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"What truly happened here? Where are those majestic warriors of old?"

- Abd al-Hazir after seeing the Dreadlands for the first time(src)


The Dreadlands

The Dreadlands, otherwise known as the "Badlands,"[1] "the wastes,"[2] the Shattered North,[3] and formerly known as the "Northern Steppes"[4] is a barren region in Sanctuary's northwest.


The Dreadlands cover northern plains and tundra in the region of Mount Arreat. It is a devastated place where demonic incursions are commonplace, and the energies of Creation have warped the land and creatures.[5]


The Northern Steppes[]

The Northern Steppes were inhabited by the Children of Bul-Kathos, known to the people of Westmarch as the "Barbarians."[6] Theirs was primarily a nomadic and tribal culture, though they had a few permanent settlements such as Sescheron and Harrogath.[4] The Northern Steppes were a harsh environment and its denizens adapted to it as such, dedicated in their vigil of guarding the Worldstone.[7]

The Barbarians' vigil came to an end with Baal's invasion, however. Although the Lord of Destruction was eventually defeated, he had succeeded in his goal of corrupting the Worldstone. To prevent mankind from being corrupted, Tyrael was forced to destroy the powerful artifact. He succeeded,[8] but the resulting explosion tore Mount Arreat asunder, reducing the Steppes into a smoldering wasteland.[9]

The Dreadlands[]


The Dreadlands

With the destruction of Mount Arreat, dust and ash rained over the Steppes[10] and the Barbarians were left divided and scattered, robbed of the heart of their culture in an instant.[9] The entropy of Hell itself became part of the landscape.[11]

Over the years, the situation worsened as demonic corruption ran rampant, threatening both Man and beast.[12] Demonic incursions became commonplace, insects and animals were twisted into new forms, and bandits and outcasts roamed the land.[5]

Sometime after the Worldstone's destruction, the Dreadlands suffered an outbreak of the Rage Plague.[13] Currently, all that is left of Barbarian civilization in the Dreadlands are the rubbles of their settlements and scattered fortifications.[14]

In the years that followed the Worldstone's destruction, a new group would arise and make the Dreadlands their home: the Demon Hunters, comprised of survivors of demon attacks and sworn to destroy the creatures of Hell. They chose the Dreadlands as their home due to both the abundance of demons giving them plenty of opportunities to hone their skills, and the need to live and train without the interference of any nation that would worry about such a group camped within its borders.[15]

Notable Locations[]

Main article: List of Dreadlands locations


Dreadlands geography






Locations in the Diablo universe

Astral RealmBurning HellsDeluged PlaneEtherFractured PlaneHigh HeavensLimboMirrored WorldNephalem RiftsObliterated RealmPandemoniumRealm of the BanishedRealm of the DeadRealm of ShadowRealms of FateVoidWastelands

SanctuaryAncients' CradleAranochBakuli JungleBilefen (Valostre, defunct) • Cold Isles (Pelghain, defunct) • DreadlandsDry SteppesEastern SteppesFractured PeaksGreyhollow IslandHawezarIvgorod (defunct) • Kehjistan (defunct) • MarshlandNahantuSamauren Empire (defunct) • ScosglenSharval WildsShassar Sea (Fahiran Empire, defunct) • Shimmering TropicSkovos IslesStormpointUieWestern Kingdoms (EntsteigKhandurasWestmarch) • WojahnXiansai
Related — Towns