Viable Paradise: A Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers' Workshop

The Evil Overlord Devises a Plot

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Section A: The Bad Guy

If I Ever Become the Evil Overlord...

1. My Legions of Terror will have helmets with clear plexiglass visors, not face-concealing ones.

2. My ventilation ducts will be too small to crawl through.

3. My noble half-brother whose throne I usurped will be killed, not kept anonymously imprisoned in a forgotten cell of my dungeon.

4. Shooting is not too good for my enemies.

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.

6. I will not gloat over my enemies' predicament before killing them.

7. When I've captured my adversary and he says, "Look, before you kill me, will you at least tell me what this is about?" I'll say, "No." and shoot him. No, on second thought I'll shoot him then say "No."

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.

9. 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.

10. I will not interrogate my enemies in the inner sanctum -- a small hotel well outside my borders will work just as well.

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.

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.

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.

14. The hero is not entitled to a last kiss, a last cigarette, or any other form of last request.

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.

16. I will never utter the sentence "But before I kill you, there's just one thing I want to know."

17. When I employ people as advisors, I will occasionally listen to their advice.

18. I will not have a son. Although his ludicrously ill-planned attempt to usurp power would fail, it would provide a fatal distraction at a crucial point in time.

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.

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.

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.

22. No matter how tempted I am with the prospect of unlimited power, I will not consume any energy field bigger than my head.

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.

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.)

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.

26. No matter how attractive certain members of the rebellion are, there are others just as attractive who are not desperate to kill me. Therefore, I will think twice before ordering a prisoner sent to my bedchamber.

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.

28. My pet monster will be kept in a secure cage from which it cannot escape and into which I could not accidentally stumble.

29. I will dress in bright and cheery colors, and so throw my enemies into confusion.

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.

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.

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.

33. I won't require high-ranking female members of my organization to wear stainless-steel bustiers. It's hard on their morale. Similarly, outfits made entirely from black leather will be reserved for formal occasions.

34. I will not turn into a snake. It never helps.

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.

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.

37. Once my power is secure, I will destroy all those pesky time-travel devices.

38. If an enemy I have just killed has any offspring or younger siblings, I will find them and have them killed immediately, instead of letting them to grow up harboring feelings of vengeance towards me in my old age.

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.

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.

41. 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

50. My main computers will have their own special operating system that will be completely incompatible with standard IBM and Macintosh powerbooks.

51. 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.

52. I will have a team of board-certified architects and surveyors examine my castle and inform me of any secret passages and abandoned tunnels I don't know about.

53. 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.

54. I will not strike a bargain with a demonic being then attempt to double-cross it simply because I feel like being contrary.

55. Deformed mutants and oddball psychotics 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 see if there is anyone else equally qualified who would attract less attention.

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.

57. Before employing any captured artifacts or machinery, I will carefully read the owner's manual.

58. If it becomes necessary to escape, I will never stop to pose dramatically and toss off a one-liner.

59. I will never build a sentient computer smarter than I am.

60. My five-year-old advisor (see above) 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.

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.

62. I will design fortress hallways with no alcoves or protruding structural supports which intruders could use for cover in a firefight.

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.

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.

65. If I must have computer systems with publicly available terminals, the maps of my complex they display 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.

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.

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.

68. I will spare someone who saved my life in the past. This is only reasonable, as it encourages others to do so. However, it's a one-time offer. If they want me to spare them again, they'd better save my life again.

69. Independent 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.

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.

71. If I decide to test a lieutenant's loyalty to see if he/she should be made a trusted lieutenant, I will have a squad of marksmen standing by in case the answer is no.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.)

77. 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.

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."

79. If my doomsday device comes with a reverse switch, as soon as it has been employed it will be melted down and made into limited-edition commemorative coins.

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.

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.

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.

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.

84. I will not have captives of one sex guarded by members of the opposite sex.

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."

86. I will make sure that my doomsday device is up to code and properly grounded.

87. My vats of hazardous chemicals will be covered when not in use. Also, I will not construct walkways above them.

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.

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.

90. I will not design my Main Control Room so that every workstation is facing away from the door.

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.

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.)

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.

94. When arresting prisoners, my guards will not allow them to stop and grab a useless trinket of purely sentimental value.

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.

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.

97. My dungeon cells will not be furnished with objects that contain reflective surfaces or anything that can be unravelled.

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 circumstances 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.

99. Any data file of crucial importance will be padded to 1.45Mb in size.

100. Finally, to keep my subjects permanently locked in a mindless trance, I will provide each of them with free unlimited Internet access.

101. I will not order my trusted lieutenant to kill the infant who is destined to overthrow me; I'll do it myself.

102. 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 anyway.

103. I will make it clear that I do know the meaning of the word "mercy"; I simply choose not show them any.

104. 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.

105. I will not employ devious schemes that involve the hero's party getting into my inner sanctum before the trap is sprung.

106. If my supreme command center comes under attack, I will immediately flee to 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.

107. 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.

108. Any magic and/or technology that can miraculously resurrect a secondary character who has sacrificed his/her life will be outlawed and destroyed.

109. I will see to it that plucky young lads/lasses in strange clothes and outlander accents 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.

110. 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 that he'll never regret his evil ways and seek to undo the damage he's caused.

111. I will offer oracles the choice of working exclusively for me or being executed.

112. I will not rely on "totally reliable" spells that can be neutralized by relatively inconspicuous talismans.

113. 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.

114. I will never accept a challenge from the hero.

115. I will not engage an enemy single-handedly unless all my soldiers are dead.

116. 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.

117. No matter how much I want revenge, I will never order an underling "Leave him. He's mine!"

118. If I have equipment which has some important function, it will not be activated by a lever that someone could trigger by accidentally falling on when fatally wounded.

119. 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.

120. 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.

121. 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.

122. The gun turrets on my fortress will not rotate enough so that they may direct fire inward or at each other.

123. 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.

124. 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.

125. 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 demise.

126. 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.

127. 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.

128. 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.

129. Despite the delicious irony, I will not force two heroes to fight each other in the arena.

130. 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.

131. I will never place the key to a cell just out of a prisoner's reach.

132. Before appointing someone as my trusted lieutenant, I will conduct a thorough background investigation and security clearance.

133. 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.

134. 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 him to pull up alongside me, then try to force him off the road while he tries to climb aboard. Instead I will slam on the brakes when he's directly behind me. (A rudimentary knowledge of physics is useful.)

135. 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.)

136. If I build a bomb, I will simply remember which wire to cut if it has to be deactivated and make every wire red.

137. 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.

138. The passageways of my domain will be well-lit with fluorescent lighting. Regrettably, the spooky atmosphere will be lost, but my security patrols will be more effective.

139. 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 napalm.)

140. I will instruct my guards to look for the chamber pot when checking a cell that appears empty. If it's still there, 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 he decided to take it as a souvenir (in which case he is deeply disturbed and poses no threat). Either way, there's no point in entering.

141. 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.

142. If I have children and subsequently grandchildren, I will keep a three-year-old grandchild near me at all times. When the hero enters to kill me, I will ask him to first explain to her why it's necessary to kill her beloved grandpa. When the hero launches into an explanation that's 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.

143. 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.

144. I will teach my guards to stand in reasonable formation when they fire at the hero so he cannot duck between them and cause them to accidentally shoot each other.

145. 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.

146. If my surveillance reports any unmanned or seemingly innocent ships found where they are not supposed to be, they will be immediately vaporized instead of brought in for salvage.

147. I will classify my lieutenants in three categories: untrusted, trusted, and completely trusted. Promotion to the third category will be awarded posthumously.

148. 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.

149. 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.

150. 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 planet".

151. I will not set myself up as a god. That perilous position is reserved for my trusted lieutenant.

152. I will instruct my fashion designer that when it comes to accessorizing, second-chance body armor goes well with every outfit.

153. 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 roles.

154. 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 pursuit.

155. If I know of any heroes in the land, I will not under any circumstance kill their mentors, teachers, and/or best friends.

156. 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.

157. When plans are drawn up that include a time-table, I'll post-date the completion three days after it's scheduled to occur and not worry too much if they get stolen.

158. 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 Salad.

159. 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.

160. 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.

161. I will occasionally vary my daily routine and not fall into a rut. For example, I will not always take a swig of wine or ring a gong before finishing off my enemy.

162. If I steal something very important to the hero, I will not put it on public display.

163. 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.

164. 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.

165. 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.

166. 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 over again.

167. 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.

168. 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.

169. 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.

170. 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.

171. I will not locate a base in a volcano, cave, or any other location where it would be ridiculously easy to bypass security by rappelling down from above.

172. Mythical guardians will be instructed to ask visitors' name, purpose of visit, and whether they have an appointment, instead of ancient riddles.

173. 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.

174. 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.

175. I will have my fortress exorcised regularly. Although ghosts in the dungeon provide an appropriate atmosphere, they tend to provide valuable information once placated.

176. 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.

177. 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.

178. 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 and scan the area behind me. If anything was heading for me, it will now be heading for him.

179. I will not outsource core functions.

180. If I ever build a device to transfer the hero's energy into me, I will make sure it cannot operate in reverse.

181. 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.

182. 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.

183. Before using any device which transfers energy directly into my body, I will install a surge suppressor.

184. I will hire a drama coach. The hero will think it must be a case of mistaken identity when confronted by my Minnesotan accent (if everyone sounds American) or my Cornish accent (if everyone sounds British).

185. 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.

186. 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.

187. 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 masses.

188. 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.

189. 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.

190. 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 beta version.

191. 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.

192. If I appoint someone as my consort, I will not subsequently inform her that she is being replaced by a younger, more attractive woman.

193. 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. 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.

194. I will make several ludicrously erroneous maps to secret passages in my fortress and hire travelers to entrust them to aged hermits.

195. 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.

196. 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 me.

197. 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.

198. 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.

199. 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.

200. 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.

201. All giant serpents acting as guardians in underground lakes will be fitted with sports goggles to prevent eye injuries.

202. All crones with the ability to prophesy will be given free facelifts, permanents, manicures, and Donna Karan wardrobes. That should pretty well destroy their credibility.

203. I will not employ an evil wizard if he has a sleazy mustache.

204. I will hire an entire squad of blind guards. Not only is this in keeping with my status as an equal opportunity employer, but it will come in handy when the hero becomes invisible or douses my only light source.

205. All repair work will be done by an in-house maintenance staff. Any alleged "repairmen" who show up at the fortress will be escorted to the dungeon.

