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"Pomena loves the orchard. And Liber loves the vine.
And Pales loves the straw built shed warm with the breath of kine;
And Venus loves the whispers of plighted youth and maid,
In April's ivory moonlight beneath the chestnut shade.
But thy father loves the clashing of broadsword and of shield:
He loves to drink the steam that reeks from the fresh battlefield:
He smiles a smile more dreadful than his own dreadful frown,
When he sees the thick black cloud of smoke go up from the conquered town."
Sir Thomas Macaulay, Lays of Ancient Rome

A character regarded as a deity or manifestation of war (or battle, murder, conflict, etc.). They're most likely a member of the setting's ruling pantheon when they are the real deal, but could be any character (including a mortal) who is falsely regarded by other characters as a god(dess) of war. The War God in question often exemplifies either the physical or strategic aspects of war, although they can embody both.

War Gods are of course nearly all very badass, possibly also a Four-Star Badass among the pantheon. They tend to be Blood Knights by nature and are often the only god that the Proud Warrior Race would bother to worship, if they don't want to fight them themselves. They are often cast as villains.

There's also a tendency in various works of fiction to pair one with a Love Goddess in something of an Opposites Attract manner, either as unlikely friends or romantic partners. Considering Ares and Aphrodite were lovers, this makes this idea Older Than Feudalism; it may be a sort of cosmic version of All Girls Want Bad Boys. Also, some of these figures (usually goddesses) were gods of both fertility/love and war. If you're as violent as them, they may fall In Love with Your Carnage.

A War God is frequently involved in some form of Divine Conflict. If he encompasses ALL forms of violence (as Ares did in Greek mythology) he may be seen as a God of Evil. Compare also Destroyer Deity. Subtrope to Stock Gods.

If you were looking for the book series or the videogame series, see The War Gods and God of War series respectively. Or maybe you're thinking of a cheesy monster film.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • In Fushigi Yuugi, the people of Kutou worship Seiryuu, who is this. He is the rival to the Love God Suzaku, worshipped in Konan.
  • Noragami: Yato is this, though he has fallen from grace for killing other gods. Also, Bishamon and her many Seiki.
  • Sailor Moon: Sailor Venus is described as a Goddess of War. While less frequent than her other epithet of "Goddess of Love", the fact it's used by Artemis and Ace, both of have known her since her past life. Venus mentioning she is a Goddess of War, is the first indication that a youma would get to feel her fury. She also has an enormous body count, achieved through cunning and being just plain unstoppable, and to which said youma will be added no matter what.
  • Saint Seiya: The Saints work for Athena, the Goddess of War from Ancient Greece.

  • In The Apotheosis of Washington, Lady Freedom is a fierce warrior who fights armored kings with her mighty eagle, flag-themed shield, and golden sword aiming for the sky. Fittingly, she sits directly under General Washington's seat in the clouds.

    Card Games 

    Comic Books 
  • The Marvel Universe has several of these:
  • The DCU has its own collection:
    • Orion of the New Gods is a comics original. However, he is an interesting play on the trope, as he has to constantly battle his own bloodlust, representing the psychological scar of war that never goes away. His portfolio also includes being the god of the fight. Which seriously screws over the DCU as a whole when Darkseid has him assassinated to kick off Final Crisis, making all the heroes unable to stop it.
    • Wonder Woman has a recurring foe in Ares who often combines the Blood Knight aspects of Ares with the tactics of Mars. Whether or not the two are one and the same, and the details of his history with Wonder Woman, depend on the continuity. He was her original Arch-Enemy in the Golden Age, acting as the driving force behind the horrors of World War II. In the New 52, Wonder Woman herself was temporarily tricked into believing she was the newest Olympian God of War.
    • Athena likes to keep her own hands clean and manipulate others to do the fighting for her these days, and seems to enjoy the chessmaster adaptations her little brother Ares has developed over the years to combat her. She will also fight herself, but usually that ends things too quickly for her liking and is not really her style.
    • Wonder Woman (1987): Neith may focus more on the hunting aspects of her portfolio but she hasn't forgotten her role as a goddess of war and loves a good fight. Her worshipers may have dwindled but the bloodthirsty Bana-Mighdall do her proud, even Artemis their White Sheep.
  • Arawn: The Celtic war goddess Morrigan plays a part in the story. Arawn summons her to give him an army to fight his brother Math, which she grants him in exchange for a blood sacrifice. Siahm asks for her help in fighting the demon spawned from the Cauldron of Blood, which results in the demon killing Morrigan and absorbing her powers.
  • Hound: Morrigan, the goddess of war, sets her sight on Setanta and manipulates people into fighting each other to regain power for herself after peace has weakened her.

    Fan Works 
  • In A Force of Four, a Power Girl fanfic, Wonder Woman's old enemy Mars manipulates several super-beings with the intent of destroying Earth.
    Mars: Mars is not tied to Earth. Mars is tied to war. And what better war than that of vast empires within the second Heaven? Where billions may die, billions more be enslaved, and the bloodflow which results nourishes my power with every drop. No. Earth is unnecessary. A canker in my being. When it is destroyed, only my pain will vanish. But it will not be destroyed yet.
  • Empath: The Luckiest Smurf: Ares. For some reason he wants Empath to be his "god of conquest".
  • Bait and Switch (STO): In chapter nine, Tess Phohl drops an Oh, My Gods! line invoking Phelha, which the author's notes explain as an Andorian war goddess.
  • Thousand Shinji: In this crossover with Warhammer 40,000 Asuka becomes a devout worshipper of Khorne, Chaos God of War, Blood, and Rage. Its gifts gradually turn her into a berserker Super-Soldier and eventually into its successor, "fierce and furious Asukhon, goddess of Anger and War". Khorne itself shows up in the two final chapters.
  • The Legend of Link: Lucky Number 13: The war god family consisting of Hadrian, Victorious, Link and Link Sr. They are descended from the Originals, and as such have inherited the unique ability to extinguish the life of other gods.
  • In Clair de Lune, the god-like Prince Lune mentions that he was deemed a Goddess of War centuries ago. His sister Celestia was a strategist, while Lune was the one who went into battle.
  • Better Bones AU: Clear Sky is remembered enough by the Clans to become a Deity of Human Origin in StarClan and takes this role due to his warlike nature.

