Stay a while and listen.Note: This page is for the first game. Diablo II and Diablo III have their own pages.
— Deckard Cain
An isometric 2D Hack and Slash
game series from Blizzard Entertainment
. Notorious for having an elaborate backstory and plot that nobody ever follows
concerning a war between Heaven and Hell
. As a sort of simple graphical roguelike
, the pursuit of the perfect randomly-generated equipment
and character build
to satisfy one's inner Munchkin
gives the game tremendous replayability
is essentially a huge dungeon crawl, consisting of 16 levels of increasing difficulty under the old cathedral of Tristram, the only town in the game, where various NPCs provide you with quests, healing, and equipment. The player has three characters to choose from - Warrior, Rogue and Sorcerer
. The goal is to reach the Big Bad
, Diablo, in the very bottom level of the dungeon and kill him. The non-canonical third-party expansion pack Hellfire
added eight new separate levels and four new quests (a quest to kill another Diablo-esque baddy in the crypt near the church, a quest from Lester the farmer, a cow quest and a quest to retrieve a teddy bear
) as well as three more characters (Monk, Bard and Barbarian), though you have to enter a special edit to a text file to get the last two of those quests and the last two of those new characters.
Meanwhile, the developers of the first two Diablo
games, Blizzard North, resigned en masse
and formed "Flagship Studios", which continued to produce Hack and Slash
games, specifically Hellgate: London
. After Flagship folded, the same people formed "Runic Games", which produced Torchlight
. All three titles can be considered Spiritual Successors
; they certainly all play similarly.
See also Baldurs Gate Dark Alliance
spiritual successor Champions of Norrath
. A character sheet
and a synopsis page
are in the works.
This game provides examples of:
open/close all folders
A - F
- Ability Required to Proceed: In Hellfire (an expansion pack to the original game), you cannot reach the insect hive until the farmer character knows you well enough to talk to you about his problems (and then to give you the explosives you need to create an entrance to the hive).
- Adventure-Friendly World: In the world of Diablo most of the magical equipment you come by (barring some made using ancient relics) was forged by the demons for use in their wars. The events of the first game created a bustling trade from adventurers dredging the items up from the demons of the cathedral, while most traders in Diablo III admit to getting their goods by stealing, looting corpses, or digging them out of the ground.
- The Alcoholic: Farnham the Drunk, a comedic character who actually had a tragic side to him; he had to watch most of his friends get slaughtered during a raid in the dungeons. He lost his mind and fell to drink soon after being one of the only survivors of those who followed the treacherous Lazarus into the Cathedral.
- All There in the Manual: Background information for much of the series is not actually in the game, though you do get plenty of tidbits from NPCs. The Diablo manual contained most of the plot and backstories of all the races and units. This includes a very vivid description of a little boy being transformed into Diablo.
- Almost Dead Guy: The dying villager at the entrance to the Church that begins the "Butcher" quest in Diablo. Since he'll hang on forever as long as you don't speak to him, and you don't actually need to speak with him to deal with the Butcher, some players simply ignore him in order to save his life.
- Ancient Tomb: The cathedral holds many free-standing stone coffins, many of which contain skeletons that will attack you. And then there is an entire level called The Tomb of King Leoric, which is not particularly ancient, but is still crawling with skeletons.
- And I Must Scream:
- The Diablo Warrior. You know that somewhere during his voyage to the East, he realized that Diablo has more and more control over him, and that instead of seeking salvation, Diablo will make him free another Prime Evil.
- Inarius the angel. Mephisto tore the wings from his back, sliced open his eyelids, and sealed him in a prison of mirrors. He's got nothing to do for the rest of eternity except gaze upon the reflection of his ruined form.
- And Then John Was a Zombie: At the end of Diablo, the hero defeats Diablo and jams its soulstone in his/her own forehead to contain it. This results in the hero becoming the new Big Bad in Diablo 2. This was later retconned in Diablo 2 by saying that said hero was more or less mindraped into doing so.
- Angels, Devils and Squid: The series mainly focuses on the Angels and Devils, but some Squid are present in the novels, such as the dreamers, who are stated to come from a dimension beyond both Heaven and Hell, as well as whatever Trag'Oul is (although, he's more of a benevolent squid).
- Animate Dead: Justified on the website. Evidently skeletons are actually dirt and bone dust held together by magic, rather than actual skeletons.
- Antagonist Title: It even provides the image for the trope page.
- Anti-Grinding: Each floor had a finite number of enemies, limiting experience and item acquisition. Although it's obvious fast enough that you can still grind by starting a new game with the same character, resetting the entire dungeon bosses and all.
