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Jerkass Gods

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Really, the only surprising thing was that it didn't happen sooner.

Pit: But you would never abuse your power, right?
Palutena: Of course I would! That's part of the goddess job description.

These gods aren't lazy, but you really wish they were.

Perhaps they view all of life as a cosmic game, with humans as mere pawns and tools. Perhaps they're hungry for worship, either out of necessity or just out of a huge ego, and are willing to resort to manipulation and worse to get it. Maybe they're just keen on Disproportionate Retribution (a very common trait in religions throughout history). Maybe it's the age-old adage "power corrupts", or maybe they're just overgrown immortal children with supernatural powers or The Sociopaths, but whatever the case, the gods are just jerks. They view human life as a source of entertainment or an inconvenience.

This trope is Older Than Dirt. The Ur-Example might be Ishtar, Sumerian goddess of getting laid and ultraviolence. As might be expected from someone of that description, she took exception to being spurned by the hero Gilgamesh and summoned a heavenly bull to go on a rampage through his city, and if her father denied her that bull, she would have caused a Zombie Apocalypse. It did not help that as he turned her down, he listed all her exes and how she arranged their terrible deaths.

Compare and contrast Abusive Precursors, and for cases where Jerkass doesn't really cover it, God of Evil, and God Is Evil; or, for a milder version, consider God Is Flawed. Often worshiped by the Corrupt Church and/or the Religion of Evil. Related to God and Satan Are Both Jerks as well as World of Jerkass. Anyone playing Religious Russian Roulette with a Jerkass God probably won't like how it ends. In video games, where you are the god, see Cruel Player-Character God. For the inversion, see God Is Good.

In real-life mythoi, this trope is often a product of Values Dissonance and Depending on the Writer, as whatever the gods do in their stories is often considered okay in the time period where the stories were written, but not in the present. Also, having different people write and tell different stories and myths about gods means that the deities in question are very prone to Alternate Character Interpretation by whoever is writing the story, because even back then, people liked to project themselves and their opinions onto characters, even if the characters are gods. Because of that, mythological characterization and continuity regarding the gods and other mythical figures tends to fluctuate wildly from story to story. Some of these authors and storytellers also made some gods grab the Jerkass Ball from time to time, which eventually spread out among public opinion and turned some deities from being viewed as nice to being seen as evil due to people remembering deities more for the bad things they did rather than for their heroic actions (the Everybody Hates Hades trope is a good example of that). What was considered okay and acceptable back then isn’t always what is considered okay and acceptable today, because society and its values change over time. Gods and the stories surrounding gods often reflect the cultures and societies that worshipped them. Since civilizations of ancient times or societies of other nations have different values and codes of ethics than the ones we have, then a god who is considered a Jerkass God by one civilization and time period may be viewed as a heroic god instead by another civilization and time period.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Ah! My Goddess:
    • Kami-sama frequently doles out unnecessarily harsh punishments and will wipe out an entire planet to preserve the integrity of the Yggdrasil with little hesitation.
    • Chapter 285. Apparently Kami-sama and the heavenly elite don't like half-breeds between gods and mortals, so when Belldandy made her contract with Keiichi, his libido was sealed, which is why he never made a move on Bell in three years (24 years to the readers). To some, Belldandy herself fell into this trope since she never told him all this time and liked being pampered without any sexual pressure. Some on /a/ may never forgive her.
    • This may be due to Kami-sama's former relationship with Hild which soured after she gave birth to Urd and being separated by the Judgment Gate.
  • Digimon: Zhuqiaomon, of the Four Holy Beasts (Sovereign, in the dubs). It's the most belligerent of the four, compared to Nice Guy Qinglongmon and Ebonwumon and more-or-less neutral Baihumon. According to the lore, it generally incinerates anyone who dares approach it, and its attitude has passed on to the Deva who work under it.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods introduces Beerus, the God of Destruction. While it's noted in-universe that destroying planets is his job and is necessary to maintain universal balance, he chooses what planets he will destroy at his leisure and is prone to doing so for ridiculous reasons, such as losing at a video game, being denied food, or simply because a random bystander offended him. In Dragon Ball Super, the Old Kai outright describes Beerus' actions as pointless and petty. If you do please him (usually with food) he will agree to do you a favor or two (just don't expect him to fight for you) and he's been shown to be a Jerk with a Heart of Gold sometimes (like when he used his wish to the Super Dragon Balls to restore Earth in Universe 6 so his brother Champa could also enjoy the food he has grown to love)
    • The Future Trunks Saga of Dragon Ball Super has a perfect example with Zamasu, an apprentice Supreme Kai from Universe 10. He's firmly convinced that all mortals are stupid, brutal beings who never learn from their mistakes, to the extent that he suggests just wiping them all out, and outright tells his master Gowasu that the Kais' decision to merely watch rather than directly interfere is a sin. In the Bad Future that Future Trunks hails from, Zamasu has completely gone off the deep end and is actively working with Goku Black, a like-minded Omnicidal Maniac and another version of himself that stole Goku's body before killing his loved ones, to wipe out the mortal races.
    • And then, there's Zeno, the most powerful god who reigns over the others. He looks and acts like a cute child, but his backstory involves him wiping six universes in a fit of anger. The Universe Survival Arc is centering on him throwing a multiversal tournament to determine which universe would keep on existing. The ones which would have lost? They'll be erased. He's willing to do so even though he befriended a mortal from one of the contesting universes. And the only reason he gives for this planned genocide is that he thinks there are too many universes with low mortal rankings. Oh, and it turns out that Zeno was actually going to erase all of the universes once the tournament was over if the winner didn't make a selfless wish to restore the erased universes. Android 17's wish convinces him that the mortals are worth living.
  • In Fairy Tail, Ankhseram, the god of life and death, might be one of the greatest Jerkass Gods that anime has ever seen. He cursed Zeref, who just wanted to bring his beloved younger brother back, and Mavis, who used an incomplete Law to save her friend, with the Contradiction Curse, a curse that makes them kill everything around them just for valuing life. When the two fell in love with each other, Zeref's curse killed Mavis, just to make sure they would never be happy . Mavis was greatly heartbroken, but Zeref had it much worse, and after 400 years of enduring the curse, culminating in him being denied a chance with the love of his life and the one person who ever made him happy, finally snapped and decided to wipe out humanity.
  • Fruits Basket: Akito Sohma is controlling and extremely abusive to her fellow Zodiac members and the Sohma family in general, believing that as God of the Zodiac, she can do whatever she pleases and no one has any right to stop her. This attitude was most likely instilled in her by the head maid, her Parental Substitute, who enabled her behavior for that very reason.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist has The Truth, a mysterious godlike entity that exacts an "equal toll" on those who attempt human transmutation. While he is supposed to be a neutral party, he takes sadistic joy in his "fines". The fact that he acts smug and playful about it further this image. In the finale, he shows himself to be somewhat benevolent. Roy (who was forced to perform human transmutation) only lost his sight, instead of an actual organ or limb like everyone else and this made restoring what he lost much simpler as seen in the epilogue. While undeniably a Jerkass, The Truth is not necessarily evil, but a Trickster Mentor, as seen when he was absolutely elated to hear that Edward had learned the lesson that he was trying to teach everyone else: alchemy isn't everything.
  • The Beast Gods of Fushigi Yuugi really do only care about prolonging their existence by absorbing the souls of their priestesses.
  • Deus ex Machina, the God of Time and Space in Future Diary, needed to pick a successor after he began dying. He chooses a bunch of random people from his city, gives them future-predicting diaries, and tells them that they all have to kill each other before the world ends, and the last one standing gets to be the new God of Time and Space.
  • The photorealistic, afro'd disembodied head that passes for God in Goodnight Punpun wobbles on the line between this and God Is Evil. He starts out merely not caring about Punpun, refusing to answer his questions and belittling him for even thinking of asking him, but as the series goes on, he begins steadily whittling down Punpun's self-confidence, tells him that the only way to protect oneself from those who want to hurt you is to kill them, and overall savagely beating on the already fragile situation that Punpun and his relatives (and the world as a whole, at that) are getting worked deeper and deeper into.
  • Many of the various gods in Kurohime are assholes to everyone, including their own allies and worshippers. Except for two and Shirohime, who is Kurohime's love for humanity personified. When we next see the head god, she is eating the sun, which, in this world, is made of Life Energy and spirits. The rest of the High Gods are also jerks and Planet Eaters.
  • In the Nasuverse, pretty much all the gods were assholes, in accordance with their mythological portrayals.
    • Rider's backstory illustrates this quite clearly; she is actually Medusa, and she and her sisters were born out of the wishes of mankind for deities who weren't complete dicks. The Greek gods became jealous of them and conspired to turn their worshipers against them, which led to Medusa becoming a monster. The gods aren't around anymore though, which is probably for the best.
    • Played with in Fate/Grand Order, which gets to showcase some of these divinities in action and shows that, while they can certainly be dicks, many of them run on a Divine mentality that doesn't quite mesh with human ideals like what happens to Artoria Pendragon after she became the Goddess Rhongomyniad in the Sixth Singularity, and they can be just as, well, human as anyone else given time like what happens to Ishtar, Ereshkigal, and Quetzalcoatl in the Seventh Singularity.
    • Fate/strange Fake shows Ishtar's personality as it would be without Rin's influence to temper it as in Fate/Grand Order. Her main goal is to kill Gilgamesh and Enkidu and doesn't care if Gugalanna will destroy Snowfield in the process.
  • An interesting inversion occurs in Mythical Detective Loki Ragnarok where Odin is the jerk and Loki is the good guy.
  • One Piece: God Eneru. Granted, their "God" (Kami) is merely the title of the ruler of Skypiea, but his Logia powers and seeming omniscience justifies his status.
  • Record of Ragnarok opens with all of the gods unanimously voting to Kill All Humans on the basis that we're selfish and wasteful. One of the many problems with this is that the gods themselves aren't much better; an incubus describes them all as cruel, ruthless, "self-centered assholes". As the story progresses, however, it's shown that while several of the gods most definitely assholes (Zeus, Poseidon, and Loki), several of them are overall decent people who just so happen to be fighting for humanity's extinction (Shiva), and several are outright fighting to save humanity (Heracles and Buddha).
  • Zeus of Saint Beast who overthrew the old jerkass god and slept with his wife, then proceeded to become increasingly tyrannical: ordering his angels to kill any beings on earth who don't acknowledge him, yearly purging angels for minor offences under the guise of honouring them, and eventually ordering Pandora to unleash a box of evil on earth, imprisoning the Saint Beasts when they try to stop him, raping Judas, brainwashing Goh, Gai, Rey, and Shin after they get free to turn on their friends and banishing Judas and his own son (by aforementioned goddess), Luca, to hell, and sealing the other four in stone once they overcome the brainwashing. And then he retires out of annoyance.
  • The gods in Saint Seiya, unsurprising considering they're based on the Greek Pantheon. Poseidon wanted to drown the world to fix it (well, it worked the first time, didn't it?), Hades just plain wanted to kill everyone "Just Because", ditto Abel/Lucifer and Apollo. The big exception is Athena. Lesser non-evil gods are Odin (whose avatar-priestess was corrupted by Poseidon's men) and Artemis, being more a Lawful Neutral type devoid of her peers' narcissistic megalomania. Poseidon also gets an honorable mention as being not so evil that, even though he was Sealed Evil in a Can, helped thwart Hades' plot.
  • Saiyuki: Most of the gods are universally pricks to humans and one another. Even the Merciful Goddess herself comes off as manipulative and self-centered.
  • Thus Spoke Kishibe Rohan:
    • The Gods of the Mountain created the Millionaire Village, a cursed land in which those who enter have to follow unreasonably strict etiquette guidelines. Those who succeed become rich while those who fail lose a loved one for every rule they break. Rohan and his editor Izumi enter, believing it to be an ordinary village, and Izumi unknowingly breaks three obscure rules so the gods kill her mother, fiance, and the baby bird she encountered in the beginning. When Rohan uses his Stand on the Creepy Child working for them to get answers, they give Izumi a heart attack and he has to cheat at their game to get them to undo everything.
    • Later on, Rohan's gym rival Yoma is possessed by the Greek god Hermes, who turns him into a musclebound, murderous psychopath.
  • In Wild Wind, the gods cause a piece of heaven to fall to earth because they are fighting and then order that the poor, innocent, confused creatures who fell with it be killed because they are an involuntary danger to humanity.

    Comic Books 
  • God (and Lucifer) in Crimson are surprisingly moral individuals, the prior spending time doing good deeds and giving the latter a standing invitation to get his old job back. The archangels on the other hand are all over the slippery slope, with a few being downright sadists. Driven home when they put Alex on trial in a diner... after first killing the occupants painfully for their sins. (God resurrects and forgives the victims when the angels aren't looking.)
  • The DCU version of Zeus, on the other hand, is more or less identical to his mythological counterpart, which is to say an abusive rapist and total sociopath who, among other things, tried to rape Wonder Woman. He can occasionally act in a moderately acceptable manner, but he always slides right back into his old ways in due time.
    • Wonder Woman (1942): Even in the Golden Age, where the Greek/Roman pantheon come across more as aliens who are semi empowered by the abstract concepts they're "gods" of, and Artemis and Aphrodite are the only two that aren't outright villains none of them seem particularly friendly. Artemis keeps a bunch of trigger-happy guards, who see nothing odd in her ordering the capture of one of her few worshipers to turn over to Mars and Aphrodite has a short temper and a habit of trapping people in And I Must Scream situations for the rest of their existences.
    • Wonder Woman (2011):
      • In the New 52, Hera is as much of a bitch as ever, actively attempting to kill Zola because she slept with Zeus, as well as having killed numerous other women that did the same, not to mention pulling an And I Must Scream on several of the children that resulted from Zeus' dalliances. She turned Hyppolita into a clay statue when she found out that Zeus was Wonder Woman's father and turned all of the Amazons into snakes for trying to protect her.
      • Hera mellows considerably as a mortal, especially when she's treated well, but slides immediately back into her old ways when she regains her powers. It's implied to be part of being a goddess, or at least of being Hera.
      • The other New 52 Greek gods vary in their jerkassery, with most of them trending toward sympathetic over time. The DC New 52 original addition to the pantheon The Firstborn, Zeus's forgotten son, is a hideous exception.
    • In The Legend of Wonder Woman (2016) it at first seems that only Ares and Hades are terrible and that their play against Zeus' faction is setting up Zeus as the Big Good. In due time Zeus proves himself to be much worse than Ares and Hades, as he's decided to destroy and reshape all life on earth that is not on the island the old magic and the Olympians retreated to in antiquity and replace it with a dictatorship that forces the remaining humans to worship and make human sacrifices to the Olympians to increase his waning power.
    • DC's Hercules Unbound is a villain, who occasionally tries the modern hero thing but can't quite escape his violent rapist background.
  • While Cain isn't exactly unbiased, The Goddamned lands credence to the idea that the Biblical God is, at-best, apathetic to humanity's suffering, is an actively sadistic monster at worse.
    Cain: He hears everything. Every scream. Every cry, every whimper. Every plea for mercy. For death. He hears. He just doesn't give a fuck.
  • Zeus in Marvel's The Incredible Hercules justifies this by claiming that gods need to be jerks so that humans have someone to blame when everything seems to be going wrong. Stretched to unsurprisingly baleful extremes with his wife Hera, who, after ascending Olympus's throne, went so far as to attempt to erase reality through a washover of antimatter saving only those most faithful to her religion and selfish whims. Even then she was a cruel, abusive, and self-obsessed paranoiac who treated her own flesh & blood kids like throw rugs whenever she'd throw a hissy fit.
    • The Marvel version of Odin runs the whole gamut from merely grumpy but basically nice to outright misogynist dick or even genocidal monster Depending on the Writer. His jerkiness is usually to provide contrast with his children: the heroic, Midgard-loving Thor and the villain-turned-Wild Card Loki.
  • The New Gods in the New 52 have become Knight Templars to the point where it's hard to tell if they're really an improvement over Darkseid.
    • In Darkseid's New 52 origin, The Old Gods are depicted as constantly fighting amongst each other for sport, not caring who or what they trampled underfoot.
  • In ODY-C, a space opera retelling of The Odyssey, the Olympians mainly regard the mortals as toys for their amusement or tools in their intrigues against each other.
  • In Lucifer, God is an aloof and dickish meddler. As is Lucifer, who wants nothing more than to be his own creation.
    • Part of this is caused by the filter we see things through. When God finally shows up he's more out of touch than anything else.
      • He is omnipotent and omniscient, so "out of touch" doesn't really describe his situation accurately - it's just that he created the entire universe simply as a backdrop for a philosophical experiment that only has three main characters in it, and a few important statists. Everything else is just background and largely irrelevant to Him as individual beings.
    • Subverted with Elaine Belloc, who becomes God and puts other people's lives and welfare above her own happiness and desires.
  • In Preacher, God is a pathetic, needy, abusive, enraged creature. So are His angels.
  • In Spawn, God and Satan are twin omnipotent entities who are depicted as utterly amoral children.
  • In one Thor (2014) arc, we meet the gods of the Shi'ar Empire. Jealous of Thor's fame and renown, they force her into a contest of powers that is quickly shown to be a Body-Count Competition, with events such as "who can kill the most people with a plague" and "who can make the worst natural disasters". Upon their defeat, they unleash The Mangog to destroy Asgard, and possibly all gods everywhere.
  • Valhalla is rather meticulous in keeping to the original Norse Mythology (see below) and tries to throw in as many references to the old stories as possible, which makes several of the gods come across as this from time to time. Odin is a Dirty Old Man who hates to lose (especially at chess) and does really stupid things out of pride (and his brothers are even worse); Thor is impulsive and somewhat oafish and tends to overcompensate in his masculinity; Loki is a lazy, egotistical trickster; Tyr is prideful and slightly anal-retentive; and Heimdall is a blustering Small Name, Big Ego. Ultimately, though, they're mostly shown as just "human-but-more": Flawed and very prideful, but ultimately trying to be decent.
  • In Vei, the Norse gods are revealed to be this, much to the shock of one of the co-protagonists, a faithful and devoted Viking. It is an obvious Perspective Flip, since the main protagonist lives in Jotunheim where the gods' traditional ennemies, the jötnar/giants, are revered as benevolent lords. Odin is a hard-hearted, grudge-holding tyrant obsessed with power and control, Thor is an arrogant brute, Freyr a drunkard, Bragi a pompous propaganda-writer, and Idunn considers torturing people a "funny game"... Subverted however with some of the gods who turn out to be helpful and decent people - such as Freyja, who despite her sinister of Blood Magic is reasonable and kind, or Loki who furthers the Perspective Flip by being revealed as a benevolent trickster instead of the vicious character legends painted him as. Too bad that their plan to end the tyranny of the gods and free humanity culminates in The End of the World as We Know It.
  • Continually toyed with in The Wicked + The Divine and in fact a driving thematic question about the nature of star power and the toll of celebrity. Most of the gods are decent enough to mortals, as they all used to be mortal themselves, but as disaster after epic disaster piles up, the pantheon's individual ways of coping become increasingly unhealthy and problematic, not to mention dangerous to the rest of the world and each other. Woden is just genuinely an asshole though.
    • Ananke is perhaps a better example; as the gods' immortal caretaker and mysterious benefactor, she is the closest most of the pantheon have to parents, and sets herself up to the media as the only one capable of stopping a godly rampage. And given she's a manipulative liar who wouldn't hesitate to sacrifice the thirteen-year-old Minerva, it can be safe to say that regardless of her still-opaque motives, she falls squarely into this territory.