206. When my Legions of Terror park their vehicle to do reconnaissance on foot, they will be instructed to employ The Club.

207. Employees will have conjugal visit trailers which they may use provided they call in a replacement and sign out on the timesheet. Anyone caught making out in a closet and leaving their station unmanned will be shot.

208. Members of my Legion of Terror will attend seminars on Sensitivity Training. It's good PR for them to be kind and courteous to the general population when not actively engaged in sowing chaos and destruction.

209. I will not, under any circumstances, marry a woman I know to be a faithless, conniving, back-stabbing witch, simply because I am absolutely desperate to perpetuate my family line. Of course, we can still date.

210. All guest-quarters will be bugged and monitored so that I can keep track of what the visitors I have for some reason allowed to roam about my fortress are actually plotting.

211. If my chief engineer displeases me, he will be shot, not imprisoned in the dungeon or beyond the traps he helped design.

212. I will not send out battalions composed wholly of robots or skeletons against heroes who have qualms about killing living beings.

213. I will not wear long, heavy cloaks. While they make a bold fashion statement, they have an annoying tendency to get caught in doors or tripped over during an escape.

214. If a malignant being demands a sacrificial victim have a particular quality, I will check to make sure said victim has this quality immediately before the sacrifice and not rely on earlier results. (Especially if the quality is virginity and the victim is the hero's girlfriend.)

215. If I MUST put a digital timer on my doomsday device, I will buy one free from quantum mechanical anomalies. So many brands on the market keep perfectly good time while you're looking at them, but whenever you turn away for a couple minutes then turn back, you find that the countdown has progressed by only a few seconds.

216. If my Legions of Terror are defeated in a battle, I will quietly withdraw and regroup instead of launching a haphazard mission to assassinate the hero.

217. If I'm wearing the key to the hero's shackles around my neck and his former girlfriend now volunteers to be-come my mistress and we are all alone in my bedchamber on my bed and she offers me a goblet of wine, I will politely decline the offer.

218. I will not pick up a glowing ancient artifact and shout "Its power is now mine!!!" Instead I will grab some tongs, transfer it to a hazardous materials container, and transport it back to my lab for study.

219. I will be selective in the hiring of assassins. Anyone who attempts to strike down the hero the first instant his back is turned will not even be considered for the job.

220. If I have a single vulnerability, I will fake a different one -- for example, ordering all mirrors removed from the palace, screaming and flinching whenever someone accidentally holds up a mirror, etc. In the climax when the hero whips out a mirror and thrusts it at my face, my reaction will be "Hmm...I think I need a shave."

221. My force-field generators will be located inside the shield they generate.

222. I reserve the right to execute any henchmen who appear to be a little too intelligent, powerful, or devious. How-ever if I do so, I will not at some subsequent point shout "Why am I surrounded by these incompetent fools?!"

223. I will install a fire extinguisher in every room -- three, if the room contains vital equipment or volatile chemicals.

224. I will build machines which simply fail when over-loaded, rather than wiping out all nearby henchmen in an explosion or setting off a chain reaction. I will do this by using devices known as "surge protectors".

225. I will explain to my guards that most people have their eyes in the front of their heads and thus while searching for someone it makes little sense to draw a weapon and slowly back down the hallway.

226. I will have a staff of competent detectives handy. If I learn that someone in a certain village is plotting against me, I will have them find out who rather than wipe out the entire village in a preemptive strike.

227. I will never bait a trap with genuine bait.

228. If the hero claims he wishes to confess in public or to me personally, I will remind him that a notarized deposition will serve just as well.

229. If I have several diabolical schemes to destroy the hero, I will set all of them in motion at once rather than wait for them to fail and launch them successively.

230. I will not put off any ritual granting immortality.

Section B: The Good Guy

If I Am Ever the Hero...

1. I will maintain no association with sidekicks who employ prostitutes. While such entertainment doubtlessly relieves my comrade of the wearying burden of the Heroic Struggle, the women met in this fashion tend to filch artifacts needed to defeat the Evil Overlord, act as his spies and/or assassins, carry unpleasant diseases, and (worst of all) get me in trouble with my True Love.

2. I will ignore the Evil Overlord's arguments revolving around honor and/or morality. If he were really all that worked up about either, he would never have become an Evil Overlord in the first place.

3. When the Evil Overlord takes hostages, I will presume the hostages dead and hold a memorial service. Any promises made by the Evil Overlord regarding their safe return shall be summarily ignored. My loved ones will be warned to expect this.

4. I will not walk alone and undisguised into a bar in the Evil Overlord's territory in order to meet with an ex-associate who said a bunch of damaging things about me in one of the Evil Overlord's propaganda pieces.

5. When the Evil Overlord is hanging on the cliff by his fingers, I will not try to help him up. If time and means are available, I'll kill him then and there.

6. When I am advised to destroy a magical artifact taken from the Evil Overlord, I will do so.

7. Anyone inquiring after the secret of my strength will be fed a line of plausible baloney as to how this strength can be lost. If the bogus advice is followed, the leak shall be properly investigated.

8. If an associate begins to transform into something large and threatening, I will immediately act to neutralize the threat, and not wait until the transformation is complete. Likewise, if an enemy begins to metamorphose into something else, I will immediately start whacking away at it, instead of watching in fascination.

9. I will take no oath of unquestioning obedience, nor any oath of obedience to persons of unproved character.

10. I will reveal to each comrade a different clue for distinguishing me from an impostor, so that if one of them betrays me and an impostor is sent in my place, the others will still be able to catch on to the charade.

11. I will never assume that an enemy is dead unless the remains are available for examination, and will keep in mind the possibility of cloning technology or resurrection magic.

12. I will employ some manner of surveillance so that when I leave a room and a traitorous comrade gives me the Malicious Scowl or Wicked Leer to my back, I will have ample warning of his impending betrayal.

13. Self-appointed prophets who deliver elliptically-worded warnings will be politely asked to rephrase their utterances in plainer terms. If said prophet refuses the request, a five-year-old child will be asked to explain the meaning of the prophecy.

14. I will waste no time trying to get the rich to join in my rebellion. The only way to stay rich in the Evil Overlord's realm is to collaborate with him, and any rich people who truly feel guilty about this will serve the rebellion better by not openly joining.

15. If my Mentor tells me that I am not yet ready to confront the Evil Overlord, I will quietly accept his judgement and remain to complete my training.

16. If one of the Bad Guys manages to kill my Mentor, I'm clearly not prepared to immediately avenge him; I will retreat and develop my skills.

17. I shall arrange my personal affairs so that it doesn't matter if someone learns my secret identity.

18. If I am granted a vision of the future, I will not try to prevent anything that I see. It never works.

19. If I am forced to make a choice between saving a friend or lover and fulfilling my mission, I will remind myself that failing to accomplish the mission will probably result in their death anyway, and go on with the mission.

20. If I am captured by the Evil Overlord and escape, I will assume that he is tracking me in some manner. If I am going to the hidden rebel base, I'll first go to an alternate location, change clothing, equipment, and means of transportation, and then go to the hidden rebel base.

21. If any of my associates mysteriously disappears, and then returns behaving in an uncharacteristic manner, I will immediately presume that their loyalty has been compromised by the Evil Overlord.

22. Old flames that join the rebellion will be assigned duties that preclude contact with me. This not only protects me from any attempt by the Evil Overlord to use them as agents, but also keeps my True Love from leaving me in a fit of misplaced jealousy.

23. I will presume that the Evil Overlord is working to nullify my secret powers. I shall therefore obtain the means to fight that do not rely on these secret powers.

24. If I enter into alliances with the Evil Overlord, I will bear in mind that the rationale he has given for the alliance is not the Unvarnished Truth, and that he will betray me at the moment most advantageous to him.

25. I will never travel back into the past in order to prevent the current situation. It never works.

26. No matter how sincere he looks, I will never shake the Evil Overlord's hand.

27. When my powerful wizard friend fails to return at the appointed time, I won't wait until after my birthday to start my Perilous Journey. I will set out immediately.

28. Anything that appears to have been too easy--escaping the Evil Overlord's fortress, defeating the Eldritch Horror, etc.--probably was too easy.

29. If the Evil Overlord invites me to go on a hunt with him, I will decline the invitation.

30. If I have a copy of the Evil Overlord's plans and my capture is imminent, I will not send the only copy of those plans away with a cute little sidekick. I will make many copies of the plans and send them away with many cute little sidekicks.

31. If I maintain a secret identity, I will keep my transformation ritual as simple and quick as possible so that I cannot be interrupted during it.

32. I will not keep information secret in order to prevent widespread hysteria; it never works.

33. My fortress will include a holding room for any annoying kids, nerds, would-be love interests and other wannabe-types who follow me there and insist on joining my group. They will be kept in this room until the Evil Overlord is defeated. If there are holodecks available, I will throw the wannabe into it while he/she is asleep and activate the Epic Adventure program.

34. When the Evil Overlord's Seductive Daughter tries to subvert me through her womanly wiles, I will keep in mind the diseases she is likely to have caught from all the netherwordly creatures with whom she is probably also consorting, as well as the possibility that the Evil Overlord has a hidden camera/crystal ball trained on me and is forcing my True Love to watch.

35. I will not needlessly expose myself to enemy gunfire, hand-to-hand combat, or dogfights.

36. There are three dimensions in space. I do not have to attack in the same plane as the opponent.

37. I will not count on other rebels being as self-sacrificing as I.

38. I do not need to give the Overlord a fair chance. Shooting him in the back works for me.

39. I will never say "This one is mine!" and engage in a one-on-one struggle with the Evil Overlord or any of his henchmen; however, I might say "This one is mine!" and stand back while my comrades, by prior arrangement, pump all available firepower into the now-distracted target.

40. If my village allies defeat the elite forces of the Evil Overlord, I will take a few minutes to learn how they did it and incorporate the information gained into my strategies.

41. If my True Love is captured and forced into marriage with the Evil Overlord, I will not attempt to rescue her until after the ceremony, unless said ceremony will irrevocably harm or alter her in some way.

42. If she doesn't already know, I shall train my True Love in the art of unarmed combat, so that when the Evil Overlord uses her as a human shield she can slam her heel between his legs.

43. Likewise, if she doesn't already know, I shall train my True love in the art of armed combat, to the extent that her natural talents allow.

44. If through skill or luck I defeat a better-armed opponent, I will at least try to get his/her/its weapons.

45. When I and my companions sneak into the Evil Overlord's stronghold through some unorthodox route such as the main drain, and it appears to be completely unguarded, we will stop and discuss possible explanations for that observation, rather than simply praising our good luck and pressing blithely on.

