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Mad God

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Who needs reason when you can have chocolate rain?note 

"Praying to yourself, my Lord? That's not a good sign. Or perhaps it is. Prince of Madness, and all that."
Haskill, Shivering Isles

This god isn't Evil in either sense (or at least if it is, that's not the point) or even a Jerkass God; it is simply insane. Its mad throes create and destroy in equal measure, leading to untold chaos. That there is a universe at all is usually due to it being Sealed Evil in a Can, dormant, or so random that it's been less destructive over the past few aeons.

It might pose as a sane and good god because it has momentarily grown Bored with Insanity. Of course, that does not usually last, as sanity tends to bore it greatly as well. If he is good in some sense he'll be the King of All Cosmos and fond of working In Mysterious Ways.

Expect them to act Above Good and Evil, or follows Blue-and-Orange Morality that anyone can understand... if you just gaze into the abyss of madness long enough. If especially mad and powerful, it may also be an Eldritch Abomination, and even if it isn't one, it is highly likely that it will ascend into one. Can overlap with Almighty Idiot when the Mad God is so mad that it destroys their mind. It may not cause insanity or revulsion to observers, but that's usually iffy, and depends on if it has enough presence of mind to take on A Form You Are (at least mildly) Comfortable With.

Compare A God Am I, a character so crazy that they only think they are gods. Contrast A God I Am Not, where a god-like being refuses to be called a god to avoid something like this occurring.

Not to be confused with the movie Mad God, although see below under Western Animation.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Asura from Soul Eater, a demon god who went mad with fear and infects the world with his insanity merely by existing.
    • However, it's revealed that Asura is part of the Great Old Ones, beings of such massive power and influence that their mere presence creates madness, all of which originating from an emotion/phenomenon that can define them. Asura himself is Madness From Terror, Shinigami-sama and by extension Kid represents Madness From Order, Eibon represents Madness from Knowledge, The Black Mass represents Madness from Power and Excalibur represents Madness from Rage. Asura was merely the only one to go back because he was overwhelmed by his fear.
    • Turns out that Crona hirself toes the line when they absorb the Kishin. However, they are still pretty mortal and Crona uses hir power to seal the Kishin in the Moon along with themselves to end the madness. As for their Madness? Madness from Breasts. Why? Breasts, to Crona, represent motherhood and symbolizes Chrona's former obsession in trying to please her mother, the Big Bad Medusa and longing to have had a proper parent.
  • Deus Ex Machina from Future Diary deconstructs this, along with Jerkass Gods. He is dying and summons twelve contestants in a battle royal to attain his power by killing off the other eleven contestants in a game of death; on paper, this sounds pretty awful. In practice, however, each of the candidates has aspects that would make them more or less equally valid as options, and it's made explicit if he were to put off the issue any longer or choose nobody, everyone would experience Cessation of Existence as reality itself breaks down. Rather than being a mad or dickish god, he is a fairly benevolent one who cares about his charges deeply, and is simply backed against the wall with only bad choices available to him.
    • Yuno Gasai won the first tournament and became God, and immediately decided to abandon her dead world and not bother recreating it. Instead, she decided to go back in time to a new timeline, kill herself in that universe, and try to win over her sweetheart with the long game on a second playthrough. Needless to say, it becomes apparent she is functionally only after Yukiteru's attention, the universe be damned. She could not care less about the world itself, even allowing the second iteration of the world to fall apart completely without ever telling the truth to anyone until Yuki figures it out on his own thanks to clues from his friends and Yuno's sloppy handiwork hiding what happened.
  • The newborn "Devil" Homura Akemi gets furious debates within the Puella Magi Madoka Magica fandom whether she is evil or not, but one thing no one can deny is that she is totally insane. She can't spend two minutes without breaking out a Nightmare Face and a creepy speech pattern.
  • Zamasu from Dragon Ball Super, once a noble Kai, the Gods of creation, he became disillusioned with mortals and viewed them as a mistake and needed to be exterminated at all costs. The more time passes the more unhinged he becomes, until he jumps off the slippery slope and reenacts his "Zero Mortals Plan", stealing the body of Goku to become Goku Black, before teaming up with his Alternate Self from another timeline where the two of them kill off all life so they can create a utopia. Even more exemplified with Fusion Zamasu, who is created from Goku Black and Future Zamasu fusing together, so unstable that's he is prone to fits of rage if anything does not go his way. His final form, Infinite Zamasu, has him lose all his rationality where he is reduced to a multiversal-spanning Eldritch Abomination only capable of cackling madly and killing all life on raw instinct. The only way to stop him was to summon Zeno who destroys Zamasu along with the entire timeline.
  • The Hero Laughs While Walking the Path of Vengeance a Second Time takes place in a grimdark fantasy world, specifically because its goddess has multiple-personality disorder. Her personalities range from Anti-Villain (the facet that saves the Villain Protagonist party) to Ax-Crazy (the facet that Alesia worships).