- Area of Effect: Diablo and Diablo II feature lots of spells and effects with a circular hit radius, like Nova and its counterparts of other elements (including Diablo's Fire Nova), the Sorceress's Static Field (drops every nearby enemy's HP by a direct percentage), the Necromancer's Corpse Explosion and curses, the Barbarian's Warcries (both the buffing and de-buffing ones), and the Paladin's auras.
- Armor and Magic Don't Mix: In a roundabout way. A character's ability to wear a piece of armor (aside from level and any specific class restrictions on an item) more often than not depends on how many stat points are in STR. The result is that the 'pure' mage class (the sorcerer) can't wear the heaviest armor because the player has likely put most of their stat points into INT. In other words, they can't wear the armor because they're squishy, and they're squishy because they train their minds more than their bodies. Additionally, the first game gives sorcerers the lowest STR cap of any class, further restricting what armors they can equip.
- The Artful Dodger: Wirt, who deals in illicit goods and has perhaps the saddest backstory of the entire first game.
- Awesome but Impractical: Diablo has a LOT of spells that are cool but useless. Town Portal can be learned as a spell, but you're very likely to find a scroll anyway. Couple that with the fact you have to learn it multiple times to reduce the mana cost to reasonable levels (especially for the Warrior) and, well... Likewise, Healing is a lot less useful than just slugging back a potion, and the unique ability each class has will see use only on the far side of never. Telekinesis has no redeeming qualities whatsoever (you can just walk up to the items, and being able to push a foe back a square is more than inadequate for the amount of mana it costs).
- Don't underestimate Telekinesis. It is useful if you're playing under multiplayer rules (death = all items drop to the floor) and you have to extract your precious items from under the noses of the monsters that killed you with those items on and will most likely kill you again without them, over and over until they swarm the only entrance to the level.
- Badass: Any character who dives into hell and makes it his/her own blood soaked parking lot deserves special mention. Especially single handed.
- The Bad Guy Wins: Diablo ends with the Big Bad successfully convincing the hero to make a Heroic Sacrifice and become the can to seal the evil in, which in Diablo II proves to be a Senseless Sacrifice.
- Beating A Dead Player: Enemies will hack away at your corpse until you restart.
- Became Their Own Antithesis: King Leoric went from a righteous and noble king to a bloody-handed madman and eventual undead abomination by the time that Diablo and his Evil Chancellor Lazarus got through with him.
- Big Bad: Diablo, the Lord of Terror, is the Big Bad of the series that bears his name, though in Diablo II, he shares this status with his two brothers, Mephisto and Baal, as the "Prime Evils."
- Big Red Devil: Guess who?
- Black and Gray Morality: See Light Is Not Good. With a few exceptions, the forces of Heaven have little to no regard for humanity. At best, they see them as pawns in their war against Hell and at worst they want to completely wipe out Sanctuary because it is part demonic.
- The Blacksmith: Griswold repairs your weapons and armor and buys and sells them as well.
- Bloodstained Glass Windows: The first half of the game revolves around working your way down through a cathedral's basements and catacombs.
- Bloody Bowels of Hell: Hell consisted of what seems to be bony walls filled with blood. The Nest in Hellfire was even more organic, but less infernal.
- Boring Return Journey: Not only the Town Portal spell, but all the action takes place underneath the same town. Every now and then you'll find a secret passage that takes you right back to the surface.
- Boss Banter: Three bosses (the Butcher, the Archbishop, and Diablo himself) have set phrases that they say when you encounter them
"AH, FRESH MEAT."
- Boss in Mook Clothing: Interestingly, Diablo himself, the final boss of the game, is treated as a regular mook known simply as "The Dark Lord".
- Bow and Sword, in Accord: Your warrior ought to hang on to a bow in case he gets a chance to shoot anything through a portcullis. (Most enemies can't open doors.) For the Rogue, this is much more important, as if she's caught at close range she needs a sword and shield to defend herself.
- Breakable Weapons: Using the repair skill at lower levels would fix the weapon, but lower its maximum durability number, meaning it would need fixing again sooner. Also, items reduced to Zero Durability are destroyed, making low durability items like the Thinking Cap very tedious to use. However, there were shrines in the game that raised maximum durability, and making use of the Thinking Cap item (which had 1 durability) to start with, almost required exploiting these shrines.
- Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu: The hero winds up with a case of The Virus, since the only way he could come up with to utterly stop the Lord of Evil was to shove a chunk of it into his face.
- Building of Adventure: The series tends to have these. The original had all its action take place in the Tristram Cathedral and its various basements.
- The Butcher: A powerful boss demon which you can be confronted with.
"Aaaah, Fresh Meat!"
