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  • Faith–Heel Turn: Jondar, a former Templar who joined Maghda's Dark Coven and became the evil kind of Necromancer when he discovered the corruption within his holy order. Kormac, in his quest to figure out what it was Jondar discovered, asks the player character to kill him if he shows any signs of turning bad like Jondar did.
  • Fake Difficulty: Several randomly-generated enemy combinations found on higher difficulties are nearly impossible for certain characters unless they have gear far more powerful than one player can be expected to find on their own.
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  • Fake King: Hakan II, the child king of Caldeum, turns out to be Belial in disguise. When exactly the possession occurred is unknown.
  • Fake Longevity: In the initial release, there were four difficulties that had to be played in order, and each required playing through every act again. A Diablo tradition. Later averted when this system was changed to allow variable difficulty from the get-go (though unlocking Torment requires playing through the game at least once).
  • Fake Ultimate Mook: Demon Troopers/Raiders from Act III may look big and imposing compared to the other enemies you fight in the area, but they're actually pretty weak in terms of durability, and their attack is very slow.
    • The Colossal Golgor is introduced with its own mini-cutscene, on which the player character comments as if impressed or worried. But because it's a Mighty Glacier, its attacks are usually easy to avoid, and it isn't particularly hard to take down.
  • Fallen Angel:
    • Tyrael willingly becomes this shortly after the Angiris Council (specifically Imperius) refuses to help Sanctuary.
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    • Unlike many real world religions, Diablo's demons are explicitly not fallen angels. However, angels can be corrupted and fall to darkness, which is what happened to Izual and many of the enemies you face in Act 4.
  • Falling Chandelier of Doom: In the Cathedral, you can drop these on your enemies. The chandeliers project a shadow on the ground and are supported by a nearby chain. You even get an achievement if your characters kill 666 enemies with these. There are other places where you can kill/injure enemies with the environment as well.
  • Fantastic Racism: In the Diablo universe, humans are descended from the Nephalem, who were born from the union of angels and demons tired of the Eternal Conflict and created the world of Sanctuary, which humans now call home. Unfortunately, those angelic and demonic progenitors have long since died off, and many demons now prefer to expunge humanity to the last. Belial tells you Azmodan will "exterminate you and every last one of your misbegotten kind" when you reveal him for who he really is, and Azmodan himself calls you and humanity in general "Creation's greatest sin." The angels aren't that much different. While a number of angels aren't fond of humanity, some believe Humans Are Special. And when it came down to it, Tyrael (the personification of Justice), Itherael (that of Fate), and Auriel (the Aspect of Hope) voted to spare Sanctuary from annihilation. Imperius was flat-out against, preferring to wipe Sanctuary, as demons had a hand in its creation, and Malthael abstained, though at this point, one of the nephalem already noted that Malthael's voice brought nightmares of permanent, empty death, perhaps signalling his eventual transformation to the Angel of Death. Zoltun Kulle, twisted though he be, even lampshades this.
    Zoltun Kulle: Angels are no better than demons. Did you know that they once voted on whether or not to eliminate all of mankind? Only one vote spared us from extinction.
    Player: Tyrael. It had to be Tyrael.
    Zoltun Kulle: Yes. Whatever else he may be, he is the aspect of Justice... and there is no justice in murder.
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  • Fantastic Romance: Humanity was birthed by renegade demons and angels falling in love. This did not turn out well.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: The series does this pretty unabashedly. For example, the Monk's design is a strange mishmash of Russia and China, with some trace elements of India for flavor.
  • Fantasy Gun Control: Taken to ridiculous levels with the Demon Hunter, who fires homing missiles and rockets on fully automatic from bows and crossbows alike but doesn't get an actual gun.
  • Fantasy Pantheon: Two of them, at least. Ivgorod has a faith of "one thousand and one gods", with the Monk being a preacher of that faith, while Xiansei (homeland of the Wizard) has a pantheon of fifty-nine gods, of whom only one, Zei The Trickster, is mentioned. He's noted as having been "exiled" from the other gods and roams the world disguised as a mortal. There are implications that Covetous Shen is actually his latest mortal disguise.
  • Fartillery: One of Ghom's attacks involves toxic gas. Listen to the sound his corpse makes after you kill him, too.
    • The Pox Faulds are a pair of pants that release a "vile stench" when you're surrounded by enemies, causing poison damage.
  • The Fatalist: Itherael, justified for he is fate itself.
    • Also subverted to a certain extent. Once you point out you, as a human, are not bound by fate and can turn the battle around regardless of what fate says he doesn't hesitate to aid you.
  • Fat Bastard: Azmodan and Ghom.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Leah being turned into Diabio/Tathamet's vessel via Adria magically forcing the Black Soulstone into her body. Illustrated by the following NPC exchange:
    Child: Mum, what happened to Leah? Is she dead?
    Mother: I hope so, love.
  • Fattening the Victim: Ghom was fattening up his human captives before eating them. They started panicking when they realized they only got meat when one of them was dragged off screaming.
  • Fighter, Mage, Thief: The three available followers: Templar, Enchantress, and Scoundrel.
  • Final Death Mode: Hardcore mode gives you one life before facing permanent character death. Not for the faint of heart.
  • Fireball Eyeballs: All the Prime Evils have this. In the previous games, their eyes glowed but didn't seem to be actual fire.
  • Fire Keeps It Dead: The villagers of New Tristram are starting to burn the dead, since the town is starting to be attacked by undead. Again.
  • Fire/Water Juxtaposition: The hell you visit in Diablo II has overall a lava and rock motif, while the heavens you visit in this game has a water and crystal motif (at least, before Diablo starts corrupting them). This is especially notable at the part where you must take some portals from the heavens to hell: the contrast is quite evident there.
