Who needs reason when you can have chocolate rain?note
"Praying to yourself, my Lord? That's not a good sign. Or perhaps it is. Prince of Madness, and all that."
This god isn't Evil
in either sense
, or even a Jerkass God
. It is simply insane. Its mad throes create and destroy in equal measure, leading to untold chaos. That there is a universe at all is usually due to it being Sealed Evil in a Can
, dormant, or so random that it's been less destructive over the past few aeons.
It might pose as a sane and good god because it has momentarily grown Bored With Insanity
. Of course, that doesn't usually last, as sanity tends to bore it greatly as well. If he is good
in some sense
he'll be the King of All Cosmos
and fond of working In Mysterious Ways
Expect the Straw Nihilist
to consider it Above Good and Evil
, or that it follows Blue and Orange Morality
that anyone can understand... if you just gaze into the abyss of madness long enough.
If especially mad and powerful, it may also be an Eldritch Abomination
. Can overlap with Almighty Idiot
when the Mad God is so mad that it destroys their mind. It may not cause insanity or revulsion to observers, but that's usually iffy, and depends on if it has enough presence of mind to take on A Form You Are (at least mildly) Comfortable With
Compare A God Am I
, a character so crazy that they only think they're gods. Contrast A God I Am Not
, where a god-like being refuses to be called a god to avoid something like this occurring.
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Anime and Manga
- Asura from Soul Eater, a demon god who went mad with fear and infects the world with his insanity merely by existing. Later chapters imply that all Eight Warriors from the days of old each represent some form of madness: Asura represents madness from terror, Shinigami represents madness from order, Eibon represents madness from knowledge, The Black Mass represents madness from power, etc. Asura is just the only one that lost all self-control and starts trying to make the whole world go crazy.
- Deus Ex Machina from Future Diary is dying and summons twelve contestants in a battle royal to attain his power by killing off the other eleven contestants in a game of death.
- The Joker, in the Emperor Joker series, tricked Mr Mxyzptlk into giving up the lion's share of his power, and he used it to rewrite the entire universe in his image. In the end, only his obsession with Batman (and his inability to keep his imagination from conjuring his own worst fears) stopped him (with a helpful nudge from Superman).
- The Christian God of Hellblazer is claimed to be this by the First of the Fallen, saying he "found the Great Redeemer squatting in a corner of Eternity. Clutching his genitals... and drooling." Not that he's the most trustworthy of fellows.
- The Christian God of The Chronicles Of Wormwood. The only thing he does throughout his entire appearance is float in the air, grunting and constantly masturbating, and in "Chronicles of Wormwood - The Last Battle", Jesus reveals that when he ascended to Heaven after his resurrection and went to see his father, he found him making little toy houses out of his own feces.
- The Writer from the Good Apollo I'm Burning Star IV Volume One: From Fear Through The Eyes of Madness arc of the Amory Wars.
- In the American Sonic The Hedgehog comics, any echidna who absorbs too much Chaos energy is transformed into the demigod Enerjak, and is driven mad in the process. Dimitri and Knuckles have both suffered this at different points, and an Alternate Universe features a version of Enerjak-empowered Knuckles who's pretty much destroyed the whole world.
- The cover of Green Lantern issue #6 from the nineties series describes Appa Ali Apsa, the Old Timer, the last Guardian, this way. It is a reasonable description, given his power at that point.
- The Supreme Being of Space Sector 3600, the god TDHD, has gone utterly mad, and was for some time walled off from reality by the Guardians of the Universe.
- Delirium from The Sandman, what with her being the Anthropomorphic Personification of madness. Though she is rather cute and harmless (unless you get on her bad side, as that highway cop found out the hard way...). And she's the baby of the family.
- Thanos is occasionally referred to as The Mad God.
- The Phoenix and its avatars, particularly Jean Grey and more recently, Scott Summers, have ended up this way, going Dark Phoenix.
- The protagonist of The Gods Must Be Crazy assumes this is why a Coke bottle falls out of the sky into his primitive village, bringing strife to the community. To them, it's a cruel trial that can only have been masterminded by a malevolent and crazy god.
