A quick note before we get to the fun stuff. A guy named Peter
Anspach has a variant version of this liar copyrighted and posted at
After listening to Mr. Anspach's explanation of how his list came about,
I am convinced that the list that follows and his list are the products
of paralell development. Fandom being what it is, this is not
Sayeth Mr. Anspach:
Overlord List grew out of the exchanges on the Star Trek mailing list <firstname.lastname@example.org>,
beginning in 1994. I was kicking around cliches that appeared on Deep
Space 9 at the time, and started to compile a list of things of classic
blunders they were making. The list came to about 20 or so items.
At this point, I decided to try to make it into a Top 100 List. Some
friends of mine posted it to a few newsgroups, and the contributions
quickly poured in. The Web page went up in 1996, and the list expanded
and had to open up a dungeon. I might add that I continued to
contribute items, my total is around 40 or so."
"Both to credit those who contributed to the list and to prevent
fraudulent claims of ownership, I was careful to include the names and
email addresses. As a matter of fact, I believe one or two of them
mentioned similarities to another list from SF conventions and such, but
it was a list I had never seen (and have never seen to date). If some
items on that list are similar, I would attribute that to the fact that
these are both lists of well-known cliches. I won't get into the fine
points of copyright (which you may be more familiar with than I), but I
will point out that general ideas such as noting blunders made by Evil
Overlords are not copyrightable, but a fixed-form list of such certainly
is provided they are original. I regard my list and original and
His list carries the
following statement: "This Evil Overlord List is Copyright 1996-1997
by Peter Anspach. If you enjoy it, feel free to pass it along or post it
anywhere, provided that (1) it is not altered in any way, and (2) this
copyright notice is attached."
For the record, this
list while similar is not Mr. Anspach's list. This list has its
origins on the now-nonexistent FidoNet Science Fiction and Fandom (SFFAN)
email echo, in a discussion regarding a sketch seen on an episode of
Saturday Night Live sometime in 1990. In the sketch, several Bond
villains were appearing on a talkshow touting their new book, "What Not
To Do If You Capture James Bond". The discussion on SFFAN was
specifically regarding what advice might be found in that book.
The instigator of the discussion was Alesia Chamness; other contributors
included Jason Welles, Brian R. Williams, Merideth Knepper, and Alexi
Vandenburg. I was also one of its contributors.
When I originally
posted this list to the Internet in 1994, I did so without any awareness
of Mr. Anspach, the Star Trek mailing list on which his version of the
list appeared, or (later) his website. In the intervening years, I
have no doubt been sent many entries which apparently had their origins
on his list, just as he's been sent entries which originated on mine.
Be that as it may, in an effort to be magnanimous and to reach an
understanding with Mr. Anspach, I'd like to make it clear that I no
longer believe that he stole the list... but rather came about it
honestly, and in a similar manner to the way I did.
The following list
isn't copyrighted to anyone, as we didn't think to copyright it while we
were creating it. If you enjoy it, feel free to pass it along or post
it anywhere with no strings attached.
--- Jack Butler
try to maintain a realistic assessment of my strengths and weaknesses,
even though this takes some of the fun out of the job. I will never say,
"I am invincible", because no one ever is.
I will be
secure in my superiority. Therefore, I will feel no need to prove it by
leaving clues to my Master Plan in the form of riddles for my enemies to
see a competent psychiatrist and be cured of all unusual phobias or
bizarre compulsive habits which could prove to be disadvantageous.
always dress in bright, cheery colors... Mostly soft pastels.
Wearing nothing but black is too depressing, while wearing all white is
I will be
neither chivalrous nor sporting. If I have an unstoppable super-weapon,
I will use it as often as possible instead of holding it in reserve.
make it quite clear that I do know the meaning of the word
"mercy"... I just choose not to show any.
only employ assassins and bounty hunters that work for "the
money". Those who work for "the thrill of the hunt" tend
to do stupid things, like even the odds to give their victim a sporting
maintain plausible deniability at all times.
not indulge in the practice of maniacal laughter, despite the proven
stress-relieving effects of such behavior. When so occupied, it is too
easy to miss unexpected developments that a more alert and attentive
individual would notice.
not grow a goatee. Yes, it is true that in the old days they made you
look sinister. Unfortunately, these days they only make you look like a
disaffected member of Generation X.
not fly into a rage and kill a messenger who brings me bad news just to
demonstrate how evil I am. Loyal service should be rewarded... Which is
how it becomes "loyal" service in the first place. And
besides, honest messengers are hard to come by when you are in the Evil
never utter the sentence "Before I kill you, you should know�"
never turn into a giant snake, no matter how much I might want to,
because it never helps.