- The Caligula: King Leoric of Khanduras was once a just and noble king, but was driven mad by Diablo's attempt to take him over. When his Evil Chancellor, Archbishop Lazarus, kidnapped his youngest son Albrecht to be made a vessel for Diablo, Leoric lost it completely and fell into this trope's territory, having many people tortured and executed, up to and including his own queen, out of paranoia, an event that would come to be known in Tristram as "the Darkening." Leoric was slain by the captain of his army, Lachdanan, who could no longer bear to see his people suffer under his liege's madness. Unfortunately for Lachdanan, his knights, and Tristram, the story did not end there.
- Cannibal Larder: The Butcher's room is covered in blood and features corpses hanging from hooks on the walls.
- Chain Lightning: The spell called "Chain Lightning" isn't actually chain lightning. Instead, it shoots piercing lightning bolts at all enemies within range for massive damage against tightly packed enemies.
- Chaos Architecture: The labyrinthine catacombs to Hell with their dead ends and lava caves under the cathedral in Tristram weren't built that way. They were perfectly normal catacombs that just happened to imprison a Prime Evil, who took over.
- Cherry Tapping: The Telekinesis spell is the ultimate way to cherry tap your enemies.
- Chewing the Scenery: The voice actress Lani Minella is no stranger to huge portions of Large Ham. Listen to her voice acting as Adria.
Adria: The Butcher IS A SADISTIC CREATURE...
- Choice of Two Weapons: It's a fairly good idea to have this set up. Warriors occasionally find themselves needing to shoot at something (or, in the case of enemies trapped on the opposite sides of portcullises, want to pick enemies off at a distance.) A rogue often finds herself needing to resort to hand-to-hand if fast enemies are encroaching, so having a sword and shield and the strength to use both available helps. Straying out of Bow and Sword, in Accord and into Magic Knight, magic is helpful to the rogue as well, though the warrior's maximum magic is so low that its barely worth his while. The sorcerer is pretty damn awful with both bow and sword, but its worth giving him a bit of strength and a light sword and shield in case he runs out of mana (True, you might be screwed if this is the case, but it's better than nothing).
- The Chosen Many: In all the games, all of the classes are canonically involved in the quest, regardless of which one the player chooses, though the player never meets the others in a single-player campaign.
- Chupacabra: A Scavenger-type boss monster named El Chupacabras.
- Class and Level System: You select one of several different character classes, but how you develop the character is up to you. Leveling up gives you five stat points you can add to your strength, dexterity, life or magic however you see fit.
- Come for the X, Stay for the Y:
- Compilation Re-release: The Diablo Battle Chest, which includes both the first two Diablo games and the second game's expansion pack Lord of Destruction.
- Concept Art Gallery: The game manuals themselves for the two first games had pages of concept art and background stuck in between everything else.
- Continuing Is Painful: Dying results in you dropping all your items until you can get them back, provided someone else doesn't gank them in the meantime if you're playing multiplayer. Getting to your stuff can be a headache in itself, especially if you died to something really tough or a swarm of them.
- Continuity Snarl / Retcon: There are several inconsistencies across the series, although most players pay so little attention to the story that they won't realise it.
- The writings of Abd al-Hazir say that the Tristram Cathedral was built around 912 over the vault where Diablo was imprisoned, but Diablo hadn't even been exiled to Sanctuary at that time.
- The Diablo 1 manual says that after their exile the Three Brothers ravaged the lands of the Far East for countless centuries, but in the game it is stated that they did so for decades. In the current timeline 50 years pass between their exile and capture.
- Before he came to Khanduras Leoric was originally a northern lord, this has been changed to an eastern lord.
- In the Sin War trilogy of novels the robes of the order of Dialon are azure, they should be crimson. While the robes of the order of Mephis should be azure instead of black. (To match the color of their Soulstone)
- There are many errors in Scales of the Serpent, where the statue of Dialon has a hammer instead of tablets and where the one of Bala has tablets instead of a hammer.
- In Scales of the Serpent, the high priest of Dialon is named Arihan and is said to have had his title for a long time, but in Birthright all the high priests are named (Malic, Herodius and Balthazar) and Arihan isn't part of them.
- Co-Op Multiplayer
- Council of Angels: The setting of Sanctuary in which the series takes place primarily concerns a war between demons from the Burning Hells and angels from the High Heavens. The demons are led by the three Prime Evils and the four Lesser Evils, and in the final book of "The Sin War" trilogy, a council of five angels referred to as the Angiris Council decide the fate of the world after the main conflict is over. The angels, by the way, are doing a really lousy job, but then they're kind of jerks anyway, the main exception being Tyrael, the archangel who cast the deciding vote for humanity to continue to exist.
- Crapsaccharine World: The main thread is a straight-up Crapsack World, but the tie-in novels show what it's like when it's not assaulted by Demonic Invaders. It's not actually any better, but it's better at hiding how screwed up it is.
