The Tristram Cathedral is an ancient Horadric edifice. Underneath it, the Horadrim imprisoned Diablo in his soulstone. When the Horadrim faded away, the cathedral was left as decrepit ruin. The cathedral briefly became the seat of power of King Leoric, but with the The Darkening of Tristram and the town's destruction, the cathedral has since remained abandoned.
"We have just arrived in Tristram, and I must say I'm a bit dismayed. This place is a backwater filled with serfs and an ancient, broken-down monastery, hardly fit for the king of Khanduras! I cannot fathom why Lazarus was so intent on this becoming our new seat of power."
After the Horadrim defeated Diablo, they buried his soulstone in a secluded cave near the River Talsande. Above this cave the Horadrim constructed a great monastery from which they could continue to safeguard the soulstone. As ages passed, the Horadrim constructed a network of catacombs beneath the monastery to house the earthly remains of the martyrs of their order, and also used it to store the weapons they had used during their war against the Prime Evils. As time passed however, the Horadrim fell into obscurity, and with their passing, the cathedral fell into ruin. Although villages grew and thrived around the shell of the old monastery, no one knew of the dark, secret passageways that stretched into the cold earth beneath it.
Over time, the Horadrim settled the land and founded Tristram. As the town grew, other settlers and farmers came to the town. As the years passed, none suspected that the cathedral which overshadowed Tristram was home to the Lord of Terror.
More than two centuries after the cathedral's construction, the Zakarum lord Leoric arrived in Khanduras. The cathedral was appropriated as his seat of power, and was restored to its former glory. Multiple potions were stockpiled as the clergy used them to treat the sick and wounded, and part of it was appropriated as a royal crypt. However, Leoric was unaware of the catacombs that lay beneath the cathedral.
The Darkening of Tristram
"When we got to Tristram, we took our time before we got down to the business of actually going into the cathedral. Town had a nice inn, if I recollect. Truth is, there was something evil coming out of that old church: you could feel it."
— An adventurer(src)
Sensing his chance to escape, Diablo lured Archbishop Lazarus into the catacombs beneath the cathedral, and compelled him to shatter his soulstone. Thus began a series of events that would become known as the Darkening of Tristram. Leoric served as Diablo's original host, but stymied from fully controlling the king, Prince Albrecht was brought into the depths of the labyrinth to serve as Diablo's vessel. Albrecht's fears were made real, and large bodies comprised of living rock erupted from the walls and bowed to their dark master. The ancient, skeletal corpses of the Horadrim arose from archaic crypts and lumbered off into the red washed corridors beyond. Such was Albrecht's terror that Hell itself spilled over into the mortal realm, twisting the labyrinth beneath the cathedral into a bastion of terror.
Leoric died at the hands of Lachdanan, ending his reign of terror, but the people of Tristram couldn't rest easy. Strange, eerie lights shone out from the monastery, and strange creatures could be seen venturing out from the church. Lazarus led a group of townsfolk into the labyrinth in a bid to find Albrecht, but it was a trap, as they were set upon by a demon called the The Butcher. Only a few returned to the surface to recount what had transpired. A hellish drone emanated from the cathedral, and the incantations of dark rituals could be heard.
Dark rumors spread throughout Khanduras as to the evil that had taken hold of the cathedral. Warriors, Sorcerers, and Rogues alike were drawn to Tristram in response, whether it be for riches, or to discover Horadric tomes. A few warriors ventured into the cathedral, but were never heard from again.
Tristram's situation improved with the arrival of Prince Aidan. Aided by the Rogue Moreina, and the Sorcerer Jazreth, the three descended into the cathedral. After overcoming many monsters, they were able to slay Diablo himself. The screams that had echoed from the cathedral at last fell silent. However, it was only a brief respite, for mere weeks after Diablo's supposed defeat, Tristram was laid waste to by demons. Both the town and cathedral lay abandoned.
In the years that followed Tristram's destruction, a collection of merchants looking to profit on adventurers and travelers drawn by legends of riches within the old cathedral came to settle near the cathedral, founding the town of "New Tristram." The cathedral was stripped bare of riches, and afterwards, New Tristram fell into decline. Some Demon Hunters entered the cathedral, but many refused to enter it.
