astropathic choirs are able to maintain adequate long-range communications.
  • High Factotum - The high factotum is a maestro of the mechanisms of trade: negotiations, compacts, endless records, bribes, threats, and the filling and emptying of great-holds. Maintaining the crew at strength and obtaining needed supplies for the continuing operation of the voidship is also the high factotum's concern. This is a realm in which corruption and honour walk hand in hand, and the path taken by the payment of Thrones is always twisted to private ends. The high factotum has pledged to bring profit to the lord captain's venture, and will do whatever is necessary to keep both dock-scum and haughty, hidebound merchants in line.
  • Master Gunner - The master gunner is a high-ranking warrant officer given responsibility for the maintenance and performance of the warship's Macrobatteries and Lances. He or she is also responsible for ammunition storage and power linkages.
  • Master Helmsman - The master helmsman is responsible for safely piloting the vast vessel through the myriad threats of the void of space. A helmsman risen to be master of his profession must have a sixth sense for the dangers that can confound auspex and lead voidships to ruin, and know how best to make use of his helm crew and their familiarity with a vessel's character. The master helmsman must pilot not just the void, but also the competing fiefdoms of enginarium, auspex, and bridge crew to ensure that every manoeuvre is accomplished to the lord captain's exacting standards.
  • Master of Ordnance - The master of ordnance pledges to keep the voidship's weapons and fighting crew in the finest condition, and then directs them to destroy foes at the lord captain's order. A master of ordnance is responsible for managing torpedoes and attack craft such as huge starbombers, lumbering assault boats and agile fighters carried within a warship's vast launch bays. He is responsible for the quality of gun-deck crews, the workings of the armoured munitions vaults deep within the vessel, and the operation of weapons in void-battle. The master of ordnance coordinates the efforts of the deck crews to ensure everything is fuelled, armed and ready to launch at a moment's notice. If the vessel boasts torpedoes, fighter squadrons, or other more esoteric ordnance, then these crews and systems also fall under the master's purview.
  • Master of Etherics - The master of etherics is responsible for the operation of the voidship's auspex and Vox systems. Without auspex a vessel is blind, and without Vox it is deaf and mute; the master of etherics stands at the lord captain's right hand, such is his worth, and to fail in his pledge is unthinkable. Dire regions beyond the Imperium are cloaked with the darkness of the unknown -- the master of etherics must marshal his resources to overcome these hostile voids and light the path ahead with his vision.
  • Master of Arms - An Imperial voidship can muster numerous small armies: security companies, boarding parties, the common crew armed with rusty blades and Stub Guns, and often entire barracked regiments of mercenaries, Astra Militarum, or other steadfast troops. The master of arms, also called the master-at-arms, is charged with ensuring that all weaponry on board a warship is serviceable and ready for action, from the greatest Macrocannon to the meanest Stub Pistol. The master-at-arms is responsible for these militants and their commanders; it is his pledged duty to the lord captain to ensure the loyalty of the voidship's forces, carefully guard the vessel's security, maintain the armouries, ensure victory against boarders, and guide attacks upon the crew of enemy vessels or foes on hostile worlds. The sergeants-at-arms of the vessel report directly to the master of arms, and by extension all Armsmen are under his or her control, and so they also perform a role akin to that of a chief of police aboard ship. The master of arms is normally appointed from among the commissioned officers on a ship but more rarely a senior warrant officer may hold this position.
  • Ship's Surgeon - Also called the chief chirurgeon or unofficially, "sawbones," he is master of the voidship's medicae wards and their staff: doctors of physiks, medicae, alchemists, and a horde of apprentices. Accidents, maladies, and agues of a thousand varieties afflict common voidfarers, and a crew unattended by medicae and physiks will soon enough lapse into illness, putting the safety of the vessel at risk. The chief chirurgeon pledges his talents to maintain the crew's stalwart willingness to toil, and further to make of his wards and supply vaults a scourge upon disease, injury, and sicknesses of the mind.