46. After killing a few dozen faceless, anonymous grunts in the Legion of Doom without a second thought, I will not suddenly take a merciful attitude with the Evil Overlord, his family, his lieutenants, or anyone else with a speaking part.

47. When I kill one of the Evil Overlord's deer, I will not lug it to his castle and wave it in his face just to make some obscure point, only to wind up having to fight my way out of his castle. I'll just take it home and enjoy some venison.

48. I will remember that if the Bad Guy tries to kill enough people, no one will mind too much if I kill him instead of merely disarming him. Especially if it looks like an accident.

49. If I am offered two explanations for a phenomenon, one logical and scientific and the other a load of New Age claptrap, I will accept the scientific explanation.

50. My robots will be programmed to speak only when they have something useful to say. That way I will not be tempted to ignore them when they have critical information.

51. When I state my intention to do something and one of my robots interrupts me, I will at least hear it out.

52. I will wear different outfits from day to day, so that the Evil Overlord's henchmen will not be able to spot me at a glance.

53. If I lose a hand and have it replaced with a prosthesis, the prosthesis will have a functional weapon built in to it. I can use it to surprise Bad Guys and open canned goods.

54. I will not have sex with anyone before a battle. They will either die or betray me during the battle.

55. High-sounding directives notwithstanding, I will never value culture above sentient life.

56. If I get incriminating evidence about an enemy or a superior, I will make several copies, and store each in a different location. I will not surrender the sole copy to anyone. If ordered to destroy the copies, I will do so, after first making more copies.

57. I will not try to make comrades run faster by yanking on their arms. I will instead advise them to stop turning around to look at the pursuing danger (rats, lava, etc.).

58. I will not make the sidekick wait somewhere while I go on ahead. He'll only get into worse trouble than he otherwise would.

59. Every member of the rebellion will have DNA tests to bring any existing blood relationships to light.

60. When five seconds can mean the difference between the survival and destruction of the galaxy, I will keep my wistful expressions of undying fealty, love, or regret to a minimum.

61. After knocking out a bad guy, I will kill him silently if I can, cripple him silently if I can't kill him, or disarm him if I can neither kill nor cripple him. If I fail to do any of these, he will come to and jump me from behind.

62. My loyal, trusted and heavily armed bodyguards will always be on hand.

63. I will never leave my True Love and/or family unguarded unless they can defend themselves.

64. I will always pack as much firepower as I can.

65. I will never allow my people to speak to prisoners alone, but I will sometimes appear to do so.

66. I will maintain constant surveillance on all prisoners in case one of my people tries something behind my back.

67. If I discover a mysterious pod in my home, barn, spaceship, or alien territory, I will not stick my face into it or pick it up to see if it is alive. Instead I will have it examined via remote-controlled robot.

68. I will not trust a being with an inordinate number of tentacles.

69. I will always read the fine print.

70. Being captured by the Evil Overlord is one way to learn his secret plans, but there are innumerable other ways that are better, and they will be tried first.

71. My weapon of choice will be the one that allows the greatest distance between me and my target.

72. When I am forced to decide which of two identical people is the Trusted Ally and which is the Evil Doppelganger, I will stun them both and sort things out in the brig.

73. When I make my escape from the Evil Overlord's encampment, I will sabotage as much of the enemy's pursuit capacity (horses, jeeps, rocket bikes, etc) as opportunity permits, sparing only enough for the use of my companions and me.

74. If my trusty sidekick always blurts out the fact that I am carrying the most powerful magic object in the world, then I will get a sidekick who is less of a blabbermouth.

75. No robots serving with me will be permitted to have emotion chips.

76. I will be courteous to all, whether friend, foe, or neutral. Especially neutral.

77. I will wear a utility belt. Not everything I need will be kept there, but I will pretend that I am helpless without it in order to fool the Evil Overlord.

78. I will treat law enforcement officials with respect, permit them to handle affairs that are within their capacity, and solicit their advice when circumstances allow. This will establish mutual respect and a good rapport.

79. If I have a weakness, I will look for a Sidekick who does not share it. Failing that, I will form a mutual-support association with a Hero not sharing this weakness.

80. When sneaking into the fortress of the Evil Overlord, I will disguise myself as someone whose normal behavior I can emulate.

81. If I am in dire straits due to a lack of the rare substance that fuels my ship, I will scan my environs for supplies of the substance, paying especial attention to the natives' jewelry and other decorative artifacts.

82. My guards will be instructed so that when a voice around the corner says "come here," they will assume the speaker to be an intruder and respond accordingly.

83. If I am forced to retreat after being ambushed by overwhelming forces, I will not run home where it's safe; whoever is behind the ambush probably has plans for me when I get there.

84. I almost certainly have an Evil Twin running around somewhere, if not by birth then as a creation of the Evil Overlord. I will keep an eye out for him, and plan accordingly.

85. I will never allow fashion sense to prevent me from carrying whatever is useful or needful for the Heroic Struggle.

86. When the Evil Overlord tries to guilt-trip me by claiming that I'll be responsible for something he plans to do if I don't cooperate with him, I'll mercilessly quote Ayn Rand to him.

87. If the Evil Overlord wears a mask hiding his features, it's either because he doesn't want to be recognized or because he's bodaciously ugly. I will psych myself up for the shock resulting from either cause when I rip the mask off of him.

88. When someone opens the Eldritch Portal to Hell, and I have the means to close it, I will employ said means immediately, and not stop to explain things to everyone.

89. People who whine about not being trusted are either (a.) Operatives for the Evil Overlord; (b.) Mind-controlled by the Evil Overlord; (c.) Totally clueless about concepts like OPSEC and need-to-know; or (d.) Dangerously neurotic and/or immature; and are consequently not to be trusted.

90. If a mystic proclaims that my destiny is to "defeat the darkness," "bring freedom to the downtrodden," or some such other glorious accomplishment, I will immediately begin preparations for the role. I will not wait for the mystic and several other innocents to get rubbed out by the Evil Overlord.

91. If my powers depend on a talisman in my possession, I will never openly display it, but keep it hidden in my codpiece/brassiere; a flashy, gaudy article of jewelry, having no mystical potency of any kind, will be brandished when I employ my super powers.

92. I will begin my lifelong fight against crime immediately upon discovery of my powers, instead of withholding my assistance from the police, thereby allowing a minor criminal to escape and murder one of my loved ones.

93. When I am about to enter the Evil Overlord's hideout, I will have it surrounded by friendly forces so that they can detain him if he sneaks out the back door while I kick down the front door.

94. If I discover that one of my comrades in the Heroic Struggle has a Dark Secret (i.e., is passing as the opposite gender, is a close relative of the Evil Overlord, etc.), I will not dismiss them without further justification.

95. The assistance of politicians will be obtained by appealing to their self-interest. Any politician who appears to be cooperating with me out of the kindness of his heart is actually plotting to betray me at some point.

96. If my Mentor is slain in combat with the Evil Overlord or his henchmen, I will withdraw quietly, instead of shouting "Noooooo!" at the top of my lungs.

97. Mountains and castles that are shaped like skulls, hideous faces, fists, etc., are the very Lairs of Evil. All visits will be planned accordingly.

98. Female sidekicks who are loyal and dependable make much better True Loves than do vain, pampered princesses who never give me the time of day.

99. I will ascertain the whereabouts of all relatives and possible progeny from past love affairs. It's a sure bet that the ones for whom I cannot account are now working for, or actually might be, the Evil Overlord.

100. I will not spurn the assistance of a hermit/scholar merely because my other associates claim he is insane.

101. If I find myself born or drafted into a universe wherein the laws of nature do not obey consistent principles, I will depart for an alternate universe created by a more reasonable author.

If I Am Ever a Starfleet Captain...

102. I will design my ship's tactical systems so that I do not have to personally direct every single shot fired.

103. I will put surge suppressors in the circuitry of my ship, so that a shot striking some distant portion does not cause a control panel on the bridge to explode.

104. I will design my ships so that command and control functions cannot be hot-wired from a wall panel in the recreation bay.

105. I will design redundancy into all ship systems, so that the loss of one component will not cripple the entire vessel.

106. When combat is imminent, my ship's computer will be programmed so that enemy troops beaming aboard will be immediately beamed into empty space, or the originating ship's reactor core if possible. It will also deliver a kilo of antimatter to the bridge of the ship in question.

107. When the enemy ship decloaks and is arming weapons, I will immediately open fire on it, instead of waiting for it to fire three or four times.

108. When a comrade defects to the enemy, I will have all passwords changed, and as soon as it is practical I will have the computer disconnected, its memory flushed, and the approved software reloaded from the original secured CD-ROMs.

109. Anyone who cannot be entertained by books, music, a good game of cards and a well-stocked bar will not be allowed to crew my ship. Hence there will be no need for a holodeck on my ship.

110. After capturing a space station from an enemy, I will have the enemy's computer systems removed, melted down into slag, and dumped into the nearest stellar object. A new computer will then be installed.

111. If a crew member is a sanctimonious coward who continually gets us all into trouble through his greed, I shall, after the third or fourth episode of this behavior, act to preserve myself and other comrades only, and let him be destroyed by the mess he made for himself.

112. Under no circumstance will I agree to not develop or employ any particular technology.

113. If I have a technologically superior foe who is intent on eliminating my whole civilization, and I am offered a means of utterly annihilating this foe for all time, I will use it.

114. I will install seatbelts in my space vessels, and have pressure suits and pressure locks at regular intervals.

115. Technology that chronically malfunctions will be removed from my ship.

116. To prevent the computer from being reprogrammed by every Tom, Dick and Harry that sneaks on board, its software will be stored in ROM chips that are soldered to the motherboard; RAM will be reserved for data only.

117. I will design the greatest possible degree of manual back-up into my space vessels, so that when my on-board computer begins to act strangely, I can power it down via a switch located next to my seat on the bridge, and yet not be left totally helpless.

118. I will not allow anyone to read the technical manuals and blueprints of my ship unless they work in Ops or Engineering and therefore have a need-to-know. All personnel will be properly cleared prior to assignment to Ops or Engineering. The technical manuals and blueprints of a totally fictitious craft will be freely available.

119. If my ship's drive or weapons systems require lengthy charge times between uses, I shall research and develop equipment that can handle a heavier duty cycle.

120. My ship's computer will have a clock rate of at least one megahertz and be programmed in C or assembler so that important calculations take a few milliseconds instead of an hour or so.

