Tomes (Diablo I)

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Throughout Diablo I, the player will come across many different tomes scattered throughout the game's dungeons. Four of these start a quest, but the other nine provide the player with small pieces of the immediate story and background lore of the game.

These lore tomes comes in three variants:

  • Horadric Tomes: Written from the perspective of some now deceased Horadrim Mage.
  • Lazarus' Tomes: These tomes glorify Diablo and speaks of his power and splendor. Since Diablo's ability to influence and corrupt his surroundings is very recent during the events of Diablo I, these books must be relatively new. Given that Lazarus is Diablo's foremost agent under Tristram, his learned position as an archbishop, and the fact that he seems to have kept most of his sanity (unlike others like King Leoric), it's seems certain enough to assume that he is the author of these books.
  • Demonic Tomes: The last three books are much more enigmatic than the first. Their author is unknown, but they seem to be written after the Horadric tomes but prior to Lazarus'. Whoever wrote them had great insight into the workings of Hell, as the author knew that the Three were banished to Sanctuary, something the Horadrim were unaware of at the time. He also knows the ages of the three Prime Evils. Most likely the author is of demonic origin, or a very powerful mage with the power to summon and control demons.

Each of these groups of tomes contain three tomes each, and every time a new game is started, one of these three groups are picked, and the books of that group are placed on level 4, 8 and 12 respectively. Starting a new game respawns the books.


It is important to remember that much has happened to the Diablo lore after Diablo I was released. Many things have changed in the Universe, and not all information provided in these tomes is still canon.


Horadric Tomes[edit | edit source]

The Great Conflict[edit | edit source]

Found: Cathedral level 4.

"Take heed and bear witness to the truths that lie herein, for they are the last legacy of the Horadrim. There is a war that rages on even now, beyond the fields that we know - between the Utopian Kingdoms of the High Heavens and the Chaotic Pits of the Burning Hells. This war is known as the Great Conflict, and it has raged and burned longer than any of the stars in the sky. Neither side ever gains sway for long as the forces of Light and Darkness constantly vie for control over all creation."

Comment: This is still true. The war between Heaven and Hell is truly without victor, and is still referred to as the Great Conflict.

The Wages of Sin are War[edit | edit source]

Found: Catacombs level 8.

"Take heed and bear witness to the truths that lie herein, for they are the last legacy of the Horadrim. When the eternal conflict between the High Heavens and the Burning Hells falls upon mortal soil, it is called the Sin War. Angels and Demons walk amongst humanity in disguise, fighting in secret, away from the prying eyes of mortals. Some daring, powerful mortals have even allied themselves with either side, and helped to dictate the course of the Sin War."

Comment: There is a slight change here. The Sin War technically refers to the initial conflict that befell Sanctuary (the entirety of those events is laid out in the Sin War novels). Other than that, the passage is still canon.

Tale of the Horadrim[edit | edit source]

Found: Caves level 12.

"Take heed and bear witness to the truths that lie herein, for they are the last legacy of the Horadrim. Nearly three hundred years ago, it came to be known that the three Prime Evils of the Burning Hells had mysteriously come to our world. The Three Brothers ravaged the lands of the East for decades, while humanity was left trembling in their wake. Our order - the Horadrim - was founded by a group of secretive Magi to hunt down and capture the three Evils once and for all.

The original Horadrim captured two of the Three within powerful artifacts known as Soulstones and buried them deep beneath the desolate Eastern sands. The third Evil escaped capture and fled to the West with many of the Horadrim in pursuit. The third Evil - known as Diablo, the Lord of Terror - was eventually captured, his essence set in a Soulstone and buried within this Labyrinth.

Be warned that the Soulstone must be kept from discovery by those not of the Faith. If Diablo were to be released, he would seek a body that would be easily controlled as he would be very weak - perhaps that of an old man or a child."

