This list is Copyright 1996-1997 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.
If I ever happen to become 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
- 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
- I will not gloat over my enemies' predicament before killing them.
- 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 say, "No." and shoot him.
- 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 labeled "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 labeled as such.
- 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
- 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 aforementioned disposal.
- 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.
- 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 he's caused.
- 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 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 storm troopers, Roman foot soldiers, 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
- 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
- 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 bed chamber.
- I will never build only one of anything important. For the same reason I will always carry at least two fully loaded weapons
at all times.
- 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.
- My pet monster will be kept in a secure cage from which it cannot escape and into which I could not accidentally
- 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 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 sidekick.
- 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 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 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 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 super weapon, 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.
- I will offer oracles the choice of working exclusively for me or being executed.
- 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 not rely entirely upon "totally reliable" spells that
can be neutralized by relatively inconspicuous talisman.
- 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 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 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
- 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 captures says
"I'll never marry you! Never, do you hear me, NEVER!"
I will say "Oh well" and kill her.
- 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 attention.
- 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.
- 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 never accept a challenge from the hero.
- I will design fortress hallways with no alcoves or protruding
structural supports which intruders could use for cover in a fire
- I will not engage an enemy single-handedly until all my
soldiers are dead.
- 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
- 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 publicly 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 Containment.
- 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.
- 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
- No matter how many shorts we have in the system, my guards
will be instructed to treat every surveillance camera malfunction
as a full-scale emergency.
- 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 super weapon 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.
- If I have a fit of temporary insanity and decide to give the
hero the chance to reject a job as my trusted lieutenant, 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.
- Finally, to keep my subjects permanently locked in a mindless
trance, I will provide each of them with free unlimited Internet
If you have any other tidbits of advice for me to follow, please
e-mail me. (Suggestion may be summarily rejected or
edited without your permission. What do you expect from an EVIL Overlord?)
I wish to thank the following contributors to this list who, if I ever happen to become an Evil Overlord,
will be named as lieutenants -- but not trusted lieutenants -- in my legions of terror:
- David Borcherding <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Paul Dietrich <email@example.com>
- Mario Di Giacomo <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Chris Dunham <email@example.com>
- Jon Fowlkes <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- James Grannon
- Ward Griffiths <email@example.com>
- Dave Harper <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Julie Helmer <AnnieKey@aol.com>
- Greg Huffman <email@example.com>
- Curtis M Johnson
- Noah Johnson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Ramin Kamal <email@example.com>
- Edmund Kao <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- SEK <SKemp@formmaker.com>
- Terran Lane <email@example.com>
- Michael Lorton <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Mike Marano <email@example.com>
- Christy Marx <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- David Mcelfresh <email@example.com>
- Kevin Meehan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Meteor <email@example.com>
- Pete Meyers (Wasser)
- Mark Minisi <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Eric Minton <email@example.com>
- Jesse Mundis <jesse@Internex.NET>
- CL Murphy <CL@ncgwpc.syntellect.com>
- Mark Musante <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Sunil Narayan <email@example.com>
- Daniel Palivec
- Joel Polowin
- Zed Rational <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Peter Scott Rogers
- Lucas Schofield <email@example.com>
- John & Donna Spert <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Katherine Teague <email@example.com>
- L. J. Tomsho <Caducom@ix.netcom.com>
- Taldin the Blue Unicorn
- Jae Walker <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Monika Weikel <email@example.com>
- Justin Wiley <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Bill Woods <email@example.com>
I would also like to proclaim
and "Robin Hood" 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.
EvilOverlord.php -- Revised: January 27, 2021.