    Fan Works 
  • Bound Destinies Trilogy: Din is a downplayed example. She's unmistakably on the side of good, but is largely condescending and disdainful of most mortals and isn't afraid to show it.
  • Bring Me to Life: In chapter 24, Buffy outright declares that all gods and higher powers are "a bunch of selfish dirt-bags who don't care about anyone but themselves," using Glory and Jasmine as examples.
  • Child of the Storm portrays gods in a mixed fashion. Some are shown fairly positively, but many — especially pantheon heads (and the Olympians, who even Jerkass Gods think are Jerks) — are jerks at best, monsters at worst.
    • Bor is not held in particularly high regard by anyone, not even his own family. Thor suggests that he might have murdered his father to become King of Asgard, which Frigga qualifies by adding that while he may not have been able to (Buri was the God of Time and as such, monstrously powerful), it wouldn't have been out of character for him to try, and Brun, the leader of the Disir, with the support of the narration, implies that he was a rapist and a He-Man Woman Hater. While he was an effective military leader and helped keep Asgard safe while expanding its borders, he's considered to be an anomaly (at best) and a throwback to an older, more savage time in Asgard's history.
    • Hera is a straight-up bitch, with her hatred of her husband's demigod children having, over the millennia, morphed into an irrational hatred of all demigods. It is noted that where she goes, demigods tend to die in mysterious circumstances. She makes a veiled threat against Harry's life in a Shame If Something Happened sort of way, while also taking a jab at the fact that he hasn't (as yet) manifested obvious powers from his father. This earns her an outright death threat from Thor, who very bluntly tells her that he can see through what she's saying and that if she makes one wrong move, he'll incinerate her, and a "The Reason You Suck" Speech from the Phoenix a.k.a. Lily Potter as the White Phoenix of the Crown.
    • Zeus isn't exactly a pleasant individual either, as shown in Ghosts of the Past.
  • Codex Equus: Naturally, some evil/corrupt deities exist, though it's Deconstructed in that this will almost always result in said deities lose their worshipers to their more benevolent counterparts or, worst-case scenario, being killed by the very people they mistreated.
    • The Abyssinian Pantheon was once led by those who would treat their subjects spitefully and cruelly, to the point of abandoning them to the Storm King for giving them poor worship services. They were overthrown by the benevolent members of the Pantheon for this.
    • The Old Orosian deities were based on the Greek Pantheon, so naturally, like their real-life mythological counterparts, the old Orosian gods acted like irresponsible, arrogant, and spoiled children who waged wars and severely punished their worshipers for minor/perceived infractions. As with the previous leaders of the Abyssinian Pantheon, this inevitably bit them in the ass and resulted in their demise, whether by their own mortal worshipers they often abused and forced themselves upon in their own lust, or other divines they similarly mistreated. As noted in Canteros' entry, those of the Pantheon who were genuinely benevolent and/or remorseful survived the event and later founded the Pramanthan Pantheon.
    • It's implied that for all their benevolence, wisdom, and power, and despite being the "greatest" children of the ancient god Equus, the father of all Equines, the Alicorns still fell to stagnation and corruption, becoming arrogant, high-hoofed, and distant from their mortal subjects. This is what gave rise to Morning Star, who tried subjecting the planet Equus and its surrounding universe to his own twisted ideas of perfection. The result was ten Ages of civil war that wiped out most of the Alicorns and utterly destroyed the Alicorn Civilization, causing the survivors to retreat in complete seclusion to replenish their numbers.
    • Despite Golden Scepter's good intentions and efforts as a ruler, PTSD, loneliness, and other untreated issues would gradually bring out his worst flaws and influence him to become little more than a divine tyrant during the Imperium Era. The departure of his old lover, Midday Messenger, didn't make him snap out of it - it only made his downward spiral worse. Eventually, his terrible mistakes would provoke his closest subordinates to launch a bloody coup against him, leading to him being sealed away and his Imperium collapsing under its own weight. When he was found in the Second Age by Luminiferous and Dazzleglow, he was essentially a broken stallion who still acted unpleasant to a degree at times but was able to realize the error of his ways and atone for his sins thanks to Luminiferous' positive influence. By the time the Fourth Age started, Golden Scepter has averted this trope, having atoned for his past and sought psychiatric help from Mentálne that allowed him to heal from his traumas. He is now a truly benevolent god and ruler of the Terran Empire, and the loving father of nineteen demi-divine sons, whom he helped Ascend at some point in each of their lives. It also became the reason why he rejected his Alicorn name, Auriolus Scaeptrum. As he explains to Twilight/Amicitia Sparkle years later, he committed so many atrocities as Auriolus that he later saw his Alicorn name as everything wrong with the ancient Alicorns and their civilization, motivating his decision to go by his birth name as Golden Scepter from now on.
    • Averted with Blue Suede Heartstrings. One In-Universe backstory theory depicted him as this, ala Galactus. According to that backstory, he was once an apathetic and selfish god who constantly ate populated worlds, so he was transformed/reincarnated into an amnesiac mortal and forced to live on Equus as punishment. He gradually Took a Level in Kindness after coming into frequent contact with a single Pony mother and her young son, causing him to appreciate his fellow mortals, and ultimately chose to stay on Equus even after his memories were restored. The reality is that Blue is very humble and compassionate, and only appears in his true form as an Alicorn god when it's absolutely necessary.
    • While presenting themselves as 'good', the Elternteil Deer Pantheon's experiences with non-Deer individuals/races under Irminsul and Arvan's co-reign (especially Grogar I) slowly transformed them into a group of haughty, puristic, reactionary, and xenophobic Deer deities. They're extremely traditional and devoted to nature to the point of fanaticism, and they're extremely intolerant of anything they consider 'evil' or short of their standards. As a result, Deer who leave the forests are seen as abandoning their birthright as 'children of the forest', while hybrids and 'evil' beings are treated with extreme hostility, regardless of what they actually did. They also support 'good' magic to the point of being willing to use it in 'evil' ways. These attitudes caused many of Irminsul and Arvan's children to be abused for not fitting their standards, such as Temnobog and Naur, and eventually it splintered into sub-groups after said children grew sick of their parents' behavior and left. The pantheon itself also developed an extremely poor reputation among both divines and mortals, who are disgusted and outraged with them for various reasons.
  • In Entirely Out of Spite, people aren't that surprised when Ajax starts praying Rex Lapis for help instead of the Tsaritsa, in spite of being one of her higher-ranked followers since she's more feared than loved by her subjects. Indeed, Zhongli outright suspects she doesn't care about Ajax suffering from Abyssal Taint and threatening to turn in an Axe-Crazy Blood Knight when she could easily restore his sanity. For all he's presented as a much more benevolent and palatable option, Rex Lapis is nonetheless giddy about stealing one of the Tsaritsa's mortal followers to be turned in his devoted priest, claiming she's to blame because she "dangled" the mortal in front of a dragon greedy for treasure and pretty things.
  • In Fate/Gag Order's aptly titled The Worst Mother's Day Special Ever Made, Zeus brutally denounces Perseus' quest to slay the Gorgon, and demands to know why he'd even think of attempting such a dangerous act much less ask the gods for help with it. Perseus honestly responds that he wishes "to protect (his) mother (Danae) from the unwanted advances of a lascivious and domineering patriarch (Polydectes)". While it seems to escape Perseus, the irony is not lost on his father Zeus, who proceeds to laugh at his earnest and humble goal along with the rest of the Greek Pantheon before they plop down a "bag of stuff" to fight Medusa with.
  • The plot of Gaz's Horrible Halloween of Doom is entirely driven by the Celtic god Samhain manipulating events to give Gaz a Humiliation Conga on Halloween night because she spitefully destroyed an offering Dib was making to him for good luck to use against Zim. While this might seem justified, it's worth noting that it's specifically stated by the narration that Samhain wouldn't have given Dib good luck even if he had completed the offering, but is happy to punish Gaz anyway.
  • Jackie Chan Adventures: Olympian Journey portrays the Greek gods as this. Barring Hestia, they abused and ignored mortals, yet humanity was still dependent on them until Prometheus gave them the power to adapt and improve on their own. The gods weren't happy when mankind's prayers and offerings petered out and set them back with Pandora's amphora. When that failed, they tried to kill all the humans, but the humans killed them first, save for Hestia (who was spared) and Eris (who survived but was sealed in the amphora with the essences of the others). In the present day, Eris gets free and is determined to use the essences of the other gods to restore divine dominance over humanity and enact her revenge.
  • Kingdom Hearts fanfic The Antipode: Discussed during the fourth instalment's Olympus arc. Hades implies that the Greek Gods in this continuity are more akin to their mythological counterparts.
    Oh, and you think these are just gods? If you kids knew even a tenth of what Zeus and his cronies have done, you'd be begging me to send them to Tartarus! All the innocents they've destroyed with wars, murders, and lies, and for what?! My sister-in-law, Hera? She tried sacrificing an innocent girl to the Kraken on her wedding day all because her mom had a little too much to drink. And Poseidon here—do you have any idea how many cities he's leveled all because of a grudge with that schlemiel, Odysseus? Proportionate response? Not in Fishboy's vocabulary! And Zeus—!
  • Percy Jackson: Spirits: Percy is so used to the gods of his world being selfish, manipulative and uncaring that when he meets some of the more benevolent of the Avatar world's powerful spirits, like Princess Yue, he doesn't know how to react.
  • Pokémon: The Great Adventure: The Legendary Council seems to be this toward Silver, with Dialga and Palkia hating him and the others basically treating him as a slave and threatening to genocide his people in case of rebellion. The issue is so bad Lugia states it's the main reason the man is Dented Iron. On the flip side, said Lugia, Darkrai and some others feel sorry for him and try to alleviate his task.
  • Ruby Pair: The Gaol Master is essentially the god of the Gaols & Ghouls world, and it ultimately turns out that he doesn't intend to return the group when they complete their quest, instead planning to make them do more adventures for his amusement.
  • Sonic X: Dark Chaos: Maledict and Allysion fit this to a tee. One of them is Satan, the other is Crystal Dragon Jesus; both of them are cruel, manipulative, sadistic, genocidal maniacs with a thin veneer of good intentions.
  • Son of the Western Sea, being a Percy Jackson and the Olympians story naturally includes this. By Tsukuyomi's own admission the gods are, at their heart, selfish creatures. He admits to a sleeping Percy that if the latter simply agreed to stay with himself and Amaterasu they would start a war with the Olympians that would lead to World War 3, and the Olympians would definitely fight them. Manannan mac Lir may seem like a Reasonable Authority Figure, but he is a part of the same Wild Hunt that would have hunted and killed Percy simply because he would be a challenge if he had not joined the Hunt.
  • Tangled Fate: Ranma is utterly floored when the goddess Setarial outright kneels and begs for her mortal worshippers to be saved from an invading army, since every single deity the martial artist met so far was so arrogant that they wouldn't even beg for their own life, and blatantly considered human lives worthless.
  • The main character being in the world of One Piece in the fanfic This Bites! can be traced to the actions of a B.R.O.B. (Bastard Random Omnipotent Being), who was dickish enough to drop him in a foreign world without care for his well-being.
  • Thousand Shinji: Invoked and defied by the God-Emperor of Mankind, of all people. He convinced the Warhammer 40,000 gods to send a Keeper of Secrets instead of a Lord of Change to deliberately make Shinji's life more difficult AND was responsible for the production of Mass Produced Evas... so that Shinji would learn firsthand how mortals suffer when the gods are douchebags and not treat mortals in a similarly asinine manner after his ascension. Shinji fully admits that it was a crucial lesson for him to learn... after he curses at and punches the Emperor in the face.
  • The Dalns gods in With Strings Attached. Although the one time a god actually appears it's entirely benign, and they seem to be the only force that gets Baravadans to do anything useful, the Fans mention that the Dalns gods are responsible for trashing C'hou in the past.
  • Notch in Yognapped murders Herobrine and Rana, his siblings, with very little justification. To make it worse, nobody finds out for several eons, over which he's lovingly worshipped and Herobrine and Rana are turned into urban legends or forgotten, respectively.

    Films — Animated 
  • Xibalba from The Book of Life, ends up nearly ruining the life of Manolo and indirectly destroying San Angel because he wants to get back in his wife's good graces. Subverted at the end of the film. Learning to be a better person is what actually does the trick.
  • Fantasia:
    • Zeus, in the Pastoral Symphony, disrupts Bacchus' party with a storm and deliberately threw lightning bolts at them. It's even worse if one goes by the myths, in which Bacchus is Zeus' son.
    • Chernabog incinerates or crushes his demonic minions simply for a moment's amusement.
  • The Moon King from Kubo and the Two Strings possesses power over the Heavens and claims dominion over the "Hell" that is the Earth. While he claims that he simply wants Kubo to live him in the Heavens for an eternity without hate or heartache or death, he really wants to take his other eye (having stolen one of them when he was just a baby) to take away his humanity and make him "cold, and hard, and perfect." He seems to see family less like people to treasure and more like objects in his collection, neither mourning nor really caring that all three of his daughters are now dead.
    • The Sisters are Kubo's two aunts, Sariatu's sisters and daughters of the Moon King. Both share their father's contempt of mankind and seek to take Kubo's eye on their father's orders. They both see Sariatu falling in love with Hanzo as How the Mighty Have Fallen and have become embittered by it.
  • The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie: King Neptune is presented as such, even more so than his counterpart in the actual SpongeBob series, being willing to dish out harsh punishments for incredibly petty reasons. For starters, he threatened to imprison the royal crown polisher for 20 years for simply touching his crown, the job he was hired to do, and if his daughter Mindy's statements are correct, he can barely go a single day without trying to execute someone. That being said, at the end of the movie, he gets An Aesop on how important it is to have love and compassion when you're in a position of leadership.
  • Wonder Woman Blood Lines: In this continuity, Pasiphae, who retains her Minoan status as a goddess rather than as a princess in the more well-known Greek mythology, is the one to have made her own son the Minotaur into a ceaseless guardian of the maze. She also gives incredibly vague visions that you can only make sense of if you know ichthyology.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Bruce Nolan in Bruce Almighty thinks God is like this, and his actions, despite how they're presented, back this up. After all, he was perfectly willing to let thousands of people suffer at Bruce's hands just to teach him a lesson. And he's not exactly nice to Evan in the sequel either.
    • Bruce himself is one when he gets God's powers. A lot of the problems he causes are basically just negligence, but he does have a few intentional acts of malice, such as the butt monkey, getting Evan fired and getting some reporters busted for drug possession. His girlfriend Grace is basically the only person he actually tries to do something nice for (Excluding the prayer-answering, which God made him do), in giving her "pleasure", and even that is debatable whether he was doing it for her benefit or his own ego and arousal. Really, you don't want to make Bruce mad. You'll regret it.
  • In the 2010 Clash of the Titans, they're possibly even more dickish than in the myths. Except Apollo, who defended the humans.
  • John Milton's flamboyant diatribe against God at the climax of The Devil's Advocate. ("He's a tight-ass! He's a sadist! He is an absentee landlord!")note 
  • In Erik the Viking, the Nordic gods (particularly Odin and Thor) are depicted as nothing but a group of apathetic kids that almost condemn the heroes into the pity of Hel for them arriving in Valhalla without being killed in battle.
  • Immortals is a rare subversion of this featuring the Greek Gods. The gods do not interfere with humanity to let it develop on its own. They are so disgusted with Hyperion's actions that they want to kill him and his entire army. Zeus flip flops. He prevents the other gods from intervening until the Titans are freed in the name of free will and faith in humanity, but is force to indirectly interfere to raise a hero to lead humanity against Hyperion. Several times the gods are forced to interfere to save Zeus' hero Theseus. He kills Ares, the God of War for his interference, but spares Athena. His stubborn refusal to interfere allows the Titans to obtain freedom and starting another which he could have easily prevented.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe: Odin and all his children at various points in the story, even though they are Sufficiently Advanced Aliens in this universe:
    • Odin the Allfather is revealed in Thor: Ragnarok to have been a ruthless conqueror who once bathed the Nine Realms in blood together with Hela, and then decided to change his ways (Hela herself is the one who reveals that Odin both lied about his past actions and hid the truth of Asgard’s history).
    • Thor, the God of Thunder starts as one in Thor, willing to attack all Frost Giants after a handful of their spies sneaks into the Asgardian weapons vault. Downplayed, because shortly after that he learns humility and compassion.
    • Loki, the God of Mischief in Thor and The Avengers hopes to earn the appreciation (or worship) he craves and exact revenge on his brother by attempting first to kill every Frost Giant in existence and then to subjugate the entire population of Earth. Zig-zagged, because after that he gets a slow redemption arc in the next three films.
    • Hela, the Goddess of Death in Thor: Ragnarok strives to become a Galactic Conqueror and would slaughter anyone who stands in her way.
    • In Thor: Love and Thunder, it's shown that this goes beyond the Asgardians; All Myths Are True and almost all gods are jackasses. It's for this reason that Gorr the God Butcher decides to enact a Final Solution on them.
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street: Freddy Krueger wields godlike power in the dream world, essentially making him a dream god. Rather than do anything too substantial, he uses this power to mess with his victims and carry out petty murders purely For the Evulz.
  • Downplayed in Oh, God!. While God (George Burns) is not particularly malicious, He also doesn't seem to care about the difficulties that His messiah Jerry (or his family) goes through in delivering His message.
    Jerry: "I lost my job, you know."
    God: "Lose a job, save a world. Not a bad deal."
  • Calypso of Pirates of the Caribbean, goddess of the sea, fell in love with a mortal man, who was then offered the position of captain of the Flying Dutchman. The conditions of the captaincy are that you do the job for ten years, and if, after that time, your love is waiting for you when you get your one day on land for the decade, you can go free and someone takes your place; otherwise you've gotta keep doing the job until someone kills you. Calypso didn't wait and Davy Jones was stuck being the captain of the Flying Dutchman. She claimed that Davy shouldn't have expected anything else from her because she's the embodiment of the capricious and treacherous sea. The fifth movie reveals that Will had to continue being the captain even after his love did wait for him on his day: one can assume Calypso pulled the entire stipulation out of her godly ass just to get a captain for the Dutchman.
  • The Rapture: Although not malicious enough to qualify as evil, during the rapture God allows many people including atheists into heaven but he also destroys both the earth and universe and demands love and servitude and withholds peace and happiness from those that don’t.
  • Thor of all people in Vikingdom is depicted as a bloodthirsty madman who is furious that humanity (well, the Norsemen at least) turned his back on the old gods and began gathering many artifacts that would merge the mortal realm, Hel and Valhalla, effectively destroying all that exists to punish humans. He is also a Bad Boss too, when his mortal followers (who initially joined him in the belief they would restore the good old days) realize what he intends to do and protest, he says he doesn't care what happens to them and violently puts them in their place when they attempt to turn on him.

  • God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit go golfing. The Holy Spirit tees off with an OK shot that lands on the edge of the fairway and goes into the rough. Jesus does a great drive that lands square on the green. God takes a long time to set up, then hits a terrible drive that ricochets off a tree and goes towards the water. Just before it lands in the water, a fish leaps out of the water and swallows the ball, then a heron swoops out of the sky and picks the fish up in its mouth and flies off towards the rough. The heron squeezes the fish, which spits the ball out. The ball falls towards the water, only to be caught by a passing raven which veers back towards the course and lands in a sand trap. The raven leaves the ball in the sand, and a squirrel runs into the sandtrap, picks up the ball, carries it to the hole, and drops it in. Whereupon Jesus turns to God and says "Are you going to play golf, or are you going to fuck around?"
  • A Viking longship is caught in a storm and is about to sink. Suddenly, the clouds part and a booming voice asks, "Vikings, my children, do you believe in me?" The Vikings reply, "We do, oh almighty Odin!!!" "Then put on your armor and jump overboard!" The Vikings all jump, then another opening in the clouds appear, and an even louder voice exasperatedly booms, "LOKI, WHY THE F**K!?"