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 locked up in my safe-deposit box. The same can be
said for the artifact that is my one vulnerability.
troops invade an unsuspecting country, I will direct the attack from the
safety of my stronghold. If I absolutely must ride into battle myself, I
will certainly not do so at the forefront of my army. Nor will I attempt
to seek out my opposite number among his army for personal combat.
I will not require
ranking female members of my staff to wear a stainless-steel bustier.
Morale is better with a more casual dress code.
occasionally listen to and follow my advisor's advice.
advisors ask, "Why are you risking everything on this mad
scheme?" I will not proceed until I have an answer that satisfies
One of my
chief advisors will be an average, every-day eight-year-old child. Any
flaws in my Master Plan that he is able to spot will be corrected long
before I put that plan into action.
If I am
considering using a new code, I will instruct my eight-year old advisor
to try to break it. If he can, the code will not be used. Note:
the same policy applies to passwords.
Trusted Lieutenant tells me that my Legions of Terror are losing a
battle, I will believe him... After all, he is my Trusted Lieutenant.
not order my Trusted Lieutenant to kill the infant who is destined to
overthrow me... I will do it myself. With my bare hands.
make sure that there is 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 of
failure!", then then suddenly turn and kill a random underling.
If any of
my advisors ever says to me "My lord, he is but one man, and what
can one man possibly do?" I will reply "This.", and then
half-brother, whose throne I usurped to come into power, will not be
secretly kept imprisoned anonymously in a cell in my dungeon. He will be
killed as soon as my coronation is over.
not have a son. Although his eventual and surely laughable plan to
overthrow me will fail, it could provide a fatal distraction at a
not have a daughter. Although she would certainly be as evil as she is
beautiful, once she sees the hero's rugged good looks, she will no doubt
betray me to him.
putting my Master Plan into action, I will hire a board-certified team
of architects and surveyors to examine my headquarters closely and
inform me of any secret passages and abandoned tunnels that I might not
know about. This team will then be paid ludicrous amounts of money and
relocated to the Caribbean Island of their choice, where they will live
out their lives in luxury.
stronghold will have ventilation ducts that are too small to crawl
computer will use a custom operating system incompatible with all of the
more common PowerBook and laptop computer models commercially available
entrance to my stronghold will have doors that are normal sized. While
twenty-foot tall doors do impress the masses, they are difficult to
close quickly in an emergency.
design fortress hallways with no alcoves or protruding structural
supports that intruders could use for cover in a firefight.
headquarters, incinerators, not compactors will dispose of bulk trash,
and they will be kept hot, with none of this nonsense about flames
shooting through accessible tunnels at intervals.
stronghold won't have a self-destruct device unless it is absolutely
necessary. If a self-destruct device turns out to be necessary, a big
red button marked "Danger! Do not push!" will not activate it.
The big red button marked "Danger! Do not push!" will instead
trigger a spray of bullets onto anyone stupid enough to disregard it.
Similarly, no on/off switches in my control room will be labeled as
stronghold is attacked, I will immediately use my prepared escape pod to
escape to my auxiliary HQ, from which I will direct the defense of my
primary headquarters. I will not wait until my enemies are breaking down
the doors of my inner sanctum before attempting to leave.
If I am
forced to make my escape, I will not pose dramatically and toss off a
one-liner before leaving.
not employ devious schemes that involve the band of heroes actually
making it into my inner sanctum before the trap is sprung.
is not "too good" for my enemies.
how tempted I am by the prospect of unlimited power, I will not consume
any energy field that is larger than my head.
bumbling conjurers, clumsy squires, no-talent bards, and cowardly
thieves in the land will be preemptively executed; all annoying and/or
humorously clever robots and androids will be destroyed; and it shall be
declared a capital crime to be the "town drunk". The hero will
certainly give up and abandon his quest if he has no handy source of
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.
not waste time trying to make my enemies' deaths look like accidents.
