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"Ten, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty or more
The bloody Red Baron was rollin' up the score
Eighty men died trying to end that spree
Of the bloody Red Baron of Germany".
The Royal Guardsmen, "Snoopy vs. the Red Baron"

Sometimes a character is so badass that that character doesn’t have just a name but a rather special nickname, one that is so badass that those who hear it will crap their pants in fear. If these characters occasionally show up, be prepared to hear this nickname spoken repeatedly whenever they rescue someone.

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Named for the Ace Pilot, Manfred von Richthofen, who was known as "The Red Baron" during World War I. He was best known for having the highest kill count of any flyer in the war and for his bright red Fokker tri-plane.

The full trope embodies two principles:

  • The nickname must be unique.
  • The subjects must be better known by their nickname than by their given and surnames.

Compare with Fan Nickname, where the fans come up with a nickname that isn't used in the series. The Butcher is a subtrope where the nickname typically refers to the character's violent nature or dark acts. Superhero Sobriquets is the superheroic counterpart to this trope.

Compare The Magnificent, Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep", and Names to Run Away from Really Fast. I Have Many Names can be when they have more than one and They Call Him "Sword" when he's named after some kind of weapon. This may also be a sign that you're dealing with The Dreaded. While some fall into Only Known by Their Nickname, most of these characters regularly use their real names. Subtrope to Nom de Guerre, where they have the nickname, but they might not be particularly known or feared for it. Virtually all of these example count as In-Series Nicknames. Contrast "Burly Detective" Syndrome, when it's the narrative, not characters in-story, applying these kinds of names. They may also be Named After the Injury.

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Not to Be Confused with the 70s Tokusatsu and 90s Anime Super Robot show of the same name, or the frozen pizza brand of the same name. Or, for that matter, the series of World War One combat flight simulators of the same name, in which the original makes a guest appearance.

You may be looking for That Other Sort of Baron or some of his expies in fiction. Or, if you may be looking for the movie; that's here. Likewise, the flight combat sim series is here. For Humongous Mecha Toku, see Super Robot Red Baron.


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Other examples:

    Folklore 
  • Robin of Locksley, Earl of Huntington was declared an outlaw and adopted the name: Robin Hood. The "Robin of Locksley" bit was added during a period when all heroes in this type of story had to be noblemen.

    Music 
  • The King of Rock'n Roll (or simply "The King"): Elvis Presley (Though according to legend, Elvis disliked being called the King because he thought the title belonged to Fats Domino instead.)
  • Killer: Jerry Lee Lewis
  • Man in Black: Johnny Cash
  • The Boss: Bruce Springsteen
  • Tiger of Wales: Tom Jones
  • The Godfather of Soul: James Brown
  • The King of Pop: Michael Jackson
  • The King of (Pop) Parody: "Weird Al" Yankovic
  • Slowhand: Eric Clapton
  • The Queen of Pop; The Queen of Reinvention; The Material Girl: Madonna
  • The Queen of Soul: Aretha Franklin
  • The Queen of Hip-Hop Soul: Mary J. Blige
  • The Motor City Madman: Ted Nugent
  • This happens often enough in Jazz to be worthy of its own article on The Other Wiki, Jazz Royalty.
    • The King of Jazz, Louis Armstrong, when he wasn't just Satchelmouth, Satchmo or Satch.
    • The Queen of Jazz, Ella Fitzgerald
    • Duke Ellington
    • Count Basie
    • The President: Lester Young, who usually just got called "Prez".
    • The King of Swing: Benny Goodman
    • The First Lady, or Lady Day: Billie Holiday
    • The Maharajah of Montreal: Oscar Peterson
  • The Thin White Duke: One of David Bowie's many names, and probably the one that best fits this trope, since most of the others (Ziggy Stardust, Thomas Jerome Newton, Halloween Jack, Aladdin Sane, Jareth) are names, rather than titles.
  • The vast majority of rappers are known only by their nicknames, self-appointed or otherwise. There are notable aversions though, like Kanye West.
  • The Octopus: Damon Che of Don Caballero, known for his virtuosic drumming.
  • La Novia de México: Angélica María
  • According to an episode of Pop Up Video, Mariah Carey was referred to by classmates as "Mirage" in high school because she was "never there".
  • The Main Man: Dean Martin
  • The Prince of Darkness: Ozzy Osbournenote 
  • The Fab Four: The Beatles

