Diablo 3 Story: The Black Soulstone Explained

Diablo 3 Story: The Black Soulstone Explained

Black Soulstone cinematic storyboard.
Black Soulstone cinematic storyboard.
A couple of weeks we got news from Blizzard’s story guys about what happened in Reaper of Souls when the Black Soulstone was shattered. That description didn’t match what most fans thought was happening with the souls of the demons, and touched off a surprisingly lengthy debate in the comments here.

Today there’s more explanation about it, as the newest of Blizzard’s Diablo 3 CMs Waterfiend Tyvalir (who apparently inherited the responsibility for lore posts when he got the plush octopus) stepped up to offer a more detailed description of just which demons were in the Black Soulstone, and how they got there.

Diablo 3 Story: The Black Soulstone Explained:

Who all is in there? I never gave it much thought until now… Andariel and Duriel were just slain, correct? These are creatures that would just regenerate in the bowels of hell again… Same with Rakanoth and others…
Tyvalir: As CrimsonGhost suggested, all of the Prime Evils were trapped in the Black Soulstone at the end of Diablo III, which is still the case at the beginning of Reaper of Souls.

The actual step-by-step explanation of how the seven Lords of Hell came to be trapped in the Black Soulstone is a bit technical, but it goes like this:

  • The heroes of Diablo II slay Andariel, Duriel, Mephisto, Diablo and Baal.
  • Adria marks the souls of the five defeated Lords of Hell. This creates “hooks” so that when the Black Soulstone is later completed, their souls will be pulled in the soulstone.
  • When Zoltun Kulle activates the Black Soulstone in Diablo III, the souls of the dead Lords of Hell are drawn into it.
  • The party traps the souls of Belial and Azmodan in the Black Soulstone.
  • All seven demon lords are inside the soulstone when Adria forces them into Leah’s body. Diablo now has the power of all seven demon lords within him.
  • Diablo is defeated, placing him (and the demon lords inside of him) back into the Soulstone.
  • Sorry if that was long-winded. I’m hoping this will catch up anyone who missed the critical parts of Diablo lore, so you’ll all be on the same page for Ultimate Evil Edition.

    We all know the Bliz story guys just make it up as they go along, but I guess this (new?) version mostly makes sense. I do think it’s been given a bit of a DiabloWikiMetcon, though. My understanding from the earlier games and lore of the Sin War was that when Greater or Lesser Evils were slain, it was just their current body that died, while their immortal spirits returned to Hell to regenerate into a new form. Wasn’t that what Diablo suggested, when he allowed Imperius to kill him in the Diablo Wrath anime? The danger for the Prime Evils wasn’t in dying, it was if someone had a soulstone (of whatever color) handy when they were killed, since it could vacuum up their soul.

    That’s why Leah was able to snork up Belial and Azmodan in Diablo 3, since they had the Black Soulstone handy at the time of their defeat. So that’s fine, but I don’t really buy that demons killed 20 years earlier during Diablo 2 were available to be Black Soulstone’d also. I guess we’re to believe Adria was somehow sneaking around, soul-tagging the loser after each Act Boss battle in Diablo 2?

    Tyvalir’s summary takes us up to the start of Reaper of Souls, and at the end of the game when Malthael shatters the Black Soulstone, Diablo is freed. While still somehow containing all the essences of the other Prime Evils, which he could only do in D3 since he had them in the Black Soulstone. Death puts a man through many changes.

    For a memory refresher, here’s the quote from Leonard Boyarsky from a couple of weeks ago, which set off this whole neverending debate/lore lesson.

    When diablo was released was it just Diablo or the seven evils?
    Leonard Boyarsky: I think we can answer that. Yes if Diablo was truly released after the destruction of the black soul stone it would be diablo as the combination of the seven evils.

    Brian Kindregan: Yes.. yes. It would be Diablo as the prime evil.

