The Dungeon: Cellblock A
Peter's plan to create a Top 100 List has come to fruition. However, there are
several other bits of advice he'd follow if he ever became an Evil Overlord...
- 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 waste time making my enemy's death look like an
accident -- I'm not accountable to anyone and my other enemies wouldn't
- I will make it clear that I do know the meaning of the word "mercy"; I simply choose not show them any.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 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.
- I will not employ devious schemes that involve the hero's party getting into my inner sanctum before the trap is sprung.
- I will offer oracles the choice of working exclusively for me or being executed.
- I will not rely entirely upon "totally reliable" spells that can be neutralized by relatively inconspicuous talismans.
- 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.
- I will never accept a challenge from the hero.
- I will not engage an enemy single-handedly until all my soldiers are dead.
- 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 much I want revenge, I will never order an underling "Leave him. He's mine!"
- If I have equipment which performs an important function,
it will not be activated by a lever that someone could trigger by
accidentally falling on when fatally wounded.
- I will not attempt to kill the hero by placing a venomous
creature in his room. It will just wind up accidentally killing one of
my clumsy henchmen instead.
- Since nothing is more irritating than a hero defeating you
with basic math skills, all of my personal weapons will be modified to
fire one more shot than the standard issue.
- If I come into possession of an artifact which can only be used by the pure of heart, I will not attempt to use it regardless.
- The gun turrets on my fortress will not rotate enough so that they may direct fire inward or at each other.
- If I decide to hold a contest of skill open to the general
public, contestants will be required to remove their hooded cloaks and
shave their beards before entering.
- Prior to kidnapping an older male scientist and forcing
him to work for me, I will investigate his offspring and make sure that
he has neither a beautiful but naive daughter who is willing to risk
anything to get him back, nor an estranged son who works in the same
field but had a falling-out with his father many years ago.
- Should I actually decide to kill the hero in an elaborate
escape-proof deathtrap room (water filling up, sand pouring down, walls
converging, etc.) I will not leave him alone five-to-ten minutes prior
to "imminent" death, but will instead (finding a vantage point or
monitoring camera) stick around and enjoy watching my adversary's
- Rather than having only one secret escape pod, which the
hero can easily spot and follow, I'll simultaneously launch a few dozen
decoys to throw him off track.
- Prison guards will have their own cantina featuring a wide
variety of tasty treats that will deliver snacks to the guards while on
duty. The guards will also be informed that accepting food or drink
from any other source will result in execution.
- I will not employ robots as agents of destruction if there
is any possible way that they can be re-programmed or if their battery
packs are externally mounted and easily removable.
- Despite the delicious irony, I will not force two heroes to fight each other in the arena.
- All members of my Legions of Terror will have
professionally tailored uniforms. If the hero knocks a soldier
unconscious and steals the uniform, the poor fit will give him away.
- I will never place the key to a cell just out of a prisoner's reach.
- Before appointing someone as my trusted lieutenant, I will conduct a thorough background investigation and security clearance.
- If I find my beautiful consort with access to my fortress
has been associating with the hero, I'll have her executed. It's
regrettable, but new consorts are easier to get than new fortresses and
maybe the next one will pay attention at the orientation meeting.
- If I am escaping in a large truck and the hero is pursuing
me in a small Italian sports car, I will not wait for the hero to pull
up along side of me and try to force him off the road as he attempts to
climb aboard. Instead I will slam on the brakes when he's directly
behind me. (A rudimentary knowledge of physics can prove quite useful.)
- My doomsday machine will have a highly-advanced
technological device called a capacitor in case someone inconveniently
pulls the plug at the last second. (If I have access to REALLY advanced
technology, I will include a back-up device known as a battery.)
- If I build a bomb, I will simply remember which wire to cut if it has to be deactivated and make every wire red.
- Before spending available funds on giant gargoyles, gothic
arches, or other cosmetically intimidating pieces of architecture, I
will see if there are any valid military expenditures that could use
the extra budget.
- The passageways to and within my domain will be well-lit
with fluorescent lighting. Regrettably, the spooky atmosphere will be
lost, but my security patrols will be more effective.
- If I'm sitting in my camp, hear a twig snap, start to
investigate, then encounter a small woodland creature, I will send out
some scouts anyway just to be on the safe side. (If they disappear into
the foliage, I will not send out another patrol; I will break out the
- I will instruct my guards when checking a cell that
appears empty to look for the chamber pot. If the chamber pot is still
there, then the prisoner has escaped and they may enter and search for
clues. If the chamber pot is not there, then either the prisoner is
perched above the lintel waiting to strike them with it or else he
decided to take it as a souvenir (in which case he is obviously deeply
disturbed and poses no threat). Either way, there's no point in
- As an alternative to not having children, I will have lots
of children. My sons will be too busy jockeying for position to ever be
a real threat, and the daughters will all sabotage each other's
attempts to win the hero.
