Diablo introduced the world of Sanctuary, the humans within it, and the powerful forces of Angels and Demons hovering forever just beyond the veil. The plot of the game of Diablo is revealed during the course of play, by NPC dialogues which are supplemented by the histories and legends related by various books and tomes found through the course of exploring the dungeons.
There are three types of stories told by the books and tomes.
- Histories left by the Horadrim mages. These are ancient tomes and they speak of historical and cosmological matters, introducing the reader to the cosmic struggle between the forces of the Heavens and the Hells.
- Texts describing the events that took place in the Burning Hells that led to the exile of the Three Prime Evils up to their capture by the Horadrim.
- Diary style entries written by Archbishop Lazarus. These confessionals tell the story that led up to events in Diablo, and supplement what the NPCs tell about the plot events of the game.
The dialogues presented in these books are quoted in full on this page. Further Diablo lore is available in thesection of the game manual transcript.
All the lore books are read by the game narrator.
Voice Actor: Paul Eiding
Books written by the ancient Horadrim mages, who built the catacombs beneath Tristram and buried the soulstone containing Diablo's essence deep within the labyrinth. There is some overlap between the books, as they describe the same events from slightly different perspectives or time frames.
These books can be found only on levels 4, 8 and 12 of the Dungeon, Catacombs and Caves respectively.
The Great Conflict
- Take heed and bear witness to the truths that lie herein, for they are the last legacy of the Horadrim. There is a war that rages on even now, beyond the fields that we know - between the utopian kingdoms of the High Heavens and the chaotic pits of the Burning Hells. This war is known as the Great Conflict, and it has raged and burned longer than any of the stars in the sky. Neither side ever gains sway for long as the forces of Light and Darkness constantly vie for control over all creation.
The Wages of Sin are War
- Take heed and bear witness to the truths that lie herein, for they are the last legacy of the Horadrim. When the Eternal Conflict between the High Heavens and the Burning Hells falls upon mortal soil, it is called the Sin War. Angels and Demons walk amongst humanity in disguise, fighting in secret, away from the prying eyes of mortals. Some daring, powerful mortals have even allied themselves with either side, and helped to dictate the course of the Sin War.
The Tale of the Horadrim
- Take heed and bear witness to the truths that lie herein, for they are the last legacy of the Horadrim. Nearly three hundred years ago, it came to be known that the Three Prime Evils of the Burning Hells had mysteriously come to our world. The Three Brothers ravaged the lands of the east for decades, while humanity was left trembling in their wake. Our Order - the Horadrim - was founded by a group of secretive magi to hunt down and capture the Three Evils once and for all.
- The original Horadrim captured two of the Three within powerful artifacts known as Soulstones and buried them deep beneath the desolate eastern sands. The Third Evil escaped capture and fled to the west with many of the Horadrim in pursuit. The Third Evil - known as Diablo, the Lord of Terror - was eventually captured, his essence set in a Soulstone and buried within this Labyrinth.
- Be warned that the soulstone must be kept from discovery by those not of the faith. If Diablo were to be released, he would seek a body that is easily controlled as he would be very weak - perhaps that of an old man or a child.
These books can be found only on levels 4, 8 and 12 of the Dungeon, Catacombs and Caves respectively.
The Dark Exile
- So it came to be that there was a great revolution within the Burning Hells known as The Dark Exile. The Lesser Evils overthrew the Three Prime Evils and banished their spirit forms to the mortal realm. The demons Belial (the Lord of Lies) and Azmodan (the Lord of Sin) fought to claim rulership of Hell during the absence of the Three Brothers. All of Hell polarized between the factions of Belial and Azmodan while the forces of the High Heavens continually battered upon the very Gates of Hell.
The Sin War
- Many demons traveled to the mortal realm in search of the Three Brothers. These demons were followed to the mortal plane by Angels who hunted them throughout the vast cities of the East. The Angels allied themselves with a secretive Order of mortal magi named the Horadrim, who quickly became adept at hunting demons. They also made many dark enemies in the underworlds.
