The Land of Nosgoth is a fictional setting in which the entirety of the Legacy of Kain series takes place, originally conceived by Denis Dyack and expanded upon by Ken McCulloch and Silicon Knights. First entering production in 1993 and appearing in 1996's Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, it has since been further explored and developed by ensuing entries in the series, and derives inspiration from various literary sources, including Shakesperian drama, dark fantasy, vampire mythology, Gothic architecture and Gnosticism.
Nosgoth is regarded by characters in-game as a dying world, and each game in the series depicts different moments in the transition of the land from abundance to desolation, though in a non-sequential order. The ultimate fate of Nosgoth, and its potential redemption and restoration to its former glory, is the most-prominent and oft-recurring theme in the storyline of the overarching series, and has yet to be resolved as of Legacy of Kain: Defiance.
As the majority of the games take place in the same limited area, it has consistently remained ambiguous whether Nosgoth is the name of the entire world, or a region. Generally, the term "Nosgoth" is used to refer to the conceptual setting overall.
Prior to the Corruption of the Pillars in the Pre-Blood Omen era, Nosgoth was depicted as somewhat of a paradise with "abundant life and vitality". In Nosgoth's early history, the Ancient Vampire and Hylden had been involved in a devastating war for control of Nosgoth. This war would lead to the near-destruction of both species. With the raising of the Pillars of Nosgoth and the construction of the binding the Hylden were banished to the Demon Realm and as the vampires fell to the Blood Curse, a Human Rebellion would overthrow their control and the Pillars would come under Human guardianship - leading to the ancient history of the vampires being wiped out and forgotten as the Humans came to view the vampires as "a plague upon mankind". Eventually the friction between the humans and (a new generation of) vampires would lead to the instigation of the Sarafan crusades against the vampire menace. The successful Sarafan would eliminate many vampires over the years, including the last of the ancients, Janos Audron, but eventually (possibly due in part to revenge attacks by Vorador and Raziel) the order would crumble. Though much of the history crucial to later conflicts has it's beginnings at this time, Nosgoth itself is depicted as in 'good health' until the Corruption of the Pillars in the Pre-Blood Omen era (though later evidence suggests that the loss of Vampire guardians may have had an unseen effect upon the stability of Nosgoth.)
Within the series, Nosgoth was first mentioned in Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain as the 'land' where Blood Omen takes place, in this era, several maps (including one avaliable in-game) depicted Nogoth as a tempearate reigion with a diverse environment including many forests, mountain ranges (Nogoth is surrounded by them in this depiction), rivers and lakes, and a range of settlements. Nosgoth was depicted as stretching from the Lake of Tears in the west to the Provincial Mines in the east and from Coorhagen/Dark Eden in the north to the Cemetery/Lake of Serenity to the south.
Whilst on the course of his quest in Blood Omen, Kain would be able to explore much of this area of Nosgoth, though many of the locations significant to later games were inaccessible (including the Great Southern Lake and the Lake of Tears; sites of the Sarafan Stronghold and Vampire Citadel respectively). It was also hinted that map was at least partially incomplete as there were mentions of several settllements (apparently much further to the east or north) that were infected by the plague or conquered by the Legions of the Nemesis (prior to their attack on Stahlberg).
During the course of Blood Omen, the health of Nosgoth itself was threatened by the Corruption of the Pillars and at the climax of that game, Kain's refusal to sacrifice himself to retore them, sealed the Collapse of the Pillars and Nosgoth would slowly become a wasteland. For the next few centuries Nogoth would be subjected to violent Demon incursions from the Demon Realm and Kain (in the fourth paradox timeline) would build up his army and attempt a conquest of Nosgoth, becoming embroiled in a war with the fledgling Sarafan Order for control of Nosgoth. In this era, maps focused on the previously unseen south-western coast of Nosgoth along the Great Southern Sea, (likely because of the prolonged conflict between Kain's Army and the Sarafan Order concentrated in that area). By the time of Kain's revival, the Sarafan (and Hylden) influence had brought something of an Industrial Revolution to Nosgoth and at this time Nosgoth's capital was based at Meridian, on the coast of the Great Southern Sea (presumably before their collapse, the pillars would have held such an honor).