  • In The Aeneid, the Roman equivalent to The Odyssey, the hero Aeneas is hounded by Juno. However, whereas Neptune was only seeking revenge for his son, Juno is simply obsessed with wiping out ALL Trojans, especially Aeneas, whose descendants will destroy Carthage, Juno's favourite city. Only, her actions cause more damage to Carthage and start another war in Italy. Juno simply doesn't care about any mortals, and the other Gods don't do much to stop her.
  • All of the "new" gods in American Gods are vicious, backbiting, and desperate for worship, and a few of the old gods (especially Odin and Loki) are, too.
  • Not only are the gods of the Book of Swords jerkasses, but several of the swords have jerkass qualities themselves. I'm looking at you Coinspinner and Wayfinder.
  • The Wild Gods of the Broken Balance Series (and, by extension, the visual novels based on the Broken Balance universe) vary but are mostly this. Given that they embody human emotions that run the gamut and generally embody the extremities of said emotions, they more or less are this by default, and more than live up to their names. Examples of dangerous and very active gods in the setting include:
  • The Burning Kingdoms: Neither the mothers nor the yaksa come off as nice, since the former grant magic fire in return for human sacrifices (which then gets used for killing, whether justifiable or not), the latter coerce their worship by threatening dire punishment if refused while openly saying they don't care about human life but also grant their servants magical gifts.
  • Campione!: Heretic Gods are born when a divine being rebels against their legend and manifests in the mortal world. Their mere presence brings disaster which is bad enough, but few Heretic Gods care about the deaths of humans and many actively revel in the chaos they bring.
  • Chronicles of Chaos explains this trope thusly: in this universe, moral laws and destinies have supernatural weight, and breaking or bending them carries penalties. Olympians, however, have the power to change those moral laws, which mean they aren't bound by them. At all.
  • The City and the Dungeon: The Eidolons have special gear that turns anyone, regardless of power, into a violet-level special class that mimics the Greek gods and monsters. They're all assholes (except Hermes), and if one of them dies they collect the gear and abandon the now-powerless normal person while they find someone else to elevate to godhood. Notably, the Eidolon Arachne is the one who went around buying all the clothing in the City for no apparent reason.
  • In Jay Lake's Trial of Flowers, the first book of The City Imperishable series, Bijaz the Dwarf is a midget councilor to the city and he attempts to petition the gods in their gambling den to save the city from invaders. The gods of the city are explicitly said to be evil and they're not so much worshipped as placated and bargained with. Bijaz interrupts their game and not only do they reject his petition, they arrange for him to get kidnapped by a thug and gang-raped when the thug sells him to a gang of perverts.
  • H. P. Lovecraft and the Cthulhu Mythos:
    • Amongst the Eldritch Abomination gods of the created by Lovecraft, technically just Nyarlathotep counts. The others aren't the least bit concerned about humans, or maybe don't even know of our existence, being mostly mindless, chaotic abstractions. But Nyarlathotep seems to love to dick around with humans, typically demanding human sacrifices when summoned, even though he almost certainly doesn't need them for anything, and occasionally giving humans some extra chances to destroy ourselves, even though he could destroy us effortlessly if he really wanted. It seems that he doesn't care about outcomes — he just likes to dick around.
      • This is a somewhat Flanderized description used by later writers. In Lovecraft's original works Nyarlathotep stands in the way of humans who seek forbidden knowledge more often than not, although he can be persuaded to be a little more lenient with human sacrifices. On the other hand, in his first appearance, before Lovecraft had figured out what to do with him, he was basically the embodiment of scientific progress and drives humanity mad by overwhelming them with cosmic knowledge.
      • This is the approach used in the Affectionate Parody webcomic The Call of Whatever, and once humanity starts jerking Nyarlathotep around in turn (thanks to Occultech's helpline boosting cultist survival/success rates), he quits his job. This was more Jerkassish than you would think.
    • The gods of Earth, or the Great Ones from Lovecraft's Dreamland-stories also qualify. They tend to be petty, selfish, and short-tempered. Partially this is due to the way humanity threatens their very existence with their insatiable curiosity, but there's little excuse to how they steal Randolph Carter's magnificent city from him in The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath just because they want it for themselves, and justify it as "divine wisdom". This story, it's worth noting, is tonally uncharacteristic of Lovecraft, being more of an epic fantasy adventure than the type of Cosmic Horror Story he's best known for.
    • The stories of Lovecraft's friend and colleague Clark Ashton Smith, though technically part of the Cthulhu Mythos, are also generally more conventional swashbuckling fantasy adventure yarns, and his Hyperborea stories in particular are full of gods who come across less like unfathomable forces of apocalyptic destruction and more like the small-minded jerks you get in most real-world mythologies. A great example of this can be found in his short story "The Seven Geases", which takes us on a darkly comic tour of some of Hyperborea's gods and their lairs, most of which, Mount Olympus-style, are in the cave complex beneath a single mountain - beings like Tsathoggua, The Sleeper of N'Kai, Abhoth, The Source of Uncleanliness and Atlach-Nacha, the Spider God, who come across as Affably Evil at worst, and mildly grouchy at best. The encounters build on each other with the episodic, repetitive rhythms of a fairy tale or nursery rhyme (what Wikipedia calls a cumulative tale).
    • I, Cthulhu strips off the Great Old Ones beyond Nyarlathotep the excuse of not having recognizably human thought patterns.
  • While not true of all the pantheons that appear in the Conan the Barbarian pulp stories, Conan's pantheon itself seems to qualify. The only god ever named by Conan out of his own pantheon (though he is happy to take the names of other pantheons' gods in vain) is Crom. Conan explains it in detail in "Queen of the Black Coast":
    He dwells on a great mountain. What use to call on him? Little he cares if men live or die. Better to be silent than to call his attention to you; he will send you dooms, not fortune! He is grim and loveless, but at birth he breathes power to strive and slay into a man's soul. What else shall men ask of the gods?
  • The Cosmere:
    • The Shard Odium, the Greater-Scope Villain, is a lying, self-centered asshole who doesn’t care at all about the damage he’s indirectly caused throughout the Cosmere. He wants to kill the other Shards in order to make himself the supreme deity. He claims to be the Shard of passion and emotion, the only Shard that thinks and feels like mortals do, yet he’s also one of the only Shards who sees no problem with using and tormenting those same mortals.
    • The Lord-Ruler is a brutal God-Emperor who flits between imposing brutal laws for the ostensible greater good and being utterly apathetic towards his duties. He also deliberately lets a rebellion start and flare out of control, purely to scare his followers and make them more dependent on him. There's also Ruin, who wants to destroy everything, ostensibly as a gift, but engages in obvious sadism along the way.
    • Most of the Returned are lazy jerks, more concerned with wasting the day away than helping their subjects. Lightsong bitterly remarks that the way the Returned’s powers work (they can only perform one miracle, which instantly kills them) means that most of the good ones have already sacrificed themselves, while the bad ones cling to their godhood for as long as possible. The court is now mostly made up of selfish, scheming Returned who never perform miracles.
  • Almost all the Greek gods in Anne Ursu's Cronus Chronicles (with the exception of Persephone). The Big Bad is a demigod who wants to enslave humanity, and most of the other gods either don't care or are actively trying to revenge themselves on the heroes for standing up to them. In the end the heroine blackmails the gods into leaving humanity alone.
  • The entire Greek pantheon, and most of the other creatures with god powers, in Dark Hunter series.
  • Most Discworld gods, who have a habit of going to atheists' houses and throwing rocks into the windows, and consider lightning bolts to be the answer to any theological debate. They also play games with the lives of men, but first they have to get the board out, and look all over the place for the dice.
    • Special mention goes to Nuggan, a small, unimportant bureaucratic god most notable for being Patron God of Borogravia. Even the other Gods wince in horror upon hearing that his worshippers are forbidden from eating mushrooms, garlic, and chocolate, and generally think of him as a fussy, odious little oik.
      • By Monstrous Regiment, Nuggan is effectively dead, but new Abominations keep being created out of his "echoes". Even his most sincere worshippers have to ignore some of them since they include crop rotation, babies ("I take it people still make them here?"), and the colour blue ("The sky is blue!" "Devout Nugganites try not to look at it these days.")
    • In Small Gods, Om, who's had his conscience raised, points out to some of the other gods that a lot of people are going to get killed in the battle that's shaping up.
      A Tsortean God of the Sun did not even bother to look round.
      "That's what they're for," he said.
    • It's revealed in The Last Hero that the home of the Gods (Cori Celesti) cannot be destroyed without destroying the Discworld, so they have nothing to fear while they remain relevant.
  • All the gods in Divine Misfortune by A. Lee Martinez fall under this trope except for Gorgoz and Quetzalcoatl
  • Pagan gods in Dora Wilk Series. Loki is willing to start interracial, genocidal war to win a bet with Badb, who, in turn, sends the protagonist bad dreams and scares her with visions of her dead friends (not that Badb cares, she just want to win the bet). Cahan (werewolf goddess) shoehorns Dora into almost taking over entire werewolf clan and forces reluctant werewolves to bow to her. Anubis kidnaps and mummifies young women to "keep them with him" forever. List goes on.
  • Averted in The Dresden Files where the only two gods we've seen so far, Odin and Hades, are pretty nice guys overall (heck, Odin is actually Santa Claus! and admire our protagonist, though both are definitely Good Is Not Soft and Hades by his own admission isn't a "people person."
  • All of the Gods in The Elric Saga by Michael Moorcock. Especially Arioch, the title character's patron, the Lord of Chaos.
  • In Emperor Mollusk versus The Sinister Brain, The Twelve Gods of Venus are not only real, but they enforce a strict Code of Honour that, if violated, leads to a particularly awful smiting. Non-Venusians are exempt, Mollusk free not to follow their commandments without Divine Punishment. In fact, Mollusk has had dinner with them and they're apparently on good terms.
  • Most of the Everworld gods seem to be this way, or at best they're a bit petty and tend to overreact. This isn't helped at all by the fact that they're pretty much stuck in that mindset with literally no way to change.
  • The Frugal Wizard's Handbook for Surviving Medieval England: Woden's wife came and helped the Anglo-Saxons in their hour of need but was killed doing so, and this frightened and enraged Woden, who forbade the people from writing and withdrew favor from them. Woden's faithful fear but don't love him and are divided on whether their suffering and any sacrifices they make of themselves will regain his favor, while still empowering the Hordamen who worship him and make increasingly bloody incursions on them. Logna says he favors winners and has abandoned them.
  • A number of Tom Holt's novels have jackass deities. In particular, God is portrayed in Grailblazers as being not so much evil as prone to Moral Myopia and Disproportionate Retribution, with two people being cursed to immortality for the incredibly minor sins of giving Jesus a pair of socks instead of frankincense or myrrh and failing to wash up for Him at the Last Supper. Other deities aren't treated a hell of a lot better; for example, the Greek pantheon in Ye Gods play "The Great Game", which seems to resemble Monopoly (with Earth as the board). At one point Demeter avoids paying tax assessments by flooding a major city. Wars, earthquakes, etc. are also just part of the Game.
  • In Fiona Patton's The Granite Shield, a young Seer witnesses the Gods in a vision playing strategy with their human pawns. The brother of one of those pawns, he gradually realizes they will play until no one is left, and seeks a way to avoid that.
  • Helen and Troy's Epic Road Quest: All the gods seem to be fickle and selfish at the best of times.
    • The Lost God curse Helen and Troy where if they don't go on his quest, they die, and the quest itself is basically "find some things and take them to a place" while refusing to actually give any specifics as to the what, where and why. Even worse, their quest is the kind that guarantees that one or both questers die in the end anyway because "the gods love melodrama."
    • Orc religion dictates that unless you can kill one of their gods in a duel after your death, you'll spend the rest of eternity as a corpse on the Mound of Unworthy Bones. The closest anyone has ever come to succeeding is Rork Orabrork, who managed to crack the toenail of Grog (who's described as being a giant orc with five heads) before his skull was used to decorate the top of the Mound.
  • At least half of the Fantasy Pantheon in Heralds Of Rhimn could qualify. Silamir’s jerkassery is of a more personal nature, given that she considers her Herald to be just a body waiting for her to inhabit, and prioritizes her revenge above all else. Meanwhile, Gardhe attempted to kill the rest of his pantheon in a bid to become Rhimn’s sole god and ordered the fey hunted down because he dislikes the idea of the dead gods reincarnating.
    • Depending on how you feel about the ethical implications of The Romne taking on an eleven-year-old child as their Herald and manipulating people to ensure that their prophecies play out correctly, they could fall under this trope as well.
    • Lykari also doesn’t ask before turning Crislie into a wyfwolf, but in her case, she at least has the excuse of having poor communication skills post-shattering.
    • It’s also implied that Alluari made the gender inequality in Rhimn, a heavily matriarchal world, even worse.
  • Hurog: In Dragon Bones, the god Aetherveon is not above using girls' bodies as a means of talking to humans. Without asking for consent beforehand. Ward is quite disgruntled about this use of his sister, and the pain the god inflicted on Oreg, who tried but failed to protect Ciarra from this. It's even noted that Aethervon chose Ciarra specifically to trigger Oreg's Restraining Bolt in order to put him in his place. As gods are gods, Ward's only means of showing his anger is to not pray to that specific god anymore.
  • The Greek pantheon in both The Iliad and The Odyssey have their moments. The Gods, after all, support the genocide of an entire people, the Trojans, simply because Athena and Hera lost a beauty contest that was judged by the Trojan Prince Paris. Poseidon also hounds Odysseus across the ocean for 20 years because he blinded Posedein's son. It doesn't sound too bad until you realise that said son is a monstrous cyclops who ate Odysseus' friends and deserved what was coming to him.
  • In the Iron Druid Chronicles the Norse gods are portrayed like this, especially Thor who is a supernatural Jerk Jock to everyone outside his pantheon. Odin is a bit of a mix. While he is suggested to have manipulated several other pantheons to make sure the Norse remained on top by being remembered, he never actually goes out of his way to be a jerk to Atticus, even allowing Atticus to live after aiding in the collective fucking over that the Thor Revenge Squad dealt to the Norse. When the Morrigan took Atticus to meet with him and Frig he was a little bit of a jerk, but otherwise totally cordial. To be fair, Odin is speaking to the man who invaded his home, robbed him, killed his advisers, killed one of the residents of his realm, humiliated him, left, and then came back with a kill-squad, resulting in the deaths of a rather large number of members of his family, and the implied rape of Freya. Being a "little bit of a jerk" and nothing more must take GODLY levels of restraint. And once he and Atticus actually start working together, he's actually a pretty good guy. If you pay him, or your interests align with his, he may even help you. Note: he likes to be paid in girl scout cookies. So he's really just your average adult.
    • The Roman gods colluded with Theophilus and the vampire nation to eradicate Druids, and when Bacchus finds out that Atticus is still alive he hightails it over to America to finish the job. The Greeks' involvement in the series has them largely doing their own thing, only opposing Atticus out of solidarity with the Romans.
    • In contrast Jesus and the various versions of the Coyote are quite decent and care about humans (well, Coyote explicitly only cares about his humans, but it's the thought that counts).
    • The gods that Atticus himself follows, the Tuatha de Dannan, have their ups and downs. They range from actively evil (Aenghus Og) to merely petty (Brighid) to actually pretty nice (Mannan mac Lir among others). In Goibhniu's first appearance, this trope is lampshaded though Goibhniu himself is actually a subversion.
    Atticus: Gods can screw anything and anybody. For reference, see history.
    • The Morrigan is a bit of a mixed bag. She’s got a lot of the markings of a Jerkass God (temperamental, tendency to cause pain for various reasons, turned on by being feared) but is actually pretty nice and personable when she wants to be and is Atticus’ oldest and most consistent ally.
    • It is later revealed that the gods are pretty much stuck with the personalities that their worshippers attribute to them. The Morrigan becomes aware of this and actually wants to change for the better but cruelty and pain are so strongly associated with her worship that she is unable to see the world through any other metric. It is quite tragic and causes the Morrigan to go out and get herself killed in battle. The few times she manages to get around the “chains of belief,” she's actually pretty sweet.
    • This makes one wonder why Thor is such a sadist since all the stories about him were him being a hero and protector of the common people severely lacking his jerkish qualities.
  • Izure Shinwa No Ragnarok has gods possessing human bodies to wage war with each other, which results in a lot of destruction to Eurasia. While they eventually make rules to limit their destruction, this is mainly done out of pragmatism and many of them are still callous towards human collateral damage.
  • Journey to the West: Sun Wukong was such a jerkass god that even the other gods went to Buddha and begged him to put a stop to the monkey business. On the other hand, most of his jerkass tendencies were directed at the other gods-he cared for his monkey brethren and didn't bother humanity before being sealed in the mountain-and that was because they were jerkasses towards him. It didn't excuse his behavior and he became a much better individual throughout his journey.
  • While Jesus is way cool in Christopher Moore's Lamb his father's reaction to Joshua's pleading for humanity is "Screw 'em".
  • The Malazan Book Ofthe Fallen has Elder God Errastas, who has been laying low and limited himself to small, petty things like political manipulation, incest, and homicide in Midnight Tides, but once he decides to up his game again, he's right back to mass slaughter and trying to end the world and rule over the remains. He also feels that he has the sole right to govern over magic as Master of the Tiles — hearing that he has been succeeded by a Master of the Deck immediately inspires him to new heights.
  • Mythic Misadventures: While some gods help Pandora and her friends hunt down evils, many of them show a lack of compassion for mortals. For example, Zeus thinks nothing of incinerating Pandy's mom (repeatedly) for being late for work at his temple. Hera is the best example, however, as she is the Big Bad of the series and will torture humans and gods alike to get what she wants.
  • In Percy Jackson and the Olympians, the Greek gods can often fulfill this trope, though some still manage to be sympathetic, via Freudian Excuse. (Hades, for example, has spent three millennia as the target of all the gods' Jerk-Assness and ostracism for ... drawing the unluckiest straw). It's also somewhat noticeable that more than a few of them are less jerkish than they used to be, with Poseidon and Artemis in particular coming off as much less jerkish than they classically are (though not without the implication they can in fact be jerks if need be), with even Ares and Hera having moments showing themselves to be less jerkish than in classical mythology (though with Hera, that's really not saying much. Hestia, a Nice Girl in the myths, remains as such, but she's definitely an exception to the general rule.
    • The demigods, who are the protagonists of the series, also sometimes resent their parents for being Jerk Asses and ignoring them; the gods are eventually called out on it and forced to acknowledge all their children. (Whether this had any effect on how many affairs the gods have remains to be seen). Hermes also implies that the gods are constrained by the Fates from being able to spend too much time with their kid.
    • Zeus takes the cake, though. Zeus (and Poseidon, to be fair) pressure Hades into a pact that they will no longer have demigod children due to the destruction their kids caused in World War II... and also 'cause there's a prophecy saying one of them will choose to either save or destroy the world upon turning sixteen. Once the pact is made, Zeus attempts to kill Hades' two remaining children who are under sixteen— Hades protects them, but Zeus does succeed in killing their mother and presumably any other bystanders. Fast forward about sixty years: Zeus is the first to break the pact and, because he's the god of justice and king of the gods, gets none of the comeuppance. His daughter, Thalia, is punished instead: she is under constant monster attack and makes her final stand mere feet away from safety, holding the monsters off so her friends can escape. Zeus turns her into a pine tree as she dies. (Although she is accidentally resurrected later.) Hades, ironically, turns out to be the only one of the three to honor the pact— all of his children seen in the series were born in the 1930s and either placed in a time warp or brought back from the dead.
    • In the sequel series when someone asks why the gods even need the demigods, all the gods look like they just ate something terribly sour and bitter and rancid, and Aphrodite answers "Don't you think we've been asking that ourselves for millennia?"
    • It is telling that the companion book Percy Jackson's Greek Gods has a whole paragraph reminding the readers that the gods do not, in fact, give a damn about us. Sure we might be useful at times to get around the rules and stipulations they are supposed to live by (no going to each other's territory without being invited for example), but their attitudes range from "that kid who enjoys burning ants with a magnifying glass", through "the kid watching ants march by peacefully" (with us being the ants), up to "the class in general towards the class gerbil: kinda cute at the start, but gets old real quick, in more ways than one" (with us being the gerbil.) Sometimes, gods will genuinely try to help mortals and demigods... and then forget about them entirely, having done their Good Deed for the century. Apollo recounts how, during the French Revolution, he wanted to check in on his son Louis XI, then remembered that Louis had already been dead for decades.
    • The Egyptian gods in Rick Riordan's next series The Kane Chronicles are petty backstabbers who squabble and fight with the main characters even though they are the only ones in a position to stop all of reality from descending into Chaos, which would destroy them too. But it is mostly due to lacking a strong king. Once the divine power struggle is over the gods quickly come together to fight Apophis from the nicest of them to the worst of them. Unfortunately, the magicians themselves are still heavily divided and Apophis has vast armies of demons to aid him.
    • The Gods of the Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard series are, similarly to the Egyptians above, less jerkish than the Olympians. However they can come off as 'Hush kids, the grownups are talking' at times, though it is somewhat entangled with You Can't Fight Fate and they, unlike Zeus, will thank and reward you much easier and quicker (since, unlike the Greek gods, they know they're going to die).
  • Ravelling Wrath seems to have this in spades, considering that the two main characters are chosen to act as avatars of two principal gods of their religion–and one historically kills the other–despite the fact that they are in a relationship.
  • In the Repairman Jack series, the great unseen entity/force known as the Ally is only regarded as such because it's opposed to the Otherness, a similar entity/force that's inimical to life as we know it. Both of them regard Earth as an extremely minor token in their ongoing multiverse-spanning game for control of big-E-Everything, and the Ally sees nothing wrong with abandoning Earth to the Otherness if it happens to lose contact with the planet for a short time, or with systematically killing off Jack's parents, siblings, and unborn baby just so he'll be free of distractions if he should be needed as the backup Chosen One.
  • In The Rising of the Shield Hero, this is the case for the majority of the self-proclaimed gods. They like to play games with less-advanced worlds, abusing the populace either for their own game or simply amusement. The final villain is the goddess Medea Pideth Machina, who engineered the Waves as a way of both amusing herself with the suffering of the people and harvesting energy, and (in the web novel) whose fragment in Malty S. Melromarc resulted in her being such a sociopathic villain.
  • The Saga of Tanya the Evil has "Being X", as Tanya calls him; a rather off-put god who is tired of people not being faithful and praising him as often as he'd prefer. Thus, he decides to take the biggest, most staunch atheist he could find and put them through the wringer with the intent of making a believer out of them, reincarnating a Jerkass atheist Salaryman as a young girl forced to fight in an alternate version of World War I with a weapon that will kill her outright if she doesn't pray to him, though she usually does so in a bored monotone voice to reflect the fact that she is eternally against him in the long run. As such, she still retains her original mindset of seeking to rid the world of Being X's horrid influence, since while Tanya does act devilish, it's a freakin' pat on the back compared to the ruthless influence that Being X exerts on those too weak-willed to resist becoming completely influenced by him.
  • The Fantasy Pantheon of Shadowmarch is heavily inspired by Classical Mythology (to the point that the three head gods are clear expies of Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades), and as such, the majority of them are portrayed this way. Or rather, were- Kupilas, the Hephaestus-analogue, eventually got fed up with them and succeeded in tricking them all into hibernation- only a few demigods and Zosim the trickster are still active.
  • In The Shattered Kingdoms, Jachad feels that the two deities his people worship are being unnecessarily unpleasant to Meiran, who was inadvertently given to both of them for blessing — they've been "warring" over her ever since, giving rise to a magical illness which strikes her down every dawn and dusk.
  • So I'm a Spider, So What?:
    • Evil God "D" is completely self-centered and watches Kumoko's desperate attempts to survive for her own amusement. If Kumoko tries to ignore or thinks badly of her, "D" responds with threats of annihilation or "punishment" consisting of debilitating agony. Worst of all, she created Kumoko by attaching a piece of her soul and some shoddily modified memories to a house spider. "D" expected Kumoko, who was essentially her child, would die quickly and confuse the other gods so "D" could continue slacking off. Her status is cemented when it's revealed "D" created the System not to save the world but to amuse herself by watching the mortals kill one another in an interesting way, and that it's heavily implied she could have come up with a much less bloody way if she actually cared. And then she got bored and left the whole thing to spiral into disaster.
    • This is apparently a common trend among gods. Their status makes them supremely arrogant and they view dominating the mortal races as only proper. It's hinted that the god-slaying Angels were brought into existence by the Lifestream of the many planets suffering due to their actions. "D" just so happens to stand out because she's one of the strongest gods out there and thus above even direct retribution from her fellow deities in most cases. The only one known to be powerful enough to threaten "D" is Meido, a War God who inexplicably dresses like a maid, but Meido has absolutely no non-combat powers and thus "D" can easily hide from her.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire: The gods the Red Priests believe in.
    • The Big Good of their faith is R'hllor, the Lord of Light. He's the guy that Melisandre keeps telling Stannis to sacrifice people to.
    • The Greater-Scope Villain of their faith is the Great Other, the one who appears to be worshiped by the Others.
    • The Seven and their attitude toward anyone unlucky to be born on the wrong side of the blanket are not much better than R'hllor. Although there are hints that the Seven are purely a human invention and not real.
    • The most sympathetic gods in the series are the Old Gods of the North and even they demanded human sacrifices in the past.
  • In The Spirit Thief, the Shepherdess is less jerkass-y and more actively neglectful. Not only does she apparently not care about spirits nominally under her protection, she picks favourites and rains her blessings upon them even when it interferes with her actual job. And beware those who dare critique her approach! Unless they're her "stars" or can sweet-talk their way out, they're usually never heard from again.
  • The first chapter of Glen Cook's Surrender to the Will of the Night has one survivor of a scouting party return to report to the god that sent the party out—although the survivor had been driven mad by his experiences. "His god rewarded him as gods do. It devoured him."
  • Lord Khersis, the primary human god in Tales of MU, once smote a confused little girl who was praying to him for guidance just because she was half-demon. And he's one of the nicer deities.
  • In 'The Woman Who Died a Lot once God is forced out of hiding He starts smiting towns. It is not entirely random, there is a plan to redirect the smiting by placing some axe-murderers and child-rapists and so on in a conveniently empty space near the town. Which would apparently work. The protagonists disapprove, they consider the plan unethical. God has some Values Dissonance.
  • In C. S. Lewis's Till We Have Faces, much like the Greeks, the people of Glome think of their gods as petty brutes and try to do as little to attract their attention as possible. The Fox, a Stoic philosopher from Greece, dismisses these ideas as "lies of poets" and considers the Divine to be above such pettiness. In the end, both views are wrong, in different ways.
  • To Reign in Hell doesn't have God as being evil as much as a bit thick and egotistical. Of course, the same novel has Satan as an indecisive schlep until it's too late. The whole split between them seems to be an easily avoidable mistake.
  • The gods of the Tortall Universe try to make an impression of being humanity's guardians, but in reality, they spend most of their time using them in battle with each other. In this universe, if the kings of a country worship a god over others, that god is the most powerful over all other gods in that region. The exception is The Black God, who rules over the afterlife. He cares deeply about mortal souls, and when Beka is forced to carry on despite wanting desperately to give the bodies a proper burial, he buries them for her and calls her his most faithful priestess. Of course, it might be because he already owns an entire realm and has no reason to be greedy.
  • Underworlds: Loki, the Norse trickster god, seeks to burn Midgard (the human world) to ashes in his quest to overthrow Odin.
  • The demon Xanth in the Xanth novels, at first. All of the greater demons (of which Xanth is one) in general; they are involved in a complex game with more similarities to Nomic than the classic Chess, and people are only rarely used as pawns in certain rounds - most of the time, they're not considered at all. Xanth actually undergoes Character Development and becomes less of a Jerkass over the course of the novels, eventually even falling in love.
  • Zeus Is Dead: A Monstrously Inconvenient Adventure has multiple instances, including:
    • The gods sink Iceland in order to raise Atlantis just so they can return to the world with some style.
    • Dionysus, purely for kicks, tosses a minotaur into the mix during the running of the bulls in Spain.
    • Aphrodite collapses a supermodel's clifftop home in retribution for her trying to sue the goddess over a botched facelift.

