Rules 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...
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 through.
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 safe-deposit box.
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."
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 such.
11. I will not order my trusted lieutenant to kill the infant who is destined to overthrow me -- I'll do it myself.
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 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 dress codes.
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 operation.
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.
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 storm-troopers, Roman foot-soldiers, 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 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. 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 dispatch him.
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 stumble.
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 relief.
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 destroyed.
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 along.
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 formal occasions.
45. I will not employ devious schemes that involve the hero's party getting into my inner sanctum before the trap is sprung.
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 super-weapon, 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 time-travel devices.
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 chance.
58. I will not rely entirely upon "totally reliable" spells that can be neutralized by relatively inconspicuous talisman.
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 revenge.
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 position.
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 about.
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 contrary.
70. Finally, to keep my subjects permanently locked in a mindless trance, I will provide each of them with free unlimited Internet access.