The Fallen Star
Later in the year, a fallen star slammed through the cathedral. Leah and Cain were in the cathedral at the time, and were separated by the star's impact. Leah tried to search for him, but the fallen star had awoken the dead, and she was forced to flee. The Tristram Militia arrived at the cathedral per Leah's request, but were slaughtered. The cathedral was entered by The Nephalem, who rescued Cain, and defeated the resurrected Skeleton King.
"The sanctity of this place has been fouled!"
— The player character upon entering the cathedral(src)
The Cathedral comprises of levels 1-4 of the Dungeon (the basis for the majority of the gameplay in Diablo I). Players must navigate its levels in order to access the lower dungeon levels and ultimately confront Diablo.
The levels have a gothic architectural style with large, open rooms that most of the time are connected by closed doors. Shrines give various magical effects or other enchantments, and a variety of sarcophagi, chests and barrels can be found, as well as hordes of undead and minor animals or demons ready to ambush unprepared adventurers. Stairs to the next level are surrounded by squared-off stone walls.
The entrance to the Cathedral levels is at the front of the cathedral near the edge of Tristram, with eerie, red light spilling out through the doorway and windows to lead the way down. Mousing over it reads "DOWN TO DUNGEON".
The Cathedral is involved in two multiplayer quests, and six single-player quests. Three to four of these quests will appear in a given single-player game.
The Butcher quest can be initiated by speaking to the Wounded Man lying outside of the cathedral entrance, and the Butcher quest monster can be found in a square-set piece of room somewhere on Level 2.
The singleplayer-only Poisoned Water Supply quest can be started by speaking to Pepin any time after entering Level 1. The Poisoned Water Supply area is accessed through a hole in the wall somewhere on Level 2.
The Skeleton King quest can be initiated by speaking to Ogden any time after entering Level 2. In singleplayer games, King Leoric's Tomb, where the Skeleton King enemy is located, is accessed via a stone archway on a filled, square-set piece on Level 3. In multiplayer games, the Skeleton King is just a random encounter somewhere on Level 3 itself.
The singleplayer-only Ogden's Sign quest can be started by speaking to Ogden any time after entering Level 3. The quest can be completed by finding the Tavern Sign in a set-piece on Level 4. The set-piece surrounds the entrance to Level 5 and contains a number of enemies related to the quest.
Poisoned Water Supply and Skeleton King share a quest group, such that one or the other will appear in a given singleplayer game. The Butcher, Ogden's Sign, and Ghardbad the Weak share a quest group, such that two of the three will appear in a given singleplayer game. Magic Rock shares a quest group with Arkaine's Valor and Halls of the Blind such that it has a 2 in 3 chance of appearing in a given singleplayer game.
The cathedral does not appear in Diablo II, as the portion of Tristram where the cathedral would be is not accessible.
Once the quest advances further and Leoric's crown is found, one may open the door to the second level.
The final level ends in access to the Royal Crypts, where you fight the Skeleton King and gain access to the Desolate Chamber where the crater of the Fallen Star and the stranger at its center can be found.
The Cathedral is mostly filled with Risen Dead, Hungry Corpses, Skeletons, Skeleton Archers, Grotesques and Skeletal Summoners, the latter of whom can appear from murals on the walls. Level 3, as mentioned above, is where the cultists and Jondar are.
It also features unique environmental traps: chandeliers. Each chandelier can be released by touching its supporting chain, falling on top of the area marked with an X-shaped shadow. Monsters below will take Fire damage and be Stunned. There is an achievement for killing a thousand monsters with it.
The Black Mushroom can be found in the Cathedral.
The cathedral as it appears in Diablo I becomes replayable in the Darkening of Tristram event.
The cathedral appears in the Blizzard World map in Overwatch.
- Diablo Manual
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- Diablo III, Act I, Reign of the Black King
- Deckard Cain's Journal
- Diablo Anniversary, Blizzard Entertainment. Accessed on 2017-01-14
- Writings of Abd al-Hazir: Tristram Cathedral
- Diablo III, Act I, The Legacy of Cain
- Diablo III, Act I Intro Cinematic
- Diablo III, The Fallen Star
- Diablo III, Act I, The Legacy of Cain