Classic Blunders of Evil Overlords
If one believes the movies, any Evil Overlord will make one of a small
number of "Classic Blunders". This Blunder will inevitably lead to the
downfall of the Evil Overlord (by whatever title s/he is known).
Therefore, I have made a list of Things to Avoid, should I ever be in
the position of Evil Overlord.
If I ever become an Evil Overlord:
- My legions of terror will have helmets with clear Plexiglas
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 artefact 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.
- I will not gloat over my enemies' predicament before killing
- 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."
- 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
shoot him, and then say "No".
- 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
- 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".
- 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 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.
- 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.
- I will make it clear that I do know the meaning of the word
"mercy"; I simply choose not show them any.
- 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, 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
- My undercover agents will not have tattoos identifying them as
members of my organisation, nor will they be required to wear
military boots or adhere to any other dress codes.
- 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 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
- 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
- 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 to accordingly.
- 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
neutralise 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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. For the same
reason I will always carry at least two fully loaded weapons at
- If my supreme command centre comes under attack, I will
immediately flee to safety in my prepared escape pod and direct
the defences from there. I will not wait until the troops break
into my inner sanctum to attempt this.
- My pet monster will be kept in a secure cage from which it cannot
escape and into which I could not accidentally stumble.
- 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.
- I will dress in bright and cheery colours, and so throw my enemies
- 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.
- 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
- 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 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 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 won't require high-ranking female members of my organisation 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 employ devious schemes that involve the hero's party
getting into my inner sanctum before the trap is sprung.
- 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 Generation X.
- 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 harbouring 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
- I will offer oracles the choice of working exclusively for me or
- 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
- I will maintain a healthy amount of scepticism 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 not rely entirely upon "totally reliable" spells that can
be neutralised by relatively inconspicuous talisman.
- I will make sure I have a clear understanding of who is
responsible for what in my organisation. 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.
- 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.
- 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 artefact 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
- 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.
- 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.
- Finally, to keep my subjects permanently locked in a mindless
trance, I will provide each of them with free unlimited Internet