    Film — Animated 
  • The Vision of Escaflowne: In the movie, the titular Dragon Armor is described as a God of War, among its other epithets. Although it doesn't show much agency without a pilot, it does seem to have a very destructive will of its own.

    Films — Live-Action 

  • In Alien in a Small Town, most of the Jan Warriors, denied the chance to ever fight and kept as virtual prisoners, revere a fatalistic deity called Survival. Nuada, however, reveres the war god Glory and agonizes over how few accomplishments he has to show for himself before his god.
  • In Astral Dawn, by Adam R. Brown, Tyr is the dark Norse god of war.
  • Blood Meridian: The Glanton Gang comes to regard Judge Holden as one. Whether he is, or something much worse, is left to the reader.
  • Book of Swords: Mars features as a major character. He's a Jerkass, but also kind of a Jerkass Woobie at the very end. He's also one of only two of the gods we ever see even attempt to answer the petition of his followers. Yes, that petition was evil, but still.
  • The Camp Half-Blood Series:
    • Percy Jackson and the Olympians has Ares, who is the god Percy likes the least. He treats his children even worse than the other gods and would do anything to start a war. Annabeth also points out that though he is decent at strategy he loses his head far too easily to use it to his advantage in a fight, and that "strength is all he has."
    • There is also Athena, who is the most logical of the Olympians. Percy notes that she would be a worse enemy than Ares, or possibly even Poseidon — if she wants you to die, you will die, no matter how long it takes for her to accomplish it.
    • The Heroes of Olympus introduces Mars, who is more reasonable than his Greek counterpart. He also treats his children a lot better, almost looking like a Doting Parent compared to Ares, and seems quite amused at Percy talking back to him.
  • Chronicles of the Emerged World: Shevrar, the patron deity of the Land of Fire, is primarily a god of war and combat, and Nihal having been consecrated to him in infancy is hinted to be why she grew to be as skilled in and focused on combat as she is.
  • Dark Shores: Tremon, patron god of warriors and soldiers. He grants his chosen great strength and endurance, Improbable Aiming Skills and general military prowess, as well as leadership skills.
  • In Discworld, War (of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse) married a Valkyrie and has become a Henpecked Husband who doesn't want to ride out when Death comes for him. He amuses himself by watching ant colonies fight; human wars come and go but ants never seem to learn.
  • Dragonlance has two, one for the Gods of Light and one for the Gods of Darkness. The former is Kiri-Jolith, god of Just Cause, usually depicted as a man with a bison's head, and the latter is Sargonnas, god of conquest and vengeance, usually a traditional minotaur (both, not incidentally, are popular gods among the minotaurs, the setting's most prominent Proud Warrior Race). Paladine and Takhisis, the heads of both pantheons, also have martial aspects, though they do a lot of other things too.
  • Everworld:
    • Ares shows up, rather briefly, in the seventh book, along with Heracles, who's implied to be his friend. Athena, meanwhile, proves to be practically the only Greek god who the characters actually like.
    • Huitzilopotchli has a major role in the second book, where his heart-eating shtick is played up for great horror. Apparently there's not much more to him than that, though.
      Merlin: A very stupid god, really. A war god, of course. The gods of war usually are rather dull.
      April: Is he dead?
      Merlin: No, no. Sadly, no. But injured. And sated. He's a predator, of course. It's all hunger with him. Once he's fed he isn't capable of much beyond sitting and digesting and waiting till the hunger sends him out once more to demand slaughter.
    • Odin, Thor, and Balder are pretty important to the overall plot, and seem to be enthusiastic warriors who are smarter than Ares or Huitzilopotchli. We don't see them much, however, since they spend most of the series in Loki and Hel's captivity.
  • Good Omens features the Horsemen of the Apocalypse, including War, a Fiery Redhead who works as a television war correspondent and has an uncanny knack for showing up BEFORE the war starts...
  • Incarnations of Immortality: Mars, the Incarnation of War, has complete control over all matters related to war and various magical abilities related to war. He alone controls the Doomsday Clock.
  • The Lost Years of Merlin: Rhita Gawr is the Big Bad, and is explicitly called the "god of war" in the Sequel Series. This is not true to the mythology, however, where he's not even a god at all. Meanwhile, Dagda, who is something of a war god in Celtic Mythology, doesn't really have that role here.
  • Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Aesir like Odin and Thor are collectively considered war gods in contrast to the Vanir, who lean more towards being gods of nature. Tyr is one of the few who is explicitly this, being the god of honorable combat.
  • In Malazan Book of the Fallen Fener is 'The Boar of War'. He is worshipped by the Grey Swords, a religious mercenary company from southern Genabackis, and the odd Malazan soldier who doesn't take the outlawing of his cult too seriously. Early in the series, he gets cast down into the mortal realm and loses his immortality and most of his power, but the demigod Trake, the Tiger of Summer, ascends to take his place and inherits most of his worshippers.
  • Romance of the Three Kingdoms: Guan Yu, who is as often referred to as "the God/Saint of War" due to his nigh-inhuman courage and combat skills, is a more benevolent example. He's still worshipped or revered as a god in parts of China today, frequently among police (and ironically triads), for his loyalty and brotherhood to Liu Bei. Alternatively, he is respected as a God of Wealth and Commerce, due to his equally-legendary frugality and wisdom.
  • The Silmarillion: Tulkas, though he's more of a Boisterous Bruiser (in a way) who delights in all forms of physical contest, violent or otherwise. The earliest drafts had two others, the siblings Makar and Measse, who were barbaric and destructive, but they were removed as the mythology developed and the Valar became more purely good; Morgoth ended up taking over the brutality and violence of war and Tulkas became a God of strength and of fighting against evil capable of creating as well as destroying.
  • Star Wars Legends: In the New Jedi Order, the Yuuzhan Vong pantheon has one of these, Yun-Yammka the Slayer. As the Vong are a particularly bloodthirsty Proud Warrior Race, he's considered one of the highest deities in the pantheon, with only Yun-Yuuzhan the Creator above him.
  • The War Gods: Tomanāk is a god of war and justice. Krashnark serves the martial ambitions for the Dark Gods and is also noted as the only one of the Dark Gods that Tomanāk respects because while still brutal, Krashnark does follow a code of martial honour and is the only Dark God that can actually be trusted to keep his word.
  • Ye Gods, by Tom Holt, features Mars. Notable in that, since he is still expected to ride in the front of battle in bronze armour, regardless of technological advances, and since "the best definition of an immortal is someone who hasn't died yet", the device on his shield is now a CND logo.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Hercules: The Legendary Journeys: Ares is a recurring character, and also appears in Xena: Warrior Princess and Young Hercules, played by Kevin Smith (not that one). Pointless trivia: Smith also played Iphicles, Herc's other half-brother on his mother's side. During an excursion to an Alternate Universe where Ares is the God of Love, Cupid acts as the God of War. Ares calls him a maniac.
  • Supernatural has War the Horseman, who drives a cool red Mustang and incites people to fight by making them see each other as demons. He seems to be more of a strategist than a physical combatant.
  • Witchblade: In "Sacrifice" Kenneth Irons states that the (fictional) ancient Irish Witchblade wielder Cathain, one half of a Battle Couple with King Conchobar, came to be known as a goddess of war in later mythology.

  • Grave Digger's song literally entitled "War God" from their album Return Of The Reaper.
  • Def Leppard: "Gods of War" is a pretty bleak song about "fighting for the Gods of War" but not knowing "what the hell we fightin' for".
  • The Leslie Fish song "The Sun Is Also A Warrior" features one of these, focusing on a conversation between a man and some ancient war god about the reasons why wars are fought.
  • Alien Weaponry: The lyrics of "Kai Tangata" repeatedly call on Tūmatauenga, the god of war and hunting, as the Māori in the song go on the warpath against their enemies with British-made muskets brought back from Europe by their chief Hongi Hika.

    Mythology and Religion 
  • Norse Mythology: Óðinn, Týr, and you can make a case for several of the others, such as Þór and Freyja. There are also all the Valkyries, whose names relate to war in one way or another. E.g. Hildr (battle), Hlökk, (battle), and Gunnr (war). Basically the Norse Gods are practically a War Pantheon.
  • Classical Mythology: Ares, Athena, Enyo, and again, you can make a case for several others.
    • Athena is the goddess of Strategy because she is the goddess of science and crafts. Ares is the god of fury and bloodshed. So they sort of divide up aspects of war.
      • Not to mention that many versions of Ares have him handicapped in some way; often with a wounded leg. This symbolized the danger of an imbalanced warrior.
      • Though Ares was THE god of war, he was rendered somewhat redundant by Athena. While Athena was not as bloodthirsty, she more than made up for it with tactics and cunning (expected from the goddess of intelligence), and every time they were on opposite sides of a battle she trounced her brother.
    • Enyo, was, almost literally, the goddess of war crimes, charged with orchestrating the sacking of cities to make them as horrible as possible. Her job was literally to create war crimes. She was an even bigger Blood Knight than Ares himself!
    • Mars and Bellona, and possibly the others' alternative names in their Roman versions.
      • While Minerva/Athena and Bellona/Enyo are pretty much interchangeable, Mars was modified to be more similar to Athena; Mars was a tactical warrior, a symbol of masculine power, as well as an agricultural god in the beginning. The Romans were, of course, rather big on aggressive, conquering warfare, so it should come as no surprise that they had a better view of that god. Ares, by contrast, was a bloodthirsty bully and much more brutal than Mars. Bellona was similarly far more prominent among the Romans, with her temple situated in front of an area where Rome would hurl a javelin toward a column symbolizing foreign territory for war declarations.
    • In stark contrast from her Greek counterpart, Venus is one-specifically, the Goddess of Victory in Battle, held to preside over the ovatio, a "lesser" triumph granted to generals that won a great victory without particular danger to their army, because such an easy victory has to be caused by her favor. Many leading men in the latter days of the Republic claimed to have her favor, most notably Sulla (who flat-out attributed his extraordinary fortune in battle and politics to her), his protege Pompey the Great, and Julius Caesar (who, like his family, claimed outright descendance from her through Aeneas).
    • Aphrodite appears to have been a war-goddess in some of the very earliest references to her, with Cythera (seat of the eldest temple of Aphrodite)note  and Sparta (likely the city that brought the cult of Aphrodite from Cythera to the mainland) having what seems to be warlike versions of her sticking around for a while, such as Aphrodite Areia ("Aphrodite the Warlike"). It had gotten scrubbed out pretty thoroughly elsewhere... or, at least, in the stories and references that survived to the modern day (there is a part of Homer's Iliad that is suspiciously insistent on Aphrodite having no place on a battlefield). There's some indication that this early version of Aphrodite is a Hellenized version of Astarte (see below).
  • Hindu Mythology: Indra and Kartikkeya are almost always this. Shiva, Durga; Krishna on occasion.
    • Kali, who is in charge of death, naturally has an interest in war. The Gurkhas' Battle Cry means "Blood for Kali, the Gurkhas are coming." However, the notch where the blade meets the hilt of a Kukri is a dedication to Shiva.
  • Then there's War of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse fame in biblical mythology, and in his many adaptations. Though given the monotheistic nature of Christianity, War isn't considered a god. The exact nature of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse is uncertain since they're sent by God but not identified as angels either. But they're clearly something supernatural.
  • In The Bible one of the titles of God is Lord of Hosts.
    • God is believed by some scholars to be a Composite Character of the Top God El of Canaanite religion, and the actual Semitic War God Yahweh (though other scholars say they were one and the same to begin with). This may explain some of His more... morally ambiguous acts, though Anat and Tanit (AKA Tank) were the more popular war goddesses to most Semites.
    • While he is decisively not a god, Archangel Michael is officially the Archistrategos of the Heavenly Host, patron saint of soldiers and all military people, and an all-around badass. In some versions, he personally defeated Satan in single combat.
    • Once we get into religious personages who are not technically divine, we then have numerous saints associated with warfare and martial endeavors, such as St. George and St. Martin of Tours (fitting for a man who is named after the Roman war god). Their roles in society are actually similar to the famous military men in Chinese history (for example) who have become deified in popular culture like Guan Yu below.
  • In Egyptian Mythology there was Neith, Sekhmet, Set, Horus, and a slew of lesser-known gods associated with war, due to different gods being worshiped from town to town. Interestingly, the one invoked the most for military purposes by Egypt's most warlike kings was Montu, an ancient god vaguely associated with Ra and Horus, but one for whom war was his primary business. He was a particular favorite of the Middle Kingdom's Eleventh Dynasty—which even ran to not one, not two, but four kings named "Montuhotep", i.e. "Montu is satisfied"—and the first few rulers of the New Kingdom's Eighteenth. Perhaps unsurprisingly, both the Eleventh and Eighteenth Dynasties reunited Egypt by force of arms, and the Eighteenth Dynasty—particularly its sixth monarch, the "Napoleon of Egypt" Thutmose III—conquered an empire.
  • Armenian mythology had Vahagn, a dragon-slaying god, and Aray, or "Ara the Handsome". Anahit, usually a fertility and motherhood goddess, represented war in early times before that role was taken by the goddess Nane.
  • In Urartian mythology, the chief god Haldi was also a war god.
  • In Celtic Mythology, most gods were some kind of warrior—even the Love God Aengus Óg, if you threaten his loved ones. The Morrigan stands out as the biggest Blood Knight, while Top God Dagda and the skillful Lugh are more Warrior Poets. Celtic mythology also has more badass goddesses than most pantheons, who can hold their own in a fight even if it's not their chief priority.
  • The Mesopotamian Inanna/Ishtar (also known as Astarte) was a goddess of love and war. Cynics might argue that those aren't all that inappropriate together, though; and as Shakespeare and a number of others would say, "All's fair in love and war." However many scholars now believe that Inanna and Ishtar were originally separate goddesses who were combined at some point during the Akkadian period.
  • Japanese Mythology has Hachiman and Bishamon. Despite Shintoism's syncretisation with Buddhism in Japan, try not to confuse the two - the first is somewhat like the Roman Mars, being a patron of warriors, protector of Japan, and a god of agriculture and fishermen. The second was a Buddhist deity culturally changed to being more of a war god.
    • Bishamon is also the Japanese version of Vaisravana, who, also having other more pacific traits, is generally acknowledged as the Buddhist deity of war. As weird as it might sound from a religion known for its non-violence.
    • Also depending on how you judge the Fierce Deities or Wrathful Deities of Tantric Buddhism like Yamantaka can be also considered war deities as they work is to eliminate the enemies of the devotees.
  • Chinese Mythology:
    • Guan Yu, hero of Romance of the Three Kingdoms and deified mortal. Aside from being a god of war and protector of China, he is also the patron of bean curd.
    • While less famous than Guan Yu, other prominent generals in Chinese history became sort of war gods: Among them, famed Tang dynasty era generals Weichi Jingde and Qin Qiong, who served under Emperor Taizong, became immortalized as "Chinese Door Gods," something like deities of (military) protection.
    • The Chinese god of battles Ne Zha (pronounced Nataku in Japan) was born in an egg-like sac that took three years to "hatch" (finally Dad got fed up and attacked the thing with a sword, after which Ne Zha burst out). He also brought the wrath of the Sea King down on himself when he killed a young prince when said prince went topside to give him grief about him fighting back against child sacrifices.