  • First-Episode Twist: The Stranger is Tyrael and the player characters are Nephalem. Much of Act 1 is spent learning this.
  • First Town: The game starts you off in Tristram again (New Tristram, to be precise, though you do get to explore the old town during the early parts of the first act) before you Get on the Boat.
  • Fish out of Temporal Water: Eirena was a part of an enchanter sisterhood which was put in a magic-induced sleep 1500 years ago due to a prophecy claiming that their aid will be needed in present times. All other members, however, were killed by the time Eirena awakened. In Reaper of Souls she learns that they sacrificed themselves to ensure that she would survive to help the player character in the present.
  • Flaming Meteor: 'Meteor' is a high-level Wizard spell, which not only impacts the ground to deal heavy fire damage, but also leaves behind a residual patch of fire at its impact location.
  • Flash Step: The Monk has several skills that utilize this, especially the aptly named Seven-Sided Strike, that dishes out seven hits to up to seven enemies with blurring speed.
  • Flat-Earth Atheist:
  • Flaying Alive: The Dark Coven led by Maghda are quite fond of this and other methods of Cold-Blooded Torture and Human Sacrifice, as evidenced both in the Halls of Agony and in Alcarnus.
  • Flunky Boss: Iskatu from Act IV, who constantly summons shadow vermin at a rapid rate.
  • Following in Their Rescuer's Footsteps: This is how the Demon Hunters generally recruit people. If they find a survivor of a demonic massacre during their travels, odds are they'll give the new recruit a choice of being "hunted or hunter". More often than not, the new recruit chooses to be a hunter.
  • Forever War: Heaven and Hell and the Eternal Conflict. Diablo-Tathamet nearly puts an end to it in a single day.
    Diablo: Our long war...ends today!
  • Foreshadowing:
    • In the opening cinematic, the last thing Leah sees in her dream is Diablo as he appears after Leah becomes his vessel.
    • Several of the proclamations from the priest in New Tristram drop hints about plot details, such as the Skeleton King's resurrection and eventual defeat and Tyrael's fall from Heaven and the restoration of his power.
    • At one point, Tyrael discusses a battle in which the Seven Evils nearly conquered Heaven, but turned on each other before they could secure victory, and says he shudders to think what would happen if they could unite towards a single goal. When Diablo succeeds in creating the Prime Evil, he shows how powerful and terrifying the united power of the Seven Evils can be.
  • Forgotten Fallen Friend: A major theme in the main game concerns the horrific journey and eventual tragic death of Leah. The player character swears not just to avenge this, but also to make every possible effort to ensure that this friend's soul is at rest. There is barely any mention of this in the expansion, despite considerable unrest among the dead providing an opportunity; however, Sequel Hooks suggest that this plotline may be concluded in another expansion.
    • Leah isn't exactly forgotten, though, if you consider the immense anger and desire of the player for revenge in Reaper of Souls when it comes to confronting the killer. To this end, it's more like the player is ensuring they don't forget their friend by visiting as many forms of vengeance upon the killer as possible.
  • From Bad to Worse: The dead are rising, the animals have been corrupted into foul beasts, political leaders are being possessed, and the end of times has started. Not a good day, but not too unusual for the Diablo universe either. Sure, Cain dies, but he was pretty old anyway. But then Adria betrays you and uses Leah as a vessel for the Prime Evil which leads to Diablo invading Heaven itself and amassing an army of corrupted angels.
    • And then things get even worse in Reaper of Souls. At the start of it, Reapers are roaming the streets killing everyone they can find. It's happening everywhere. An ambitious scumbag is using the chaos of the Reaper invasion to foment a rebellion among the common people against the nobles and the king and eventually murders the king. By the end, however, it's all gone straight to hell — Malthael has released the Black Soulstone into Sanctuary, tooled to rip out the demonic essence from every living soul, and people are dying left and right as you fight through the Pandemonium Fortress in order to stop him before he renders humanity extinct.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare:
    • A lot of Demon Hunters, including the playable one, were regular people before their families were killed by Demons. After being recruited into the order they're the ones stalking and kill the creatures.
    • The Crusader was a child when they took the oath and became an apprentice. Having succeeded their master that same villager is now a walking juggernaut of holy power.
  • Full-Frontal Assault:
    • You can prevent equipment from showing up on your characters by coloring it with "Vanishing Dye".
    • There are achievements for defeating various bosses with nothing equipped - and a separate one for defeating a Horny Devil naked. Too bad making all your equipment invisible with Vanishing Dye doesn't count for that...
  • Funny Background Event: Of a sort. If you stand near two characters, such as the Followers, in town long enough they may start chatting. In Act 5 Tyrael will make several comments on the trials of mortality, such as the need to eat.
  • Game-Breaking Bug:
    • The "Invulnerable Minions" perk on Rare Elites turned into one of these. Normally, the elite enemy was the only one that took damage; its lesser minions took no damage. When the elite of the pack was killed, the minions would die. But if the elite was killed too far away from its minions, the minions would not be killed, thus creating a group of immortal monsters in that area. With Patch 1.04, the "Invulnerable Minions" affix was removed etnirely.
    • Sometimes, when attempting to complete a Cursed Chest objective, particularly ones where you have to slay Champions, the game won't register the Champions as killed even if you do wipe them out. The timer will run out anyway and if it's a chest that doesn't offer a bonus second chest, you'll lose its rewards.
    • Blasting an enemy with an ability that knocked it from the ground could cause it to get stuck in a wall, leaving it in limbo. Quite aggrivating if it's on a "kill all the enemies in an area" quest.