    Pinball 

    Tabletop Games 
  • BattleTech doesn't make use of nicknames all that often, but every once in a while one will pop up: the Bounty Hunter (a Legacy Character by and large only known by that name to all), Natasha Kerensky a.k.a. the (in)famous Black Widow, and Hanse "the Fox" Davion are all just about perfect examples of the trope.
  • Exalted combines this with Name That Unfolds Like Lotus Blossom for the Abyssal Exalted. Their path to power generally involves severing themselves from their names entirely, until only their titles are left.
    • Sobriquets are not unknown among the Dragon-Blooded, either. We've met the Roseblack (Tepet Ejava) and the Wind Dancer (her grandfather, Arada).
  • Warhammer:
    • Among the beastmen, the Green Knight of Bretonnia is feared as Shaabhekh, which in their language means the Soul-Killer, due to the terrible losses he's inflicted on their marauding hordes over the millennia.
    • The beastman prophet Malagor is referred to by a number of epithets, such as the Crowfather, the Dark Omen, the Despoiler of the Sacred and the Harbinger of Disaster, by those who'd rather not speak his name. Likewise, the monstrous warlord Morghur is referred to as the Master of Skulls, the Corrupter and the Shadow-Gave, while the plague-shaman Slugtongue is known as the Famine-Fiend, the Barren One and the Lord of the Black Harvest.
    • Abhorash, the first of the Blood Dragon vampires and one of the greatest warriors to ever live, is known as the Dragon Slayer, the Scourge of the Greenskins, the Blade Immortal and the Lord of Blood. Among Abhorash's descendants, nobody even knows the real name of the Red Duke of Mousillion, as he's only ever referred to by his title.
    • Khaine, the elven god of war and murder, is often referred to as the Bloody-Handed God.
    • The powers of Chaos are almost always referred to by their fearsome and elaborate titles and monikers in lieu of their actual names, as people are rarely comfortable with carelessly invoking the names of beings like them.
      • Among the chaos gods themselves — who are collectively often referred to as the True Gods, the Gods of the North, the Northern Powers, the Aesgardr or the Hungry Gods of the Dark — Khorne is the Blood God, the Lord of Skulls, the Lord of Battles, the Father and Inheritor of all Rage, the Brass Lord of Battles or the God of War; Nurgle is the Plague Lord, the Fly Lord, the Plague Father and the Lord of Decay; Slaanesh is the Dark Prince, the Serpent and She Who Thirsts; Tzeentch is the Architect of Fate, the Changer of Ways, the Great Mutator, the Lord of Change and the Great Deceiver.
      • The great daemon U'zhul is almost never referred to by name — he's always the Skulltaker instead.
      • Archaon the Everchosen has racked up a fearsome list of aliases for himself, including the Lord of the End Times, the Kingslayer and the Three-Eyed King.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • The Space Marines' actual title is the Adeptus Astartes, and they are also known as the Angels of Death. The Blood Angels are a chapter of Space Marines, who are Super Soldiers with vampiric characteristics and are known for bloodthirsty assault tactics. A librarian of theirs is named Mephiston, and is known by them as "the Lord of Death".
    • The humble (but numerous) Imperial Guard. Guardsmen are notoriously expendable, but some have survived long enough to get a reputation. Case in point, the only regiment from planet Tanith narrowly escaped the obliteration of their homeworld, and they're still kind of pissed. Their official designation is the Tanith 1st — generally followed by a defiant chorus of "First and Only!" They also get tagged as Gaunt's Ghosts, thanks to their commander's rare appreciation for stealth (and survival). Mention Tanith and you get blank looks, but even Space Marines have heard of Gaunt's Ghosts.
    • Colonel "Iron Hand" Straken, Game-Breaker and named after his adamantium hand. And Gunnery Sergeant "Stonetooth" Harker, so named due to his rumored habit of chewing glass instead of tobacco.
    • Going away from individual names, many companies aside Gaunt's Ghosts also have unique and memorable names and histories even if they don't happen to be prominently shown in a particular series of novels, some examples being the Tallarn 3rd "Desert Tigers", the 8th Cadian "The Lord Castellan's Own" and the Catachan 24th "Waiting Death".
    • The C'tan have proper names, but are far better known by their titles: Aza'gorod the Nightbringer, Mepeht'ran the Deceiver, Tsara'noga the Outsider, Mag'ladroth the Void Dragon, Llandu'gor the Flayer, and so on.
    • Orks tend to take nicknames based on their accomplishments. Hence Warboss Gorgutz Deffscreama Bloodspilla Deffkilla Ragescreama Ghostkilla Gunsmasha Daemonkilla 'Ead'unter. A minor Ork character is actually called "Da Krimson Barun" presumably in spoof of the trope namer. Another, a Fighta pilot on Armageddon, is called "Da Red Nob" (Nob being short for "noble," and a term for an ork squad leader).
    • One particular Tyranid carnifex managed to gain such a moniker, despite being a member of a race that lacks independent will. It's known as Old One Eye, so called for the first of many wounds that really should have killed it.
    • Within a year of Konrad Curze's vigilante executions of the criminals and corrupt bureaucrats of Nostramo, mothers began to threaten their kids that if they continued to misbehave, the Night Haunter would come for them, describing Curze, who stalks through the city, ready to disembowel any heretic or criminal foolish or bold enough to cross his path.