    Live-Action TV 
  • American Gods (2017):
    • Anansi tells the slaves on the ship that even hundreds of years from then, the only possible future for a black man in America is to suffer and die, and the only thing to do to make their life worth anything is to just kill all the slavers and themselves as sacrifices to Anansi. He even shoots down the suggestion that they kill the slavers and steal the ship.
    • Vulcan owns a gun manufacturing plant in which No OSHA Compliance is in full effect. It's cheaper to settle with the families of the average of two people a year that die after falling into the vats than it is to bring the place up to code (which is by the way an intentional case of Truth in Television - when Gailman got wind of this story, he considered this the closest thing to Human Sacrifice the modern age has). What's more, he explicitly gains power from mass shootings. Any time that someone is killed with his guns, it counts as a human sacrifice to him. Also, he's mean to Shadow.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Glory, the Big Bad of Season 5, fits this to a T, being a hell-god from a demon dimension. She's an Ax-Crazy Psychopathic Manchild, regularly abuses her minions physically and verbally, doesn't give a damn about anyone who's not her, and couldn't care less that her efforts to use the Key to return to her home dimension will cause a Reality Bleed that will destroy the multiverse. It's to the extent that when she realizes that the cloak between herself and her human vessel, Ben, is fading and she's beginning to experience human emotions, she freaks out because she's not supposed to feel emotion.
  • In Charmed (1998), the Greek gods were mortals who got turned into gods by a magical mist. True to the mythology, however, it's stated that the old gods forced people to worship them. In fact, once Piper finally declares herself a goddess and realizes her full powers, she starts acting like it, causing a massive storm in order to vent her own personal problems out on the rest of the world.
  • In the Farscape episode Prayer, Aeryn mentions an ancient myth about how the ancient Sebaceans used to worship a goddess named Djancaz-Bru until she suddenly destroyed the seven main planets they lived on. When her dying worshipers asked why she had done this after they did their best to honor her, she replied, "Because I can." Apparently, this is why the modern-day Peacekeepers refuse to believe in any religion.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Cersei quotes her father as saying, "Gods have no mercy. That's why they're gods."
    • Tyrion is of a similar, though more humorous, opinion: "The Lord of Light wants his enemies burnt. The Drowned God wants them drowned. Why are all the gods such vicious cunts? Where is the god of tits and wine?"
  • Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess usually don't care about accuracy, going for Rule of Fun every time, and Anachronism Stew doesn't cover the half of it. They do believe, though, in doing the Greek gods' characters correctly by showing them as the jerks they are, well, except for Hades, who is dark but (usually) the only decent one.
    • Sometimes, they make Hades sorta a dick too actually. And not all other Greek Gods were ALWAYS portrayed negatively. Sometimes they're even The Atoner, especially for former Big Bads like Hera or Ares. Others are just kinda out of touch, like Zeus.
  • Subverted in Lucifer (2016). The titular character claims that God is an abusive parent who threw him out of Heaven for no reason to run Hell, and the series seems to show that he's a case of Good Is Not Nice, at best. When he finally shows up, however, he turns out to be a flawed, but well-meaning figure who's Innocently Insensitive and just bad at relating to people because of his omnipotence.
  • The Magicians (2016) has Reynard the Fox, a trickster god who rapes, butchers, and eats anyone who tries to summon Our Lady Underground, Persephone. He also purposefully spread word on how to perform the summoning so he could find more faithful. It's eventually revealed he's targeting these people as a form of Revenge by Proxy on his mother, Persephone, for abandoning him.
    • Ember helps Quentin and Julia prepare to fight the Beast but then tears off the psychic equivalent of a bandaid, causing Julia to remember her traumatic rape by Reynard. After that he takes a dump in the Wellspring, weakening the Beast while causing significant problems for the multiverse. He then starts randomly transforming and destroying parts and people of Fillory to amuse himself, leading up to flat out destroying it.
    • In addition to The Monster being a soul-devouring Psychopathic Manchild, the reason he's so pissed off is that four Librarians broke their code and performed an infant sacrifice (on The Monster's sister) to become gods, and then cursed their For Science! leader to prevent him from revealing what they did or how to fix it, effectively creating one of the multiverse's greatest threats for their own gain and then doing everything in their power to imprison The Monster with a bunch of other (unfortunate) monsters and one very unfortunate knight. This convinces the Magicians to stop shedding tears for 'those four assholes who deserved their deaths'.
  • God messes with Al Bundy a few times in Married... with Children. Al is a bit of a jerkass too though.
  • Power Rangers Wild Force: Animus is ultimately good, but is more offended by human pollution than by the evil demon things. This is because the pollution is what gave rise to the evil demon things so he thinks the planet is a lost cause and took his kids note  to find another planet to live on. He later explains that this was a Secret Test of Character.
  • The Stargate-verse is built on this trope, specifically Stargate SG-1.
    • The Goa'uld take on the identities of all sorts of gods (or perhaps were the origin of the myths; it's never specified) and often rule with an iron fist. They view humans as disposable slaves and potential host bodies. In the episode "Pretense", Zipacna compares humans to cattle.
    • In seasons nine and ten, the Ori come into the picture. They're Ascended beings who want to convert every single mortal into worshiping them. If you refuse, they denounce you as evil and burn you alive for heresy. Unlike the Goa'uld, who rely on technology to make them seem godlike, the Ori actually have supernatural powers to reinforce the belief of their followers, producing incredibly devoted soldiers who are willing to kill every single person who doesn't accept Origin.
    • Similarly, the Ancients themselves might qualify. Sure, they're the "good guy" counterparts of the Ori, but despite their power and Ascended status, they have rules against interfering with the affairs of mortals, up to and including letting a half-Ascended Goa'uld run around slaughtering billions and gaining a foothold into destroying the entire galaxy just to punish one of their own for helping him Ascend on accident.
    • Averted with the Asgard who impersonate the Norse pantheon. They are one of the main allies of the Tau'ri and have contingencies in place on planets protected by them to reveal their true selves when the civilizations become advanced enough.
  • In Supernatural, pretty much every deity seen is callous at best, plain evil at worst.
    • As a series about two brothers fighting creatures from all myth's and folklore, pagan gods occasionally crop up (so far they've had Odin, Zeus, Osiris, Mercury, Chronos, Baron Samedi, and Kali to name a few) and they're always portrayed (normally quite accurately according to the myths, except for Kali whose portrayal is something of a Flanderization of some of her scarier myths, and Ganesha, which is straight-up Adaptational Villainy) as arrogant, greedy and uncaring, regarding humans as little more than food and entertainment, savagely slaughtering them or encouraging others to slaughter them for them. Although Chronos at least had a sympathetic motive, since he just wanted to get back to his loved one but constantly found himself unwittingly teleporting through time and could only get back to her timeline by sacrificing someone. It wasn't until the Eighth Season that they introduced the first truly benevolent pagan god, Prometheus.
    • The Trickster demi-god from "Tall Tales" and "Mystery Spot" also known as Loki and Gabriel is more of a jerkass demi-god. His victims, especially the Winchesters and definitely Sam, probably wish he was a lazy god rather than an archangel. Yet, when it comes down to it, he's willing to stand up to his older, stronger brother, the guy who taught him everything he knows, to try and help. This leads to his death.
    • It's implied that the real God (the actual creator, who does exist in the supernatural universe) has shades of this, as it's commonly pointed out, especially by Dean Winchester, that despite being all-powerful and all-knowing, he idly sits by letting so many horrors occur every day to innocent people and it turns out he actually abandoned his children (the angels) shortly after Lucifer's rebellion, leading the majority of them who were still (the equivalent of) children in the ruins of heaven. This probably also explains why his three eldest (Lucifer doesn't count as he was already evil before this) have so many problems, Gabriel ran off and pretends to be a Pagan, Raphael is a completely uncaring jerk who doesn't even care for his own kind, and Michael is a fanatic who is obsessed with pleasing his absent father.It turns out that the real reason that he doesn't intervene is that he regards the suffering of humans as entertainment and that he's been manipulating the Winchesters their entire lives because their adventures are his favorite show.
  • Super Sentai:
    • Daizyujin is this to an extent in Kyōryū Sentai Zyuranger, notably in regard to Burai. But he's not nearly as bad as Daijinryuu in Gosei Sentai Dairanger, who among other things compels several people to jump to their deaths from tall buildings. Daizyujin is pretty much based on the gods of a lot of religions, being better than the ultimate evils that are around but wouldn't know the meaning of the word "fair." In Burai's case, Burai was only needed to awaken Dragon Caesar, and, though they could probably save his life, which is Living on Borrowed Time, they don't because "it is not needed for him to survive." This is far from the only instance of Guardian Beast Jerkassitude in the series - the fact that the Rangers were working for such Bad Bosses is responsible for most of the dark aspects of an otherwise Lighter and Softer series.

  • Doom Breaker has gods that don't care for humanity and just want entertainment.

  • A Central Theme of the Poets of the Fall album Jealous Gods, from the cover with a road sign warning of a Bolt of Divine Retribution, to the Title Track, musing on the god-like sense of impulsive grandiosity inherent in a new relationship, and wondering if that's something good or bad.
  • Tom Waits' song "Heartattack and Vine" (off the album of the same name) includes this lyric:
    Well you know there ain't no Devil
    That's just God when He's drunk
  • In one of the songs that are a part of the Happiness Series of Vocaloid songs, Hatsune Miku is a goddess, and while she seems nice at the beginning of the song, it quickly turns into her being an egotistical and sadistic goddess who enjoys humanity's suffering, wants the praise of humanity, and eventually wants to kill all humans.

    Mythology and Religion 
  • According to religion researchist Yehezekel Kaufmann and psychohistorian Lloyd deMause, this trope is omnipresent in all Polytheistic religions: their deities are not benevolent nor nice entities, but whimsical and malevolent bullies or outright tyrants which treat mortals with contempt and which the mortals need to constantly placate to be safe from their wrath or whims. This is severely undermined by the existence of Mesopotamian, Egyptian and yes, even Greek literature in which worshippers express love for their deities, which clearly shows they didn't all have such a view. Plato even wanted such depictions to be banned, as they were blasphemous to him.
  • Rather overtly averted with the many gods and spirits of Aboriginal Australian in at least surviving stories, which tend to be very benevolent (barring those that are explicitly the God of Evil like Marmoo). However, it crops up sometimes:
    • Bahloo, the God of the Moon in Gamilaraay lore, cursed humanity with venomous snakes for the hideous crime of not walking his dogs.
    • Wungurr, a serpentine cosmic principle in the Wandjina-Wungurr cultural complex, casually eats a pregnant woman in a story for some reason.
  • The gods of Classical Mythology are widely remembered today for being spoiled children with fancy powers at best and total assholes at worst. Part of this is due to flanderizing their jerk side and ignoring their benevolent side combined with Values Dissonance. They were held to different standards from humans and were the center of the universe instead of humans. The other reason is they often were just massive jerks because they could be. Even the best of them have one or two stories like this (generally)- "The best of them" being (generally) Hades, Persephone, Demeter and Hestia, (and even then, they had some questionable moments of their own too).
    • Hades was feared as the God of the Dead and Lord of the Underworld and he was someone even other Gods feared crossing. However, he was not a malevolent God (despite commonly portrayed as such in many modern media). He was actually fair and lawful and he didn’t mess with mortals for his own amusement. Contrary to the Disney movie, Hades wasn’t an enemy of Hercules. In fact he allowed Hercules to fight Cerberus on the condition that Hercules didn’t seriously hurt his beloved dog. The worst thing Hades did was abduct Persephone. However even that is subject to interpretation and even then Hades and Persephone have one of the happiest and healthiest marriages with both loving each other and staying faithful to each other.
    • Demeter is also a goodnote  mother and even acted as a nanny at one point to a mortal baby. Not to mention that even Demeter has her bad side too - most of which happened when she was searching for Persephone. Other times, her wrath was incurred more by people provoking it or being a jerkass first.
    • Hestia was the most peaceful and is hardly involved in any myths probably because non-jackass gods are less interesting (on the flip side, she probably was the most trusted and prayed-to of all the Olympians—the hearth and family are kind of a big deal).
    • One of the worst is Zeus, who ironically is the god of law and upholder of morals. While there are some stories of Zeus punishing evildoers and rewarding the just, many of his stories are about his dalliances with immortal and mortal women. He has a lecherous Memetic Molester infamy due to forcing himself upon women and young men, doing little to protect them and their "divine rapechildren" from his Clingy Jealous Girl wife, Hera. Add to that his other highly questionable actions, like the Pandora's Box incident, and he is perhaps the biggest asshole of all. Of course, many of these myths are fairly transparent Just So Stories, particularly the "divine rapechildren" stories (most of which result in Zeus being the ancestor of a people or a royal house of some Greek city or othernote ) and of course the Pandora's Box incident was an explanation for why bad things happen to good people (and why women are manipulative).
    • Hermes was nearly as bad as his father Zeus in his treatment of women who caught his eye:
      • The Nymph Lara told Hera of one of Zeus' affairs. As punishment, Zeus cut out her tongue and ordered Hermes to escort her to the Underworld. On the way, Hermes raped her.
      • A princess of Crete named Apemosyne was travelling to Rhodes one day when Hermes saw her. Though she fled his advances, Hermes concocted a plan to trip her by laying some freshly skinned hides across her path. When she fell, he raped her.
      • Daedalion's daughter Chione was so beautiful that Hermes fell in love with her. Not being one to bother with such things as informed consent, Hermes used magic to put her to sleep and proceeded to rape her.
    • Also worth a mention is Ares. Even back then, Greek scholars wrote about how men run in terror from this bloodthirsty god of war. However, Ares's bloodlust only showed during wartime, he has never been portrayed as a rapist and was always depicted as a Papa Bear, unlike his father Zeus. He was portrayed more positively by the Romans however, due to them having a stronger military tradition than the Greeks. In the Iliad, the phrase Homer uses to refer to Ares is kukleion athanaton: Evil Undying. Zeus himself once told Ares that he hates him the most out of all the gods of Olympus, and Zeus is his dad.
    • Although she was also prominent in sponsoring various heroes, Athena involved herself a few times in the family business of screwing over a few hapless mortals.
      • Athena invented a musical instrument, the aulos, but on seeing how silly she looked while playing it in the mirror, she threw it away and cursed it so that anyone who played it would die a horrible death. This plays in the myth of Marsyas, who was flayed alive by Apollo for challenging Apollo to a music competition.
      • In some versions of the Medusa myth, Athena cursed Medusa for being raped by Poseidon in Athena's temple (Athena is a virgin goddess so her priestesses were expected to be so as well). Granted, this was a fairly late addition by Ovid, and all records from before him depict Medusa as being born a monster.
      • Arachne was a seamstress who thought herself Athena's equal. When challenged to a weaving contest, Arachne wove tapestry depicting the infidelities of the Olympians, causing Athena to smash her loom and smack her across the face with a staff a few times. Arachne ultimately killed herself in shame.
      • A mortal named Tiresias accidentally spotted Athena while she was bathing in a stream, so Athena permanently blinded him. When asked to undo his curse she was unable to and was forced to give him the gift of prophecy in compensation.
      • When the Trojan hero Hector was fleeing Achilles, Athena disguised herself as one of his men and persuaded him that they would face Achilles together. When the time came for him to fight Achilles, Athena left him to his fate. Her justification was that Hector's brother had slighted her in the incident that started the Trojan War.
    • While she may be the archetypal Love Goddess and was generally viewed favourably, Aphrodite was also known across the Greek world as Black One, Dark One, Killer of Men, Unholy and Gravedigger as she was also associated with sexual violence and literal bloodlust, and was depicted as the lover of Ares (despite being married) as he excited her; she was further prayed to by narcissists, adulterers, rapists, pedophiles and sex slavers for success in their endeavors.
    • This is kind of magnified compared to other pantheons where the gods tended to have human problems (Greek gods do not, being immortal) or at least created most of the world they jerked around in (nope, the Olympians just took over and decided not to destroy humanity, the Titans' creation). To be fair, most of the unprovoked jerkassery is restricted to the Olympians. Deities like Selene, Hypnos, Aether and even the likes of Nyx and Tartarus were for the most part content to mind their own business.
    • While the Titans were generally nicer to humanity than the Olympians, their patriarch still ate his own children (the Olympians), so the Olympians being jerkasses to the Titans' creation is not so surprising.
    • Eris, goddess of strife and discord, like her name suggests, promotes quarrel and conflict for no specific reason. Her most notorious act was making a golden apple dedicated "to the most beautiful goddess" which caused a quarrel between Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite, which triggered the chain of events that led to the Trojan War.
    • This is a conflicting issue. Yes, gods can be assholes caring only about themselves... and they can be absolutely fair and nice protectors of humanity. Zeus is hell-bent on getting all women (and some men) into bed, but also honorable. Hades is either honest and lawful or morbidly misanthropic. Ares is addicted to battle, but one of the few gods that protect their demigods and has a reputation for hunting rapists. Aphrodite has two aspects, Pandemos-aspect of lust and sex, and Urania-aspect of deep spiritual love. In other versions of the myth, Hermes fell in love with Lara (and did not rape her) and disobeyed his father's orders, instead hiding her from him in a cottage in the woods. Titans either started a golden age of humanity or we didn't exist when they were around. And given that both first of Olympians and Titans were eaten by their father, whose mother (and wife) rose out of primal Chaos well... Greek Mythology is heavy on inconsistencies, different approaches to characters, fatal family issues, and long-spanning vendettas.
  • Egyptian Mythology:
    • Ra could be quite stubborn and cruel to those who talked poorly of him or threatened his power, and sent Sekmet after humanity to destroy them just for gossiping.
  • Norse Mythology:
    • Odin, while generally a good guy, sometimes comes off as a massive jerk. Sure, he generally likes people and helps them, but he's not trustworthy, prone to have his devoted or especially competent followers killed in messy ways so they join him in Valhalla. Sure, it's for the best, but it was still wildly regarded as a case of Blessed with Suck to be Odin's favored warrior since it often meant that you were doomed to suffer a violent death. Interestingly, the Norse seemed to acknowledge this aspect as he is called both "Deceiver", "Swift Tricker" and "Ruler of treachery" in poems.
      • Even his reasons for having his favored warriors join him in Valhalla are suspect. He doesn't get them killed in battle so that they can have a great afterlife. He gets them killed in battle because the rules say that's the only way you get to come to his hall in the afterlife, and he needs all the help he can get for the upcoming battle at the end of the world. That he already knows that he's fated to lose and that nothing he does has any possibility of changing that does not stop him from trying. (Even being a god can suck in this mythos.)
      • Small wonder Loki is involved in Ragnarok seeing what Odin did to his family. Fenrir, Hel, and Jörmungand were imprisoned with Gleipnir, in Niflheim, and beneath the sea respectively for basically no reason beyond "we foresaw that they would cause a lot of trouble" (which they did, because they were pissed at being imprisoned) and when Loki was bound beneath the earth (which he did deserve, in theory at least) the chains binding him were made from the intestines of his youngest son, whose twin brother Odin forced to kill for their father's crimes.
      • In the gods' defense, Fenris was actually briefly kept as a guard dog by Odin before being chained up with Gleipnir. He took exception to being used as a guard dog and it became apparent as he grew that keeping him as a glorified pet might not have been the best idea. This, combined with the previously mentioned prophecies of his role in Odin's death, lead to the gods deciding to listen to said prophecies and forge the three chains.
      • And in Hel's defense, the worst thing she ever did was remain firm in trying to prevent Death Is Cheap, which became a bit of a problem when resident Messianic Archetype Baldur went and kicked the bucket. That said, she was seemingly fine with ruling her realm and at no point is it indicated that hers was a bad afterlife, just very unglamorous... well, unless you were a real prick, in which case you'd get banished to Nastrond, where Níðhöggr dwelled.
      • Thor returns from Jotunheim after fighting giants, and needs to cross a river. Odin disguises himself as an old man and refuses to take him across (note that Thor is Odin's son). While Thor boasts about slaying giants and protecting Midgard, Odin brags about how many women he had sex with in the meantime. Eventually Thor gets tired of it and leaves.
      • After the death of Baldur Odin propositioned Rindr so that she would give birth to Vali, who would slay Höðr (the blind guy who was tricked by Loki into throwing the weapon that killed Baldur). When she refused Odin's advances he wrote runes on a strip of bark and touched her with it, driving her mad, then disguised himself as a medicine woman and raped her.
      • The birth of Sleipnir was a result of Odin forcing Loki to... ahem... distract a Jotunn builder's horse after Odin nearly lost a bet to the Jotunn that he could complete the walls of Asgard within a season.
    • There was this one time where a dwarf (who, in this mythos, turn to stone if sunlight hits them) wanted to marry Thor's daughter. Rather than just dealing with it and being happy for his daughter, or even just forbidding it, or refusing it (Values Dissonance) Thor told him that he could, but only if he beat him in a battle of wits. The dwarf agreed, not knowing that Thor had specifically set up the battle of wits at such a time that it would last until sunrise, outside. Guess who turned to stone? Hint: not Thor. In some versions, the dwarf was considered powerful due to knowing the names of all things in creation — this was a big deal in several ancient cultures. Thor kept him naming things until the sun came up.
    • Freyr sending his servant to threaten Gerd's family until she marries him. But that ended up biting him in the ass since he lost his magic sword in the process with some scholars thinking that the sword ended up in the hands of Surtr...
    • "Sorli's Tale" paints a rather unfavorable image of the Aesir, with Freyja as a floozie who sleeps with four dwarfs in exchange for a necklace, Odin as her jealous sugar daddy, and Loki as Odin's conniving lackey. The tale relates how Freyja, on a challenge of Odin, caused the Everlasting Battle between the kings Hedin and Hogni. None of the gods shows any qualms about the suffering and the destroyed lives caused by their actions.
  • The Shinto pantheon wasn't free from its share of jerks. Given that there's around 8 million gods in the Shinto pantheon, that's not exactly surprising...
    • When the goddess Izanami died from birthing Kagutsuchi, the god of fire, her husband, Izanagi, chopped the fire spirit into eight pieces in a rage, even though Izanami in her death throes had birthed the water goddess Mizuhame and instructed her to watch over Kagutsuchi and pacify him if he ever got out of hand. Afterward, Izanagi traveled to Yomi to save Izanami but when he saw that his wife had turned into a rotted corpse, Izanagi ran away in fear, with an enraged Izanami pursuing him. Izanagi then pushed a boulder into the mouth of the cave which led into Yomi, trapping Izanami inside and out of anger she declared that if Izanagi did not remove the boulder, she would kill 1,000 of his people every day, to which Izanagi, instead of removing the boulder, shot back that he'd just give life to 1,500.
    • Tsukuyomi was invited to a feast by Uke Mochi, the goddess of food, who made the food by turning into the ocean and spitting out fish, then facing the forest and having wild game come out of her anus, and finally turning into a rice paddy field and vomiting up a bowl of rice. Tsukuyomi, disgusted by the repulsive way the delicious meal came to be, killed Uke Moshi.
    • Amaterasu and her brother Susanoo had an antagonistic relationship. After being ordered to leave the heavens by Izanagi, Susanoo bid his sister farewell before challenging her to prove his sincerity. They each took an item from another to birth gods and goddesses from them. From Susanoo's sword, Amaterasu birthed three women while from Ameratsu's necklace Susanoo birthed five men and declared himself the winner since he had produced five of them. When Amaterasu argued back that her necklace had produced the five men while Susanoo's sword could only produce three women, (Shinto being animism, her take was actually right,) Susanoo went on a rampage, destroying his sister's rice paddies, defecating in her irrigation ditches, throwing fecal matter at her temple, and hurling a flayed horse at her loom, which splintered into hundreds of pieces, killing all her hand-maidens. Coincidentally, this is also the story of how Winter came about because it was at that point that Amaterasu proceeded to hide herself (and thus, the sun) in a cave to get away from him.
      • Unlike most deities, Susanoo actually faced repercussions for this—after the other gods managed to pry Amaterasu out of her cave, they then proceeded to happily kick him out of heaven until he proved he wasn't completely worthless. This managed to get through to him, and he later slew the dragon Orochi as penance... and to score a wife. He's still a jerk, he's just a mature jerk now. And after slaying Orochi, Susanoo took a sword from inside its body and gave it to Amaterasu as a conciliatory gift, suggesting that he at least became a Jerk with a Heart of Gold. note 
    • Ookuninushi, while generally seen in a positive light with a few instances of Trickster God, could also be quite the jerkass. When Amaterasu requested that he hand over the country to her descendants, he eventually ended up doing so under protest. Then, several generations later, he caused a plague during emperor Suujin's reign, demanding a new temple to end it. Doing so stopped the plague, but the god was apparently still angry, because he then made the next emperor's son dumb, requiring the emperor to build another temple for him.
  • Indra from Hindu Mythology fits this trope. Whenever someone — be it human, God or demon — gained too much power, Indra would send the beautiful dancing girls from his court to upset their prayers. He also has a bad habit of raping sages' wives by disguising himself as their husbands. A fun little story about Indra showing that even gods need to get some cosmic perspective.
  • In The Epic of Gilgamesh:
    • Ishtar (later counterpart to Inanna, who appeared in the Sumerian stories underlying the Epic) is highly untrustworthy and has the tendency of turning her lovers into moles and beasts when she's tired of them. And when Gilgamesh refused to sleep with her, she sent a huge angry bull (but not before warning that if the other gods don't let her send the bull she will open the gates of the Underworld and the dead will outnumber the living) to destroy Uruk.
    • Enlil caused The Great Flood because humanity annoyed him with their sounds, which even Ishtar was horrified by. According to Shamash, he also insisted that Enkidu be killed as punishment for crimes that he himself commanded to happen. And, Gilgamesh was right there participating and probably did much more damage -but he's the king and partially divine, while Enkidu is a commoner.
  • Freaking every single one of them in Aztec Mythology (except Quetzalcoatl, and even he had his moments). When your rain and fertility god likes his food young and crying, and one of two rulers is literally the god of Magnificent Bastards, there's little wonder why they thought it was a Crapsack World. Even Quetzalcoatl kinda sucks, since he would be much nicer to humanity than the current top god in the pantheon if he was to retake that place... but retaking that place would also completely destroy the world and kill every living thing, forcing him to start from scratch.
  • From the Pacific/Polynesian culture we have Pele. Maybe not that jerkassery per se, but too often her volcanic temperament gets the better of her, and you then better stay away ten miles from her hothead until she has blown off steam.
  • In Guatuso mythology, most of the Gods are benevolent, however, three of them qualify:
    • The first one is She of the Aóre Headwaters, the second divinity that came into this world preceded only by He of the Nharíne Headwaters, with whom She married and had a daughter: Jafára. The Goddess wanted to be as important as her spouse and to create human beings as well, but she was incapable of doing so. Her frustration led her to stage coups against his husband which He overcame with ease, then she tried to exterminate humanity on several occasions, the greatest manifestation of this was her insistence on the cataclysm that wiped out the first humanity.
    • The second one is Nhácará Curíja, a female divinity not very favorable to men, she is the original owner of fire and did not wish to share it with anyone. Another God, probably Nharíne, sent a toad to steal it. Good fortune in this matter is not given regarding another property of the Goddess: the secret of eternal youth. She decides that, unlike her, men will not be able to escape the ravages of time.
    • Finally there is Colérrenh, the goddess of earthquakes. She's usually restrained and was only set free as a preamble to the cataclysm that transformed the earth.

