Dark Messiah

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
From God, to Kane, to Seth- <BANG> Uh, no, Hassan- <SLICE> No wait, Qatar- <BANG>... Okay, just Kane.

McNeil: You're not God, Kane!
Kane: ...No. I'm not God... but I'm a close second.

Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun

It's a Crapsack World, and things are only getting worse. There are heroes, but the status quo won't let them cause more than a few ripples of good in a sea of Black and Gray Morality. Out of this ambiguity comes a "savior", someone who brings hope to the downtrodden and preaches a message of peace. However, he isn't afraid to fight fire with fire. In a world where moral absolutes are impossible to find, he will use underhanded tactics, preemptive strikes, and otherwise act like Genghis Khan's patron saint in his quest for "peace".

No, he's not The Antichrist (well...not necessarily anyway), but a character with delusions of (or actual feats to back up) being a Messianic Archetype. As a "messiah", the heroic version of this character doesn't hesitate to sacrifice himself for the masses; in fact, he would die a thousand times and just as well accept a life of torture to reach his goal. The thing is, he's graduated from the Old Testament school of Utopia Justifies the Means. So while he'll hug orphans, he won't hesitate to make them with bizarre doctrinarian attacks on the Powers That Be.

More tragically, he may be a Fallen Hero (or fallen messiah) who has suffered so much that he has revised his belief system from rainbows to car-bombings. He'll usually be a Knight Templar, with enough good acts and intentions to stay from outright villainy, but he stands on very slippery and muddy ground. If the hero upsets his plans enough, or he gets a(nother) Dead Little Sister or Heroic BSOD, you can bet he'll go Jumping Off the Slippery Slope. After all, anyone who tries to, improve the world through active effort is doomed to failure or Karmic Death, because Ambition Is Evil. Expect the sympathetic and/or successful ones to claim that there is No Place for Me There.

The 'villainous' version of this character is usually hiding behind a more traditionally "good" messiah image. He may secretly be a Straw Hypocrite, but just as often, he is terrifyingly fervent in believing his messianic message and getting others to do the same. May or may not be secretly spreading the Religion of Evil, but usually assembles a Cult around himself; may or may not have good as his ultimate goal. Almost always operates on Blue and Orange Morality.

May or may not be a Magnificent Bastard Ubermensch. Contrast with The Messiah, The Revolution Will Not Be Vilified. Has nothing to do with the video game Dark Messiah. See also Apocalypse Maiden, The Antichrist.

Examples of Dark Messiah include:

