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"Tough as a dump truck and nearly as big, these Goliaths are the worst things on two legs since Tyrannosaurus rex."
Doom instruction manual.

Barons of Hell are one of the most powerful demonic creatures encountered in all classic Doom games.

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.

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.

Appearance

A baron takes the appearance of a muscular, bipedal goat-like demon with red skin 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.

Combat characteristics

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 (like an out-of-tone trumpet) 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.

Tactical analysis

General tactics

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.

They excel at monster infighting because of their amount of health and damaging attacks, and their status is only rivaled by the Cyberdemon and Spiderdemon.

Inspiration and development

The Barons were known as the "bruiser brothers" internally to id because of the first encounter with them and as a parody of the Hammer Brothers in Super Mario Brothers.

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.

Data statistics

ID # Hit points Speed Width Height Reaction time Pain chance Pain time Mass Bits
3003 (decimal)
BBB (hex)
1000 8 map units per frame
(93.3 map units per second)
48 64 8 50 (19.53%) 4 tics 1000 4194310

1: 2: 22:
Obstacle Shootable Affects Kill %

Sprite name Alert sound Action sound Pain sound Death sound
BOSS DSBRSSIT DSDMACT DSDMPAIN DSBRSDTH

Melee

Damage Sound
10-80 DSCLAW

Range

Type Speed Damage Width Height Sprite name Sound
Projectile 15 map units per tic
(525 map units per second)
8-64 6 8 BAL7 DSFIRSHT (firing)
DSFIRXPL (impact)

Strike damage

SkelFHistogram

Damage done by a Baron's clawing attack

Blows needed to kill1 Mean Standard deviation Min Max
Player (100%
health, no armor)
2.770.7825
Player (100%
health, security armor)
3.871.0227
Player (200%
health, combat armor)
9.411.48613
Barrel1.120.3312
Trooper1.120.3312
Sergeant1.250.4613
Wolfenstein SS1.610.7014
Imp1.810.7614
Chaingunner2.040.7914
Lost Soul2.770.7825
Commander Keen2.770.7825
Demon3.871.0227
Spectre3.871.0227
Boss Brain26.121.19410
Revenant7.221.33511
Cacodemon9.411.48613
Pain Elemental9.411.48613
Hell Knight11.651.67816
Arachnotron11.651.67816
Mancubus13.841.721018
Arch-Vile16.071.781220
Baron of Hell22.812.101727
Spider Mastermind67.422.816174
Cyberdemon89.662.768395

Shot damage

Bos2FHistogram

Damage done by a baron's fireball

Shots needed to kill1 Mean Standard deviation Min Max
Player (100%
health, no armor)
3.370.8826
Player (100%
health, security armor)
4.781.0438
Player (200%
health, combat armor)
11.681.70816
Barrel1.270.5113
Trooper1.270.5113
Sergeant1.440.6014
Wolfenstein SS2.040.7715
Imp2.250.7615
Chaingunner2.560.7325
Lost Soul3.370.8826
Commander Keen3.370.8826
Demon4.781.0438
Spectre4.781.0438
Boss Brain27.661.32511
Revenant9.041.46613
Cacodemon11.681.70816
Pain Elemental11.681.70816
Hell Knight3
Arachnotron14.551.881019
Mancubus17.272.001221
Arch-Vile20.102.111425
Baron of Hell3
Spider Mastermind84.142.607993
Cyberdemon112.122.48107117
  1. 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.
  2. Assumes that direct hits are possible, which does not occur in any stock map.
  3. Hardcoded exception to infighting negates damage (excepting indirect damage caused by exploding barrels).

The IWADs contain the following numbers of Barons:

Game ITYTD and HNTR HMP UV and NM
Ultimate Doom264482
Doom II242731
TNT: Evilution154461
Plutonia587690

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