- Loki in The Avengers seems to have a bit of this—he's more than a little unhinged after the events of Thor (namely falling through a portal into the abyss of the universe, which he is now completely sincerely convinced was his father and brother disposing of him rather than the suicide attempt it really was), and abuses his powers as the God of Mischief to terrifying effect.
- Monstrous Regiment: Nuggan, despite being dead, manages to effectively behave in this way, forbidding babies, the color blue, and other absurd things.note
- Azathoth, the Blind Idiot God gibbering at the chaotic center of Creation (his creation) in the Cthulhu Mythos. Note however his being a 'god' is debatable, as it is with practically all of Lovecraft's more tremendously powerful entities.
- Nalar, Big Bad or not of the Riftwar Cycle is sometimes called the Mad God, though it's implied that even if he was sane he'd still be a God of Evil.
- In The Belgariad we get two Mad Gods: Torak is essentially this plus God of Evil and Mara went crazy after his people were wiped out in a war, casting illusions on the entire country that drive
everyone most people who don't have magic powers or divine protection who dare to make even one step into his country insane.
- The Crippled God of the Malazan Book of the Fallen was a deity who was forcibly dragged from his own reality and into this one. His body torn and ravaged by his arrival, which shattered a continent, he was chained and locked away to try and prevent his increasingly corrupt powers from infecting the world.
- The Faerie queens of The Dresden Files don't have a great track record for sanity. However, Word of Jim points out that since madness is defined as being out of touch with reality, you can't really call someone who can warp reality to their will mad.
- Most of the deities featured in American Gods are quite stable... except for Horus, he's crazy. Fortunately he's not really in a position to do anything damaging.
- Harlan Ellison's short story "The Region Between" proposes that all life in the universe is formed from fragments of a god like this, which destroyed itself in its own madness. In the end, it's reconstituted just long enough to kill itself for real by ending the universe.
- Geoph Essex's Jackrabbit Messiah jumps aboard this trope immediately - on the back cover blurb - and rides it all the way to the end of the line. As both the blurb and a character in the story suggest: if a guy claims to be a god, and you think he's crazy, there's always the possibility that you're both right.
- The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant has She Who Must Not Be Named. Introduced in the last sub-series, she was once the Lover, a being on par with the Creator and Lord Foul; Foul seduced her and than broke her heart in order to taint the concept of love forever, and then they were both imprisoned in the same world by the Creator (him deliberately, her by accident). Foul coped well enough, his nature as the Despiser lending itself well to the situation, but the Lover couldn't handle it and went a little nuts. She became one of the most terrifying entities in the Land, though normally quiescent and in the end Linden helps her put her mind back together, at which point she helps lay a righteous divine smackdown on her betrayer, Lord Foul.
Live Action Television
- Bobo is mistaken for this by the ancient Romans in Mystery Science Theater 3000. Oddly, he's only really "mad" in the sense that he fights lions in the gladiatorial arena for fun- which admittedly is a bit much since the other local "Gods" (Pearl and Brain guy) spend most of their time not doing anything even remotely that impressive.
- In the Mirror Universe of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Zeus went mad from the strain of building "The Labyrinth of Eternal Memory" for his newborn son Hercules. With the king of the gods insane and the rest of the pantheon thrown into chaos, the stage is set for this version of Hercules (known as "the Sovereign") to Take Over the World and hatch a scheme to become the new ruler of Olympus.
- Forgotten Realms: Cyric is much more competent sane than insane. A lot more pragmatic, too. But still -very- evil.
- While under the affects of his own Greater Artifact he was very much insane to the point of near complete incompetence. Between the Prince of Lies, and before the ending of The Crucible: Trial of Cyric the Mad, he was very much completely out of control insane which lasted for around a decade or so.
- The Chaos gods of Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000. Composed of every mortal thought and emotion, magnified and taken to the extreme by their concentration in the warp, they are the essentially personifications of Rage (Khorne), Despair, (Nurgle), Desire (Slaanesh), and Scheming (Tzeentch). Spreading their emotions and philosophies in the real world through mortal and daemonic followers, they are well aware that true victory for any of them (or all of them) would destroy what keeps them existing, yet they pursue it anyway.