    Comic Books 
  • The Joker, in the Emperor Joker series, tricked Mr. Mxyzptlk into giving up the lion's share of his power, and he used it to rewrite the entire universe in his image. In the end, only his obsession with Batman (and his inability to keep his imagination from conjuring his own worst fears) stopped him (with a helpful nudge from Superman).
  • In Hellblazer, the First of the Fallen claims to have found God "squatting in a corner of Eternity. Clutching his genitals... and drooling." Not that he is the most trustworthy of fellows...
  • The Christian God of The Chronicles of Wormwood. The only thing he does throughout his entire appearance is float in the air, grunting and constantly masturbating, and in "Chronicles of Wormwood — The Last Battle", Jesus reveals that when he ascended to Heaven after his resurrection and went to see his father, he found him making little toy houses out of his own feces.
  • In the Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics), any echidna who absorbs too much Chaos energy is transformed into the demigod Enerjak, and is driven mad in the process. Dimitri and Knuckles have both suffered this at different points, and an Alternate Universe features a version of Enerjak-empowered Knuckles who's pretty much destroyed the whole world.
  • The cover of Green Lantern issue #6 from the nineties series describes Appa Ali Apsa, the Old Timer, the last Guardian, this way. It is a reasonable description, given his power at that point.
    • The Supreme Being of Space Sector 3600, the god TDHD, has gone utterly mad and was for some time walled off from reality by the Guardians of the Universe.
  • Delirium from The Sandman (1989), what with her being the Anthropomorphic Personification of madness. Though she is rather cute and generally harmless (unless you personally get on her bad side or good side, as her insanity makes it so that even when she is trying to do a favor for somebody, it may have horrible unintended consequences). And she is the baby of the family.
  • Marvel Universe:
    • Thanos is occasionally referred to as the Mad Titan.
    • The Phoenix and its avatars, particularly Jean Grey and (more recently) Scott Summers, have ended up this way, going Dark Phoenix.
    • Loki's mental state was always unpredictable, but their third incarnation showed legitimate mental illness symptoms from hallucinations, to depression and suicidal thoughts (you really do not want to be around a Reality Warper with those), which improved, relatively speaking, in the case of the fourth to very strange thought processes coupled with real problems understanding people (like not getting why turning someone's soul into magical jewellery is bad).
  • Vampirella: One of Vampirella's most powerful foes is the "Mad God Chaos", who rules over The Legions of Hell. He is usually a stand-in for Satan, but he didn't get the nickname for no reason since he is literally insane. This has also affected the way Hell is being run for the worse.
  • Wonder Woman: The Greek gods have a With Great Power Comes Great Insanity problem, which long ago caused them to split off the avatars of themselves that became the Roman pantheon. Most of them do not have to worry about this in the modern age due to their lack of worshipers, but Ares and Dionysus have pretty constant trouble:
    • Ares can't figure out how to be decent even when he is honestly trying as in Wonder Woman (Rebirth) because of the nature of war. He and his mindset shift drastically over short periods because he is tied to war and conflict and not really in full control.
    • Dionysus remains incredibly dangerous to be around even if he is fond of you because he is the god of madness and revelry and in addition to reducing your inhibitions by proximity might turn you into something, like a pig, on whim without understanding why that might be unwanted.

