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"Here I discovered the quaint hamlet of Uschtenheim, now long-abandoned and collapsing into ruin...
Legend claimed that Janos Audron terrorized its villagers until the Sarafan hunters ferreted him out and destroyed him.
If there was any truth to the old tales, the lair of the infamous vampire could not be far away..."
―Raziel — Listen (file info)[src]

Uschtenheim was a small human settlement in central Nosgoth that was visited by Kain in Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain and by Raziel in Soul Reaver 2. Featured as a minor settlement in Blood Omen and as one of the main map areas in Soul Reaver 2, the village was visited in three distinct eras; with Kain first exploring the area in the events of Blood Omen, and Raziel initially finding the hamlet in the Era following Blood Omen before traveling back in time and passing through in Nosgoth's early history. The history of Uschtenheim was heavily associated with the legend of Ancient vampire Janos Audron, who supposedly preyed on its citizens from his nearby retreat until he was murdered by the Sarafan commanders.


Kain in Uschtenheim in Blood Omen

"In my travels, I learned much about the legend of Janos Audron. Here, in this quaint pastoral village of Uschtenheim, that dark enemy was born. Janos preyed upon its peasants until he was finally hunted down and executed."
―Kain — Listen (file info)[src]

Uschtenheim was first featured in Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain where the settlement was a playable location featured on maps as a small village north or north-east of Vorador's Mansion and north-west of Avernus, though it was not specifically labelled on the in-game map.[Blood Omen] The legend of Janos Audron and the Heart of Darkness was first recounted by Kain in Seeking Revenge shortly after his revival on encountering the first Heart of Darkness artifacts, though Uschtenheim itself remained unidentified until later in the game.[Blood Omen/2] In Threaten the Circle after leaving Vorador's Mansion, Kain could travel on foot through a cave and emerge in the Uschtenheim area. Arriving at the settlement, Kain commented on the "quaint pastoral village" and how "Janos preyed upon its peasants until he was finally hunted down and executed",[Blood Omen/7] with NPC's also describing legends of a local vampire killed by the Sarafan.[Blood Omen/Miscellaneous] In this era the modest Uschtenheim consisted of eight houses (five of which could be entered), but contained little of note, though three Secrets were positioned nearby, including the back entrance to the Heart of Darkness artifact spirit forge which was hidden inside one of the houses. Leaving the settlement, Kain would continue northward towards Dark Eden.[Blood Omen/7][Blood Omen strategy guide]

Uschtenheim returned in Soul Reaver 2 where it was once again a playable location, featured as a main location on maps, though only accessible in later eras.[Soul Reaver 2] Raziel also had prior knowledge of the legend of Janos Audron and recounted the tale upon seeing it depicted in a stained glass within the sanctuary area of the Sarafan Stronghold in A Reaver in Time[Soul Reaver 2/1] and the legend was once again referenced in Through the Swamp, where Raziel was advised by Vorador that Janos held the key to his destiny, prompting Raziel to attempt to travel back in time to meet him.[Soul Reaver 2/3] Neither encounter named Uschtenheim along with the legend, and Raziel would be unable to progress north of the Swamp in the initial Pre-Blood Omen era.[Soul Reaver 2]

Raziel enters the ruined post-Blood Omen era Uschtenheim

When Raziel was tricked by Moebius and sent into the demon-infested Era following Blood Omen in A Fateful Meeting, he was able to progress beyond the swamp into the northern mountains and after passing through several mountain passes, he reached the village of Uschtenheim. Finding the settlement "long-abandoned and collapsing into ruin", Raziel theorized that "If there was any truth to the old tales, the lair of the infamous vampire could not be far away" and passed through the ruined village, defeating the Demon hunters and Acid demons present before travelling through several further mountain passes and eventually finding Janos Audron's Retreat some way north of the village. As with other features of the era Janos's retreat had collapsed into ruin, preventing access and forcing Raziel to explore other areas.[Soul Reaver 2/5][Soul Reaver 2 strategy guide (Prima)] After an encounter with Kain[Soul Reaver 2/5] Raziel discovered the Air forge, where he was able to imbue the Wraith Blade with elemental Air allowing him to open the cracked door preventing access to the Time streaming chamber in the Swamp.[Soul Reaver 2/6] Returning south, Raziel passed through Uschtenheim once again, this time confronted most often the demon hunters, before he was able to reach the swamp and use the time-streaming chamber.[Soul Reaver 2/7][Soul Reaver 2 strategy guide (Prima)]

