- "And, alas, we are of our fathers and mothers, alike and yet opposite, one decay and the other light. Indeed, the union of angel and demon created a third essence. And we are those children. We are the nephalem. We exist as half angel and half demon, yet fully a new entity. And because of our lineage, they loved us. And because of our difference, they feared us. Within the trembling balance between love and fear is the relation of us to our fathers and mothers."
-Text from the Book of Cain
- "You... all humans... are the spawn of my coupling! From demon and angel came the nephalem, greater than anything ever created in the cosmos! The force I stirred within you, the force which I found begging to be released, is nothing less than your birthright!"
-Lilith to Uldyssian
Sanctuary was created by the rogue angel Inarius and his demon confidante, Lilith. They led a group of renegade demons and angels where they created a new world through the Worldstone, one where they would be free from the Great Conflict. In an act without precedent, Inarius and Lilith mated and created offspring. In time, other renegade demons and angels did likewise and produced offspring of their own. Thus, the nephalem were born—the children of both angels and demons, yet a new entity in their own right.
The first generation of nephalem were called the Ancients. It is believed that they set out exploring, seeking answers, attempting to understand the world in which they lived. Millennia after their birth, Deckard Cain speculated that thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of these Ancients existed, though by the time of his life, only the names of Bul-Kathos, Vasily, Esu, and Rathma were remembered, and treated more like deities.
Yet not all was well among the nephalem's parents, for they were far more powerful than either angel or demon. Their forebears feared that not only might the nephalem become a threat, but might draw the attention of the High Heavens or Burning Hells to Sanctuary. They knew that the co-mingling of their kind would be declared blasphemous, and that they would be destroyed if their refuge were discovered. Thus, some of the renegades called for the nephalem to be eradicated, while others believed they should be spared. The dissension troubled Inarius, who called for a period of reflection, so that each of his subjects could consider the matter in solitude.
The Rise of ManEdit
- "The day of the nephalem is, as they say, long over. One by one, I and my kind will cease to be. There are fewer now than during the battle even. The future is what is important."
Lilith was driven into a mad frenzy by the threat of her children's extinction. Morphing into a horrific beast, she hunted down and murdered her fellow renegades, lest they do the same to the nephalem. Enraged at her actions, Inarius could not bring himself to kill his beloved and thus banished her. Subsequently, the angel attuned the Worldstone in such a manner to cause the powers of the nephalem to diminish over time. Thus, the nephalem became weaker over each subsequent generation, to the point where the race of Man came to be. A weaker, mortal species, without knowledge of its birthright.
Yet the potential to reclaim its old glory still rested in humanity. It was this potential power that drew the attention of the Prime Evils to humanity, beginning what would become known as the Sin War. In the last stages of the conflict, the Worldstone was altered by Uldyssian, who began to manifest powers befitting a nephalem, as did his Edyrem followers. However, as the last battle raged, he realized that the power being regained was too much over too short a time, and in an act of self-sacrifice, he brought back his raging energies into himself before releasing them one final time, resetting the Worldstone and stripping his followers of their powers. It was an act that ended the Sin War and convinced the Angiris Council to leave humanity to its own devices, seeing that they could follow the path of light as well as dark.
Return of the NephalemEdit
- "Your strength rivals that of our greatest champions. What now do you think you are?"
-Alaric to the nephalem
In 1265, the Worldstone was destroyed by Tyrael, lest humanity be turned to Chaos through Baal's corruption of the relic. Thus, the mortal realm was left exposed to both Heaven and Hell. However, within a generation, a new group of nephalem walked in the world, their powers rivaling that of their distant ancestors. Ultimately, these nephalem defeated Diablo himself, bringing an end to the Great Conflict and saving both Heaven and the mortal realm from destruction.
- Ezek the Prophet
- Madawc the Guardian
- Korlic the Protector
- Talic the Defender
Sin War (Edyrem)Edit
In Diablo III, each player character is a nephalem, and referred to as such when described in a narrative sense. It has been stated that because of the requirements of the narrative, no angel class will be available in the game.
The nephalem are based on the Old Testament Nephilim.