Diablo 3

How can humans use Holy and Shadow powers in Diablo? What is Good and Evil?

diablo20 - How can humans use Holy and Shadow powers in Diablo? What is Good and Evil?

I've seen some people wonder how can humans use holy power, and how exactly does it work? Does it require you to be "good"? Is Holy power the same as angelic power? Well I decided to do my best and try to explain it. Don't treat it as anything official. I do base everything on my knowledge of the lore, but there's always a possibility that I might get something wrong and some details simply require some level of speculation.

First we need to define what Holy and Shadow is and where it comes from.

Holy power comes from Light which is associated with Angels.

Shadow power comes from Darkness which is associated with Demons.

In the earliest known events, there was a being called Anu (The One, The Diamond Warrior). At some point Anu decided to take all evil out from him and when he did so, all this evil formed a being called Tathamet (The Prime Evil, The Dragon)

"It is the sum total of all seven Evils housed within one body. There is an ancient legend, known only to a few, of the great Dragon, Tathamet, who was the original embodiment of evil. The legend says that he was ripped apart during an epic battle with Anu, and that the Burning Hell are composed of his remains." ~Tyrael

They fought with each other, Light and Darkness, and ultimately killed each other. The remains of Anu formed the High Heavens, and Tathamet formed The Burning Hell.

At some point some rogue angels and demons like Lilith and Inarius, created Sanctuary and well.. did the thing.. and created the first nephalem (later – humans). We are made from angels (Light) and demons (Darkness).

It is worth mentioning the likelihood that moral good and evil are irrelevant here. "Good" and "Evil" are literally physical things. What humanity considers morally good and evil means nothing, we are an abomination. That's why I believe one does not need to be morally good in order to use Holy powers. Imperius for example, is clearly morally evil from our perspective but that's the thing – our morals don't matter. He is an Angel, he's made of pure "Good".

Good and Evil are literally physical things. Ingredients from which we are made. It is completely unrelated to our morals. The Good and Evil just so happened to have the same names as moral "good" and "evil". It's best to think of the Good (that angels are made of) and Evil (that demons are made of) as something completely different, like Pancakes and Nutella. Angels are made from pancakes, Evils are made from Nutella. They did the thing and created Humans who then created their morals and came up with the terms "evil" and "good".


There was no moral spectrum before humanity was created and it only applies to humans. Angels or Demons can't be morally good or evil, they're an absolute. We humans can call Malthael and Imperius evil but they are made from the physical good.. Pancakes.

Now why did humans associate their moral good with angels and not with demons? Well, every or most interactions we had with demons ended badly for us, where as our direct interactions with angels didn't end badly (up untill RoS). Might be as simple as that.

This is why I think we see Holy powers seen in classes like Paladin, or shadow powers like some of the skills DH has. Humans don't need to be morally good to use Holy powers, because moral good has nothing to do with Good (Light) that angels and partially humans are made from. Same goes for shadow powers. It's kinda like humans have dark and light midichlorians.. Some will be naturally born with a greater affinity towards one of the sides.

The reason why most people who use shadow powers seem to be evil and most people who use holy powers seem to be good might simply come from how humans defined their morals from encounters with demons and angels. Demons did "evil" things to us, thus we associate powers that are associated with them evil.

Anyway, that's my take. With my terrible English and general lack of ability to convey a message I hope this isn't too chaotic, and at least sends a general idea of how I think it works. I think I'll do a much bigger post about Diablo's magic system, morality etc that will be heavily detailed and will require a lot of lore research but for now I wrote this, mostly from memory.

Would love to hear your takes on this. I know for example that in WoW one's faith in something is what determines one's ability to use light, regardless of what they believe in and that's why some light users can be evil. I really like that, but I don't think it's the same in Diablo as I explained in the post. I think humans in Diablo inherently can use holy powers and shadow powers because they're in a sense made of it and our morality is it's own thing.

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