    Leonard Boyarsky: Yeah that’s not the question I thought they were going to ask to clarify at the end. That’s the easy one haha. Let’s end any more talk about the seven evils all escaping. It did not happen. Diablo is the one free. There is no seven evil business. They’re gone.

    This suggests that we’re going to fight Diablo, once again in Prime Evil form, but no longer in Leah’s body, in the next expansion? Whose body do you suppose he’ll take over next? Perhaps he’ll somehow corrupt a Nephalem, since that’s the only body strong enough to be an upgrade over his previous efforts? So perhaps our characters will get to fight corrupted versions of themselves? Like in the Act Four shadow realm, but much, much worse?

    Related to this article
  • John Yang Joins World of Warcraft Team
  • Leonard Boyarsky Leaves Blizzard and Joins Obsidian
  • Watch all the Diablo 3 Dev Lightning Talks

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    12 thoughts on “Diablo 3 Story: The Black Soulstone Explained

    1. lol, 'Adria marks the souls'? 'This creates “hooks”'? what is this contrived nonsense? -_-

      i really wished they dropped this 'prime evil' crap. it was waaaay cooler to have all those different lords of hell.

      also, i don't know maybe it's the way D3 told the story but the big demons guys in D3 don't feel evil/devilish to me at all. i never felt like they pose any real threat and nephelem killing them was just a formality.

      well, thy did slightly better job with malthiel though i suppose.

        • Yeah, this is quite broken. Here it's impossible to edit posts, that's only for the associated topic in the forums. However, posts that are written in the associated topic aren'

          • Allowing main page post editing was creating a security loophole as it's some kind of writable thing that overlaps with the wordpress permissions. Thus it unfortunately had to be removed, or so our tech guys tell me.

            As el shendee says, you can use our news forum to create comments that are viewable on the main page as well with full editing and forum formatting controls, if you desire.

      • "i really wished they dropped this 'prime evil' crap. it was waaaay cooler to have all those different lords of hell" Amen to that… I think somebody should tell Blizzard to stop drinking the cool aid while coming up with all these stupid plot devices. Blizzard is just being lazy with this "Diablo as the Prime Evil' crap. This game needs interesting boss fights and who in the Hell can replace the seven lords of Hell…… Something tells me the next expansion is going to be "underwhelming" when it comes to the storyline.

    2. I've said it before and I'll say it again – I like most of D3's story a lot, it's just the execution (acting, writing, ect) that leave so much to be desired. Pity.

    3. I'm down with Adria sneaking around… It makes sense, she was obviously an evil trickster.

      You know, demons' souls get trapped in soulstones. Duh. Nephalem guys/gals shoot ice/fire/poison/holy light from their fingertips. Pssssh normal stuff. A young girl gets possessed by the demons' connected souls and becomes the embodiment of terror. Makes sense.


    4. What gets me is that there's no hint of it going on, especially in Diablo 2. That's the part that feels cheap about it.

      I think it would help if they clearly explained how she tags them. I have a hard time believing Adria got deep inside the catacombs and then deep inside the true tal rasha tomb. Plus no clues or hints in those games. Ya, the writers can do what they want, but changing the events of a previous story to suit the current one with just a "because I told you so" explanation is sloppy. (no one would have even known who Adria was in Diablo 2 days, much less known she tagged Andy and duriel).

      • Actually Adria has been around since Diablo 1. She was the witch in the town (Tristram). But from what I can remember, I don't recall her appearing in D2's story either.

      • How do you know she didn't mark their souls before they appeared in these areas while she was scheming with Diablo? She had a child with a possessed warrior for the sole (soul?) purpose of it being a host for the prime evil. The two of them were basically capable of anything.

        I'll suggest Diablo overpowers Imperius as the prime evil. It's not a Nephalem, it's a true combination of demon and angel. Lots of people thought they'd fight him in RoS, but he's still just acting like a douchebag forced to help you. Seems like a good option. And thus the Archangel of Valor becomes the Angel of Wrath. I may be biased…

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