    Theatre 
  • Cyrano de Bergerac: Invoked by the ballad improvised by Cyrano at Act II Scene VII, The bold cadets of Gascony:
    Cyrano: ... Pink-your-Doublet and Slit-your-Trunk
    Are their gentlest sobriquets;

    Toys 
    Web Video 

    Web Animation 
  • Hazbin Hotel: Decades ago, a condemned soul manifested in Hell. He immediately set about toppling the longstanding demon lords of Hell with a level of power no mere sinner had ever wielded before, carving a swath of chaos and carnage that he broadcast on radios throughout Hell for all to hear. He became known as "The Radio Demon", and all quickly learned to fear him. This is the moniker of Alastor, who in life was a radio host moonlighting as a serial killer during The Great Depression. Now having become a fearsome warlord in his own right, he's decided to sponsor Charlie's sinner rehab clinic, for the stated purpose of watching sinners try and fail to find redemption, which he'll find very entertaining.
  • Red vs. Blue: The Meta is a man who has become overloaded with armour enhancements and multiple A.I. fragments. He used to be an extremely skilled and powerful Freelancer known as Agent Maine, but his mind was lost to the power and ambition of an A.I. fragment known as Sigma, who was seeking to achieve the A.I. holy grail of "metastability". The Meta became infamous for systematically hunting down and killing the elite Freelancers for their A.I. fragments and armour enhancements. He was so powerful that it took multiple soldiers fighting together to defeat him; even then, he didn't go down until he was forced over a cliff to his doom.
  • RWBY: The identity of The Grimm Reaper was a mystery; she was only known as being a nameless, mask-wearing Huntress who laid waste to the Creatures of Grimm with twin kama that inspired Qrow in the crafting of his own Sinister Scythe. One day, she disappeared, never to be heard from again. She hid her identity because her father realised Silver-Eyed Warriors were being hunted to extinction, but the Big Bad's assassins found and blinded her. She went into hiding until, as an elderly woman, she gets caught up in the heroes' world-saving quest, and agrees to teach Ruby Rose how to master the power of her own silver eyes.

