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. With that in mind, allow me to present...
The Top 100 Things I'd Do If I Ever Became An Evil Overlord
My Legions of Terror will have helmets with clear plexiglass 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 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. No, on second thought I'll shoot him then say
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 labelled "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 labelled as such.
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 no threat.
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
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
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 never utter the sentence "But before I kill you, there's just one thing I want to know."
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
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 spot.
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. All
important systems will have redundant control panels and power
supplies. For the same reason I will always carry at least two fully
loaded weapons at all times.
My pet monster will be kept in a secure cage from which it cannot escape and into which I could not accidentally stumble.
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 preemptively 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
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 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 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
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.
If my trusted lieutenant tells me my Legions of Terror are
losing a battle, I will believe him. After all, he's my trusted
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.
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.
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 chance.
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
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
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 for revenge.
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
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
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
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 will 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. Note: this also applies to
If my advisors ask "Why are you risking everything on such
a mad scheme?", I will not proceed until I have a response that
I will design fortress hallways with no alcoves or
protruding structural supports which intruders could use for cover in a
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 intervals.
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 publically 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 Overflow
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.
No matter how many shorts we have in the system, my guards
will be instructed to treat every surveillance camera malfunction as a
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.
All midwives will be banned from the realm. All babies
will be delivered at state-approved hospitals. Orphans will be placed
in foster-homes, not abandoned in the woods to be raised by creatures
of the wild.
When my guards split up to search for intruders, they will
always travel in groups of at least two. They will be trained so that
if one of them disappears mysteriously while on patrol, the other will
immediately initiate an alert and call for backup, instead of
quizzically peering around a corner.
If I decide to test a lieutenant's loyalty and see if
he/she should be made a trusted lieutenant, I will have a crack squad
of marksmen standing by in case the answer is no.
If all the heroes are standing together around a strange
device and begin to taunt me, I will pull out a conventional weapon
instead of using my unstoppable superweapon on them.
I will not agree to let the heroes go free if they win a
rigged contest, even though my advisors assure me it is impossible for
them to win.
When I create a multimedia presentation of my plan
designed so that my five-year-old advisor can easily understand the
details, I will not label the disk "Project Overlord" and leave it
lying on top of my desk.
I will instruct my Legions of Terror to attack the hero en
masse, instead of standing around waiting while members break off and
attack one or two at a time.
If the hero runs up to my roof, I will not run up after
him and struggle with him in an attempt to push him over the edge. I
will also not engage him at the edge of a cliff. (In the middle of a
rope-bridge over a river of molten lava is not even worth considering.)
If I have a fit of temporary insanity and decide to give
the hero the chance to reject a job as my trusted lieutentant, I will
retain enough sanity to wait until my current trusted lieutenant is out
of earshot before making the offer.
I will not tell my Legions of Terror "And he must be taken
alive!" The command will be "And try to take him alive if it is
If my doomsday device happens to come with a reverse
switch, as soon as it has been employed it will be melted down and made
into limited-edition commemorative coins.
If my weakest troops fail to eliminate a hero, I will send
out my best troops instead of wasting time with progressively stronger
ones as he gets closer and closer to my fortress.
If I am fighting with the hero atop a moving platform,
have disarmed him, and am about to finish him off and he glances behind
me and drops flat, I too will drop flat instead of quizzically turning
around to find out what he saw.
I will not shoot at any of my enemies if they are standing
in front of the crucial support beam to a heavy, dangerous, unbalanced
If I'm eating dinner with the hero, put poison in his
goblet, then have to leave the table for any reason, I will order new
drinks for both of us instead of trying to decide whether or not to
switch with him.
I will not have captives of one sex guarded by members of the opposite sex.
I will not use any plan in which the final step is
horribly complicated, e.g. "Align the 12 Stones of Power on the sacred
altar then activate the medallion at the moment of total eclipse."
Instead it will be more along the lines of "Push the button."
I will make sure that my doomsday device is up to code and properly grounded.
My vats of hazardous chemicals will be covered when not in use. Also, I will not construct walkways above them.
If a group of henchmen fail miserably at a task, I will
not berate them for incompetence then send the same group out to try
the task again.
After I captures the hero's superweapon, I will not
immediately disband my legions and relax my guard because I believe
whoever holds the weapon is unstoppable. After all, the hero held the
weapon and I took it from him.
I will not design my Main Control Room so that every workstation is facing away from the door.
I will not ignore the messenger that stumbles in exhausted
and obviously agitated until my personal grooming or current
entertainment is finished. It might actually be important.
If I ever talk to the hero on the phone, I will not taunt
him. Instead I will say this his dogged perseverance has given me new
insight on the futility of my evil ways and that if he leaves me alone
for a few months of quiet contemplation I will likely return to the
path of righteousness. (Heroes are incredibly gullible in this regard.)
If I decide to hold a double execution of the hero and an
underling who failed or betrayed me, I will see to it that the hero is
scheduled to go first.
When arresting prisoners, my guards will not allow them to stop and grab a useless trinket of purely sentimental value.
My dungeon will have its own qualified medical staff
complete with bodyguards. That way if a prisoner becomes sick and his
cellmate tells the guard it's an emergency, the guard will fetch a
trauma team instead of opening up the cell for a look.
My door mechanisms will be designed so that blasting the
control panel on the outside seals the door and blasting the control
panel on the inside opens the door, not vice versa.
My dungeon cells will not be furnished with objects that contain reflective surfaces or anything that can be unravelled.
If an attractive young couple enters my realm, I will
carefully monitor their activities. If I find they are happy and
affectionate, I will ignore them. However if circumstance have forced
them together against their will and they spend all their time
bickering and criticizing each other except during the intermittent
occasions when they are saving each others' lives at which point there
are hints of sexual tension, I will immediately order their execution.
Any data file of crucial importance will be padded to 1.45Mb in size.
Finally, to keep my subjects permanently locked in a
mindless trance, I will provide each of them with free unlimited
Of course, these are merely the Top 100 Things I'd do. Other suggestions
have been sent to me which didn't quite make the Top 100 List. But they are
still so good that I couldn't bear to throw them out. Therefore, as an
expression of gratitude, I have tossed them into...
I would also like to proclaim
"Tarzan""Robin Hood", and
to be the Official Television Shows of the Evil Overlord List. Their repeated
efforts to illustrate why Evil Overlords need such a list serve as examples
to us all.
This Evil Overlord List is Copyright 1996-1997 by Peter Anspach. If
you enjoy it, feel free to pass it along or post it anywhere, provided that (1)
it is not altered in any way, and (2) this copyright notice is attached.
Additions made 2005 by Peter Yang based on contributions on Fark.