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Soul Reaver takes place within the fictional world of Nosgoth, where the health of the land is tied to the nine Pillars of Nosgoth, and each pillar in turn is represented by a guardian. Before the events of Soul Reaver, the guardians became corrupt, and, after Kain killed eight of them, he discovered he was the final one. Refusing to sacrifice himself to restore the Pillars, he doomed Nosgoth to eternal decay and proceeded to raise his vampire lieutenants, including Raziel, to besiege the land. By the time of Soul Reaver's introduction, the vampires are now the land's dominant species and apex predators, the humans have been decimated, and the vampire tribes have each claimed a region of Nosgoth and turned their attention to internal matters. Unknown to the vampires, beneath Nosgoth lurks The Elder God, an ancient and powerful entity. The Elder God controls the Wheel of Fate, a cycle of reincarnation of souls that circle the Wheel in a loop of predestination; however, because vampires are immortal, their souls do not spin with the Wheel, causing the land to decay as the Wheel stalls. By the time that Raziel is revived centuries after the game's opening cinematic, Nosgoth is on the brink of collapse, little more than a wasteland wracked with cataclysms and earthquakes.
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