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Video Game / Diablo

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Diablo is a series of works created by Blizzard Entertainment. It mainly comprises isometric Action RPG Hack and Slash Dark Fantasy video games, but eventually delved into other media as well.

The entries that comprise the franchise are the following:

Video Games

Comic Books


Other Games

Tabletop Games

  • An adaptation of Diablo II for Dungeons & Dragons in 2000; both a boxed set and three sourcebooks (one for Advanced AD&D, the other two for 3rd edition) were produced.

Western Animation

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 and Mythos. After Flagship folded, the same people formed "Runic Games", which produced Torchlight. All three titles can be considered Spiritual Successors to Diablo; they certainly all play similarly.

See also Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance and its spiritual successor Champions of Norrath. A character sheet and a synopsis page are in the works.

Tropes found across the entire series:

  • 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.
  • Anadiplosis: "Hate begets Destruction. Destruction begets Terror as Terror begets Hate", with its repetition of words chaining phrases, is used multiple times:
    • It's part of an oft-quoted passage from the Guhawj Cave Inscriptions regarding the Prime Evils Diablo, Mephisto and Baal:
      Sins beget sins as men beget men
      Terror begets Hate and Hate begets Destruction
      Destruction begets Terror as Terror begets Hate
    • The Demon Hunters from Diablo III use it as part of their warning not to let the hatred that they all share for the demons that destroyed their previous lives consume them, calling it the Law of the Three. As Josen mentions in the short story "Hatred and Discipline":
      "Rage. Hate. Fear. They all feed upon one another. A demon hunter learns how to direct hate. But such a balance is precarious. And when that balance is lost, the cycle begins: Hate begets Destruction. Destruction begets Terror as Terror begets Hate."
  • Angelic Abomination: "Normal" angels have shades of this - while they look mostly like stereotypical gold-clad Winged Humanoids, their wings are made of glowing Combat Tentacles, and they are completely Faceless beneath hoods. Played much straighter with Malthael's Reapers who for the most part are bloated, ghastly, malformed monsters resembling undead or demons with hoods and halos slapped on.
  • 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). Also, from some angels' and demons' position, HUMANS are the Squid in this triangle, being unpredictable abominations opposing the cosmic duality order.
  • Antagonist Title: The titular Diablo is the Big Bad of the game.
  • The Armies of Heaven: In the series all angels are warriors, and they spend all of their time either fighting demons or planning to fight demons. As well, they all seem to be identical except for the five special snowflakes on the Angiris Council and their lieutenants. At least, this is how it was, until the creation of Sanctuary threw a wrench in the Eternal Conflict, leaving the angels to mostly mope about the Heavens in trepidation.
  • Armor Points: When you are hit while wearing armor, there's a chance that your armor's Durability will decrease. When its Durability reaches zero, the armor is destroyed. If you take it to the blacksmith before it's destroyed, he can repair it.
  • Artificial Stupidity: One of the first bosses in the game is the Butcher on the second floor, a demon that will easily, well, butcher you if you try to take him head-on. Fortunately, the game's primitive AI means it's relatively easy to trap him by kiting him into the stairs down to level 3: he'll go into the stair tile and just stop moving if you can get across the back railing from him. After that you can safely peck him to death with spells or a bow.
  • 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."
  • Black-and-Gray Morality: While the forces of Hell are completely vile, the forces of Heaven have little to no regard for humanity, with a few exceptions. 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.
  • 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.
  • Bullet Hell: Good luck avoiding damage in some of the nastier boss fights, where projectile attacks will be flying every other direction if not primarily in yours. This makes melee classes notably very difficult to survive as depending on the encounter.
  • Continuity Snarl: 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.
    • Diablo III is infamously contradicticting its own tie-in Book of Cain in terms of ingame depiction of Belial and Azmodan. While their looks match the book illustrations, their personalities and skills are nearly opposite, Azmodan's realm is nothing like it's decribed by Cain, and all the Foreshadowing and Chekhov's Gun details largely go to waste.
  • Co-Op Multiplayer: Up to four people can play together at any one time. There's some Loot Drama involved in I and II, since any loot that drops is free for anyone to pick up. In III, every player gets their own loot.
  • Corrupt Church: Most cults in Sanctuary are either this, a Religion of Evil, or both.
  • 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.