After all, I am not accountable to anyone, and my other enemies wouldn't
believe it was an accident anyway.
enemies will be cremated as soon as possible. They will not be left for
dead in a hidden area. An announcement of their demise, plus the
attendant public celebration, will be deferred until after the urn full
of ashes has been placed into my hands.
younger siblings, spouses, children, students, and old army buddies of
an enemy I have just killed will be hunted down to prevent them from
attacking me at some future point in a quest for vengeance.
capture the hero, I will also make sure to capture his pet ferret, dog,
monkey, or whatever other sickeningly cute pet animal that is capable of
untying ropes, fetching keys, etc that happens to be following him
not interrogate my enemies in my inner sanctum. A small hotel room
located well outside the borders of my kingdom works just as well and
has the benefits of privacy and intimacy. After the interrogation, I
will shoot them.
not gloat over my enemies' predicament to show my superiority. I will
If one of
my enemies says, "Look, before you kill us, will you at least tell
us what this is all about?" I will say "No." And then I
will shoot them.
rebel leader challenges me to a one-on-one fight, and asks "Or are
you afraid to face me without your goons to back you up?" My reply
will be "No, I�m not afraid... Just sensible." And then I
will shoot him.
enemies are not entitled to a last kiss, a last cigarette, or a last
anything. They are entitled to get shot.
enemies are important to my scheme and thus cannot be shot immediately, I will not keep
them together in the same cellblock, much less the same cell. The only
keys to their cells will be kept on my person at all times; copies of
them will not be handed out to every guard in my headquarters. And they
will be shot as soon as it is feasible to do so.
When I capture the fair maiden, I will not kill her.
This is not a matter of morality -- if I gave a fig about that, I
wouldn't run around kidnapping women in the first place. However,
if I do kill the fair maiden, I have the problem of disposing of the
body and I no longer have the leverage provided by the threat of killing
her. If the fair maiden presents a problem in terms of being a
witness, I will solve that problem by blindfolding her or making her
wear a hood. Simply because I am evil does not mean I am wasteful, and
it's wasteful to kill perfectly good fair maidens. After all, I
might have some use for her at some point.
When I have the fair maiden nicely tied
up and am ready for a good gloat, I will not lean down and stare into
her space from a distance of inches. She will just spit on me. If
I absolutely have to do some close, face-to-face gloating, I'll make
sure she's gagged first.
When given a choice as to which fair
maiden of two or more to capture, I will always choose the more
attractive ones. This would seem to be obvious, but it's surprising how
often minions miss this point.
The Fair Maiden will never be left
unsecured in rooms full of bolt cutters, gasoline cans, knives,
scissors, lockpicks, bandsaws, electric drills, submachine guns, hand
grenades, flame throwers and the like under the assumption that simply
because she is unable to leave the room, she is helpless. The fair
maiden will always be gagged, bound hand and foot, and either secured to
some very stable object well away from all other objects in the room, or
even better, hogtied. Evil minions who leave the fair maiden alone and
unsecured will be left alone and unsecured in a room full of angry
force the fair maiden to marry me in a quiet civil ceremony rather than
a lavish spectacle put together with three weeks warning... And the
final phase of my Master Plan will not be carried out during my
wedding. If she says "I�ll die before I marry you!"
I'll shoot her. There are, after all, hordes of beautiful young women
out there just waiting to marry someone as rich and powerful as I am.
doomsday device will not employ a large red digital countdown device
unless it is absolutely necessary. If a countdown device proves to be
necessary, the doomsday device will be set to activate when the counter
reaches 00:10:00, rather than 00:00:00.
doomsday devices will always be designed and built in pairs. And both of
them will be activated simultaneously. For that matter, any
important device will be designed and built in pairs.
My Legions of Terror
will have helmets with clear, space-age-plastic faceplates that allow
the troopers to see clearly, and allow others to identify the trooper by
sight with ease.