121. If a member of my crew can perfectly mimic my voice giving the commands to take control of my ship, additional security measures they cannot mimic will be added, such as palmprints or retinal scans.

122. If my ship is constantly being bugged, robbed, invaded, or taken over, I will replace my security officer, no matter how cool a character he is.

123. If knowledge of the operating frequency of a ship's system aids in efforts to disable that system, I will employ an arcane development known as "frequency-hopping."

124. Before letting crewmembers take leave on a planet, I will ensure that they are welcome and that its government recognizes concepts like Rule of Law, Trial by Jury, Presumption of Innocence, and so forth. I will also check out the local laws so that none of my crew ends up on death row for scratching his nose in public or some other stupid thing.

125. If one of my crewmembers is unjustly imprisoned and/or condemned, and the officials with whom I speak express a marked disinterest in his actual guilt or innocence, I will not waste time trying to gather exonerating evidence. Instead, I will immediately mount a rescue mission.

126. When beaming into hostile territory I will instruct my transporter chief to beam me into a defensible position, with the landing party facing outwards in a circle. I will have my weapon in my hand (not my pocket) before I beam down.

127. If I beam off of a vessel that is still hostile, I will arrange to leave behind as large an explosive device as I can obtain.

128. I will not have both rotating and non-rotating sections on a ship. If I need rotational gravity, I will spin the whole ship. Any navigational computer that cannot deal with this will be replaced with one that can.

129. I will follow the advice of my Chief Medical Officer. If I am not at 100% of my usual level of physical fitness, I will stick to desk duty unless the fate of something genuinely important hangs in the balance.

130. I will assume that all super-weapons are operational until proven otherwise, especially if they appear to be unguarded.

131. All critical data and software will be backed up in off-line storage.

132. A random alien's claims about his/her/its race's cultural values and attitudes will be given no more credence than a random human's claims about human cultural values and attitudes.

133. My crew shall be trained in the fine arts of tactical combat, such as dispersing assets, walking point, advance, flank and rear guards, etc.

134. I will not throw infantry into close-quarter combat with creatures of leviathan stature, but shall turn such affairs over to the artillery crew.

135. If my ship is whisked to the far side of the galaxy, leaving us with a seventy-year journey home, and a super-being offers to take us home instantly in exchange for having his baby, I'll agree and ask what we can get for two babies.

136. If anyone beams down and their personal communicator drops carrier, all life forms within ten meters of the last known location shall be beamed directly to the brig. A large well-armed security detail will be waiting.

137. The people in charge of Sick Bay, Engineering, and R&D will not be the only people staffing those functions, nor shall they accompany away teams.

138. I will not ask "What does God need with a space ship?" and then order a torpedo strike. I will order the torpedo strike first, and ponder theology on the trip home.

139. My people will be assigned duties commensurate with their skills. I will not task pilots with leading a ground assault, infiltrating enemy camps, etc.

140. If I board a derelict ship, and it appears that the former crew and passengers all died in some horrible fashion, I will immediately leave the ship, destroy it, and toss the wreckage into the nearest stellar object.

141. If I am in red alert status and discover that it was a false alarm, I will stay in red alert for a while before standing down.

142. Anyone I imprison will be stripped, scanned, and given a prison uniform. This will prevent them from assembling weapons from pieces hidden in their regular clothes.

143. Any crew member who begins to act strangely will be immediately relieved of duty and confined to the sick bay, pending a complete screening to determine if their personality has been subverted.

144. I will not let the Whiz Kid conduct research aboard my ship. If he's got a theory that he's itching to test, I will deposit him on an uninhabited planet in friendly space, and make sure that I'm out of the system before he's done unpacking.

145. I will not depart the starbase unless my complement of Marines are on board.

146. I will hold repel-boarders drills on my ship. These drills will be held at random hours so that everyone learns what in Klotho's name they're supposed to be doing, no matter what the circumstances.

147. My junior officers will be notified that Academy cadets cannot be field-commissioned, and should they come upon a ship crewed entirely by such, they will immediately take command and return them to where they can receive adult supervision.

148. I will never send the infantry down on missions that are better suited for orbital bombardment.

149. If the issued zap guns have "stun" and "kill" modes, they will be set to the former only when the user is about to fire at something that is wanted alive.

150. If my opponent can adapt to various forms of attack, rendering them useless, I will use some imagination and start attacking in as many different ways as possible.

Section C: Auxiliary Characters (Evil)

Tips for the Evil Henchman:

1. Avoid getting sent to rough up the Hero. Ransacking hotel rooms is probably safe, but going 'round to beat up the good guys is a sure ticket to the bottom of the Thames. Remember, however, that all Heroes get roughed up at least once, so if this has never happened to the Hero, go for it!

2. Avoid killing people not actively involved in the rebellion; the Evil Overlord has enough enemies as it is. Especially don't kill relatives, significant others, or best friends of the Hero. Normally after the Evil Overlord is overthrown, henchmen can get off with a few hundred hours of community service, but if you off the Hero's loved ones, he'll make lasagna out of you.

3. Unless the Evil Overlord pays extra for indiscriminate slaughter, avoid it. Why should you give your services away for free?

4. As tempting as it may be, never try to ravish the Evil Overlord's beautiful-but-wicked daughter. She can probably mop the floor with you. Daddy will not try to stop her.

5. Learn where the trap door is in Evil Overlord's audience chamber. Avoid standing there, especially when bad news is brought to the Evil Overlord.

6. As soon as the evil lord has the Hero in his power, seek the nearest available escape route. The fewmets are about to hit the windmill.

7. Learn to distinguish Heroes from Sidekicks. Heroes are usually taller and more somber, while Sidekicks dress with more flair and tell more jokes. Taking on the Hero when you only have enough manpower/firepower to take on the Sidekick will earn you an all-expenses-paid trip on Stygian Cruise Lines.

8. Never allow yourself to be provoked into doing anything stupid by insults from the Hero or Sidekicks.

9. No matter how attractive the captured heroine is or how seductively she bats her eyes, she really does not want to sleep with you. Do not unlock the cell door.

10. If the hero gives you a chance to surrender or flee, take it.

11. If you surrender to the Hero, don't try to stab him when his back is turned; the Sidekick will get you first.

12. If the seemingly helpless person you have just cornered is confident and unafraid despite being outnumbered and surrounded, you have encountered a Hero in disguise. Run while you still can.

13. If the Hero you are sent after dresses entirely in black, he is even more dangerous than the Evil Overlord suspects; double all requisitions for men and firepower.

14. Practice your "accidental" sword/gun dropping technique. It's the only thing that can save you when the Hero is winning.

15. When you have someone at gunpoint and that person says "you haven't got the guts to kill me," disprove his/her hypothesis.

16. The Evil Overlord will not risk his life to save yours. Why risk yours for his?

17. If the Hero is using you as a human shield and the Evil Overlord asks you if the Doomsday Weapon is prepared, say "no."

18. If the Evil Overlord orders you to kill some prisoners and then departs for business elsewhere, leave as quickly as possible; there is about to be a successful rescue attempt.

19. Never allow yourself to be turned into a vicious, ravening beast to defeat the Hero. It never works, and you girlfriend will not understand. She will dump you for one of the Good Guys.

20. Never hold hostages at point-blank range. Anyone quick enough to even back into the role of Hero can punch you out faster than you can pull the trigger.

21. When disposing of bodies, dump them in the Evil Overlord's territory, and not in neighboring lands presently outside of his control.

22. Find out where the Evil Overlord has installed the self-destruct switch for his secret base (the real switch, not the decoy), and disable it at the first opportunity. The base will get blown up anyway, but this way your chances of escaping are better.

23. Don't let the Evil Overlord use you as a lab animal.

24. If you can't avoid being used as a guinea pig by the Evil Overlord, any powers you gain from the experiment will make it needful for the Hero to kill you at some point during the Heroic Struggle. Change sides and take your just revenge.

25. There is no need to yell when you are attacking the Hero. Especially when you're doing it from behind.

26. The recommended method for checking to see if the Hero is still alive is to shoot him in the head.

Guidelines for Legion of Doom Troops:

27. Before performing guard duty, familiarize yourself with the sound of a tossed pebble, and learn to avoid being distracted by it.

28. When performing guard duty, do not stare continually in one direction, but take a moment now and then to look around.

29. And while you're pulling guard duty, if anyone shows up with a prisoner transfer or maintenance job, and you don't know about it, arrest them on the spot.

30. When you are fighting intruders, do not fight them quietly, but yell "Intruder!" while you still have breath.

31. When issued armor or uniforms that contrast with the service environment, respectfully inquire after more sensibly-colored attire.

32. Get plenty of firearms practice, and shoot at the Hero, not at the ground around him; kicking up lots of dirt looks cool, but it won't stop the Hero.

33. Don't attack the hero alone or in pairs. The Evil Overlord hired a million of you for a reason.

34. Learn how to lead from the rear and command from afar, just like the Evil Overlord does.

35. Exercise care in the abuse of oppressed peoples. Farm implements can be effective weapons in the hands of a skilled opponent, and some of those little old men can teach you a thing or two about hand-to-hand combat. It would be just your luck for the villager you pick on to actually be the Hero masquerading as one of the villagers.

36. Test your armor's ability to stop a minimum of one sword thrust or laser blast, and if it does not give at least this much protection, respectfully inquire after something better.

37. Make sure that your headgear allows for a useful field of vision.

38. Remember that if the Hero and/or his comrades are being purposely allowed to escape, there is no need for you to get killed in your effort to "prevent" the escape.

39. If a prisoner suddenly takes ill, notify the Evil Overlord and await his instructions. Do not go into the cell to examine him/her yourself.

40. If you're on patrol and your partner mysteriously disappears, call for backup before you go look for him.

41. If your unit's name contains words like "Imperial", "Elite", "Supreme", "Tactical", "Storm" or "Special", request a transfer as soon as possible. These guys always get clobbered first when the Heroes attack.

Tips for the Trusted Lieutenant:

42. When the hero or his sidekicks are at your mercy, don't stop to gloat.

43. If you can't resist gloating, don't boast about the reward you expect to receive from your master for bringing them in or killing them off.

44. If you gloat and boast, don't be surprised if a comrade of the person you have at your mercy jumps you from behind while you're distracted with your boasting.

45. If you fail to complete your mission, skip town. Returning to the Evil Overlord to report on your failure will usually get you killed.

46. While the Evil Overlord is gloating over his anticipated success in the venture he is about to launch, it is considered impolite to ask "And if you fail?" You probably won't be flogged, maimed, or killed for your temerity, but why risk it?

