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 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’ predicatment 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 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 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, 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 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.
If you have any other tidbits of advice for me to follow, please e-mail me.