At the heart of all things Diablo, Tristram is right there. It’s the start of the legendary series, and the little town holds more secrets than any mortal on Sanctuary would know.
You might know a thing or two, but do you really know Tristram? Can anyone really ever know this weird little town? Now you can!
It’s going to be the starting place for Diablo III, so if you’re at all interested you should take a few minutes to delve further into the burned and rotting houses of Tristram after the break.
Tristram is a shell of its former self, with some burned down buildings still not removed. A “New Tristram” grew from the shell of the old one, built on the adventurers who sought the treasures of the Cathedral, but when they left, the new town also lost its soul.
The wilderness surrounding Tristram is beautiful with lush fields and picturesque rivers. It’s also located fairly close to the fishing village called Wortham.
Founding of Tristram
The history of Tristram starts several hundred years prior to recent events (that take place around 1260-1290 Anno Kehjistani). In the last century of the first millennium, 912 to be precise, the Sin War ended when Diablo was finally captured in a Soulstone by a group of Horadrim monks led by Jered Cain. The monks buried the Soulstone in a cave near the river Talsande in Khanduras and a Horadric monastery with a network of catacombs built over the location.
A few years after the erection of the monastery, the town of Tristram was founded around it and people prospered with the Prime Evils out of the picture. Unfortunately, with no quests left to undertake, the Horadrim’s numbers slowly dwindled, and 200 years later, they are legends that are forgotten by most, the monastery long since abandoned.
King Leoric and Diablo
It was at this time that the Eastern lord Leoric came to Tristram and declared himself king, and converting the old, long-unused Horadric monastery to a Zakarum cathedral. He was betrayed by his advisor, Archbishop Lazarus, who secretly released Diablo deep within the monastery catacombs.
Diablo attempted to possess the powerful Leoric, but failed leaving the King mad. He started killing people and initiated a war with Westmarch, a former ally of Khanduras and stronger in military might.
He was later killed by his captain, Lachdanan, and his son was kidnapped by Diablo, becoming the Prime Evil’s new mortal vessel.
The Lone Hero
Many adventurers disappeared down into the catacombs in search of treasure, glory or both.
Archbishop Lazarus then lead a group of villagers into the cathedral and abandoned them to a bloodthirsty butcher demon. From this point, people began fleeing Tristram in droves. If they had not left during the king’s madness, they left now.
Only a small number of villagers stayed and saw a lone hero arrive and defeat the fetid butcher demon. This hero was one Deckard Cain befriended, and with his guidance, he ventured further down into the maze and defeated the Skeleton King as well as killing Lazarus.
The hero traversed all the way into Hell and defeated Diablo.
Unfortunately for the hero, as well as everyone else, the hero foolishly thinks he can contain Diablo within himself, and sinks the Soulstone within his own flesh.
The Dark Wanderer
Despite his noble intentions, his valiant spirit quickly succumbed to Diablo‘s corruption and he became the Dark Wanderer. He left Tristram behind shortly before legions of foul demons attacked and destroyed the town and its inhabitants: Killing some, raising them as skeletons, or possessing them, making them as demons, like poor Griswold.
Cain blamed himself for not foreseeing this, and travelled East with the heroes to save Sanctuary.
After the town was burned to the ground, “New Tristram” grew around the ancient monastery. The new town has been around for several years, but the exact date of its founding is unclear.
Originally simply a collection of merchants looking to profit on adventurers and travellers drawn by legends of riches within the old cathedral, it slowly set down roots and became an established town. As soon as the cathedral was looted bare, however, the adventurers and travellers stopped coming, and New Tristram found itself in decline.
What happened here is now as with most of the Diablo Legend, something dismissed out of hand by most citizens of the world. People think of the undead monstrosities, demonic possessiond and the monarchy driven to lunacy to be part of a peculiar mould upon the bread or perhaps a fouling of the water. It was just an unfortunate event that people went mad.
A meteor has been seen darting across the skies, crashing straight down into the Cathedral, but seemingly without hurting either Leah or Cain. The latter ventured down the hole to try and find more magical tomes to explain the events, later rescued by the Barbarian character.
What you’ll see in Diablo III
There’s a lot of concept art of Tristram, but it’s not clear how much was just for background information or reference. The New Tristram so far seen in the game has been a zombie-infested ruins; if there’s more of a town waiting to be discovered in the final game, we’ve not seen in-game evidence of it yet.
Numerous screens have shown New Tristram, but only the ruined, monster-infested portion of the town. The BlizzCon 2008 demo build started in a very small encampment just outside of New Tristram, but there were no NPC merchants available. It’s assumed that the New Tristram we’ll see in the final game will be larger and have various merchants and quest-giving NPCs, but this is just conjecture.
I have used this article to also fill out the Tristram page in DiabloWiki.Net, and added information from Flux’s articles as well. You should check out that page for more Diablo 3-specific information.
Flux’s Diablo 3 gameplay report from BlizzCon 2008 will give you further details on exactly how the town looked and was laid out. It’s another good read for anyone interested to know more about Tristram.