    Webcomics 
  • Achewood gives us Rodney Leonard Stubbs, known as "The Man With The Blood On His Hands" for his badassery in the Great Outdoor Fight. "Son of Rodney", his son Ray, isn't half bad either.
  • City of Reality: after the events in Magic World, Todo's been nicknamed "The Soul of Reality." Since Reality itself is legendary for its Incorruptible Pure Pureness, that really means something.
  • Girl Genius: Old Man Death earned his name by riding with the Jägermonsters and never losing a fight, which impressed his nigh unkillable fellow cavalry members.
  • Goblins has Señor Vorpal Kickass'o!
  • Gosu: Any high-level gosu of any notoriety has an epithet tied to them with names such as The Wraith Hand, The Devil of the Venom Hands, The Phantom Visitor and The Black Scorpion King flying about. The most fearsome of them all is "The Heavenly Destroyer", the epithet of the late Dogko Ryong.
  • Kill Six Billion Demons has the protagonist Allison Wanda Ruth, who according to prophecy will, after killing seven God Emperors and kicking off a third conquest of The Multiverse, gain the eponymous moniker "Kill Six Billion Demons".
  • Last Res0rt has several characters with nicknames, though not all get used in the comic/show itself. Some among the ones that do: Jason "Ace of" Spades, Silk of the Solar Winds aka "White Noise", and Kurt "Geisha" Straieta.
  • Outsider:
    • Stillstorm is known as the Storm-Witch among the Umiak, who fear and respect her for her military prowess and the losses she has inflicted upon their forces.
    • Kikitik-27 is known to the Loroi as the Stray. It has the distinction of being one of the few Umiak commanders known to have survived an attrition assault mission, and it has done so at least twice. In both cases Kikitik inflicted heavy losses on the Loroi defenders, and then withdrew its forces from combat relatively intact when Loroi reinforcements arrived.
  • Parallel Dementia has The Visage of Death, an incredibly powerful undead after the main character's life as a possible solution to his mysterious agenda. He (+ the minions he creates) is strong enough to go to-to-toe with not just the main cast of this webcomic but also the main cast crossing over from Emergency Exit...simultaneously. There's also Greed, a god named after one of the seven deadly sins, and the fan-named Thing In Chains.
  • Sluggy Freelance had Torg fall back in time into an Army of Darkness pastiche, where the townsfolk called him "The Stormbreaker" based on his destiny to defeat a demon. They weren't entirely accurate, though... Zoe was the real Stormbreaker.
  • In Star Impact, all pro-league boxers are known by a subtitle in addition to their regular name.
  • The Sword Interval, the Spiritual Successor of Parallel Dementia, sees the return of The Visage, as well as new names The Hierophant (the most powerful mage in the setting in addition to having Resurrective Immortality) and The Harbinger. Not impressive on the same level but still examples of the trope, every witch/warlock has such an epithet, including The Stygian Medusa, The Carnelian Raven, and Red Rover.
  • In Tower of God, any Ranker in the top 1% of all Rankers gets their own sobriquet (with some even getting two!). This includes names such as Ray Barracuda, White Sword, Killer Whale, Great White Shark, Snakehead, God's Eye, Heretic, etc.
  • Multiple characters in the action webcomic Weak Hero have earned nicknames to bolster their reputation as fierce fighters:
    • Thanks to a gossipy student at his cram school, Gray earns the moniker "White Mamba" that propels his reputation into The Dreaded territory.
    • Ben's imposing figure and more imposing reputation has gained him the nickname "Big Ben".
    • Alex was known as "The Pitbull" back in middle school due to being a small scrapper who constantly picked fights. The name is even more appropriate since, like a real pitbull, Alex is a lot nicer than his reputation would suggest.
    • Gerard's proficiency with his feet earned him the nickname "Hot Foot Jin". He was also known as the "Mad Hound" back in middle school, back when he'd do anything to win a fight.
    • Rowan tried to invoke this by dubbing himself the "Sydney Guillotine" while intimidating another student. It doesn't actually mean anything, besides that Rowan lived in Australia for a few years.
    • Besides being called the Spear and Shield alongside Dongha, Seongmok is also introduced with the title of "Totem Pole", fitting his immovable stature. Dongha is also known as "Ghost", seemingly because he resembles a Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl.
    • Jaeryeong is known as "The Stone Fist" of Mapo, one of the most promising new fighters for the Cheongang gang and their first line of offense.
    • Juwon is the "Jungle Sickle", named such for the terrifyingly calm and effective way that he fights- like an explorer effortlessly swathing through the flora with a sickle.

    Web Original 
  • Some of the players in AH World Cup have badass nicknames. This includes, but not limited to: Murray Humperdick ("Bloody Murder"}, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad ("The Armored Dinner Jacket"), etc.
  • Mr. Mendo is referred to as "The Internet's Strongest Man" as a shout-out/parody of Mark Henry.
  • All Brutes fear "The Black Sangheili". Considering that Rukth 'Kilkar is indeed capable of slaughtering hundreds of foes without breaking a sweat and with only one eye, this is justified.
  • In the world of Critical Role, Kaylee, a gnome bard in Scanlan's old troupe, studied at the College of The White Duke. The White Duke was a legendary bard from Tal'Dorei's distant past who wielded Mythcarver, the Cool Sword currently wielded by Scanlan.
  • In Dirigible Days, there is the notorious High Priest of Religion of Evil, Salazar Strega, known as "the Hierophant". As if his real name wasn't scary enough.
  • Fate/Nuovo Guerra, owing to Servants being legendary heroes, features several, such as "Dragon King" for Uther Pendragon, "Cunning Odysseus", "Godlike Achilles", "El Cid Campeador", for well, El Cid, "Scourge of God" for Attila the Hun, etc.
  • Fire Emblem On Forums:
    • Demon Soul Saga: Scathach, Gawain and an unknown third Kaijin are referred to as The Black Princess of Calamity, The White Knight of Mishima and The Ocean King, marking them as the strongest Kaijin in the Mishima District.
    • Chains of Horai: Multiple examples: Todoroki is called the Dawnfire Blade, Madoka the Unscarred Blade and Hiroyuki the Great Bull of Amatsu.
    • Solrise Academy: Theodora and Felix are called the Untouchable Girl and the Thunder Spear from their tournament days.
  • In Piecing Together the Ashes: Reconstructing the Old World Order the US Presidents that history remembers have titles to go with them, such as George the Washington or Reagan the Gipper.
  • In The Salvation War, Humanity is kicking demon butt so thoroughly that the Lords of Hell start calling them "The Lords of War."
  • The Scarlet King from the SCP Foundation, otherwise known as Shormaush Urdal. His real name is Khahrahk, but other than in his origin story, he's always referred to as either the Scarlet King or just the King.
  • The illustrati of Shadows of the Limelight often create nicknames for themselves on purpose in order to facilitate the spread of their fame. Welexi is known as Sunhawk, Whitespear, or Brightshield, referencing his control over light, Vidre is the Queen of Glass, and Dominic is Lightscour.
  • In Tales from My D&D Campaign, Little One becomes generally known as "Orcslayer" after defeating an orc in single combat. Considering that this setting's orcs are so ridiculously badass that a single orc can level a small city, this is, to quote the narrator, "one hell of a badass nickname".
  • That Guy with the Glasses plays with this by having That Sci-Fi Guy say in an awed voice "Linkara? In Star Trek circles he's known only as... Linkara!"
  • In the Whateley Universe, Tennyo has picked up the nickname 'Disaster Dame'. She doesn't like it, and insists those catastrophes weren't her fault.
    • Tennyo, aka Billie Wilson, has other, even worse nicknames. Like 'The Scourge' and 'Stalker of the Stars' (or 'Starstalker').

