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Copyright 1996 by Peter Anspach .
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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
1. My legions of terror will have helmets with clear plexiglass
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
10. I 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”.
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
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
17. All slain enemies will be cremated, 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
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
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
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
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 usually instantaneous.)
31. No matter how well it would perform, I will never construct any
sort of machinery which is completely indestructable 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.