- Tzeentch is mad even by Chaos standards. The Chessmaster par excellence, it constantly weaves extremely complex schemes that more often than not contradict each other, that ultimately have no point at all, and in succeeding with one it foils countless others (and so on ad infinitum). Indeed, to Tzeentch scheming is a purpose in itself, as if any of its big plans were to ever succeed it would cease to exist.
- The C'tan Outsider in 40K, one of the Necron star gods who was tricked by the Laughing God of the Eldar into consuming others of its own kind, which eventually drove it insane.
- The Eldar have their own Mad God in Cegorach, the Laughing God. He probably wouldn't think twice about destroying your planet as some part of a joke on his part.
- Even crazier than Tzeentch is Malal the god of paradoxes, that wishes to destroy Chaos. Being a Chaos god if Malal is ever successful then it would die as well not that the crazy thing cares.
- The Chaos gods are actually more subtle than you'd think; they're deities of good aspects horribly twisted and warped beyond recognition by fear and terror. Khorne is the god of Valor and Bravery, Nurgle is the god of Love and Mercy, Slaneesh is the god of Passion and Beauty and Tzeentch, the most frightening of all the perversions, is the God of Hope.
- The Primordials of Exalted, the creators of the universe, are quite insane by human standards, even the relatively nice ones like Gaia and Autochthon. The developers have even used human mental disorders as metaphors for how each Primordial views the world—Oramus is schizophrenic, Malfeas is solipsistic, Autochthon is autistic, She Who Lives In Her Name is obsessive-compulsive, and so on.
- All of the Madlander deities in GURPS Fantasy II: Adventures in the Mad Lands. Togeth, god of the Togethians, may be one too - the magic he grants to worshipers is extremely random, though at least it's always beneficial, unlike what the Madlander gods tend to do.
- Dungeons & Dragons 4e core setting labels pretty much all the Chaotic Evil gods as this, mainly Tharizdun, Lolth, and to a lesser degree, Gruumsh. This has to do with their redefinition of the Chaotic Evil Character Alignment as being about "believing only one's self matters in all reality" and "being willing and able to destroy anything and anyone that doesn't directly contribute tot heir interests".
- Not merely being one of his numerous appellations, Tharizdun has more than proven his insanity by babbling incoherently before seamlessly moving into long-winded tirades, frequently and unpredictably changing his mood and behavior (but almost universally destructive), and being the only deity whose followers are encouraged to destroy him along with all other life.
- In Pathfinder, Nethys the God of Magic is True Neutral because his magical power has driven him completely insane, leaving him torn between competing urges to save the world and to destroy it, which results in extremely erratic, unpredictable behavior.
- Ragnaglar from Runequest is the Mad God.
- The Mad Gods from Witchcraft, natch- every single one is a monster from beyond our reality, whose understanding of it is terribly limited; so when they manage to intrude here (and before, even), they begin to reshape it to a form they prefer. Which needless to say is very bad news for the natives (even including the angels and demons).
- The Mad God from the Fighting Fantasy gamebook "Portal of Evil." Provides the hero with a helmet that has mirrors attached to it. The helmet turns out to be useful later on when revealing to The Dragon what a monster he has become.
- The Wyrm in Werewolf: The Apocalypse was originally the force of destruction which allowed for renewal and balance in the cosmos. Unfortunately, he's gone a little nuts and now seeks to destroy or corrupt the entire world.
- Most people overlook the fact that the other two members of the Triat are just as insane, the Wyld being an essence of creative chaos and the Weaver a manifestation of absolute order.
- The Wildlords of Nobilis have set their feet on a path leading to a kind of solipsistic insanity.