      Incidentally, this tale has a lot of surface-level similarity to the Mongol epic of Jangar Khaan, who likewise was born from a bloody sac birthed by his mother that was all but impenetrable until his father, Dorzh Khaan, took out an ancestral sword and hacked him out of it. When he's born, he's ferociously strong and ill-tempered and has a blood clot in his hand — the traditional Mongol sign that he will "walk with death" — which terrifies his mother but delights his warlike father. He then grows at a prodigious pace until, at the age of three, he more or less leads his tribe to the complete decimation of various Chinese kingdoms to avenge his father's death. Which he does by sneaking into an impenetrable fortress and breaking the enemy king's legs, then his arms, then his ribs, then his spine, and then, finally, his neck. This may indicate that Ne Zha was influenced by Jangar as the latter is almost assuredly much older.
  • Igbo mythology has two. Ikenga, the proud ram-horned (sometimes literal two-faced warrior depending on the region) warrior that represents just war for the sake of improvement (his domains were also Achievements and Time). The other is Ekwensu, lord of Chaotic War, tortoises, and bargains.
  • Pacific Mythology: Hawaiian mythology has Ku. He kind of looks like Beavis.
  • Turko-Siberian mythologies have Qizaghan, whose name basically translates to the word for "fury" in most Turkic languages. He's also described commonly as wielding a spear and riding upon a red horse. This makes him somewhat reminiscent of Odin, who also embodies these aspects of combat. One could conceivably make a case for Tengri himself, who was often prayed to by Turks and Mongols for success in battle. Some Turkic dastans (sagas, essentially) describe Tengri taking the form of a white wolf in the mortal world, which was heralded as a sign of victory in a coming fight.
  • Begtse is the fierce Mongolian god of war.
  • Gods and goddesses of war are common in almost all cultures.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons has quite a few:
    • Gruumsh, the patron deity of the Orcs in the default pantheon, also doubles as their god of war, unsurprisingly. His son, Bahgtru, is the god of strength and combat (and incidentally dumber than a sack of Mjölnirs), while his lieutenant Ilneval is the god of warfare and leadership.
    • Other pantheons in the default setting have their own war gods. Drow have Selvetarm, god of war and bloodshed. Elves have Corellon Larethian, who has warfare among his many fields of influence as the leader of the elvish gods. Dwarves have Clangeddin Silverbeard, The Father of Battles (as well as a few other, lesser gods). Gnomes have Gaerdal Ironhand, the god of defenders and warriors. Even the normally peaceful Halflings have Arvoreen, god of protection, vigilance, and war. Although rarely mentioned from 3.0 onwards, goblins and hobgoblins have... pretty much all of their gods, except the one with diplomacy as his portfolio (and even then his role is chiefly to get goblinoids to cooperate together to wage war on anyone else).
    • Forgotten Realms:
      • Tempus, the God of War and Lord of Battles. Most of his worshipers are exactly as Ax-Crazy as you would expect. Tempus himself, however, while listed as Chaotic Neutral in the first three editions, generally respects the rules of war and firmly believes that war for its own sake is pointless; the only thing that gives it meaning is the peace that follows.
      • Tempus also has three subordinate deities that specialize in specific aspects of war. The Red Knight is the demigoddess of strategy and tactics, Valkur specializes in naval warfare, and Garagos is the demigod of bloodlust and destruction (only avoiding a Chaotic Evil alignment in 3E because he's a virtually nonsentient personification of rage). Interestingly, while The Red Knight and Valkur are mortals that ascended with Tempus' aid, Garagos used to be the god of war in the Netherese pantheon under the name Targus. He was somewhat less rage-filled back then, but was usurped by the newcomer Tempus in the aftermath of the fall of Netheril, and had to re-invent himself in a lesser niche. Faiths and Pantheons states point-blank that Tempus could stomp him flat if he wanted, but he isn't interested in taking on that section of the portfolio of war.
      • Meanwhile, the Mulhorandi pantheon has Anhur, an interesting example in that he is Chaotic Good and fights only against evil. He's also a deity of storms.
    • The main war gods of the 3.5 default setting are half-brothers Heironeous (Lawful Good) and Hextor (Lawful Evil), as well as Kord (Chaotic Good) and Erythnul (Chaotic Evil).
    • D&D actually provides the page image for this one; that's Bane (no relation to his Forgotten Realms namesake, allegedly), the god of war in the Nentir Vale campaign. He's Lawful Evil, with several good and neutral followers due to the order his church imposes. His greatest enemy is the aforementioned Gruumsh, who's waged war against him for thousands of years all for the title of God of War.
    • Eberron: Dol Dorn is the most traditional war god, being the Sovereign of Strength and Steel, representing the conflict of good and evil. However, the combined Sovereign Host/Dark Six religion has the Three Faces of War: Dol Dorn is the god of war, Dol Arrah (Sovereign of Sun and Sacrifice) is the god of honor, and Dol Azur (also known as the Mockery, the Dark Sovereign of Betrayal and Bloodshed) is the god of slaughter.
    • La Notte Eterna, a 3rd party setting for D&D 5e: Luzagaar, the Chaotic Evil god of destruction, is worshipped primarily by warlike, primitive tribes to whom he promises an afterlife full of bloody battles.
  • Exalted: There are six major war gods, one for each compass direction and the centre, each of which also covers a particular variety or aspect of warfare, all presided over by a general Goddess of War. Some of these war gods also cover separate but related purviews. There are also a few related and superior gods, and besides these, there are innumerable lesser war gods.
    • Ahlat, the southern war god, began his life as the god of mating fights between bull walruses before becoming a god of cattle, and was promoted to Southern war god after his promotion of cattle raid warfare produced large numbers of fine warriors. He views war as a way to test and strengthen people, with glory and loot as a reward for the victors, and consequently favors small-scale, constant raiding over great campaigns and empire-building, which he considers too impersonal, strategic and cruel — skirmishes between tribes rarely do much lasting harm, but wiping out cities and enslaving nations goes against his temperament.
    • Siakal, the western war goddess, embodies war's savage side and is specifically the goddess of berserkers and of slaughter in warfare. She is also the goddess of sharks, since they're related to her domain and embody the savage bloodlust she prefers. She advocates for constant warfare and that all confrontations should end in slaughter or enslavement, and all other war gods view her as an enemy.
    • The twins Nasamara and Voharun are the northern war gods. Nasamara represents the desire for glory and victory that drives soldiers into battle, while Voharun represents the loss and grief left behind in the end.
    • Sunipa, the eastern war goddess, represents war constrained by rules and presides over soldiers, strategists, mercenary companies, and honorable engagements. She believes in a civilized form of warfare and emphasizes honorable conduct, measured retribution, and graciousness in victory and defeat. She intensely dislikes wars started for petty reasons or motivated by war profiteering.
    • Tachi-Kun, the central war god, is the god of warfare among the Exalted. He has a low opinion of the state of modern warfare, which he regards as little more than primitive squabbles and pale imitations of the glorious conflicts of past ages.
    • All of these deities ultimately answer to E-Naluna, the Queen of War, who is responsible for overseeing and managing the purviews of all war gods employed by Heaven.
    • Technically distinct from regular war gods are the deities of the Division of Battles in the Bureau of Destiny, who plan and determine the course of future conflicts in the context of Creation's overall destiny but don't strictly involve themselves with the here-and-now of warfare or with actual mortal combatants. Notable figures here are Mars, the Maiden of Battles, who holds dominion over conflict of all kinds, from pitched warfare and political struggles to barroom brawls and personal confrontations; and Hui Dai Liang, the Lord General of the Division of Battles, who directs the division as a whole and believes that Creation's destiny should be one of change through war and violence.
    • In addition, the Unconquered Sun is regarded as the highest war god in Heaven, but in practice delegates the bulk of this purview to Mars and the rest of the lesser war gods.