Anime and Manga

  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure has Dio Brando. One of his closest followers proclaims that he "loves him as he loves God" while the other one cuts off his own head when Dio merely asks him for a bit of his blood. The rest of his legions of followers that he doesn't outright brainwash are all insanely devoted to him and all too eager to announce that devotion.
  • Paptimus Scirocco from Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam could certainly qualify. Though he is introduced as a textbook Manipulative Bastard and his motives are shrouded in mystery throughout the series, his Motive Rant in the last episode seems to hint at this.
  • Griffith from Berserk is a definite example. He cares for the weak and helpless everywhere, fights tyranny and cruelty, and everyone loves him. However, after getting imprisoned and tortured to within an inch of his life, he sold his soul to the evil Godhand to become its fifth member Femto, hired demons as enforcers, and ruthlessly killed anyone who opposed his rise to power, including the Band of the Hawks that he once led, whom he sacrificed in order to become Femto in the first place.
    • And in a later arc, Griffith is called an actual Messiah by the people. He has the Crystal Dragon Jesus equivalent of the Pope proclaiming him to be the best thing since sliced bread. We, the readers, can only cringe in expectation of the devastation that will ensue.
      • And to top it all off, since he still possesses at least a significant amount of a Godhand's power even though he was supposedly reborn as a human, and seems to still be backed by the other four demon lords, he actually IS a Crystal Dragon Antichrist, who is currently posing as a Dark Messiah. No matter how bleak things are already, they WILL get much, MUCH worse.
    • Bishop Mozgus from the same story in Berserk may be a lesser example—a dedicated destroyer of evil forces who took in and nurtured deformed, sick, and dying orphans, giving them hope in a world without any...aaaand then trained them to be his torturing, murdering inquisitorial hitmen.
    • Meanwile, the stories actual messiah (or the one who comes closest to it), Guts is seen by the people as The Antichrist and has only a tiny band of followers who at least try to understand how the world really works.
  • Lelouch Lamperouge, the main character of Code Geass, who seeks to overthrow of The Empire that killed his mother, Lelouch means well (most of the time), but even at his best, he's shot a dog or two—some of whom he even unleashed himself.
  • Shinobu Sensui from Yu Yu Hakusho, who was one Face Heel Turn away from being considered an actual Messiah.
  • Death Note: Light Yagami, at least, at first. Over the course of the series, though, he gradually abandons his original ideals and changes the emphasis of his message from "and I shall be god of that perfect world!" to "And I shall be GOD! of that perfect world."
  • Hotaru Tomoe, aka Sailor Saturn, in Sailor Moon. Or better said, her Super-Powered Evil Side, Mistress 9.
  • Aion in Chrono Crusade seems to fancy himself as one of these—at least, for his fellow Sinners. He preaches that his dream is "freedom" and it's his goal to achieve it, at any cost. He's willing to (and does) sacrifice his followers and himself if it means his dreams will be realized.
  • In Naruto, Pain. Despite his A God Am I kick, he recognizes his own mortality, but before he dies, he wishes to first deliver the world from its current cycle of self-destruction by destroying the current system completely, no matter how many people suffer or die in the process.
    • Madara tried to pass himself off as this at first. Naruto called him on it being a load of crap, and he agreed.
    • Arguably, Pain became a straight Messiah later on, since his dying act was to restore Konoha, and other characters even commented on him sharing the destiny of "bringing a great change to the world of Ninja" with Naruto.
  • Our Friend here...
  • In the Grey and Grey Morality world of Ghost in the Shell, it's really hards to designate any characters as really good or evil. However, Kuze is the country's most dangerous top terrorist, who is fighting for the cause of the Korean and Chinese refugees that have to live in massive internment camps in Japan as third class citizens. In one of his first appearances, he tries to cut off the Prime Minister's head with a katana while she is meditating at a temple, and his ultimate plan is to build nuclear bombs and hide them in major cities, forcing the government into cooperating with his plans. To his men, he's not only a great leader, but becomes something like a religious figure. Which really isn't helped much by his white hair and skin and preference for white longcoats. While some of his methods are radical, he turns out to be one of the nicest guys around by the end of the season.
  • Dartz from Yu-Gi-Oh! was trying to destroy the world and rebuild it without the flaws.
  • Broly from Dragonball Z is a form of this, in that he actually is a messiah like being, a legendary super saiyan, and in that he seems to think of himself as a god or devil.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica has the eponymous character. Well, sort of. In two alternate timelines, she becomes a witch that wants to absorb all of humanity in order to create heaven. And she has the power to do it in ten days. However, she managed to flip all that when she wished to kill every Witch in existence before they're created, including her own, thus becoming The Messiah.
  • The Claw from Gun X Sword, where people he has meet practically worship him like a god and are willing to do anything he asks or to make him happy. This including killing anyone that gets in the way of his dream.
  • Shishio Makoto from Rurouni Kenshin, whose goal is to eliminate the Meiji government,which he views as weak and inferior, and start a new era in Japan in which everyone must live under his rule, and only the strongest can survive.

Comic Books

  • Adrian Veidt (Ozymandias) in Watchmen causes the deaths of millions in order to unify the world and prevent the nuclear Armageddon he believes is otherwise inevitable. The comic itself refuses to either obviously support or condemn his actions.
  • Abu Adallah in Shooting War masterminds a conspiracy against the US military occupation of Iraq, and dies for his cause. He engineered a nuclear apocalypse in the Middle East and Southeast Asia.
  • Ra's al Ghul is partially immortal, and who's intelligence and magnificent bastardy can only be matched by Batman. With an army of devout followers to boot. In one alternate history, he completely conquered the world.
  • Glorious Godfrey of the New Gods, who preaches the word of his master, Darkseid, all in the name of taking over the universe.
  • The High Evolutionary, from Marvel Comics.


  • Cain in Robocop 2 is the leader of a drug cult who treats him as a messiah-type figure who will bring the world peace and prosperity through his designer narcotic, "nuke", despite his tendency to be rather nasty to his critics and betrayers.
  • Lampshaded in Bad Boys 2, when the Big Bad has himself painted on a giant mural of his mansion as Jesus.
  • In the James Bond film, Moonraker, this was suggested with Hugo Drax, given the loyaty of his followers.
  • Anakin Skywalker, to the core. It's played with somewhat as he makes a deal with the 'Devil', Palpatine, essentially acting as an Anti Christ. But in the end, he saves the day, fulfilling the Messianic Archetype role.
  • The main villain in Waterworld leads a group of pirates onto "Dry Land" in a prophet-like manner, and it involved raiding a settlement and killing everyone in it. It is even Lampshaded, given that he was referred to as "The Deacon", which means a minister of sort.
  • Magneto. He'll do anything to make the world a better place for mutants, even if it means terrorism or all-out war. He has often been nicknamed by his followers as the "Mutant Messiah", and stands in darker contrast to his friend and counterpart, Charles Xavier.
  • Bruce Wayne in The Dark Knight Saga has shades of this, being an Ubermensch Messianic Archetype that has made numerous morally questionable choices.