My Legions of Terror
will have uniforms designed by a talented fashion designer, and will not
be a cheap knockoff of the Nazi SS uniform, the roman foot-soldier
uniform, or the clothing of the savage Mongol horde. All such groups
were eventually defeated, and I want my troopers to have a more positive
outlook about themselves.
My Legions of Terror
will be trained in basic rifle marksmanship. Any who cannot hit a
man-sized target at ten meters will be used for target practice.
undercover agents will not be required to wear jackboots, or to adhere
to any other form of a dress code. Neither will they have tattoos which
identify their allegiance to me.
My Legions of Terror
will be trained to dogpile hand-to-hand opponents, rather than attacking
them in ones and twos while the rest stand around waiting their turn.
learn about the whereabouts of the one object capable of destroying me,
I will not send my Legions of Terror out to seize it. Rather, I will
send my Legions of Terror out to seize something else, and then quietly
and anonymously place a want ad in the local paper.
deformed mutants and oddball psychotics will certainly have their place
in my Legions of Terror, I will not send them out on missions that
require tact or subtlety.
never design and build a sentient computer that is smarter than I am.
suffer from a fit of temporary insanity and offer the hero a job as my
Trusted Lieutenant, I will retain enough sanity to make the offer while
my Trusted Lieutenant is more than 100 miles away. There is nothing more
dangerous than a Trusted Lieutenant who is righteously pissed off at you
not use any Master Plan for which the final step is horribly complicated
(for example, "align the 12 stones of power on the sacred altar and
activate the medallion during a total eclipse"). Instead, I will
use plans that have a final step along the lines of "push the
never attend an auction of an "ultimate weapon". If the weapon
were really that good, the auctioneer would already be Evil Overlord.
ultimate weapon that was disassembled in the distant past and the
components of which were scattered to the far parts of the world could
not have been that great in the first place, or no one would have
of going to all the trouble of stealing a 200 megaton nuclear device and
ransoming a city to get the billions of dollars needed to enact my
Master Plan, I�ll simply start an evangelical Tele-ministry. That way,
I not only will get the money, I�ll get a fanatical cult of followers
that will obey my every command, should I ever need such a thing.
headquarters will have a heavily guarded room located at the bottom of a
100 story subterranean shaft behind a door marked "command
center". This room will have a sophisticated computer the size of a
city bus. This computer will contain a carefully encrypted but totally
false version of my Master Plan, have no external links, and no real
purpose. My actual "command center" will be a
satellite-linked laptop on a card table with a folding chair at the top
of the elevator shaft, behind a door marked "standpipe
valves", accessible through the unlocked janitor's closet.
If at all
possible, no exhaust ports will lead directly to the heart of the main
reactor. If this proves unavoidable, all such exhaust ports will have
closeable, reinforced blast doors at every other level, and there will
be alternate routes of venting in case of emergency.
never enter into an alliance with a being or group I cannot easily
betray. And I will always assume that my new "allies" are
holding to the same principle.
time comes to unite the world's diverse underworld elements into one
massive criminal organization, the meeting with my underbosses will not
feature the elimination of the vociferous objectors and the intimidation
of the rest. Rather, it will feature the deputization of the most
powerful that I can control easily and the elimination of the rest.
objective is world domination, I will not be tempted by tantalizing
opportunities to achieve absolute power, as these inevitably backfire.
However, if my objective is absolute power, I will consider settling for
mere world domination.
of my closest advisors will be a prolific hack novelist. If any part of
my Master Plan begins to resemble any of his work, it will be
messenger interrupts me during a meeting, a bath, or a romantic
encounter, I will assume he has a real and important reason for doing
so. He will only be executed if he interrupted me for no reason.
commitment is essential. If I discover that I have not truly and
completely gone over to the Dark Side, I will immediately cease all
world-domination efforts until that last morsel of goodness is expunged.
exploit my subjects, but not to the point of destitution, decrepitude,
or desperation. I am evil, not stupid.
decide to hold the double execution of the hero and an underling who
betrayed me, the hero will be scheduled to go first.
attractive young couple enters my realm, I will carefully monitor their
activities. If I find they are happy and affectionate, I will ignore
them. However, if circumstances have forced them together against their
will and they spend all of their time bickering and criticizing each
other except for intermittent moments of sexual tension, I will order
their immediate arrest and execution.
how much I desire vengeance, I will never issue the order, "Leave
him! He's mine!"
nothing is more irritating than a hero defeating you with basic math
skills, I will design all of my personal sidearms to fire one more
bullet than is standard.
