rating: 0+x

Basic Information

Ares is the god of war in Greek Mythology. He's an ill-tempered monster, possessed of hatred and anger, and prone to frenzy. Ares' temper was so bad, most of Olympus didn't like or trust him. His own parents, Zeus and Hera kept their distance and often criticized him. He can also be a bit of a cry baby, throwing a temper-tantrum and fleeing the battlefield when wounded during the Trojan War.

By contrast, his Roman version Mars is a far more dignified and disciplined individual. It's not that the Greeks were all that more peaceful than the Romans. The Greeks just broke the purview of war up into two parts. Athena was the protective goddess of noble conflict and strategy, where Ares was all about the destructive aspects. (See also interpretatio graeca for more on the conflation and correspondence between Greek and Roman deities.)

Aphrodite, however, liked Ares enough to have an illicit affair with him. (See "The Net (substance)" for more on this affair.) Lust and Bloodlust go together seems to be the metaphor. Ares and Aphrodite had several children: Adrestia, Anteros, Deimos, Eros, Harmonia and Phobos. Deimos and Phobos would often accompany their father into battle. Other battlefield companions include Eris (his sister), Enyo, Nemesis, Nike, and Enyalius (his sun by Enyo). So, yeah, he's reviled and feared, but at the same time he's also got a lot of drinking buddies and battle brothers.

Vultures and dogs are sacred to Ares. Both feast upon the bodies of men after a battle.


1. Non-Fiction Book: Dummies Guide To Mythology by Blackwell and Blackwell

Game and Story Use

  • Ares and Mars are very different, yet supposedly the same person. In a campaign where the Gods are real, there could be several explanations for this.
    • They might be different individuals, confused or conflated by flawed worshipers. If so, these two gods might have enmity for one another. It's easy to picture Mars retaining his professionalism while Ares rages at the heavens for this disgrace… which is ironic, since Mars is the one being smeared as a murderer for his association with Ares.
      • Or Mars, being of the later religion, may have willingly stole Ares thunder and power, consuming him whole. Ares is dead! Long live Mars!
    • They could be the same person, who just matured and grew up as the Roman Empire developed. The Trojan War was his troubled teenage years.
  • In the Illiad, Ares takes the field directly on several occasions, fighting for whichever side has most recently pleased him with their courage, or whichever side the goddesses have won him over to. Making that an actual fickle presence that sometimes joins battles would be an interesting thing to put into a game.
    • He might physical appear as a Greek Warrior who slaughters wildly until someone manages to wound him, then screams horribly and flees to Mount Olympus
    • Perhaps he just manifests as an invisible killing force that take soldiers without warning, preying off the frightened or wounded on the battlefield.
      • This later version might not actually be Ares, but just some sort of undead. A ghost or vampire that is mis-identified as a god by those who see it claim the wounded.
    • Either form could act as challenge or Deus Ex Machina as needed. Sometimes saving the PCs, sometimes menacing them.
    • For a more shamanistic take on things, Ares might possess or "ride" one or more warriors, driving them into a beserk frenzy in which they have greatly increased strength, aggression and the like. They may also be more resistant to wounds - or not, which would certainly fit a deity that didn't much care whose blood was spilt, as long as the blood flowed. For extra amusement he might possess and enhance warriors from both sides in a battle.
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License