- Crapsack World: The world of Sanctuary. Well, technically the tie-in novels make it a Crapsaccharine World, but the games themselves focus on what happens when the veil's stripped away, followed three seconds later by the flesh off your skull. The game starts with the noble king of Khandruas going insane and being corrupted and his kingdom being destroyed. Then you have to kill the undead king, plus demons are killing people, the prince has been kidnapped and possessed. After 16 annoying levels you finally make it to the Big Bad, the title archdemon and beat him... except the prince is now dead and you just became Diablo's new, more powerful host.
- Cross Player: There's a specifically-sexed sprite for each character: male (Warrior, Sorcerer), female (Rogue)
- Cut-and-Paste Environments: The series prides itself for its randomly generated dungeons, and apart from a few carefully-constructed areas (boss levels, the last parts of final dungeons, towns etc.) it manages to avoid this trope completely.
- Cutscene: The games are renowned for having, at the time of their release, very well-done pre-rendered animation.
- Cycle of Hurting:
- Getting hit with enough damage will stun you (or an enemy) and you can get stunned repeatedly which leads to a stunlock. Avoiding stunlock is pretty much the basis of all warrior's strategies, and is important to ALL chars. If you do get stunlocked, all you can do is mash healing potions hoping for a chain of misses. Meanwhile, your equipment was taking damage along with you, could break completely in just a few seconds once the durability alarm appears, and once broken would vanish forever. But then this is the game where clicking the wrong shrine takes away mana permanently and some monsters cause permanent life damage, so it's fair.
- On the bright side, this makes even the boss fight against Diablo a cinch. To elaborate: monsters can get stunned by spells they are not resistant to, usually dooming them because the cast speed of any character that wants to cast spells exceeds the hit recovery speed of the monster, but past the midgame just about everything is indeed resistant (or immune) to everything. Well, except Diablo himself, who for some reason is the only non-undead in the whole game that can be hit by the lowly Holy Bolt spell. And Holy Bolt deals pure damage that cannot be resisted...
- Deconstruction: The series as a whole is one to Heroic Fantasy. No matter how hard you fight, no matter how many hellspawn you slay, the Great Evils will always be one step ahead of you, your actions will, more often than not, help them with their goals, and they will always succeed in their plans and get what they want, even in death. Always.
- Defensive Feint Trap: "Pulling".
- Degraded Boss:
- The Butcher is an Overlord demon and a challenging boss early on, but later you can dispatch countless Overlords who are even stronger, albeit without the cleaver.
- Zhar the Mad appears halfway through the game as a boss. Dark mage type enemies resembling him are later found in the final Hell levels.
- Dem Bones: Skeletons are a common foe in the early levels
- Demonic Possession: Diablo: Diablo has possessed Prince Albrecht, the Warrior's little brother. And the ending? The player character gets possessed after he got tricked into inserting the dark Soul Stone unto his forehead.
- Demon Lords and Archdevils: The Seven Great Evils: The Prime Evils Diablo, Mephisto, and Baal, and the Lesser Evils Andariel, Duriel, Belial, and Asmodan. Diablo is the only one you face in the first game; the rest come into play in the sequels.
- Demon Slaying: You will be doing this a lot in this series.
- Devil but No God: Averted. There isn't a devil either. In Hell you have the Three Prime Evils and their four lieutenants, and in Heaven you have the Angelic Council. Sanctuary itself was created by a relationship between an angel and demon.
- Diabolus Ex Machina: The game ends with you killing Diablo and ramming his soulstone into your own head so you can contain him with your mind. It did not work so well. In fact, Diablo possessed the hero and used his power to strengthen himself so he could escape the dungeon and revive the other Prime Evils.
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: The whole point of the games, although how said punching out actually ends up turning out sets up the stories of the sequels.
- Doesn't Trust Those Guys: Among drunkard Farnham's words of wisdom: "I've never seen [Adria the witch] eat or drink, and you can't trust somebody who doesn't drink at least a little." Well...
- Do Not Run with a Gun: Diablo is a case with both player and monsters suffering from this. But some special move are a combination of move and attack.
- Doomed Home Town: Tristram.
- Doomed Protagonist: The ending strongly implies this of the hero, who has rammed the soulstone into his or her own head to attempt to contain Diablo's evil. Diablo II makes very clear how bad an idea this was.
- Door of Doom: Diablo has this in spades. Lets you go to hell with horrors at the other end.
- Door to Before: There's a portal to each of the 3 main areas, the Catacombs, the Caves, and Hell.
- Downer Ending: The game ends with the hero making an attempt to contain Diablo's evil by ramming the soulstone into his forehead, but it's implied that this is doomed to fail. Diablo II shows just how bad an idea this was.
- The Dreaded: Diablo, the antagonist of the series. Appropriate, given that he's the Lord of Terror.