    Fan Works 
  • Corona, The Tyrant Sun, in RainbowDoubleDash's Lunaverse. She is not evil in the same way Tirek or Grogar are, or even crazy in the same way Discord is, but Luna alone knows how many centuries of trying to protect her ponies from the horrors of the world drove her off her rocker, and she became a ruler so despotic that her own sister was forced to bind her into the sun.
  • This is a common refrain in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfics regarding - and countering - The Conversion Bureau. In The Conversion Bureau: The Other Side of the Spectrum, Celestia was driven to this point by Tirek's bag. In another, Cultural Artifacts, the Solar Princess genuinely believed her own tyranny was beneficial. In very few of the counterpoints to the original Bureau fics is she depicted as anything but mad.
  • In further My Little Pony fics, The Audience has a whole cavalcade of mad gods. Specifically, the Draconequui, whose rationales and mechanisms vary greatly... but whose goals are always towards the furthering of chaos on their own terms.
  • In the Pony POV Series:
    • Discord, naturally, who is treated as legitimately insane as opposed to his family who merely have Blue-and-Orange Morality and are Good Is Not Soft. During the Final Battle, Scootaloo uses the cape she got from Entropy (Discord's mother and the Elder God of Oblivion, Nothing, and The End) during Rumors to literally punch Discord's detachment Goatcord into Oblivion. As Goatcord represented Discord's insanity, this has the side effect of erasing it and driving Discord sane.
    • Discord's brother Destruction had this issue to an extent: if he didn't destroy something every so often, he'd go into a feral 'Omega State' and destroy anything in sight until he burned it out and had no control over himself at the time.
    • Discord's father Havoc created an Avatar to fight in the Alicorn/Draconequi War. Unfortunately for everyone on both sides, the Avatar went insane and Havoc lost control of it, at which point it began doing things Havoc himself would never have condoned or done like feeding Destruction to Discord then itself.
  • The Laughing Mare from Equestria Divided is is something like a god and is very much mad.
  • Dark Raiden in Mortal Kombat: Desperation is this to a T, thanks to Shinnok's corruption. His Knight Templar attitude from his appearances in the original timeline gets cranked up here, and he straight up jumped off into the abyss of the Moral Event Horizon.
  • The MLP Loops:
    • In an early loop, Pinkie finds herself in the Warhammer 40,000 universe. She usurps Slaanesh (by breaking its mind, convincing it that it would be a good idea to transform into a cupcake, and then eating the cupcake) and throws a massive party for the entire Eldar Empire. She then ascends as the Chaos Goddess of Parties and spends the rest of her time in that loop screwing with everyone else.
      The Emperor looked to the heavens. By blood and fire and steel he had unified humanity, and then the three Chaos Gods had cast his sons into the depths of space. But there were ripples in the Warp. The long storm was about to clear, and—
      And then everything went pink.
    • Discord, funnily enough, gets downplayed from canon. Once he starts looping, he discovers that the loops are so freaking crazy (and the loopers so incredibly powerful) that there's surprisingly little he can do to mess with everyone. He still does, of course, but he ends up more as The Gadfly rather than a dangerous semi-divine entity. The fact that Pinkie is actually more powerful than him when she puts her mind to it is probably part of it.
    • Discord says that all loopers are ultimately like this, which is another reason he does not fight them: He finally has friends as crazy as he is.
      Discord: Did you know that Celestia once banished the entirety of Equestria to the Moon so that she could take time off to do some surfing? Or that Luna has occasionally turned the Moon into a spaceship and taken it on joyrides? And that's positively tame next to what Tia's student gets up to, to say nothing of the sheer variety of tree sap related mayhem I've been privy to.
  • Codex Equus: There are many deities throughout history who have fallen into insanity, with their behaviors varying as a result of this.
    • After being thrown into the 'Well of Eternity' by the Knowledgeable Sorcerer, Prince Varázsló is now somewhat insane. His vast knowledge makes him perceive things differently than even fellow divines, which makes him easily distracted and prone to going on odd, philosophical tangents at random. His psychic visions make it hard for him to separate them from reality, and it's very common for people to hear him muttering or screaming prophecies frequently. Being forced to bear a large portion of knowledge and magic of the universe also made him incredibly serious and stoic. What keeps Varázsló from becoming completely mad is his strong will, which is likely how he survived being in the Well of Eternity for an unknown time. Fortunately, both Kúzelník and Golden Scepter have been helping him control his powers, and Mentálne is helping him overcome (or at least control) his worst flaws and impulses.
    • The Codexverse version of Cosmos, the Serpent of Obsession was once the Love Goddess of a destroyed pantheon who attempted to defeat the then-evil Discord by redeeming him through the Power of Love. Discord, who saw through the plot, turned it against her and corrupted her instead, driving her mad and turning her into a Draconequus hopelessly and obsessively in love with him, to the point of willingly destroying her own pantheon and joining Discord's side. When she made her return in the present day after escaping her sealing, she did not take Discord's genuine reformation and relationship with Fluttershy, the Kind Redeemer well, and tried to make him love her again and 'finish what they started', resulting in the 'Cosmos Incident'. While unlike the comics she was not evil enough to warrant redemption and was given the chance, she is still quite mad.
    • Caelum Filum, the corrupted form of Moon Ray Vaughoof/Canticum Lunae Cahaya, is a divine Eldritch Abomination who became completely stoned out of his mind after taking a very powerful divine drug. He is blissfully unaware to the damage and chaos his actions were causing, but once he is cured and restored back to normal, he gains awareness of what he did and strives to make amends for it.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The protagonist of The Gods Must Be Crazy assumes that this is why a Coke bottle falls out of the sky into his primitive village, bringing strife to the community. To them, it's a cruel trial that can only have been masterminded by a malevolent and crazy, or at the very least careless, god.
  • Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019): If the Kaiju are Physical Gods, as the MonsterVerse tries to make them out to be, then Ghidorah is arguably this trope: a Psycho Electro and one of the very few Kaiju who is individually equal in power level to Godzilla himself, Ghidorah stands out from the other, more neutral or heroic monsters for his thoroughly Ax-Crazy behavior, his unnaturally overt hatred of humanity, and his plans for the Earth threatening to cause global extinction. In the film's novelization, one of the human cast thinks the following about Ghidorah:
    "Maybe he was a god — but there was nothing that said a god had to be sane."
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • In The Avengers (2012), Loki is a mad Physical God who is sincerely convinced that him falling through a wormhole in space in Thor was his father and brother disposing of him rather than the suicide attempt it really was, and that enslaving humans to become their God-King is a grand idea.
    • Thanos's title of "The Mad Titan" in Avengers: Infinity War and its sequel is well earned. He sincerely believes that he has to wipe out half of the population in the universe in order to prevent even more people from dying due to a lack of resources and overpopulation, even though that makes no sense. The "children" who stay faithful to him either have the blind loyalty of people indoctrinated in a cult are insane, or both, and Thanos comes off as the leader of a bunch of delusional extremists. Even though he is committing mass genocide, he thinks of himself as a hero, and does not even realize that he is evil.