  • Gameplay Ally Immortality: The game has Leah, Deckard Cain, Tyrael, and Adria occasionally join in the fight against evil directly. To avoid being a slow-paced Escort Mission, all of them are invulnerable while this happens. This also happens when the player first meets each of the Companions throughout the story; the HUD distinguishes invulnerable characters by simply not giving them a health bar display.
  • General Failure: Your character is informed several times that Azmodan is an amazingly cunning commander. Literally nothing goes right for his invasion, especially when the nephalem show up and rip through his forces like wet toilet paper.
    • Azmodan makes sure to inform you of his strategy in advance, eliminating any element of surprise. He also has a tendency to point out his weakest link in the ongoing campaign, so you can hit him hardest where he's most vulnerable.
    • Initially, Azmodan's strategy was working well against Bastion's Keep. Zerg Rushing a fort with demons, most of which are specially bred for attacking fortifications, was an extremely viable approach at the time. However, Azmodan utterly fails to account for the addition of the nephalem to the equation. The hero is nigh-unstoppable, but has several weak allies they need to defend and can only be in one place at one time. Azmodan's idea to counter this seems to be to put his most elite troops directly in the nephalem's path over and over again, pretty much the opposite of what he should be doing.
    • The only time Azmodan does anything remotely clever is when he sends demon troopers into the Bastion's Keep town center, which is the only time in the game that you can be attacked while in a safe zone. However, Azmodan never attempts this ever again.
  • Genre Shift: This game is more of a Hack and Slash than a Roguelike. Diablo II was sort of in-between.
  • Get on the Boat: The game does much the same thing for the first three acts, taking the caravans from New Tristram to Caldeum (Act II) and then to Bastion's Keep (Act III). The fourth act has you using the portal Diablo opened up to the High Heavens to go after him. And much like the other game, you also have waypoints from place to place.
  • Giant Spider: Of course, most games can't resist them.
    • In particular is the Spider Queen Araneae, bred by Archbishop Lazarus and released into a cave decades before.
    • The witch doctor has weaponized cat-sized spiders and can toss pots full of them as a basic ability.
  • Gilded Cage: According to Kala, a former noblewoman who was thrown out of the city when Belial took over, Caldeum, or more specifically: the Imperial Palace, was this. She quickly learns to appreciate the freedom of life outside the city and her little character arc ends with her discarding her extravagant clothes and make-up, and starting a new life on the road.
  • Gimmick Level: The game has Whimsyshire, an extension of a previous Take That! to complaints that the more colorful visuals in III would "ruin the atmosphere" of the game and series.
  • Girl with Psycho Weapon: If you equip Eirena with a Wizard Staff (as she is when you first encounter her), she's a fairly typical Black Magician Girl / Hot Witch. But she can ALSO be equipped with huge, two-handed Morningstars, Warhammers, and a selection of BFS's ranging from Naginata longer than her to Claymores and Greatswords that are probably HEAVIER than her. And most of the time, she wields them all one-handed.
  • Glass Cannon: To hammer home the point about the Wizard class being one, said Wizard even has a passive skill that increases all damage by 10% but reduces all of their defenses by 15%, explicitly named "Glass Cannon".
    • Subverted with a skill build that was present for a short time after release before being silently nerfed. Energy Armor with the Force Armor rune reduces all damage you take to only 35% of your maximum health. Combine this with low max health and health regen that instantly restores that small amount of lost health and you create a wizard that doubles as the best tank in the game.
  • God and Satan Are Both Jerks: Two members of the Angiris council are highly antagonistic towards the heroes: Malthael's contempt for anything that has even a drop of demon blood leads him on a crusade to exterminate humanity. Imperius saw the resurgence of Diablo as largely humanity's fault but after getting throughly beaten by Diablo, he is reluctantly persuaded by Tyrael to at least allow the heroes to fight in his stead. According to the final cutscene in Reaper of Souls, the defeat of Malthael seems to cement his opinion of the Nephalem as a danger to angels, making him a likely antagonist in the next expansion.
  • God Is Dead: Anu was a God of Order, while Tathamet was the Prime Evil and God of Chaos. Their fight to the death created the universe and their corpses became Heaven and Hell.
  • God of Evil: Tathamet, the original Prime Evil, whose body is now the foundation of the Burning Hells and whose heads became the seven Great Evils. Adria manages to revive Tathamet, or rather a Diablo-dominant reincarnation of Tathamet, by inserting the Black Soulstone into Leah.
  • The Gods Must Be Lazy: The tendency continued in this game—the divine Angiris Council refuse to get involved in the war between human and demons at all until the heavens themselves are invaded by Diablo. Once again, only Tyrael, the Archangel of Justice, is interested in lending a hand—and he is put on trial for 'breaking the rules' and chooses to discard his immortality and become human rather than be forced to sit on his hands like the rest of the angels. While there's quite a bit of Nice Job Breaking It, Hero! involved in the ending, one cannot help but imagine that things would've never gone that far if the angels had been willing to lend a hand instead of forcing the humans to adopt untested and risky methods of demon-slaying in a desperate bid for survival...
  • Gods Need Prayer Badly: One possible Monk/Eirena dialogue has them asking her if gods were more numerous in her original time period. She responds that they were, and also that Zakarum wasn't so prominent. She then surmises that the gods thrived on prayer that was taken away with Zakarum's zealous spread.
  • God Was My Co Pilot: Maybe. Covetous Shen sure drops a lot of hints that he may be a trickster god in disguise. Then again, he may just be messing with your head. Then again again, isn't that just what a trickster god would do? Then again again again...