  • GURPS: The Dungeon Fantasy sub-line features classic dungeon fantasy-style clerics and holy warriors, and allows for the possibility of them worshiping a range of deities. GURPS Dungeon Fantasy 5: Allies distinguishes deities by their "elements" (which determine the powers of any supernatural servitors they send to aid their worshipers), and "War" is one such element. GURPS Dungeon Fantasy 7: Clerics offers different spell lists and special powers for different types of deity served, and again, "War" is an option.
    It's easy to think of war gods as inherently evil. After all, violence and large-scale bloodshed aren't exactly good things, certainly not from most individual humans' point of view. However, gods don't have to take a human point of view, and in any case, war may sometimes be necessary or unavoidable, especially in a Dungeon Fantasy world.
  • In Nomine: While the angels — but not the demons — would object to this description, this role is functionally split between a number of Superiors: Laurence, Archangel of the Sword; Michael, Archangel of War; and Baal, Prince of the War.
    • Laurence is the general of The Armies of Heaven and is particularly concerned with concepts of strategy, honor, and military discipline — the soldier is Soldier Versus Warrior. He runs his servants like a vast army, and among mortals prefers to sponsor hierarchical organizations with a martial bent — his closeness to the Christian faith means he has a particular fondness for Church Militant organizations, and he served as the patron of many knightly orders in his day.
    • Michael is more of a warrior, concerned with glory in battle and individual struggle. He is a fighter without equal and prefers to sponsor a large number of warrior brotherhoods and clans over a single regimented organization.
    • Baal is the leader of The Legions of Hell and a mighty warrior in his own right; besides leading the struggle against Heaven, one of his greatest delights is when mortals turn to slaughtering each other of their own free will and for petty reasons. He has a close alliance with Belial, Prince of Fire, with whom he shares a great appreciation for the aesthetic value of burning cities and large explosions, and Vapula, Prince of Technology, whose destructive inventions Baal is always happy to find a use for.
  • Mutant Chronicles: Algeroth is the Dark Apostle of War and Technology.
  • Pathfinder has several deities associated with war, represented in-game by them granting the War domain and the Blood, Duels, or Tactics subdomains to their clerics.
    • The primary one is Gorum, the actual god of war and battle. He's Chaotic Neutral and cares nothing for the causes that people fight for; as long as there is war, Gorum will be there to aid the good and the evil alike. He is chiefly concerned with the physical aspects of battle and is worshipped by frontline soldiers in particular.
    • Torag is the dwarven god of strategy; where Gorum is the footsoldiers' god, Torag is the generals' god.
    • Iomedae, militaristic goddess of honour and justice, is often worshipped as the patron of just wars, though she herself would prefer to lose that title.
    • General Susumu, the Black Daimyo, is the Lawful Evil Tian Xian god of glory and war.
    • The Osiriani — i.e., Egyptian — pantheon includes Sekhmet, the goddess of war and vengeance.
    • Acavna, the ancient Azlanti goddess of the moon, also oversaw battles fought for defensive purposes. She was the bitter enemy of Nurgal, the god of the sun and aggressive warfare: this culminated in a battle where Acavna clove Nurgal in two, with each of his halves becoming a lesser deity — the demon lord Nurgal, who governs senseless wars that should not have been fought in the first place, and the infernal duke Nergal, who rules over wartime atrocities.
    • Ragathiel, empyreal lord and General of Vengeance and general smiting of evil.
    • Moloch, archdevil of war, fires, and obedience, is the general in charge of The Legions of Hell, and is concerned with the regimented nature of the army itself.
    • Szuriel, archdaemon and Horseman of War, is essentially what happens when a divinity adopts the mentality of a Psycho for Hire. Szuriel represents war's most negative aspects — societal breakdown, war crimes, rape and looting, and genocide. Essentially the personification of War Is Hell, her few followers are inevitably Sociopathic Soldiers, General Rippers, or fellow Psychos For Hire. Like all daemons, she wishes for nothing less than the end of all life in the multiverse, and sees warfare and carnage as the best way of accomplishing this.
    • Ymeri, the evil elemental lord of fire, is strongly associated with war and is the most militarily-minded of the elemental lords.
    • Psomeira, one of the hero-gods of Iblydos, serves as a living goddess of war and spears.
  • Ponyfinder: Blaze is a deity of protective and retaliatory war; she calls for her worshippers to be able and willing to defend themselves regardless of the cost, and believes that threats should be dealt swiftly and with such overwhelming brutality that nobody who hears about them will even consider harming her children again. On those rare occasions where she manifests in the flesh, she appears on the eve of battles to signal that her followers will achieve victory at a terrible cost.
  • Traveller: In Sword Worlds, the Aeserist (neo-Norse paganism) religion interprets Tyr as the god of chivalry in an interesting variation.
  • Warhammer:
    • While all of the gods of Chaos are arguably associated with war in some form, Khorne, the Blood God and lord of rage, wrath, hate, bloodshed, and violence, embodies this concept unambiguously. He also embodies martial honor as well as excessive violence, so his followers can be both noble if bloodthirsty warriors and insane butchers, but most fall somewhere in between. He also demands that his followers spill blood and collect skulls in his name, and kill any magicians/psychics with extreme prejudice. Khorne is also possibly the single most powerful divinity in any given Warhammer setting, barring possibly Tzeentch. You can't mention War Gods while playing tabletop games without someone shouting BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD! SKULLS FOR THE SKULL THRONE!
    • Khaine, the Bloody-Handed God, serves in the pantheon of the Elves and the Eldar as god of rage, murder, and war. In Fantasy, the High Elves honor him with caution and only on the eve of battle, while the Dark Elves revere him as their chief and patron deity and place particular importance on his role as the god of murder. In 40,000, he is the patron of the Aspect Warriors, Craftworld Eldar dedicated to highly specialized and almost monastic combat orders, and of the Incubi, Dark Eldar warrior cults single-mindedly devoted to the pursuit of martial excellence.
    • The twin gods Gork and Mork, the Orcish/Orky gods of brutal cunning and cunning brutality (one hits you when you're not looking, the other hits you really hard when you are). In both settings, greenskin society revolves around violence and war; with no other gods other than the two in their pantheon, there not much more than war gods and not much to be gods over other than war, even though the Orks have a hard time telling which is which. Arguing over which is yet another excuse for them to fight each other.
    • Warhammer 40,000 has the Emperor of Man, matched to his fantasy counterpart, the Conan-esque Sigmar. Both were statesmen and generals without peer, founded human-centric empires, and were thereafter revered as gods by the future generations of their respective empires. Both can be regarded as the deity of their Empire, (much of) humanity, and by extension, order. Also, since both Empires are constantly at war, and their followers openly and are encouraged mix both warfare and religion, both can also safely be considered war gods.
    • Warhammer Fantasy:
      • The human nations have Ulric and Myrmidia, the first being the traditional war god of the ancient forest tribes and a Good Counterpart of sorts to Khorne and the other an Expy of Athena popular among the southern nations. Sigmar, the Empire's patron god, is also a militant deity who expects his followers to sort out their own problems by force of arms. Ulric is about honorable combat and manly butchering of the enemy, Myrmidia is a strategist par excellence and is a ruthless Combat Pragmatist, and, while Sigmar is fine with his followers doing whatever, he himself very much loved to take his hammer to enemy skulls in life and is just as belligerent and fighty in divinity.
      • Grimnir is the Dwarfs' chief warrior god, embodying fearlessness in battle, excellence in arms, and the willingness to lay down your life in pursuit of a worthy cause.
      • Solkan, one of the Gods of Law, is a militant deity, presiding over holy wars and the fierce, unyielding struggle against evil and chaos. As a result, he is particularly opposed to Khorne.
    • Warhammer: Age of Sigmar: As a mortal elf, Tyrion was one of greatest warriors the elven nations ever produces. As the god of light, he's taken that to its logical conclusion; those elves of Hysh who follow his teachings are known for being more martial and militaristic then those who follow his brother Teclis, the Mage-God. This makes sense, as the siblings were a famous Sword and Sorcerer duo as mortals.