  • Most of the deities featured in American Gods are quite stable... except for Horus, who is crazy. Fortunately, he is not really in a position to do anything damaging.
  • The Weaver in the Bas-Lag Cycle is referred to as one by the narration. While it isn't explicitly a god, it has near god-like power by being able to manipulate the rules of physics (time, space, matter and casuality) with a thought and lives on several planes of existence at the same time. Its mind is also completely alien to every other sentient species known in the setting, meaning that even if it isn't 'insane' by its own standards it is definitively by everyone else's.
  • In The Belgariad, we get two Mad Gods: Torak is essentially this plus God of Evil and Mara went crazy after his people were wiped out in a war, casting illusions on the entire country that drive most people who do not have magic powers or divine protection insane if they dare to make even one step into his country. Then there's Issa, who fell in love with a mortal but neglected to give her immortality (which he presumably could have done, since his brother Aldur routinely does so for his disciples); his priests have for centuries been finding someone who looks sort of like his now-long-dead lover, renaming her, and installing her as queen... apparently without Issa ever noticing. Really, mad (or at least really, really dumb) is pretty much the "hat" for gods in this series, with the (possible) exceptions of UL, who is just sort of crotchety, and Aldur, who is mostly aloof.
  • The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant has She Who Must Not Be Named. Introduced in the last sub-series, she was once the Lover, a being on par with the Creator and Lord Foul; Foul seduced her and then broke her heart in order to taint the concept of love forever, and then they were both imprisoned in the same world by the Creator (him deliberately, her by accident). Foul coped well enough, his nature as the Despiser lending itself well to the situation, but the Lover could not handle it and went a little nuts. She became one of the most terrifying entities in the Land, though normally quiescent, and in the end, Linden helps her put her mind back together, at which point she helps lay a righteous divine smackdown on her betrayer, Lord Foul.
  • Azathoth, the Blind Idiot God gibbering at the chaotic center of Creation (his creation) in the Cthulhu Mythos. Note, however: his being a 'god' is debatable, as it is with practically all of H. P. Lovecraft's more tremendously powerful entities.
  • In The Dark Profit Saga, the goddess Al'Matra went insane after her husband turned evil and her son had to kill him, this madness usually manifests through her priests' automatic writing, which is usually inane rambling but sometimes contains hints of prophecy. Niln is in the running for head priest because most of his writing turns out to be an accurate chronicle of the party's adventures, sometimes as the events he writes are happening past his line of sight.
  • Discworld:
    • Nuggan, despite being dead, manages to effectively behave in this way in Monstrous Regiment, forbidding crop rotation, accordion players, the color blue and other absurd things.note 
    • Judging by Nuggan's brief cameo appearance in The Last Hero, this is as much a rather extreme case of in-universe Flanderization as anything else, because he had an extensive history of banning his worshippers from just about anything enjoyable for petty reasons.
  • In the backstory of The Divine Cities, Kolkan, one of the Divinities reigning over the Continent, went insane by giving his followers endless rules to live by. He started out fairly sane, but kept on making thousands upon thousands of rules about incredibly minor things — like what shoes and fabrics his followers were allowed to wear — and mandating increasingly harsh punishments for the mildest violations, until his fellow Divinities disappeared him.
  • The Faerie queens of The Dresden Files do not have a great track record for sanity. However, Word of Jim points out that since madness is defined as being out of touch with reality, you can't really call someone who can warp reality to their will mad.
  • In Everybody Loves Large Chests, the God of Chaos, whose name changes every time it is mentioned, has more than a few screws loose in his pineapple.
  • In Godshome by Robert Sheckley, the only god Arthur Fenn can find who is willing to listen to him and offer help is, worrisomely, living in the section of Godshome marked with a sign saying "WARNING! PROCEED NO FURTHER! WARD O FOR BIPOLAR CONDITIONS. OCCUPANTS MAY BE VIOLENT."
  • AM from I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream is a god-like A.I. who is utterly, completely, genocidally insane.
  • Geoph Essex's Jackrabbit Messiah jumps aboard this trope immediately — on the back cover blurb — and rides it all the way to the end of the line. As both the blurb and a character in the story suggest: if a guy claims to be a god, and you think he is crazy, there's always the possibility that you're both right.
  • The unnamed creator of humankind in the Kane Series. He created humans from apes in order to play with them, but since he was mad, his creation inherited his madness. Then Kane rebelled against God, killed his brother, and set out to kill his creator.
  • In Malazan Book of the Fallen, there are cults on the island of Cabal which worship Icarium Lifestealer, a Semi-Divine being with memory loss and rage management issues as the One God, the Stealer of Life, essentially claiming he is a mad puppet with unimaginable power, turning any power of creation he may possess into random destruction. One sect calls itself that of the Mockers, asserting that a god who never left his worshippers any doctrine to live by but allows them to make and interpret their own, cannot be anything but insane.
  • Crake from Oryx and Crake is functionally this. He essentially both creates a new species, and engineers the destruction of civilization. However, he is in his twisted way actually benevolent. He did this because he had become convinced that humanity and human civilization was inherently evil.
  • Harlan Ellison's short story "The Region Between" proposes that all life in the universe is formed from fragments of a god like this, which destroyed itself in its own madness. In the end, it's reconstituted just long enough to kill itself for real by ending the universe.
  • Nalar, the Big Bad (or not) of The Riftwar Cycle, is sometimes called the Mad God, though it's implied that even if he was sane, he'd still be a God of Evil.
  • Roll Over and Die: Origin is the main god worshipped by the people of the setting and, unfortunately, is not very sane and serves as the most malevolent force in the story. Those who hear its voice either hears its Madness Mantra of "Kill them! Kill them! Kill them!" or its multiple voices arguing with itself. Those empowered by Origin tend to also go insane and be subjected to Body Horror.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who:
    • The Celestial Toymaker is an enormously powerful being who devotes his time to playing games, either turning people into toys or (if they win) destroying his realm, which he can survive.
    • The 10th Doctor claims to have met mad gods. This could refer to a variety of characters.
  • Invoked in Elseworlds (2018). The Monitor gives Deegan the Book of Destiny, knowing that he is basically the worst person to have godlike powers, hoping that the insane world that he creates will be a suitable test for the heroes. This backfires when Deegan proves to be a rather incompetent god; his first attempt just switches the lives of Green Arrow and the Flash. They certainly find it annoying, but it's hardly a worthy test. The heroes defeat Deegan, only for the Monitor to arrive, teleport the book back into Deegan's hands, and tell him to do better this time.
  • In the Mirror Universe of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Zeus went mad from the strain of building "The Labyrinth of Eternal Memory" for his newborn son Hercules. With the king of the gods insane and the rest of the pantheon thrown into chaos, the stage is set for this version of Hercules (known as "the Sovereign") to Take Over the World and hatch a scheme to become the new ruler of Olympus.
  • The Magicians (2016) has an example with the Fillorian deity Ember, who is the god of Chaos and a counterpart to Umber, his brother, and the god of Order. In the series, although initially he presents as a benign—albeit eccentric—and generally helpful being, his true nature is revealed after the Beast is finally removed from Fillory and he can be allowed to flourish. He unleashes chaos of varying kinds on Fillory, including turning many of its denizens into rats spontaneously and even changing fundamental aspects of Fillory's nature, all for fun. He is eventually killed by the protagonists.

