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"And the Evil that was once vanquished shall rise anew. Wrapped in the guise of man, shall he walk amongst the innocent, and Terror shall consume they that dwell upon the Earth. The skies shall rain fire, and the seas will become as blood. The righteous shall fall before the wicked, and all of Creation shall tremble before the burning standards of Hell!"
Dul'Mephistos (Mephisto), Diablo II, "The Harrowing"

The World of Sanctuary was founded as a refuge from the eternal conflict between the High Heavens and Burning Hells, but the worst of the Angels, Demons, and even humankind show that Sanctuary can never be wholly free of evil's touch.

All spoilers are unmarked. You Have Been Warned!

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  • Al'Diabolos, better known as Diablo, is known as the Lord of Terror. Before the events of the first game, Diablo fought alongside his brothers, Mephisto and Baal, against Angiris Council in the Eternal Conflict, at times even fighting his own brothers to gain more power for himself. With the discovery of Sanctuary, Diablo sought to corrupt humanity to his will, deliberately engineering his and his brothers' own exile from hell into Sanctuary so they could corrupt humanity. Though this plan failed due to the intervention of the Horadim, Diablo's essence possessed King Leoric of Tristram 200 years after his imprisonment and later took possession of Prince Albrecht once he deemed Albrecht a suitable host. Though defeated by Albrecht's brother, Prince Aiden, Diablo corrupts Prince Aiden into the Dark Wanderer when the latter sought to contain Diablo's soulstone within himself, and procreated Leah with Adria as a means to revive himself should he be slain again. As the Dark Wanderer, Diablo destroyed Tristram with a horde of Demons and sought to free his brothers and unleash them into Sanctuary in order to corrupt the Worldstone and subsequently humanity, manipulating Marius into helping him free Baal. Though defeated and seemingly banished to the black abyss, Diablo reemerged 20 years later due to Adria's manipulations of another group of adventurers to empower the Black Soulstone and restore Diablo into Sanctuary into a form combining the power and essence of all the Great Evils. Ultimately, Adria's manipulations succeeded at restoring Diablo at the cost of Leah's life, and he ascended to the High Heavens to destroy the Angris Council, causing much destruction before his defeat at the hands of the Nephelim. Driven by a desire to corrupt all of humanity and spread terror across Sanctuary, Diablo stands out as the vilest of the Prime Evils.
  • Dul'Mephistos, Lord of Hatred, is the eldest of the Prime Evils and the closest thing demonkind has to a singular ruler. The most calculating of his brothers with a burning hate for all that lives, Mephisto was the mastermind behind the Triune of Sanctuary, a secret organization to worship demons and twist humankind to murder. Later forming the plot of the Dark Exile, Mephisto killed countless innocents before being contained in his Soulstone, corrupting the Church of the Zakarum into an organization of depravity and murder before sending Archbishop Lazarus to Tristram to free his brother Diablo, making Mephisto the mastermind behind all the misery unleashed by the Prime Evils. Unleashed at last, Mephisto plots a full invasion of Sanctuary and the mass annihilation of humankind before annihilating the High Heavens so that all Creation falls before the power of Hell.

Video Games (includes sourcebooks)

  • Diablo & Diablo III: Archbishop Lazarus, becoming a devoted servant of Diablo in Tristram, seeks to bring out the Dark Lord into the real world. Helping Diablo to possess King Leoric, wiping out Leoric's morality and corrupting him into a tyrant, Lazarus plays the devil in his ear, swaying him into atrocities and even having him start a pointless war that leaves most of his soldiers wiped out by Westmarch. Lazarus then brings the child Prince Albrecht to Diablo to possess, intending on unleashing the Prime Evils to damn and destroy most of Sanctuary, even luring in the well-meaning, would be heroes to the slaughter at the hands of Diablo's monsters beneath Tristram.
  • Diablo II & Diablo III: Izual, former lieutenant of Tyrael, betrayed the High Heavens of his own accord, informing the Prime Evils of the Soulstones meant to contain them and how to corrupt them. Helping them to mastermind their exiles to Sanctuary with all the evil that followed, Izual would become a corrupt demon himself, with the assistance of all the mass bloodshed and death the Prime Evils were responsible for, so that Hell would annihilate mankind in a "tide of blood and nightmare" before moving on to the heavens themselves.
  • Diablo II & Immortal: The Countess was a vain tyrant while alive who marked her reign with many cruelties and bathed in the blood of a hundred virgins to retain her beauty. After her resurrection, she commanded the Bloodsworn to drain the blood of as many people as possible, in some cases while they were still alive, and is responsible for the slaughter of every man, woman, and child in the town of Blackstone. The Countess also had a Druid brutally tortured to force him to help her with spreading corruption across the land. Narcissistic and cruel, the Countess proclaims that the blood of everyone living on her former domain is "stolen" from her and she will have it back.
  • Diablo III:
    • Maghda is a devout servant of Belial, the Lord of Lies, and the leader of vile demon worshippers known as the Coven. Once a compatriot to Adria, the two assumed control of the Coven by poisoning their masters after believing them to be lax in their devotion to the Prime Evils and reshaped the cult to practice torture, even on their own followers. She devotes the Coven to worship of Belial and appeases her master by torturing and mutilating thousands beneath King Leoric's manor. Tasked to retrieve Tyrael's shattered sword, Maghda forces the local goat men to assault the survivors of New Tristram and leads the slaughter of the village of Wortham to get the pieces. She personally tortures Deckard Cain and Leah to force him to remake the sword, and kidnaps an injured Tyrael to torture him to death as a sacrifice. Ultimately forced to flee east to Caldeum, Maghda provides a distraction for Belial by butchering the city of Alcarnus to lure in the Nephalem. While slain, Maghda's atrocities set the standard for what horrors the Nephalem would encounter throughout their journey.
    • Adria pledged herself to Diablo's service since first meeting Prince Aidan of Tristran after he imprisoned Diablo's soul within himself and became the Dark Wanderer. Starting off by burning alive her own father, she helped Maghda poison the former leaders of the Coven and the two reforged the cult into a dangerous new order that frequently practiced torture, sometimes on their own followers. She spent the time between the first and third games gathering up the power of the other Lords of Hell so she could use the Black Soulstone to bring about Diablo's rebirth in the body of her own daughter, an act that in the setting would damn Leah's soul to hell. Adria manipulated her daughter and all of her friends with the express purpose of inserting the Black Soulstone in her chest and allowing Diablo to devour her from within, manifesting anew to destroy the High Heavens and humanity as the Prime Evil.
    • Reaper of Souls Expansion Pack (primarily): Malthael, once the Archangel of Wisdom, harbored a secret madness and cruelty for ages. Upon the destruction of the Worldstone, Malthael came to the conclusion that humanity was too flawed to live and plotted to twist the minds of the angels to form an army bent on genocide. When Tyrael took the Black Soulstone to seal away, Malthael altered his plot to become the Archangel of Death and began to reap countless souls, unleashing his Reapers upon humankind to annihilate entire kingdoms. With countless innocents, the majority of humanity slaughtered, Malthael took their souls and plotted to rip out the souls of any remaining humans to empower himself while showing no compunction in attacking and killing any angels in the process.
  • Diablo IV:
    • Astaroth, the Charred Duke, is a demon servitor of Mephisto whose actions are still remembered in infamy. Arriving in Scosglen in years past, Astaroth brought about the "Days of Ash" where he rampaged across Scosglen. Torturing and murdering everything he found, Astaroth annihilated entire villages and condemned the souls of some victims to eternal agony before being defeated and contained. Upon being granted freedom by possessing his jailer Donan's son, Astaroth gleefully massacres an entire populated area before mocking Donan how his son suffered under Astaroth's possession.
    • Tyrant King Brol was once merely the leader of a vast clan of savage cannibals that terrorized the Dry Steppes before they were pacified and imprisoned by the armies of Guulrahn. When Elias arrives to create a summoning trap for a Lesser Evil, he unleashes Brol from prison who in turn leads his cannibals to massacre, torture, and devour most of the populace of Guulrahn. Left to his own devices by Elias, Brol sends his cannibals to rampage across the Steppes and slaughter caravans and entire settlements both for fun and to provide human sacrifices for Lilith's demon summoning cult.

Literature (by Richard A. Knaak unless stated otherwise)

  • Legacy of Blood: General Augustus Malevolyn shows what kind of man he is by handing a loyal soldier to his witch and mistress Galeona to be horribly sacrificed to demons. Hunting down the armor of his ancestor Bartuc, Warlord of Blood, Malevolyn eventually makes a pact with the demon Xazax, who shows him a ritual to bind demons to his soldiers. Sacrificing the souls of his entire army, Malevolyn has them slaughter a patrol from Lut Gholein before having the city attacked. Despite promising them peace should he get what he wants, Malevolyn reveals he intends on having Lut Gholein massacred to the last human being before moving on with a demonic army to subjugate or slaughter all before him.
  • Moon of the Spider & The Sin War trilogy: Astrogha is a powerful demon, responsible for mass human sacrifices and various other atrocities in the past. Astrogha's proudest accomplishment is the "Children of Astrogha"—people possessed by his demons and turned into powerful but blindly murderous creatures—with Astrogha having condemned thousands to this fate. After being released from his prison, Astrogha possesses the body of Lord Aldric Jitan before attempting to do the same to Zayl, while sending his servants to destroy the capital and then the entire kingdom of Westmarch to turn it into his new domain.