  • Gold and White Are Divine: With a touch of light blue.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: Attacks by demons in the series are said to be enough to "leave one's mind in ruins," as evidenced by the Demon Hunter's sister Halissa from Diablo III, who was driven to madness by the demon attack that destroyed their village and their family and subsequently drowned. During the early builds of the game, this would also affect the rest of the Diablo II heroes except the Barbarian... until it receives a Retcon that they all managed to keep their sanity and went on to either pass away in peace, or tutor the next generation before doing so.
  • The Good Chancellor: Chancellor Eamon stayed in Tristram and tried his best to save what lives he could when the Darkening was going down. Unfortunately, the people viewed him as having some kind of hand in King Leoric being driven mad (though Lazarus was more to blame for that than anything else), resulting in his death when Leoric fell.
  • Good Is Not Nice: The Angels are the incarnation of all that is good and Light. Because humanity is part demon and thus part evil many Angels view them as abominations and have in the past seriously considered killing all humans. Though it's later turned on its head, with Zoltun Kille making clear that mass murder is never good and showing that angels themselves are not as benign as they believe, with Malthael's transition into the Angel of Death and his army of devoted angels.
  • Grand Finale: Diablo III has been stated to end the current storyline, and thus it is expected that the expansions to this game would tie up remaining loose ends.
  • Gratuitous German: The Diablo III logo, but you need a very high resolution to read it.
  • Greater-Scope Paragon: Anu, the first being of Creation and is essential the God to the Devil, the Prime Evil Thatamet. The two died in a clash, which resulted in Anu leaving behind the Eye of Anu, or the Worldstone, and the Crystal Arch which created the Angels and the High Heavens. The aspects of him were left behind to the Archangels: Imperius, Tyrael, Auriel, Itherael, and Malthael, representing valor, justice, hope, fate, and wisdom, respectively.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Tathamet, the original Prime Evil, is the progenitor of the Burning Hells and the Ultimate Evil of the Diablo universe. Its death led to the creation of hell and the Great Evils. The Prime and Lesser Evils (Diablo, Mephisto, and Baal; and Belial, Azmodan, Duriel and Andariel, respectivel) are its progeny. With the Evils' unification within the Black Soulstone and possession of Leah's body, Tathamet is reborn in some sense, although Diablo's personality seems to be in control.
  • Green Hill Zone: Act I takes place in and around New Tristram, which was a farming community before being overrun with the walking dead. That may not sound very friendly, but considering that the subsequent zones are a burning desert, a frozen wasteland, and the war-ravaged ruins of Heaven, the gloomy rain-soaked New Tristram seems positively welcoming.
  • The Grim Reaper: The game has Malthael, the archangel of death. He's an extremely powerful, black-robed angel who dual wields two hand-sized scythes and eats souls. Not to mention that he leads an entire army of soul-eating angels called "The Reapers".
  • Grim Up North: Act III, in the frozen wastelands around the remnants of Mount Arreat.
  • Ground Pound: Gameplay trailers show improved ground-pounding effects for the Barbarian's Leap. Hordes of mooks can be thrown back in an expanding ripple from the point of impact.
  • Guest-Star Party Member: The game does this with all your companions before you have the option of having them join you for real. Other NPCs also join you from time to time, such as Leah, Adria and Tyrael.
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • In the game's default settings, each active skill slot can only be used for a single category of spells. What the game doesn't make clear to you, however, is that there is an option to allow you to put whatever skill you want into your skill slots.
      • Subverted by a patch that added tutorial popups for this option after the player completes the game on the lowest difficulty.
    • The game continues its predecessor's proud tradition of lying character screens: Battle.net and the in-game character screen both give inaccurate damage/second information, and don't necessarily agree with each other.
      • Attacks that can run continuously, such as Arcane Torrent, never specify how long it takes for them to do the listed damage or consume the stated amount of mana or equivalent. Despite the skills running continuously, the mana consumed/second is equal to the listed cost times the number of attacks per second, even though the latter has no bearing on how these skills work or deal damage.
      • Before patch 1.0.8, items on the Auction House only listed changes to base stats or damage, so you needed a calculator or 3rd-party site to figure out whether an item would be an improvement over your current equipment. Damage/second comparisons were added in 1.0.8, but even now, there's no way to account for skill-specific damage boosts and the impact on damage reduction/dodge chance still has to be done by hand.
      • Proc coefficients are one of the game's worst offenders. They are less than intuitive and integral to many builds, but are mentioned nowhere in the game or Battle.net's official guide.
      • If a weapon has a chance of causing a secondary effect, the listed chance is misleading: Each skill has a hidden proc coefficient, and the actual probability of the secondary effect occurring when you use that skill is (proc coefficient) * (base chance).
      • A handful of runes and passive skills have "a chance" to trigger and provide some beneficial effect when you land a critical hit. Same deal as above, except even the base chance isn't even given.
      • Proc coefficients can vary even within a skill based on the rune used, and some skills even have a coefficient of zero.
      • Life on Hit has a different proc coefficient than all other effects, and the third hit of the Monk's primary skills has a different proc coefficient from the first two.
    • If you train Haedrig and Covetous Shen to level 12 you'll notice two sets of items: Hellfire Rings and Infernal Machines. What are the names of their ingredients? What monster drops them? What are Infernal Machines even for? Good luck figuring that out without looking it up online, because nowhere in the game is this mentioned.
    • Did you know that killing certain varieties of Treasure Goblins in higher difficulty levels, on Adventure mode only, has a chance of opening a portal to a secret boss? No? That's because the game doesn't actually tell you.
  • Guys Smash, Girls Shoot: While the game allows players to choose the gender of any class they play, this trope is reflected in the iconics of each class — the Barbarian and the Monk, the primary melee fighters among the Nephalem, are male; while the Demon Hunter and the Wizard, the primary ranged attackers, are female, with the odd one out being the Witch Doctor.