- Drop-In-Drop-Out Multiplayer: Diablo is almost MMORPG-like, with players able to join and leave at will, form into parties, and the game even applying Dynamic Difficulty to compensate for the extra players.
- Dual Wielding: The Bard had a crude form of it; they reused the Rogue animations so she's only ever shown holding one sword, but gets double damage and the ability to hit multiple enemies simultaneously when equipped with two.
- Dude, Where's My Reward?: In the ending, after the hero has fought through hundreds of monsters and finally defeated the Big Bad, what does he get? He shoves Diablo's Soulstone into his own forehead, which causes him to become Diablo in the second game. Justified in that it is a Crapsack World where No Good Deed Goes Unpunished.
- Dummied Out: Half of the new monsters introduced in Hellfire are just things that were dummied out in the original game.
- Dungeon Bypass: As a game with randomly generated dungeons, it will occasionally end up generating a floor's exit right next to its entrance. You can't bypass the entire dungeon this way, but you pretty much end up bypassing that floor. One speedrunner takes advantage of this feature to finish the first game in a matter of minutes, by reloading every time the next floor wasn't laid out this way.
- Dungeon Crawling: The series, which began life as a Roguelike which had you killing demons and undead in a sixteen-level dungeon and ultimately became the Hack and Slash series we know and love today.
- Durable Deathtrap: Diablo doesn't have many traps of the classic variety, but a common baffling feature of dungeons is skeletons inside barrels. Who put the skeleton in there? Why hasn't the skeleton broken out? If the skeleton put himself in there so he could ambush you, why does he always wait to show himself until you've broken open the barrel and the skeleton is directly in the path of your weapon?
- The manual states they were people who were sealed in barrels to die. As for why they hadn't broken out and wait until you destroy the barrels...
- Dying Curse: Lachdanan and his knights are cursed to eternal damnation by King Leoric, who they were forced to slay to put an end to his madness.
King Leoric: Traitors! Even in death, the armies of Khanduras will still obey their king! Even if you will not...
- Dying Town: Tristram is slowly but surely decaying away as Diablo's influence spreads.
- Early Bird Boss: The Butcher. Early level players will get, well, butchered the first time they fight the dude, although fortunately you don't actually have to kill him the first moment you see his lair and you can wait until you're some levels higher. He can even be literally impossible for some characters when they first meet him, as he regenerates health too fast to kill.
- Early Game Hell: The hardest boss is the Butcher, encountered at level 2 and quite capable of surviving all your mana potions and staff charges and killing you in two hits.
- Early Installment Weirdness: Diablo was markedly different from its sequels. Aside from the expected differences in scope, lore, balance and gameplay features, the first game was much more survival oriented and featured several instances of NetHack-style permanent character damage. Shrine effects were irreversible and not all were positive, and there was a monster that would permanently reduce your maximum life. When you died in multiplayer mode, all your gear would end up on the ground and would be lost forever if you were unable to recover it. This would be unthinkable in the sequels which revolve around Min-Maxing character builds and Item Farming.
- Easy Levels, Hard Bosses: Boss fights in the series are often a lot more difficult than the areas before or after them. The Butcher set the trend.
- Elaborate Equals Effective: Used with the armors.
- Elemental Crafting: Diablo has this in a slightly unusual form; they have a rather standard set of metals and gems, but mechanically they're treated like any other magical item power, so an "Iron Short Sword" or "Bronze Dagger" is considered a magic item by the game. In the original Diablo, the useful metals are Bronze < Iron < Steel < Silver < Gold < Platinum < Mithril < Meteoric; the negative ones are Tin and Brass. Gems provide elemental resistances; Topaz < Amber < Jade < Obsidian < Emerald give across-the-board resistance to everything. The specific resistances are colors (Red and Crimson for fire, White for magic, Blue for lightning, etc.) at the lower levels, but become gems when more powerful; Pearl < Ivory < Crystal < Diamond for resistance to general 'magic', Garnet < Ruby for fire, Lapis < Cobalt (OK, it's a metal, not a gem) < Sapphire for lightning.
- Elemental Powers: The basis of the powers used by the Mage Clans. The "traditional" Clans use Fire, Ice and Lightning.
- Elemental Weapon: A staple of the games. In Diablo, they can come with elemental powers.
- Elite Mook: Quite literally. Elite mooks basically have a different colored name, more hit points, some new powers, and drop higher loot. Otherwise, they're the same as their type. They also tend to be surrounded by a cadre of their type, which are normal except for a single buff.
- Empire with a Dark Secret: The tie-in novel "The Kingdom of Shadow" centers around this, coupled with Crapsaccharine World.
- Enemy Civil War: Two lesser demon lords made a pact to overthrow the three greatest ones in one civil war, and afterward they started another civil war between them.