47. Never wear gender-inappropriate underwear in a sword-rich environment. The Hero will slice your suspenders or cut off your trouser buttons, exposing you to ridicule.

48. If you find the Evil Overlord's beautiful daughter consorting with the hero, take her bribes but turn her in.

49. If you follow orders and fail, the Evil Overlord will claim he told you to do something different, and you will be blamed. If you disobey orders and succeed, the EO will act as if what you did was his idea, and you will be commended. The Moral: Do what works.

50. Find out what happened to your predecessor. Learn from it.

51. Always arrange to have a scapegoat.

52. Never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, accept responsibility for failure.

Tips for the Evil Overlord's Wicked but Beautiful Daughter:

53. Make a point of finding out all those lovely little family secrets so that the Hero can never spring them on you.

54. Do not fall in love with the Hero.

55. If you fall in love with the Hero, and decide to help him, do not declare your intentions to Daddy. He'll just clap you in irons pending execution. Of course the Hero will rescue you, but it's demeaning.

56. If the Hero takes you to his secret base, and once there tells all about his plans, smile sweetly, leave, and find another man. This Hero is obviously so stupid he will not be around for very long.

57. If any of Daddy's Evil Henchmen try to make a move on you, maim them at least. While the encounter might be interesting, it would set a bad precedent.

58. If you fall in love with the Hero, and want him to return your affection, don't use a drug concocted by a wizened old lady living on the top of a mountain. If the hero is not blind, your natural charms will be sufficient to win him over. If he prefers some tramp of a princess, then he obviously has rotten taste; find someone better.

59. If you fall in love with the Hero, and learn that he has a True Love, investigate the relationship. If she has never returned his affection, the position is still open to competition (but you will first have to work as the Hero's Sidekick for a while).

60. Don't wear dresses with high, fan-like collars. Stick with close-fitting, simple little numbers that let you turn your head to see behind you. If for some reason you have to wear a dress with a high collar, there's an arcane device called a "mirror" that will help you watch your back.

61. Have some engineers install a hidden exit from the room where Daddy imprisoned Mommy for the rest of her days after she displeased him.

62. Do not mistreat the populace. Let Daddy be the one to make enemies of all the Heroes in the land.

63. If you have siblings, do not trust them. They'll only use you shamelessly. Of course if they're stupid enough to trust you, use them shamelessly.

64. If any of your sibs try to enlist your help to overthrow Daddy, smile, agree, and then turn them in. They're either stupid (in which case their plot will fail and you'll get caught), or setting you up (in which case not turning them in is a very bad idea), or they've turned Good (in which case life under the new regime would be boring).

65. Laugh at all of the Sidekick's jokes, no matter how lame they are. That way when you pretend to fall for him he will be more easily fooled.

66. Don't just be an attractive stage prop. Make sure you know every detail of the running of the Evil Empire, so that if anything unpleasant happens to Daddy, the transition of power will go smoothly. Then make sure that something unpleasant happens to Daddy.

67. Make up your mind now whether you want to marry the Hero or slowly cut him into little pieces. Do not attempt the latter until you have given up on the former.

68. Daddy's Trusted Lieutenant works for Daddy. If he catches you cavorting with the Hero, he will gleefully take whatever you offer for his silence, and then turn you in anyway.

Tips for the Evil Overlord's Accountant:

69. Keep a set of books listing those activities of the Evil Overlord that would be a credit to Gandhi. Show these records to anyone who cares to see them.

70. Keep a second set of books that lists the activities in the first set of books, plus those activities that look fishy at a cursory glance, but on closer examination are perfectly within the letter of the law, or maybe just bend it a little. Show these books to auditors who aren't fooled by the first set of books, and then only when the Evil Overlord has no choice but to allow examination. Keep them a bit untidy so that anyone looking at them will think you were caught with your pants down.

71. Keep a third set of books, listing everything the Evil Overlord is up to. Show these books to the Evil Overlord when he wants to see them. Show them to nobody else. Store them in thermite-packed cabinets so that they can be destroyed with extreme speed.

72. Keep a fourth set of books, listing the locations and passwords for the bulk of the Evil Overlord's loot, including the Plundered Crown Jewels. Use this information to bargain for your miserable cowardly life when the Hero defeats the Evil Overlord.

73. Keep a fifth set of books, listing the locations and passwords for a small portion of the Evil Overlord's loot, in the form of unmarked and untraceable cash. Use this information to set yourself up for retirement after the Evil Overlord is overthrown.

74. When the Hero and his allies storm the Evil Overlord's castle, hide under the Sturdy Oak Table with the other Sly Advisors until the fighting stops. If the Evil Overlord wins, it's back to business as usual; your sniveling cowardice will only stoke the Evil Overlord's feelings of superiority over you, so you will not be punished. If the Hero wins, thank the Hero for freeing you from the Evil Overlord's mind control, then show him where the Plundered Crown Jewels are kept. When nobody's looking, get the portion of the Evil Overlord's loot that you have earmarked for your retirement fund and retire.

75. Do not bother the Evil Overlord with the details of finances; math bores him. Simply remember his net worth at any given moment and be prepared to supply that figure on demand.

76. Do not embezzle from the Evil Overlord, unless you are able to cover the discrepancy by exaggerating the losses incurred by the bumbling of the Evil Overlord's other henchmen, and then only when said henchmen are dead.

Tips for Evil Geniuses:

77. I will not experiment on myself.

78. I will not transplant my mind into the Hero's brain when my test monkey is still in the laboratory.

79. None of my super-weapons will have a "reverse" switch.

80. My secret lab/lair will have excellent ventilation, automatic sprinklers, and halon extinguishers handy at every bench.

81. My glass flask holders, test tube racks, and bunsen-burner-heated apparati will be anchored to the floor or wall, not balanced precariously on a wobbly table.

82. Any ability-enhancing formula that has potential degenerative or addictive effects may be suitable to use on the Controlled Masses, but not on myself.

83. My high-energy sealed test chamber will only be operable from the outside by the combination of my hand and retinal print. If someone has relieved me of my hand and eye to get them, I'd rather be dead anyway.

84. If I can splice genes to create a 60-meter-long killer cockroach, I can also insert in said creation a susceptibility to my custom formula of Raid, which I can carry in a convenient key chain mace canister.

85. Experimental monster creations will not only have one immediately lethal vulnerability only I can exploit, but until my Diabolical Plan is ready to implement, they will also have an addiction to a material only I can supply, without which they will die in a day or two.

86. I will always have an open airplane ticket to New Zealand on hand in case my current project escapes my laboratory, starts mutating beyond control, or starts talking back to me in a belligerent fashion.

87. I will personally select the brain to be used in my life-creation experiment.

88. If I need one liter of my secret formula to implement my Diabolical Plan, I will produce ten liters and store the other nine safely in different caches.

89. I will always carry the antidote on my person. But it will be in a vial marked 'poison reserve.' The poison reserve will be in the vial marked 'antidote.'

90. If I am working on an optical mind control device, I will remove all extraneous mirrors from the lab and wear polarized contact lenses at all times.

91. I will test the strength, power, and weaknesses of all monsters I create. Better to pull back and send two monsters next time than lose one due to simple poor planning.

92. Experiments requiring a human test subject shall be performed on kidnapped anti-social bums who live alone in large cities, not someone whose disappearance will be noticed, like a coed at the local high school.

93. If I really must experiment on a teenage girl, I will not choose the buxom cheerleader whose courageous and handsome boyfriend is captain of the football team. Instead, I will choose the mousy quiet girl whose only boyfriend is the nervous head of the Dungeons and Dragons club, whom I can probably co-opt if I need to.

94. I will remember that any robot/device/mental power that can be remotely controlled from ten feet can, with sufficient preparation, effort, and/or energy, be remotely controlled from 100 miles or more.

95. Feeding of Ravenous Caged Beasts will be taken care of my redundant, automatic Beast Feeders or, if the compound is well sealed by me, extraneous underlings. No underling (especially one with a girlfriend to impress) will ever be given the keys to the cages.

96. My Android Armies will be capable of independent action, and will not rely on a central brain for coordination. Further, they will have logic-loop rejection procedures to prevent paralysis by "Everything I say is a lie" type statements.

Tips for Evil Cult Members:

97. Pick one faith and stay with it. Dilettantism is the mark of an amateur.

98. Familiarize yourself with the specs for sacrificial victims, and make sure that unacceptable substitutes aren't introduced into the ceremony. If the penalty for not-to-spec work is death and/or mutilation, consider working for a more fault-tolerant deity.

99. Avoid needless embarrassment. Practice the correct pronunciation of your deity's name in private before chanting it in public. Flash cards are helpful. Be very careful to pronounce only one syllable at a time; some deities pop up at every mention of their name, and expect to have an acceptable sacrifice waiting for them.

100. Before agreeing to impregnation by a supernatural being, investigate the survival rate of the other women who have undergone the procedure.

101. Never invoke anything bigger than your head.

102. Eschew deities whose followers are all young; such faith groups usually employ an unpleasant retirement procedure.

103. Avoid all cabalistic jewelry over ten pounds in weight--it attracts unwelcome attention from tourists, policemen, and supernatural creatures, and it can be downright dangerous during thunderstorms. Its jingling also tends to warn the hero of your approach.

104. Citronella candles may not be used in rituals. I cannot stress this enough. And pastel-colored candles in the shape of cute animals are like direct sunlight to the Powers of Darkness.

105. If the spirit contacted during a seance begins offering financial advice, you're dealing with a con artist, and not a genuine medium.

106. Always keep your kit with you: candles, chalk, incense, silver knife, Thuggee cord, service revolver, garlic, Yellow Sign, cab fare, and change.

107. Fluorescent lighting is very annoying to most netherworldly creatures.

108. If a Black Mass goes awry, stay away from the Evil Priest. Enraged demons always go for the pompous.

109. Followers who have a speech impediment should be excused from speaking parts in any and all ceremonies. The mispronunciation of the deity's name can have catastrophic effects.

110. Plan ahead by selecting ceremonial robes that are easy to run in while still affording ample concealment.

111. If the ritual site has some strange powder sprinkled around that wasn't there the last time, postpone all ceremonies until the site is verified.

112. When a religious artifact begins emitting light, CLOSE YOUR EYES. Thousands of cult members could be saved every year if they followed this simple safety tip.