Raziel returns through Uschtenheim in Nosgoth's early history

Arriving in Nosgoth's early history in the Swamp in On to the Past, Raziel traveled north once again, recognizing the Sarafan banners and the victims of the Vampire purge, and hoping that he was not too late to reach Janos. Progressing beyond the swamp, Raziel was able to visit the snow covered hamlet and found that it was intact in this era, albeit only populated by various Sarafan troops, apparently mustering their forces in Uschtenheim for the final assault against Janos.[Soul Reaver 2 strategy guide (Prima)][Soul Reaver 2/7] Raziel again progressed north beyond village, where he found the intact retreat and pressed on inside and met the ancient vampire.[Soul Reaver 2/8] Witnessing the murder of Janos committed by his former human self and his brethren first hand in Blade of Vengeance, Raziel chased the Sarafan commanders back to their Stronghold, again passing through Uschtenheim on his way south. This time along with the Sarafan troops, Raziel found himself confronted by a trio of Fire demons, apparently summoned by the Hylden, who taunted him about his destiny; fueling his desire to avenge Janos and confront the commanders to regain the Heart of Darkness and the Reaver blade.[Soul Reaver 2/9][Soul Reaver 2 strategy guide (Prima)]


Design and Layout[]

The design and layout of Uschtenheim and the surrounding areas varied greatly between its appearances in Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain and Soul Reaver 2, though the main settlement itself was broadly similar between titles - essentially consisting of several modest buildings roughly arranged into two 'squares' aligned north-south and hemmed in by cliffs. The mountain passes around Uschtenheim were notably different between the two depictions and the settlement was obviously entered and exited from different directions in the two titles (with neither exit or entrances apparent in the other title); it is unclear if any of the mountain passes (some of which clash with previous map area) were intended as direct re-interpretations of previous areas.[Soul Reaver 2][Blood Omen]

Wiki-Icon-BO1.pngBlood Omen: Legacy of Kain[]

In Blood Omen, Kain could pass through Uschtenheim at the beginning of Threaten the Circle as he emerged from Vorador's Mansion in a cave which led out to a mountain pass to the south-west of Uschtenheim. Following the passage west led to a small clearing with a bat beacon (in a map area along with the overland region east of the Lake of the Dead). Following this passage towards the east Kain passed an audio vista point where Kain commented on his meeting with Vorador and a visual one which provided a view north to Dark Eden, enabling Kain to fly there directly using Bat Form. If he chose to continue on foot, Kain could follow the trail as it led northwards through a Wolf populated trail and turned east, dropping and splitting into two directly to the west of Uschtenheim where two boulders blocked the way north to a set of grassy canyons bypassing Uschtenheim. Instead following the passage down to the west Kain could drop into the main area of the village of Uschtenheim - a grassy area populated by various villagers with several houses and Trees hemmed in by high cliffs - arriving in the settlement at an entrance on the western wall of the southern section.

The village consisted of eight buildings roughly arranged into two squares, with five houses surrounding both the southern and northern squares in differing arrangements (two were at the border and part of both squares). The houses themselves were apparently wooden framed cobblestone constructions with tiled roofing; only one building (in the west central area) appeared externally to have a second story level, though none of the buildings showed evidence of this internally. Five of the buildings in Uschtenheim could be entered (those in the north-west, north-central, central-west, central-east and south-east) and all displayed fairly modest properties with two or three rooms containing varying beds, cupboards, tables, Chairs and Barrels. Two of the interiors were especially notable; with the central-west (apparently two-tiered) building leading into a large bar area which unnamed in contrast to other such establishments, whilst the central-east house contained a barred door in the east which led into a small room with several spikes and a teleporter which led to the secret back entrance to the Heart of Darkness artifacts Spirit forge.