  • Played with in the song "The Gods Aren't Crazy" by Leslie Fish. She describes several Fortean events and says they happen because the Gods are drunk. Again.
  • The omnipotent Writer from the Good Apollo I'm Burning Star, IV Volume One: From Fear Through The Eyes of Madness arc of the Amory Wars. He doesn't just have conversations with his bicycle; he actually follows its editorial advice.
  • 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.

  • In The Gamer's Alliance, Shakkan isn't exactly a sane god and only cares about his children, the lizard folk. He might just as easily oppose as help the heroes depending on his mood. Dionysus is even madder than Shakkan as he has always been like that whereas Shakkan was driven nuts by his lengthy imprisonment.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Forgotten Realms: Cyric while under the effects of his own Greater Artifact was very much insane to the point of near-complete incompetence. Basically, he made an artifact tome that would convince the reader that Cyric is the only true god worthy of worship, and all others are pretenders; after reading this book, Cyric became absolutely convinced of this truth, despite recently getting his ass kicked up between his ears and having a good number of his divine portfolios stolen. Between the Prince of Lies, and before the ending of The Crucible: Trial of Cyric the Mad, he was very much completely out of control insane which lasted for around a decade or so.
  • The Chaos gods of Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000. Composed of every mortal thought and emotion, magnified and taken to the extreme by their concentration in the warp, they are the essentially personifications of Rage (Khorne), Despair, (Nurgle), Desire (Slaanesh), and Scheming (Tzeentch). Spreading their emotions and philosophies in the real world through mortal and daemonic followers, they are well aware that true victory for any of them (or all of them) would destroy what keeps them existing, yet they pursue it anyway.
    • Tzeentch is mad even by Chaos standards. The Chessmaster par excellence, it constantly weaves extremely complex schemes that more often than not contradict each other, that ultimately have no point at all, and in succeeding with one it foils countless others (and so on ad infinitum). Indeed, to Tzeentch scheming is a purpose in itself, as if any of its big plans were to ever succeed it would cease to exist.
    • The C'tan Outsider in 40K, one of the Necron star gods who was tricked by the Laughing God of the Eldar into consuming others of its own kind, which eventually drove it insane. Put this way, the Tyranids are all-consuming horrors from another universe, the Zerg combined with all your worst nightmares, and they give the Outsider's Dyson Sphere prison at least one hundred light years of breathing room.
    • The Eldar have their own Mad God in Cegorach, the Laughing God. He probably would not think twice about destroying your planet as some part of a joke on his part.
    • Even crazier than Tzeentch is Malal the god of paradoxes, that wishes to destroy Chaos. Being a Chaos god, if Malal is ever successful then it would die as well, not that the crazy thing cares.
    • The Chaos gods are actually more subtle than you'd think; they are deities of good aspects horribly twisted and warped beyond recognition by fear and terror. Khorne is the god of Valor and Bravery, Nurgle is the god of Love and Mercy, Slaneesh is the god of Passion and Beauty, Malal is the god of Balance and Justice, and Tzeentch, the most frightening of all the perversions, is the God of Hope.
  • The Primordials of Exalted, the creators of the universe, are quite insane by human standards, even the relatively nice ones like Gaia and Autochthon. The developers have even used human mental disorders as metaphors for how each Primordial views the world—Oramus is schizophrenic, Malfeas is solipsistic, Autochthon is autistic, She Who Lives In Her Name is obsessive-compulsive, and so on.
  • All of the Madlander deities in GURPS Fantasy II: Adventures in the Mad Lands. Togeth, god of the Togethians, may be one too - the magic he grants to worshipers is extremely random, though at least it's always beneficial, unlike what the Madlander gods tend to do.
  • Dungeons & Dragons 4e core setting labels pretty much all the Chaotic Evil gods as this, mainly Tharizdun, Lolth, and to a lesser degree, Gruumsh. This has to do with their redefinition of the Chaotic Evil Character Alignment as being about "believing only one's self matters in all reality" and "being willing and able to destroy anything and anyone that does not directly contribute to their interests".
    • Not merely being one of his numerous appellations, Tharizdun has more than proven his insanity by babbling incoherently before seamlessly moving into long-winded tirades, frequently and unpredictably changing his mood and behavior (but almost universally destructive), and being the only deity whose followers are encouraged to destroy him along with all other life.
  • In Pathfinder, Nethys the God of Magic is True Neutral because his magical power has driven him completely insane, leaving him torn between competing urges to save the world and to destroy it, which results in extremely erratic, unpredictable behavior.
  • Ragnaglar from Runequest is the Mad God.
  • The Mad Gods from Witchcraft, natch- every single one is a monster from beyond our reality, whose understanding of it is terribly limited; so when they manage to intrude here (and before, even), they begin to reshape it to a form they prefer. Which needless to say is very bad news for the natives (even including the angels and demons).
  • The Mad God from the Fighting Fantasy gamebook "Portal of Evil." Provides the hero with a helmet that has mirrors attached to it. The helmet turns out to be useful later on when revealing to The Dragon what a monster he has become.
  • The Wyrm in Werewolf: The Apocalypse was originally the force of destruction which allowed for renewal and balance in the cosmos. Unfortunately, he has gone a little nuts and now seeks to destroy or corrupt the entire world.
    • Most people overlook the fact that the other two members of the Triat are just as insane, the Wyld being an essence of creative chaos and the Weaver a manifestation of absolute order. The Wyld was always, by mortal definitions, "insane," whereas the Weaver tried to figure out why the nice things she made were broken down by the Wyrm to fuel the Wyld. Her first step was to try to define the Wyld by binding it in her webs. This ended... poorly. She then moved on to the Wyrm, which is why it ended up going insane.
  • The Wildlords of Nobilis have set their feet on a path leading to a kind of solipsistic insanity.
  • In The Dark Eye, the Brobim dwarven tribe believe, that their god Ingra has gone mad, spreading sparks by frantically striking his anvil, that light the volcanoes of their icelands, one day to set the whole world on fire. Their king is just as insane (taking "advice" from a mushroom), which they take as a good omen for his reign.
  • This is a possibility for the God-Machine in Demon: The Descent. Although the game is intentionally ambiguous as to the true desires of the God-Machine beyond its own continued propagation, more than a few demons have noticed that they Fell because it either set them towards an impossible goal or set two angels towards competing goals (e.g., set one angel towards protecting a mortal and another towards killing them). The Integrators are demons who often believe that the God-Machine is broken or damaged, and that it needs to be fixed in order to become a better god.