  • Master of Whispers - Men and women are wilful creatures, given to secrets, deceit, disloyalty, and subterfuge. The master of whispers inhabits this realm; he seeks out and purges the crooked timbers and weak spars in the lord captain's crew. His agents on Rogue Trader vessels hunt for the very same elements in rival Rogue Trader missions -- but for the purpose of advantage and deception. Spies pledged to the master of whispers roam far beyond the voidship's bulkheads in search of precious knowledge, untended resources, and hidden weaknesses that can benefit the lord captain's mission.
  • Choir-Master Telepathica - The etheric voices of astropaths resound throughout the Immaterium. When these voices are united by a single will, they combine into a psychic harmony capable of touching minds half a galaxy away. The choir-master telepathica directs this harmony, and in turn directs and commands the choir as a whole.
  • Warp Guide - A warp guide, also sometimes known as the Navigator Primaris, is wholly responsible for steering the vessel through the treacherous tides of the Empyrean, both the safer routes within Imperial borders, and the terrible, dark voids beyond. The warp guide's burden is heavy indeed; he and he alone stands as a bulwark between thousands of faithful Imperial souls and the unbridled damnations of the Warp. A single mistake and terrible Daemons of the Empyreal spaces will consume the vessel and all aboard it, and that horrid death will be but a prelude to the eternal torment that follows.
  • Officer of the Watch - The officer of the watch draws up duty rosters, assigns watches and attends the warship's chronometers. On most Imperial Navy starships, the title of officer of the watch is rotated through the ranking commissioned officers. On older vessels it tends to become a permanent position assigned to the officer of any commissioned rank who has served the longest time aboard a vessel.
  • Fleet Commissar - Like their Astra Militarum counterparts, commissars are appointed by the Officio Prefectus to the fleets of the Imperial Navy. Working closely with the ship's master of arms, the fleet commissar ensures a warship is kept battle-ready at all times and that the crew remains focused on their duty to the Emperor. A fleet commissar has the authority to declare a captain or even an entire crew unfit for service if he or she is sufficiently concerned about their actions or the state of their ship. At least one fleet commissar will normally be aboard any Imperial capital ship. In the case of escort squadrons a fleet commissar will divide their time between the different vessels in the squadron in a series of snap inspections and drills.
  • Ship's Confessor - A ship's confessor is a vessel's Ecclesiarchy representative who works tirelessly to promote the Imperial Creed among the crew and weed out potential Heretics. The God-Emperor protects the righteous who abide by the holy laws of the Adeptus Ministorum and the Imperium, and it is His will that keeps the Warp at bay and guides weapons to strike true against foul xenos. The ship's confessor pledges to uphold the faith and courage of the crew against all adversities, and so make the voidship a true cathedral of the Imperial Creed, echoing with the prayers of the holy and blessed in the God-Emperor's sight. In these duties the confessor is usually assigned by lay-preachers chosen from the most faithful on the lower decks. This is particularly essential on large warships as it allows the confessor to concentrate his or her efforts on the warship's officers, shriving and chastising them as required, reminding them of their duties to the God-Emperor, usually loudly and often.
  • Drivemaster - A voidship's enginarium is a sprawling complex filling many decks. Within this sepulchral facility countless ranks of Mechanicus enginseers work the rites that appease the Machine Spirits of the vessel's roaring heart. Some among their number are schooled in special rituals that inspire the drive to greater efforts. The drivemaster is in charge of monitoring and maintaining the roaring plasma drives that form the heart of the starship. Though subservient to the tech-priest who serves as the vessel's enginseer prime, the drivemaster often maintains the plasma drives as their own fiefdom, where none but the Mechanicus and their servants are welcome.
  • Omnissianic Congregator - The Machine Spirit of a starship is a slow but fickle intelligence, demanding the veneration and respect of hundreds if it is to function properly. The omnissianic congregator guides the tech-priests and other crew versed in techno-arcane ritual, in the maintenance rites and algorithmic prayers that appease the spirit of the ship, conferring the blessings of the Omnissiah upon its operation.