Comment[edit | edit source]

This text is mysterious. While the text in itself remains canonical, it is clearly revealed in the first paragraph that the Horadrim were unaware of why the Three were in fact on Sanctuary to begin with. In another book further down, The Binding of the Three, it is clarfiied that the Three were overthrown by the Lesser Evils.

However in Diablo II when Deckard Cain gives the quest Sisters to the Slaughter to the player, he reveals that:

"Ancient Horadric texts record that Andariel and the other Lesser Evils once overthrew the three Prime Evils -- Diablo, Mephisto and Baal -- banishing them from Hell to our world."

At first glance, it would seem as if this is crystal clear: the book in Diablo I must have been written by a Horadrim mage, and that is how Deckard Cain knows of it. But what one must remember is that Cain is only just barely a Horadrim; the order fell apart before he was born, and the only reason he carries the title is because his ancestor was a Horadrim, and since the order no longer exists, there's no one to stop him from using the title. Clearly Cain managed to retrieve the book "The Binding of the Three" from Tristram, but it is not clear whether he actually knows who wrote it, or just assumed it was a Horadrim mage becasue he found it in their old fortress.

Lazarus' Tomes[edit | edit source]

The Realms Beyond[edit | edit source]

Found: Cathedral level 4

"All praises to Diablo - Lord of Terror and survivor of the Dark Exile. When he awakened from his long slumber, my Lord and master spoke to me of secrets that few mortals know. He told me the kingdoms of the High Heavens and the pits of the Burning Hells engage in an eternal war. He revealed the powers that have brought this discord to the realms of man. My master has named the battle for this world and all who exist here the Sin War."

Comment: Apart from the change of the period that the Sin War denotes, this phrase is canon. Although it doesn't really contain anything.

Tale of the Three[edit | edit source]

Found: Catacombs level 8.

'"Glory and approbation to Diablo, Lord of Terror and leader of the Three. My lord spoke to me of his two brothers, Mephisto and Baal, who were banished to this world long ago. My lord wishes to bide his time and harness his awesome power so that he may free his captive brothers from their tombs beneath the sands of the east. Once my lord releases his brothers, The Sin War will once again know the fury of the Three."

Comment: This quote is questionable. It is the only quote that actually names one of the Three as leader. Various quotes in the Sin War novels allude to the fact that Diablo is the strongest and foremost of them, but no single quote can prove it. Lazarus, being a corrupted servant of Diablo, would obviously name his master the leader. So while the quote shouldn't be taken literally, it is another small proof supporting the fact that Diablo does in fact seem to be the leader of the Three.

The Black King[edit | edit source]

Found: Caves level 12.

"Hail and sacrifice to Diablo, Lord of Terror and Destroyer of Souls. When I awoke my master from his sleep, he attempted to posses a mortal's form. Diablo attempted to claim the body of King Leoric, but my master was too weak from his imprisonment. My lord required a simple and innocent anchor to this world, and so found the boy Albrecht perfect for the task. While the good King Leoric was left maddened by Diablo's unsuccessful possession, I kidnapped his son Albrecht and brought him before my master. I now await Diablo's call and pray that I will be rewarded when he at last emerges as the lord of this world."

Comment: This is the only passage during which the title "Destroyer of Souls" is used for Diablo. Since it is capitalized it is clearly a title, but it has never been mentioned after this.

Demonic Tomes[edit | edit source]

The Dark Exile[edit | edit source]

Found: Cathedral level 4.

"So it came to be that there was a great revolution within the Burning Hells known as The Dark Exile. The Lesser Evils overthrew the Three Prime Evils and banished their spirit forms to the mortal realm. The demons Belial (the Lord of Lies) and Azmodan (the Lord of Sin) fought to claim rulership of Hell during the absence of the Three Brothers. All of Hell polarized between the factions of Belial and Azmodan while the forces of the High Heavens continually battered upon the very Gates of Hell."

Comment: This is definitely canonical, though whether it is true or not is another matter. Izual holds a speech in Diablo II that casts some doubt as to whether it was truly a revolution or simply a very elaborate plan by the Prime Evils:

"You see, it was I who told Diablo and his Brothers about the Soulstones and how to corrupt them. It was I who helped the Prime Evils mastermind their own exile to your world."