The Binding of the Three
- So it came to be that the Three Prime Evils were banished in spirit form to the mortal realm and after sewing chaos across the East for decades, they were hunted down by the cursed Order of the mortal Horadrim. The Horadrim used artifacts called Soulstones to contain the essence of Mephisto, the Lord of Hatred and his brother Baal, the Lord of Destruction. The youngest brother - Diablo, the Lord of Terror - escaped to the west.
- Eventually the Horadrim captured Diablo within a Soulstone as well, and buried him under an ancient, forgotten Cathedral. There, the Lord of Terror sleeps and awaits the time of his rebirth. Know ye that he will seek a body of youth and power to possess - one that is innocent and easily controlled. He will then arise to free his Brothers and once more fan the flames of the Sin War...
Diary style entries left by the Archbishop, telling how Diablo was freed from the soulstone and returned to power in the body of Prince Albrecht. These books are found in random locations only on levels 4, 8 and 12 of the Dungeon, Catacombs and Caves respectively.
The Realms Beyond
- All praises to Diablo - Lord of Terror and Survivor of The Dark Exile. When he awakened from his long slumber, my Lord and Master spoke to me of secrets that few mortals know. He told me the kingdoms of the High Heavens and the pits of the Burning Hells engage in an eternal war. He revealed the powers that have brought this discord to the realms of man. My lord has named the battle for this world and all who exist here the Sin War.
Tale of the Three
- Glory and Approbation to Diablo - Lord of Terror and Leader of the Three. My Lord spoke to me of his two Brothers, Mephisto and Baal, who were banished to this world long ago. My Lord wishes to bide his time and harness his awesome power so that he may free his captive brothers from their tombs beneath the sands of the east. Once my Lord releases his Brothers, the Sin War will once again know the fury of the Three.
The Black King
- Hail and Sacrifice to Diablo - Lord of Terror and Destroyer of Souls. When I awoke my Master from his sleep, he attempted to possess a mortal's form. Diablo attempted to claim the body of King Leoric, but my Master was too weak from his imprisonment. My Lord required a simple and innocent anchor to this world, and so found the boy Albrecht to be perfect for the task. While the good King Leoric was left maddened by Diablo's unsuccessful possession, I kidnapped his son Albrecht and brought him before my Master. I now await Diablo's call and pray that I will be rewarded when he at last emerges as the Lord of this world.
There is a bit of lore in Hellfire, enough to establish the game's plot and give some background to the one official character, the Monk. There are also some books to be found in the Crypt levels that add to the game's story. These are all worth reading on their own, but they are considered non-canon, since they are exclusive to this expansion pack, which was produced by Sierra in conjuction with Blizzard. Hellfire makes no additions to the lore revealed or story told in Diablo.
The Hellfire tomes relate entirely to the plot of Hellfire, which revolves around a powerful mage summoning the demon Na-Krul. The demon was too powerful for the mage to control, and as the mage felt himself losing control, he took the time to write long, grammatically correct journal entries, which he left on huge book stands spread throughout his dungeon.
The Dark Mage
This is the official Hellfire world fiction, transcribed from the game manual.
- Not long ago, before the betrayal of Arch-Bishop Lazarus and the freeing of Diablo, a Dark Mage was seen on the outskirts of Tristram. Many claimed that he often lurked near the cemetery at night. As this skulking figure did not appear to harm the graves, the townspeople left him alone. One evening smoke came driving from the soil, as from a smoldering fire. An orange glow from below lit up the tombstones, and someone saw the Dark Mage descent into the earth itself. The smoke dissipated, the glow faded, and the cemetery was still. Whispers of evil sorcery and necromancy filled the tavern's gossip for a while, but were soon forgotten as King Leoric grew maddened and other troubles plagued the town.
- Shortly before the Hero came and descended into the depths below the Monastery, the ground began smoldering again in the cemetery. A passing traveler told of spying a cloaked figure fleeing from the smoky site. Splattered with a thick, glowing substance, the Dark mage ran to the river and crossed the bridge, where he collapsed. The the traveler's unbelieving eyes, the stained, glowing body of the mage seemed to dissolve and melt into the earth, the soil greedily soaking up the remains.
