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A player cheating to get the Firemace on the first level.

The Firemace is a weapon from Heretic. Although it looks like an ordinary mace, it is used as a ranged weapon.

When fired, its spikes rotate and it launches one Mace Sphere every 3 tics in volleys of four; each sphere is either small or large:

  • The small mace spheres have an ~89% chance of being spawned, and deal 2-16 damage.
  • The large mace spheres only have a ~11% chance of being spawned, deal 6-48 damage, and spawn two small mace spheres when they bounce (however, the small mace sphere spawned on a bounce does 4-32 damage).

Using a Tome of Power causes the Firemace to slowly launch huge metal balls that bounce around, seek enemies, and kill any non-boss (including other players, EVEN in invulnerability mode) in one hit, but deal only 18-144 damage to bosses. The power mode shots may also travel through teleports and can even telefrag the one who fired it.

If a player has a Chaos Device in his inventory when a powered sphere hits him, he will automatically use a Chaos Device and lose half of his health. Neither mode is capable of hitting ghosts and will simply disappear when they bounce into a liquid. Maximum capacity is 150 shots, or 300 with the Bag of Holding.

A notable feature of the Firemace is that it only has a ~75% chance of appearing in a level when not in the deathmatch gamemode; also, when multiple Firemaces are placed in a level, only one has a chance to appear, allowing for some minor randomization in Heretic maps.

In Heretic v1.0, the surplus mace spots would spawn other objects, depending on the episode number of the map: Disciples of D'Sparil in E1, Weredragons in E2, Ophidians in E3, and (through a bug) Shadowspheres in the E4 secret slots. However, later versions removed this substitution effect, placing nothing on the extra mace spots.

Tactical Analysis[]

In single player, Firemace is limited in its viability due to several limitations to the weapon. The normal mode is decent for pain-chancing monsters, but quite often (on Black Plague mostly), this creates a false sense of security and many monsters will still fire a shot through the barrage of steel balls. Also on Black Plague, these weaknesses hurt the weapon's practicality even more due the ranged monsters taking full advantage of their distance to constantly hurl missiles at you. Because the steel balls are affected by both inertia and gravity, the weapon is both difficult to aim while strafing and limited in striking range. The spheres in both primary and secondary modes do not bounce on liquid, and often can not be aimed up into watch towers.

Secondary mode, while dealing 10,000 to regular monsters, can be surprisingly lack luster, because the monsters you would want to use this mode for are most likely immune to it. The giant spheres bounce very slowly, and will disappear if they hit a wall instead of a monster, and the ranged monsters that you probably want to use the death balls on will be firing upon you as you try and approach them. Again, the inertia problem prevents the balls from being fired by strafing around corners and taking cover again.


Firemace data
Weapon number 7
Damage 6-48 (large sphere)
2-16 (small sphere spawned by weapon)
4-32 (small sphere spawned by large sphere)
18-144 (huge, powered sphere to Maulotaurs and D'Sparil)
10000 (huge, powered sphere to all other bad guys)
Included ammo 50 (75 on skills 1 & 5)
Max ammo 150 (300 with Bag of Holding)
Ammo type Mace Spheres
Shot type Projectile
Velocity (large sphere) 10 map units per tic
(350 map units per second)
(small sphere spawned by weapon)
20 map units per tic
(700 map units per second)
(small sphere spawned by large sphere)
7 map units per tic
(245 map units per second)
Shots per minute 700.0 (regular)
175.0 (powered)
Sound LOBSHT (firing)
BOUNCE (bounce)
LOBHIT (impact)
PSTOP (stop)
PHOHIT (explode)
Appears in Heretic
Thing type (spawner) 2002 (decimal), 7D2 (hex)
Radius 20
Sprite WMCE (before pickup)
MACE (wielded)
FX02 (projectiles)
Class Weapon


  • The Firemace is arguably a secret weapon as it was not documented in the game's instruction manual.
  • It is the only weapon that doesn't have a rough equivalent in Doom, as its function is completely different from that of the BFG 9000, which therefore likewise has no Heretic equivalent.
  • The Firemace (when not enhanced by a Tome of Power) is actually marginally weaker than the Hellstaff. While it does have a slightly faster rate of fire, the spheres are on average less damaging than the Hellstaff's runes, and the Mace has a smaller maximum ammo capacity. Also, unlike the Hellstaff (and like Doom's plasma gun), the Firemace has a slight warm-up period before spheres are fired. In addition, it cannot harm ghosts, whereas the Hellstaff can.
  • Despite the name "Firemace", neither the mace itself nor its ammunition appears to burn at all, unlike most of the other weapons.