Still, the mere fact that a revolution did take place, whether real or faked, is not something just any mortal is capable of knowing. And it wouldn't have been a very good scheme if anyone knew the rebellion was a sham.

The Sin War[edit | edit source]

Found: Catacombs level 8.

"Many Demons travelled to the mortal realm in search of the Three Brothers. These Demons were followed to the mortal plane by Angels who hunted them throughout the vast cities of the East. The Angels allied themselves with a secretive order of mortal Magi named the Horadrim, who quickly became adept at hunting Demons. They also made many dark enemies in the underworlds."

Comment: True, though the amount of angels is probably limited to mainly Tyrael and perhaps some lesser angels under his command. At least, no angel but Tyrael has ever been named to have helped the Horadrim.

The Binding of the Three[edit | edit source]

Found: Caves level 12.

"So it came to be that the Three Prime Evils were banished in spirit form to the mortal realm and after sewing chaos across the East for decades, they were hunted down by the cursed Order of the mortal Horadrim. The Horadrim used artifacts called Soulstones to contain the essence of Mephisto, the Lord of Hatred and his brother Baal, the Lord of Destruction. The youngest brother - Diablo, the Lord of Terror - escaped to the west. Eventually the Horadrim captured Diablo within a Soulstone as well, and buried him under an ancient, forgotten Cathedral. There, the Lord of Terror sleeps and awaits the time of his rebirth. Know ye that he will seek a body of youth and power to possess - one that is innocent and easily controlled. He will then arise to free his Brothers and once more fan the flames of the Sin War..."

Comment: This clearly highlights that a Horadrim did not write it. A Horadrim would not call his order cursed, and he would not refer to the Horadrim as "mortal". It suggests a demon, or some other immortal being, has written this.

What is also interesting about this book is that it is the only quote that mentions Diablo as the youngest. There are plenty of passages that mention Mephisto as the eldest, but only this one named Diablo as the youngest.

Quest Tomes[edit | edit source]

These four books all start a quest, and will only be found if their respective quests are available in the current playthrough. Who actually wrote them and places them here is highly unclear, but they're a convenient way to provide the player with quests regarding monsters and items of which the townsfolk of Tristram are unaware.

Book of Blood[edit | edit source]

Found: Catacombs level 5.

Starts the Arkaine's Valor quest.

"...and so, locked beyond the gateway of blood, and past the hall of fires, Valor awaits for the hero of light to awaken..."

Mythical Book[edit | edit source]

Found: Catacombs level 6. This book is always found in single player.

Starts the quest Chamber of Bone.

"Beyond the hall of heroes lies the Chamber of Bone. Eternal death awaits any who would seek to steal the treasures secured within this room. So speaks the Lord of Terror, and so it is written."

Book of the Blind[edit | edit source]

Found: Catacombs level 7.

Starts the quest Halls of the Blind.

"I can see what you see not.
Vision milky, then eyes rot.
When you turn they will be gone,
Whispering their hidden song.
Then you see what cannot be,
Shadows move where light should be.
Out of darkness, out of mind,
Cast down into the Halls of the Blind."

Fungal Tome[edit | edit source]

Found: Caves level 9.

Required to start the Black Mushroom quest.

Unlike all other tomes, the fungal tome is simply a quest item the player picks up, and is merely supposed to contain recipes for various potions and elixirs.

Steel Tome[edit | edit source]

Found: Hell level 13.

Starts the quest Warlord of Blood.

"The armories of Hell are home to the Warlord of Blood. In his wake lay the mutilated bodies of thousands. Angels and man alike have been cut down to fulfill his endless sacrifices to the dark ones who scream for one thing - blood."

Comment: This refers to Bartuc, and who's legacy is described in the book Legacy of Blood. The events of this book take place right after Diablo I, and while the quote is vague, it seems quite accurate