113. When mutilating cattle, avoid the ones with testicles.

114. During ritual sacrifices, it's considered bad form to take bits home "for later".

115. Blood tests are now required for all sacrificial victims before the ritual. The effects of HIV+ offerings on the average malefic deity have never been witnessed by anyone living, or even intact.

116. Contrary to historical belief, drugs and invocations do not mix. When the ritual goes awry, it is vitally necessary to be able to discern between the gibbering monstrosity to pump full of silver bullets and the gibbering monstrosity that will fade away after a few hours, some B complex, and a good hot bath.

117. Never play strip Tarot.

118. Piety and belief are powerful things, and few forces in nature, can stand against one who is true to his faith, his god/goddess, and the deal made in exchange for the soul. However, it is also true that gods tend to side with the heaviest artillery, so be prepared to change sides at the drop of a hat.

119. For those situations where a fresh, living, sacrifice is not available, the lower ranks of demons can be fooled by microwaving a previously frozen chunk of ex-victim and cleverly jiggling it. However, a mock victim sculpted from Spam is right out.

120. Instead of picking human victims who are young, virginal and innocent (and tend to turn out to be the Hero's girlfriend), see if you can substitute mass murderers, lawyers, school board members, and other people who won't be missed.

121. Register the copyrights on your chants, so you'll have a leg up when some long-haired, dope-smoking, maggot-infested rock group plagiarizes them for a fast buck.

122. Do not allow your mental condition to degrade any further than the obligations of your deity require. A good psychiatrist helps.

Advice for Aliens and Monsters on the Rampage

123. Inoculate before invasion.

124. Don't terrorize around nuclear power stations.

125. No matter how pretty the girl is, leave her alone. It's almost guaranteed that your anatomies (not to mention your biologies) are incompatible.

126. If your planet desperately needs women, chances are you can get them without invasion by simply offering job and pay equity.

127. Don't route all power through the Mothership.

128. Don't climb tall buildings to evade capture unless you can fly from the top.

129. Always pretend to be immune to gunfire. People will only shoot at you if they think it'll do some good.

130. Don't lay your eggs in a major metropolitan subway system. Find a nice secluded cave.

131. If you can outbreed your enemies, don't go for the brute force takeover.

Section D: Auxiliary Characters (Good)

If I Am Ever the Sidekick...

1. If the hero tells me to stay put while he goes on ahead, I will do so instead of sneaking around and getting captured.

2. When selecting a love interest, I will keep an eye out for the spunky, moderately attractive tomboy type who is about my height. The stunningly beautiful ones are probably spies from the Evil Overlord, and are only trying to sweet-talk valuable information out of me or tempt me over to the other side.

3. Optimism and survival appear to correlate negatively. If I find myself hopeful at all times about human nature, I will verify the status of my insurance policies.

4. I will strive to complement the Hero's skills instead of duplicating them. If I am the most inventive person ever born, I will cultivate those talents instead of trying to become another swashbuckler.

5. I will coordinate all Heroic Struggle-related activities with the Hero. If I can't tell him what I'm doing, I probably shouldn't be doing it.

6. I will not go to town for information if I am routinely beaten to a pulp for doing so.

7. I will exercise caution during the Heroic Struggle. Neither the depth of the Hero's anguish over my death nor the heat of his fury to avenge me will bring me back from the dead.

8. I will try to stay quiet and sober most of the time. If I get drunk and sing bawdy songs at the top of my lungs, I will attract prostitutes who are really working for the Evil Overlord.

9. If I am tasked to carry a very important message, I will make copies and use FedEx to get them to their destination.

10. When the beautiful captured spy offers me sexual favors, I'll decline; it's only a trick to kill me and escape.

11. If I take up the profession of arms, I will not necessarily ape the Hero's fashion sense. Specifically, I will have sleeves on my shirt, and the shirt will be buttoned.

12. If my partner is named Dirty Harry, I should realize that there is a reason for that and ask for a transfer.

13. Before accepting the role of Sidekick, I will learn how the position became vacant.

14. If the Hero sends me out on some errand, I will go, perform the task, and return. I will not drop by the tavern for a tankard of ale.

15. If the Hero does something that hurts my feelings, I shall presume that it was an honest mistake. I will not go wandering off by myself in a fit of self-pity, only to be captured by the Evil Overlord.

16. I will inform the Hero and his associates of any embarrassing secrets, so that the Evil Overlord cannot use them to blackmail me.

17. If I am flying a one-man craft which is critically damaged, I will eject. Only if the ejector seat fails will I belt out a long, despairing, agonized scream as I fly the craft into an enemy structure.

18. If the Hero has any extra-nifty weapons or armor, I will try to obtain like items for myself.

19. I will not wear a red shirt when beaming down to a planet.

20. I will not tell the Hero about my plans to settle down after the Evil Overlord is overthrown.

21. I will never open a package addressed to the Hero, or pick up his laundry, or perform other personal tasks on his behalf.

22. When the Hero tosses me his car keys, I will toss them back, and take the bus. Let the car bomb blow him up for a change.

23. I will not die and be brought back to life by the Hero with such frequency that the fans say I have a revolving door in the afterlife.

24. I will make plans for disposal of my body after I have died, so the Evil Overlord cannot use it for insidious reasons of his own.

25. Someone involved in the Heroic Struggle has an identical twin out there. I'll plan accordingly.

26. If I find a pit, I will not throw a rock into it to see how deep it is, unless this information is actually needed for some reason.

27. If I fall in love with the Hero's True Love, I will inform the Hero first, and then the True Love, so that they can help me get over it and find someone else.

28. If I fall in love with someone else, I will tell him/her now, and not shyly procrastinate, thereby dooming the object of my affection to perish just as I was getting up the courage to make my feelings known.

29. If the Hero calls for me from some dark place I did not expect him to be, I'll hit the place with some manner of illumination, ask for the password, and proceed with the utmost caution.

30. If the Hero wants me to go get something, I'll arrange for delivery. If this is not available, I'll take along a few faithful comrades. At no time will these services be performed at night.

31. If the Hero is fated to slay certain entities, the Evil Overlord in particular, this means that I will not slay them, and I should avoid trying.

32. If the Hero warns me that my girlfriend is a Servant of Evil, I am in a perverse quandary. If I believe him and terminate the relationship, he will turn out to have been dead wrong, and the resulting alienation of affection will drive her to the Dark Side. If I don't believe him, he will turn out to be right, and I will be used as a pawn by my scheming paramour. I guess the only solution is to take my sweetie on a long vacation and not return until after the Heroic Struggle is completed.

33. I will not goad bad guys with statements like "over my dead body."

If I Am Ever the Hero's Own True Love...

34. I will never take a vow to marry only someone who can defeat me. I will learn of any laws which limit my marriage options and work towards their repeal. I will decided when and who I marry, thank you very much.

35. I will not freeze in terror in the presence of monsters or servants of the Evil Overlord.

36. If I have a friend who never seems to be around when the Hero shows up and clobbers the Bad Guys, I will draw the appropriate conclusions.

37. If I am captured by the Evil Overlord and escape, I will assume that he is tracking me in some manner. If I am going to the hidden rebel base, I'll first go to an alternate location, change clothing, equipment and means of transportation, and then go to the hidden rebel base.

38. If I have a copy of the Evil Overlord's plans and my capture is imminent, I will not send the only copy of those plans away with a cute little sidekick. I will make many copies of the plans and send them away with many cute little sidekicks.

39. I will learn unarmed combat, so that I can kick Bad Guys between the legs, and put my elbow into the Evil Overlord's solar plexus when he uses me as a human shield. I will not, however, attempt to tackle a Bad Guy bare-handed as long as more practical alternatives exist.

40. I will learn armed combat, so that when the Evil Overlord and the Hero are engaged in mortal combat, I can grab some dead henchman's weapons and help tilt the odds in the Hero's favor.

41. I will practice broken-field running so that I can actually run from one place to another without tripping over every shadow, crack, and pebble along my path.

42. If the Evil Overlord tries to force me into marriage, I will insist on a ceremony so expensive that it will debilitate his industrial capacity. I will be picky about the tiniest details of the ceremony and change my mind frequently so that the resulting delay will give the Hero more time to rescue me.

43. My own sidekicks will be picked for brains, not looks.

44. Since liberated women are still allowed to have it both ways, I will not rule out using my womanly wiles to defeat the Evil Overlord. Even if it only works on Stupid Bad Guys, it never hurts to try.

45. After being forced into a compromising situation, I will not grab a weapon from the Bad Guy and toss it to the Hero when he walks in; I will instead grab a weapon from the Bad Guy and use it on him myself, before the Hero walks in.

46. Likewise, if I catch the Hero in a compromising situation with another woman, I will give the Hero the benefit of whatever doubt might reasonably exist.

47. When the Evil Overlord forces me to help betray the Hero, I will make a show of resistance and then feign capitulation. I will then use whatever resources are placed at my disposal to screw the Evil Overlord (in a metaphorical sense, of course).

48. My clothing and footwear will always be appropriate for the occasion. It will enable me to run, climb, and fight, and will hide as large an assortment of personal weaponry as is practical. It will also protect me from frostbite and hypothermia. If my clothing becomes torn in a manner which threatens to kill me from exposure or transform me into cheesecake, I'll steal a jacket from some bad guy. As I am confident that my charm, loyalty and wit are enough to maintain the Hero's love, the harem girl outfit is reserved for private moments when we are living happily ever after.

49. I will not hesitate to lie about the Secret Location of the Rebel Base.

50. If I have phobias about spiders, snakes, lightning, etc., I'll get therapy and overcome them, so that when lives depend on my ability to behave intelligently, I can do it. Since liberated women can still have it both ways, I will feign phobias in order to deceive or distract Bad Guys.

51. If I am offered a bribe, I will accept it, and inform the Hero by a pre-arranged means. The happily-ever-after will be happier if we have a good nest egg to start on.

52. The Hero and I will have a pre-arranged signal so that if one of us is held at gunpoint and the other is ordered to drop his/her weapon, the hostage will know when to duck while the other one plugs the Bad Guy.

53. Knowing that creatures with tentacles have a preference for True Loves, I will keep an eye out for them.

54. I will learn basic mountaineering skills so that when I'm dangling off a cliff the Hero can finish off the Evil Overlord instead of letting him escape in order to rescue me.

55. If I am presented with a reasonable opportunity to save the day myself, I will at least try, and not wait for the Hero to do it.

56. I will never buy an apple from peddlers plying their trade in remote places where the customer base could not possibly support them.