- Escape Rope:
- The Town Portal spell, which takes you to a specific spot in Tristram (sensible as it's the only town) and is a fairly low level spell that has the same effect no matter what your stats are, so even non magic-focused character builds could learn it. Scrolls would also drop fairly regularly.
- Hellfire added the Warp spell, which teleported you towards the nearest stairs. At best, it was a free escape from whatever battle you were in, at least unless the game was killing you the way it usually did or a free ride across half of the map. At worst, you were back where you started and had to walk across half of the map again.
- Ethnic Magician: A black sorcerer and two white warrior types as player characters.
- Everyone Has A Special Move: The three player characters in the original game had unique special abilities (item repair for Warrior, trap disarm for Rogue, and staff recharge for Sorcerer), while basically sharing the pool of abilities they could theoretically learn.
- Evil Chancellor: Archbishop Lazarus was this to King Leoric of Khanduras. He was corrupted by Diablo long ago, and not only influenced him for the worse when the archdemon in question tried to take him over, but was responsible for many of the knights of Khanduras being killed in a war with Westmarch, the luring of many adventurers into the Tristram Cathedral to be murdered by the demonic Butcher, and the kidnapping of Prince Albrecht, Leoric's youngest son, to be a vessel for Diablo.
- Evil Smells Bad: Upon entering the catacombs, the main character comments, "The smell of death surrounds me."
- Evil Sounds Deep: No matter what game he's in, Diablo rocks the evil demonic voice.
- Expanded Universe: A number of novels penned in the world of Sanctuary, including the Word of God canonized Sin War Trilogy starring the Sanctuary equivalent of Heracles/Jesus set thousands and thousands of years before the games take place.
- Expansion Pack: Hellfire was an official expansion, but it was made by a third party and was pretty sloppy in quality.
- Exploding Barrels
- Eye Motifs: The seal of the Horadrim order includes what could be a pair of very stylised eyes, dripping, within a triangle.
- Eye Scream: In the intro, you see a close up of a crow picking out the eye of a decaying body. While not looking too realistic by today's CGI standards, that was a pretty unpleasant scene at the time of release.
- Fallen Angel: Izual, Inarius, Imperius, and probably others. The apparent lack of any Ascended Demons bodes ill for the fate of the setting.
- Fantastic Racism: The Angel Imperius displays this in the Expanded Universe. Even Tyrael shared his prejudice before Uldyssian's Heroic Sacrifice showed him that humanity was capable of nobility and virtue.
- Fantasy World Map: Sanctuary's a constantly changing place, though, since none of the maps looked like the other. The map, which is supposed to be of the same continent over a span of about thirty years, changes rather drastically from one game to the next.
- Fauns and Satyrs: Goatmen, which are actually demons and not related to either goats or humans (or, at least, they weren't originally; Diablo III retconned it).
- Female Angel, Male Demon: Diablo has a picture of an female angel and a male demon for the health and mana orbs respectively. This doesn't apply to the characters on the other hands, as both Angels and Demons are shown have both male and female, with mostly male characters being portrayed for both. The backstory, on the other hand, inverts it with Star-Crossed Lovers Inarius and Lilith, with the former being a male angel and the latter being a female demon.
- Fighter, Mage, Thief: Played completely straight, with the Warrior, Sorcerer, and Rogue, respectively.
- Fireballs: It has fire magic in it after all so that's almost compulsory.
- First Town: Tristram, was in fact the only town in the game.
- Flavor Text: The games are full of Flavor Text.
- Fling a Light into the Future: Evilly subverted. Azmodan pulls this with himself and his forces, sealing himself away until the heroes who defeated his fellow Prime Evils would be unable to stop him.
- Follow the Leader: The series created its own genre called "Diablo clones" (Torchlight, Dungeon Siege, Untold Legends, etc.), and was itself a graphical spin on another fine tradition in Follow The Leader: Roguelike games, of which NetHack is the most popular.
- Foreign Language Title: "Diablo" is Spanish for "devil".
- Forever War: The ongoing war between Heaven and Hell, which is even called the Eternal Conflict. The period where angels and demons fought in the mortal realm of Sanctuary was called the Sin War, and it only ended when Uldyssian, a nephalem (one of the offspring of renegade angels and demons who were the ancestors of humanity), sacrificed himself for the sake of humanity.
- Friend in the Black Market: This arises as a gameplay mechanic in an awful lot of video games (especially RPGs) where the shopkeepers expect the heroes to cough up the dough even when the world is about to end. After all, Adam Smith Hates Your Guts. It fits this trope more than Honest John as at least they sell you legitimate items. Except that little snotrag Wirt.
- Friend Or Foe: Friendly fire is enabled.