    Western Animation 
  • Arcane: Vander is known in Zaun as the Hound of the Underground. Rather fitting for the man who becomes Warwick.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • Zuko — The Blue Spirit
    • Toph — The Blind Bandit, The Runaway
    • Iroh — The Dragon of the West. There are two stories for how he got his name. One says it's because he can breathe fire after drinking tea, but it later turns out that you get the title of "dragon" by actually killing a dragon (though he lied about killing the last one). Fittingly, he also tells a group of warriors who've surrounded him "Did I ever tell you how i got the nickname 'The Dragon of the West?'".
      • This is probably twofold; in the Fire Nation any Firebender who slays a dragon is given the title of dragon. His also being known as "Dragon" among the Earth Kingdom and Water Tribe would be because of his formidable combat prowess and Breath Weapon (the Fire Nation might have a lot of dragons, but Iroh is The Dragon).
    • Combustion Man, or his other name, Sparky Sparky Boom Man (we never learn his real name).
    • THE BOULDER is FURIOUS that nobody's mentioned him (and the other Earthbending fighters) yet!
    • Many of the Freedom Fighters (The Duke, Pipsqueak, Longshot, Sneers) — Jet and Smellerbee are the two exceptions.
    • In The Legend of Korra, Kuvira of Book 4 is known as "The Great Uniter" due to her conquest of the fractured Earth Kingdom.
  • Batman: The Animated Series: Sid "The Squid" Debris, after what looks like an Accidental Murder, is known as "The Man Who Killed Batman."
  • Zig-zag: Dick Dastardly could fill this role on Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines if he wasn't as inept as his Vulture Squadron charges.
  • In Dragons: Riders of Berk, the Outcasts only know Hiccup as "The Dragon Conqueror" and are surprised to find out who he is.
  • A few characters from Metalocalypse have been gifted with names, such as "The Man Who Stands Behind Shadows" Magnus Hammersmith, "The Dead Man" Offdensen, and "The Half Man"Mr. Salacia
  • In Star vs. the Forces of Evil, the Season 2 episode "Into the Wand" reveals that Toffee (the supposedly-deceased Big Bad of the previous season) is better known to Mewni history as "the Immortal Monster." Additionally, "Moon The Undaunted" reveals Toffee was known as "The Lizard" in his days as general of the monster army.
    • All the queens of Mewni have an alias, the ones we know are: Moon "The Undaunted", Eclipsa "The Queen of Darkness", Celena "The Shy", Solaria "The Monster Carver", Festivia "The Fun", Skywynne "Queen of Hours", Soupina "The Strange", Dirrhennia "The Heaped", Crescenta "The Eager", Comet "The Chef", Jushtin "The Uncalculated", Rhina "The Riddled", and Estrella "The Drafted".
  • In an example very close to the Trope Namer: "The Dark Ace" from Storm Hawks.
  • The Red Lynx from the SWAT Kats episode "The Ghost Pilot" is a perfect example. Not only is he an Expy of the Trope Namer, but he's known only by his two nicknames; his real name is never revealed.
  • ThunderCats (1985) has the show's Big Bad, Mumm-Ra, "the Ever-Living (Source of Evil)".
  • In Total Drama, Mal has one in-universe: "The Malevolent One". Once this nickname is brought up, it immediately forces the other personalities into hiding. He's not even called "Mal" until a few episodes after he's introduced.
  • TRON: Uprising: Beck goes by The Renegade, since no one really believes he's Tron.


 
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