  • Old Harry's Game answers the question of "If God exists, why do bad things happen to good people?" with "Because God really doesn't like or care about us." God has a Hair-Trigger Temper and is perfectly willing to punish with hellfire anyone who doesn't live up to his nearly impossible standards, but when the few who do match up to his standards end up in Hell (which happens three times throughout the series), he refuses to do anything about it, seeing it as not his problem.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Many gods in Exalted have grown corrupt and complacent without anyone to answer to.
    • The Usurpation came to be because the Golden Age Solars had turned into this, as well.
    • And even before becoming the Yozi and Neverborn, most of the Primordials were selfish Jerkasses who, when they weren't playing the Games of Divinity while the Gods did all the actual work, amused themselves by tormenting the inhabitants of Creation or their ugly brother Autochthon.
  • Forgotten Realms:
    • The Time of Troubles led to all of the gods being banished to the material plane in avatar form, screwing up the Realms pretty much wherever they went. Many of them used this as an opportunity to expand their power base, using human armies as pawns to take down other gods. The kicker is that the whole thing started because they upset the overgod, Ao, by stealing the Tablets of Fate. To his credit, after the whole fiasco is over Ao does require that deities actually be worshipped to get their power in the future. And hey, we got a new edition out of it.
    • At least according to some sources, Ao was getting tired of the gods goofing off to play power games against each other instead of doing their actual jobs, anyway. The theft of the Tablets was simply the straw that broke the camel's back (and made for conveniently collectible Plot Coupons at the same time). The kicker is the Tablets of Fate were just symbolic. Ao ground them to dust in front of the other Gods just to show that all that suffering was for nothing.
    • Back when Myrkul was the god of death, he created the Wall of the Faithless, a place where every Flat-Earth Atheist and Nay-Theist has their soul slowly turned into nothing. When Kelemvor ascended to the position, he decided to abolish that, and judge souls based on their deeds in life. This led to good people stopping their worship, while evil people became obsessed with cheating death. The other gods were so pissed that they forced Kelemvor to bring back Myrkul's system. Hope you're cool with religion, cause if you don't, your soul is doomed.
    • Corellon, the Leader of the Elvish Pantheon, is arguably one of the worst gods on the side of Good in the D&D multiverse. Despite his chaotic good alignment Corellon is an infamously petty and emotional god whose spontaneous outbursts have caused serious damage to the elves. He cheated Gruumsh and the orcs out of a homeland causing orcs and Gruumsh to become the chaotic evil murderers they are known as today. When Lolth attempted to overthrow him he cursed every single elf who did not take his side in the battle of the gods and condemned the entire drow race to suffer under Lolth's hand, he refuses to create more elvish souls which is causing the elvish race to slowly go extinct. All in all, his behavior is not evil but as a King and A God he is not suited to ruling.
    • Even if you worship a god, your fate is arguably not any better. Souls that die are sent to the Fugue Plane, where they become petitioners. If you worshipped a god in life, they would (hopefully, there is no guarantee) come to pick you up as a servant. Once a god has claimed you, you lose all your skills and attributes, become mindless, and have your body remodeled into whatever your god finds amusing.
  • Iron Kingdoms:
    • Menoth, creator god of the human race, is such a massive jerk that two humans became gods just to overthrow him. It's not hard to see why as he supports All Crimes Are Equal (most punishments having something to do with fire) and the fact that if you're too awesome he will kill you. It's all so you can fight for him in his heavenly army because he's attacking the other gods' cities. Why? Because he's a jerk. The few followers he has left view him more as a Stern Father, like the time when he refused to help the humans out when the Orgoth invaded because of the above overthrowing.
    • The Circle Orboros worships entities of nature who are 1) godlike and 2) kind of dickish. The Circle wants to reduce humanity's numbers and technology level because they're afraid that if they don't, all of humanity will be wiped out.
  • Magic: The Gathering: on Theros, Heliod, Erebos, Phenax, and Mogis are gargantuan tools, as is post-ascension Xenagos. As beings heavily inspired by the Ancient Greek pantheon, this was probably unavoidable.
    • Heliod goes so far as to backstab his own closest ally, Elspeth, because he doesn't like her being a planeswalker, and is in many ways the ultimate villain of Theros block.
    • Erebos is a slightly lighter example compared to the jackassery of Heliod, but he's described as being envious of the world of the living, and he takes solace in the death of mortals because it makes him aware that mortals feel the same sense of banishment and isolation from the gods that he does. Plus, When Elspeth bargains her life for that of her dead lover Daxos, he agrees to her terms, and after her death releases Daxos from the Underworld... as a Returned.
    • One short story that takes place after Elspeth's death shows that Ajani Goldmane while shacking up with others of his kind, begins to foment a movement among the mortals against the gods.
    • Amonkhet, inspired by Ancient Egypt, generally avoids this, as the gods were designed on purpose to be benevolent. However, Bontu is the Token Evil Teammate who betrayed everyone to a most horrible death to save her own skin. No one shed a tear when she got what was coming to her. The three gods Nicol Bolas turned into his core minions go past "Jerkass" and into outright evil, although given the degree to which he remade them, they may not be capable of moral choice anymore.
    • The demigod pantheon of Shadowmoornote  is for the most part malicious, with The Seer's Parables illustrating the Crapsack World status of the setting as their fault.
  • The Myths in Mythender are all jerks. That is why one Ends them. Even gods with seemingly benevolent domains are going to be scary and inhuman about them, e.g., a God of Blacksmiths is going to be so gung-ho about industry and hard work that he'd happily enslave the whole world and put them to work in his forges. The book suggests throwing in the occasional Mind Screw in the form of hints that this might be the slanted perspective of the deicidal player characters, though, just to keep the players from getting too comfortable with their power and victories.
  • Playing Gods gets this trope right. You play as one of the five major gods from the major religions (Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, and Judaism) or you can use the sixth stand and insert a sticker or a photo of yourself or use a key ring or action figure or whatever as a god too. You convert other gods' sects, spread believers, or massacre every other deity's sects. It's Played for Laughs though, and it's really a satire of fundamentalism and religious warfare and how it's better to be at peace with your fellow religions rather than attack them.
  • The Titans of Scarred Lands, while not technically gods, really give the Greek gods a run for their money in the "treating their creations horribly" department.
  • Scion makes use of this trope. In general, if the mythology portrays a god/dess as a jerkass, then he/she is the same in Scion. The Values Dissonance between modern culture and mythology is also given a few subtle nods, the most obvious of which is that, by the "God" sourcebook, the official sample Aztec character is depicted as disgusted by and disdainful of his native pantheon.
  • SenZar offers too many examples of this trope to count (including, potentially, evil player characters who ascend to godhood), but the prize for most jerkassness goes to the Eternals, the only type of gods who actually gain (even more) power for being complete jackasses.
  • The deities in Warhammer & Warhammer 40,000. All of them. Canon does sometimes seem contradictory on this point, though.
    • Khorne wants to see people fight battles, the bloodier and more gruesome the better. In the Warhammer universes, simply being a god of war makes him a possible good guy, while the fact that your viscera would be just as pleasing to him as your enemies makes him one of the bad guys.
    • Slaanesh might want to help you to experience every positive sensation that you can, even turning negative sensations into new kinds of pleasure... but he/she/it definitely wants to force you to experience everything, as a kind of torture-orgy.
    • Papa Nurgle either wants you to help you to accept the pain and suffering of existence in the Warhammer universes, even nullifying some of the effects for you... so that you will be grateful enough to help him "spread the love" by infecting healthy people with incurable diseases and unhealing wounds to help them see how bad the universe is so that they will turn to Grandfather Nurgle and he can help them, too. Oh, and he's holding the lone subversion of this trope - Isha - captive, and experimenting with plagues on her.
    • Tzeentch definitely is a Jerkass God, because he is the god of scheming to such an extent that anything good or bad in the Warhammer universe is his doing. His grand master-plan was responsible for every single happy moment of your life... and every single moment of negativity of any kind.
    • Bloody-handed Khaine is the Eldar god of war and conflict and murder. He was a reckless and brutal jerk of a god who was cursed to have blood forever drip from his hands after he murdered a mortal Eldar hero. In any other setting, he would be a candidate for Big Bad. Here, he's one of the closest things the Eldar have to a Big Good, as the actual Big Good of the Eldar Pantheon is dead.
    • Cegorach the Laughing God is pretty much the Troll god of deception, stealth, creativity, art and trickery. He was the Court Jester of the Eldar Pantheon, spending all of his time mocking everything. On the other hand, he's also one of the closest things the Eldar have to a Big Good since he and his servants the Harlequins guard the secrets of the Black Library from the forces of Chaos, and most of the targets of his trolling really deserve it. He's a bit like Tzeentch, albeit with a slightly better sense of humor.
    • The God Emperor of Mankind may or may not have been a true deity (he denied it but the present-day Imperium worship him as one anyway) but he was an example of Good Is Not Nice at best. During his campaign to unite the galaxy under human rule he caused the deaths of billions, xeno and human alike. He also had a lot of trouble relating to others as actual people and had a tendency to keep secrets even when it was a bad idea. His inability to be a proper parent to many of the Primarchs such as Angron, Lorgar, and Magnus, played a huge part in ending the Imperium's golden age. Also, because the beliefs of large groups of sentient beings tends to become the truth in the Warp, he may be a true god yet.
    • Gork and Mork are just a pair of thugs. One likes to hit people when they aren't looking, and the other hits people really hard whether they're looking or not. Fortunately, their worshipers are Orks, a race of thugs whose lives center around hitting people and wandering the cosmos to look for new people to hit. By their standards, their gods are perfectly reasonable. Nobody else in the galaxy would agree with them.
    • The C'Tan are evil star gods who gave the Necrons the means to conquer the galaxy while simultaneously enslaving them. The Night Bringer instilled the fear of death into the sentient races, the Outsider is a Mad God that anybody in their right mind would steer clear of, the Deceiver is another malevolent trickster who helped with the destruction of most of his own brethren, and the Void Dragon is a Draconic Abomination who would rupture the Imperium if he were ever released from his prison on Mars.
    • Subverted with Isha, the Eldar Mother Goddess, who survived the Fall as Nurgle's prisoner/disease Guinea pig. However, whenever he isn't looking, she whispers the cures to Nurgle's plagues to mortals. Now imagine the Hell that must be her life: she's in literal Hell, held captive by her antithesis, who routinely infects her with every malicious sickness that he can think of, then he waits until she cures herself, then uses his observations upon whatever methods she used to cure herself to make his next disease "harder to cure". And all she can do is watch. Whenever Nurgle glances away, she does everything in her power to tell mortals how to cure all of the horrible diseases and plagues that he's developed and released with "her help", however unwilling. Then remember the state of the galaxy as a whole, and guess how often she isn't brushed off as a demon trying to subvert them.

  • Angels in America: God is a serious Jerkass who abandoned Heaven a couple decades back, leaving the Angels in disarray and despair. It takes Prior, who has had a similar bad experience recently with a man walking out on him, to knock some sense into them, and say "Screw him!".
  • Athena is one in Ajax, causing the main character to go mad and slaughter sheep, resulting in his utter humiliation and downfall. The play opens with her gloating to Odysseus about it. Odysseus is put off.
  • All the gods in Dido, Queen of Carthage, especially Jupiter and Hera. Even Venus is hardly friendly with Aeneas, and she's his mother.
  • The Gods in Once on This Island are completely cruel to humans for no apparent reason, except Asaka. Agwe likes to lash them with storms for the hell of it, Papa Ge is a demon of death who also happens to be a complete Jerkass, and Erzulie manipulates Ti Moune and Daniel solely so that she can prove that she's right. They were even worse in the original book - the musical tries to make them a bit more sympathetic, whereas in the book Agwe delivers a speech about how much humans deserve to die, and Erzulie kills a completely innocent woman.