- From Bad to Worse: Diablo driving King Leoric of Khanduras insane, bringing him back as a powerful skeletal demon, and then possessing his youngest son Albrecht. He then Mind Controls the hero of the first game, who it turns out is the King's older son Aidan, into sticking the piece of Diablo's soulstone into his own head.
G - L
- Giant Mook: The horned demons appearing halfway through the game, and megademons on the later levels that are quite deadly and come in large numbers.
- Grid Inventory: Diablo virtually named this trope.
- Guys Smash, Girls Shoot: The first game has a similar arrangement, with a female Rogue who functions best as an archer, and a male warrior and wizard.
- Healing Spring: Blood fountains and purifying springs, which provide an endless supply of health or mana at a rate of ONE POINT PER CLICK. Keep in mind a high level character will have hundreds of points in either stat. It also has murky pools, which are single use and randomly change your attributes by moving a single point from one attribute to another, which is unlikely to either be beneficial or even help you all that much when it is, considering you will have tens of points into all of them by the time you start finding these.
- Heart Drive: The Soulstones have a nasty tendency to get used as these by the demons corrupting them, complete with taking over new hosts.
- Heaven and Hell: The entire conflict of the story is a battle between the High Heavens led by the Angiris Council and the Burning Hells led by the Seven Great Evils.
- Hell: The games use Hell and an attempt to stop a demonic invasion in their stories. Diablo features the catacombs of Tristram's cathedral eventually warping into a Hellish landscape.
- Hellgate: Reality is warped the deeper you go, until you actually enter Hell.
- Heroic Fantasy: The game takes place in a world called Sanctuary that was created by rogue angels and demons.
- He Who Fights Monsters: Every protagonist. No exceptions. The manual foreshadows it with a prominent use of Nietzsche's quote.
- Hide Your Children: In Diablo, there is a peg-legged young boy in Tristram named Wirt with whom you can "gamble" to buy items. He's the only child seen during the entire game; the manual and NPC dialog indicate that all the other children have already been killed by the demons.
- Horny Devils: Diablo has an army of succubi. Albeit, they're not particularly sexual creatures, rather color-coded, fireball-flinging, batwinged, naked women.
- Hot Bar: There's a hotbar where you can assign your usable items (perhaps most importantly, healing potions) and spells.
- Hub Level: The town of Tristram, where you were given quests and sold loot.
- Hyperspace Arsenal: The games have different inventory areas, each with a different amount of limited space, that represent easily-accessed belt pouches, holding space in a backpack, a treasure chest in town, etc. You still never see this backpack, and it can comfortably hold multiple suits of full plate armor.
- I Can't Use These Things Together:
- Whenever the player tries to make his/her avatar do something that it can't, it'll explain why:
There's no room!
I gotta pawn some of this stuff!
Not enough mana
- More humorously, if the player clicks on a cow over and over, the avatar will confidently state: "Yup, that's a cow, all right." "I'm not thirsty." "I am no milkmaid."
- Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels: Normal, Nightmare, and Hell difficulty levels; the game tried to make them multiplayer-exclusive, though there's a Good Bad Bug to get around that.
- If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him: Used rather cleverly in the first game: killing its human host doesn't affect Diablo at all, so the hero tries to imprison the Lord of Terror in his own body. It doesn't work, and by the end of the second game he literally becomes Diablo.
- Improbable Power Discrepancy
- Infant Immortality: Averted. Although you can't kill any children in-game, the story states that Diablo possessed a young prince's body. When Diablo is finally defeated in the end of the first game, his body turns back into that of the dead prince. Made even more tragic by Diablo III, which reveals that the Warrior who canonically defeated Diablo was the prince's older brother Aidan. The guilt Aidan felt from killing his little brother made it easier for Diablo to possess him.
- Infinity–1 Sword: There are a lot more powerful swords available than Griswold's Edge, but those are all random drops, whereas Griswold's Edge is guaranteed if you get the right quest, and it does do decent damage and knock back enemies. In addition, its additional damage is fire damage, which is the only energy type that's of any use in the final level.
- Informed Equipment: There were very few models of armor, though there were some different ones for different kinds, specifically light leathery armor, medium chain-y armor, and heavy plate armor.
- Insurmountable Waist High Fence: Tristram is delimited by these on all four sides.
- Inventory Management Puzzle: Trying to juggle between armor, weapons, potions, scrolls, and money could make for a very challenging time. Sure, money stacked, but the richer you were, the less room you had left in your inventory. Even worse, due to a glitch it became impossible to buy the best armor in the game because carrying enough gold to pay for it meant there wasn't enough room for the item itself!
- Invincible Villain: The series takes this trope and run with it Up to Eleven: for the first two games and most of the third game, all you character does by trying to defeat the Great Evils usually only ends up helping them in some way, to the point that the first game actually ends with Diablo winning anyway despite his death at the hands of the hero.
