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- This article is about the original Doom games monster Baron of Hell. For the monster in Doom (2016), see Baron of Hell (Doom 2016).
Barons of Hell are one of the most powerful demonic creatures encountered in Doom.
A pair of barons, referred to internally by id Software as the "Bruiser Brothers," start as the bosses at the end of Knee-Deep in the Dead, the first episode of Doom. Barons also appear as regular enemies in the later episodes and in the sequels; coincidentally, they and their weaker counterparts the Hell Knights frequently appear in pairs.
They are described in the Doom manual as "tough as a dump truck and nearly as big, these Goliaths are the worst things on two legs since Tyrannosaurus rex"; the Doom II manual later described them as follows: "The Hell Knight was bad news but this is Big Daddy. These bruisers are a lot like Hell Knights, but look a little different and are twice as tough to kill". The original Baron of Hell description was given to the Hell Knight in Doom II's manual instead.
A baron takes the appearance of a muscular, biped goat-like demon with pinkish head and torso, and tan legs with black hooves. Its hands are covered with a slight greenish tinge, but it becomes more pronounced when it launches green fireballs. A baron will utter a loud, trumpeting bull-like cry when it spots a player. With 1000 hit points, barons are the most resilient of all creatures in Doom save for the cyberdemon and the spiderdemon. They attack opponents by scratching when close or by throwing green comet-like fireballs when distant.
When killed, a Baron will make a high-pitched gurgling sound as its body splits in half, the upper body half falling on the ground right behind the lower body half, exposing copious amounts of green blood and intestines.
Baron attacks are dodged easily if the player is giving him full attention, but his plasma balls are faster than those of imps or cacodemons and can do very heavy damage on a successful hit. Because barons take very heavy beatings before going down, and because their pain chance is low, use of the rocket launcher, plasma rifle, or super shotgun is recommended. However, provided that the player can get at sufficient range without being hit, the chaingun and shotgun will also work, but may take a while. Melee attacks against them are hazardous, as they put the player at risk of being clawed.
Barons are the third strongest of all demons, with 1000 hit points. Despite their remarkable endurance, Barons of Hell often pose a relatively lesser threat compared to some of the weaker, more maneuverable, and more numerous monsters. This is attributed to the fact that their projectiles are relatively easier to dodge if given sufficient space, especially by circlestrafing. As a result of their high stamina but low speed, the Baron of Hell was a rather unbalanced monster and it was infamously known for forcing the player to waste lots of ammunition to defeat it despite its relatively low threat level. In other words, Barons of Hell were considered "meat shields" unless they were at very close range.
To kill them requires about 5 rockets, 45 plasma shots, 100 bullets, 11 seconds with the chainsaw, 15 well-placed shotgun blasts, or 5 point-blank super shotgun blasts. The BFG9000's main plasma ball does not deal enough damage to kill a Baron in one shot, although the subsequent blast rays may deal a killing blow to the Baron if enough of them strike the target. This is best achieved by firing the BFG at point-blank range, which leaves the player vulnerable to the Baron's extremely damaging melee attack during the BFG's charge cycle.
Inspiration and development
Having many hit points, the Baron of Hell appears only sparingly in Doom, as a boss or a champion-type monster. In Doom II the game dynamics change with the inclusion of a greater variety of relatively tough monsters, and the addition of two items, the super shotgun, and the megasphere. The Hell Knight, essentially the same as the baron but with only half as much health, was added to serve as a standard medium-strength monster, falling more quickly to small arms fire such as from the shotgun or chaingun, or offering some resistance without slowing the action down, against more heavily equipped players.
Barons have green blood, as is evident in their death animation, as well as the wall textures of the "crucified" Baron. However, due to the limitations of the Doom engine, red blood is still displayed while shooting them, as with all other enemies and in Brutal Doom, both Barons and Hell Knights emit red blood when attacked and killed.
- The Baron of Hell's face is displayed periodically throughout the games in the textures MARBFAC3 & MARBFAC4.
- The thing name assigned to them within the Doom source code is MT_BRUISER.
- The projectile thrown by the Hell Knight and by the Baron of Hell are the same thing, and if a Hell Knight accidentally hits a Baron with his fireball (or vice versa), it will have no effect (this is a special exception to the usual rules). However, this is not the case in either the PlayStation and Saturn ports, the PlayStation port of Final Doom or Doom 64; in these games their projectiles are each classed as different things altogether (something which is only visually noticeable in Doom64 due to Barons throwing red fireballs), and as such direct infighting between the two is very possible.
- In a ZDoom-based source port, if the player is killed by a Baron of Hell (monster is credited with delivering the blow that reduces player's health to 0%), one of two obituary messages will be displayed at the top of the screen depending on which attack the baron used to kill the player: "[player name] was ripped open by a Baron of Hell" or "[player name] was bruised by a Baron of Hell" for the claw and green fireball attacks respectively.
- In Brutal Doom, the Baron of Hell has gained three new projectile attacks: in the first one, it launches 3 (5 in v20 but back to 3 in v20b) projectiles in a wide spread instead of one. The animation for this multi-spread attack is shown by the Baron clapping his hands together instead of his usual sidearm throw - this animation is essentially a cut-and-paste job of his sidearm throw animation horizontally duplicated to look like the Baron swings both arms in order to clap his hands together and launch the attack; the second one is a result of Monster infighting: after a monster (usually a zombieman, shotgunner or Imp) has attacked the baron and he retaliates and kills him with his claws, he grabs his head, throws it away and launches the remainders of the corpse at the player, dealing considerable damage upon impact; the third new attack (starting from v20) has the Baron grab and throw any explosive barrels laying nearby (the player will know because the monster plays its alert sound upon picking up the barrel), the same way the player can do after acquiring a berserk pack or demonic strength rune.
|Blows needed to kill1||Mean|| Standard|
health, no armor)
health, security armor)
health, combat armor)
|Baron of Hell||22.81||2.10||17||27|
|Shots needed to kill||Mean|| Standard|
health, no armor)
health, security armor)
health, combat armor)
|Baron of Hell3|
- These tables assume that all calls to P_Random for damage, pain chance, blood splats, impact animations, and backfire checks are consecutive. In real play, this is never the case: counterattacks and AI pathfinding must be handled, and of course the map may contain additional moving monsters and other randomized phenomena (such as flickering lights). Any resulting errors are probably toward the single-shot average, as they introduce noise into the correlation between the indices of "consecutive" calls.
- Assumes that direct hits are possible, which does not occur in any stock map.
- Hardcoded exception to infighting negates damage (excepting indirect damage caused by exploding barrels).
In classic Doom, the baron is first encountered on these maps:
The IWADs contain the following numbers of barons:
|Game||ITYTD and HNTR||HMP||UV and NM|
The baron of hell in Doom 64 is given a red-orange colour scheme, rather than green, which is instead used for the Hell Knight. Due to this color scheme change, the blood in its death sequence is red as opposed to green. In Doom 64 barons can also injure and infight Hell Knights and vice versa.
In Doom RPG, the Baron of Hell and Hell Knight both belong to the "baron" monster class. There are three variations, identified by color:
- Ogre (green torso, red hands, brown legs)
- Hell Knight (brown torso, brown hands, pink legs)
- Baron (pink torso, orange hands, brown legs)
As in the original, the Hell Knight is not as powerful as the Baron, though both are more powerful than the new "ogre" variation. This class of monster is especially weak against attacks from shotguns.
|Monsters from Doom and Doom II|
|Monsters from Doom 64|
|Monsters from the Sony PlayStation version of Doom|