  • Crapsack World: Sanctuary has always been plagued by its origins as a realm created by a Demon and an Angel, but once the Prime Evils started their plans to Take Over the World, the realm has been utterly beset by tragedy after tragedy, where even wandering the roads and wilderness is tantamount to suicide by hungry monsters and corruptive demons, and things just keep going From Bad to Worse. By the time of Diablo IV, the world has been afflicted with a proverbial apocalypse threatening all of humanity multiple times for the past three decades and the demon threat has escalated so much that the Great Conflict is on the verge of an extinction event with humans barely hanging on in a new, bloody dark age. And then Lilith got unsealed.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: Only gameplay-wise, and starting from Diablo II, where you lose some gold and item durability but get sent back to town to simply try again; the first game was far more brutal in dumping all of your gear where you died, making it best to either load a save, have someone help you get it back, or starting a new character because of a dead game. Hardcore Mode completely subverts this by outright ending a character permanently. Actually bringing someone Back from the Dead in-universe usually requires necromancy, a non-permanent and horrifying solution that typically ends with the resurrected going straight back where they came — and, in the hands of a combatant necromancer, with a multitude of victims in the process. Despite the rampancy of souls being disturbed across the series, next to no one has ever been truly resurrected beyond the fact that the Angels and Demons don't truly stay down.
  • Divided Deity: Anu was the first being and the "sum of all things". When it attempted to purify itself of his evil aspects, they coalesced into the Prime Evil, Tathamet. Their mutually destructive Divine Conflict created the physical universe, and their bodies transformed into Heaven and Hell.
  • Enough to Go Around: In online play, quests will yield as many MacGuffins as there are players completing them, even when said MacGuffins are one-of-a-kind items. As an exception, the scroll with the solution to the Cairn Stones, the Horadric Malus, and the Hellforge Hammer only drops once.
  • Fantastic Racism: Used in this case on humanity itself; as individuals originating of Angel and Demon solely in the realm of Sanctuary, both kinds grew to despise their unwanted existence and spurn their "ownership" of the realm through population where both sides had been barred by their own agreements. The Angels narrowly had their only sympathetic members break a vote on genocide by one in favor of sparing them. The Demons opted to have other plans.
  • Final Death Mode: Hardcore Mode, where your character only has one life. If you die, you are told "Your deeds of valor will be remembered", and that character must be deleted. A warning before starting the mode is clear that Blizzard will not revive a dead Hardcore character, no matter what.
  • Forever War: Angels and Demons are to be locked eternally in battle as a simple matter-of-fact in their Great Conflict, made significantly worse by the fact that neither side can really die.
  • From Bad to Worse: Every subsequent game makes Sanctuary, already a Crapsack World, worse off afterwards. It's to the point that Bittersweet Ending is the bare maximum the heroes can achieve, and then by the next game the Prime Evil's plans have only been given a temporary setback as the next bout of Hell's machinations ensue.
  • Happy Ending Override: Diablo II and III end on a generally optimistic note with Diablo being defeated, but their expansion packs undo all of heroes' achievements, ending with a Pyrrhic Victory at best (In Lord of Destruction, Baal successfully corrupts the Worldstone, forcing Tyrael to destroy it along with Mount Arreat and countless innocents, and in Reaper of Souls, Malthael wipes out a large part of the Sanctuary's population, crippling the humankind for many generations). Averted in the first game because there isn't even a happy ending to speak of.
  • Hedge Mage: Spellcasters who conform to the rules and limits of the mage clans are given the title "Sorcerer" or "Mage". The title of "Wizard" is instead associated with renegade spellcasters who either have innate magical power that they can command without instruction or who view the training offered by mage clans and magical academies to be stifling and limiting. They can become every bit as capable of magic as mages and sorcerers with enough experience, but tend to be treated with even more fear than other spellcasters by Sanctuary's populace and have a (not undeserved) reputation for being power-hungry and arrogant, disregarding safety and being willing to delve into magic such as time manipulation that other spellcasters balk at. In a wizard's mind, comparing them to other spellcasters is like comparing a lion to a kitten.
  • Our Demons Are Different: While they generally stick to "The Legions of Hell led by a Big Red Devil" archetype, there are subtle moments regarding some Greater and Lesser Evils having looks that don't match ones the player might expect knowing their field of expertise. Notably, Diablo himself (a master manipulator and a Xanatos Gambit expert, obsessed with destroying his enemies via psychologigal warfare rather than physical might) is the least intelligent-looking of all Evils, basically a hulking demonic dinosaur. Baal (who's bent on war and destruction, often imagined as a dumb brute In-Universe despite being just as cunning as his brothers) looks like a frail old man with spider legs, Faux Affably Evil manners and a grinning face reminiscent of Pennywise the Clown. Duriel (described like someone straight out of Hellraiser, an extreme sadomasochist caring for nothing but physical pain and exquisite torture) is a giant Zerg-like creature with huge scythe-like limbs that probably are incapable of operating delicate torture tools. Other Evils have more fitting looks, like the bloated, pompous Azmodan (the patron of all sins in extreme) or literally two-faced Belial (a Consummate Liar and pretender).
  • Stat Overflow: The series has some gear pieces that allow your character to increase one or more stats; the effect is lost when said piece is removed (either by replacement, selling or just dropping). This also has the side effect of freeing stat points for other stats. Higher stats also allow you to carry better items or (in the case of magic) learn more powerful spells or increase your spell levels beyond what your character can usually learn.