Evil Overlord Rebuttal

The Evil Overlord, Inc. site says: 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.

Yeah, we’ve added to it, but the CEO’s list is as written. The old site (which is still worth checking out for the CEO’s parting message) can be seen on The Wayback Machine. There are also some related lists worth reading, such as "The Evil Henchman’s Guide," at John’s Science Fiction pages

Roland’s Evil Overlord Rebuttal

As a member of a hero team, I’d like to thank you for posting this helpful guide to dealing with intelligent Evil Overlords. They are a rare breed, but on occasion one does encounter such a would-be conqueror, and it is often difficult to be prepared for such an eventuality. Thankfully, by ignoring your own advice (numbers 7, 11, 74 and 99, though this list should help with 100) you have provided us with a checklist of tactics to watch for. As a professional courtesy, I thought it polite to send you a copy of heroic responses to your top 100 entries. (We heroes are like that.)

The Top 100 Things I’d Do If I Ever Became An Evil Overlord The Hero’s Rebuttal
1. My Legions of Terror will have helmets with clear plexiglass visors, not face-concealing ones. Carry spray paint.
2. My ventilation ducts will be too small to crawl through. Recruit the local pixies/microrace that has been pushed aside by the CEO’s army.
3. My noble half-brother whose throne I usurped will be killed, not kept anonymously imprisoned in a forgotten cell of my dungeon. Find lookalike. (There’s always at least one. 8^)
4. Shooting is not too good for my enemies. Body armor is always in style.
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. The same applies to the object which is my one weakness. Mole at the local bank.
6. I will not gloat over my enemies’ predicament before killing them. Standard "mercy" clause suspended for villains in this category.
7. 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 "No." Smoke bomb. Use while in the middle of sentence. Villains are so testy these days…
8. 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. Arm the beautiful princess to the teeth. If she isn’t familiar with local weaponry or martial arts, take the time to teach her. It takes out the enjoyable rescue scene, but this is preferable to allowing the B.P. to be defiled by the CEO.
9. 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. Basic engineering skills. CAD/CAM if it’s available.
10. I will not interrogate my enemies in the inner sanctum–a small hotel well outside my borders will work just as well. Purchase chain of hotels in free zone.
11. 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. Acquire detective skills. Even if the CEO is meticulous, sooner or later the sort of people inclined to work for him will slip up.
12. 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. Befriend local children. (Hey, it’s heroic even if the CEO doesn’t do this.)
13. 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. Disguise kit; use on any captured "trusted" lieutenants.
14. The hero is not entitled to a last kiss, a last cigarette, or any other form of last request. Neither is the villain.
15. 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. EMP device.
16. I will never utter the sentence "But before I kill you, there’s just one thing I want to know." One (1) irresistable secret.
17. When I employ people as advisors, I will occasionally listen to their advice. Psychotropics for the advisors.
18. 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. Propaganda noting the distinct lack of an heir to CEO’s inner circle.
19. 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. As above.
20. 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. Learn stealth. Never drop noisy metal objects at crucial moments.
21. 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. Bribe the fashion designer to work as a spy.
22. No matter how tempted I am with the prospect of unlimited power, I will not consume any energy field bigger than my head. Small energy grenade.
23. 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. Magnets. (CEOs tend to go top-of-the-line.)
24. 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.) Lull the CEO into a false sense of supremacy.
25. 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. Go for the subsequent large, gaping holes in the equipment’s defenses.
26. 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. Train attractive members of the rebellion in infiltration technique. Wipe all records of their existence; preferably, rebels never in the system in the first place work best.
27. 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. Makes stealing one easier.
28. My pet monster will be kept in a secure cage from which it cannot escape and into which I could not accidentally stumble. Open the cage at a crucial moment.
29. I will dress in bright and cheery colors, and so throw my enemies into confusion. Propaganda ridiculing the "jester Overlord" should suffice.
30. 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. Train otherwise competent allies in the art of bumbling.
31. 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. Rescue the busty tavern wenches. (Hey, thanks, CEO!)
32. 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. Add some CEO messengers to that spy network!
33. 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. Can’t argue with this one. Wouldn’t be heroic to.
34. I will not turn into a snake. It never helps. Charm for turning the CEO into a snake.
35. 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. …okay, he’s got a point on this one. ;^)
36. 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. One word: Lockpicks.
37. If my trusted lieutenant tells me my Legions of Terror are losing a battle, I will believe him. After all, he’s my trusted lieutenant. Impersonate the T.L. on a regular basis. CEOs lean towards paranoia.
38. 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. Find the kid first.
39. 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. One word: Sniper.
40. 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. Standard "chivalry" clause suspended for villains in this category.
41. Once my power is secure, I will destroy all those pesky time-travel devices. Well, if he doesn’t climb to power in the first place…
42. 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. Spare S.C.L.A.
43. 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. Arm the beautiful rebel with a holdout blaster. (She should already be trained in its use, of course. She’s already in the rebellion, unlike the B.P.)
44. 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. Double the bounty hunter’s pay.
45. 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. Throw some low-level underlings into that spy network. They just might end up as high-level underlings.
46. 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. Subliminal messages to all the advisors…
47. 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. See #38.
48. 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. Learn animal handling.
49. 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. Hire a librarian.
50. My main computers will have their own special operating system that will be completely incompatible with standard IBM and Macintosh powerbooks. Gee, just give the hackers a challenge…
51. 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. Watch transfers among prison guards.
52. 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. Hire the same team.
53. 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 kill her. Instruct the B.P. to play coy if captured.
