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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...
1. My legions of terror will have helmets with clear
Plexiglas visors, not face-concealing ones.
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.
4. 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
6. I will not gloat over my enemies' predicament before
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."
8. 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 him.
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.
10. I will not include a self-destruct mechanism unless
absolutely necessary. If it is necessary, it will not be a
large red button labeled "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 labeled as
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
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 believe it.
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 aforementioned disposal.
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
19. The hero is not entitled to a last kiss, a last
cigarette, or any other form of last request.
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
25. I 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 accordingly.
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 positive mind-set.
28. No matter how tempted I am with the prospect of
unlimited power, I will not consume any energy field bigger
than my head.
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
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. If I am engaged in a duel to the death with the hero
and I am fortunate enough to knock the weapon out of his
hand, I will graciously allow him to retrieve it. This is
not from a sense of fair play; rather, he will be so
startled and confused that I will easily be able to
33. 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 bedchamber.
34. 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 times.
35. 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 attempt this.
36. My pet monster will be kept in a secure cage from which
it cannot escape and into which I could not accidentally
37. 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.
38. I will dress in bright and cheery colors, and so throw
my enemies into confusion.
39. 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
40. 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.
41. 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
42. 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 come by.
43. 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
44. 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
45. I will not employ devious schemes that involve the
hero's party getting into my inner sanctum before the trap
46. I will not turn into a snake. It never helps.
47. 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 Generation X.
48. 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.
49. 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.
50. 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.
51. 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.
52. 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 reserve.
53. Once my power is secure, I will destroy all those pesky
54. I will offer oracles the choice of working exclusively
for me or being executed.
55. 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 around.
56. 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 plans.
57. 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
58. I will not rely entirely upon "totally reliable" spells
that can be neutralized by relatively inconspicuous
59. 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 underling.
60. 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 advisor.
61. 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 to mature.
62. 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
63. If I learn the whereabouts of the one artifact that 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.
64. My main computers will have their own special operating
system that will be completely incompatible with standard
IBM and Macintosh powerbooks.
65. 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 emergency.
66. 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
67. 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
68. If the beautiful princess that I capture says "I'll
never marry you! Never, do you hear me, NEVER!!!", I will
say, "Oh well." and kill her.
69. I will not strike a bargain with a demonic being, then
attempt to double-cross it simply because I feel like being
70. Finally, to keep my subjects permanently locked in a
mindless trance, I will provide each of them with free
unlimited Internet access.