After the defeat of the Sarafan Order, Kain would raise his own vampire sons and conquer Nosgoth, giving birth to his empire. With the domestication of the Humans, many human settlements were presumably destroyed (leaving only the Human Citadel) and human slaves were put to work constructing the new empire (including building Kain's throne room, the Sanctuary of the Clans, built around the collapsed remains of the pillars) But the effects of the Pillars collapse had begun to severly effect the health of Nosgoth and little of the green vegetation seen in previous era remained. The formerly calm Lake of the Dead had apparently 'collapsed in on itself', creating the Abyss, Kain's "execution ground for traitors and weaklings" and a major landmark of Kain's Nosgoth. Further to this, Kain's empire had begun to take actions to make the land hospitable for the dominant vampires and huge furnaces were built to "belch smoke into the sky, shielding the land from the poisonous effects of the sun". Jake Pawloski has created a map which has all the areas present and cut which applies to both during Raziel´s late years as a vampire and the Soul Reaver era. This map is one of the most accurate Soul Reaver maps available and is the only one which also shows the location of the lakes and land in comparison to the landmarks.
After Raziel's execution, Nosgoth decended further into a wasteland and by the time of Raziel's return five centuries later, the Vampire Clans of Nosgoth had devolved into various beasts and "scattered to the corners of Nosgoth" (though several clan territories would remain around the heart of Kain's Empire in western Nosgoth.) By this time, Nosgoth was "wracked with cataclysms" (apparently due to attempts by Nosgoth itself to "shrug off the pestilence of Kain’s parasitic empire.") with the Elder commenting that Nosgoth was "on the brink of collapse" and Kain admitting that "this place has outlasted it's usefulness". After travelling back in time and observing Nosgoth before the corruption, Raziel referred to this era as "the corpse of Nosgoth – a lifeless husk, bled dry by the corruption of Kain’s parasitic empire." Soul Reaver 2 and Defiance would explore Nosgoth at earlier periods in time (the early and later Sarafan eras and the Pre and Post-Blood Omen eras) and these would re-inforce the view that prior to the Corruption of the Pillars, Nosgoth was a land of vitality and after their collapse, a dying wasteland.
Concept and creationBearbeiten
*Beyond the obvious fantasy land location, it is never explained what Nosgoth actually is. The expanse of land covered by Nosgoth (including several entities that may be considered soveregin states) could suggest that Nosgoth may be a continent. As no game has ever gone beyond the bounds of Nosgoth and no references have been made of lands outside of it, some fans have speculated that Nosgoth may be a planet (as perhaps hinted by astronomical and planetery artifacts in Blood Omen 2) or that it may be a pangaea-like 'supercontinent'. Thus far all maps depicting Nosgoth seem to make it one large island with several smaller islands around it.
*Nosgoth shares many features of other fictional fantasy lands/worlds ; being set in a realm resembling Medieval Europe (right down to the temperate climate) involving 'sword and sorcery', 'supernatural creatures' and 'futuristic technology'. The history of Nosgoth also shares many parallels to real world human history; with elements resembling 'creation/salvation myths', Medieval Kingdoms and Knighthood, the Crusades, the Reformation and Renaissance, and the Industrial Revolution; all at appropriate times in history (under such a system the birth of Kain's Empire roughly corresponds to the twentieth century).
*The amount that Nosgoth can be explored has changed throughout the series (though presumably the boundaries of Nosgoth itself have not). Blood Omen is considered to offer the widest exploration of Nosgoth; With Blood Omen 2 depicitng a hitherto unseen area of south-western Nosgoth and Soul Reaver 2 and Defiance taking place in an area within central Nosgoth; arguably Soul Reaver (though praised for it's exploration) offered the smallest area of Nosgoth to explore, limited to the heart of Kain's Empire in western Nosgoth (despite Kain's claim that the clans had "scattered to the corners of Nosgoth") Typically natural barriers, such as mountains, heavy forest or water are used to prevent exploration beyond intended areas.
*Nosgoth appears to have at least three seperate coterminous dimensions (or realms); the Material Realm (the realm of the living), The Spectral Realm (the realm of the dead) and the Demon Realm (the realm of Demons and place of the Hylden banishment). However, even these seperate planes are not counted as 'outside' Nosgoth. (Nor is the 'heavenly realm' seen in Blood Omen era Avernus Cathedral)
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