- If I have children and subsequently grandchildren, I will
keep my three-year-old granddaughter near me at all times. When the
hero enters to kill me, I will ask him to first explain to her why it
is necessary to kill her beloved grandpa. When the hero launches into
an explanation of morality way over her head, that will be her cue to
pull the lever and send him into the pit of crocodiles. After all,
small children like crocodiles almost as much as Evil Overlords and
it's important to spend quality time with the grandkids.
- If one of my daughters actually manages to win the hero
and openly defies me, I will congratulate her on her choice, declare a
national holiday to celebrate the wedding, and proclaim the hero my
heir. This will probably be enough to break up the relationship. If
not, at least I am assured that no hero will attack my Legions of
Terror when they are holding a parade in his honor.
- I will order my guards to stand in a line when they shoot
at the hero so he cannot duck and have them accidentally shoot each
other. Also, I will order some to aim above, below, and to the sides so
he cannot jump out of the way.
- My dungeon cell decor will not feature exposed pipes.
While they add to the gloomy atmosphere, they are good conductors of
vibrations and a lot of prisoners know Morse code.
- If my surveillance reports any un-manned or seemingly
innocent ships found where they are not supposed to be, they will be
immediately vaporized instead of brought in for salvage.
- I will classify my lieutenants in three categories:
untrusted, trusted, and completely trusted. Promotion to the third
category will be awarded posthumously.
- Before ridiculing my enemies for wasting time on a device
to stop me that couldn't possibly work, I will first acquire a copy of
the schematics and make sure that in fact it couldn't possibly work.
- Ropes supporting various fixtures will not be tied next to
open windows or staircases, and chandeliers will be hung way at the top
of the ceiling.
- I will provide funding and research to develop tactical
and strategic weapons covering a full range of needs so my choices are
not limited to "hand to hand combat with swords" and "blow up the
- I will not set myself up as a god. That perilous position is reserved for my trusted lieutenant.
- I will instruct my fashion designer that when it comes to accessorizing, second-chance body armor goes well with every outfit.
- My Legions of Terror will be an equal-opportunity
employer. Conversely, when it is prophesied that no man can defeat me,
I will keep in mind the increasing number of non-traditional gender
- I will instruct my Legions of Terror in proper search
techniques. In particular, if they are searching for escapees and
someone shouts, "Quick! They went that way!", they must first ascertain
the identity of this helpful informant before dashing off in hot
- If I know of any heroes in the land, I will not under any circumstance kill their mentors, teachers, and/or best friends.
- If I have the hero and his party trapped, I will not wait
until my Superweapon charges to finish them off if more conventional
means are available.
- Whenever plans are drawn up that include a time-table,
I'll post-date the completion 3 days after it's actually scheduled to
occur and not worry too much if they get stolen.
- I will exchange the labels on my folder of top-secret
plans and my folder of family recipes. Imagine the hero's surprise when
he decodes the stolen plans and finds instructions for Grandma's Potato
- If I burst into rebel headquarters and find it deserted
except for an odd, blinking device, I will not walk up and investigate;
I'll run like hell.
- Before being accepted into my Legions of Terror, potential
recruits will have to pass peripheral vision and hearing tests, and be
able to recognize the sound of a pebble thrown to distract them.
- I will occasionally vary my daily routine and not live my
life in a rut. For example, I will not always take a swig of wine or
ring a giant gong before finishing off my enemy.
- If I steal something very important to the hero, I will not put it on public display.
- When planning an expedition, I will choose a route for my
forces that does not go through thick, leafy terrain conveniently
located near the rebel camp.
- I will hire one hopelessly stupid and incompetent
lieutenant, but make sure that he is full of misinformation when I send
him to capture the hero.
- As an equal-opportunity employer, I will have several
hearing-impaired body-guards. That way if I wish to speak
confidentially with someone, I'll just turn my back so the guards can't
read my lips instead of sending all of them out of the room.
- If the rebels manage to trick me, I will make a note of
what they did so that I do not keep falling for the same trick over and
- If I am recruiting to find someone to run my computer
systems, and my choice is between the brilliant programmer who's head
of the world's largest international technology conglomerate and an
obnoxious 15-year-old dork who's trying to impress his dream girl, I'll
take the brat and let the hero get stuck with the genius.
- I will plan in advance what to do with each of my enemies
if they are captured. That way, I will never have to order someone to
be tied up while I decide his fate.
- If I have massive computer systems, I will take at least
as many precautions as a small business and include things such as
virus-scans and firewalls.
- I will be an equal-opportunity despot and make sure that
terror and oppression is distributed fairly, not just against one
particular group that will form the core of a rebellion.
- I will not locate a base in a volcano, cave, or any other
location where it would be ridiculously easy to bypass security by
rapelling down from above.