If I come
into possession of an artifact that can be used only by the
pure-of-heart, I will not, repeat will not attempt to use it
If I find
that my beautiful consort has been secretly associating with the hero, I
will have her executed. This is regrettable, but maybe the next one will
pay attention at the orientation meeting.
If I have
children and then grandchildren, I will keep my three-year-old
granddaughter near me at all times. When the hero enters to kill me, I
will first ask him to explain why it is that her beloved Grandpa has to
die. When the hero launches into a long-winded, way-over-her-head
dissertation on morality, that will be her cue to pull the lever that
sends the hero into the pit of crocodiles. (Children love crocodiles
almost as much as they love their grandparents, and it�s always
important to spend quality time with children.)
If one of
my daughters actually manages to win the hero and openly defies me, I
will congratulate her on her choice, proclaim a national holiday to
celebrate the wedding, and name the hero my heir. This should be enough
to break up their relationship. If not, at least I can be assured that
the hero won't attack me while I am holding a parade in his honor.
classify my lieutenants in three categories: untrusted, trusted, and
completely trusted. Promotion to the last category is only done
fund research to develop tactical and strategic weapons of all types and
covering a full range of needs so my options aren't limited to
"hand-to-hand combat with swords" or "blow up the
is prophesized that "no man will defeat me", I will keep in
mind the growing presence and influence of non-traditional gender roles
in the world today.
not set myself up as a god. That perilous position will be reserved for
my Trusted Lieutenant.
Legions of Terror will be trained so that if they burst into rebel
headquarters and find it empty except for a strange, blinking device,
they will not approach it to investigate. Rather they will run like
If I have
massive computer systems, I will take as least as many precautions as a
small business and include such things as virus-scans, firewalls, and
other common security measures.
not procrastinate regarding any ritual or process that grants
not devise any scheme in which Part A is tricking the hero into helping
me and Part B is publicly laughing at his gullibility and then leaving
him to his own devices.
not hold lavish feasts in the middle of a famine. The good PR garnered
from the guests does not make up for the bad PR garnered from the
If my mad
scientist tells me that my superweapon is almost finished, but requires
more testing, I will wait for him to complete the testing. No one ever
conquered the world by using a beta-version.
remember that knowledge of any vulnerabilities I have is to be released
only on a need-to-know basis. I will also remember that no one has a
need to know.
repair work will be done by an in-house maintenance staff. Any
"repairmen" who show up at the door will be escorted to the
chief engineer displeases me, he will be shot. He will not be kept
prisoner inside the very dungeon he designed.
field generators will be located inside the force field they generate.
If I have
several diabolical schemes to destroy the hero, I will launch them all
at once rather than singly, thereby saving myself the aggravation of
watching them fail in succession.
My pet monster's cage will be cleaned regularly and kept
free of rocks, sticks, bones, or any other debris condemned prisoners
might use as weapons to slay it when I drop them through the secret trap
If my evil sorceress consort fails to destroy the hero
for a third consecutive time with her so-called magic, I will reassign
her to running the 1-800-PSYCHIC hotline, I will also try to keep a
straight face when ever she threatens to turn me into a toad.
If for some reason I enslave an entire race of people, I
will not put them to work at tasks modern machinery can do more
No part of my fortress will feature giant, free-standing
stone statues or obelisks. While the sight of them would indeed be awe
inspiring, it would be far too easy for a hero with superhuman strength
or a well placed explosive charge to knock one over on top of me and/or
my soldiers. Optionally, if I must have giant statues made out of
myself, they will be made of Styrofoam and helium. This way, when the
explosive charge does go off, there will be a short, morale boosting
moment as I get to do the Evil Overlord Chipmunk command to slay my
The interior decor of my fortress will not feature
pointy objects I could be impaled upon if I'm knocked off balance and
stumble backwards during a fight.
