Deep Space Leviathan · Solaris Wiki | World Anvil

Deep Space Leviathan

Welcome to Solaris, traveller! This is a slower-than-light science fantasy set in our own solar system.
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In the massive deep space above and below the planetary disc, gentle giants drift through the void. Leviathans, also known as astracetaceans and space whales, are gargantuan filter feeders.   They are believed to travel alone through the system, or occasionally in small packs. Leviathans are an incredibly rare sight. They spend most of their lives and death in deep space.   For the majority of Sol history leviathans were believed to be extinct. Early sightings were deemed inconclusive. Then the first Great Migration of the spacefaring age revealed that not only are they not extinct, they aren't alone.

Gentle Giants

Leviathans are miles long, and can get as big as a small moon. Natural scientists theorize that the space whales are ecosystems of their own, supporting life on their backs and in their wake. They have been able to study the leviathans during their migrations.   The backs of the leviathans are covered in a thick layer of mottled regolith, debris from comets and other impacts. Some simple lifeforms analogous to the flora and fauna of asteroids can be found buried underneath the regolith.   Life is richest inside of the gaping jaw of the leviathans. Specialized creatures hide in the baleen, the keratin plates that line the entire roof of the leviathans mouth. Perhaps these creatures feed off the leftovers of the leviathans, or maybe even serve some purpose for the leviathans themselves.   The underbelly is an entirely different biome, with sulphurous pools and strange lumiescent algae. The stark difference leads experts to theorize that leviathans swim through space with their underside towards the sun.
Leviathan bones are a staple of the natural history museums of Sol. The Jovian Museum in particular is famous for having the full skeleton of a leviathan suspended in the opening aula. The Jovian Leviathan was found buried deep under the crust of Jupiter and was the earliest conclusive proof of the lifeform.   For millenia the Jovian Leviathan was the only full skeleton of a leviathan, but with the discovery of the Great Migration and the practice of whaling, more museums have sought to acquire their own set. Exhibiting a creature the size of a leviathan poses its own challenges.

The Great Migration

Every century countless whales gather near the orbital plane for a feeding frenzy. Here they feast on the debris caught in the orbital disc, keeping a safe distance from the planets and their gravity wells.   Whalers come from all corners of Sol to gather the byproducts of the leviathans. Some even seek to hunt the giant beasts, seeing them as some of the greatest game of Sol.   There are two primary forms of whaling. Asteroid miners are contracted to travel out to the whales and harvest off of their back, a method of extraction that does not seem to harm the leviathans. However some products can only be gathered from the corpse of a space whale. To gather these, hunters attempt to harpoon the leviathans to kill and haul them home.


The vast stretches of space roamed by Leviathans make them an ideal source those seeking oort-tainted meteoric metal and crystals. These minerals have been imbued by the dark life in the Oort Cloud, and promise great power at a great cost.   The primary draw of hunters is the baleen and the muktuk. Baleen, the filter teeth of the whales, are plates of keratine. It is flexible and strong, a natural alternative to plastic.   Muktuk is a marbled substance somewhere between meat and rock. The blubber marbled through the muktuk can be refined into a fine oil. This oil burns cleans and stays liquid even in extremely low temperatures. The muktuk and the oil is said to have a uniquely acrid and smoky scent and flavour, sometimes compared to ozone.

Related Articles

Outer Space
Locations Asteroid Belt ( The Collision Course ) · Oort Cloud
Species Deep Space Leviathan · Orbitross · Astroplankton
Materials Astrallite
Technology Crystal Technology · Super Wide Access Network · Spacecraft ( Dragonfly Carrier )
Society Traditions ( Dumplings in Space ) · Organizations ( Sentinel ) · Conditions ( Deep Space Syndrome )
Geographic Distribution
Deep Space
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Dec 9, 2022 19:01

"Muktuk is a marbled substance somewhere between meat and rock."   I love this so much and really have to remember that sort of phrasing. They sound awesome - big as a small moon, with entire ecosystems living inside / on them. It conjures a really amazing vision. Those have to be some pretty dang impressive harpoons and I'd love to know more about that aspect of things.   How common are they? If they're still being hunted, are they at the risk of extinction? Are there any laws or restrictions around interacting with them? :)   Awesome, awesome stuff Annie

Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.
Dec 9, 2022 19:14 by Annie Stein

Thank you! I wanted to help people wrap their head around just how big that is by looking at them less as creatures and more as realms of their own. I think you'd basically need a small fleet to haul something this big, you'd probably want to parcel it up and maybe even install rockets onto it. It'd be a project, that's for sure! Luckily Solaris has crystals to power everything.   They have honestly no clue how common they are out there, but they don't seem to be at risk of extinction. I'm sure someone tried to tally how many were there at the last migration, and it didn't meaningfully change since last time. They're so far away from the part of space people live in, so encounters would be incredibly rare, and they cross so far out from the planets that no government could really meaningfully intervene. It's no mans space.

Creator of Solaris -— Come Explore!
Dec 9, 2022 19:33 by Aster Blackwell


Dec 9, 2022 20:02 by Annie Stein


Creator of Solaris -— Come Explore!
Dec 9, 2022 20:02 by Amanda McRoberts

Can the Baleen be harvested without damage to the leviathan? Can it grow back?

Dec 9, 2022 20:04 by Annie Stein

Well, someone might have tried, but I fear they may have left out the h and ended up a treat rather than a threat.

Creator of Solaris -— Come Explore!
Jan 23, 2023 21:25

Gargantuan creatures never fail to get me, especially when they are so well done! It is a bit sad that the people of Sol never acknowledge them as more than overgrown whales and begin to hunt them down on the first occasion. Nevertheless, I wonder where these giants come from. And what incredible ecosystem lies outside the boundaries of Sol, for it to give birth to them?

Hoo~ Hoo
Jan 24, 2023 12:40 by Annie Stein

Thank you! There certainly are scientists who head out to observe the migration too, but a lot of the studies into Leviathans are kind of reliant on what the hunters are able to bring back.

Creator of Solaris -— Come Explore!
Feb 21, 2023 15:24

Kelly Pawlik at Kobold Press loved this entry for WorldEmber! <3 She asked me to pass on her feedback to you!   1.I really like that they can alternately be called astracetaceans. It’s a fun word.   2.The fact that each leviathan is its own ecosystem is ripe for exploitation in stories. I could see an entire RPG campaign centered on the conceit that the player characters are explorers and scientists on a mission to catalogue everything they can about these creatures.   3.The image of scores of these planetoid-sized creatures migrating is awe inspiring.

Feb 21, 2023 16:24 by Annie Stein

I'm so glad to hear that, thank you so much for passing this on!

Creator of Solaris -— Come Explore!