A muddy trail led up from the north-west house, exiting the settlement area and bending slightly before passing the higher trail bypass trail at the west and heading northward on to the Ruined Land. Using Wolf Form, the axes and strength upgrades from Blood fountains, Kain could follow the grassy bypass canyons as the trail headed west and then turned south passing two boulders (one large and one small) and several Scarecrows. At the western-most extreme of the bypass loop, the bypass opened eastward into a wider clearing on a raised level, containing two secret Pentaliche of tarot artifacts. Returning to the main bypass trail and following it south passed a tree yielded a secret Implode artifact hidden in a northern crevice before the trail met with the initial boulder blocked passage near the western entrance to the village.[Blood Omen/7][Blood Omen][Blood Omen strategy guide][1][2][3]

Wiki-Icon-SR2.pngSoul Reaver 2[]

In Soul Reaver 2, Raziel first passed through the Uschtenheim area in the Era following Blood Omen in A Fateful Meeting. After leaving the Swamp, Raziel could follow the high rocky passage as it led north then curved west and dropped into an open clearing containing a waterfall, a Reaver font and several free-standing torches. A high ledge in the north led to a smaller passage which looped to the west before turning east, dropping and widening into another wide rocky clearing which bent around to the north. At the northern end of this clearing was a Scalable wall and a ramp-like ledge which curved upwards from the bottom of the clearing to meet the top of the scalable wall. From here the passage again narrowed and headed northward, turning briefly to the east where it met the battlement entrance to Uschtenheim; consisting of a small two tiered stone and wooden construction with a gated doorway to the north on the bottom level and a small area above containing only a lever which opened the gate (with a similar lever also activating this gate positioned just inside the village). Passing through the gate led the main Uschtenheim village area - a set of houses along paved streets, lit by street-lanterns and protected by battlements inside a rocky canyon area, hemmed in by high cliffs - arriving in the south of the southern section of the village.

Again the Uschtenheim village itself was aligned north-south and broadly divided into two sections. The initial southern section contained the southern battlement entrance and two rows of tiled roofed, wood framed and brick construction terraced houses (apparently in the Mock Tudor style of architecture) along opposing sides of the north-heading 'main street'; all of the doors along the street and nearby alley were locked. At the end of the terracing a house on the second level arched over the main street and passing beneath led into the northern section, while an opening to the west just before the arch led into a small back alley also leading into the northern section. Along with the arch and back alley, a stairway in the south of the northern section led back to a second level bridge atop the arch overlooking the southern section. The northern section was wider and more open, with far fewer houses than the south of Uschtenheim. This area was dominated by a modest church (or chapel) containing a save altar with a small alley leading to the north around the east of the chapel, to the west of the chapel the canyon widened, encompassing a circular fountain-like pond fed by water flowing from a two-tiered waterfall in the west, with a final house positioned against the cliffs to the north of the fountain. To the north of the church the canyon bent west to the second battlement area, directly behind the last house; with the battlement again consisting of a two tiered stone and wood construction with lever activating its gate just inside the village and the upper level outside the construction. Passing through this battlement led west to the mountain passes beyond Uschtenheim.

Beyond the battlement the passage returned to narrow canyons, continuing west for a short way before turning north and heading back east, dropping down a scalable wall into another open rocky clearing, notably containing two high 'mini-aerie' platforms in the south-east and north decorated with Arcane symbols. To the north-west a small ledge and another scalable wall led to a higher level and a passage west into a higher clearing area with a mini aerie in the south. Another scaling wall in the north led up to another narrow canyon passage which headed north-east (under another mini aerie) before bearing north and heading up a small staircase to the lake outside Janos Audron's Retreat.

Several features of the areas around Uschtenheim varied between the initially encountered Era following Blood Omen and Raziel's return in Nosgoth's early history. In the Post-Blood Omen era many of the entry canyon areas were darker and decorated with free-standing torches, while much of Uschtenheim itself was "collapsing into ruin", with masonry cracked falling apart, collapsed roofs and the paving broken and scuffed, though the lanterns remained lit. By contrast, in Nosgoth's early history the area was much brighter, covered in falling snow and decorated with Sarafan banners and impaled vampire corpses, with Sarafan encampments containing campfires and tents in the open clearings leading up to Uschtenheim. The village itself was in pristine condition with the buildings decorated with Sarafan banners, impaled vampire corpses and a light covering of snow.[Soul Reaver 2][Soul Reaver 2/5][Soul Reaver 2 strategy guide (Prima)][Soul Reaver 2/7][Soul Reaver 2/9][3][4][5]