    Theme Parks 

    Video Games 
  • The Aesir are not exactly shown at their best in Asgard's Wrath. Týr is a Blood Knight who toys with the lives of mortals even those that worshipped him, Thor is a boisterous and easily angered oppressor of the Giants, Hel wishes to unleash her undead army on Midgard, and all of them regard the New God as an upstart, with Odin even banishing them to Jötunheim when they are found with the stolen Mjolnir. Loki is the sole god, besides Heimdall, who treats the New God with any decency, and of course that turns out to all be an act by the trickster.
  • Played around with quite interestingly throughout Asura's Wrath. The Demi-gods treat humans as a lower class, but most of them didn't act like jerks towards humans (with the possible exception of Wyzen post becoming a guardian general). This changes after Asura is betrayed by his fellow guardian generals, who act like this to a degree even by Jerkass God standards. They turn humanity into a Martyrdom Culture by having them pray to them before they get killed and have their souls taken any to be converted into mantra, specifically used to power the Brahmastra. Only Yasha and Deus have regrets for what they do. Chakravartin, who is this from start, goes beyond even them by proxy of being the reason why the Guardian generals turned into Jerkass Gods in the first place, and is even more arrogant then them.
  • Used as a gameplay mechanic in Bastion: there are ten Gods; choosing to pray to one will make enemies tougher to defeat, but increase the experience and money you get from beating them. Although in this case it's justified; before the cataclysm that kicked off the plot, your culture had lost most of its reverence for the gods and turned them into toys and architectural decorations, so they're a little hacked off at you right now. On the other hand, if you should decide to reject them, they won't begrudge you that, because they think you're just pussing out.
  • Inverted in Bloodborne; the Eldritch Abominations responsible for most of the world's problems are, in fact, well-intentioned eldritch abominations who wish to guide humanity with dreams. Unfortunately, most people Go Mad from the Revelation due to an inability to comprehend them, and the ones who don't go mad use the eldritch gods' good-will for their own self-serving agendas. The sole exception who plays this straight is Amygdala, who along with the School of Mensis flip out on the world for no apparent reason.
  • Dark Sun Gwyndolin from Dark Souls is the only god in the setting who managed to avoid suffering a horrible fate, and is in the best position to help fix the Crapsack World. Instead, he selfishly manipulates everyone else in a bid to increase his own power.
    • Subverted in that Gwyndolin is the leader of the Darkmoon Blades, assassins who specifically target sinners in Lordran. Doubly subverted in that a sinner can be a player who kills friendly NPC's, a player who invades and kills other players, or anyone who has discovered the illusion of Anor Londo. To be fair, though, Gwyndolin only seeks to punish you for even having the audacity to attack the illusion of his long-gone sister, Gwynevere. The rest of his godly family has either abandoned him, died, or gone insane.
    • And it turns out Gwyn, Lord of Sunlight is the biggest jackass of them all. In the distant past, he and the other Lord Soul bearers fought against the dragons. Among these, the Dark Soul was unique in that it was a conduit to the Abyss, which existed in direct opposition to Gwyn's First Flame. Uncaring that their bearers, the Pygmy Lords, were completely loyal to him, he had them all rounded up and sealed in the Ringed City, using his own youngest child as a Cosmic Keystone to keep it sealed in time. Then he fed the Pygmy Lords' descendants, humanity, a sanitized version of history which placed him as King of the Gods and included nothing about the Dark Soul. When the First Flame started fading, the Dark Soul within the humans started reacting and created the Undead Curse in an effort to ensure the natural order Gwyn defied was upheld, and without the Abyss knowledge of the Lords, this led to era after era of suffering and misery.
  • Of the gods of Desktop Dungeons, one has been insane for centuries and another is halfway there, one is a Blood Knight and another a God of Evil, one is a Trickster God who rewards the use of "dirty tricks" and punishes mortals for being boring, and the sole God of Good is also ludicrously strict and unforgiving. It's also suggested that they're constantly at each other's throats, as they reward the player for destroying the others' altars.
  • Implied in the first two Disciples games but really shown in the third. At least, in the first two games, they are dicks to one another. In the third game, though, they have decided to destroy the world and start over, not caring about all the mortals there.
  • Divinity: Original Sin II reveals that the supposedly benevolent Seven Gods are soul-devouring thieves; they stole their power from The Veil and banished the God-King and other Eternals to the void. They then created the seven races in their own likeness, using them as source vats to be cosumed after death, and once they were unable to keep the God-King out they created the Divine to do it for them. Lucian the Divine is also a jerkass, having purposely genocided the elves to weaken Tir-Cendelius and allow the void through, thus enabling a pogrom of sourcerers to take place. The pogrom was simply a cover to steal all the source they'd accumulated to repair The Veil and keep the God-King out for eternity.
  • Dragon Age:
    • The Dread Wolf Fen'Harel, maybe. He's nominally an elven Trickster God, but many of the stories paint him as cruel and manipulative, rather than comically mischievous. And if the legends are to be believed, he not only locked both the Creators and the Forgotten Ones away but was enough of a Jerkass that the latter, who themselves were true Evil Gods, counted him among their numbers. Things get a little bit grayer in Dragon Age: Inquisition. Not only do you meet him, but he actually ends up joining your party to help. Granted you don't learn who he really is until The Stinger, but as Solas, he seems to lack many of the more sinister traits the elves ascribe to him. Codex entries found at the Temple of Mythal even go so far as to suggest that he was actually a God of Rebellion who got a Historical Villain Upgrade, meaning he might lean closer to Neglectful Precursor or God Is Flawed than previously believed. However, you then find out that he's plotting The End of the World as We Know It in order to create a better world for elves, leaving it up to the Inquisition (or what remains of it) to save the world. For the third time.
    • Some of the information revealed in Inquisition heavily implies that the rest of the Elven Pantheon were not as benevolent as Dalish stories claim either. Mythal was pretty much the Only Sane Man, which is why the rest of them killed her: she worried too much about the well-being of their people and got in the way of their desire for more power. And even Mythal has a rather significant Nice Job Breaking It, Hero moment to her name.
    • The true nature of the Old Gods of the Tevinter Imperium is ambiguous, but each of them apparently tricked their high priests into invading the Golden City on his behalf, with negative consequences for everyone (including themselves).
    • The main reason Solas approves of the idea of The Maker without believing in it is that The Maker doesn't do anything. True gods don't need to flaunt their power.
    • The Maker can also fall into this, depending on the speaker, to the point where the interpretations of the Maker that make Him seem actually decent (such as Leliana's) tend to be semi-heretical. Chantry dogma holds that the darkspawn exist because the magisters of Tevinter invaded Heaven and got smacked down and turned into monsters; most of it seems to be true except the Maker's involvement, which is still ambiguous; Corypheus seems to think that the Golden City was already empty, but he's an Unreliable Narrator. In other words, countless humans and dwarves have been killed in horrible ways or turned into monsters because of the admittedly abhorrent actions of a small group of Tevene magisters, none of whom even could have been dwarven because dwarves can't do magic. Then there's the Chantry explanation for demons existing, which is that the Maker screwed up when making spirits by not giving them the capacity for creation, dumped them like a sack of hot bricks, and dedicated all His attention to mortals instead, leading many of the spirits to fester in resentment and turn evil. Most of His relationship with mortals seems to consist of turning His face from them, looking back for thirty seconds and then returning to a stance of "no, screw you guys", meaning he is, at best, very passive-aggressive and deeply indifferent towards collateral damage.
  • Xom in Dungeon Crawl. To a lesser extent, Xom's fellow chaos god Makhleb also qualifies. He not only awards power and favor to his worshipers for killing everything under the sun (thus making life more miserable for non-worshipers), but he also grants the ability to summon demons (up to and including the most powerful non-unique demons in the game)... which have a chance of spawning hostile to the summoner!
  • The Gods of Dungeon Maker II: The Hidden War take this to an extreme, to the point that they're nearly evil through indifference. It's stated at one point that the gods would gladly exterminate most or all of humanity to defeat one rebellious demon. At one point they defeated a large army of demons, and 90% of humanity that happened to be in the way. Although, it turns out the gods didn't do squat. The "gods" that wiped out most of the world were also demons, just demons that were a little higher up on the ladder than the ones they killed.
  • The gods and of Elden Ring are on something of a spectrum.
    • Marika, the Top God and mother of most of the rest, was by all accounts a ruthlessly pragmatic woman with very little sympathy to spare for even her own children. The Golden Order she presided over was extremely racist and prone to enslaving those it deemed undesirable (such as Misbegotten and Omens), and is genocidally discriminatory against anything that uses fire (ask the Fire Giants... oh wait, they're all dead), and while Marika's personal feelings on the matter aren't elaborated, she at very least publicly approved of the persecution. She also shattered the Elden Ring, leading to most of the horrors that have plagued the Lands Between ever since.
    • Her children Godwyn and Miquella are the closest to pure white; Godwyn was an honorable and merciful warrior who spared Fortissax when he had the dragon at his mercy and allowed the Ancient Dragons to be peacefully integrated into the Golden Order. Fortissax thought so highly of him that after Godwyn's half-death, he entered Godwyn's empty dream to fight off the influence of the Rune of Death. Miquella spent most of his time figuring out new ways to fix the problems of his family and people; inventing Unalloyed Gold to protect his sister Malenia from Scarlet Rot, growing the Haligtree to serve as a haven for outcasts of the Golden Order, and even trying to fix Godwyn's unnatural half-death.
    • On the 'light gray' side of the spectrum, we have Godfrey (the first Elden Lord), Malenia, and Radahn. Godfrey was The Good King, but also ultimately too much of a Blood Knight to fit into a society with no worthy foes, so he was banished from the Lands Between. Malenia is a noble knight who desires to support her brother Miquella's noble goals, but the Scarlet Rot she's cursed with means she's a hazard to everyone in her general vicinity entirely against her will. Radahn is a Glory Hound without the nobility of Miquella's goals, but he's also A Father to His Men and an animal lover.
    • In the middle, there's Morgott, who while a great statesman and the only demigod to keep a functioning fief is also a Broken-System Dogmatist, Ranni, a Well-Intentioned Extremist who caused the Night of Black Knives that started off the Shattering as part of her plans but is also genuinely affable in person, and Radagon, who's only here because of how utterly ambiguous his character is.
    • In the 'Outright Black' end, there's Godrick, Mohg, and Rykard, all power-hungry butchers who murder en-masse for their own empowerment. Mohg and Rykard also run the two invasion groups, the Bloody Fingers (Mohg) and the Recusants (Rykard), whose only goal is to murder various Tarnished.
    • From a normal human being’s perspective, none of the Outer Gods seem to have good plans for humanity, despite their Blue-and-Orange Morality: The Frenzied Flame wants to destroy every living thing, The Scarlet Rot wants to spread and corrupt everything, the Formless Mother wants her followers to commit murder to empower themselves and her, Destined Death is causing a Zombie Apocalypse with corrupting Deathroot, and what little we know of the Fire Giant's Fell God doesn't sound good. Even the Greater Will, the one most widely viewed as conventionally "good", abandoned the Lands Between the moment the Shattering started, leaving humanity to the predations of rampaging demigods fighting for power- albeit that this might be because it couldn't contact the Lands Between with its Cosmic Keystone broken. As for the Dark Moon... it's an Enigmatic Empowering Entity that may unintentionally spread Alien Kudzu, but may be overall benevolent; it never fully controls people directly, but instead guides them to their own path of self-dscovery. The Dark Moon seems to want people to be free from the constraints of other powers, and able to walk their own paths... at least according to Ranni. It might also just not care about the Lands Between beyond the basics of supporting the laws of physics.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • Throughout the series, the Daedric Princes qualify (when they aren't crossing into full-on God of Evil territory). The Daedric Princes are the most powerful of the Daedric beings, immortal entities who existed prior to the creation of Mundus, the mortal plane, and who did not sacrifice any of their power to help create Mundus (as the Aedra did). While your average denizen of Tamriel (along with less knowledgeable fans of the series) may see them as being Demons, scholars in-universe and out are quick to point out that they are really beings Above Good and Evil who operate on a Blue-and-Orange Morality in line with their spheres of influence. Whether they are seen as "good" or "evil" by mortals really boils down to how benevolent or malevolent their actions toward mortals are. Some seem to genuinely care about their mortal followers (but may not always be "nice" toward them) while others see them as little more than disposable playthings.
      • Azura, Daedric Prince of Dusk and Dawn, is generally seen as one of the most benevolent of the Daedric Princes. She is known to watch over her loyal and obedient followers and acts largely as a Big Good in the main quest of Morrowind. However, she is known to have a petty streak and is a big fan of gaining Disproportionate Retribution. In the past, when the advisors of her champion, Nerevar, went against her wishes by using the profane Tools of Kagrenac on the Heart of Lorkhan to become the Physical Gods of the Tribunal, she cursed the entire race of the Chimer ("shining elves") by turning them into the red-eyed, ashen-skin Dunmer ("dark elves"). She also prophesied the reincarnation of Nerevar who would cast down the "false gods". In the plot of Morrowind, it's revealed that the Nerevarine may not actually be Nerevar's reincarnation, but simply a convenient Unwitting Pawn for Azura to get her revenge on the Tribunal. Due in no small part to the actions of the Nerevarine (as guided by Azura), a series of disasters strike Morrowind, rendering much of it uninhabitable with the rest taken over by the Dunmer's long time Slave Race, the Argonians. "Good" Is Not Nice with Azura, indeed. Further, there is evidence that Azura is more of a True Neutral, concerned with maintaining some sort of metaphysical balance. Her actions just happen to benefit mortals more often than not by stopping divine threats.
      • Meridia, the Daedric Prince associated with the "energy of living things," is another who is generally considered "good," but has some very jerkass qualities as well. She has a hatred of all things undead and seeks to rid them from the world, which is usually a good thing for living mortals. Additionally, she's a main opposer of Molag Bal, probably the closest to an actual God of Evil among the Daedric Princes, and his motives are never benevolent toward mortals. Despite this, she can be a bit of a Knight Templar in her actions, is a fan of Disproportionate Retribution for those who wrong her, backed the Obviously Evil Umaril the Unfeathered in the Backstory and in the Knights Of The Nine expansion, and is a seething Narcissist about it all.
      • Sheogorath, Daedric Prince of Madness, is every bit as unpredictable as his title may imply. He may be the Daedric Prince most active in aiding his followers, and in every appearance is shown to care about them deeply. However, he is completely insane. Seemingly at random, he can fluctuate between being this, a Great Gazoo, an Incredibly Inconvenient Deity, and an Omnicidal Maniac. He's been known to hurl celestial bodies at those who've offended him, or simply make cheese rain from the sky on a whim. In The Oblivion expansion The Shimmering Isles, Sheogorath has been known to sentence people to death for growing beards, played jump rope with the entrails of someone who had his undying loyalty, and immediately threatens a subordinate he suspects of betraying them with ripping out their eyes. Thankfully by the time of Skyrim Sheogorath has mellowed out significantly due to being the probably-heroic Champion of Cyrodiil who ascended to godhood and became the new Sheogorath, in fact he even helps repair the mentality of a former emperor he cursed with madness, allowing his spirit to finally rest in peace.
    • Morrowind:
      • Vivec, one of the aforementioned Tribunal deities of the Dunmer, is one. While he has used his powers to help and protect the people of Morrowind in the past and is the main opposition for Dagoth Ur which makes him into a Big Good and Supporting Leader, he has his jerkass tendencies as well. In the distant past, Sheogorath hurled a "rogue moon" at Vivec's new Egopolis. Vivec used his power to stop it in mid-air above the city, saying that it is held in place by the people's love for him. He also spends much of the game's main quest trying to have the Nerevarine killed, but this one is possibly justified. (He is a believer in You Can't Fight Fate, and he knew that all attempts to stop the true Nerevarine would be destined to fail, confirming his identity.)
      • In the Bloodmoon expansion, Hircine, the Daedric Prince of the Hunt, is a Downplayed example. He does kidnap the greatest warriors on Solstheim for his "hunt", but he also gives plenty of warnings, prophecies, signs, and such that it is time for the hunt. When a finalist emerges from his hunting grounds to challenge him directly, he also gives that person a sporting chance by fighting him at significantly reduced (but still incredibly strong for a mortal) strength. He also offers a legendary artifact as a reward for defeating him.
    • In Skyrim, the Dragons technically qualify, due to possessing Aedric souls unbound by time, rendering them immortal and able to resurrect even after death (unless their soul is consumed by a Dragonborn). Furthermore, their ability to use the Thu'um allows them to bend reality to their very will. During the Merethic Era they caused untold destruction across all of Tamriel before they were driven to extinction and their leader, Alduin is prophesied to be the one to ultimately destroy the world. Multiple characters make the point that Alduin's destruction of the world and consumption of everyone's souls is an inevitability, it's unfortunate but it's a natural part of the world's lifecycle, but he has no excuse to be enslaving people instead of killing them, and he's thousands/hundreds of thousands of years too early and killing time by tormenting humanity to begin with.
  • The Judgements of Fallen London are massive stellar Eldritch Abominations that decide what Is and Is-Not in the universe. They enforce their laws by the light they shed, one of the laws being the Great Chain, a heirarchy that has them at the top and renders them nearly unkillable by non-Judgements, as well as effectively condemning those below them on it to a life of servitude and suffering. In addition to this they created life for one purpose: To eat their souls. When you die there's no afterlife, no paraside or hell, just the hungry maw of a star that only permits your existence because you're edible.
  • In Fear & Hunger, the story's Big Bad Ensemble are the New Gods, four humans who achieved divinity and almost immediately abused it. Two of them are rapists, one's essentially a Cenobite from Hellraiser, and the last one was a Well-Intentioned Extremist who birthed a Dark Messiah. The Old Gods by contrast had Blue-and-Orange Morality but genuinely cared for mankind in their own strange ways, save for God of the Moon Rher who had nothing but contempt for mankind and spent the entirety of the sequel tormenting them.
  • Final Fantasy
    • The Occuria of Final Fantasy XII fit the bill perfectly. Most of the plot of the game turns out to be an attempt to overthrow them and return control over Ivalice to humanity. To put it in perspective: Venat, one-third of the game's Big Bad Triad is the fallen angel figure among them, who they try to convince you to kill at one point, and he acts completely in line (ie, getting others to help him as he himself cannot act in the human realm directly)... and he still is the primary Anti-Villain of the game, because you can tell he had very good reasons for wanting to rebel. Beyond his motivations, he's made more sympathetic by default by Gerun (the Occuria's leader/spokesperson) being an utter bastard.
    • The fal'Cie of Final Fantasy XIII also fall under this trope, being basically giant elementals who subjugate humans into fighting their civil war for them. And that's just scratching the surface. It turns out that Every Fal'Cie from Cocoon wants their creator The Maker to return, and believe that this demands no less than the sacrifice of Cocoon's entire human population. They don't even mind that The Maker's return would likely lead to their destruction as well. Since the Cocoon Fal'Cie are bound to their duties to Cocoon and cannot directly destroy it, they turn humans into L'Cie in the hopes that they can do it for them. The Cocoon Fal'Cie see humans as nothing more than cattle to be sacrificed to their god.
      • Oh and to elaborate on the subjugation business, they do it by branding people with a Power Tattoo that gives awesome magic powers - at the expense of having to complete a mission within a time limit, or become a crystalline zombie called a Cie'th. And if you complete the task, you get to live forever as a crystal statue. Unless the fal'Cie decide they need you again, in which case you get to go through the cycle again, with the same attendant risk of Cie'thdom. Also they don't actually spell out what you are supposed to do, they just give you a vision and you have to figure it out on your own. Yeah, It Sucks to Be the Chosen One.
    • Final Fantasy XIV brings us the Primals, the gods of the various "Beast Tribes". They're physically summonable to the world, and in fact, this happens quite often. They're also very caring and devoted to their worshippers. The problem is that they tend to be extremely deadly towards anyone who isn't a worshipper and can also "brand" non-worshippers into becoming one. This branding is irreversible, and feeds more power to the Primal, allowing it to continue to exist; Primals require faith and an offering of magic to be summoned, and a constant influx of faith and magic to sustain that summoning. There's also the issue that what's being summoned isn't the god per se, but what the summoner believes their god to be. This can range from "if you don't bother me and my people, we won't bother you" to "because my summoner has a grudge against the nearest city, it must be destroyed and all who live in it killed" to "I will kill everything that isn't a believer because I deserve to be the only god in existence". The Player Character gets the singular "joy" of having to clean up the mess.
    • In Mobius Final Fantasy, Vox is a sneering, petty omnipotent voice of great power, who by his own admission isn't quite a God but "may as well be". Wol thoroughly dislikes him but goes along with his orders out of lack of a choice. Apparently, Vox met his match in Cloud, who managed to be such a jerk that Vox stopped talking to him.
  • The Final Fantasy Legend The Creator is revealed to be responsible of all the events of the game, although his motivations vary between versions.note  In either version, the heroes rightfully calling him on treating everything like a game. The Creator simply brushes the accusations aside, claiming that as the maker of all, he's free to do as he wishes before engaging the protagonists as the Final Boss.
  • Ashera from Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn. While she isn't exactly an immature jerk like most examples, she proves to have an extreme view of how the world should be and ends up turning almost everyone to stone when she awakens and sees the world doesn't match her vision. Ironically, she was considered a benevolent goddess before that event, while her other half, Yune was considered evil, but ends up being much nicer and less extreme, though also a lot more emotional and childish.
  • Zeus in God of War, particularly the second game. In fact, every other Olympian is a Jerkass of some sorts save for Athena until the end of the third game, Hephaestus and perhaps Hades (who by the third game has plenty of reasons to hate Kratos).
    • Kratos himself when he's the god of war, who goes to do all the things Ares had been before he killed him.