- Alarmed, the townspeople investigated the area by the river. To their dismay, they found an unclean, alien growth near the spot where the Dark Mage fell. A hard, dome-like shell, impenetrable and bizarre, sat in the center of the long atrocity. Since a small meteorite had fallen and exploded at this same location years earlier, it was now a place not only to be avoided, but also to be feared. The people pitied the poor Farmer whose land was affected, and many were concerned for his sanity, as he had taken to talking to his cattle for hours.
- Disturbed and filled with dread, the people of Tristram have lately had many tragedies befall them. Signs of evil and chaos are everywhere, and the odd events by the river and in the graveyard are only a few of the many horrors that they have to contemplate. It is their hope that the Hero can unravel these mysteries, as well as defeat the Lord of Terror, Diablo.
- Monks of the Brotherhood of the Bough are a rare sight. It is said that they come from a desolate wilderness, where their people were forced to flee after being conquered by an invading horde. Because of their great defeat, these people vowed to master the arts of combat. Lacking resources such as iron, they learned to use their bare hands and simple wooden staves as deadly weapons, and do not depend on metal armor to provide protection in battle. Instead, they rely upon speed and concentration. In their harsh native clime, they have been forced to find food and other essentials in the most unlikely of places. Over time, this careful searching has honed their visual perception to an almost supernatural level.
- It is rumored that a dark sickness has fallen upon the homeland of the Monks, and many of their people have died. The Brotherhood of the Bough has sought to unearth the foulness, to no avail. Desperate for answers, lone Monks have ventured to distant lands, searching for regions suffering a similar affliction. Tales of the evils besetting Tristram will have already attracted the attention of the Brotherhood.
- The Monk is extremely skilled in hand-to-hand combat, and is a master of the staff, which he can use to strike many opponents with a single blow. However, he is not well trained with bladed or projectile weapons, and is not used to wearing heavy armor. Foes of weak or moderate ability tend to fail easily before him, but tougher enemies may provide him with a considerable challenge. All Monks have the ability to find items easily because of their exceptional eyesight.
Cornerstone of the World
This object is found on the first level of the Crypt. Its function is to transfer items between single player Hellfire characters, but it has some lore attached to it as well. See the Cornerstone of the World page for more details about how to use it. Here's the lore revealed by dropping an item on the active square itself.
- And in the year of the golden light, it was so decreed that a great cathedral be raised. The cornerstone of this holy place was to be carved from the translucent stone Antyrael, named for the angel who shared his power with the Horadrim. In the year of drawing shadows, the ground shook and the cathedral shattered and fell. As the building of catacombs and castles began and man stood against the ravages of the Sin War, the ruins were scavenged for their stones. And so it was that the cornerstone vanished from the eyes of man.
- The stone was of this world - and of all worlds - as the light is both within things and beyond all things. Light and unity are the products of this holy foundation, a unity of purpose and a unity of possession.
Assembling the three parts of this note isn't exactly a quest, but this wiki hosts a quest page that covers it. The note is found in three scraps, one each on levels 1, 2, and 3 of the Crypt. Once all three parts have been found they automatically combine into the reassembled note, which can be read to learn more information about Na-Krul and how to weaken him before releasing him.
- Whoever finds this scroll is charged with stopping the demonic creature that lies within these walls. My time is over. Even now, its hellish minions claw at the frail door behind which I hide.
- I have hobbled the demon with arcane magic and encased it within great walls, but I fear that will not be enough.
- The spells found in my three grimoires will provide you protected entrance to this domain, but only if cast in their proper sequence. The levers at the entryway will remove the barriers and free the demon; touch them not! Use only these spells to gain entry or his power may be too great for you to defeat.
To weaken Na-Krul, read the books in front of his chamber in this order:
- In Spiritu Sanctum.
- Praedictum Otium.
- Efficio Obitus Ut Inimicus.
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