  • Hailfire Peaks: Act 3, which begins with you outside in the middle of a full-scale blizzard, and ends with you descending deep into the molten pit of Arreat Crater.
  • Ham-to-Ham Combat: Tyrael VS Imperius.
    Imperius: You will now answer for your transgressions!
    Tyrael: You cannot judge me! I am Justice itself!
  • Hand Wave: How did Zoltun Kulle return from the dead after you killed him in Act II?
    Zoltun Kulle: I'm very hard to kill and really, you did a sloppy job. But enough small talk.
  • Harder Than Hard:
    • For the initial game release, Inferno mode was meant to be a challenge only the most skilled and dedicated can hope to defeat, available only upon beating Hell mode and reaching max level. Later patches added "Monster Power", an option available in any game difficulty that increases monster damage and health, compensated by bonuses to gold and loot rewards and experience points. This came with a scale from 1, for those who want a little extra challenge, to 10, for the clinically insane.
    • Come patch 2.0 onwards, the majority of game difficulties became automatically unlocked. Torment difficulty is available upon reaching max level, and it is further divided into sub-levels (1-6).
      • Torment difficulty has 10 sub-levels since Patch 2.3. On Torment X difficulty, Enemies have 200000% health and 10000% damage. As of Patch 2.5, Torment's sub-levels now reach up to XIII.
    • Greater Rifts themselves have set levels that are equivalent to the difficulty levels you can pick, with Greater Rift Level 60 being equivalent to Torment XIII. And there are Greater Rift levels higher than that, as well.
  • Hard Mode Perks: The best items and monster affixes can only be found here. In particular, class set items, Hellfire Ring/Amulet bosses, and Greater Rifts are only accessible to those who brave Torment-level difficulty.
  • Have You Seen My God?: It turns out that the supreme deity behind the universe is dead. Anu, the god in question, was a God of Order, while Tathamet was the Prime Evil and God of Chaos. Their fight to the death created the universe and their corpses became Heaven and Hell.
  • Healing Potion: Overhauled from previous games; they now have a cooldown and are meant to be used as a last resort. Healing Globes take their place as in-combat healing.
  • The Heart:
  • Heaven: The High Heavens are finally explored in this game. Unfortunately, when you do explore them, they're in the midst of a full-scale invasion by all the forces of the Burning Hells, spearheaded by Diablo who has become the very embodiment of Evil itself.
    • The Tie-in novel Storm Of Light shows it to be just as much an Eldritch Location as Hell, albeit prettier. With its light, sound, and even atmosphere being disorienting and harmful to mortals.
  • The Hedonist: Azmodan's gimmick, according to Book of Cain. His turf of Hell is about excessive pleasure to the point of revulsion.
  • Hell: This game ups the ante by having you stave off an assault by Diablo's demons upon the High Heavens by journeying to Hell and destroying the gates Diablo is using to invade before battling your way to the Crystal Arch to stop Diablo from destroying it and plunging everything into darkness forever.
  • Hell Invades Heaven: In the finale, Diablo, upon his rebirth as the Prime Evil, launches a full-scale assault with all his demonic forces on the High Heavens, seeking to destroy the Crystal Arch and plunge both the Heavens and Sanctuary into darkness forever. Because Diablo has become the embodiment of all seven of the Great Evils in one being, the angels do not have a chance in Heaven or Hell of stopping him, meaning that you, as the Nephalem, have the task of stopping Diablo and destroying him once and for all.
  • Hell Is That Noise:
    • All the monsters in the game have soundbites specifically designed to enervate and break focus.
    • The horn in the expansion that signifies you're about to meet a nemesis and will, at least on any difficulty above master, almost certainly be dead in 30 seconds or so. Disturbing on regular, terrifying on hardcore.
  • Hell on Earth: Naturally, but it gets worse when Azmodan arrives with most of the armies of Hell from Mount Arreat.
  • The Hero: No matter which class you play as, your character is an altruistic good guy who protects the innocent, fights against evil, and struggles to make the world a better place. Even the Demon Hunter, who is driven by their hatred and desire to kill demons, won't hesitate to help a person in need.
  • Heroic BSoD: Tyrael has one when he sees the destruction that Diablo is visiting upon the High Heavens.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Tyrael sacrifices his own divinity so that he can help the mortals of Sanctuary without interference from his fellow angels.
  • Hero of Another Story: Captain Haile's probably worthy of the trope - after you help him and his troops fight off a demon attack in Act III while with Kormac, Kormac will remark that Captain Haile has won "hundreds of lost causes" all over the world and heard the king had to threaten him with treason to get him to come back home to accept a promotion.
  • He Who Fights Monsters:
    • Averted by the playable Demon Hunter, who is utterly ruthless in their fight against all things demonic, yet doesn't let it compromise their goal of protecting the innocent. This isn't a given for Demon Hunters in general, however. The short story Hatred and Discipline describes it as every Demon Hunter having to navigate the treshold between good and evil, it being all too easy to lose control over their fear and hatred, and "cross over to the other side".
    • Tyrael invokes this in regards to Zoltun Kulle, whose efforts to create the Black Soulstone drove him to murderous megalomania. At the end of Reaper of Souls, he also fears this concerning the Nephalem after witnessing their victory over Malthael and their growing cynicism regarding the Angels, noting that they can still be tempted and corrupted due to them being mortal.
    • Referenced in the Flavor Text from the legendary sword Monster Hunter: "Be wary when you fight monsters, lest you become one."