    Video Games 
  • YHVH in the Shin Megami Tensei series, according to Word of God. True, he does commit acts of hideous evil, but the cause is because the universe itself is fundamentally broken in some way, and the Abrahamic God being an insane puppy kicking asshole is merely one of the most blatant symptoms of how much the universe itself is screwed up. Likewise, the Demiurge, whenever it pops up, is portrayed as a Psychopathic Manchild with far too much power at its hands, and is obsessed with sealing all mortal souls in the physical universe so it may rule over them forever.
  • The Elder Scrolls
    • Throughout the series, the principal example of this trope is Sheogorath, the Daedric Prince of Madness. His condensed title, of which he is explicitly called by some of his followers, is simply "the Mad God." Madness falls within his sphere of influence and the insane are his subjects. In one moment, he can be a Cloudcuckoolander with some Great Gazoo traits who will make it rain cheese or literal cats and dogs because It Amused Him, then the next, he'll show why you need to Beware the Silly Ones with a sudden Axe-Crazy Dog-Kicking or some Celestial Body Hurling.
    • In Morrowind, the Tribunal and Dagoth Ur, each of whom ascended to godhood after tapping into the power of the Heart Of Lorkhan, the "dead" creator god of Mundus, the mortal plane. Dagoth Ur was much less restrained in his consumption of power from the Heart and experienced much faster Sanity Slippage as a result. (Vivec, one of the Tribunal deities, explicitly calls him a "mad god" at one point.) However, the Tribunal did not escape with their sanity completely in-tact either. Upon completing the main quest and the Tribunal expansion, the Daedric Prince Azura states that madness would have befallen each member of the Tribunal eventually, as mortal minds simply aren't equipped to handle the rigors of godhood. In-game, only Almalexia actually shows signs of this, and it seems to be the loss of her divine power which drove her to madness. Sotha Sil was always reclusive and Vivec, despite his lying, Narcissistic ways, does not actually seem to qualify as "mad".
    • On another level, per some interpretations of the 36 Lessons of Vivec regarding Dagoth Ur, the implication is that Dagoth Ur somehow achieved an unspeakably dangerous middle ground between CHIM, Amaranth and Zero-Sum where he exists in a godlike state because of his awareness of Anu's dream, but he lacks the ability to maintain his individuality and exist within it like someone who has achieved CHIM, and he hasn't simply faded into the Dream like someone who Zero-Summed. This leads to a situation where Dagoth Ur's consciousness is being imprinted on the Dream of Anu, until eventually all of reality becomes just an extension of his twisted and broken mind. With that in mind you really appreciate just how important the Nerevarine's actions were, and the terrible fate they spared every man, woman and child on Nirn from.
      I PUT A STAR
    • Oblivion:
      • The Shivering Isles expansion reveals that the Daedric Prince of Order, Jyggalag is a Mad God. The other Daedric Princes cursed him because they feared his growing power, and he now suffers from a split personality. The other personality? Sheogorath. In his own words, he is a "broken ruler, of a broken realm". The Greymarch, a regular event wherein the Shivering Isles are completely annihilated by Jyggalag and his minions, is merely the repetition of his attempts to restore his Realm whenever he briefly regains his right mind. "Killing" him at the end of the Shivering Isles questline cures him of his madness, leaving him free to wander Oblivion to rebuild his power base while he passes on the mantle of the Prince of Madness to the player character.
      • If Sheogorath's Daedric artifact quest in the main game is not completed before defeating Jyggalag in the expansion, you can still do it by talking with Only Sane Man/Servile Snarker Haskill. Haskill will congratulate the Champion on how well they are taking to their new role as Daedric Prince of Madness by setting a quest for themselves to complete and then rewarding themselves with an artifact that is already theirs, beginning to embody this trope themselves at least from his point of view.
      • It is suggested that Jyggalag himself was also a Mad God before he was cursed into becoming Sheogorath. It is simply that Jyggalag's madness is an extreme obsession with ordering everything perfectly, whereas Sheogorath's madness is unfettered chaos and complete disorder. Sotha Sil's priests posit that the Daedric Princes are "errors" in the structure of the universe, and that the cause of Jyggalag's insanity is the Prince of order and structure realizing that he is an error in reality.
    • In Skyrim, 200 years after the last Greymarch and the revival of Jyggalag, the incarnation of Sheogorath met by the Dragonborn inside the dreaming mind of a long-dead monarch heavily implies through dialogue that he is/was the Champion of Cyrodiil that became the new Mad God in Oblivion.
  • Dungeon Crawl: "Xom thinks this is hilarious!" Xom randomly acts upon the player. By doing things he finds amusing, you can improve the chances of him giving you something good. On the other hand, if you bore him, he'll hand out random punishments at a quickening pace...
    • Unfortunately, most of the things he finds amusing are things that are bad for you. So you have the choice of either deliberately doing stupid things in order to be rewarded by Xom, or playing carefully and intelligently and making him bored. Needless to say, Xom worshipers do not tend to live very long.
  • Namu Amida Butsu! -UTENA-: Yakushi Nyorai is a decent guy, but is curiously mentally unstable, and can mood-swing into a violent, Laughing Mad nutjob seemingly at random.
  • In Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers, the god of time Dialga, while normally benevolent enough, has gone insane after the theft of the Time Gears, becoming Primal Dialga, an unhinged beast dedicated solely to its own self-preservation that deploys agents to preserve the hellish Bad Future he resides in, as fixing the timestream would undo his existence.
  • Jubileus the Creator of Bayonetta goes insane once the Left Eye is lost, throwing the Balance Between Light and Darkness out of alignment. Whether Jubileus was good or evil to begin with isn't clear, since in this Crapsack World Dark Is Evil, Light Is Not Good, both Angels and Demons qualify as Eldritch Abominations and humans are, for the most part worldly or gullible idiots.
  • In EarthBound (1994), the player is trying to prevent the world's destruction at the hands of Giygas, a powerful psychic entity from the future. Their efforts apparently spook him so badly that he overdoses on evil energy before the final confrontation, turning him into a god (of sorts) and destroying his mind. He rambles insanely during the last fight and seems barely even conscious enough to know who he is fighting.