57. I will not give sloppy, wet kisses to the Hero until I verify that he isn't related to me.

58. I will not jump out of a lifeboat as it's being lowered over the side of a sinking ship. I'll either give my spot to a mother with a baby and join the Hero in a noble death, or sensibly stay on the lifeboat and treasure my memories of him forever.

59. I will not steal confidential information from the Hero in an attempt to further my career, thus causing the Hero's dismissal from the team assembled to save the earth and severely damaging his efforts to succeed.

60. If the Hero tells me he wants to break up with me or quit his dangerous job for my protection, it's already too late; a kidnapping is already in the planning, and I will take all reasonable precautions against it.

61. I will obtain a device that the hero can use to locate me when I, despite my best efforts, am kidnapped.

62. I will refrain from converting the Captain of the Guard to our side, as it means he will be killed while helping me to escape.

63. I will not accept gifts from the Evil Overlord. They probably contain mind-control devices that would make me giddily happy to marry him. It's demeaning enough to be head-over-heels for the Hero, let alone a creep like the EO.

64. When the Sidekick rescues me, I will dump any gifts received from the Evil Overlord. They probably contain tracking devices, which would result in the Sidekick getting killed; then I'd have to listen to his confession of undying love while he croaks, and feel obligated to say some comforting baloney before his eyes close for the last time, and then after telling the Hero about his friend's courageous sacrifice, wind up naming our first child after him.

65. There is a fifty-fifty chance that the Hero's Sidekick is in love with me. I'll find him a spunky, moderately attractive tomboy type about his height, and steer them towards each other. If they quarrel, they're in love; if they hit it off, she loves him, but he's secretly unhappy with her and still loves me, and the Hero will need to send them off on a mission together.

66. If I absolutely must scream, I'll use actual words with useful information. "I'M BEING EATEN BY A SHUGGOTH!" better enables the Hero to rescue me than does a simple ear-splitting "AAARRRGGHH!"

67. When the Evil Overlord says that he was driven to his evil by my radiant beauty, I'll just kill him.

68. I will never vow to slay the killer of my brother or other near relative; there is a fair-to-middling chance that the Hero did it, that it was an accident, and that I won't learn he did it until after I fall in love with him.

69. If someone capable of feeling pain covers my mouth with their hand, I will make use of my pearly whites at the moment when my captor can least afford to be distracted.

70. I will save my ethical dilemmas for times when I don't have an enemy at gunpoint.

Tips for the Innocent Bystander:

71. Never take on someone that has just beaten the Hero, unless it is to distract him just before the Hero delivers the killing blow.

72. If the Evil Overlord announces to the world that he has reformed and wants only to help people, throw a party, and give away money, don't go, especially if he's playing Prince's music. If he's lying, you'll be a hostage or a statistic. If he's telling the truth, catch the next one.

73. Watching the Evil Overlord's interview on TV will no doubt be interesting, but don't be in the studio audience when he/she/it hosts "Saturday Night Live." Tape it, and wait a week or so to see if any other viewers had any seizures or mind-control problems before you watch the tape.

74. If you're riding on public transport and the Magnificent Seven board your train or bus, get out immediately and wait for the next one. Especially if they're in their street clothes.

75. If you are exceptionally attractive, stay away from banks. It's always the buxom redhead who gets taken hostage by the bankrobbers.

76. Do not run back to get your teddy bear or puppy.

77. If you have small children, keep them on one of those kid leashes when in public, so that they won't go running back after their teddy bear or puppy.

78. When a Bad Guy uses you for a human shield, certain delicate areas of his body are in striking range of your heel. Go for it.

79. If an acquaintance of yours seems to disappear every time the Hero puts in an appearance, rub some of those brain cells together and see what comes up.

80. If your child has an adult friend who frequently urges your child to clear his/her mind, or tells you that your child has "a rare gift," set your affairs in order. Your days are numbered.

81. If you are a news reporter, find a happy medium between the people's right to know and your right to not get kidnapped/held hostage/etc.

82. Likewise, if you are a policeman, bank guard, or night watchman, and your first shot bounces off of the intruder's chest, try shooting other areas of the intruder's body, like their face, groin, etc. If this also fails, do not waste the rest of your ammo on him/her/it, or risk your neck in hand-to-hand combat; instead, fall back and observe.

83. Do not attempt to duplicate the means by which the Hero gained his/her powers. You will either fail and die a lingering, agonizing death, or succeed, lose control of your powers, wreck half of the city, and make it necessary for the Hero to kill you to neutralize the threat you pose to everyone else.

84. If you associate with the Hero, you run the risk of becoming a True Love or a Sidekick, depending on your availability and mutual gender preferences. The former will involve hostage situations on a semi-regular basis, but chances of survival are optimal. The latter can be quite hazardous to your health, so avoid it.

85. If the Hero and the Evil Overlord are engaged in mortal battle, go somewhere else as quickly as possible, before you are squished by a car, the statue of the city's founder, or a collapsing skyscraper.

86. If you notice that your fellow reporter can type 1,024 words per minute, you should be able to tell that something's up.

87. If the Evil Overlord offers you immortality, superpowers, or infinite wealth, and all you have to do is something that seems terribly trivial, don't. It's a trick. You will be used as a pawn in a larger game, and then crushed like a bug.

88. Don't try to impress your significant other by emulating something that a Hero once did. Doing so usually results in said Hero having to come and save your butt. And you look like a complete loser, too.

89. When you hear reports that the Hero has been involved in some illicit activity, remain skeptical; it's probably a frame-up.

90. Never purposely investigate the Hero in order to learn his true identity. Success will get you kidnapped by the Evil Overlord.

91. If a Superhero takes up residence in your city, a nice spacious estate in the country will help you to actualize your potential lifespan.

92. If you are a security guard for a vast, powerful corporation, try to get assigned to the Marketing or Personnel departments, rather than R&D.

93. If there's a shy, quiet kid in your class that everyone picks on, treat him with respect and kindness. When his psychic powers are made manifest, you may actually survive.

94. If you are spending the night in a spooky old house on a dare, don't sneak away to another part of the house for romantic interludes with your Significant Other. Wait until you can get a nice, clean, safe motel room.

95. If you come across a body, do not walk slowly in the direction of a suspicious noise, or stand over the body in a stunned state of shock. Instead, call the police on your cell phone.

96. If your Mom or Dad is an eccentric researcher, insist on living close to civilization so that you can socialize with your peers and date. That way you'll be able to judge the Hero and the Evil Overlord on their own merits.

97. If your Mom or Dad is an eccentric researcher, insist that they teach you their specialty so you can duplicate their research if the need arises, and exercise some restraint on their schemes should they become mad.

98. If the Hero says "wait here," it really doesn't matter whether you obey him or not. If you stay, you'll be captured by the Evil Overlord's henchmen as soon as the Hero is out of earshot. If you tag along, you will be caught by the EO's henchmen as you stumble along.

99. Evil Overlords' friendly overtures are never sincere. If he is suddenly friendly to you, answer him courteously, then skip town at the first opportunity. If he has always been friendly to you, answer him courteously and feign utter uselessness in his designs.

100. Learn to control sneezing, coughing, and other bodily noises so that you won't give yourself away when you're trying to hide from tyrannosaurs, henchmen, etc.

101. If you enter a house, fortress, cave, temple, tomb, graveyard, etc., especially one with a malevolent aura or history of macabre events, and an eerie, disembodied voice orders you to depart the premises, go.

102. If the mere presence of your new sweetheart provokes a hostile or fearful reaction in cats or dogs, terminate the relationship immediately.

103. If someone chasing after someone else asks you to catch the latter, feign incomprehension. If you comply, you'll either catch the hero (and thereby play into the villain's hands), or catch the villain (who will waste you or use you as a hostage).

104. If you are a police officer, bank guard, or night watchman, and somebody breaches the concrete walls of your facility, it is generally a waste of time trying to ask them about their business.

105. If a new hero shows up who take business away from the old one, keep your distance; they're either a Bad Guy pretending to be Good, or their powers are not fully developed and will soon go out of control.

106. Do not attempt to observe the Hero's fights in person, but rather, content yourself with watching it on the nightly news.

107. If mysterious strangers appear at the birth or adoption of your child and make epic proclamations about him/her, listen.

108. Don't make friends with the Hero's True Love. You'll buy it when she gets kidnapped.

109. Do not take a shortcut through the woods.

110. Don't make the snack run alone. Bring someone else with you.

111. Do not actively try to become a Sidekick or True Love. If you really have what it takes, you'll wind up with the role no matter what you do.

112. If your corporation conducts research, don't volunteer to work after hours. That's when experiments go awry.

113. If you run a corporation that conducts research, do not fire one of your researchers without first dismantling every bit of their laboratory equipment.

114. Do not attempt to chase custom-built vehicles, even if you are a policeman.

115. If you're singled out as the Chosen One, politely ask what it entails. If the job description involves "Defeating the Darkness," and involves long years of danger and struggle, you've just been made a Hero, and the person naming you the Chosen One is your Mentor (or can direct you to your Mentor). If the job of being the Chosen One involves being pampered by half-naked temple virgins, it will end with you being sacrificed to the volcano, and the person calling you the Chosen One is the Evil High Priest(ess) who intends to perform the ceremony.

116. Any artifact named as if it were a part of somebody, especially if it really was once a part of somebody, is a Talisman of Purest Evil, and should only be dealt with in a manner pursuant to its destruction.

117. Stay away from all buildings or natural features of the landscape that resemble skulls, fists, fanged mouths, etc.

118. Before going off the beaten path for your vacation, check the police archives, and with the old people who live in the region, taking note of any mysterious deaths or disappearances.

119. No matter how hooked you are on phonics, don't try to pronounce things you find inscribed in ancient artifacts.

120. Artifacts that are found in pieces should be left in pieces. Most importantly, if the pieces of an artifact stick together during assembly without any sort of adhesive, stop!

121. When the scholar in the expedition says that the carving promises wrath on him who breaks the seal, it's time to go back to the camp.

122. When the medical examiner announces that the victim was bitten or eaten by "something weird that I've never seen before, probably some kind of animal", avoid the area where the biting/eating took place. If the victim is still alive, avoid the victim except under broad daylight.

123. Do not split up to search for the monster.

Section E: Further Evil

Guidelines for Evil Empresses:

1. Beauty is fleeting, power is vulnerable. I will not risk the latter for the former.

2. I will not fret over the comparative beauty of the Hero's True Love or any Beautiful Yet Innocent kinfolk. They may be attractive enough, as peasant wenches or quivering maidens go; but I am The Evil Empress, and there is no comparison.