      • Then Ghost of Sparta reveals the reason of said acquired jerkassery: The gods imprisoned his brother in the Realm of Death till adulthood, out of fear he was the Marked One destined to kill the Gods (Actually Kratos). Then Thanatos kills his brother, all under the order of the Gods, particularly Zeus. In fact, if Gods just never messed with Kratos, he probably wouldn't even be so destructive, but when you combine Spartan attitude with being a Cosmic Plaything and a Demigod, shit tends to hit the fan.
      • Explained in the third game by the gods being infected with evils from Pandora's Box. Zeus was infected with fear increasing his paranoia. That being said, the evils from Pandora's Box just made their character flaws more clear; they were major assholes even before that.
    • By God of War (PS4), Kratos has nothing but contempt and mistrust for all gods. He believes they are all monsters who do nothing but cause misery for mortals. He is most ashamed of himself and what he did with his power when he was a god. This strains his relationship with his son Atreus because he has tried to keep Atreus' heritage hidden from him. It doesn't help that the Aesir don't seem to be any better than the Olympians and may actually be worse - while the Greek gods' behavior was partially explained by the evils of Pandora's Box corrupting them, the Norse gods have no such excuse for their brutal cruelty. Just about every story Mimir shares can be summed up as "Odin and/or Thor is a jerk."
    • God of War Ragnarök recontextualizes most of the above since we actually get to meet more Aesir when they're not being antagonistic, and it turns out the situation is more like "Odin is a jerk and is a really bad influence on the others, Thor in particular." Atreus even befriends Thor's daughter Thrud, who is a kind girl and aspiring Valkyrie who's only on Odin's side because she's been raised on pro-Odin propaganda. The only gods who are jerks without redeeming qualities or Character Development are Odin and Heimdall.
  • Played for Laughs in Half-Minute Hero, where the Time Goddess is loved and praised by everyone, but is actually a narcissistic anarcho-capitalist who gives her Chosen One as little help or guidance as she can get away with and makes him pay huge amounts of cash for anything he gets, even aid needed to save his soul from a demon. She seems to be concerned with the planet, but likely only because destroying it would also destroy all of the money.
    • She's outdone by far by the villains of the sequel's Ragnarok 30 scenario, the God Nine. While they actually had helped Hero save the world long ago, they turned when they checked up on the world and discovered demons living there... even though after their overlord was destroyed they were able to in harmony with humans. Their solution to this "problem"? Descend to earth and simply massacre human and demon alike. Of particular note is Varach of the Wars, who brags about how he keeps the world in cycles of war and peace so that the gods can harvest the energy of the Timestream from those who die, then give them time to reproduce before starting again. Of course, even they are beaten in jerkassery by Fate...
  • Most of the Eastern Gods from the Izuna duology (especially their leader, Takushiki) are none too happy with Izuna and her clan trespassing on the sacred Kamiari Shrine, and take their frustrations out on the villagers by placing them under various curses.
  • DIO from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure was already one of the biggest jerkasses alive who had an extremely unhealthy God complex, but Eyes of Heaven sees himself becoming Heaven Ascension DIO, who absorbed 36 souls of sinners, successfully became God in his universe, and murdered the entire Joestar Group, putting an end to the Joestar Bloodline. Now that he's conquered his universe, DIO's new goal is to conquer the entire multiverse, and with the ability of The World Over Heaven, he now has the ability to rewrite the events of history to bend Fate in his favor. He even considers Enrico Pucci, his closest disciple, a disposable tool. DIO already brought misery to the original timeline via murdering dogs and cats, forcefully causing parents to commit filicide for his entertainment, and giving his minions PTSD, but Heaven Ascension DIO makes it his goal as God to erase every shred of goodness in the universe so he can rule over the bad.
  • Every single god and goddess in Kid Icarus: Uprising. Big Bad Hades tricks humans into going at war with each other so he can use their souls to make his army of monsters. Viridi, goddess of nature, believes humans have abused nature far too long and wants to wipe them all (though she thinks The Sociopath Hades is even worse). Even the Big Good God of Good Palutena isn't immune, admitting that she does abuse her powers at times and frequently messing with Pit. Dark Pit eventually calls them all out on their selfish nature when they comment about how bad the humans are. The game is very loosely based on Greek Mythology listed above, with countless liberties being made like Hades being a Devil analogue.
  • Knights of Ambrose: The book "Of Gods and Men" and various clergy describe Zamas as a cruel deity who wants to wipe out mortals for their potential for chaos and for gaining Helena's affections. In Finding Light, the party meets him face-to-face and he's just as condescending to them as one would expect and makes it clear that he will never give up on his genocidal goals. And he's responsible for all the confusing looping rooms in the Black Tower and Heaven's Door. While he is worshipped by the Kingdom of Zamaste, this is less because of any benevolence on his part and more because the nation considers his victory inevitable and hopes he'll spare them.
  • The AI Director of Left 4 Dead conjures up health kits and ammunition whenever you really need it, and a million zombies whenever he's bored. Which is all the time.
  • While the gods of The Legend of Zelda are, for the most part, good, they've also done some extremely questionable things in the past. It's discussed particularly in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. After Ganondorf's first defeat at the hands of the Hero of Time, he eventually managed to return to the world and attacked again. Since Link wasn't around to assist, the denizens of Hyrule desperately prayed to the gods in a bid to save them—and the gods responded by choosing a few people to escape the land's highest mountains, then sending a massive rainstorm to drown all the rest. Ganondorf outright points out that "Your gods destroyed you!", and it's hard to argue with that logic—civilization is all but dead, as there are only a few settlements left on the Great Sea, and they seem to have very little contact with each other. It's somewhat justified with the reveal that these gods require prayers to function, but even so, you'd think all-powerful deities would be able to devise a solution beyond "Drown 95% of the world's population."
  • Little Medusa kicks off with the vengeful Goddess Fiora and the Titans cursing the little Olympian Goddess Artemiza into becoming a Gorgon as revenge against Zeus and the other Gods over the death of her husband and the banishment of the Titans.
  • The Sinistrals in the Lufia series of games fit this trope to a T. Arek (the true leader of the Sinistrals who is Intrigued by Humanity) and Erim who becomes so attached to humanity (mostly due to Maxim) that she repeatedly reincarnates herself as a human girl who falls in love with a hero of Maxim's bloodline are the only exceptions. The rest are total jerks.
  • The Elder Gods of Lusternia each follow their own agenda. Some, like Elostian, are relatively benign; others, like Eventru, less so; still others, like Fain, veer into God of Evil territory. And that's not even getting into the Soulless Gods...
  • The Elder Gods from Mortal Kombat, particularly in Mortal Kombat 9, where, when begged by Raiden for help against the invasion of Earthrealm by Outworld, their response is "so sad, too bad, but we don't care about the genocide of an entire realm". Shao Kahn even mocks them by calling them "impotent worms".
    • They weren't much different in the previous games/timeline, where they were not being indifferent to all, but their own survival attempts tended to make things worse. They cursed Shang Tsung to consume souls to survive, making him stronger, which bit them on their collective asses when Shinnok attacked them note . They promised to return Scorpion's clan to life in exchange for service, but resurrected them as the undead. They tend to screw characters (both good and evil) over in several endings throughout the games. And comments in the games and outside of them has stated the Elder Gods appointed Shao Kahn as the protector of Outworld, a position he used to gain control of the realm. The Elder Gods thus are responsible for the rising of most of the major villains throughout the games.
    • It's even worse in Mortal Kombat X, when it falls to the Cage Family and their allies to stop Shinnok, a fallen Elder God, from corrupting the Jinsei, Earthrealm's life-force while the Elder Gods have their hands on their asses. Just like Kahn in the previous game, Shinnok mocks his fellow Elder Gods for their inaction and apparent cowardice. And after Shinnok is vanquished, Raiden, feeling that the Elder Gods are more burden than help, decides to take matters into his own hands by defending Earthrealm from ALL threats. It seems that many of the characters in the series view the Elder Gods as incompetent slackers.
    • Then Kronika decides to step in to prove to everyone that this Titan is no booger-eating mouthbreather. Realizing that a temporal armageddon is a shitstorm waiting to happen, the Elder Gods tasked Raiden to steal her hourglass. The stakes are so high that one of their own, Cetrion decides to join the fight. Unfortunately, Cetrion is no better as she sides with her mother Kronika and finish what her brother Shinnok started: slaughter all the Elder Gods.
    • Defied by Fire God Liu Kang in Mortal Kombat 1. By being more proactive and being more helpful to most of the realms, he wanted to prevent both this and laziness from occuring and the aforementioned problems like it did in the previous timelines.
  • In NetHack, your current God (as defined by your class and starting alignment) expects you to delve into the Dungeons of Doom where Everything Is Trying to Kill You, overcome quests and puzzles, descend into Hell, steal an amulet that causes bad stuff to you from the servant of Moloch, then bring it out of Hell, out of the dungeons, through the elemental Planes, and across the Astral Plane (where literally everything, including three of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse, is trying to stop you) to give it to your God. With such a tall order, your God would probably help you as much as possible to ensure success, right? Wrong. Sure, they can help you if you pray to them... as long as you don't do it too often. Pray without respecting a certain time limit since your last prayer, and your God will get angry. Get your God too angry, and they'll start punishing you, all the way up to trying to kill you. Sacrifices can mollify the God and reduce the time limit, though. (Evidently placating God's childish ego is more important than obtaining an artifact of cosmic powers.)
  • Myrkul from Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer, the former god of the dead. When people don't worship him or any other god, he sews their souls onto a wall that utterly destroys them when they die, including one of the player's former companions, and for extra evulz makes the process slow. When one of his old priests tries to take his beloved off that wall, he sticks him on it, then removes him right before he's Deader than Dead so he can turn him into an Eldritch Abomination and inflict him on the world. When the Player Character wants to know how to end the curse and thus put the man out of his misery, he lies to them and nearly lets their soul be destroyed. The kicker is in the fluff, Myrkul's much nicer successor did away with the bloody wall but was forced to reinstate it by the rest of the Pantheon. Apparently rewarding people for the virtue they displayed in their lives regardless of what god they worshipped was starving them of followers implying that many people wouldn't worship them unless they had no choice.
  • In Noita damaging the terrain of one of the Holy Mountain zones will anger the gods and cause them to send an overpowered Stevari monster to kill you. If the damage was caused by a rock-boring Mato worm tunneling through the area before you even set foot in the Holy Mountain, the gods are still angered and will try to kill you.
  • Nyarlathotep and, depending on one's point of view, Philemon from the Persona series. They are the Anthropomorphic Personifications of humanity's creative and positive urges (Philemon) and humanity's self-destructive urges (Nyarlathotep). They treat the fight between them as a game, using people as agents and pawns to act out their eternal war. Nyarlathotep wants nothing more than to kick over the table and ruin everything, but Philemon holds him back. But then, for all Philemon empowers the heroes, all he really cares about is saving humanity in the aggregate and lets his agents go through hell without so much as a note of sympathy. There's a reason a lot of players like to have Tatsuya punch Philemon in the face rather than thank him at the end of Innocent Sin.
  • The gods in Pillars of Eternity tend towards this. Even the generally benevolent Eothas (while he still lived), Hylea and Berath are absolutely brutal if crossed, leaving significant collateral damage in their wake. The rest tend towards sometimes-inscrutable Blue-and-Orange Morality, with special credit going to Skaen, the god of hate, who rewards his followers for petty cruelty and engages more or less routinely in Human Sacrifice, and Woedica, goddess of vengeance, the Greater-Scope Villain who has been devouring unborn souls for power. The kicker is all of the gods were man-made through animancy. The Engwithans apparently believed that a world run by these was preferable to a world with no gods at all.
  • Pokémon:
    • Tornadus and Thundurus, Olympus Mons introduced in Pokémon Black and White, are a pair of genie-like creatures who use their abilities to cause mayhem for humans and Pokémon, particularly farmers. No reason is given for their mischief (which is also reflected in their shared Prankster Ability); they just do it for fun. Fortunately their foil, Landorus, is far more benevolent.
    • While Alola's guardians protect the islands from danger, they're not exactly friendly. Tapu Koko is capricious and fickle in saving people and loves conflict, Tapu Lele casually uses its scales to cause people to fight and kill each other for its own amusement, Tapu Bulu destroyed a supermarket when one was built near its sacred lands (despite being the nicest of the Tapus), and Tapu Fini is indifferent to those in need, and having a cynical opinion on humans, only helps those who survive its powerful, destructive fog. Fittingly, they're all part Fairy-type.
    • From the third generation, we have Kyogre and Groudon, who, despite supposedly being the rulers of the oceans and the continents, have little interest in anything other than fighting each other and are indifferent to the fact that they'll kill everything else on Earth in the process. Subverted by Rayquaza, the ruler of the sky and third member of the trio who turns out to be benevolent and will go out of its way to protect humans and even make alliances with them.
  • Primal Rage: All of the gods, with the possible exception of Blizzard, are this to some degree, ranging from just indifferent or hungry, to straight-up gods of evil, with Vertigo and Diablo being the worst of the bunch.
  • Ludo-Rathowm from AliceSoft's Rance games is a literal Space Whale with the personality of a tantrum-throwing Spoiled Brat who created the entire world is such a way that it'll be always plagued by war and strife because he thinks the suffering of others is the most amusing thing there is. A playable (main) race, the dragons, managed to defeat the demons and ushered in a peaceful age... and Ludo-Rathowm had them wiped because they ruined his fun. And he would've done the same to the humans if they didn't prove to be the best protagonist race yet to him, simply because they are sturdy enough to defend themselves but squishy enough to die in an assortment of horrible ways.
  • Aquaticus, dragon god of water in Rune Factory 3, though you only find this out in after the final boss battle: He is the one who stripped Micah of his memory and plunked him into the middle of Sharance Village, as part of a Gambit Roulette to reunite the village with the non-human Sol Terrano settlement - setting a bunch of dangerous monsters loose in the process. When he reveals this to Micah, he gives him an opportunity to regain his full memory, but at the cost of having to leave his new life behind - including the fiancee he'd just fought Aquaticus to rescue - and returning to his old one. And this is after Aquaticus had revealed that you had fulfilled every one of the requirements for his plans. So Micah's rewards are a happy life in Sharance, but with most of his past lost, probably forever, or regain that past at the cost of his present, also probably forever. Dragon Gods are Jerks.
  • The gods in RuneScape, for the most part, see their followers as little more than tools they can use to gain an advantage over the other gods. Even Saradomin, who is worshipped by most of the characters in-game, doesn't really seem to care much about his worshippers and was actively participating in the God Wars without a second thought. The closest thing there is to a 'good' god is Guthix, the god of nature and balance, who created Gielinor and was powerful enough to stop the God Wars.
    • The cruelty of the gods in the retconned history of the universe is the roundabout reason for the populating of Gleinor, the world the game takes place in. Guthix was born a mortal but killed a God who had killed his daughter through gross negligence. After he accidentally became a god, Guthix populated Gleinor with the hopes that it would be free of the fighting between the gods. His death allows many gods to come to the realm and wage war again.
    • Most of the gods tend to be well-intentioned extremists, though several are more caring about the mortals who worship them. Seren committed suicide to prevent her elves from dying out, while Armadyl had a Heroic BSoD when he thought his followers were wiped out.
  • Sacrifice almost all of the gods are jerks. Charnel enjoys bringing pain and death to anyone and demotes his Necromancers for someone better. Pyro is a power-hungry warmonger. Stratos set the whole apocalypse in motion, hoping that he would be the only god left. Persephone is self-righteous, Holier Than Thou, and just as blood-thirsty as her fellows. Only James, the God of Earth, is an all-around decent, honest fellow.
  • Sheep Happens:
    • The game starts off when Perseus buys some magic sandals from the Greek god Hermes to win a race. However, the sandals turn out to be cursed and Perseus can't stop running; explaining why the game is an endless runner. Hermes also taunts Perseus occasionally while he's chasing him.
    • In the Christmas event, Hermes and his flying black sheep attack Santa's sleigh and steal all the presents. It's up to Perseus to collect the presents and save Christmas.
  • Shin Megami Tensei: YHVH, the Hebrew name of the Christian God, is portrayed as a condescending, patronizing paternal figure at best and as an amoral, despotic dictator who cares little to nothing about mankind at worst. Seeing living beings as merely source of faith, YHVH's sole objective is to force the entire universe to worship Him and Him only, threatening divine punishment upon any who defy his will. Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse takes this to the logical extreme with the revelation that He split Satan into Merkabah and Lucifer to lead the forces of Law and Chaos into a Forever War with no winner in order to keep himself into power until the end of time. He's so reviled by gods and humans alike, to the point that Pagan gods had gathered in an attempt to rebel against him and humans are capable of denying his existence just by words alone. This is reflected in the final battle where His true form is actually a massive serpentine demon to display how far he has actually fallen from his prime times.
  • Smite, being a crossover between Gods from various mythologies, naturally have a lot of high-and-mighty jackass Gods here and there. But worth mentioning is Ra from the Egyptian Mythology. He used to be a bonafide God of Good, but after he was poisoned by Isis in her bid to save Egypt, he went mad from the pain and nearly had his daughter Hathor obliterate Egypt before he changed his mind, and then settles in the middle road: Being a condescending bird-God.
  • Subverted by Tales of Symphonia. You do become relatively well-acquainted with some minor and major deities of the world religion, like Remiel and Kratos, and in the first arc of the game they do turn out to be utter jerks, using and abusing their power over the protagonists. It's only later on that you find out that they're not really angels - they're more of an Ancient Conspiracy club run by a few 4000-year-old guys and both their immortality and their power come from Exspheres. They're not really gods, but they're still basically jerks running the world.
  • Touhou Project:
    • Kanako Yasaka not only waged a war in ages past to usurp another god and was introduced attempting to have all of Gensokyo worship her, her machinations were the initiator for two subsequent games. Her aim was to gather faith at the expense of possibly destroying Gensokyo, since she was trying to take it from the Hakurei Shrine, who maintain the boundary that protects the last sanctuary of magic from the real world where magic is dead (admittedly, Kanako being a goddess from said outside world, she might not have realized the importance of the Hakurei Border)... Later on, her jerkass traits are played with. While pretty manipulative, she has every reason to be seen as a positive influence and is actively introducing outside world technology into Gensokyo.
    • Okina Matara, one of the great sages who founded Gensokyo, made her introduction by starting an incident that threw the seasons out of whack for the alleged purpose of finding new assistants. Her actual reason was not much better as she actually just wanted to cause an incident for the sake of shaking things up, generating faith in the process, and reminding her fellow sages that she was still around. In subsequent appearances, she's almost ruined Sumireko's life, and on one occasion also invited Hecatia Lapislazuli, the goddess of hell, to freely rampage throughout Gensokyo. Word of God has it that she is an old-fashioned god of the kind who is cruel to those who slight her, and Reimu herself more commonly refers to Okina as a youkai than a goddess (to Okina's frustration). Complicating matters are the facts that Okina herself admits to intentionally trying to self-style herself as a villain while everything she does is ultimately for the sake of the realm.
    • The Lunarians are a race of Celestial Gods (as opposed to Okina and Kanako who are both Native Gods) whose society runs on a purity and impurity-based morality... And that would be fine and dandy, if it weren't for the fact that they also exemplify Pure Is Not Good, are huge elitist jerks and regularily consider "purifying" the impure planet Earth just so the Earthlings' impurity will never be able to reach them. Also, the Lunarians created the Things That Go "Bump" in the Night specifically to cull the number of Earthlings.
  • Utawarerumono: Wisitarnea, both versions, definitely mean(s) well. Unfortunately, this tends to involve killing lots of people, binding souls into eternity for the hell of it, causing natural disasters by fighting and manipulating everyone into wars.
  • Like his Norse counterpart, Odin in Valkyrie Profile is kinda a dick.
  • View from Below:
    • Played with in the case of the Crimson God. He's far above mortals, is very sadistic, has the power to wipe out humanity and was once Jesus Christ, but God stripped him of his divinity in his backstory.
    • The one in charge of the human sacrifice ritual, Somnium, is a godlike or demonic being who is implied to be even higher than the Crimson God.
    • The Abrahamic God doesn't outright antagonize humanity, but he did give up on both them and Jesus, deeming the former to be irredeemable and the latter to be a failure for giving into hatred. He also stripped Jesus of his divinity, threw him out of heaven, and left him to wander Earth forever as a vengeful ghost.
  • Unsurprisingly (if you're versed in Classical Mythology) Zeus is the Big Bad of Will Rock: He resurrected all the monsters and undeads of Greece in order to take over the world and want to marry (or have as a sacrifice) Will's girlfriend.
  • The World Ends with You: The Composer, Joshua, definitely counts. His behavior is downright dickish right from his introduction, and he constantly spouts condescending remarks for all to hear. However, despite looking like a scrawny fifteen-year-old, he is still basically the god of Shibuya and has such a nihilistic mindset he wants to destroy the city, with the entire plot revolving around him manipulating Neku in order to achieve this. Luckily, by the end, his faith in humanity is restored and he decides against destroying everything. Though, he's still not very well-liked.
  • Zanza from Xenoblade Chronicles 1 constantly destroys and rebuilds the universe. Why? Well, he claims it's because he's a god, why the hell not; but in reality, it's because he needs the energy of dead people to feed on, and if they decided to explore off to the stars, he would wither away and die. And he's not having that. Needless to say, he gets called out on this a lot; and not even his own disciples try to justify his actions, they just ignore the topic.
  • The entire human race is created by "God" to be replacement organic components for a malevolent interstellar weapon in Xenogears.

