The Children of Bul-Kathos, better known as Barbarians and sometimes referred to as "Northmen" or the "Broken People," are a collection of tribes who once lived on Mount Arreat and protected the Worldstone.
The Barbarian tribes' origins lie in a time before recorded history. It is written in the Scéal Fada that it was Bul-Kathos and Fiacla-Géar who agreed that in order to safeguard the Worldstone, their people would have to devote the entirety of their lives to the task. Their ideas on how to best approach the task differed however, and while Géar took his followers to Scosglen, Bul-Kathos gathered the Barbarian tribes of the Northern Steppes. Tasked with defending the Worldstone, Barbarian culture was built around its defense. To better protect their lands, they adopted a nomadic lifestyle constantly moving around the Northern Steppes and possessing few permanent settlements.
Worrusk and the Coming of RakkisEdit
Originally the Barbarians roamed the entire western continent of Sanctuary. During a period of inter-tribal warfare, the Barbarian Worusk was able to unite them and for a brief time, the Barbarians were united under a single king. Under his reign, the Council of Elders was formed in Harrogath. Even after his death, the Council remained as a governing body.
During the mid-tenth century, a crusade was launched from the East to bring Zakarum to the lands of the West. Battling against the Sons of Rakkis, the Barbarians lost control of much of the West. However, Rakkis's forces could never conquer the Northern Steppes.
The Children of Bul-Kathos kept themselves isolated from the rest of Sanctuary, and while they would permit some trade with the outside world, this would only occur at the border of their territory. All intrusions into the territory surrounding Mount Arreat were forbidden, and warriors from the northern tribes were quick to thwart any incursions. Because of their savagery in battle, the people of the Western Kingdoms frequently called them "barbarians," and regarded them as bloodthirsty invaders. Regardless, the Barbarians stood ready, as the Prophecies of the Final Day declared that a time would come when Hell would surge forward, seeking to undo the works of the Ancients in a final conflict.
When news of Diablos re-emergence at Tristram spread, a small number of Barbarian warriors began roving the lands outside the Steppes, prepared for war and seeking information regarding the recent activities of the Prime Evils. One of their number made contact with a group of other heroes, and the Horadric scholar Deckard Cain. The group tracked Diablo from Khanduras to Aranoch, the jungles of Kurast, and even the fires of Hell itself. Diablo and Mephisto were defeated, but Baal, the final Prime Evil, remained unaccounted for. The Lord of Destruction headed north, building an army as he did so, intent on corrupting the Worldstone. The Prophecies of the Final Day had been fulfilled. Uileloschadh Mór had begun.
By all accounts, the Barbarians fought ferociously, living up to their reputation as Sanctuary's hardiest warriors. Yet it was not enough. At Daken-Shar, the Barbarian defenders were eradicated almost to the last man. Sescheron, their capital, was sacked. Eventually, all that stood between Baal and the Arreat Summit was Harrogath and its defenders. In desperation, the town's elders sacrificed themselves as part of a warding spell to create a protective barrier around the settlement. Only Nihlathak survived.
Baal's forces lay siege, and Barbarian defenders suffered for it. The heroes who had slain Baal's brothers arrived however, and did all they could to break the siege. However, their efforts were overshadowed by Nihlathak's actions, who had bartered the Relic of the Ancients to Baal in exchange for Harrogath being spared. With the relic, Baal could scale Mount Arreat unopposed by its guardians.
Both Nihlathak and Baal met their end at the hands of the heroes, but Baal had already corrupted the Worldstone. To save humanity, the archangel Tyrael was forced to destroy it. Through his actions, humanity was spared damnation, and Baal's army destroyed, but the cost to the Barbarian tribes was horrific. The resulting explosion leveled Mount Arreat and devastated the surrounding area. Toxic clouds of ash and arcane dust fell over the Steppes, the damage so horrific that it became known as the Dreadlands.
In the years following Arreat's destruction, the peoples of Sanctuary began to understand the long and noble history Barbarian culture once possessed, and became acknowledged. But with the destruction of the Worldstone and devastation of their homeland, many Barbarians lost faith. Some became aimless, haunted by their past, traveling from place to place without honor or direction. Some Barbarians left Arreat and struck out to battle evil, in atonement for their failed stewardship. Other tribes fell into regression, becoming akin to unreasoning beasts and, in some cases, even cannibals. Some, however, still honor the harsh snows of Arreat's summit and prowl the outskirts of its crater, maintaining enclaves. They recall being handed axes and spears at an age when city children were clinging to their toys…and they burn with shame at the failure of their people. These Barbarians strive to find a new purpose for themselves in a changed world, and they will crush any who stand in their way.
Among the Barbarians who left their homeland, one of them took note of the evil that had taken root in Sanctuary. He saw an opportunity to give the Barbarians hope, a reason to fight, and a reason to live.  Twenty years after the destruction of Arreat, a falling star drew him to Tristram, which also attracted many other heroes. Among them, the Barbarian would save both Sanctuary and Heaven from the wrath of Diablo.