  • Mina, introduced during the Age of Mortals for Dragonlance is one of these. First, during the War of Souls trilogy, she's (unwittingly) the messiah-like figure for Takhisis, the God of Evil (well, Goddess of Evil) for the Dragonlance setting. In the Dark Disciple trilogy, she then becomes this for Chemosh. Culminates in her ascending to the position of a lesser goddess in her own right, the Goddess of Tears, embodiment of sorrow and pain.
  • Paul Muad'Dib from Dune; curious in that he recognizes the dangers in his Messiah-ship, and sought to avoid them, but had the Dark Messiah moniker forced on him by his followers and reluctantly adhered to the mold.
    • His son, God-Emperor Leto, saw it as well, but realised that he couldn't avoid it. He knew (hooray for prescience!) how future generations would see him, and was prepared to pay the moral price. Justified, in that failure to follow through would have meant the extinction of humankind.
  • Lord Asriel in His Dark Materials. Though his plans include, in the short term, separating an innocent child from his soul to rip the universe apart (environment be damned) and he is portrayed to have a very haphazard respect for human life, ultimately, he's trying to allow everyone to live in freedom of thought and government, by destroying the angel who claims himself as God. Even the heroes don't like him that much.
  • Referenced by name in John C. Wright's War of the Dreaming: Azrael de Gray intends to be one of these, using treachery and force to create a human kingdom. Unfortunately for him, he misses the fact that there's a straight-up Messiah around already.
  • Nyarlatothep in H.P. Lovecraft's work often appears as a messianic figure, gathering large amounts of followers by various demonstrations of power, and seemingly working for the good of mankind. In reality, his goal is no less than The End of the World as We Know It. May be more of an Anti-Christ without the connection to Christianity, though.
  • "Yet one shall be born to face the Shadow, born once more as he was born before, and shall be born again, time without end. The Dragon shall be Reborn, and there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth at his rebirth. In sackcloth and ashes shall he clothe the people, and he shall break the world again by his coming, tearing apart all ties that bind. Like the unfettered dawn shall he bind us, and burn us, yet shall the Dragon Reborn confront the Shadow at the Last Battle, and his blood shall give us the Light. Let tears flow, O ye people of the world. Weep for your salvation." Dark enough for you? Initially, the Dark Messiah in question, Rand Al'Thor, struggles heavily with the unthinkable notion of women being harmed. But as the books progress, he becomes increasingly disturbed, and the prophecies' promise of a world-shattering salvation seem to become increasingly more likely. Regardless of what actually happens, the Prophecies have certainly promised a Dark Messiah rather than a Messiah.
    • Many of the Dragons seem to be this. Lews Therin Telamon was seen as this because the Dark One made Lews Therin go crazy after saving the world by sealing the Dark One away, but the ensuing insanity amongst the male half of the magical population lead to the Breaking of the World.
    • Masema would be a good example, except that he's the (self-proclaimed) "Prophet of the Lord Dragon", not the Dragon himself. He and his ragtag army of Ax Crazies go around randomly slaughtering whole villages for not serving Rand devoutly enough. Rand keeps telling him to stop, but...
  • Richard of the Sword of Truth books is out to make sure everyone gets to control their own lives and destinies. However, he doesn't seem to see a problem with killing or throwing to the bad guys every single person who doesn't agree with his way of giving them free will. To be fair to him, those who oppose him are an actual evil thuggish horde, so if anyone is to blame, it's the author.
  • Kellhus from Second Apocalypse eventually becomes much like this. He might well just be a Villain with Good Publicity posing as a Dark Messiah, though. (Fans debate this.) His POV sections later on are careful to dance around his real motivations.
  • Ras the Destroyer in Invisible Man is almost a deconstruction of this type—he thinks he's going to be the leader of a revolution against white power, but in truth, he's a ridiculous figure who's easily manipulated by the Powers That Be.
  • Agent Ben-Canaan in Exodus is a little like this. Though he is not vicious as such, he is cunning, and can be ruthless when put to it.
    • On the other hand, he really isn't "dark" enough to quite fit this.
  • Melisandre from A Song of Ice and Fire is a female example, and is Stannis Baratheon's Sinister Minister. She genuinely believes that Stannis is Azor Ahai come again, and preaches a message of peace and tolerance, uniting in the name of Rh'llor, the Lord of Light...unfortunately, Melisandre is a Knight Templar, Stannis Baratheon is completely unyielding, and worshipping Rh'llor involves blood magic and burning people alive. Since she's in Westeros, however, her faction is not much worse than most others.
  • Kelsier from Mistborn: The Final Empire is like this right down to dying for the cause in the well-substantiated hope that his death will enrage the masses enough to make them rise against their oppressors.
    • The Lord Ruler from the same series is a Dark Messiah made good. Turns out, he actually did save the world from an Omnicidal Maniac about a thousand years ago, but turned it into a hellish totalitarian theocracy in the process.
  • Immanuel Jeremiah Branch of Mike Resnick's The Branch is a strange variation of this. He is the Messiah promised in the Old Testament but is completely self-serving and evil.
  • The Stand: Randall Flagg.
  • Tyler Durden in Fight Club.
  • Harry Potter: Lord Voldemort is certainly seen this way by his Death Eaters in the few glimpses we get of their interaction. Provides an interesting contrast with Harry's more traditional Messianic Archetype. Voldemort even dies and rises again like Jesus and his satanic resurrection ritual is a perversion of the Eucharist involving blood, bones, and flesh.
  • The Dresden Files gives us Cowl, who, while presented as fairly antagonistic, repeatedly claims to be working for the greater good. Having a secret society that seems to include members of every single organization in the supernatural world, including a few renegades from the Denarians and an Outsider, doesn't improve his image. On the other hand, the man got a car flipped over on him and he tossed it aside, and allowed the guy who flipped it over on him to live, so...
  • Senna from Everworld could probably qualify for this trope—not only does she have a serious case of A God Am I (or rather, "the gods are idiots so I'm taking over"), but she manipulates a group of gun nuts from the Old World to form a cult around her to accomplish her ends.
  • In Animorphs (by the same author as Everworld above), Visser One also invokes the Messianic Archetype in order to found The Sharing, which was originally more like a cult than anything. She acquired a special male host to better fit her role as Dark Messiah, and eventually had him killed, knowing that humans would tear down a leader but lionize a martyr.
  • Sauron from The Lord of the Rings, before he became the Evil Overlord he is more known as. He started out as the closest thing to a god in the Tolkien universe, and turned to evil because he wanted to create harmony and control in Arda. Once he started listening to Morgoth, this turned into the desire to control all forms of life and rule the planet.
  • In Time Scout, Jack the Ripper.
  • Zandramas and Harakan both try to set themselves up as these in The Malloreon.
  • In Honor Harrington, Victor Cachat is a fanatical agent of the Havenite Republic and a crusader against slavery, and brave and loyal unto death. This includes on one occasion willingly offering himself up for torture, and on another going aboard an enemy starship with a suicide needle (in case he wasn't allowed to leave) in his pocket to try to negotiate a truce or at least give information about mutual threats. He is also incredibly brutal and when he threatens to kill you unless you do what he wants, you better believe he means what he says.