    Visual Novels 
  • The version of Gilgamesh in Fate/stay night is a jerkass demigod, who plans to commit mass genocide, leaving only the strongest to serve under him. Guess he didn't learn anything, huh? Turns out, not really, this version of Gilgamesh is summoned before he actually met Enkidu and was an unrestrained tyrant. While he had bouts of memories of his friendship with Enkidu, since he didn't experience that, he defaults on being a genocidal maniac. When he's summoned as a Caster in Fate/Grand Order, he's summoned AFTER his ordeals with Enkidu, so he's instead a responsible, egomaniac good king. Throne of Heroes is weird.
  • The Shinza Bansho Series has a whole pantheon's worth of gods with various levels of flaws and selfishness. They all created new universes upon their ascension, formed from their own ideals. This also means that everyone who lives in said universes have to put up with whatever Laws they are ruled under. When a jaded warrior ruling over eternal stagnation, a hopeless idealist obsessed with improving everyone's lives (including those of the villains), and a Bratty Half-Pint who rampantly abuses her status are considered among the nicer Gods, this trope is in full effect. And of course, then there is Hajun, someone considered a real piece of work even by the standards of the series.

  • The webcomics by A-gnosis portray some of the Greek gods, accurately, as jerks. It is toned down a bit (Zeus doesn't commit on-screen rapes), but many of the gods apparently view mortals as playthings. And then there is Hades, who just wants to be left alone and care for the dead, but wants nothing to do with his living worshippers. When a priestess of his wants to talk to him, he's quite rude to her. Demeter, on the other hand, averts this trope by politely going to all the harvest festivals she's invited to.
  • Magicnote  in El Goonish Shive is, in the words of Elliot, "a needy drama geek with a flair for the dramatic," which grants power based mainly on aesthetic sensibilities and, every few hundred years, abruptly withdraws it from almost everyone on Earth and changes how to get it to keep from becoming too prominent on the world stage. This turns out to be a case of limited social development; the sapient force regulating magic can only peer into the human world when someone uses sufficiently powerful magic. Most mages only use sufficiently powerful magic when they're suffering from extreme personal drama, like worshiping their egos or while on the verge of madness, which greatly limits Magic's perception and comprehension of human nature.
  • Freefall: A central tenet of Sqid mythology is that the gods don't give anything away: everything from the skies to the seas to each individual Sqid's life was stolen from their gods at some point. The more generous gods use theft as a test of worthiness and let the Sqids keep what they stole without further trouble, while more greedy gods like the goddess of Life never stop trying to take back what was stolen from them.
  • The Gods of Arr-Kelaan can sometimes slide into this, but there's a general consensus that as bad as the Traveler Gods could be they are still better than the old gods. The old Gods being Jerkasses is what kicks off the "God War".
  • In Wily's Defense features Sphere. He's basically a lazy, irresponsible, and petty Jerkass who is apathetic towards the actions of his destructive children. He shows more concern over a random guy calling himself the "God Of Flames" than he does over the angels of death and destruction going to war with each other.
  • The Penguin God in Jack Of All Blades: He tricks Jack and Tsai into accompanying the Penguins to their new home world, telling them the trip would take a couple of days at the most. (which it did, to them). After revealing this, he revealed that Jack's new bride will have found someone she loves even more than him when he gets back (also true: that person was their daughter, Jacqi)
  • Kill Six Billion Demons: The seven Demiurges are the winners of a gigantic god-war between universes. They're all insane in some form (Mottom is an angry hag who sacrifices maidens for eternal beauty, Mammon is senile, Solomon David is too proud to address the corruption of his empire, etc.), and attempting to 'fix' this just causes more war.
  • Oglaf:
    • Sithrak the Blind Gibberer would seem to be this, or at least if it's to believe his missionaries. They claim that the reason life is cruel is that Sithrak is angry and insane.
      Missionary 1: When you die, Sithrak tortures you forever — whether you were good or not.
      Missionary 2: I find that lack of responsibility really liberating.
    • The Alt Text reveals that Sithrak does have his standards, though... he doesn't torture you before you're born because that would be creepy.
    • And when a missionary of Sithrak finally meets the god, Sithrak is confused by how terrified the cultist is, before explaining that his promises of eternal torment were just poetry wrote while he was an angry teenager. Even though he resurrects his follower to try to correct their view of him, the Sithrak cultists assume this was just the god toying with their emotions in an act of sadism.
    • In a rare SFW comic, an unnamed god reacts explosively to blasphemies which he's not properly informed his followers as to the nature of.
      General: God is on their side. But I've been reading their holy book and I think God may be a psycho.
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • The Gods created the world it seems for their own amusement as much as anything. Their squabbles the first time created the Snarl and ended up killing 1/4 of them and unmaking reality before they locked it up in the current world. When they remade it they made Clerics and a lot of cool monsters for them to help fight but needed Cannon Fodder for them to kill for experience. All goblin races were created to be nothing more than easy experience points and defined as "Usually Chaotic Evil" for the purposes of alignment and spells, no matter their actions. (Well, according to Redcloak anyway.) As a result, killing a Goblin child unable to comprehend good and evil is not an evil act (again, according to Redcloak). The motivation of the aforementioned Redcloak stems from him trying to give his people an equal footing. Redcloak's beliefs are technically true, though the full story is more nuanced. They were created by a Chaotic Evil god who abandoned them due to impatience, hence their alignment and lack of a patron deity, and their place in the food chain wasn't intended to single them out anymore than anybody else. They simply happened to get the short end of the stuck due to careless planning and bad luck.
    • The Dark One (the previously-mortal god of the goblins) averts this in his dealings with his followers, but he's still willing to threaten the stability of the entire universe in order to force the other gods to make Goblins a PC race. Right-Eye however believes this is true, and renounced the Dark One because he thought (citing the many goblins who died for the cause) the Dark One cared more about revenge than about goblins.
    • The Northern Gods attending the Godsmoot seem to bear out Redcloak's depiction, with many of the ostensibly Good gods supporting ending the world and killing everyone on it because it would be safer for them, personally. One of them, Nord the Ocean God, just wants to unmake the world because he wants to try out a new coastline.
    • Of course, this makes rather more sense considering revelations from a couple hundred strips later: The gods have made billions of worlds, each inevitably destroyed by the Snarl. From their perspective, destroying the world before the Snarl can annihilate it is a genuine mercy. Every time they've waited too long, their followers have been consumed, their souls completely unmade. And it explains much of the rest of their attitude, too, as even entire worlds can become a mere statistic eventually.
    • Thor is a long and studied aversion. He needs Durkon to do something for him, but is careful not to mention it until Durkon expresses a desire to do it on his own so that he doesn't feel pressured. He tells Durkon everything he needs to know about the nature of the world and the conflict, all so that he has the proper context to stop it.
      Thor: It would be a real jerk move on my part to bring you all the way out here just to rub your face in the futility of it all. What kind of deity do you think I am?
      Durkon: Ya did almost give me friend Elan a colon tumor wit yer automated prayer system.
      Thor: And you "almost" didn't bring that up, but here we are.
  • Quizmalia, the Lady of Fate and Fortune from Our Little Adventure. She created the Magicant, an ultimate wish-granting artifact and then plunked it into Manjulias simply to watch various people abuse its power for her own amusement.
  • Return to Player: They each follow their own selfish desires, choose certain players to be their avatars/pawns, and, oh yeah, turned the whole world into their own MMO.
  • Sacrimony: Ankhiel, the Top God, uses and manipulates her followers to sate her angst. Zennet, the overlord of Dusk, is willing to ''murder'' an adolescent angel for her father's crimes. Akhmet, the 'judge', condemns mortals as insane and refuses to let them visit their families for all eternity, even if they made it into Dawn. All of the above have generally abandoned mortal affairs and refuse to fix or utilize the totalitarian theocracy spreading across the world. The backstory reveals that the pantheon became a Big, Screwed-Up Family when a demon murdered Ankhiel's husband, and her son took up the demon's cause for some unknown reason.
  • Sandra and Woo has a bunch of gods nice or not, but "God" himself is firmly on the jerkass category, deciding to kill Sandra on a whim. He manages to make the Devil (who does his best to save Sandra in exchange for Larisa's soul) look nice.
  • Twokinds: The Masks, fervently worshiped by the Keidran, are jerkasses who use their worshipers as pawns in their war for dominance. Humanity's god is a warmonger who seeks total genocide of the other races note  and has allowed Extreme Speculative Stratification among the humans themselves. Meanwhile, Ephemural, the supposed 'goddess of balance and neutrality', treats individual mortals as pawns in her quest for an eternal Cold War, and willfully drains the souls of her hosts to sustain herself. It's unknown what happened to the Basitins' god, but the Police State of the West and the tribal society of the East, both locked in a Cold War themselves, implies that said god is either a jerkass or long dead.
  • Unsounded: The Ssaelit faith is grounded in the belief that the four gods of the original pantheon were apathetic jerkasses who created the world for their personal amusement, made plenty of horrifying mistakes they refused to carefully resolve (as they literally buried most of them under the second generation of creations), and demand yearly child sacrifice with cannibalism. Supposedly, Ssael responded by finding a way to murder the gods and take their thrones for himself. Meanwhile, the Gefendur believe Ssael was a cult nut and their gods are flawed but good.
    • The Inak worship certain powerful Senets as their patron gods, but show disdain for their former goddess Ilganyag for abandoning the Inak in favor of humanity, simply because they were physically similar to her. The truth is far worse.

    Web Original 
  • Parodied by this CollegeHumor video, in which the God of Tetris fucks with the player.
  • Thor in Epic Rap Battles of History takes Zeus and the rest of the Olympians to task for being abusive and ruthless towards humans.
    "Your crew is like the Clash of the Douches!"
  • Fire Emblem on Forums has a few examples:
    • Gates of Rundum: The eponymous Rundum, a hostile god who attempts to return and the Big Bad of the entire game.
    • Wonderful Blessing: Serena at the beginning of the game before Character Development hits her hard. Freya is revealed to be this, given that she is behind the Ancient Conspiracy that caused the Forever War between demons and mortals, and has killed or silenced anyone who can reveal the truth.
  • In The Gamer's Alliance, the gods are quite often amoral and manipulate mortals for their own ends. Gods like Artemicia the Goddess of Healing, Hephaestus the God of Smithing, Nergal the God of War, and Shakkan the God of Beasts have all done things that have affected the world and the people living in it in a negative way do to their personal rivalries and opposing ideologies.
  • Monster Girl Encyclopedia:
    • From various profiles, we can conclude that while the Chief God really loves humans, she hates monsters. It's possible that she created them with the intent of having an enemy for mankind to fight. On the other end, we have the Fallen God who believes in pleasure above all other things, and forcefully converts both human women and angels into its followers the same way as a succubus, causing them to desire the ultimate "reward" of being locked in eternal coitus with their mate in Pandemonium. Finally, the cyclopes were once deities, but fellow deities cursed them into monsters simply because they have only one eye.
    • Translations of the official background material have also shown that Poseidon (who is a goddess in this setting) turned against the other gods and sided with the demon lord in part at least because the other gods were forcing her to make storms to reduce human populations and make them fear the sea.
    • Also from the settings material, it turns out that the monsters are living creatures the Chief God created so that the population of humans could be easily controlled. The previous Demon Lords were control devices so that the gods could control the monsters. Whenever the population of humans got too high, the monsters would become incredibly vicious and begin killing large numbers of humans. Then when humans started to die out and the monsters became too numerous, the Chief God would grant humans incredible power, creating “heroes”, and send them to slay the Demon Lord. With the Demon Lord slain, the monsters would kill each other to decide the next Demon Lord, causing a rapid decrease in the monster population. This would go on until humans again became too prosperous, at which point a new Demon Lord would be born and take control of the Monsters. This process ran for several cycles until a Succubus fought her way to becoming the current Demon Lord, and started messing with the system.
  • Mr. Deity loves the smell of blood and set up all kinds of massively Disproportionate Retributions for minor crimes in Hell. His Establishing Character Moment in the first episode comes when he decides to allow natural disasters in his creation despite there being no real reason to on the flimsy justification that he felt the myriad of awful things he had already put in, like genocide and cancer, wouldn't be enough to make anyone doubt his existence.
  • A rather tragic example with the Storyteller from Off the Page and into Life. Watching all her creations die one by one, and failing to reincarnate them to be her friends has taken its toll on her attitude and empathy.
  • Zod from Open Blue is a drunken bastard who would rather fart up hurricanes, go on beer parties, and arm-wrestle with an expy of Cthulhu rather than answer the hundreds of millions of prayers directed at him.
  • The mythology-themed videos of Overly Sarcastic Productions tend to portray the gods as this.
    • Unsurprisingly, the Greek gods get ragged on for their failings the hardest. The Olympians are regularly characterised as a dysfunctional bunch of serial rapists with a side hobby of giving mortals horrifying punishments for getting uppity.
      • Again unsurprisingly, Zeus gets the worst of it. A huge chunk of the myths start out with him lusting after some unfortunate, usually mortal, lady and deciding to have his way with her. Not to mention, he punished Prometheus for looking out for humanity. In the video for Typhon, one gets the impression that the narrator herself is actively rooting for the world-wrecking Kaiju because she's really enjoying seeing Zeus get his ass kicked.
      • Aphrodite is second only to Zeus in terms of how much trouble she causes to everyone. As the resident Shipper on Deck, her habit of trying to put couples together without regard for consequences is a running theme in stories featuring her, most notably causing The Trojan War and causing her and her son Aeneas to be majorly distracted from their quest to found Rome. She's also infamously petty and jealous, what with the whole plot with Psyche taking place because Psyche was thought to be prettier than her, as well as her scheme to ruin Hippolytus's life. (Note that this version makes Hippolytus out to be far more sympathetic than his canon characterisation, making Aphrodite's actions against him a lot less justified.)
      • Although Hera might not be as awful as her husband, her revenge plots are usually targeted towards the unlucky women and their demigod children instead of Zeus himself, making her come off as this in many stories focused on them.
      • Apollo is practically as bad as Zeus, although few videos have actually focused on his misdeeds directly, possibly because having sired fewer legendary heroes than his dear old dad, most of the tales about his affairs gone bad are rather repetitive and once you've heard one story of a poor mortal girl committing an elaborate suicide in order to run away from Apollo, you've heard all of them.
      • Although the "canon" version of Dionysus is generally characterised as one of the nicer gods alongside Hades and Hermes, the video that focuses on him also points out that Dionysus as he was actually worshipped in Ancient Greece started out as a terrifying Mad God known for dismembering those who defied him, and his role and actions in Bacchae are more like those of Nyarlathotep than anything you'd expect from an Olympian.
    • The Chinese gods tend to be depicted as more incompetent than anything. The series on Journey to the West portrays Celestial Bureaucracy as riddled with corruption and nepotism. The Jade Emperor himself is a petty tyrant who seems to order death penalties for the slightest offense. On the other hand, Sun Wukong starts out the story by screwing with anyone and anything and throwing the entire cosmic order into a huge mess on his quest for immortality.
    • Downplayed with the Aesir, who are described as regularly breaking their promises and blaming Loki for their own flaws.
  • God from Puppet History admits to tormenting the people of Strasbourg for years before creating the Dancing Plague for a laugh. He returns in "The Great Molasses Flood", where he outright admits to causing the titular event, seemingly For the Lulz.
  • An episode of RedLetterMedia's Best of the Worst includes a discussion of Gary Coleman For Safety's Sake in which they describe Gary Coleman's character as "an all-powerful deity" whose safety tips come at the expense of two children whom he remotely almost chokes to death, causes to slip and sustain cranial injury and antagonizes with invading pedophiles - all for the sake of amusing himself and trying to impress a hot nurse.
  • RWBY: The Two Brothers — the Gods of Light and Darkness — created the world of Remnant as an experiment but descended into quarrelling over how the world would manifest by using their own creations as weapons against the other: the God of Light would create things that he liked, such as plants and animals, but his brother would destroy everything he disliked and eventually created the Creatures of Grimm to help him do that. When they settle their feud by creating humanity together, they lose pride in their experiment over time. After resurrecting and killing Salem's deceased lover Ozma multiple times during an argument, they punish her for seeking it in the first place. When she incites rebellion, they destroy humanity and abandon her on an empty world. Light reincarnates Ozma, telling him to redeem humanity or the entire planet will be destroyed, locking Ozma and Salem into a tragic Forever War for the fate of humanity. Oscar becomes Ozma's newest host at the age of fourteen, instantly encumbered with trying to solve a problem Oz secretly believes is impossible because the gods won't intervene to fix their mistake.
  • SCP Foundation: Played for Laughs by SCP-1541, an ancient, forgotten deity that harassed the descendants of its followers. Via text message. While drunk.
  • Slimecicle Cinematic Universe:
    • Jschlatt in "Minecraft, but every 5 minutes there's a natural disaster", besieging the players with random disasters every few minutes and generally tormenting them throughout the video. He comes to torment Charlie once again in "We Spent 100 Days in a Hardcore Minecraft Apocalypse".
    • All four players in "The HARDEST Minecraft Difficulty" are this to various degrees, though Bizly (who made it so chickens are both murderous and quick to multiply) and Grizz (who made diamond pickaxes single-use — and this is before he gets banished from Molympus and becomes the video's Big Bad) take the cake.
  • The Whateley Universe has these in spades. There are, of course, all the various Lovecraftian "gods". There's the Tao with its shamelessly invoked Omniscient Morality License. The Christian Heaven and Hell (or good facsimiles thereof) apparently exist and are locked in a carefully balanced stalemate with neither side actually trying to win too much, which works okay for the entity claiming to be Satan but casts a dim light on his counterpart. (Let's not even go into their respective treatment of Merry, later Petra, who by this point is a fully appointed knight of the Catholic church... even if she does also carry Sara's demon mark.) And the New Olympians school clique? Are some of the old Greek gods in new human host bodies, with at least some of them already up to their old tricks and none too happy that nobody worships them anymore.
  • Although Zero Punctuation does not contain examples of the trope, it does have a rather appropriate summary of it:
    "The root problem with Christianity is that their god is supposed to be all-powerful and benevolent. It sounds like an easy sell but when life turns completely to shit you have to come up with all kinds of whacked-out reasons for why kindly old Jehovah saw fit to run over little Timmy with a combine harvester and leave him in a state of vegetative limbless agony for eighteen years. Ancient cultures didn't have that problem; they knew their gods were a bunch of drunken lunatics who ran around boning their close relatives and turning their goolies into fruit-bearing trees. Consequently, they tend to make for much more interesting stories."

    Western Animation 
  • The nomadic Speakers of Castlevania (2017) consider God (the Abrahamic one) to be petty and cruel, pointing to the Tower of Babel as an example of His pettiness; Humanity's greatest accomplishment, a tower that would reach unto the heavens themselves, struck down by a jealous god who would not let His creations rival Him. She later clarifies that while the Speakers may abhor God, they have nothing but reverence for the Christ, Yeshua, who sacrificed himself for us so we could learn bottomless love and devotion.
  • The Fairly OddParents!: Cupid is the God of Love (at least, according to him). He can be easily bribed to set a couple up, and if he's a Shipper on Deck to someone you don't want to be with, he won't care in the least.
  • God is pretty much a jerk in Family Guy too. His first appearance in Season 1 has him attending church and grumbling how much "he hates it when he tells this story" when the priest tells the story of Job. He causes the Drunken Clam to burn down while trying to impress women with his ability to summon lightning bolts (killing the woman in the process), he often neglects or treats Jesus poorly, usually being portrayed as a deadbeat father, and is kind of short and annoyed in general with his worshippers when they interact directly with him.
  • The telling of the Pandora's Box story in The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy fits the trope and the original story rather well. Basically, the gods trick Pandora into opening the box purely for shits and giggles.
    • And, of course, there are plenty of gods that make guest appearances, such as Eris, the goddess of discord and strife.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants
    • Neptune acts this way. His first appearance had him openly laugh at the thought of Spongebob being a real fry cook, then zapping Patrick with lightning for defending Spongebob.
    • Neptune's son Triton in "The Clash of Triton" on the other hand actually did care about mortals and their affairs before his father locked him in a cage because he felt that trying to improve the lives of mortals was not befitting of a god. The thousands of years he spent locked away eventually turned Triton into a jerkass god as well.
  • The (freakish) version of God on South Park could qualify too. Not only does He look like a spectacularly ugly cross between an orangutan and a hippopotamus, but He is cold-hearted and hypocritical in allowing Satan to take all human beings except for Mormons to Hell, despite Himself being a Buddhist - a religion that ultimately dispenses with the idea of God. (Satan, however, couldn't be considered evil).
  • My Little Pony:
    • Discord from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. He's an all-powerful Reality Warper who can do pretty much anything he pleases. And just what does he use this power to do? Turn Equestria into a chaos-stricken version of its former self and drive everypony insane for his own amusement. His initial appearance paints him more as a God of Evil than just a jerkass, but his characterization in "Keep Calm and Flutter On" falls squarely in line with this trope (unless you consider "spirit of chaos and disharmony" not close enough to explicitly stated godhood, but there's no denying the "jerkass" part).
    • Lord Tirek, the demonic centaur, from the same show as well, could qualify as well if not more so. He's pretty much Equestria's equivalent of Satan, especially when he drained everypony in Equestria of their magic. He rules over Equestria with an iron hoof, destroys Twilight's beloved tree home, and tries to murder the mane six For the Evulz. He's eviler than Discord as shown by him betraying Discord in a heartbeat and nearly succeeding in destroying Equestria.
    • Sorcerous Overlord King Sombra seems to be this for the Crystal Empire. A millennium ago, he came seemingly out of nowhere and magically converted the entire place into a Mordor; oppressed the Crystal Ponies as his blatant, personal Slave Race; and then, once Princesses Celestia and Luna came and overthrew him for the Crystal Ponies' sake, cursed the Empire to vanish as both spite for his imprisonment and Pragmatic Villainy to preserve "his" domain until his inevitable return. And in the Season 5 finale, one of the Bad Futures shows what would've happened if said return had gone off without a hitch: He would've inflicted From Bad to Worse on the Crystal Ponies by magically brainwashing them into becoming his soldiers in a war against the rest of Equestria. As a confirmed Expy of Sauron, he can't even be mentioned without an aura of complete unpleasantness.
  • The Users (ie people) in Reboot count from the perspective of those inside the computers. While they do send upgrades and keep the machine running it's purely for pragmatic reasons while they unleash game cubes which put the sprites and binomes in danger and program viruses. The only thing that stops this from going right into God Is Evil territory is that the Users are Obliviously Evil: they don't realize the denizens of the net are living sentient beings and play games for fun without realizing the danger and damage they cause.
  • Flynn's one appearance in TRON: Uprising is similar to the Reboot example. He's not malevolent, but he is a bit of an oblivious idiot who blows off the mounting Program-Iso tensions, Clu's power-hungry streak, and The Grid's problems with gridbugs and other stability issues. When System Guard Dyson appeals to Flynn for help in healing a nasty facial injury, Flynn is too distracted to help, leading Dyson to be one of the first (and most powerful) Programs to side with Clu in implementing the coup that left Flynn exiled and Tron grievously injured.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Jerkass God, Jackass Gods


The Minor Gods

Major gods are holding a contest to find the next Olympian god, but in reality, they're just staging the contest to laugh at the minor gods and they already made their decision for the next Olympian god.

How well does it match the trope?

4.71 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / LoserDeity

Media sources: