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How to Be an Evil Overlord
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1996 by Peter Anspach <firstname.lastname@example.org>. If you enjoy
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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
- My legions of terror
will have helmets with clear Plexiglas visors, not face-concealing ones.
- My ventilation ducts
will be too small to crawl through.
- 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.
- 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.
- I will not gloat
over my enemies' predicament before killing them.
- 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
- 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.
- 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 such.
- I will not order
my trusted lieutenant to kill the infant who is destined to overthrow me --
I'll do it myself.
- I will not interrogate
my enemies in the inner sanctum -- a small hotel well outside my borders will
work just as well.
- 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
- 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.
- I will make it clear
that I do know the meaning of the word "mercy"; I simply choose
not show them any.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- The hero is not entitled
to a last kiss, a last cigarette, or any other form of last request.
- 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 operation.
- 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.
- I will never utter
the sentence "But before I kill you, there's just one thing I want to
- When I employ people
as advisors, I will occasionally listen to their advice.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- No matter how tempted
I am with the prospect of unlimited power, I will not consume any energy field
bigger than my head.
- 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.
- 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.)
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- I will dress in bright
and cheery colors, and so throw my enemies into confusion.
- 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 relief.
- 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.
- 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 destroyed.
- 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.
- 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
rebell ion, etc. That way, the citizens will be jaded in case the real thing
ever comes along.
- 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.
- I will not employ
devious schemes that involve the hero's party getting into my inner sanctum
before the trap is sprung.
- I will not turn into
a snake. It never helps.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Once my power is
secure, I will destroy all those pesky time-travel devices.
- I will offer oracles
the choice of working exclusively for me or being executed.
- 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
- 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.
- 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
- I will not rely entirely
upon "totally reliable" spells that can be neutralized by relatively
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- My main computers
will have their own special operating system that will be completely incompatible
with standard IBM and Macintosh portables.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 about.
- 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.
- I will not strike
a bargain with a demonic being then attempt to double-cross it simply because
I feel like being contrary.
- The 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.
- 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.
- Before employing
any captured artifacts or machinery, I will carefully read the owner's manual.
- If it becomes necessary
to escape, I will never stop to pose dramatically and toss off a one-liner.
- I'll never build
a sentient computer smarter than I am.
- 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.
- 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.
- I will never accept
a challenge from the hero.
- I will design fortress
hallways with no alcoves or protruding structural supports which intruders
could use for cover in a firefight.
- I will not engage
an enemy single-handedly until all my soldiers are dead.
- 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
- I 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 publicly 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Finally, to keep
my subjects permanently locked in a mindless trance, I will provide each of
them with free unlimited Internet access.