  • Infernus Master - No shipboard danger is more devastating or frightening than fire, burning uncontrolled through a voidship's corridors and decks. Even the smallest blaze can send a seasoned crew into a panic, trampling each other in the frenzy to escape through narrow corridors before the bulkhead is sealed in a vain attempt to keep the fire from spreading. During a conflagration, the infernus master is charged with keeping order and minimising the damage caused to equipment, personnel, and morale. The infernus master organises bucket chains, directs evacuations, and commands damage control crews brave enough to combat even the deadliest plasma flares.
  • Twistcatcher - Those who dwell within the enclosed environment of a voidship's hull risk constant exposure to radiation, both from the vessel's mighty engines and the void itself. These harsh conditions mean an increased risk of mutation. It is a lamentable fact that even the most well-maintained vessels play host to sizeable mutant populations, hordes of the deformed unfortunates lurking in unused holds and seldom-serviced bilge decks. It is the duty of the twistcatcher to keep his ship's mutant population in check, and in times of dire need press these malformed wastrels into service for the good of the human crew.
  • Master of the Vox - In the course of daily operations, an endless stream of vox traffic passes through a voidship's command deck. These lines of communication are vital to the operation of an Imperial Navy flotilla and a Rogue Trader's fleet alike, and it is the responsibility of the master of the vox to keep all channels of communication clear, and all vox-casters functioning at peak efficiency.
  • Purser - The operation of a Rogue Trader's vessel and the execution of endeavours requires uncountable amounts of wealth to be shuffled between investments and expenses on a daily basis, and the risk of loss is great. Financial officers must be prepared to balance enough books to fill a librarium many times over. In an economic climate where the single stroke of an auto quill can mean the difference between tragic loss and phenomenal gain, the purser must be tireless and ever vigilant. However, the purser also has a second duty, to ration payment and rewards to the crew serving aboard his ship. This often means the purser is loved and hated in turn, based on how forthcoming a crew's pay is.
  • Carto-Artifex - The void and the Warp contain dangers that often mean death for those who venture forth unprepared. The best way to survive such dangers is to avoid them entirely. To this end, a wise lord-captain consults his carto-artifex before any voyage. This master of charts and hololithic maps is charged with finding safe routs and circumventing danger. The secrets of the void and the Warp are laid bare before his vast knowledge of the tides and current of the Immaterium.
  • Ship's Steward - The vast stocks of food, water, and air upon which an Imperial voidship's crew depends must be carefully monitored and rationed, lest wanton consumption and theft lead to a crippling shortage. Someone must take charge of these resources, to see that they are used properly and that someone is the ship's steward. To do less invites starvation, dehydration, and suffocation on a catastrophic scale.


  • Battlefleet Gothic: Armada (RPG), pg. 18
  • Battlefleet Gothic Armada (PC Game)
  • Battlefleet Gothic: Rulebook (RPG), pg. 86
  • Deathwatch - The Achilus Assault (RPG) pg. 142
  • Warhammer 40,000: Rulebook (5th Edition), pg. 124
  • White Dwarf 139 (UK), "Space Fleet" by Jervic Johnson & Andy Jones, pp. 8-25
  • White Dwarf 119 (US), "Battlefleet Gothic: Concept Art," by Jes Goodwin, pp. 29-31
  • Rogue Trader: Battlefleet Koronus (RPG), pp. 57, 60, 66-70
  • Rogue Trader: Hostile Acquisitions (RPG), pg. 91
  • Rogue Trader: Into the Storm (RPG), pp. 80, 224-232, 242
  • Rogue Trader: Lure of the Expanse (RPG), pg. 27
  • Rogue Trader: The Frozen Reaches (RPG), pg. 21
  • Eye of Terror (Novel) by Barrington J. Bayley, Chs 2, 6, 16
  • First and Only (Novel) by Dan Abnett
  • Execution Hour (Novel) by Gordon Rennie
  • Shadow Point (Novel) by Gordon Rennie
  • I Am Slaughter (Novel) by Dan Abnett, Ch 3
  • The Emperor Expects (Novel) by Gav Thorpe
  • Inquisitor (Film) by Andy Jones & Tom Lauten
  • Dark Heresy Timeline pp. 1-3