2 hours ago
Monday, January 23, 2012
In the Belly of the Beast
Leviathans are perhaps the largest and most mysterious denizens of the ocean depths. These gigantic creatures dwarf both whales and reptilian sea serpents. Their name in the gurgling language of the sea devils translates roughly as “monster-thing stronger than even the gods.” Despite their great size, the creatures are seldom seen, and carcasses are rarer still.
Some have suggested that the size of leviathans is impossible and therefore indicative of a magical nature. It has been theorized that the creatures' rarity is a by-product of the fact that they actually swim through the etheric substructure of reality, only passing through the physical world’s oceans incidentally.
The discovery of a leviathan carcass always instigates a mini-”gold rush.” The flesh and bone of the beast are of interest to alchemists (synthetic insulating blubber was an outgrowth of study of the leviathan) and thaumaturgists who use various leviathan parts for spell materials. Leviathan ambergris can be used to make perfumes and colognes easily infused with charm or suggestion properties. It’s also a psychoactive and can be smoked to produce a euphoric effect and intense sexual desire that in some individuals manifests a a mania lasting 10 x 1d4 minutes.
Less scientifically minded individuals hope to salvage treasure swallowed by the leviathan in its journeys. Whole ships laden with cargo are sometimes found (this is facilitated by the fact that internally leviathans are cavern-like, evidencing a strange paucity of organs). The loot-minded must be wary, however. Strange miasmas are sometimes produced inside a dead leviathan that can cause death or mutagenic effects on the unprotected.