All my public speaking engagements will be handled by a hologram. If I ever go out in public myself, I will always
be in disguise.
I will not resort to android duplicates to safeguard
myself from capture by my enemies because:
- What I can construct others can emulate. If my minions are
familiar with the use of androids they may make the mistake of letting
the wrong one past their guard.
- My enemies can capture and reprogram one for the same effect.
- Any android can at any time decide that humans are inferior and
commence extermination. Handing a killer android an already-assembled
international conspiracy is considered "bad form".
Likewise, I will not use cloned duplicates to safeguard myself from
capture by my enemies because they have desires and needs like other
people and may sell me out, or worse attempt to murder and replace me.
Regardless of the extra revenue and good PR they might
generate, I will not allow public tours of my fortress or any other
important facility I own.
Efforts spent breaking a heroine's spirit
allow time for things such as heroic rescues or are uncertain enough to
allow last minute betrayals. Rather, I'll have my staff take several
high-quality photographs of her, hire a good plastic surgeon and the
ugliest girl in my kingdom, make one to look just like her, but not
until after I've pumped two rounds of .45 hardball into the heroine's
head, then fed her to my pet crocodiles.
Anyone making any kind of deliveries to my fortress will
be required to show proper identification and submit their conveyance to
an inspection before they can pass through the gate. Same applies when
I will not refuse to compromise with my enemies if the
result will be of benefit to me in the long run.
I will make every effort to either suborn my foes or
kill them. Humiliating them and enraging them through acts of
depravity motivated solely to upset them will only rebound negatively
against my long term interests.
If I've captured the beautiful princess
and forced her to wear a skimpy slave costume and chain around her neck,
I will take precautions to ensure she will not be able to strangle me
Any new concubines
I plan to add to my harem will go through a complete screening process,
including tests for STDs.
All guards (and
other workers) will be entitled to three weeks paid vacation a year
after one full year's employment, will be covered (after that same
period) by comprehensive medical and dental insurance (paid by me, the
Evil Overlord) for themselves and spouse/companion and all dependents.
They will have regularly scheduled pay-raises for every five years with
which they remain in my employ as well as annual, merit-based bonuses.
Stock options and retirement plans will be made available after five
years of employment along with favorably termed loans for home
improvement, education and debt consolidation. Any employee disabled in
my service will receive a lifetime pension. Every year, my organization
will make a few sizable college scholarships available for the most
qualified of the dependents of my employees. Upon leaving my employ they
will be constrained from working for any competitor or adversary for a
period of not less than five years. All dismissals (as opposed to
termination on their part) will be accompanied by a payment of one
month's salary as termination pay and an excellent recommendation
(regardless of cause for dismissal). Good will is more valuable than
terror on the part of my employees.
If the hero and his
party mount a surprise raid on my fortress, and there's no time to reach
my secret escape pod, I will disguise myself as one of my bottom-rung,
non-combat employees. (No real hero would shoot a poor, defenseless
janitor, now would he?)
The members of my
secret police will have broad-ranging authority to do their jobs,
however, I reserve the right to terminate any who use their power for
what I deem to be "non-constructive purposes" (like petty revenge).
I will regularly
spend some of my free time with my staff of personal trainers so I'll be
in good fighting shape just in case I absolutely must battle the hero
one on one.
The moat around my
fortress will be teaming with sharks with lasers on their heads (every
creature deserves a warm meal ). And no, I will not settle for sea
bass, no matter how bad-tempered they are. ALL I ASK FOR IS SOME
SHARKS WITH FRICKING LASERS ON THEIR HEADS!!!!
When I have
completely conquered and subjugated the entire world, I will not
immediately branch out into other worlds/dimensions. I'll wait a few
generations so that my subjects will only know life under my benevolent
reign, thus providing little help to any renegades from the new worlds.
I will carefully
read and reread Macheivelli's The Prince, Sun Tzu's The Art of
War, and Dr. Phillip C. McGraw's Self Matters before I set
out on my quest to conquer the universe.
find one of my kept women alone in my office or bedchamber and she is
suddenly startled when I enter the room, I will immediately cut off her
only escape and summon the guards. I will then order them to do a
complete strip search and body cavity check on her. After that I will
have them search the entire room top to bottom. If these searches turn
up any items she tried to filch from or plant in the room, she will be
executed on the spot.
My fortress will be designed with blast doors that authorized
personnel can open and close quickly and easily whenever they need
All my secret escape pods will come with leather interior, dual
climate zone comfort system, AM/FM stereo with 5 disk CD changer,
emergency small arms cashe, first aid kit, and a pair of fuzzy dice
hanging from the rear view mirror.
I will not hire one of the hero's
old flames to infiltrate the rebellion. Even though she'll likely be
excepted without question, she'll no doubt double cross me after the
first chance she gets to reminisce about the "good ol' days."
If I ever spend 30 years in cryogenic stasis, upon awakening I will
defer any evil scheming until my Trusted Lieutenant can bring me up to
speed on current events.
If I discover that the hero is the offspring of my Trusted
Lieutenant, I will never allow the Trusted Lieutenant to try to turn the
Hero to my service. The hero will just turn my Lieutenant against me,
and a good second-in-command is hard to come by. Rather,
I'll just accept the cost of training a new second-in-command and kill
the Trusted Lieutenant. He's just trying to turn the hero to his
side so he can overthrow me anyway. But if I temporarily lose my mind
and allow my Trusted Lieutenant to try and turn the hero to my service,
I will order the Trusted Lieutenant out of the room while I confront the
hero. That way, I won't have to worry about the Trusted
parental instinct when I kill the hero.
Once my power is secure, I
will destroy any pesky time machines that might be at hand.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 no.
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.
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
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.
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 edge. I will also
not engage him at the edge of a cliff. (In the middle of a rope-bridge
over a river of molten lava is not even worth considering.)
If I am fighting with the hero atop a moving platform, have disarmed
him, and am about to finish him off and he glances behind me and drops
flat, I too will drop flat instead of quizzically turning around to find
out what he saw.
I will not shoot at any of my enemies if they are standing in front
of the crucial support beam to a heavy, dangerous, unbalanced structure.
If I'm eating dinner with the hero, put poison in his goblet, then
have to leave the table for any reason, I will order new drinks for both
of us instead of trying to decide whether or not to switch with him.
My vats of hazardous chemicals will be covered when not in use. Also,
I will not construct walkways above them.
If a group of henchmen fail miserably at a task, I will not berate
them for incompetence then send the same group out to try the task
I will not design my Main Control Room so that every workstation is
facing away from the door.
My dungeon will have its own qualified medical staff complete with
bodyguards. That way if a prisoner becomes sick and his cellmate tells
the guard it's an emergency, the guard will fetch a trauma team instead
of opening up the cell for a look.
My door mechanisms will be designed so that blasting the control
panel on the outside seals the door and blasting the control panel on
the inside opens the door, not vice versa.
My dungeon cells will not be furnished with objects that contain
reflective surfaces or anything that can be unravelled.
Any data file of crucial importance will be padded to 1.45Mb in size.
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.
I will not attempt to kill the hero by placing a venomous creature in
his room. It will just wind up accidentally killing one of my clumsy
The gun turrets on my fortress will not rotate enough so that they
may direct fire inward or at each other.
Before spending available funds on giant gargoyles, gothic arches, or
other cosmetically intimidating pieces of architecture, I will see if
there are any valid military expenditures that could use the extra
The passageways to and within my domain will be well-lit with
fluorescent lighting. Regrettably, the spooky atmosphere will be lost,
but my security patrols will be more effective.
I will instruct my guards when checking a cell that appears empty to
look for the chamber pot. If the chamber pot is still there, then the
prisoner has escaped and they may enter and search for clues. If the
chamber pot is not there, then either the prisoner is perched above the
lintel waiting to strike them with it or else he decided to take it as a
souvenir (in which case he is obviously deeply disturbed and poses no
threat). Either way, there's no point in entering.
My dungeon cell decor will not feature exposed pipes. While they add
to the gloomy atmosphere, they are good conductors of vibrations and a
lot of prisoners know Morse code.
Ropes supporting various fixtures will not be tied next to open
windows or staircases, and chandeliers will be hung way at the top of
I will exchange the labels on my folder of top-secret plans and my
folder of family recipes. Imagine the hero's surprise when he decodes
the stolen plans and finds instructions for Grandma's Potato Salad.
I will plan in advance what to do with each of my enemies if they are
captured. That way, I will never have to order someone to be tied up
while I decide his fate.
I will not locate a base in a volcano, cave, or any other location
where it would be ridiculously easy to bypass security by rapelling down
I will allow guards to operate under a flexible work schedule. That
way if one is feeling sleepy, he can call for a replacement, punch out,
take a nap, and come back refreshed and alert to finish out his shift.
I will add indelible dye to the moat. It won't stop anyone from
swimming across, but even dim-witted guards should be able to figure out
when someone has entered in this fashion.
I will decree that all hay be shipped in tightly-packed bales. Any
wagonload of loose hay attempting to pass through a checkpoint will be
set on fire.
I will not hold any sort of public celebration within my castle
walls. Any event open to members of the public will be held down the
road in the festival pavilion.
During times of peace, my Legions of Terror will not be permitted to
lie around drinking mead and eating roast boar. Instead they will be
required to obey my dietician and my aerobics instructor.
I will not use hostages as bait in a trap. Unless you're going to use
them for negotiation or as human shields, there's no point in taking
I will not, under any circumstances, marry a woman I know to be a
faithless, conniving, back-stabbing witch simply because I am absolutely
desperate to perpetuate my family line. Of course, we can still date.
I will be selective in the hiring of assassins. Anyone who attempts
to strike down the hero the first instant his back is turned will not
even be considered for the job.
Whatever my one vulnerability is, I will fake a different one. For
example, ordering all mirrors removed from the palace, screaming and
flinching whenever someone accidentally holds up a mirror, etc. In the
climax when the hero whips out a mirror and thrusts it at my face, my
reaction will be "Hmm...I think I need a shave."
I reserve the right to execute any henchmen who appear to be a little
too intelligent, powerful, or devious. However if I do so, I will not at
some subsequent point shout "Why am I surrounded by these incompetent
I will explain to my guards that most people have their eyes in the
front of their heads and thus while searching for someone it makes
little sense to draw a weapon and slowly back down the hallway.
Ultimate Incantation or Supreme Summoning leaves me weak and vulnerable
from the expenditure of energy, I will only undertake it deep in the
center of my fortress, and get plenty of sleep before applying the
If my superweapon can be controlled by computers or other
electronic/electrical means, then there is no need for there to be only
one set of controls right next to the main power source. A fake set,
directly connected to a multi-amp circuit, will occupy this location.
No Ultimate Incantation that requires sacrifice of a Virgin is worth
the trouble of a) securing such a rarity and b) relying on a quality
that is so easily cured by an amorous Hero or Heroine in less than a
minute of stolen time.
While it may be tempting to use an Ultmate Weapon or Spell with a
rare, almost impossible to exploit, Tiny Flaw to accomplish my goals, if
many Penultimate Weapons or Spells with no such flaw can achieve the
same effect, I will employ them instead.
My Secret Police will be instructed to concentrate on Genuine Threats
To My Reign. They do not need to waste time and resources
investigating/persecuting every last disgruntled peasant, unless it's a
slow day and there's really nothing else for them to do.
Instead of killing, imprisoning, or brainwiping the witnesses to my
mistakes, I will instead apply equivalent, if not greater effort toward
In the event of failure, I will consider the possibility that my
enemies are proficient and intelligent before assuming incompetence or
betrayal on the part of my advisors.
If there is any doubt about whether or not my enemies know something,
I will act on the assumption that they do know. Unless it is important
to my plans that they know, in which case I will make sure the
information is leaked to them from an unimpeachable source.
I will not
send out battalions composed wholly of robots or skeletons against heroes
who have qualms about killing living beings.
If there is any body of
water in my realm that is home to a race of clumsy, Rastaferian-like
anphibians, it will immediately be drained and filled in with concrete.