    Video Games 
  • Along with the examples from Greek Mythology, there's Kratos, the occasional God of War. Though he didn't hold onto the title for very long. Fortunately, enough other ones appear to not make the series be of an Artifact Title.
    • After crossing into Norse Mythology territory, we are introduced to Týr, though he has not been seen in God of War (2018) and is presumed dead. Unlike typical examples of War Gods, he's described as an All-Loving Hero who advocated for peace and traveled across the realms learning of other cultures. He shows up in God of War Ragnarök where Kratos and Atreus rescue him from imprisonment... or to be more specific, they end up "rescuing" Odin disguising himself as Tyr. The real Tyr is rescued in a post-game questline. The Valhalla DLC shows that despite being a peace-lover he is far from a pacifist, seeing combat as a way to hone both body and mind which is why he's decided to act as a Warrior Therapist to Kratos.
  • Tales of Symphonia: The other Kratos receives the title War God when he reaches Level 100.
  • War in Darksiders.
  • In Fall from Heaven, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse also make an appearance, including Buboes, the Horseman of War and Stephanos, the Horseman of Conquest... and, on top of them, the Avatar of Wrath, a colossal manifestation of concentrated anger and bloodlust. The overall god of war (and chaos), when armageddon isn't happening, is Camulos.
  • There's Uesugi Kenshin from the Warring States Period of feudal Japan. Both historically and in the Samurai Warriors series, he's often referred to as 'Bishamonten', an earthly incarnation of the God of War.
  • Uesugi Kenshin also appears in the Sengoku Basara games and their anime adaptation. He's not directly referred to as Bishamonten in these, but he is known as "the War God of Echigo."
  • RuneScape has Bandos, the Big Bad of the Cave Goblin storyline. The goblins call him the "Big High War God".
  • There's a whole pantheon of them in the form of The Second Circle from Lusternia. They range from noble combat aesthetes like Terentia the Even-Bladed, who glory in the poetry of warfare, to bloodthirsty hunters like Shikari the Predator, who is described as fond of "playing with his prey".
  • Age of Wonders lets you build a shrine of war and worship the Spirit of War, portrayed as an empty red helmet with red skeleton arms. He sends you on missions about killing and destroying.
  • In Princess Maker 2, Olive can fight the war god. If she beats him, she gets his sword.
  • There's a web browser game on Facebook called Castle Age. A character from there, called Malekus, would qualify.
  • Nethack features Death, Famine, and Pestilence in its endgame, leading one to question where exactly War is. It's the player.
  • Balthazar in Guild Wars.
    • He makes his return in Guild Wars 2. He started opposing the other deities and was somehow stripped of his godhood.
  • In SoulCalibur 3's Chronicles of the Sword mode, one chapter begins with the player character musing about how they heard someone call them War God(dess) once (Which is not an unreasonable claim).
  • Morrighan of the Mabinogi universe is the Goddess of War and Vengeance, a fact which heavily contrasts with her angelic appearance and Big Good status. As it turns out, she's not quite as good as she looks, although she is well-intentioned.
  • Pillars of Eternity has Magran, the goddess of war and fire. Her priests frequently wield firearms and were partially responsible for the creation of the Godhammer bomb which killed a man who claimed to be and was an incarnation of the god Eothas. Your party member Durance was one of the priests in question and is frequently remarkably disrespectful of her, calling her a whore among other things - though it's just as he is frequently remarkably disrespectful of everyone else.
  • In Sword of the Stars, the Tarka believe in the war god Sardo Kal. He is also their pantheon's Trickster God. This, in many ways, says a lot about the way the Tarka view combat.
  • There's multiple in Tears to Tiara 2. Melqart the God of War. Ashtarte and Tanit, both the Goddesses of War and Harvest and the same person.
  • The firstborn of Gwyn from Dark Souls acts as the deity of the Warrior of Sunlight covenant, and is said to be a god of war. However, this covenant is often cited as the least belligerent of the nine available, since the guild has little to no PvP interaction, benefiting those who leave summoning signs simply to help people overcome staggering odds. He gets to show his true might when we fight him as the Nameless King in Dark Souls III and goddamn he is NOT pulling his punches!
    • Dark Souls II briefly mentions a god named Faraam who is another god of war, but whether he actually existed or is just a myth is left vague.
  • Inevitable in Smite as the basis is Gods from various mythologies duking it out in combat, various aforementioned Gods in the mythology section make an appearance, including Athena, Ares, Neith, Odin, Tyr, Freya, Guan Yu, Kali, Bellona (the Roman equivalent of Enyo) and Hachiman.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • In the old Nordic pantheon, Shor (their version of Lorkhan/Shezarr, the "dead" god who convinced the Aedra to create Mundus, the mortal realm) was a bloodthirsty warrior king and was also their Top God, fitting for a Proud Warrior Race. After his "death", his spirit was forced to wander Mundus, occasionally taking form as a "Shezarrine", who would typically act as great champions to mankind while slaughtering many, many Elves. Even though most modern Nords have adopted the Imperial Nine Divines pantheon, many still hold Shor in high regard.
