Diablo Wiki
For the Diablo III player character, see The Nephalem.
"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."



A first-generation nephalem

The Nephalem are humanity's forebears. The offspring of angel and demon, their existence would forever alter the balance of power in the Great Conflict.


Nephalem are much stronger than humans;[1] they stood slightly taller than aurochs.[2] Like humans, nephalem possess souls, which are different from those of angels and demons.[3]

Nephalem are naturally immortal; they do not succumb to age, and are immune to plague. They can still be killed, however.[2] Subsequent nephalem generations lost their immortality due to Inarius's tampering with the Worldstone (eventually becoming the mortal race known as Man), while the Firstborn managed to retain theirs.[4]

It is possible for nephalem and humans to produce offspring.[5][1]


"Many outsiders believe that the fantastic stories about our ancestors, the Ancients, are but fables. However, I believe that the Ancients were more than human -- that mankind has fallen from what it once was."

- Anya(src)


"You…all humans…are the spawn of our 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!"
D4 Story 01 Legends of Creation

The origins of the nephalem

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.


Ancient nephalem warriors

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.[1] It is known that these Ancients developed along different lines from each other, including the cultures they fostered.[6] Tyrael would later believe that some early nephalem were born more demon than angel, resulting in Phantasms that would haunt Sanctuary far into the future.[7] The Temple of the Firstborn was constructed in honor of these early nephalem.[8] The nephalem were aware of their own divided natures,[9] and as such, created their Temple Guardians to be incorruptible.[10]

As their numbers continued to grow, nephalem civilization spread across Sanctuary, ranging from great cities, to villages, to simple camps. In the early days of the nephalem, they did not have a concept of death, at least in as much as it applied to themselves. In their early days, no nephalem gave injury to another, and as such, had no need for burial. To best knowledge, Gratian was the first nephalem to perish, slain by Ahduma, followed closely by Bersarik, who was slain by Kalmor. This marked a watershed moment in nephalem history, as they became aware of their own mortality, and based on certain interpretations, their deaths may have altered the nature of Sanctuary itself. Death began to find the nephalem, spreading across Sanctuary, but this was offset by the first generation birthing children, and their children giving birth in turn.[2]


Angels and demons behold their progeny

On another front, things were not well among the nephalem's parents, for their offspring 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 and the 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.[1]

The Rise of Man

"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."

- Rathma(src)


A human (left) compared to a nephalem (right) in size

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 to the Void. 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,[1] their lifespans declining.[11] Some of the nephalem knew what had happened. Those who protested were crushed by Inarius, and the others scattered. Others were unaware of what Inarius had done, and thought they were succumbing to some kind of plague. As they weakened, the civilizations the nephalem had established began to splinter, and they fell into a dark age.[6] Eventually, the nephalem became mortals, giving rise to the race called humanity, a weaker, mortal species, without knowledge of its birthright.[1] It was still possible for nephalem and humans to produce offspring together.[5]

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 of a time,[1] and if the nephalem were to be left unchecked, it would doom all of Sanctuary.[12] In an act of self-sacrifice, he brought back his raging energies into himself before releasing them one final time, resetting[1] and suppressing the power of the Worldstone,[12] 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.[1]

It was believed by some that by the third century, there were no nephalem left in the world, though this turned out to be false.[13]

Return of the Nephalem

"Your strength rivals that of our greatest champions. What now do you think you are?"

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.[14] However, within a generation, a new nephalem walked in the world, their powers rivaling that of their distant ancestors.[13] Going by the moniker "the Nephalem," they defeated Diablo, bringing an end to the Great Conflict and saving both Heaven and the mortal realm from destruction.[15] Soon afterwards, Sanctuary was saved by the Nephalem again, after defeating Malthael and his Reapers.[16]

By the time of the rise of the Blood Cult, a number of nephalem had arisen within Sanctuary; few in number, but great in strength. The demon Vidian used the cult and his own machinations to lure these nephalem into the Temple of the Firstborn, where their blood was spilt and drained.[17] Vidian was eventually defeated by the same nephalem that had defeated Diablo and Malthael.[18]

When the Black Soulstone was destroyed, a number of its fragments wound up in Sanctuary, still carrying the essences of the Great Evils. A number of nephalem sought out these shards, but they had to be careful, given the allure of such power.[19]

The Great Enmity

"Eternity. Ferocity. Divinity. These are the powers of your stolen birthright, dwindling in the blood of humanity. Claim the blood. Reclaim your birthright."

- A carving found in a vampire lair(src)

During the Great Enmity, Mother's Warmth (a cult dedicated to Lilith) hunted down humans in order to lay claim to their nephalem birthright.[20] Not long afterwards, vampires under the command of Lord Zir fed on human blood to reclaim their nephalem birthright.[21]

Known Nephalem


A trio of nephalem

Pre-Sin War

Sin War (Edyrem)


Current Generation


The following individuals have had nephalem powers manifest, but aren't necessarily nephalem themselves:

Many Crusaders have also shown signs of their nephalem heritage.[22]


In Diablo Immortal, nephalem spirits are fought as enemies in various contexts.

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, and as such, no angel class is available in the game.[23] Kalmor can be encountered in Act V, being the last living nephalem of the pre-Sin War period. However, interestingly, he will not recognize the Nephalem as one of his kind.


This section contains facts and trivia relevant to this article.
  • The nephalem are possibly based on the Old Testament Nephilim, though Biblical Nephilim are the product of angels and humans.
  • Though first-generation nephalem were apparently a great deal larger than humans, this has not been reflected in-game as their ghosts are the same size as normal humans. So too are the nephalem to have arisen since then.
  • While nephalem are (often indirectly) referred to as emerging/being present in the timeframe of Diablo III, nephalem are entirely absent from Diablo IV, and are only referred to in the context of Sanctuary's ancient past. An exception is the flavor text of the Mother's Warmth cosmetic, which references the titular cult holding humans to the fire and laying claim to their birthright. The terminology and mechanics arguably match manifestations of nephalem power within humans in prior eras.
  • The term "Firstborn" is used in various works, but it is unclear as to whether this applies to the Ancients, the nephalem as a whole, or early generations of nephalem prior to the purge. Temple of the Firstborn lore indicates that the term is synonymous with the first nephalem, while The Gospel of Death uses the term synonymously with the nephalem as a whole. The Book of Lorath web series uses both terms in proximity to each other, and indicates that the Firstborn are the first generation(s) of nephalem, while the nephalem as a whole came later (notably, it is stated that the Firstborn created the nephalem, while previously, angels and demons were said to have done so), and can even be considered separate from the Firstborn. The purview of both articles has been written to reflect both purviews of their subject matter.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 Book of Cain
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 The Gospel of Death
  3. Scales of the Serpent
  4. Book of Lorath
  5. 5.0 5.1 A Collar of Thorns
  6. 6.0 6.1 2013-12-08, BlizzCon 2013 – Diablo III Lore and Story Q&A Panel Transcript. Blizzplanet, accessed on 2014-03-29
  7. Diablo III, Enraged Phantasm Lore
  8. 2016-11-04, Necromancer Blizzcon Diablo 3 Fact Sheet. Diablo.net, accessed on 2016-11-07
  9. Diablo Immortal, Ancient Guardians
  10. 2022-11-22, TRANSFORM INTO AN ANCIENT GUARDIAN WITH THE SEASON SEVEN BATTLE PASS. Blizzard Entertainment, accessed on 2022-11-25
  11. 2017-06-23, Deadly Roots: The Lore of the Necromancer. Blizzard Entertainment, accessed on 2017-06-30
  12. 12.0 12.1 2021-09-17, Diablo II: The story so far. Blizzard Entertainment. Blizzard Entertainment, accessed on 2021-09-21
  13. 13.0 13.1 Diablo III, Act I
  14. Moon of the Spider
  15. Diablo III, Act IV
  16. Diablo III, Act V
  17. Diablo III, Cultist Missive
  18. Diablo III, Adventure Mode
  19. 2021-12-12, SEASON 25 | THE LORDS OF HELL | NOW LIVE. Blizzard Entertainment, accessed on 2021-12-12
  20. Diablo IV, Mother's Warmth
  21. Diablo IV, Carved Inscription
  22. 2014-03-10, CRUSADER LORE AND HISTORY Q&A. Blizzard Entertainment, accessed on 2014-06-30
  23. 2013-01-02, Archangel and Deathangel classes for diablo 3. IncGamers, accessed on 2013-02-07