- Invisible Monsters: The genuinely creepy The Unseen, which do come visible when they attack, but before that could fill the entire room without you knowing it. Also, due to a bug in the level generation routine, they do not respect the safe zone around the entrance. So when you just arrived in the level and you are gathering your bearings, casting Mana Shield, checking item durability, etc., they could be right behind you, getting closer. And if this is multiplayer mode, your gear is now on the floor next to a sea of enemies right at the stairs.
- Irrelevant Sidequest: Played straight in the two first games, when the player character, on his way to killing demons that threatened a small town or destroyed it and overran the world, also can collect medicinal herbs for people suffering from random diseases, recover heirlooms with purely sentimental value, seek out treasure troves completely unrelated to demons, and help a not immediately hostile demon because he offers you a reward.
- Is Nothing Sacred?: Pepin says that page's quote when you report to him that demons have stolen a sign from someone's home. He is disturbed by the idea that the demons from the labyrinth have become bold enough to have ventured through the village at night.
- Isometric Projection
- Just You And Me And My Guards:
- In single-player Diablo, the Archbishop Lazarus is accompanied by two named witches; while this alone might not count as this trope (seeing as it can be considered a trio of bosses), the pack of Hell Spawn and Advocates that emerge from a disappearing wall does most definitely count.
- Diablo himself is in a room with lots of high-level mooks, though he can be triggered by way of ranged attacks that leave the mooks out of the fight.
- Most of the unique monsters tied to quests come with a cohort, notably including The Skeleton King and The Warlord of Blood. All of the regular uniques come as part of a group of regular monsters of their same type, though that's more of an inversion as the mooks come with a boss rather than the boss bringing along some mooks.
- Keystone Army: In the single player game, all surviving monsters die when Diablo is killed.
- King Mook: The game may pick several from a selection of Palette Swapped versions of the normal mooks as incidental encounters in the randomly generated dungeons.
- Large Ham: All the NPC characters to some degree; given their limited sprites, their voice actors had to compensate. Adria takes the cake, though; all her lines are chock full of portentous pseudo-wisdom, and delivered in a thunderous, over-dramatic voice.
- Last of His Kind: Deckard Cain is the last of the Horadrim.
- Law of Chromatic Superiority: The Diablo series introduced the colouring of items that has since become standard in many RPGs. In Diablo, white was normal, blue magic and yellow unique.
- The Legions of Hell: Numerous and diverse in this series. You will be fighting them a lot.
- Lethal Joke Item: The spell Flash. Not only is it a spell of ridiculously close range, it's also bugged — it does about 10% of its damage in three of the eight directions. It's also a spell of "magic" type, which is the most common immunity. However, the damage to CORRECT directions is unbelievable. Combine it with Teleport and you get TELEFLASH, one of the deadliest techniques against enemies not immune to magic. In the hands of a skilled player, of course.
- Level Drain: Yellow zombies (the "Black Death" variant), which permanently reduced your max HP every time they landed a successful hit.
- Level-Map Display: Especially necessary given that the maps are randomized.
- Level Up Fill Up: This occurs in Diablo and the sequels, where both your health and mana is restored on leveling.
- Life Drain: One possible weapon special ability is healing your character when you damage opponents.
- Life Meter: The Life Meter takes the form of a globe filled with red liquid, the same color as the life potions.
- Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards: Although spells could be learned by anyone with sufficient magic stat points, Warriors and Rogues often found themselves limited in learning capability without high magic-boosting equipment. A few of the game's most useful and powerful bread-and-butter spells often hit the required magic stat requirements way before maximum spell level, forcing non-sorcerers to rely on Enchanted Shrines that are difficult to come by. Additionally, spell damage were also frequently dependent on actual magic stat values. In a game that pretty much taught you to either kill overwhelming odds before they touched you or handle them one at a time (which required you to rely heavily on environment), spell-casting, and consequently the character with inherently superior spell-casting qualities, becomes the staple of endgame strategy.
- Loads and Loads of Loading: There's a particularly egregious example occurring when the player opens the door to the Butcher's room. This was presumably because the game had to access his infamous utterance "Ahh, fresh meat!" on the CD.
- Long-Range Fighter: The Rogue specializes in archery.
- Looks Like She Is Enjoying It: If you are killed while playing the Rogue, she sounds like she just went Out with a Bang.
- Lured Into a Trap: Archbishop Lazarus led a group of people from Tristram into the Cathedral to rescue Prince Albrecht, the little boy who he himself made a vessel for the title archdemon. He lured them into the second level, where he left them to die at the hands of the demonic Butcher. Griswold and Farnham were the only survivors of the attack, which left Griswold with a crippled leg and Farnham with a shattered mind and a broken spirit.
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