- "Why would I want to stay on the ground? Makes me restless. I’m at home on the deck of a ship, facing the starry black. Throne, everything else makes me feel like a sitting target!"
- —Tannen Mortaber, Bounty Hunter
A Void-master (or Void-mistress) is the term used to describe one who has risen to master one or more of the mysterious arts of the running of a space-going vessel. They have generally served in a myriad of stations, and have been exceptionally fortunate in that their skills have been recognised and they have been allowed to progress through the ranks to the very top. A Void-master knows every inch of his vessel, and even the cold touch of the airless void presents little fear, for he has faced the terrors of space countless times and has lived to tell the tale. In character and attitude, they are as varied as the voidships on which they have served. Some are dour and proper officers -- the products of the finest naval bloodlines, while others are born traders and rakish rogues out of the mercantile Chartist ships. Others, still, are by inclination smugglers, scavengers, and even pirates. No matter their origins, however, one thing unites them all -- the consummate skill in doing what they do best, and the high price and respect their services can earn them.
The Imperium of Mankind is an interstellar empire spanning much of the galaxy -- its worlds, star systems, and sectors linked by countless Warp routes and divided by unutterable gulfs and savage storms of unreality beyond. Vast ﬂeets of military, mercantile, and exploratory spacecraft knit this great realm together, and some of these voidships are as large and densely packed with human life as many terrestrial cities, but even among those who spend their lives protected by steel-skinned ships out in the cold darkness, Void-masters are a rare breed. To become a Void-master, an individual must have risen above those around him and have distinguished himself by particular talent and ability. Regardless of background, whether his origins be bilge-scum or scion of a lauded hero, a Void-master must earn his title, for it marks a man or woman who can be trusted to hold the lives of many in his or her hands.
The Void-master might be a helmsman, master gunner, or the warden of the ship's sensors, but whichever position he holds, he controls the vessel's systems as if they were an extension of his own body and, in a crisis, the ship's survival depends on his skills. While the average subject of the Imperium might be blissfully ignorant of or rampantly superstitious about space travel and the people that undertake it, those such as the Void-master quite often are equally puzzled by those who confine themselves to the worlds below them. Why, they ask, would any human being surrender himself to the servility and imprisonment of a planet-bound life, when the dark majesty of space awaits those with the courage to voyage upon its endless tides?
- Rogue Trader: Core Rulebook (RPG), pg. 68