- I will allow guards to operate under a flexible work
schedule. That way if one is feeling sleepy, he can call for a
replacement, punch out, take a nap, and come back refreshed and alert
to finish out his shift.
- Although it would provide amusement, I will not confess to
the hero's rival that I was the one who committed the heinous act for
which he blames the hero.
- If I am dangling over a precipice and the hero reaches his
hand down to me, I will not attempt to pull him down with me. I will
allow him to rescue me, thank him properly, then return to the safety
of my fortress and order his execution.
- I will have my fortress exorcized regularly. Although
ghosts in the dungeon provide an appropriate atmosphere, they tend to
provide valuable information once placated.
- I will add indelible dye to the moat. It won't stop anyone
from swimming across, but even dim-witted guards should be able to
figure out when someone has entered in this fashion.
- If a scientist with a beautiful and unmarried daughter
refuses to work for me, I will not hold her hostage. Instead, I will
offer to pay for her future wedding and her children's college tuition.
- If I have the hero cornered and am about to finish him off
and he says "Look out behind you!!" I will not laugh and say "You don't
expect me to fall for that old trick, do you?" Instead I will take a
step to the side and half turn. That way I can still keep my weapon
trained on the hero, I can scan the area behind me, and if anything was
heading for me it will now be heading for him.
- I will not outsource core functions.
- If I ever build a device to transfer the hero's energy into me, I will make sure it cannot operate in reverse.
- I will decree that all hay be shipped in tightly-packed
bales. Any wagonload of loose hay attempting to pass through a
checkpoint will be set on fire.
- I will not hold any sort of public celebration within my
castle walls. Any event open to members of the public will be held down
the road in the festival pavilion.
- Before using any device which transfers energy directly into my body, I will install a surge suppressor.
- I will hire a drama coach. The hero will think it must be
a case of mistaken identity when confronted by my Minnesota accent (if
everyone sounds American) or my Cornwall accent (if everyone sounds
- If I capture an enemy known for escaping via ingenious and
fantastic little gadgets, I will order a full cavity search and
confiscate all personal items before throwing him in my dungeon.
- I will not devise any scheme in which Part A consists of
tricking the hero into unwittingly helping me and Part B consists of
laughing at him then leaving him to his own devices.
- I will not hold lavish banquets in the middle of a famine.
The good PR among the guests doesn't make up for the bad PR among the
- I will funnel some of my ill-gotten gains into urban
renewal projects. Although slums add a quaint and picturesque quality
to any city, they too often contain unexpected allies for heroes.
- I will never tell the hero "Yes I was the one who did it,
but you'll never be able to prove it to that incompetent old fool."
Chances are, that incompetent old fool is standing behind the curtain.
- If my mad scientist/wizard tells me he has almost
perfected my Superweapon but it still needs more testing, I will wait
for him to complete the tests. No one ever conquered the world using a
- I will not appoint a relative to my staff of advisors. Not
only is nepotism the cause of most breakdowns in policy, but it also
causes trouble with the EEOC.
- If I appoint someone as my consort, I will not
subsequently inform her that she is being replaced by a younger, more
- If I am using the hero's girlfriend as a hostage and am
holding her at the point of imminent death when confronting the hero, I
will focus on her and not him. He won't try anything with his true love
held hostage. On the other hand, the fact that she has been weak,
slow-witted, naive and generally useless up to this point has no
bearing on her actions at the moment of dramatic climax.
- I will make several ludicrously erroneous maps to secret
passages in my fortress and hire travellers to entrust them to aged
- I will not use hostages as bait in a trap. Unless you're
going to use them for negotiation or as human shields, there's no point
in taking them.
- I will hire an expert marksman to stand by the entrance to
my fortress. His job will be to shoot anyone who rides up to challenge
- I will explain to my Legions of Terror that guns are
ranged weapons and swords are not. Anyone who attempts to throw a sword
at the hero or club him with a gun will be summarily executed.
- I will remember that any vulnerabilities I have are to be
revealed strictly on a need-to-know basis. I will also remember that no
one needs to know.
- I will not make alliances with those more powerful than
myself. Such a person would only double-cross me in my moment of glory.
I will make alliances with those less powerful than myself. I will then
double-cross them in their moment of glory.
- During times of peace, my Legions of Terror will not be
permitted to lie around drinking mead and eating roast boar. Instead
they will be required to obey my dietician and my aerobics instructor.
Due to the ever prevalent problem of prison overcrowding, we have been forced
to open another cell block,
Those who helped create the Top 100 List have kept their positions of honor
even if their entries wound up here. However, others have offered their aid,
albeit late, and so still deserve some reward. If I ever become an Evil
Overlord, the following people will be granted luxury suites in my dungeon
and receive a diet of fresh-baked bread and imported mineral water.
This Dungeon List is Copyright 1996-1998 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.