- YHVH in the Shin Megami Tensei series, according to Word of God. True, he does commit acts of hideous evil, but the cause is because the universe itself is fundamentally broken in some way, and the Abrahamic God being an insane puppy kicking asshole is merely one of the most blatant symptoms of how much the universe itself is screwed up. Likewise, the Demiurge, whenever it pops up, is portrayed as a Psychopathic Manchild with far too much power at its hands, and is obsessed with sealing all mortal souls in the physical universe so it may rule over them forever.
- Sheogorath, the Daedric Prince of Madness from The Elder Scrolls. His condensed title, referred to by the Dark Seducers, is "the Mad God." In other words, he's not just a Mad God, he is the god of madness, and the insane are his subjects.
- In Morrowind, everyone who has ever touched the Heart of Lorkhan has gone mad (maybe not Vivec, though). Sotha Sil has retreated into a clockwork city of his creation (in a world where clocks have not yet been invented), Almalexia tries to murder you, and the Big Bad Voryn Dagoth, your past life's lackey gone bad, is repeatedly stated to be mad and it shows through his minions.
- Granted, some dialogues indicate that Almalexia used to be quite a bit saner, and that it was losing much of her Heart-granted divine power that sent her over the edge.
- Shivering Isles reveals that the Daedric Prince of Order Jyggalag is a Mad God. The other Daedric Princes cursed him because they feared his growing power, and he now suffers from a split personality. His other personality is Sheogorath. In his own words, he is a "broken ruler, of a broken realm". The Greymarches are merely his attempts to restore his Realm whenever he briefly regains his right mind. "Killing" him at the end of the Shivering Isles questline cures him of his madness, leaving him free to wander Oblivion to rebuild his powerbase while he passes on the mantle of the Prince of Madness to the player character.
- In Skyrim, Sheogorath's dialogue heavily implies that this is canon and he is/was the Champion of Cyrodiil.
- Dungeon Crawl: "Xom thinks this is hilarious!" Xom randomly acts upon the player. By doing things he finds amusing, you can improve the chances of him giving you something good. On the other hand, if you bore him, he'll hand out random punishments at a quickening pace...
- In Pokemon Mystery Dungeon Explorers, Dialga is a benevolent enough god, but for most of the pre-credits storyline, he's going insane and changing into Primal Dialga. Eventually he becomes unhinged enough that he can't tell the difference between you trying to repair the time steam and trying to destroy it.
- Jubileus The Creator of Bayonetta goes insane once the Left Eye is lost, throwing the Balance Between Light and Darkness out of alignment. Whether Jubileus was good or evil to begin with isn't clear, since in this Crapsack World Dark Is Evil, Light Is Not Good, both Angels and Demons qualify as Eldritch Abominations and humans are, for the most part worldly or gullible idiots.
- In EarthBound, the player is trying to prevent the world's destruction at the hands of Giygas, a powerful psychic entity from the future. Their efforts apparently spook him so badly that he overdoses on evil energy before the final confrontation, turning him into a god (of sorts) and destroying his mind. He rambles insanely during the last fight, and seems barely even conscious enough to know who he's fighting.
- Majora of The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask. Very little is known about Majora, except that he goes completely apeshit and tries to destroy the entire world by crashing the moon into the earth, cuz he's freakin' god, and he feels like it.
- Vertigo from Primal Rage is the Goddess of Insanity, and a sorceress from another dimension who wants to torture and enslave all of humanity for her own amusement.
- In Eternal Darkness Chattur'gha and Ulyaoth are not particularly right in the head, at least not to human senses, but Xel'lo'tath is the only one whose very presence (and those of her troops) drives people mad; she hears voices in her head, and you hear voices in her head too.
- It's worth noting that her minions have lost their heads. No, really. And the creature herself? Vaguely humanoid and feminine with four arms, a long fishlike tail, an eye in the middle of her torso... and no head.
- Kefka Palazzo becomes this in the second act of Final Fantasy VI.
- Tarjan from The Bard's Tale Trilogy. He's even called the Mad God.
