"There is no denying that Alexander puts a lot of faith into what I can only describe as magic."
―Quote from Daniel's diary found in the Cistern.

The Cistern is the location of the drainage pipes. It is accessible from the Cistern Entrance.


The Cistern is a large, open area, with water covering parts of the floor. The Cistern contains a huge tank from which a faint murmur can be heard. As the tank starts to fill with water, the murmuring becomes louder and after the tank has been completely filled the murmuring stops. It is never made clear whether this is real or another hallucination, i.e., the water bubbling into the tank is mentally changed by Daniel into actual human murmuring.

A flashback occurs near the entrance of the Cistern where Daniel can be heard talking to Alexander about the usage of the water from the underground spring.

The Cistern has four valves, three of which are for redirecting the sewer water. The fourth one is for stopping steam from blocking a path. A doorway leading somewhere else can be found but cannot be accessed due to an earlier cave-in.

Each time a valve redirecting sewer water is turned, torches in the nearby area are blown out, the ground trembles, and the music starts to go eerie. If Daniel has low sanity after spinning the last valve, which usually occurs if the player has completed the Morgue beforehand, the Shadow will roar and manifest near the entrance. It awakens a normally quiescent Kaernk in the area as well.

To get to one of the valves, Daniel needs to lower a bridge which is hanging from the ceiling. This is done by picking up a rock from nearby, and throwing it at the chain at the ceiling. The chain will break, lowering the bridge. This 'bridge puzzle' if often confused with the bridge in the Cistern Entrance level, which also has a bridge that has to be lowered, but by throwing a brick on the bridge itself instead. For more info, see Cistern Entrance.

Collectibles Edit

Tinderboxes Edit

  • To the right immediately as you enter the Cistern, a tinderbox sits on top of a couple of boxes on a raised part of the ground.(107)
  • In a chest with an oil canister next to the large tank from which you can hear a person drowning.(108)

Oil Canisters and Barrels Edit

  • One oil container can be found near the large tank where there supposedly is a man drowning in the water.
  • Another one can be found at the western part of the Cistern, across the hanging bridge and near the water cranks and the note.

Notes, Diary Entries, and Memory Capsules Edit

  • Daniel's Diary - Discovery - The Cistern is shaped vaguely like a cross (+), and one diary entry can be found at each spoke of the cross (aside from the one you entered from). They are all close to the water valves you use to drain the water from the sewer.


  • The Shadow will block the original route of escape with its fleshy residue; however, it will create a bridge on the other side that enables Daniel to escape the Cistern and the attacking Kaernk. Walking on the bridge does not hurt him, so it is unknown whether the cosmic nightmare meant to help the young man's progress or its creation of the bridge was purely accidental.
  • On occasions, fish can be seen swimming through the murky waters.
  • The design of the Cistern is apparently inspired by the Basilica Cistern in Istanbul, Turkey.

The Dark Descent locations
Main campaign Brennenburg Castle locations Rainy HallOld ArchivesEntrance HallArchivesWine CellarLaboratoryRefineryCellar ArchivesArchive TunnelsBack HallStorageGuest RoomStudyMachine RoomElevatorPrison: Southern BlockPrison: Northern BlockCistern EntranceControl RoomCisternMorgueSewerNaveChancelTranseptChoir EntranceChoir - Main HallCellsInner SanctumOrb Chamber
Other locations LondonAlgeriaAltstadtTomb of Tin HinanZimmermann Farm
Justine campaign Cabinet of Perturbation CellsLibraryDungeonCrypt
Other locations Florbelle Estate

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