  • Hijacked by Ganon: Though it was obvious judging by the cover and the title, Diablo turns out to be the real final boss, despite being apparently dead in the second opus and the third one focusing essentially on demon lords Belial and Asmodan for all the first part of the game.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: This trope pretty much summarizes the plot and ending. The attempt by Baal to corrupt the Worldstone in Lord of Destruction unseals the powers of the Nephalem, the angel-demon hybrids from whom humanity is descended, allowing humans a chance to rise to the ancient power of their ancestors. Diablo's own plan to become the Prime Evil combined with the act of asshattery mentioned earlier gets all seven arch demons Deader Than Dead.
  • Hollywood Voodoo: The Witch Doctor class is quite clearly this trope played straight: they can summon walls of zombies, conjure poisonous frogs and scare monsters with a giant ghostly totem.
  • Holy Halo: Invoked by the armor of Imperius, the Archangel of Valor, which has a fancy metal ring floating over his head.
  • Hope Bringer: Auriel is the Archangel of Hope, so this trope is natural to her - several characters, angelic or otherwise, have their spirits renewed once she is freed from Rakanoth's clutches.
  • Hope Crusher: Rakanoth, one of Diablo's minions, is called the Lord of Despair. He sought to drive both the High Heavens and Sanctuary into despair by capturing Auriel, the Archangel of Hope during Diablo's invasion of the High Heavens, and only after destroying him and freeing Auriel is hope restored to both.
  • Hope Springs Eternal: The game has one in the person of Auriel.
  • Horny Devil: Not only do the Succubus demons return to tempt mortals with their exposed assets, but their new matriarch Cydaea, the Maiden of Lust, shows up, and she sounds very excited when describing her anticipation of killing you. She's enough to creep out even the resident Casanova among your companions, Lyndon!
  • Hot Wings: The Archangel Imperius has them.
  • Huge Holographic Head: Azmodan appears in a veil of flame whenever he tries to taunt the player in increasingly pathetic tones. Note that while his massive illusory head is actual-size.
  • Humanity on Trial: The Angiris Council once did this. Some feared humanity would be used by Hell against them, others thought they were a blasphemy of creation due to their demonic taint and should be wiped out on general principle. Tyrael was originally in the "kill them all" camp but cast the deciding vote for humanity after witnessing a human sacrifice himself for the greater good.
  • Humans Are Special: The original humans, the Nephalem, were born of both angel and demon blood which caused them to control unfathomable power that surpassed both sides' strength. They were never meant to exist in the first place, which lets them defy fate. Both the Angels and Demons realized this once they discovered the existence of Sanctuary and wanted sway them over to their side so they can finally win the Eternal War. Inarius, however, fearful that the Nephalem would overthrow him, tuned the Worldstone to strip them of their limitless power. With the Worldstone being destroyed by Tyrael at the end of Diablo 2's expansion, Lord of Destruction, the humans are slowly regaining their former Nephalem power.
    • Tyrael even admits that he is surprised by and admires humans' abilities to carry on living, even in the face of almost certain annihilation. He decides that he would rather stay a mortal than become an angel again.
  • Hunter of Monsters: The Demon Hunter class is a ranged class that is dedicated to Demon Slaying. They're typically recruited from among the survivors of villages ravaged by The Legions of Hell, and they're primarily motivated by vengeance against demons in general. The Player Character among them lost a sister to demon-induced madness after the two of them survived the destruction of their village.
  • The Hunter Becomes the Hunted: The Demon Hunter. Usually survivors from demonic invasions themselves, they're recruited by more experienced Hunters and devote their lives to chasing and killing the creatures of the burning hells, using a variety of ranged attacks and traps to accomplish their goals.
  • Husky Russkie: The male Monk. The female is a little less husky, but still has the accent.
  • Hybrid Power: All humans on the world of Sanctuary are the descendants of the Nephalem, offspring of renegade angels and demons. The Nephalem had power that potentially far outstrips their parent races, and in fear of them the angels tuned the Worldstone to diminish their power, resulting in the mostly ordinary human race.
  • I Am Legion: Diablo becomes this, and even says it.
    • Further invoked by his abilities which reference to the other Evils, such as if you read the various curses he casts on you, they have names like 'Curse of Destruction' or 'Curse of Hatred'.
  • Hypocritical Humor: There is an event in Reaper of Souls where the player meets a repentant cultist being attacked by reapers in Act V. They have and were going to destroy the cult's treasure stores, stating they did unspeakable things to amass it, like desecrating tombs and robbing corpses, things a righteous hero like the player would never do...those two things are, of course, two-thirds of the game along with killing stuff.
  • I Am the Noun:
    Tyrael: You cannot judge me. I am Justice itself!
    • Justified as being the Archangel of Justice, he actually is the personification of the virtue.
  • I Am Your Opponent: Kormac the Templar drops this line almost verbatim when he uses one of his skills to taunt enemies into attacking him instead of you.
  • I Ate WHAT: Ghom's log notes that his human prisoners began acting up when they realized meat only came after one of their own was dragged away screaming.
  • Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels: Normal, Nightmare, Hell, and Inferno.
    • Come patch 2.0, it becomes Normal, Hard, Expert, Master and Torment.
  • I Don't Like the Sound of That Place: You'll visit such lovely tourist destinations as the Fields of Slaughter, the Halls of Agony, the Sanctum of the Betrayer, the Edge of the Abyss, and the Towers of the Damned and the Cursed.
  • I Knew There Was Something About You: Soon after the end of Act III, several of your followers (as well as player characters) express that they always knew something was wrong about Adria but had allowed themselves to be taken in.
  • Immediate Self-Contradiction: The Cow King, when letting you into Whimsyshire.
    Ghost of the Cow King: This is no time to be silly. The level of sparkling happiness and rainbows awaits you!"