- Malygos, the Aspect of Magic from the Warcraft games used to be a fun-loving dragon who ruled over magic. But after his entire people, including his mate and children, was slaughtered by his best friend with a weapon he helped create, he completely lost his mind. He hid for millennia in a cave and was prone to killing anybody who approached him. It's only after being given a new flight that he starts to become sane again... at which point he decides to declare war on every magic user in the world (that is every single faction of the game, including the other dragons which helped him and the mortals who did his job for 10,000 years).
- Neltharion aka Deathwing is this and a God of Evil. That's what happens when a godlike dragon is Mind Raped by a cabal of Eldritch Abominations. Deathwing's own power tearing his body apart (to the point that he has to have metal plates riveted to his body just to keep it together) leaving him in constant agony probably didn't help his sanity either. In the finale of Cataclysm being blasted by the Dragon Soul makes him lose what little control he had over his own power. His body falls apart and the last vestiges of his sanity go along for the ride.
- Sargeras the Burning Titan went nuts after he encountered Always Chaotic Evil races like the Nathrezim (Dreadlords). He considered the mere existence of beings like them proof that his and the other Titans' mission to bring order to the universe was futile. Now he just wants it all to burn.
- The main villain in the flash game Realm of the Mad God.
- At least two gods in the Disciples series get treated to this. First we have Soloniele, the goddess of the seas and merfolk, as well as co-deity of the elves with her lover Gallean. When Bethrezen sends his Legions of Doom to the surface of Nevendaar, they happen to come out in the elven forests, sending the elves on a massed exodus to the lands of the Mountain Clans. The dwarves, seeing a huge mass of elves encroaching on their lands, assume it's an invasion and strike at them. Angry, Soloniele and Gallean go to Wotan, the god of the dwarves, and demand he punish his people for this unprovoked attack. Enraged by their audacity, Wotan rips out Gallean's heart and throws it at the sun. Soloniele manages to catch her lover's heart in time but has her flesh burned off by the heat. Going mad, she renames herself into Mortis, slaughters an entire people and raises them as her Undead Hordes. After she revives Gallean, he is disgusted with what she has become and leaves. Mortis proceeds to turn on the elves, kills Gallean's son and turns him into an undead elf to mock Gallean. Gallean also goes mad and gets the elves to strike at humans, with whom they've been at peace for centuries, and personally (through his oracle) kills the dwarven queen. Needless to say, Nevendaar a Crapsack World. On that same note, Bethrezen himself could be considered fitting this trope, although bordering on God of Evil. Originally, he was the most favorite angel of Highfather, to the point where Highfather granted him the power to create. Bethrezen created Nevendaar and humans as a tribute to Highfather, with other gods creating other races and landscapes. Unfortunately, the other angels grew jealous and tricked humans into starting a war while Bethrezen was out. When Highfather saw Nevendaar, it was engulfed in war. As punishment, he imprisoned Bethrezen in the molten core of his own creation. It's obvious that anyone would go insane at this point, especially someone who didn't think he deserved punishment.
- The Storyteller from Off The Page And Into Life has long since gone crazy from loneliness, and it shows. She's more of a frightened child lashing out in any way she can most of the time, but when she loses it, you will know about it. Usually in the form of people dying, or coming damn close to it.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
- This is one interpretation of Nightmare Moon, Princess Luna's Superpowered Evil Side, created from resentment towards the ponies who rejected her night in favour of Celestia's day, her jealousy (and a bit of corruption by dark magic) consuming her until she enacted eternal night to force ponykind into appreciating her work. She is either completely unaware or perhaps she just doesn't care that this would end all life in Equestria.
- Discord, spirit of chaos and disharmony (pictured above), whose body even looks like someone chopped up half a dozen different creatures, lost most of the pieces, and tried to stick them back together. As a Reality Warper of near-unlimited power he turns Equestria almost literally upside-down, with inconsistent day/night cycles, gravity, and sanity, as well as making roads of soap and cotton candy clouds that rain chocolate milk (without a single dollop of whipped cream to go with it). He gets some sadistic pleasure out of the fact that mere mortals really don't like his chaos, but for the most part he just ignores their griping in favor of detail work on his World of Chaos.
- Mark Twain once said "if our Maker is all-powerful for good or evil, He is not in His right mind."