The in-game World map for Blood Omen does not name Uschtenheim and depicts Uchtenheim's layout in a simplified fashion, featuring only two houses and showing what is essentially only the outline of the playable area, the map interpreting Kain as within this area when he is placed anywhere in Uschtenheim or nearby bat beacon map areas ("Map1 Sect35"/"Map1 Sect34"). The separate map packaged with PC versions and the Prima guide goes into greater detail naming Uschtenheim, showing more houses and clearly depicting the bypass passages, though once again the map was greatly simplified compared to the in game layout, showing only the basic outline of playable areas.[Blood Omen][1][2][3] The in-game World map for Soul Reaver 2 depicts many area similarly to its predecessor, though the Uschtenheim area is given greater detail it is again somewhat simplified compared to actual in-game layouts. The in game areas leading from the swamp can be discerned and the general shape of Uschtenheim's buildings identified though both appearing slightly distorted in places; with the area essentially depicted on the map as the outline of the main canyon twisting nothwards containing the playable areas. The map would interpret Raziel as in the Uschtenheim area as soon as Raziel passed into the passage leading away from the swamp and would continue to do so until Raziel entered either the Air Forge or Janos Audron's Retreat, despite this the area highlighted as Uschtenheim seems to leave out the first passage and canyon clearing ("Janos1") and does not extend as far as the lake outside Janos's retreat ("Janos7").[Soul Reaver 2][3][4][5]

Though the maps of the Uschtenheim area were broadly similar, comparing the layout of the in-game areas between titles was more problematic. The approaches to the Uschtenhiem area used by Kain and Raziel seemed to be distinct, with Raziel approaching the village in Soul Reaver 2 from a route leading almost directly from the south and entering Uschtenheim at its southern cliffs, whereas Kain's entry in Blood Omen was from a more west/south-westerly direction,  ultimately entering Uschtenheim in the western cliff (in the southern section). The layout of Uschtenheim itself was broadly comparable, with the village presented in two sections that aligned north-south; however many other changes were seen to the area, with the cliffs much tighter against the settlement as well as the south section having a far greater housing density than previously seen and the northern section far less (giving the appearance of several houses having been moved to the south section), several houses appeared to maintain the same positions and orientations (notably in the case of northern structures such as the church, bridge house and fountain house) though these often did not match with previous usage and appearance and even the housing styles appeared to have changed, with paving, street-lights, the fountain and the battlement entrances all added for the Soul Reaver 2 depcition.  The village entrances and exits used in both titles were entirely absent from the other, with Kain's unmarked (south-)western entrance and northern exit not present in Soul Reaver 2 and neither battlement entrance in the south or (north-)west present in Blood Omen. The passages beyond Uschtenheim again seemed to be distinct, however unlike the entry passages there was a clear clash between layouts, with the western exit used by Raziel in Soul Reaver 2 appearing to occupy some of the space formerly occupied in Blood Omen by the Uschtenheim 'bypass' area and were thus difficult to reconcile, though it was possible that with Raziel exiting the village through a western battlement immediately behind the last house, he followed previously unseen trail west through what is pockmarked cliff an grass territories and turns into the open clearing at the head of the bypass (though the area does not contain any obvious Secrets in Soul Reaver 2 or mini-aeries in Blood Omen). It would appear that from here, Raziel continues north-east then north-west on a higher level and it is subsequently unclear if he would cross over the bypass again in his further route, thus it is unclear where Janos Audron's Retreat and the nearby lake would be placed in relation to the Blood Omen areas though candidates include areas on the higher cliffs north of the western Uschtenheim and bypass and south of the Ruined Land, between the ruined land and Long and Winding Road (or north of this) and within the Uschtenheim map area, northward on the high cliffs dividing Uschtenheim and the bypass area.[Soul Reaver 2][Soul Reaver 2 strategy guide (Prima)][Blood Omen][Blood Omen strategy guide][3]

Because of the time periods these features are seen in (Kain visits in the events of Blood Omen, whilst Raziel visits five centuries earlier in Nosgoth's early history and a century later in the Era following Blood Omen), it would  seem that the changes took place some time before the Blood Omen era and were subsequently restored; with this perhaps ultimately implying that the changes were due to design interpretations by the crew rather than in-universe developments.


In Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain
From the main settlement of Uschtenheim ("Map1 Sect35")

  • the western/south-western exit leads north to the Uschtenheim by-pass or south then east to the cave leading to Vorador's Mansion ("Map4 Sect40", adjoining to mansion "Map29 Sect3") and nearby Bat beacon area.("Map1 Sect34")
  • The northern exit leads up a passage to the north, then east to the Uschtenheim bypass or north to the Ruined Land ("Map1 Sect25") and onward to Dark Eden.

In Soul Reaver 2
From the main settlement of Uschtenheim ("Janos4")

  • The southern exit leads through several mountain passes ("Janos3", "Janos2" and "Janos1") to the high passage in the northern-most clearing of the Swamp ("Swamp4").
  • The northern exit leads through several mountain passes to the ("Janos5" and "Janos6") to the lake surrounding Janos's retreat ("Janos7") for Janos Audron's Retreat or the Air Forge.

Era/Title Comparison[]





Like the Swamp area in Soul Reaver 2, Uschtenheim was also originally planned to have had more playable areas in higher areas, with the roofs of the village appearing to form part of a complicated jumping puzzle along with many solid ledges in the cliffs above the surrounding areas[Soul Reaver 2][6] and several likewise playable but usually inaccessible small 'aeries' high up in the canyons leading to Janos's retreat.[7] The intended destination of these platforms is ultimately unknown, though it is possible they may have connected to each other, linked to the ruins above the swamp or even led to a deleted Reaver forge. When questioned about the cut playable areas and unused platforms nearby, Daniel Cabuco responded: "there were supposed to be these updrafts that Raziel could use to boost his glide. But we never got it working in a way that didn't cause horrible game breaking bugs".[8]

The 'Urban' area depicted in the early Soul Reaver 2 proof-of-concept, long believed to represent Avernus[9][10] was also commented on by Cabuco, who revealed that the area in fact represented "Uschtenheim... Supposed to be a lot going on there.. and we cut it because our producer was walking behind us with a baseball bat screaming about teamwork... ". Cabuco's comments also imply that the area was planned to be updated to later hardware and included in the Uschtenheim area featured in Soul Reaver 2, but was ultimately unfinished and cut.[8]