  • Immune to Fate: The Nephalem (those who have awakened humanity's original power as angel/demon hybrids) are not mentioned in the Scroll of Fate and thus are the only ones capable of averting anything that is written in it.
  • I'm Not a Hero, I'm...: Conversations between a man and a woman in the camp for Reaper of Souls reveal the woman was (like almost everyone) in danger in the chaos of the Reapers' attack and he saved her. She repeatedly expresses her thanks and declares him a hero, which he takes in a rather low-key manner and declines that he's a hero. That's because, essentially, I'm Not a Hero, I'm... a deserter.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice:
    • Many of the cultists' victims.
    • Imperius. He lives though, and you can see the hole in his armor in-game afterwards.
    • Several angels after Diablo tramples over Heaven.
  • Impersonation Gambit: Belial successfully impersonates the young emperor of Caldeum after he dies so he can slowly but surely corrupt the Jewel of the East; however his gambit fails when the heroes manage to catch on and slay him.
  • Impossible Item Drop: Don't think too hard about how or why a swarm of insects is carrying plate armor, or where a demoness wearing only a thong hides a broad sword before you kill her.
    • Especially obvious when looting a corpse will spawn a sword larger than the body it was hiding in.
  • Increasingly Lethal Enemy: Bosses generally adopt tougher tactics at certain health thresholds, or make the arena slowly more hazardous. However Belial has one attack that peppers the arena with randomly-placed explosions, of which there are more each time he does it until they become unavoidable.
  • Inevitable Mutual Betrayal: Tyrael mentions that the Lords of Hell often lost during the Eternal Conflict because they couldn't stop betraying each other. This dependence on this trope bites the angels in the ass when Diablo becomes the Prime Evil, the sum total of all seven Great Evils in one being.
  • Infallible Babble:
    • Leah, early in Act I: "I'm told (my father) was a great warrior who was lost when Tristram fell to the demons." Later it is revealed that Leah's father is Prince Aidan, the eldest son of King Leoric and the Warrior from the very first game, who became the new host of Diablo, the Dark Wanderer, in Diablo II.
  • Informed Ability:
    • Azmodan is played up by several characters as a tactical genius. His tactics include Zerg Rushes, occasional anti-hero public service announcements, threatening the heroes while telling them exactly where his forces are coming from, and threatening his subordinates with You Have Failed Me. In other words, exactly like every other boss in the game. It might've made sense when he was just facing humans, since demons slain by humans are reborn in Hell. But Azmodan should already know that the Nephalem can kill demons permanently, since Belial already told Azmodan that the Nephalem was coming and what they were capable of. This begs the question of why Azmodan didn't even try to change up his strategy in spite of all of this. It's even lampshaded in a dialog with the Templar.
      Templar: They say that Azmodan is the greatest commander of all the Burning Hells.
      Barbarian: His minions fall like twigs in the wind. Some commander.
    • The same characters go on about how great a leader Tyrael is. He literally does nothing but stand in the same place throughout the Act (though one interaction shows he did send requests for aid to other countries), and then directly help fight on the Bridge of Korsikk, after which he goes back to the Keep again.
    • Belial is supposed to be a master of lies. While posing as the emperor, he claims to have found Belial's identity... but won't tell you without even giving you an explanation as to why he won't tell you. Now how many players were legitimately fooled by this? Even the Player Character catches on, since they call Belial out before the boss battle with him.
  • Initiation Ceremony: Becoming a member of the Templar Order involves being chained to a wall and beaten and starved for three days, then whipped. The inquisitors who carry out this Cold-Blooded Torture tell the initiate that he is reliving his transgressions and everything that brought him tainted joy (since according to Kormac, your Templar follower, every Templar was once a convicted criminal) and that the whip removes the joy and his sin, leaving him "pure", then he is thoroughly indoctrinated into forgetting his former life so he can have a single-minded focus on his mission. As it turns out, the Templars don't really give a blessed damn about the guilt or innocence of an initiate, and will readily pile false sins upon an innocent if it means recruiting a good warrior into the Order, as happened to both Kormac and Jondar.
  • Innocent Fanservice Girl:
    • The Enchantress, the Stripperiffic mage who wants to steal away Leah.
      Enchantress: I fear my dress is not appropriate here.
      Wizard: Is your dress appropriate anywhere?
      Enchantress: I don't know what you mean.
    • Another exchange goes along the lines of "I need new clothing. These old ones are getting too small." She also has some rather Les Yay-laden exchanges with a female monk and other female classes.
  • Insistent Terminology: When the hero first meets the jewelcrafter, and he introduces himself as Covetous Shen.
    Hero: Your name is Covetous?
    Covetous Shen: Covetous Shen.
    • The only PC who doesn't ask this is The Wizard, who is actually from Xiansai, and who instead asks if Shen was named by his enemies.
  • Instant Runes: Many of the Monk's powers manifest runes when used.
  • Interface Spoiler:
    • Search through the achievements for NPC conversations. One of Tyrael's Act IV conversations is entitled "Adria's Betrayal".
    • The NPC conversations are full of them. Cain has none after Act I, spoiling his death for many (as why else wouldn't he be there?), and the very existence of Adria's achievement gives away that you meet the witch. Neither Adria nor Leah have any dialogue in Act IV, indicating that they don't accompany you any further... or worse. This is less of a spoiler, though, given that Act IV of the previous game had taken place in hell, where few NPCs would go.
    • Subverted by the conversation achievements for Tyrael, which use the portrait of his angel form instead of his human form, to preserve the identity of The Stranger. On the other hand, the conversations listed include ones from before The Reveal, so it's not hard to make the connection.