    • Talos, a Deity of Human Origin (possibly via a Merger of Souls), is both the God of War and God of "Good Governance" in the Nine Divines pantheon. He is possibly a literal Spiritual Successor to Shor, with one of the beings possibly making up Talos (Wulfharth Ash-King) believed to have been a Shezarrine. He is extremely popular to both Imperials and Nords, and the ban placed on his worship as part of the White-Gold Concordat with the Aldmeri Dominion is major factor in the Civil War seen in Skyrim.
    • Zenithar, the Aedric Divine God of Work and Commerce, is described as a "warrior god", but "one who is reserved and restrained in times of peace". His followers also describe him as the "god who will always win", as he stands to gain from any action.
    • Stendarr, the Aedric Divine of Mercy and rule through forbearance, is treated as a war god in many interpretations, particularly the Nordic version Tsun, depicting him as the god of taking your foes alive for ransom. Tsun is also the shield-thane of Shor who tests worthy warriors to see if they are allowed to enter Shor's halls, and in the events of Skyrim the player ends up having to fight Tsun in honorable combat.
    • Ebonarm is a god of war worshiped in the Iliac Bay region. He is a Black Knight with an ebony sword fused to his right arm and is "never seen" without his suit of ebony armor. While he is a god of war, he won't fight in any war that started for petty reasons. When he appears on the battlefield, it is usually to prevent bloodshed and reconcile the opposing sides.
    • Trinimac was a prominent deity among the early Aldmer and served as the champion of Auri-El, the Aldmeri aspect of Akatosh. Trinimac was a warrior spirit, said to be the strongest of the et'Ada ("original spirits"), and in some places was even more popular than Auri-El. According to Aldmeri religious tradition, it was Trinimac who led the Aldmeri armies against Lorkhan's supporters, the races of Men. Trinimac slew Lorkhan and removed Lorkhan's heart from his body. However, Trinimac would later be "eaten" by the Daedric Prince Boethiah so that Boethiah could manipulate Trinimac's followers, who would become the Chimer. After being tortured in Boethiah's stomach, the remains of Trinimac were "excreted". These remains became the Daedric Prince Malacath and his remaining followers were transformed into the Orsimer (Orcs). Malacath somewhat confirms this story, but complains that it is "too literal-minded".
    • Though the Daedric Prince Hircine is a god of nature and hunting, he is also a god of the dynamic between predator and prey, and relishes any scenario where the two roles interchange. As such, he is often perceived as a god of small-scale combat between worthy foes, and in his appearances, he chooses to fight fairly or praises the player for their ability to either down mighty foes or turn a hunt against the hunters.
  • Though he isn't actually a deity, it's possible that Spinal from Killer Instinct is worshipped as one, given that the Ominous Swedish Chanting in his theme song seem to be invoking him as one.
    Vakna, vakna, mäktiga gud! (Awaken, awaken, Mighty God!)
    Kallar på Spinal, krigarguden! (Calling for Spinal, the Warrior God!)
    Fräls oss, fräls oss, mäktiga gud! (Deliver us, deliver us, Mighty God!)
    Med guden Spinals krafter och mod (With the powers and courage of Spinal the God)
  • Final Fantasy XIV:
    • Among Eorzea's pantheon of gods, the Twelve, Halone the Fury is the goddess of ice and war. Fittingly, she is the guardian deity of the Holy Sea of Ishgard, who have been at war with the Dravanian Horde for a thousand years by the time the player pays them a visit.
    • Though Halone is the official war goddess, Rhalgr the Destroyer is also frequently associated with war as the patron god of Ala Mhigo. In Eorzean myth, Rhalgr was Halone's mentor in combat.
    • The insectoid Gnath worship Ravana, Lord of the Hive, as an immortal general who will lead their people to conquest and glory.
  • Destiny: Xivu Arath is the Hive's god of war, meaning she perfectly embodies their Omnicidal Maniac philosophy. She doesn't have her sister Savathûn's cunning or her brother Oryx's knowledge, meaning she's often considered the least intelligent of the Hive's three gods, but she does have discipline, strategic acumen, and incredible, bloody-minded tenacity. She's described as having elevated regular attrition warfare into a new form of war that attacks "the enemy’s very fundamental modes of being and knowing", forcing her enemies to fight battle after endless battle until they simply lose the will to resist. Worse, she draws power from battle and carnage no matter who's doing the dying, meaning she grows stronger even when she's defeated. And she hasn't been defeated in a long time.
    Clovis Bray: "Identify yourself or be destroyed."
    Xivu Arath: "I AM WAR."
  • Daikaiju Daikessen Versus: The backstory of one of the playable kaiju, Ascha'Vovina, involves it having been kept as a pet by a god of war named Acubens, who used it to annihilate entire civilizations for his amusement. However, Ascha'Vovina eventually grew too powerful for him to control and tried to eat him, leading to it being cast out into the multiverse.
  • In Albion, the Kenget Kamulos split off from the other Albion Celt and druids to worship the War God Kamulos, living in an oppressive, inegalitarian underground society and, naturally, being a Proud Warrior Race. While the existence of gods in this setting is uncertain, the leader of the Kenget Kamulos is able to transform into the avatar of Kamulos, rather spectacularly providing one of the very few Boss Fights in the game. However, in a setting where demons are fears made flesh by magic, that doesn't necessarily prove independent existence of the god.


