All navigator characters have at least one rank in the Navigate skill; as a special case of this skill, they can plot up to one jump per round without rolling, such that a navigator's level of skill ties directly into how quickly the navigator can plot a complete journey.
Since humans and other species in the Manifold Sky setting are not greatly different from their counterparts residing within normal, three-dimensional settings, finding one's way from place to place can prove difficult within the Manifold. To this end, navigators (generally of the Navigator's Guild) are an especially crucial part of international commerce and military operations.
Navigators undergo trade education within the Navigator's Guild and receive ranked professional certificates to show their qualifications and position within the Guild hierarchy. While anyone can learn the skills of a navigator, only one with a Guild certificate is regarded as a navigator in a professional sense (not unlike medical or legal licensing).
Payment & Reimbursement
The services of a navigator are paid for by a client as though the navigator is a trained member of whatever vehicle crew he is attached to, with (for example) a navigator aboard a military airship being accorded pay as though he were an officer (as opposed to an enlisted man). A navigator's negotiated pay always includes a tithe for his Navigator's Guild annual dues.
Membership in the Navigator's Guild accords a navigator with medical benefits, business connections, and a small retirement stipend predicated on training future navigators after one's career is over. In addition, if a navigator is expected to operate in an environment where violence or capture is likely, a NavGuard may be attached to the navigator in exchange for a cut of the navigator's pay.
Navigators in the Manifold Sky setting, beyond finding paths within the relatively flat geometry of cube faces, are some of the few individuals who understand how all the faces, cubes, and tesseracts adjoin one another, along with many of the hazards that come from crossing from one region of the Manifold to the next. With this knowledge, Navigators generate jump-by-jump routes from any point within the Manifold to any other point, custom-tailoring the planned journey to fit a given mission profile (i.e. avoiding a hostile cube).
Navigators are educated people, and the public understands this fact. While most civilians respect the expertise and worldliness of a veteran navigator, the strong-armed, monopolistic nature of their Guild dampens this respect somewhat. Academics, scientists, cartographers, and pilots respect navigators the most, while enlisted military sometimes hold navigators in ill-regard because of navigators' occasional tendency to take exciting or expedient routes over safe ones.
Navigators keep map books and catalogues of known jump connections, editing as necessary to account for new discoveries; these are routinely exchanged with Navigator's Guild cartographers to help the Guild stay abreast of changing conditions within the Manifold Sky. Magnetic gimbaled compasses known as magnetic armillaries always point towards the nearest cube belonging to the "North" tesseract and away from the nearest cube belonging to the "South" tesseract, making them useful for navigation near these cubes; the rate of oscillation shown by these compasses can be used to determine distance to these cubes as well, as not all cubes are magnetized to the same degree. Thermometers and barometers are useful to determining the identity of the current cube the navigator occupies, since the climate within a given cube varies but little within a typical range. Gyroscopic inertial guidance devices are modern inventions used by navigators aboard airships to navigate when near inflection layers or commissures, since gravity is skewed in these regions.
Dangers & Hazards
While working aboard large vehicles carries inherent risk in normal settings, navigators in Manifold Sky face additional dangers. Much of the Manifold remains unexplored, especially those tesseracts which possess no regularly populated cubes, meaning that unexpected environmental conditions, hostile natives, undiscovered wildlife, and rare diseases threaten unwary explorers. In military settings, every effort is made to capture enemy navigators alive, as navigators are both valuable hostages and sources of information on enemy movements. The Navigator's Guild can sanction any military unit that knowingly and routinely kills navigators, denying future Guild services to that unit, but this is not a total deterrent against harm befalling any individual navigator.