Diablo 3, that amazing repeated hit RPG by Blizzard, has spawned an entire world and campaign unlike any other. A world that sits between the Burning Hells and the High Heavens. Where the eternal war between Angels and Demons wages on with the hearts and souls of the descendants of both as the stakes. A world, ironic in its naming, dubbed Sanctuary.
Today marks the launching of Blizzard’s latest expansion for Diablo 3, Rise of The Necromancer. In this, you get to play as a Nephalem, or the direct descendant of the angels and demons that founded Sanctuary as a place apart from the eternal. The Nephalem, on the rise since the sundering of the Worldstone by the Angel of Justice Tyreal, are beings that possess more power than that of Angel or Demon combined.
In fact, there is only one case of either being able to solo a Nephalem in Diablo 3 that I have found, when Inarius (father of the first Nephalem, Rathma) faced off against the Nephalem Uldyssian while Inarius was empowered with all the might of the Worldstone. The Nephalem are the best of both worlds, yet a part of neither. They do not rest, they do not tire, their power is nearly infinite. Thus is why their power was sealed away within the Worldstone, only to be released with its sundering.
Rise of the Necromancer hits Diablo 3 from Blizzard
This brings us to the Rise of the Necromancer for Blizzard’s Diablo 3. I have not played the expansion as of the writing of this article, and will live stream myself trying out the Necromancer for the first time in the video above. That being said, I have gathered some interesting bits of lore about the Necromancer that you may or may not know.
- They do not refer to themselves as Necromancers normally, rather they are the Priests of Rathma. Blizzard seems to have implied that the name Necromancer comes from outsiders who have misunderstood and maligned the Priests of Rathma.
- Rathma was the first Nephalem and the first Necromancer, but he was not the founder of the the Priests of Rathma. This honor falls upon Kalan, who was a student of Rathma.
- The Priests of Rathma are technically not a clergy, but a mage clan who follow cult like arcane practices.
- They personify the way of balance between light and dark, life and death. They work for neither side forever, but strive to balance either through support where it is needed. For this reason they take umbrage with any supernatural force that seeks to sway and control mankind.
- Their entire belief system hails from a being that is neither Angel, nor Demon. The Great Astral Dragon Trag’Oul taught Rathma his ways and set the ball in motion for the formation of the Necromancer. It is their belief that the world of Sanctuary lays upon the back of Trag’Oul.
- They belief in purity, and for the most part will study any magic that will not lead to corruption. In fact, I have found less than a handful of cases of any Necromancers going “to the darkside” within all of Diablo’s lore. Odd that Blizzard made the Necromancer more pure than the paladin!
- The Necromancer you play as in Diablo 3 is the first Nephalem Necromancer since the founding of the Priests of Rathma. This makes him/her canonically the strongest Necromancer alive.
- The Necromancer you play as in Diablo 2 is canonically named Xul, and trained Mehtan the Necromancer you run into in Diablo 3. He is merely human and was only of the rank of Acolyte when he helped defeat the Prime Evils in Diablo 2. Xul the Necromancer makes an appearance as a playable character in Blizzard’s Heroes of the Storm.
- “The leader of the Necromancers is known as…the Deathspeaker. Three guesses what he likes to talk about.” -Xul
- The Necromancer is given an artifact in the form of bones from the skeletons that served Rathma themself when they become full fledged members. These are to be worn as a status symbol and declaration of allegiance on the Necromancer’s armor. Most choose to wear them on their hands and wrists.
- In a round a bout way, Mephisto is the Necromancer’s ancestor. Mephisto had a daughter Lilith. Lilith mated with Inarius and created the world of Sanctuary and eventually Rathma. Rathma created the teachings used to create the Priests of Rathma. Perhaps this obsession with the dead is a genetic memory of Mephisto, a Prime Evil known for his skeletal appearance? Well played Blizzard, well played.
- The God/Astral Dragon Trag’Oul is named in an item in Diablo 2 for the Necromancer (spelled Trag-Oul there) and in an item set within Diablo 3.
- The Necromancer is a practicer of pragmatism. They do not see their art as evil, and will show little emotion in most situations. This is likely a nod to Rathma, who like his father was possessing an unearthly level of stoicism.
- Contrary to the above mentioned stoicism, the voice actor for Xul in Diablo 2 takes a tone of giddiness on the last word of their comment on entering the first cave of the game. “It smells like… DEATH…” is said in much the same tone a small child would state it smells like cake.
- Though they are technically mages, the Priests of Rathma never fell to corruption and in fighting like the mage clans. Their focus on purity saw that they all stayed a united but secluded front during the Mage Clan Wars.
- The Necromancers hail from eastern Kehjistan. The environment is a series of Jungles and swamps so thick they bought out the sun. This is the source of the Necromancer’s deathly pale skin.
- If one were to read between the lines, it becomes a fairly simple conclusion to make that a member of the Necromancers was the one who taught the Witch Doctor’s people the basic precepts of giving life to the dead. Though due to kiss in translation and the language barrier, their magics evolved differently.
- A former Speaker of the Dead was one of the first chosen by Tyreal when he reformed the Horadrim to watch over the Black Soulstone. You can see him during the opening cinematic for Reaper of Souls.
- Though they deal with death on a daily basis, they were among the staunchest opponents of Malthael when he became the angel of death. In fact, their Necropolis was one of his primary targets.
- They were founded and established in 150, making the Necromancer order almost as old as the world of Sanctuary itself!
Well I am off to play Blizzard’s Diablo 3 as the Necromancer, which will be live cast and linked within this article. Come check it out! Music in the stream is courtesy of zeroFluxboundary, an independent drum and bass/electronic/rock producer from Philly with a cynical sensibility.
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Did I miss something? Have any Questions or Comments? Leave them in the comments below, or feel free to message me at www.facebook.com/NubzTheZombie or at firstname.lastname@example.org