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Priests of Rathma

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The Priests of Rathma (a.k.a. the Cult of Rathma) are an order of Necromancers who base themselves in the eastern jungles of Sanctuary.




A Necromancer

Of all the practitioners of magic, none are so widely maligned and misunderstood as the Priests of Rathma.

As with most users of magic, the priests of the cult of Rathma hail from the far Eastern jungles. They reside in a vast underground city located deep within those jungles. Their specific geographical locale is particularly secluded, however, preventing their assimilation into a formal mage clan. But it is this same isolation that allowed them to pursue their distinct kind of arcane science. For it is through the teachings of Rathma, as well as through years of research and physical experimentation, that these men have come to understand and hold sacred the delicate balance of life and death and are able to twist the line that borders the two. For although the minions of Hell have long possessed this power, among mortals the knowledge to reanimate and control the dead belongs to these priests alone. It is this practice that has lead outsiders to refer to them as "Necromancers." They truly comprehend the balance of all things, and understand and accept their place in what they refer to as the Great Cycle of Being.[1] The Necromancers believe that even the slightest imbalance in the Cycle can lead to catastrophe.[2]


A low ranking Necromancer

Although their art is considered "dark," and the people of the outside world shun the priests who practice these arts, these mysterious cultists never suffered the epidemic of corruption that plagued the ancient Mage Clans.[1] They will accept any spellwork provided it does not cause its user to become corrupted.[2] Pragmatists in the truest sense, they are above temptation. They see death merely as a natural part of life and do not seek to deny its arrival. Their singular knowledge of the unknown allows them to face death without fear. These ideals, coupled with an understanding of the natural balance between Order and Chaos, explain why they have not fallen prey to the influences of evil.

The priesthood resents any force that would treat humanity as part of a cosmic game. They are willing to ally with the forces of Order, but only to the point of restoring the Balance.[1]

Trag'Oul is the closest thing the priesthood has to a deity—he is the focal point of the Balance, and it is from him that the Necromancers draw their powers.[3] They believe that it is on Trag'Oul's back that Sanctuary lies.[4] They believe that when one dies, their soul passes into the next plane of existence, where they will fulfill another role for the Balance.[5]

The Necromancers believe that numbers influence the Balance, and that certain numbers will shift it in one way or another.[2]

Necromancers do not sleep much. Instead, they sink into a trance that allows their bodies to get the rest they need while their senses remain active.[2]

Training and OrganizationEdit


A master necromancer

When one begins training as a priest, they are expected to set emotional connections aside in their quest to uphold the Balance.[5] Necromancers often set aside their surname when they become priests; their allegiance is to the Balance, not a house or clan. Every Necromancer is taught to choose their own path as to how to best maintain the Balance.[2]

The following ranks exist within the priesthood:

  • Deathspeaker (leader of the priests)
  • Master Necromancer
  • Necromancer[6]
  • Apprentice/Acolyte (possibly separate ranks)[7]


Necromancer Artwork

A Necromancer

Early HistoryEdit

The culture of the Priests of Rathma stretches back to a time before magic was formalized into strict disciplines. Their culture subsisted in the shadow of the Mage Clans.[1]

During the Sin War, Kalan[8] (the first Necromancer)[9] was instructed in the art of necromancy by the nephalem Rathma and Trag'Oul, the guardian of Sanctuary. At the end of the conflict he was instructed to travel into the jungles of Kehjistan, which were rife with magical energy (and thus a good place to instruct students). Kalan was instructed to gather followers to preserve the Balance, thereby preventing both angels and demons from having too much sway over humanity.[9]

There is evidence that the order played a role in the Mage Clan Wars.[10]

Recent EventsEdit

By the 13th century, the Priests of Rathma had been fighting the servants of the Prime Evils for centuries in their bid to maintain the Balance.[2]

The return of the Prime Evils to Sanctuary disrupted the symmetry of the mortal realm and that of the Balance itself. This event brought the Necromancers out of their isolation to destroy Diablo once and for all, and to rid Sanctuary of non-mortal intervention altogether.[1] Dark forces swelled in both Kehjistan and Scosglen, and the Priests were more stretched out than at any point in their history.[5] One Necromancer notably allied with a group of fellow heroes who were able to defeat the Prime Evils, though at much cost, including the destruction of the Worldstone.[11] This was a potentially disastrous event, as it left Sanctuary open to angelic and demonic intervention.[12] With the Worldstone gone, demons were able to travel further east than they had done so before, coming into conflict with the priests.[13]

Over two decades later, the Priesthood became at odds with Malthael due to his raising of the dead, and consequent disturbance of the Balance.[14]

Known MembersEdit


A Necromancer


Other MembersEdit


This section contains facts and trivia relevant to this article.
  • The Hand of Naz mentions a group called the "Bright Circle," of which the Necromancer Cairo belonged to. It is unclear whether this is a separate group of Necromancers, or an order within the Priests of Rathma itself. The Arreat Summit would indicate the latter, establishing that only the Priesthood possesses humans who can practice necromancy.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Necromancer History, The Arreat Summit. Accessed on 2014-03-15
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Moon of the Spider
  3. 2013-12-08, BlizzCon 2013 – Diablo III Lore and Story Q&A Panel Transcript. Blizzplanet, accessed on 2014-03-11
  4. Poison and Bone Spells, The Arreat Summit. Accessed on 2014-03-22
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Legacy of Blood
  6. Heroes of the Storm
  7. Tales of Sanctuary, The Hand of Naz
  8. The Veiled Prophet
  9. 9.0 9.1 Book of Tyrael
  10. Oblivion Knight, The Arreat Summit. Accessed on 2014-09-25
  11. Book of Cain
  12. Moon of the Spider
  13. Storm of Light
  14. 2013-08-25, GamesCom 2013 interview – Josh Mosqueira talks about Diablo III: Reaper of Souls, Return of Pandemonium Fortress & Necromancers. Blizzplanet, accessed on 2013-09-06

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