- "Once a sanctuary against the vampire menace, this abbey has been drowned by the deluge spilling from this wounded land. Your brother Rahab and his brood, devastated even by the feeble rays of Nosgoth’s sun, overcame their vulnerability to water and retreated from the surface. Now they haunt these ruins, and glide in the darkness of its stagnant depths."
- ―The Elder God — Listen (file info)[src]
As it's name suggests, it was once an Abbey that had become flooded with water from rain and nearby rivers. The Rahabim, having overcome their vulnerability to water, inhabited these murky waters and the inner chambers of these edifices.
The Drowned Abbey appears to be decorated with sun/moon imagery.
Alphas and Beta Development
The Drowned Abbey has several elements that were changed during development and appeared differently in the alpha builds:
- Throughout the level are several areas where the layout is different or more complex than retail - often with narrow corridors doubling back on themselves - but these return to a similar position than the retail after those sections. These appear to be early attempts to speed loading by obscuring view and will be refined to smoother curves in later versions.
- The initial entry from the chapel has a series of 90 degree turns and small chambers rather than the left broad left turn in retail
- The corridors leading between the boat area, warp gate and main hub area are much narrower and are a simple Y shape rather than the hexagonal chamber and wide curving corridors seen in retail.
- The chambers leading away from the bolt chamber are a series of 90 degree turns, a wide corridor and a tight narrow U-shaped curve where a single 90 degree turn and wide curving corridor will be in retail.
- The corridors leading away from the pillar-jump area consist of a tight narrow U-shaped curve, a wider corridor and a single 90 degree turn before flowing into a wider curving corridor. The same area in retail will have a much wider 90 degree turn heading straight into the final much longer curving corridor which almost completes a full circle.
- As in the early betas the boat is moving and drifts back and forth where it is static in the retail version. At one end of the canal area the walls feature an interesting block-like feature high up which is decorated by distinctive designs – this is present in early beta versions but is completely removed from the retail and replaced by rocky walls.
- A passage down to the left at the end of the canal leads to the underwater Force Glyph altar. In retail this area is home to a long passageway leading to a tall room with a health upgrade, while the Force glyph altar is moved to the Necropolis lake and raised above ground.
- In earliest alpha build the canal tunnel continues on beyond the altar rising in a wise stepped arc upwards and curving round to a platform and the top of a waterfall overlooking the main hub area of the abbey. This passage is closed in later builds – the water still flows through but decorative features which indicated the former tunnel are gradually reduced, with nothing untoward apparent by the beta builds.
- In the main hub area there is no projectile triggered door to enter and there are far fewer enemies.Some subtle details are missing or incomplete. Several features also change between builds:
- In early builds there are none of the jumping pillars, ledges or other jumping puzzle aids seen in retail.These are only added in the latest alpha build.
- Instead of a sun pattern the church area has a colourful pentagonal design and each of its gargoyles have alcoves beneath. In early builds it has no underwater grate and no side entrance that leads inside - a side entrance and broken grate are added in later alpha builds.
- The exterior roof of Rahab's chamber has pronounced ridges and a flat center in early builds. Through the builds the ridges are gradually reduced and a lens tower added in the center.
- The belltower has a simpler design: it lacks the bell, chain, sun motifs and ornate patterns – although the bell is added in the latest alpha build.
- The internal church area also has progressive changes:
- The stained glass pentagon design noted previously can be seen from inside and the ledges to climb up to it are only present in the later alpha builds -earlier builds have a climbing wall all the way up.
- There is no access to outside from behind the pulpit until the latest alpha build and even then there is no grate there. Behind the pulpit there is also a small staircase leading up to the top of the pulpit - which is interestingly warped in spectral.
- Beneath the pulpit a barred door is present – it shatters like a window in earlier builds but cannot be crossed in later ones. The design is modified in betas before its place is taken by a stained glass window in retail.
- The areas below beyond the barred door have some grates and small details missing. Notably the Water Forge is found here in the alphas with a more generic patterned window covering access to it - in retail the Fire Forge is found here (the alphas have that in Raziel's clan territory).
- At the top of the church area the curving corridor has no wall spikes and no stained glass at the end and as below there are no ledges to aid jumping along the gargoyles.
- Rahab's chamber has a similar design to retail, but some textures are jumbled in earlier alpha builds. The stained glass windows remain consistent but one of these designs is branded upon the central lens above the room. Rahab himself uses his original design – which is also seen in beta versions but was changed for the retail release. He usually is present in the chamber to start but he can also occasionally cross over and get stuck outside the room.
The figures beside the stained-glass windows on the outside of Rahab's chamber appear to depict Turelim, possibly hinting that this was once their territory and they had abandoned it when it became flooded. This may further be supported by the fact that the windows (which were part of the mechanism for killing Rahab), could only be broken with a telekinetic blast - an ability which was naturally unique to Turel's clan as the Rahabim fired bolts of compressed water instead.
In one of the beta versions of the game, a drowned Turelim is seen in one of the chambers. This is further evidence as to the theory that the Drowned abbey was originally Turel's territory and was later taken over by the Rahabim after it was flooded.
Series Artist Daniel Cabuco later elaborated on the background of the Abbey which confirm this:
Look for signs of clans exchanging hands. :)
We left the boat an ambiguous area and hand't really worked out if it was human or Rahabim.
The relationship of the clan leaders was complex, with each vying for favor with Kain, dominance over the others, and using alliances where necessary to strengthen position. Zephon and Rahab could very well have been allies, with Zephon constantly scheming and creating webs of lies, and Rahab seeing through some of it, yet knowing he was better off playing along as an ally until he didn't need Zephon. Remember the bretheren were allies for many many decades, so their relationship was always in flux, ebbing and flowing in power over time. "
- The Clan Leaders at DCabDesign (by Onatu), post #2 (by Daniel Cabuco)