    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • Iosif Stalin gets on the action with this quote: "Artillery is the god of modern warfare". As echoed by Marshal Kirill Moskalenko, "If you have two hundred guns per kilometer of the front, do not ask about the enemy and do not report about him". That was Not Hyperbole - Soviet artillery density during World War II could exceed 380 guns per 1 km, regularly featured weaponry like 203 mm howitzers and 320 mm mortars, and the Katyusha is the Trope Codifier for Macross Missile Massacre.
  • Erwin Rommel attained a reputation as one for his supposed strategic prowess against the Allied Forces in World War 2, though this was heavily exaggerated by the wartime media.
  • The Bloody Baron, Roman von Ungern-Sternberg, was regarded as something of this status as well, due to his overwhelming bloodlust and penchant for cruelty, in addition to being an honorary Khan of Mongolia.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): War Goddess



Tyr is the Norse God of War, Law, and Honor.

However, after an epiphany, he renounced his title as the God of War and set off on a pilgrimage of self-reflection, and became an advocate of peace. After his return to the Nine Realms, Tyr was betrayed by his father, Odin who imprisoned him and attacked the Giants.

He is considered long dead by the events of Kratos and Atreus' first adventure. However, Tyr becomes an inspiration to Atreus through the tales and legends of his exploits; leading to Atreus believing he could very well still be alive somewhere. After Fimbulwinter's arrival, Atreus and Kratos venture throughout the Nine Realms to seek Tyr's aid in preventing the war of the gods.

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