Once, a high dragon took to living near Blackmarsh, causing destruction to its residents. On one night, the Baroness came and travelled to the dragon's lair. The next day the dragon had disappeared, presumed dead, and while rumours circulated that the Baroness must be a blood mage to have brought down the beast, the grateful townsfolk paid them no heed. The Baroness became the Orlesian ruler of the Blackmarsh during the occupation, but her rule was marked by oppression, violence and injustice. She was, in fact, a blood mage and paid great amounts for the young girls of the town to restore her youth. The Baroness met her end when her subjects turned against her and burned down her mansion. With one last spell before dying, the Baroness captured all their spirits into the Fade, shaped as a nightmarish version of Blackmarsh itself.
|“I do not seek to rule my brethren. I only seek to release them from their chains.” — The Architect|
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After you are brought into the Fade by The First during Shadows of the Blackmarsh, one of the Mother's Disciples, you'll eventually reach the village's square where you are greeted by a Spirit of Justice. The spirit will explain that the Baroness has been feeding from the souls of the villagers for many years now and that for all this time he has watched their torment, seething with anger. Now he has finally decided to step up and end her reign. Justice will ask for your help during the fight and, after a brief cutscene, you will be in the mansion's court and have the option to intimidate the Baroness or to fight her. She is aided by some faithful servants and by the First, who has sought her help to escape the Fade.
When you defeat the First, the Baroness, in a desperate attempt to escape, will use the First's remaining life force to tear the veil open and enter the mortal realm. In the process, the Spirit of Justice is also hurled through the Veil and he ends up in the body of Kristoff, the dead Grey Warden who was investigating the darkspawn presence in the Blackmarsh. Together with Justice, you must confront the Baroness, who, during the long years spent in the Fade feeding on the peasants' spirits, has become a Pride Demon so powerful that she's able to enter the mortal world even without a body to possess. She does, however, express surprise towards the extent of her power, being previously ignorant of her capacity of doing so.It is also possible to choose to fight at her side against The First. If you persuade her to offer a greater reward than the mere escape from the Fade, she will offer the following: either a bonus to health, to magic, to cunning or she will teach you blood magic. After your choice is made, a short cutscene follows in which the Baroness kills The First to empower the Warden-Commander. In any case, it is necessary to fight her demon form in the real world.
Same skills as the Pride Demon, but with an extra ability: she can summon portals but she can be stopped with enough damage, just like a normal long casting spell.
- Fire Bolt deals approximately 50 Fire damage and leaves a burning damage over time effect (on Nightmare difficulty).
- Ice Bolt deals about 50 Frost damage and freezes the target solid for a few seconds (on Nightmare difficulty).
- When she summons a Fade Portal, an elite-rank Fade Portal enemy spawns which continually spawns Shades until its destruction. Shades deal minimal damage but can be a nuisance with their knockdown attacks. The Baroness only opens Fade Portals for the first phase of the fight.
- Drain deals approximately 10 points of damage per tick on Nightmare - around 50 to 60 total damage if the Baroness is not interrupted via Shield Bash/Overpower/Pommel Strike/etc. However, she also heals herself for several hundred points of damage each tick. On Nightmare, the Baroness will gain nearly 2,000 health over the brief duration of this attack. She only uses this ability in the second phase of the fight (when she runs and breaks open the gate into the courtyard). She will never use this ability above 50% health.
Note that the healing effect of Drain is actually unaffected by how much damage is dealt to the target. Tested with a Bulwark of the Ages-enhanced Carapace effect and Strength of Stone enhanced with Blessing of the Ancestors - the warrior and rogue took no damage at all but the Baroness healed for the same amount.
- Sometimes the Baroness traps you in the fade permanently. Save before first encounter.
- Although the Baroness agrees to reward you, you actually receive no statistical increase regardless of your choice.
- The Baroness is scripted to knock down the door to the keep courtyard after she successfully opens the first portal during combat. If she fails to do so (i.e., she is killed), the gate will remain closed after combat and cannot be opened. There is, however, nothing that can be interacted with in the courtyard.
- "The spirits will watch in envy as the mortals of this realm bow down before me!"
- The Baroness is likely based on Elizabeth Báthory (sometimes known as the lady Dracula as she was a source of inspiration for Bram Stoker's novel), a countess who invited peasant girls to her castle to work as servants with promises of high pay. Once there, the girls were imprisoned, and often tortured and mutilated before being murdered by the countess. Her killing spree gave rise to a rumour that the countess bathed in the blood of her victims, in the belief that this would preserve her own youth and beauty.
- The Baroness may have also been based on the Countess a Demon from Blizzard Entertainment's Diablo franchise. The Countess was a human who used the blood of virgins to sustain her youth but eventually after her downfall her tower was forever cursed and inhabited by various demons and their ilk. Also another similarity is the Baroness is the ruler of Blackmarsh whereas the Countess and her tower reside in a location called Black Marsh in Diablo 2, presumably the area of Black Marsh may be her kingdom. Another similarity is that both the Baroness and Countess have returned from the dead as tyrannical evils. The name's Countess and Baroness are similarly coined both signifying a title of nobility another interesting fact is both their true names have not been revealed as of yet. It should be noted that the Countess of Diablo 2 was a reference to Countess Bathory.