    • The "Nephalem Power" buff is available from the very start of the game, despite the fact that the Player Character(s) don't learn that they are Nephalem until late in Act I.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: The male Barbarian and any of the followers, as he is old enough to be completely gray-haired and -bearded.
  • Interrogating the Dead: A subplot involves you contacting the spirit of a long-dead mage for information. But he refuses to answer your questions unless you help bring him back to life.
  • In the Blood: Leah is the daughter of Diablo and can, under extreme stress, explode in a lightshow of red and black magic which kills everyone around her. Despite this, Leah has a pure and noble heart — she only turns into the Prime Evil when Adria uses the Black Soulstone to flood her body with the souls of the seven Great Evils.
  • In the End, You Are on Your Own: See It's Up to You. Averted if you're in multiplayer, though. Especially egregious because Tyrael simply stands back and doesn't come in to help you for no apparent reason than to protect Imperius the Stubborn Jerkass.
  • Invisible Monsters: Belial's minions are able to turn invisible to get into close range to you, after which they reappear. It gets very annoying because you also can't hit them when they're doing so.
  • Ironic Echo: A version via the achievement system. One of Azmodan's first lines in the game refers to the recently-defeated Belial: "He thought he was so clever." When you beat Azmodan later in the game, the achievement for that is also "He Thought He Was So Clever".
  • Ironic Name: The world of Diablo is called 'Sanctuary', but it's a Death World where Everything Is Trying to Kill You. Might be subverted in that it is a sanctuary in comparison to the Great Conflict.
  • Item Crafting: Plays a big role, allowing you to turn any useless magic items you find into crafting materials which you can then use to craft your own equipment, although often with random attributes. You can also spend gold to train the blacksmith, which allows you to craft more varied and higher level equipment.
  • It Has Been an Honor: In Act IV, given the players' odds at succeeding protecting the High Heavens and repelling the Prime Evil's assault, both Lyndon and Kormac sincerely believe they won't live to see Diablo vanquished. Before the final battle, they'll confess in party banter how it's been a good ride, and Kormac even confesses how he's been wrong about you and thinks you a great leader and a friend.
  • It's Quiet... Too Quiet: According to Eirena it's too quiet when you enter the Khasim Outpost for the first time. That the Outpost is stationed by the Imperial Guard instead of the Iron Wolves should be the second hint that something is wrong. Unsurprisingly, the Imperial Guard turn out to be demons in disguise. Captain Davyd and his Iron Wolves are locked away by Magdha, but you free them.
  • It's Up to You: Initially averted. You enlist several characters to help you and they often follow you around and fight with you — Cain, Leah, Tyrael, Adria, the Artisans, the Followers, and Zoltun Kulle. But when Heaven is invaded the angels are powerless to stop Diablo. The Angel of Fate points out that only a Nephalem can save them because their destiny is not written in the Scroll of Fate whereas it says angels are doomed. When Diablo begins to corrupt the Crystal Arch, every angel is depowered and can't help. When you rush to confront him, your follower is imprisoned in a bone cage and implores you to go on without him. Tyrael stays behind to defend Imperius, in spite of the sheer hostility that he has shown Tyrael and the Nephalem.
  • Jerkass:
    • Imperius is nothing if not this, going as far as to pick a fight with the player character when by all counts both have much more pressing issues. He later clarifies that he has no intention to change his attitude.
    • Kormac the Templar can come off as this if you play a Barbarian or Witch Doctor, in which case he will bluntly call them "uncultured savages."
    • The biggest asshole in the Survivors' Enclave in Reaper of Souls is Lord Harold Snowe, an arrogant lord who "would rather be dead than poor" and clearly cares more about his money than his wife, Lady Serena, to the point that he's willing to sell everything she owns — even the clothes off her back — just to get more money, and even tries to get her to go out to try to recover their jewelry, which would put her in direct danger of getting killed by the roving Reapers. Lady Serena eventually gets fed up with Snowe's bullshit and makes clear her intent to go back to her parents' estate in Bramwell once this is over, threatening to tie him up naked to a post in the streets if he tries to follow her.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Near the end of the game, Diablo conjures several apparitions of dead human characters to taunt the player with real or imagined slights the player did to them. While most of them are baloney, Marius makes an appearance to ask Tyrael why he let Marius rot in an insane asylum with Baal's soulstone. Tyrael makes no reply, which makes sense considering the apparition is entirely right.
  • Joke Level: Topped with Whimsyshire. After going through the steps to unlock it, the player is teleported to a mystical land of dancing flowers, smiling clouds, and lots of rainbows. Also doubles as a Take That, Audience! after all the complaints that the early screen shots weren't dark enough.
    • Not The Cow Level was a limited-time level that could be accessed during the third anniversary celebration. It's a cattle ranch that's been overrun by bardiche-wielding cows. It can still be accessed by popping the right item into Kanai's Cube. You'll probably figure out what item that is when you see it.
  • Just Eat Him: Savagely averted in the debut gameplay trailer, where the Siegebreaker warbeast picks up the male Barbarian and bites his head off. Unfortunately this was cut from the final version.
  • Just Friends: Through NPC dialogue it is obvious that Kormac the Templar is infatuated with Eirena the Enchantress. Eirena seems to be oblivious to it, though, and Kormac is too shy to just tell her how he feels. When he does attempt to confess, she misunderstands and claims he's like a brother.
  • Just Hit Him: Averted in the debut gameplay trailer, where the Siegebreaker warbeast (in one of the most brutal PC deaths around) picks up the male Barbarian and BITES HIS HEAD OFF. It's an image that will stick with you for long.
  • Justice Will Prevail: Tyrael wants justice to be done into Sanctuary, and, after three games, succeeds.


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