  • Vertigo from Primal Rage is the Goddess of Insanity and a sorceress from another dimension who wants to torture and enslave all of humanity for her own amusement.
  • In Eternal Darkness Chattur'gha and Ulyaoth are not particularly right in the head, at least not to human senses, but Xel'lo'tath is the only one whose very presence (and those of her troops) drives people mad; she hears voices in her head, and you hear voices in her head too.
    • It's worth noting that her minions have lost their heads. No, really. And the creature herself? Vaguely humanoid and feminine with four arms, a long fishlike tail, an eye in the middle of her torso... and no head.
  • Kefka Palazzo becomes this in the second act of Final Fantasy VI.
  • Tarjan from The Bard's Tale Trilogy. He is even called the Mad God.
  • Malygos, the Aspect of Magic from the Warcraft games used to be a fun-loving dragon who ruled over magic. But after his entire people, including his mate and children, were slaughtered by his best friend with a weapon he helped create, he completely lost his mind. He hid for millennia in a cave and was prone to killing anybody who approached him. It's only after being given a new flight that he starts to become sane again... at which point he decides to declare war on every magic user in the world (that is every single faction of the game, including the other dragons which helped him and the mortals who did his job for 10,000 years).
    • Neltharion aka Deathwing is this and a God of Evil. That's what happens when a godlike dragon is Mind Raped by a cabal of Eldritch Abominations. Deathwing's own power is tearing his body apart (to the point that he has to have metal plates riveted to his body just to keep it together) leaving him in constant agony and driving him further into madness. In the finale of Cataclysm being blasted by the Dragon Soul makes him lose what little control he had over his own power. His body falls apart and the last vestiges of his sanity go along for the ride.
    • Sargeras was once the champion of the Titans, fighting demons across the cosmos, though he was convinced that they could not be truly vanquished. He would eventually come across a planet with a world soul, a Titan embryo, covered in void and shadow due to an old god burrowing itself into the surface and corrupting the soul. From the local Dreadlords he learned of the plans of the void, to corrupt one of his kin to destroy existence, and decided the best course of action was to give the universe a cosmic reset; wipe out all of creation and restart it himself before the void can corrupt one of his infant masters into wiping it out forever.
  • The Big Bad of the flash game Realm of the Mad God, the titular Oryx the Mad God. The title was given to him by the world's inhabitants as an act of spite after he doomed the Realms and sacrificed their freedom just to sate his ego and desire to dominate all. However, he leans a bit more towards God Is Evil than the traditional insane depiction of the trope, although he is not particularly sane either.
  • At least two gods in the Disciples series get treated to this. First we have Soloniele, the goddess of the seas and merfolk, as well as co-deity of the elves with her lover Gallean. When Bethrezen sends his Legions of Doom to the surface of Nevendaar, they happen to come out in the elven forests, sending the elves on a massed exodus to the lands of the Mountain Clans. The dwarves, seeing a huge mass of elves encroaching on their lands, assume it's an invasion and strike at them. Angry, Soloniele and Gallean go to Wotan, the god of the dwarves, and demand he punish his people for this unprovoked attack. Enraged by their audacity, Wotan rips out Gallean's heart and throws it at the sun. Soloniele manages to catch her lover's heart in time but has her flesh burned off by the heat. Going mad, she renames herself into Mortis, slaughters an entire people and raises them as her Undead Hordes. After she revives Gallean, he is disgusted with what she has become and leaves. Mortis proceeds to turn on the elves, kills Gallean's son and turns him into an undead elf to mock Gallean. Gallean also goes mad and gets the elves to strike at humans, with whom they have been at peace for centuries, and personally (through his oracle) kills the dwarven queen. Needless to say, Nevendaar a Crapsack World. On that same note, Bethrezen himself could be considered fitting this trope, although bordering on God of Evil. Originally, he was the most favorite angel of Highfather, to the point where Highfather granted him the power to create. Bethrezen created Nevendaar and humans as a tribute to Highfather, with other gods creating other races and landscapes. Unfortunately, the other angels grew jealous and tricked humans into starting a war while Bethrezen was out. When Highfather saw Nevendaar, it was engulfed in war. As punishment, he imprisoned Bethrezen in the molten core of his own creation. It's obvious that anyone would go insane at this point, especially someone who didn't think he deserved punishment.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • In Fire Emblem Fates the Greater-Scope Villain, Anankos is revealed to be this. His inability to fully become a spirit, along with the burgeoning strain of his draconic nature, are what started to drive him mad. A bunch of misunderstandings and almost everyone turning against him in Valla only drove him further into the mad god seen in the story. Additionally, It's implied that isolating himself from others after burning the forest by accident and being attacked by fearful humans didn't help his mental health one bit, to the point that even though he longed for companionship, his mind was being twisted in his loneliness to desire the death of all humans. This plays a part in why he killed the King of Valla despite knowing he truly meant to help him.
    • In Fire Emblem Gaiden's remake, Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia, Duma and Mila are Divine Dragons who are both suffering from the effects of degeneration and have gone mad, and the countries that have become their domain have suffered for it. Duma, the god of strength, desired that his people be strong and enduring, but his madness ensured that they became cruel and militaristic; Mila, the goddess of love, desired that her people be well cared-for and bountiful, but her degeneration ensured that they became slothful and over-indulgent.
  • In Salt and Sanctuary, the Big Bad is the Nameless God, a Deity of Human Origin. Unfortunately, he was driven to seek godhood out of pride, greed, and envy of true gods. Though he gained the power he sought, he was unable to obtain the soul of a god, which is what he really wanted. His pride, greed, and envy intensified as a result and he went mad. Now he spends his days capturing gods, stealing their worship, and desperately attempting to create a candlelit soul from one of his many horrifying experiments.
  • Cultist Simulator has The Moth, who was the first God-from-Blood.