Live Action TV

  • Adam Monroe of Heroes. Thirty years before the events of the series, he gathered twelve unique individuals to follow him, termed them his 'disciples', and attempted to save the world. Does this story sound just a little bit familiar?
    • One of those disciples, Daniel Linderman, also qualifies. A self-proclaimed "humanitarian", his stated goal in life is to "heal the world"...which he plans to start by blowing up most of New York. He also comes with a set of Healing Hands that can make the blind see and the lame walk, just in case you missed it otherwise.
    • And Volume Five introduced Samuel Sullivan, the leader of a very Cult-like carnival who is The Antichrist: he claims to be gathering together the "specials" of the world in order to lead them to a "promised land" where they can be free of Fantastic Racism, but in reality, he wants them because he becomes more and more powerful when he surrounds himself with more "specials", and he's hoping to boost his powers to god-like levels. (Which, incidentally, could easily lead to a Class 6 or possibly even Class X Apocalypse How.)
  • Jordan Collier in The 4400. He insists that everyone takes Promicin to gain powers, knowing that it has a 50% death rate. When a method is discovered to see whether you'd live or die if injected, he sabotages the attempt because it would "polarize the world between haves and have nots". Despite being at times manipulative and bastardy, he really was chosen by the people in the future to be the messiah, with the alternative implied to be even worse than a 50% death rate.
  • Gul Dukat was this for a bit in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, when he lead a cult to the Pah Wraiths. Kai Winn exemplified this trope.
  • Stargate SG-1 has the Ori and their Priors, who use belief from billions of worshipers on thousands of planets to fuel their powers. The best example, though, is Adria: The Ori's Obstructive Code of Conduct (or rather, the equally powerful Ancients' Obstructive Code of Conduct, which they also enforce on their Ori cousins) prevents them from directly attacking the masses (except in their own galaxy, where anything goes), so their knowledge and a considerable amount of power was placed in Vala's asexually-conceived daughter, who rapidly grew into a beautiful, charismatic, and very deadly adult to lead the attack. She eventually had to Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence to survive poisoning...and, as such, now falls under the Obstructive Code of Conduct that bound her bosses. Oops. Worked out well enough for Adria, though, since her bosses died in the interim, meaning that Ascension gave her all of their previously shared godlike powers.
    • A more mundane example pops up early in the first season, where the leader of another SG team ends up being revered as a god by the locals and goes on a power trip. He was implied to already be a little mentally unstable before, and the adulation and plight of the local population, coupled with spending a little too much time in the high-UV radiation of the planet's star, pushed him over the edge into thinking he was a god and trying to lead his people to self-destructive salvation.
  • Adam from Buffy the Vampire Slayer was specifically described as the Dark Messiah at one point, intended to bring about a new world order ruled by demon/human hybrids, and was good at inspiring demons to work for him (even Spike said so). The Master also intended to bring about his utopia by opening the Hellmouth, and was certainly treated with reverence by his subordinates.
  • Much as it has its own good Messiah in Locke, Lost has Ben, almost perfectly a mirror image of Locke in every way (and understandably pissed that Jacob apparently chose Locke to replace him).
  • Jasmine from Angel attempts to bring peace to the world...by employing global-scale mind control to disguise her appearance and make demands regarding worshiping her, eating scores of people along the way. The existing world conditions and the effectiveness of the actual heroes fit the bill perfectly.
  • Carnivale has no less than two such characters: Brother Justin (aka The Usher of Destruction) and Sofie, the Omega, as revealed in the series finale.
  • Gaius Fracking Baltar
  • "Evil Jesus" from Misfits.
  • Brajira of The Messiah.
  • John from The Fades. He sees himself as a messiah figure for the Fades trapped on Earth and plans to give them all physical forms and relatively normal lives again, but he himself is insane from being trapped on Earth unable to interact with anything, the process of giving the Fades physical forms involves eating human flesh and his actions are implied to be the cause of the apocalypse Paul dreams about.


  • Hammerfall's song, "Restless Soul", seems like a great description of this kind of person.
  • Doctor Steel wants to makeover this current Crapsack World into an Utopian Playland. By force of giant robots, if necessary.
  • The unnamed founder of David Bowie's "Cygnet Committee" definitely qualifies.
  • Terrorwheel's "Redeemer" describes such a character.

Tabletop Games

  • Subverted by the Emperor from Warhammer 40,000. His Dark Messiah status was only established after his death and without his consent. During his life, he spent a significant amount of time fighting the people trying to establish a church around him. Part of the reason of the crapsack state of the world at the moment is because of the Horus Heresy, which put The Emperor into a coma so he could no longer prevent the church being established. Ironically, it was caused by Chaos showing Horus a vision of the future where the emperor was a Dark Messiah.
    • Thanks to a Retcon, the Tau Ethereals went from visionaries uniting their people with great oratory skills and charisma to a caste of Dark Messiahs, being seen as leaders of the Tau's belief system while supposedly secretly controlling the entire race through Mind Control pheromones. Essentially, they can be seen as equivalent to Covenant Prophets in Halo. How did they not piss off the folks that liked the Tau being the only source of pure goodness in the universe? By stating all this through fluff; namely, the somewhat self-serving logs of Imperial xeno-biologists.
    • Lorgar, the Word Bearers primarch, thought of himself as the traditional Apostle, with the Emperor as the Messiah, but when he fell (after the Emperor told him off one too many times for worshiping and making others worship him), he wrote the book on chaos worship and, ironically, the book on Emperor worship before the Emperor tried smacking some sense into him. The Lectatio Divinatus laid the entire framework, even down to the way of referring to the Emperor in the Divine tense, years before the Horus Heresy and Lorgar's fall into the worship of Chaos.
  • In Exalted, everyone can be this. Canonically, the Scarlet Empress and Chejop Kejak are among the purest examples of this trope: both have killed millions and sacrificed small children because they believed that it was the only way to keep Creation from annihilation. It's an open question whether there was a better way.
    • Also, Abyssal Exalted, fitting in with the whole dark-mirror-of-the-Solars theme. Their signature martial art? Dark Messiah Style.
    • And then we have the Malefactor Caste of the Infernals, corrupted Zeniths who serve Cecelyne, the Endless Desert, whose entire gimmick is creating societies based around strict, repressive laws. Her Charm suites allow her servants to create holy lands (by inflicting desolation because deserts are her thing), reap Essence from worshippers more effectively, interact with and feign being an entity of the spirit world, and answer the wishes of their worshipers. The best/worst part? It's implied that her core philosophy-- that all laws are ultimately made to assist the strong in dominating the weak—may, in fact, be right. That's not very reassuring.
  • Longinus, the Roman soldier who pierced Christ's side during the crucifixion with the Spear of Destiny. He is patron saint of Lancea Sanctum, one of the covenants from Vampire: The Requiem.
  • Nicolas Kerensky, of BattleTech fame, eventually came to believe that violence was an immutable trait in humanity that could not be eliminated, but could be harnessed. To this end, he created The Clans; a society based off Might Makes Right, Honor Before Reason, and eugenics in order to isolate the damage caused by warfare to those who actually fought it. To achieve this, he took absolute power, and when one of the Clans had issues with his ways of running things, he wiped them out and eliminated all records of their existence.
  • The Empress in Strike Legion deliberately built herself up as one of these, after concluding that fear was not a solid foundation to rule a galactic empire upon. Though a bit of a transparent Expy of the God-Emperor of Man, she is still an active ruler, and when the love of her worshippers is insufficient to keep the peace and her fleets can't control the unruly, she can always use her Reality Warper abilities to destroy star systems to keep them in line.

Western Animation

  • Amon from The Legend of Korra fits this trope. He leads the Equalists, an Anti-Magical Faction that wishes to rid the world of bending, claiming that benders oppress the non-benders of the world (and he's not entirely wrong). His status as a Dark Messiah stems from how he claims to have been chosen by the spirits to replace the Avatar as the world's savior, believing that the Avatar has failed to balance the world as promised.

Professional Wrestling

Video Games

  • Gordon Freeman from the Half Life games. In the first game when the apocalypse struck, he shrugged off his Physicist labcoat, picked up a shotgun, and went One-Man Army on everyone's asses. Then he mysteriously disappears, only to return to Earth a couple decades later. During the twenty-some years he'd been gone, humanity had been saddled with an Alien Invasion, Totalitarian Utilitarian, Police State, Childless Dystopia, AND a Zombie Apocalypse. It also turns out that humanity has come to revere him as some sort of symbol of revolution, and his mere presence sparks rebellion.
  • Seymour from Final Fantasy X may very well be the incarnation of this trope (as well as a Nietzsche Wannabe).
  • To a certain extent, Count Bleck in Super Paper Mario is believed to be such. However, it's really Dimentio.
  • Maugrim in the original Neverwinter Nights.
  • Sylvanas seems to generally want to help her people and, presumably, the other races too. She seems much more (positively) emotional (though still very cold) than most other undead and is portrayed about as sympathetically as possible for a character bent on the utter destruction of all her enemies so she can raise them into undeath with her. Oh, and while she seems to have a bit of a setback due to Varimathras, most of her really nasty plagues and poisons are still around whenever she feels like killing everyone.
    • Gross slander. The Forsaken have never wanted to turn everyone undead; in fact, they have a strong, near-religious distaste for doing so.
      • Right. They just wanted to kill everyone off completely.
        • The Forsaken will only finally be safe from the living when there aren't any. Just them, and the dead.
    • The new Silverpine Forest questline shows her to explicitly support the raising of new Forsaken using Val'kyr. This saves the future of the Forsaken race, since they have no other means of reproduction.
  • Kain R. Heinlein of Fatal Fury strives to build the ruins of Southtown into an independent utopia. His preferred means of doing so is by culling the weak from the strong through combat, and mercilessly killing the weaklings and parasites in his city.
  • Jedah Doma from Darkstalkers. His whole spiel was to save the demon world of Makai from falling into irreparable corruption, and despite being impossibly polite and caring to those he's trying to save, he's willing to sacrifice them all in order to force Makai into a demonic version of the Rapture.
  • Noir from La Pucelle Tactics hands out minor miracles like they were M&M's on Halloween, will forcibly stop his own demonic servants when they get overtly destructive, and honestly is attempting to create a paradise for himself and others. But he's willing to do some absolutely horrible things in order to get enough dark energy to make it happen.
  • Kane of Command & Conquer, who is called "the Messiah" by his followers, the Brotherhood of Nod.
    • Also fulfilling the Messianic Archetype, he is ultimately betrayed by his most trusted friend, Seth.
      • And then General Hassan. And then Brother Marcion. And then, apparently, Killian Qatar. And then Gideon. The whole series is littered with Nod generals rebelling because they feel Kane betrayed them. He didn't. Except when he did.
        • And yet, he takes it all in stride. And summary executions. Mostly the executions.
    • By Tiberian Twilight, he approaches GDI with a proposition for an alliance in order to save humanity from extinction via Tiberium. Everyone expected him to betray them rather quickly. In the end, he didn't. Turns out, he's actually an ancient, immortal alien imprisoned on Earth since times immemorial. The Tiberium Wars and the business with the Scrin was in aid of his ultimate goal: escaping via Ascension.
  • Gill, the Big Bad of Street Fighter III. Such is his influence and charisma that he was actually able to rebuild the Illuminati. His brother, Urien, is very unhappy with that, and wants to take leadership of the cult himself.
  • Takaya, the Nietzsche Wannabe of Persona 3 who looks a lot like Jesus (with several Fan Nicknames because of this), becomes this near the end of the game, becoming an internet cult leader after learning of The End of the World as We Know It and attempting to encourage everyone else to embrace The Avatar of Death coming to destroy them all.
    • According to a scene in FES, Shuji Ikuski saw himself as one of these.
  • The Jackal from Far Cry 2.
  • Guildenstern from Vagrant Story.
  • Archer (and the rest of the guardian spirits) from Fate Stay Night. Making a long story short, they work as the Earth's Immune System: stored in a timeless pocket dimension, the Earth summons them to prevent incidents that would threaten humanity or itself (like, say, drilling for mana). They do this by hunting down and killing/destroying everyone related to the incident, innocence be damned, and then return to their pocket dimension. Archer is practically the patron saint of this because he recognizes it as the most efficient means of saving people, even if he hates it.
  • Emir Parkreiner, aka Garcian Smith, in Killer7. The reasons why are...obscure.
    • Ulmeyda is a straighter example. He's using a fragment of a powerful document, and turns out to not be that bad a guy - infecting himself with all the diseases in the world to become a living vaccine. However, he doesn't succeed against the Heaven's Smile virus, and that's when you're called in...
    • The two gods, Kun-Lan and Harman, their agents on earth, Emir Parkreiner and Harman Smith, are all dark messiahs. The gods don't generally care what their agents do as long as they achieve their ends, resorting to murder and enslavement. The real problem is that they work for the East and the West, respectively, and are constantly at war with each other. So whoever wins, someone else loses. This is shown in the ending of the game, which lets you decide, ultimately, if the West will be destroyed, or the East.
  • The mystics fiends in Chrono Trigger treat Magus this way, going as far as building a monument of him to worship in 1000AD. Magus himself doesn't seem to care about his messiah role, as the only reason he joined the fiends to begin with was to build up enough power to challenge Lavos.
  • The "noble" Prophets from Halo are the leaders of a religion who's goal is to kill all sentient life, sending us all to the after-world.
    • Meanwhile, the Gravemind seeks to bring together the galaxy in unity and peace...by killing and infecting everyone with the Flood.
  • Both Kain and Raziel of the Legacy of Kain series fit to some degree. Raziel is referred to as "Redeemer and Destroyer, Pawn and Messiah", and Kain is accused of having "messianic delusions"(which later seem to have a fairly solid foundation).
  • Mass Effect 2:

Harbinger: Human, you've changed nothing. Your species has the attention of those infinitely your greater. That which you know as Reapers are your salvation through destruction.

    • A Renegade Shepard can fit this trope as well, due to the ruthless nature which he/she exhibits. Subverted with Saren, who at first seems to be one of these, but it turns out that he was being controlled by Sovereign.
  • Sofia Lamb of Bioshock II certainly styles herself as and believes herself to be this (despite her private atheism). Like any good mother, she expects her daughter to uphold this standard. By fusing with all of Rapture's collective memories and becoming the first Utopian. Sans free will, no less.
  • In Deus Ex: Invisible War, Saman, the supposed leader of the German branch of the Order Church, is revealed to be the leader of the Templars, a terrorist group that seeks to neutralize all biomodification technology, thus eliminating the power that maintains the rival Illuminati.
  • Anders in Dragon Age II. He spends much of the game pointing out the injustices the mages suffer at the hands of the templars, such as the beatings and rapes as well as the Rite of Tranquility. He's the leader of what he calls the Mage Underground and compares himself to Andraste, the world's Christ and Joan of Arc figure. And at the end of the game, he blows up a church full of people to start a war between the mages and the templars, fully expecting to be martyred for his actions. Whether Hawke sees him as a messianic figure or not is up to the player to decide, but Anders certainly fancies himself one. Averted in the Rivalry path -- Anders will admit that there was nothing messianic at all about his act of mass murder. Rather than a messiah, Anders will see himself as just another monstrous Abomination that needs to be put down.
    • Hawke. Even if you play as The Messiah, Hawke's choices ultimately serve as the catalyst for the Mage-Templar War, as the Champion of Kirkwall becomes a rallying cry for those wanting to be free of Templar oppression. As Varric's framing story can attest, a lot of good people have died in Hawke's name, while far less know who Hawke actually was as a person.
  • Ar tonelico II: Melody of Metafalica has Infel, a Mad Scientist bent on hurling the world headlong into Sublimation. Considering the kind of Crapsack World she lives in, it makes her almost Justified, especially since Croix and co's plans seems to be pipe dreams. She nearly succeed too, twice. Originally, she was a grade-variety messiah. She led the project to create utopia but then things went extremely wrong, culminating in the death of her wife(?), her Roaring Rampage of Revenge Rage Against the Heavens, her hostage-taking/murder/whatever of the goddess of the world, and general worsening of the world's state, whose dying condition mandated the utopia project to begin with. Her wish for Sublimation is fueled by a desperate sense of responsibility.
  • Septerra Core presents Doskias as this. He truly believes that he is the Saviour of Septerra. Too bad he seems to be more the Destroyer of Septerra.
  • In Dark Souls, the Chosen Undead becomes this if he/she refuses to relight the Fire and becomes the Dark Lord.
  • By Resident Evil 5, Albert Wesker essentially became this: Gathered several followers and organized what can only be compared to a cult? Check. Has superhuman powers? Check, although he technically had those since post-Resident Evil 1. Believes himself to be God at the very least? Check. Seems to think his actions in spreading Uroboros across the planet Earth in a jet bomber is "saving" the planet? Big fat check!


  • Redcloak, who serves as both The Dragon and something of an Anti-Villain in Order of the Stick, is the High Priest of a dark god (aptly named "The Dark One") who preaches a better world for the Exclusively Evil Goblin race, who, in the Dungeons & Dragons themed world, are doomed to the fate of being Mooks for the "heroes" to gain XP from. His plan is a Xanatos Gambit to blackmail the Gods into evening things out for his race. Although he preaches a better future, he is a ruthless and brutal individual who despises humans (particularly Paladins, who killed his family) and (formerly) Hobgoblins.
  • Baron Wulfenbach, from Girl Genius, is arguably one of these, as showcased here. Crapsack world indeed.
  • Last Res0rt has Veled, the 'Messiah of the Endless', who has gone on to become Ziligo's head of the military, although she comes off as more Necessarily Evil because of her precarious political situation.
  • Homestuck: After Gamzee goes sober, he starts believing that he is both of the Mirthful Messiahs worshipped by his Juggalo religion. Which is somewhat true, considering that he's a descendant of the Grand Highblood. As such, it is now his glorious duty to subjugglate all the lowbloods and paint murals with their blood.

Web Original

Real Life

  • Adolf Hitler was an archetypal Real Life example, considering that, through his inhuman charisma, he saved Germany from the Great Depression through utopia justifying the means, justifying himself with Divine Providence and seeing himself as destined to lead the Aryans, while the Nazis worshipped him as a demigod and a Jesus-esque literal saviour in a cultish manner, even though he was insane, ordered the killing of Jews, and started World War II.
  • Vladimir Lenin, who saved Russia from total corruption and set the path for it to become a superpower, at the cost of millions of lives lost in warfare and famine, a constant low-level civil war during his government, and having to set up a Police State only somewhat better than the one he helped to overthrow. He was preserved and revered by the Soviets even beyond the grave.
  • Joseph Kony. He believes himself to be God's spokesperson and wants to turn Uganda into a theocracy that strictly follows the Ten Commandments. He shows no reservation in killing people to attain that goal.
  • Charles Manson. One needs only to look at his picture or read his article on The Other Wiki to see what a freaked-out God Complex he has. Just read the following quote from one of his parole hearings.

"Believe me, I've never murdered anybody. If I were to start murdering people, there'd be none of ya left."

  • There's Jim Jones, who was Manson times 11. He had lured hundreds of people into his little village in Guyana, they expect it to be an oasis from the Cold War, but they ended up in a slave camp where Jones controlled everything. People worked 16–18 hours a day, and were forced to worship Jones as living god. Then came the whole "stepping into another plane" thing.
  • On the topic of cult leaders, honorable mention should also go to Vernon Wayne Howell, better known under his assumed name, David Koresh, who led the Branch Davidians. Like Jim Jones, he initially presented his church as a fairly benign Christian denomination. However, he soon declared that he was the Messiah and had the right to "claim" for himself the wives and daughters of his followers. Also like Jones, he led his followers to death, attacking federal agents coming to investigate him and then committing suicide.
  • Mao Zedong. He had people look up to him as a semi divine being with the powers of communism. All of his great revolutionary works usually resulted in the death of millions of Chinese people, and he considered all deaths minor setbacks (he placed next to no worth on the lives of individuals - it was only the collective that mattered to him). Even today, he is still idolized by millions of people as a great revolutionary man, with his face embedded in t-shirts, watches, plates, pendants, the Tiananmen Square, etc. Unlike every other real-life example, he is currently revered by a country.
  • Not like Mao is Pol Pot, who is best considered a mini Mao. Pol Pot was hated by the Cambodians by for his radical plan in turning Cambodia into a communist paradise, by forcing everyone out of the cities and putting them into slave labor in the fields. His policy of hunting down people who he considered as bourgeoisie resulted in the deaths of almost 3 million Cambodians.
  • Maximilien Robespierre, who maintained a significantly-sized following, even towards the end of the Reign of Terror.
  • The Kim dynasty in North Korea. It's both freaky and hilarious to think that Kim Jong-Il's birth was foretold by a magical hummingbird and he was born in "Mount Paektu, the highest mountain ever" and that he "walked out of his mother's Patriotic and Revolutionary Vagina six months prematurely and without the aid of a physician, thus rendering the Korean medical community irrelevant. In shame, all doctors fled our Great and Innovative Nation, never to return."