54. I will not strike a bargain with a demonic being then attempt to double-cross it simply because I feel like being contrary. Note the loss of soul to the CEO.
55. 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. Note this blatant discrimination to the mutants and psychos.
56. 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. Spike the army food. (Assuming that such is necessary.)
57. Before employing any captured artifacts or machinery, I will carefully read the owner’s manual. All owners manuals will be in some obscure language or filled with misinformation. Actual training will be performed in rebel cells.
58. If it becomes necessary to escape, I will never stop to pose dramatically and toss off a one-liner. Reply in kind.
59. I will never build a sentient computer smarter than I am. Build a sentient computer smarter than the CEO.
60. 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 passwords. Make sure the five-year-old has no interest in codes.
61. If my advisors ask "Why are you risking everything on such a mad scheme?", I will not proceed until I have a response that satisfies them. Make sure that the CEO is asked this on a regular basis. By the time his dissertation on world domination is complete, the rebellion will be as well.
62. I will design fortress hallways with no alcoves or protruding structural supports which intruders could use for cover in a firefight. Corners are our friends.
63. 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. Send the CEO an environmental impact report on the use of bulk incinerators. If that doesn’t work, firepits are great places to dispose of Evil Overlords.
64. 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. Bribe the psychiatrist.
65. 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 Containment. This development has been noted. The inability to use public terminals gives the hacker an excuse to show off anyway.
66. 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. Watch an episode of MacGyver. Dusting the pad for fingerprints won’t show the number sequence, but it will allow the prints to be duplicated.
67. 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. Short out the camera system on a regular basis. Then use the old "fake all-clear tape" trick once all the guards are exhausted.
68. 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. Don’t spare the CEO’s life. Unfortunate, but hey, if the rules are getting thrown out the window…
69. 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. Recruit the midwives. Not only will they be resentful, they’ll know all sorts of useful herbal/medicinal tricks to use on the Legions of Terror…
70. 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. Team tactics. Take down all members of a patrol simultaneously.
71. 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. Hmm…perfect shot at the CEO, too…
72. 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. Make sure the strange device will turn the conventional weapon on the CEO as well. Not only does this add surprise value, it keeps collateral damage down. Very heroic.
73. 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. Do not agree to hold the CEO’s trial in a "neutral" country where the officials can be bribed.
74. 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. Search for it on the Web instead.
75. 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. Don’t split up to allow them to pick us off one at a time, unless the CEO is trying to capture us and being captured is part of the plan.
76. 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.) Rooftops are now ideal escape routes.
77. 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. Oh, trusted lieutenant…
Peter Eng adds: "If you suspect the Evil Overlord is going to offer you a job, don’t forget to carry a ‘wire’ or the equivalent, with the feed going to the Trusted Lieutenant. Preferably, use one of his own bugs." Thanks, Peter! 🙂
78. 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 reasonably practical." Surrender if death is the only other option. Then escape and leave the unfortunate Legionnaires to the CEO’s "mercy."
79. 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. Confiscate coins. Make small fortune on memorabilia.
80. 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. Set trap for "best troops" then enjoy cakewalk to CEO.
81. 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. Wait until CEO is paste before dropping.
82. 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 structure. Stay near the heavy, dangerous, unbalanced structures.
83. 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. Accept no wine from the villain. CEOs have good taste in wine, but better taste in poisons.
84. I will not have captives of one sex guarded by members of the opposite sex. Make sure the rebellion is equal-opportunity regarding sexual preference.
85. 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." If the CEO can get the plan to work like that–swipe it!
86. I will make sure that my doomsday device is up to code and properly grounded. Go in undercover as inspectors.
87. My vats of hazardous chemicals will be covered when not in use. Also, I will not construct walkways above them. Carry portable heating units. (Ah, physics…)
88. 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. Let incompetent henchmen succeed at trivial tasks on occasion.
89. 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. What he said.
90. I will not design my Main Control Room so that every workstation is facing away from the door. Once the Main Control Room is found, just throw some plastique on the door. If the hacker needs a link in the MCR, drill through the wall and either link his system to their network or pump the room full of knockout gas.
91. 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. Keep important rebellion developments secret.
92. 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.) Thank the villain for the change of heart. Then look up the CEO’s parole officer.
93. 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. After escaping, rescue the underling. It will be in his/her best interests to bring down the CEO.
94. When arresting prisoners, my guards will not allow them to stop and grab a useless trinket of purely sentimental value. Wear the "trinkets" in advance.
95. 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. Escape en route to the sickbay.
96. 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. Destroy the inner panel to escape, throw the guards in, then blast the outer panel with their own guns.
97. My dungeon cells will not be furnished with objects that contain reflective surfaces or anything that can be unravelled. Hire a seamstress. Make one of your sleeves modular, and stitch mirrors into the other.
98. 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. Enjoy each other’s company. Life is short.
99. Any data file of crucial importance will be padded to 1.45Mb in size. Remember: the "zip" command is your friend.
100. Finally, to keep my subjects permanently locked in a mindless trance, I will provide each of them with free unlimited Internet access. Sabotage the system, or replace the CEO’s planned shipments with AOL packages. The populace will revolt of its own accord shortly thereafter.

Again, thank you for the insights, and hopefully our heroes’ tactics will help you create a better, more productive Evil Empire for us to overthrow.

Roland X, Freelance Immortal

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