    Web Original 
  • The Storyteller from Off the Page and into Life has long since gone crazy from loneliness, and it shows. She is more of a frightened child lashing out in any way she can most of the time, but when she loses it, you will know about it. Usually in the form of people dying, or coming damn close to it.
  • The Sea Mother was the first sapience in existence that infused her essence into the ocean but went insane from the constant sensation of fish and boats moving about in her this entailed. She lashes out and attempts to drowns them all, and humanity has grown to despise her for it and she knows.
  • SCP Foundation: SCP-3004 is an insane cicada god for some now disappeared druidic cult, the Cétlaidí, operating in Ireland. When its followers were forcibly converted to Christianity in the English invasions, the resulting turn of belief and metaphysical confusion seems to have scrambled its mind. It now believes it is the Judeo-Christian God and it warps Christian ceremonies into evil rituals often involving Animalistic Abominations and self-mutilation to "feed on the faith". Worse, it's actually starting to usurp the real God and break into our reality. The Foundation's plan in that event is to use Thaumiel-level SCPs and amnesia-inducing agents to completely erase Christianity from the historical record in an attempt to starve it. According to a researcher who communicated with it, SCP-3004 isn't evil, it's just extremely deluded and does not understand what its worshippers really want or believe, or the harm its causing.

    Western Animation