Welcome to the first entry in the series: Fantastic Places and Where to Find Them!
A collection of texts about mysterious, terrible, unusual, or even extraordinary places, from books, comics, or video games.
This series will describe interesting corners of different lands, which can be useful for new dungeon masters in inventing adventures for their players, or it may inspire someone to create new worlds in their stories.
I also hope that you will enjoy reading this text at least half as much as I have enjoyed writing it!
Lut Gholein – great city, not so great neighborhood
So we’re going to the Sanctuary – a dark, demonic, and insanely dangerous fantasy world, known from games, books, and comics from the Diablo series by Blizzard Entertainment studio.
Lut Gholein, also known as the Jewel of the Desert, is the largest and major trading city in the Aranoch Desert.
One of the biggest benefits for the city is, of course, the fact that it has a port and access to the Twin Sea, thanks to which it has also become the link between Kedjistan and the Western Kingdoms.
Besides, it is not difficult to imagine why people are dragging there. The heat, sand in your shoes, no oasis in the vicinity, you think that you are about to give up the ghost in this vast expanse, where every now and then some monsters are on their heels, and here a city looms on the horizon. Huge walls, the mast of the Sultan’s palace sticking out above other buildings, crowded streets, caravans full of goods, merchant ships, civilization, and water!
Speaking of monsters, even though the areas of the Aranoch desert are deadly for a daredevil who decides to try to get through them, Lut Gholein can defend himself.
Be it whole groups of poisonous worms, or whether they are vipers and were-cats sneaking up to the walls. Desert mercenaries guarding the city will cope with many opponents. However, this is not the only strength. There are also guards in the palace of Sultan Jerhyn, and the entrances to the palace are guarded by a rather nasty Kaelan.
Although it is not mentioned in the game, the book Diablo: Legacy of Blood by Richard A. Knaak, which also takes place in Lut Gholein, describes the sorceresses standing on the guard of order. Guarding the city streets, controlling all suspicious activities, and when necessary, catching their magic staffs and dealing with the problem with magic lightning bolts.
So it is safe?
Not really. There are walls, they are guardians and everything, but when someone looks around, people are so nervous. A man wanders a little, looks around, talk with random people and suddenly it turns out that some living dead in the sewers is wandering. The army of skeletons has raged, and other undead creatures are besieging the entire underworld of the city. When you send a mercenary, he doesn’t come back, or he comes back, but not quite alive anymore.
Worse, some say that even some undead mage has made a home in the dark corners of the stone corridors!
Are you not afraid yet? Try to ask why there are screams and howls from the Sultan’s palace at night, or why suddenly a guard has been put in front of the building, preventing anyone from approaching the entrance?
And that’s how you live in this desert
Despite the unpleasant surroundings, many have found the Jewel of the Desert their home, thus staying here longer. One of the characters that cannot be overlooked is of course a woman named Fara. Not only is she a great blacksmith, but she was also trained as one of the Zakarum Paladins in the Eastern Kurast.
Another person worth mentioning is the Wizard Drognan, from the Vizjerei clan. Why is it worth mentioning? Apart from the fact that even for the Vizjerei, Drognan is folding towards darker magic arts, his character appeared not only in the game but also in Richard A. Knaak’s book, Diablo: Legacy of Blood.
Of course, there are others, like Lysander – the bizarre potion maker or the gambler and shady trader Elzix. In short, Lut Gholein is a place where, despite the emptiness of the desert, a lot can happen.
And it’s my favorite city in the Diablo series of games! Exactly, not only among the cities in the second part but among the cities in all three games (of course with the expansions!). Anyway, even listen to the theme from this place and you will understand its atmosphere: