Tips for Being an Evil Overlord
Being an Evil Overlord seems to
be a good career choice. It pays well, there are all sorts of perks and you can
set your own hours. However every Evil Overlord I've read about in books or seen
in movies invariably gets overthrown and destroyed in the end. I've noticed that
no matter whether they are barbarian lords, deranged wizards, mad scientists or
alien invaders, they always seem to make the same basic mistakes every single
time. Therefore, if I ever happen to become an Evil Overlord:
My legions of terror will have helmets with clear plexiglass visors, not
2. My ventilation ducts will be too small to crawl
3. My noble half-brother whose throne I usurped will be killed,
not kept anonymously imprisoned in a forgotten cell of my dungeon.
Shooting is not too good for my enemies.
5. The artifact which is the
source of my power will not be kept on the Mountain of Despair beyond the River
of Fire guarded by the Dragons of Eternity. It will be in my safe-deposit box.
The same applies to the object which is my one weakness.
6. I will not
gloat over my enemies' predicament before killing them.
7. When the rebel
leader challenges me to fight one-on-one and asks,``Or are you afraid without
your armies to back you up?'' My reply will be, ``No, just sensible.''
When I've captured my adversary and he says, ``Look, before you kill me, will
you at least tell me what this is all about?'' I'll say, ``No.'' and shoot
9. After I kidnap the beautiful princess, we will be married
immediately in a quiet civil ceremony, not a lavish spectacle in three weeks'
time during which the final phase of my plan will be carried out.
will not include a self-destruct mechanism unless absolutely necessary. If it is
necessary, it will not be a large red button labelled ``Danger: Do Not Push''.
The big red button marked ``Do Not Push'' will instead trigger a spray of
bullets on anyone stupid enough to disregard it. Similarly, the ON/OFF switch
will not clearly be labelled as such.
11. I will not order my trusted
lieutenant to kill the infant who is destined to overthrow me -- I'll do it
12. I will not interrogate my enemies in the inner sanctum -- a
small hotel well outside my borders will work just as well.
13. I will be
secure in my superiority. Therefore, I will feel no need to prove it by leaving
clues in the form of riddles or leaving my weaker enemies alive to show they
pose no threat.
14. I will not waste time making my enemy's death look
like an accident -- I'm not accountable to anyone and my other enemies wouldn't
15. I will make it clear that I do know the meaning of the
word ``mercy''; I simply choose not show them any.
16. One of my advisors
will be an average five-year-old child. Any flaws in my plan that he is able to
spot will be corrected before implementation.
17. All slain enemies will
be cremated, or at least have several rounds of ammunition emptied into them,
not left for dead at the bottom of the cliff. The announcement of their deaths,
as well as any accompanying celebration, will be deferred until after the
18. My undercover agents will not have tattoos
identifying them as members of my organization, nor will they be required to
wear military boots or adhere to any other dress codes.
19. The hero is
not entitled to a last kiss, a last cigarette, or any other form of last
20. I will never employ any device with a digital countdown. If
I find that such a device is absolutely unavoidable, I will set it to activate
when the counter reaches 117 and the hero is just putting his plan into
21. I will design all doomsday machines myself. If I must hire
a mad scientist to assist me, I will make sure that he is sufficiently twisted
to never regret his evil ways and seek to undo the damage he's caused.
22. I will never utter the sentence ``But before I kill you, there's
just one thing I want to know.''
23. When I employ people as advisors, I
will occasionally listen to their advice.
24. I will not have a son.
Although his laughably under-planned attempt to usurp power would easily fail,
it would provide a fatal distraction at a crucial point in time.
will not have a daughter. She would be as beautiful as she was evil, but one
look at the hero's rugged countenance and she'd betray her own father.
26. Despite its proven stress-relieving effect, I will not indulge in
maniacal laughter. When so occupied, it's too easy to miss unexpected
developments that a more attentive individual could adjust to
27. I will hire a talented fashion designer to create
original uniforms for my legions of terror, as opposed to some cheap knock-offs
that make them look like Nazi stormtroopers, Roman footsoldiers, or savage
Mongol hordes. All were eventually defeated and I want my troops to have a more
28. No matter how tempted I am with the prospect of
unlimited power, I will not consume any energy field bigger than my
29. I will keep a special cache of low-tech weapons and train my
troops in their use. That way -- even if the heroes manage to neutralize my
power generator and/or render the standard-issue energy weapons useless -- my
troops will not be overrun by a handful of savages armed with spears and rocks.
30. I will maintain a realistic assessment of my strengths and
weaknesses. Even though this takes some of the fun out of the job, at least I
will never utter the line ``No, this cannot be! I AM INVINCIBLE!!!'' (After
that, death is usually instantaneous.)
31. No matter how well it would
perform, I will never construct any sort of machinery which is completely
indestructible except for one small and virtually inaccessible vulnerable spot.
32. No matter how attractive certain members of the rebellion are, there
is probably someone just as attractive who is not desperate to kill me.
Therefore, I will think twice before ordering a prisoner sent to my
33. I will never build only one of anything important. For
the same reason I will always carry at least two fully loaded weapons at all
34. If my supreme command center comes under attack, I will
immediately flee to safety in my prepared escape pod and direct the defenses
from there. I will not wait until the troops break into my inner sanctum to
35. My pet monster will be kept in a secure cage from which
it cannot escape and into which I could not accidentally stumble.
Even though I don't really care because I plan on living forever, I will hire
engineers who are able to build me a fortress sturdy enough that, if I am slain,
it won't tumble to the ground for no good structural reason.
37. I will
dress in bright and cheery colors, and so throw my enemies into
38. All bumbling conjurers, clumsy squires, no-talent bards,
and cowardly thieves in the land will be pre-emptively put to death. My foes
will surely give up and abandon their quest if they have no source of comic
39. All naive, busty tavern wenches in my realm will be replaced
with surly, world-weary waitresses who will provide no unexpected reinforcement
and/or romantic subplot for the hero or his sidekick.
40. Any and all
magic and/or technology that can miraculously resurrect a secondary character
who has given up his/her life through self sacrifice will be outlawed and
41. I will not fly into a rage and kill a messenger who brings
me bad news just to illustrate how evil I really am. Good messengers are hard to
42. I will see to it that plucky young lads/lasses in strange
clothes and with the accent of an outlander shall REGULARLY climb some monument
in the main square of my capital and denounce me, claim to know the secret of my
power, rally the masses to rebellion, etc. That way, the citizens will be jaded
in case the real thing ever comes along.
43. I won't require high-ranking
female members of my organization to wear a stainless-steel bustier. Morale is
better with a more casual dress-code. Similarly, outfits made entirely from
black leather will be reserved for formal occasions.
44. I will not
employ devious schemes that involve the hero's party getting into my inner
sanctum before the trap is sprung.
45. I will not turn into a snake. It
46. I will not grow a goatee. In the old days they made you
look diabolic. Now they just make you look like a disaffected member of
47. I will not imprison members of the same party in the
same cell block, let alone the same cell. If they are important prisoners, I
will keep the only key to the cell door on my person instead of handing out
copies to every bottom-rung guard in the prison.
48. If my trusted
lieutenant tells me my Legions of Terror are losing a battle, I will believe
him. After all, he's my trusted lieutenant.
49. If an enemy I have just
killed has a younger sibling or offspring anywhere, I will find them and have
them killed immediately, instead of waiting for them to grow up harboring
feelings of vengeance towards me in my old age.
50. If I absolutely must
ride into battle, I will certainly not ride at the forefront of my Legions of
Terror, nor will I seek out my opposite number among his army.
51. I will
be neither chivalrous nor sporting. If I have an unstoppable superweapon, I will
use it as early and as often as possible instead of keeping it in
52. Once my power is secure, I will destroy all those pesky
53. I will offer oracles the choice of working
exclusively for me or being executed.
54. When I capture the hero, I will
make sure I also get his dog, monkey, ferret, or whatever sickeningly cute
little animal capable of untying ropes and filching keys happens to follow him
55. I will maintain a healthy amount of skepticism when I
capture the beautiful rebel and she claims she is attracted to my power and good
looks and will gladly betray her companions if I just let her in on my
56. I will only employ bounty hunters who work for money. Those
who work for the pleasure of the hunt tend to do dumb things like even the odds
to give the other guy a sporting chance.
57. I will not rely entirely
upon ``totally reliable'' spells that can be neutralized by relatively
58. I will make sure I have a clear understanding
of who is responsible for what in my organization. For example, if my general
screws up I will not draw my weapon, point it at him, say ``And here is the
price for failure,'' then suddenly turn and kill some random
59. If an advisor says to me ``My liege, he is but one man.
What can one man possibly do?'', I will reply ``This.'' and kill the
60. If I learn that a callow youth has begun a quest to destroy
me, I will slay him while he is still a callow youth instead of waiting for him
61. I will treat any beast which I control through magic or
technology with respect and kindness. Thus if the control is ever broken, it
will not immediately come after me for revenge.
62. If I learn the
whereabouts of the one artifact which can destroy me, I will not send all my
troops out to seize it. Instead I will send them out to seize something else and
quietly put a Want-Ad in the local paper.
63. My main computers will
have their own special operating system that will be completely incompatible
with standard IBM and Macintosh powerbooks.
64. I will make the main
entrance to my fortress standard-sized. While elaborate 60-foot high
double-doors definitely impress the masses, they are hard to close quickly in an
65. If one of my dungeon guards begins expressing concern over
the conditions in the beautiful princess' cell, I will immediately transfer him
to a less people-oriented position.
66. I will hire a team of
board-certified architects and surveyors to examine my castle and inform me of
any secret passages and abandoned tunnels that I might not know
67. If the beautiful princess that I captures says ``I'll never
marry you! Never, do you hear me, NEVER!!!'', I will say ``Oh well'' and kill
68. I will not strike a bargain with a demonic being then attempt to
double-cross it simply because I feel like being contrary.
deformed mutants and odd-ball psychotics will have their place in my Legions of
Terror. However before I send them out on important covert missions that require
tact and subtlety, I will first see if there is anyone else equally qualified
who would attract less attention.
70. My legions of terror will be
trained in basic marksmanship. Any who cannot learn to hit a man-sized target at
10 meters will be used for target practice.
71. Before employing any
captured artifacts or machinery, I will carefully read the owner's manual.
72. If it becomes necessary to escape, I will never stop to pose
dramatically and toss off a one-liner.
73. I will never build a sentient
computer smarter than I am.
74. My five-year-old child advisor will also
be asked to decipher any code I am thinking of using. If he breaks the code in
under 30 seconds, it will not be used.
75. If my advisors ask ``Why are
you risking everything on such a mad scheme?'', I will not proceed until I have
a response that satisfies them.
76. I will never accept a challenge from
77. I will design fortress hallways with no alcoves or
protruding structural supports which intruders could use for cover in a
78. I will not engage an enemy single-handedly until all my
soldiers are dead.
79. Bulk trash will be disposed of in incinerators,
not compactors.And they will be kept hot, with none of that nonsense about
flames going through accessible tunnels at predictable intervals.
will see a competent psychiatrist and get cured of all extremely unusual phobias
and bizarre compulsive habits which could prove to be a disadvantage.
If I must have computer systems with publically available terminals, the maps
they display of my complex will have a room clearly marked as the Main Control
Room. That room will be the Execution Chamber. The actual main control room will
be marked as Sewage Overflow Containment.
82. My security keypad will
actually be a fingerprint scanner. Anyone who watches someone press a sequence
of buttons or dusts the pad for fingerprints then subsequently tries to enter by
repeating that sequence will trigger the alarm system.
83. If I capture
the hero's starship, I will keep it in the landing bay with the ramp down, only
a few token guards on duty and a ton of explosives set to go off as soon as it
clears the blast-range.
84. No matter how many shorts we have in the
system, my guards will be instructed to treat every surveillance camera
malfunction as a full-scale emergency.
85. I will spare someone who saved
my life sometime in the past. This is only reasonable as it encourages others to
do so. However, the offer is good one time only. If they want me to spare them
again, they'd better save my life again.
86. All midwives will be banned
from the realm. All babies will be delivered at state-approved hospitals.
Orphans will be placed in foster-homes, not abandoned in the woods to be raised
by creatures of the wild.
87. When my guards split up to search for
intruders, they will always travel in groups of at least two. They will be
trained so that if one of them disappears mysteriously while on patrol, the
other will immediately initiate an alert and call for backup, instead of
quizzically peering around a corner.
88. If I decide to test a
lieutenant's loyalty and see if he/she should be made a trusted lieutenant, I
will have a crack squad of marksmen standing by in case the answer is
89. If all the heroes are standing together around a strange device
and begin to taunt me, I will pull out a conventional weapon instead of using my
unstoppable superweapon on them.
90. I will not agree to let the heroes
go free if they win a rigged contest, even though my advisors assure me it is
impossible for them to win.
91. When I create a multimedia presentation
of my plan designed so that my five-year-old advisor can easily understand the
details, I will not label the disk ``Project Overlord'' and leave it lying on
top of my desk.
92. I will instruct my Legions of Terror to attack the
hero en masse, instead of standing around waiting while members break off and
attack one or two at a time.
93. If the hero runs up to my roof, I will
not run up after him and struggle with him in an attempt to push him over the
94. Finally, to keep my subjects permanently locked in a mindless
trance, I will provide each of them with free unlimited Internet
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