Barbarians are a spiritual people, and their faith system is/was based around Bul-Kathos (the "immortal king") and the Ancients, a trio of nephalem spirits who guarded Mount Arreat. Barbarians also maintain shamanistic beliefs in animal powers, which are represented through the use of totems. Barbarians believe(d) that if they fail to uphold their duty to Arreat, or are not given a proper burial upon its slopes, they will be denied a true warrior's death, and their spirits shall roam the land without honor for all eternity.
Barbarians eschew the use of magic and technology, as they believe the use of such devices will only weaken their resolve. Renowned for their combat prowess and arrogant demenour, Barbarians appear to be perpetually girt for battle. Through harsh conditioning, Barbarians excel in physical combat and can perform tremendous feats of strength. Their physical strength is further strengthened by the primal energies of the land, which they have learned to harness. Never shying from a brawl, mighty ground stomps, leaping attacks and crushing blows leave enemies dead in their tracks, and survivors cowering in fear.
During their vigil, Barbarian trials began at childhood; skinning ferocious beasts, climbing windswept cliffs and carrying weapons heavy enough to make a southern soldier weep. As a result, their combat and survival skills are unparalleled throughout Sanctuary. Exposed to the elements of their homeland, Barbarian skin has been toughened to match the resilience of leather, and can withstand attacks that would slay lesser mortals. Because of the scarcity of food in their homeland, Barbarians are able to consume species of plants that would kill normal men. Likewise, Barbarians regularly scavenged the bodies of their falls, due to the scarcity of materials in their homeland.
Barbarians are familiar with the art of weaponsmithery, a tradition which harkens back to Bul-Kathos. Barbarians are able to make use of weapons in ways that others simply don’t possess the strength for. Heavily-muscled barbarians can also dual-wield normal weapons like swords and axes, barraging foes with multiple enchantments and weapon types at once.
For a time, the sword was regarded as the pinnacle of Barbarian weaponcraft, though not long before the destruction of Mount Arreat, some Barbarian smiths perfected their axecraft to be the equal (or greater) weapon to that of the sword. Other tribes are dedicated to other types of weapons however, such as the Bear Tribe (the mace), the Snake Tribe (the spear) and the Crane Tribe (the polearm). Barbarians are also capable of using thrown weapons, but few are known for their use of the bow.
Barbarians appear to have a numbering system that is represented by runes.
As of 1285, there are estimated to be 32 Barbarian tribes. Each tribe can trace its ancestry back to Bul-Kathos, and each sang epic sagas of their history. With the destruction of Mount Arreat, entire tribes were wiped out from existence. Known tribes/clans include:
- Bear Tribe
- Bone Clan
- Crane Tribe
- Owl Tribe
- Shadow Wolf Tribe
- Snake Tribe
- Stag Tribe
- Targos Clan
- Tribe of Thunder
Main article: Barbarian (Hellfire)
A Barbarian class first appeared in Diablo: Hellfire. However, the lore of this class was of barbarians to the far south, and is unrelated to the Barbarians of later games.
Main article: Barbarian (Diablo II)
The Barbarian class received its first proper introduction in Diablo II, where he was a bona fide class of his own (as opposed to the one from Hellfire, who used the graphics of the warrior class), and was representative of the Children of Bul-Kathos in terms of lore. Additionally, Barbarian Warrior hirelings could be used by the player in the game's expansion.
Main article: Barbarian (Diablo III)
The Barbarian class returns in Diablo III. (S)he bears resemblance to the interpretation of the character from the previous game.
Denizens of HarrogathEdit
- Elder Aust
- Elder Nihlathak
- Anya (alchemist)
- Caldra (seer)
- Elora (wife of Aust)
- Larzuk (blacksmith)
- Malah (healer)
- Qual-Kehk (senior man-at-arms)
- Bannar the Berserker
- Charsi (blacksmith)
- Faren Odwyll
- Gruhac Hammerhand
- Halaberd the Conqueror
- Kehr Odwyll
- Ooron Goons
In terms of culture and geography, the Barbarians bear resemblance to the historical Germanic tribes.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 2013-08-15, Diablo III: Book of Tyrael Pre-Orders Now Available. Blizzard Entertainment, accessed on 2013-08-31
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Diablo II: Lord of Destruction Manual
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 Diablo II Manual
- ↑ Cite error: Invalid
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- ↑ 5.0 5.1 2013-12-08, BlizzCon 2013 – Diablo III Lore and Story Q&A Panel Transcript. Blizzplanet, accessed on 2014-03-11
- ↑ Diablo III, Immortal King's Triumph
- ↑ Book of Tyrael
- ↑ Diablo III, The History of Bastion's Keep
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 Writings of Abd al-Hazir: Barbarian
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 Book of Cain
- ↑ Tales of Sanctuary, The Hand of Naz
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 12.5 Barbarian, Blizzard Entertainment. Accessed on 2013-08-31
- ↑ Diablo III, Act I
- ↑ Diablo III, Act IV
- ↑ Diablo II, Lord of Destruction
- ↑ Barbarian, The Arreat Summit. Accessed on 2013-09-31
- ↑ Diablo III Barbarian Class Premium Tee, J!NX. Accessed on 2014-01-16
- ↑ Nerves of Steel, Blizzard Entertainment. Accessed on 2013-08-31
- ↑ Wayfarer