  • Blood Omen debug information labels the overland Uschtenheim area as "Map1 Sect35" and the section next to it containing the Bat beacon area west of Uschtenheim (as well as the area east of the Lake of the Dead) is labelled as "Map1 Sect34". Nearby internal areas are listed under "Map4", with the individual areas labelled as: "Map4 Sect31" - the secret teleporter to the heart of darkness spirit forge in the central-east building, "Map4 Sect41" - the rest of the central east building, "Map4 Sect42" - the south-east house, "Map4 Sect43" - the north-central house, "Map4 Sect44" - the northwest house, "Map4 Sect45" - the central west house and "Map4 Sect40" - the cave with the one-way teleporter to Vorador's Mansion. The Uschtenheim area is not given a direct entry in the Developers' level select (where it would be a subdivision of "OL6"), instead the area can be navigated to by using the entries for nearby Secrets such as "4142", "43" (on the Uschtenheim bypass) and "96" (inside the central-east house). All of these areas are identified on the World map as within the general expanse of the Uschtenheim area or in nearby tree-covered areas. Like much of the game world in Blood Omen, Uschtenheim is inaccessible after the Battle of the Last Stand and thus cannot be explored in either the history preceding Blood Omen or events of Blood Omen of the Second timeline.[Blood Omen]
  • Under Soul Reaver 2 Debug menus, Uschtenheim is listed under the wider "Janos" area which covers all the areas north of the swamp, with the exception of the Air and Fire forges. The village itself is labelled as "Janos4" - which places Raziel inside Church next to the Save altar. The Mountain passes approaching Uschtenheim are labelled as: "Janos1" - the first open 'clearing' chamber in the passage leading away from the swamp, "Janos2" - the 'turn and drop' passage, and "Janos3" - the final open clearing chamber leading upto Uschtenheim. The areas beyond Uschtenheim, leading upto Janos Audron's Retreat are listed as "Janos5" - the Uschtenheim exit passage and low rocky clearing, "Janos6" - the high narrow north-north-east passage and small stairway leading to the lake outside Janos's retreat ("Janos7"). Each room is given a separate entry for each era, with the unaltered names referring to Nosgoth's early history and names amended to "JanosB" to denote the Era following Blood Omen. The area highlighted as "Uschtenheim" on the World map appears to include only the sections between "Janos2" and "Janos6", though the map will interpret Raziel as within the Uschtenheim area when placed anywhere north of the Swamp, only switching to the Air forge or Janos Audron's Retreat (and Fire forge) when Raziel directly entered those buildings. Another title associated with the area surrounding Uschtenheim is the somewhat vague term "Mountains" - this is briefly referenced in dialogue and stage directions,[Soul Reaver 2/3][Soul Reaver 2/5] makes up a title in the Prima Guide[Soul Reaver 2 strategy guide (Prima)], can be seen in Debug menus in the Air Forge demo[11] and supersedes Uschtenheim in the Bonus materials.[Soul Reaver 2] As with Blood Omen Uschtenheim is inaccessible and cannot be explored in the history preceding Blood Omen or Second timeline (as both of Uschtemheim's appearances in Soul Reaver 2 occur in the Third timeline).[Soul Reaver 2]
  • In Blood Omen the first signpost for Uschtenheim can be found outside the Mist Form Dungeon near the Lake of the Dead, alongside signs for Coorhagen and the Termogent Forest. A second sign (along with an audio vista point describing Uschtenehim and the legend of Janos Audron) is placed inside Uschtenheim in the center of the southern square. Unusually both appear to use the 'west-facing' sign in their close-up renders, although the sign in Uschtenheim clearly points towards the east in-game (the may be a mistake by developers as the east-facing render is present in files but does not seem to be used in game). In Soul Reaver 2 a differently designed signpost appears in a similar location within the village in the history preceding Blood Omen, placed just behind the entrance in the southern square. The sign is absent from the Era following Blood Omen and it is unclear if the signs were intended be the same or replacements which were ultimately removed.[Blood Omen]
  • When he reaches the Uschtenheim signpost in Blood Omen Kain discusses Janos, commenting that "Here, in this quaint pastoral village of Uschtenheim, that dark enemy was born." - clearly suggesting that Janos was born in the village;[Blood Omen/7] additionally the central-east house containing the secret entrance to the Heart of Darkness artifacts spirit forge is noted as "Janos Audron's house" in the Secrets section of Silicon Knights Blood Omen FAQ, The Complete Guide To Legacy of Kain.[12] Given later plot developments and the identification of Janos as an ancient vampire, the notion that he was born or lived in Uschtenheim seems to be unlikely and probably incorrect[13] - though it is possible these mistakes may be somewhat justified in universe, as with the ancients extinct and forgotten, the humans of the era may have assumed was born human and turned as was typical of the vampires of the age; additionally the name "Janos's house" may be intended to reflect the nature of the artifact gained at the spirit forge, rather than the residence of the legendary vampire.

The stained glass likely depicting Uschtenheim

  • In Soul Reaver 2 the village of Uschtenheim has several interesting icons and symbols throughout. Noticeably the symbol of the Sarafan is not only featured throughout the settlement on banners, but is even included in the masonry of building and on nearby gates, perhaps suggesting a certain degree of loyalty to that faction, or even Sarafan aid in construction. Alongside this, several buildings feature lion and rose-like motifs,[Soul Reaver 2] with such imagery usually associated with the Lion Throne (the monarchy of Willendorf and King Ottmar) and the Legions of the Nemesis (or the monarchy of the Land of the Nemesis and King William the Just); often symbolized as lions and roses respectively.[Soul Reaver 2][Blood Omen][Soul Reaver 2/1][14] Other unidentified symbols included several stylistic spirals and star patterns.[Soul Reaver 2]
  • The Sanctuary area of the Sarafan Stronghold in Soul Reaver 2 features a stained glass window depicting the legend of Janos Audron and the Heart of Darkness and in this depiction Janos is shown towering over a human settlement and its villagers. Janos's association with Uschtenheim would suggest that, this is the village depicted, and the houses depicted closely match the visual style with which Uschtenheim is presented in Soul Reaver 2.[13][Soul Reaver 2/1]


See also[]