3. I will use my magic mirror for spying on my enemies rather than for vain attempts at preserving my position as fairest in the land.

4. I will not bed the Hunky Hero before my plan is executed, unless having him believe I am carrying his child gives me a decisive advantage.

5. While seduction has its place in my arsenal, I realize that "evil" and "skanky" are not mutually inclusive. Royal Dressmakers unable to realize this fact will be flayed alive in the presence of their replacements.

6. I will wear flats, or better yet, running shoes when executing crucial plans.

7. My slinky sorceress' robe will have a chain mail foundation garment, at minimum.

8. I will not be put off by the Hero's rebuffs of my sexual advances. If he doesn't succumb, I won't fly into a jealous rage. Instead, I'll shrug my shoulders, send him on his way, and have him picked off as he exits the fortress.

9. Where winks, suggestive remarks, and body language won't get me what I want, a well aimed semi-automatic will.

10. Sex is certainly a weapon at my disposal, but then so is a blaster. If it is not clear which weapon I should be using, I will opt for the blaster.

11. I, and my elite guards, will never assume that we have managed to confiscate all weapons or escape aids from the captured Hero. Interrogations in my private chambers will only be conducted if the Hero is completely nude. This will satisfy a number of objectives at once.

12. I will promote chivalry and urge my minions to exhibit proper behavior at all times when it is not counterproductive to my schemes. This increases the chance of running up against only chivalric Heroes, as well as increasing the surprise factor when I ditch the pretenses and get really vicious.

13. I will not seize power for my beloved son or husband or other close individual, especially since they may not, in the end, be grateful that I was so ruthless and treacherous on their behalf. I will seize power for myself and grant my loved ones small fiefdoms they can call their own, if they want.

14. If the Hero is an old lover of mine (and they almost always are), I will remember just why he is a former lover, and keep it in mind as I destroy him.

15. If I know the Hero is an old lover of mine and he isn't aware of it, I will keep it to myself. I can better exploit his weaknesses and my other intimate knowledge about him if I don't allow my identity to be revealed.

16. If the Hero says he is willing to betray his cause and accept my offer of ruling the world at my side, he will only be believed once that betrayal results in his cause's total destruction, at which point his demonstrable lack of principle will lead to his immediate execution.

17. My poison-fanged or -clawed beast minions will not be spiders, snakes and ravens, but kittens, goldfish, and canaries.

18. I will wear breakaway clothing whenever risking capture. It will facilitate escape if I am grabbed, and it will distract the captor (but not me) for those crucial seconds it will take me to either escape or steal his weapon.

19. I will wear form-fitting clothes rather than flowing gowns: they're just as, if not more, flattering and are less likely to snag on something or catch fire at the moment of triumph or escape.

20. If I require my Hag or Crone to poison someone, I will require the poison be quick and deadly rather than a mere sleep aid.

21. My Amazon Hordes will either be dyed-in-the-wool lesbians or have a nice pool of suitable comely men of their liking at home.

22. My Amazon Hordes will wear full body armor, rather than three small triangles of chain mail, which are reserved for dress occasions.

23. The infantry of my Amazon Hordes will use advanced tactics such as the phalanx and employ sophisticated weapons such as the 10' pike when closing with the enemy, but only after their archers have emptied their quivers from 200 yards away.

24. I will reevaluate any job that requires manipulating a man in my thrall. Chances are one of my Amazons could do the job with less risk.

25. Male Sidekicks are almost always corruptible with a wink and a nod, or charmable by a simple spell or potion, at least until the crucial encounter with the Hero, at which time they should be safely entombed somewhere far from the action.

26. The effort of turning female or gay sidekicks generally makes killing them the least bothersome tactic.

27. If I married into the title of Evil Empress, I will let my Overlord take the flak for the Empire's evil actions and ingratiate myself to the people with my kindness.

28. If I married into the title of Evil Empress under duress then my very first order of business must be the disposal of the Evil Overlord, since he must already know he can't possibly trust me as far as he can throw me.

29. If I married into the title of Evil Empress under duress, then using the Hero to free me of the Overlord does not obligate me to abdicate my throne.

30. If I am competing with other Overlords, Empresses and High Priests for ultimate domination, I will assume they have access to this and other lists and the brains to listen to them.

31. I will not try to turn a son (even mine) against his father, no matter how estranged they are. Blood relatives can be annoyingly sentimental.

32. I will neither repress my Beautiful but Wicked Daughter nor smother my Handsome but Evil Son. It's hard enough raising a ruling family these days without extra dysfunctional baggage. No one wants disgruntled offspring suddenly seeing the light and turning Good just because Mummy gave them an unhappy childhood.

33. Unless immortality comes with Absolute Power, I'd better be grooming my Evil Offspring to take the reins someday. It's better to carefully feed their growing lust for power by gradually increasing Imperial responsibilities than have them plotting my untimely demise.

34. If I am unfortunate enough to have a Beautiful but Innocent Daughter, as opposed to a Beautiful but Wicked Daughter, I will unconditionally love and nurture her, and be as supportive as possible of any budding romantic relationship with potential young Heroes. This will a) delay Heroic action while I study his strengths and weaknesses, b) cause emotional conflicts within the Hero that will encourage fatal hesitations or mistakes, c) provide another chance for my daughter to see things my way before I'm forced to eliminate her.

35. I will not mistreat, abuse, or plot elaborately to kill my Beautiful Yet Innocent Stepdaughter -- she's destined for something, count on it. Instead I will treat her with all the kindness and love possible while slowly reshaping her in my image.

36. However insatiable my appetites are, it is virtually guaranteed that at least one of my millions of subjects is both far more gifted at satisfying them and far more loyal to me than the Hero who seeks my destruction, no matter his reputation with the ladies.

37. My personal servants will be professional bodyguards and assassins, but will dress and behave as eunuchs and maidservants. Even if I dismiss my regular guards for a "private audience" with the Hero, these personal servants (just so much furniture after all, right?) will remain in my chambers.

38. Any bodyguard who cannot maintain concentration and discipline in my boudoir will be eliminated immediately by the others.

39. I will learn the various arts of self defense and not rely solely on muscular minions to protect me.

40. The appearance of weakness can be as useful as the appearance of strength. I will exploit the double standard for all it's worth.

41. If I must enlist the powers of the netherworlds I will first bone up on contract law. My own soul, mind, and/or (especially) body will never be negotiable.

42. If I get the bright idea to seduce a powerful yet malevolent being into becoming an ally, the actual seduction can be handled by my body double. Exotic anatomies are not to become a factor.

43. My Radiant Amulet of Power will not be worn around my neck on a thin gold chain, or on a ring that is two sizes too big for my finger. If a line of sight is required for operation, then a good strong locking watchband will do. If the amulet need not be exposed, as Empress I have far more secure hiding places at my immediate disposal -- and to hell with the glow.

44. Men already enthralled by my Feminine Wiles will just as easily take my orders when radioed from my fortress as in person on the front lines.

45. I will keep my hair under control and my fingernails trimmed. Long, loose hair is much too convenient a handle for the Hero, Sidekick or Backstabbing Evil Ally. Trimmed fingernails let me press The Button myself.

46. I will identify any phobias or nervous habits I have and undergo therapy until I can overcome them. It would be Just Too Vexing to be chased from the scene of my Ultimate Triumph because someone dropped a snake from the air vent.

47. If the seeds of discontent look ready to bloom into open rebellion, I will hire a top PR firm to create the public image that I am 1) only a figurehead and that all power really resides in the Prime Minister; 2) misunderstood; or 3) only a woman who's getting bad advice from her Council. Choices 1) and 3) give me the option to keep my head if my side is defeated by the Hero -- and leave the possibility of a sequel.

48. The internet is my friend. Using body doubles, I can inspire loyalty with www.EvilEmpress.boudoir. live.com, fear with www.EvilEmpress.pit-of-despair.live.com, and utter slavish obedience with www.EvilEmpress.strict-discipline.live.com. I can also sell t-shirts and other Evil Empress [tm] merchandise.

49. If there is any conceivable thing the sight of which can melt me into mawkish sentimentality, I will wear sunglasses designed to make it look like a Chia Pet.

50. If the Hero has an evil twin, the twin will probably make a far more suitable Love-Happy Stooge. Keeping this in mind, I will beware of advisors who might have a Non-Evil twin.

51. Magic Girls, no matter how frilly their dresses, high their screams, or incompetent their sidekicks, will be treated as the credible and dire threats they are, and I will direct as many, if not more resources to their destruction as I would for a more classical Hero.

Notes on Fortress Construction:

52. Start with a sound building. Broken windows and decrepit construction may be picturesque, but a computerized operation can't tolerate the inevitable dust, bugs, and rain; and besides, they're hell on your heating and cooling bills.

53. Instead of building a huge flashy Fortress of Evil, consider renting an anonymous warehouse, an empty office block, or a strip mall or industrial park that's fallen on hard times. It'll save money, be harder to spot, and will already have utility hookups.

54. Also consider filling unneeded space in your lab with incomprehensible but powerful-looking surplus computer equipment -- superannuated vaxen and the like, bought cheap -- to keep your minions properly cowed.

55. A stock of mysterious old equipment is also useful for chasing off intruders. Studies have shown that most secret agents will flee as soon as a few large and imposing items begin to emit sparks and smoke. An additional "it's about to blow" warning siren will cause more than 90% of international counterintelligence agents to run out the nearest exit without checking to see whether the smoking equipment is part of the evil plot they were trying to foil.

56. Self-destruct mechanisms should only be triggerable from the heart of your device/ship/fortress, and should implode from the outside rather than explode from the inside.

57. Your Command Center should have a heavily guarded room at the bottom of a 100-story subterranean shaft that contains a sophisticated bus-sized computer with a fake encoded plan, no external links, and no real function whatsoever. The real command center will be a satellite-linked laptop on a card-table with a folding chair, near the top of the elevator shaft, behind a door marked 'standpipe valves' that's accessible through the unlocked janitor's closet.

58. In an unobtrusive spot outside your fortress, plant a remotely-controlled boom box with a tape recording of a sports car speeding away. If the hero breaks in, just step into a broom closet, cue the boom box, and wait calmly while he goes off on a wild goose chase. Then come out and get back to work.

59. If possible, no exhaust ports should lead directly to the heart of the reactor core. If that is unavoidable, all such exhaust ports should have closeable reinforced blast doors at every other level, and alternate routes of venting in case of emergency.

60. Your computer systems should have uninterruptable power supplies, and your circuitry should use breakers or fuses with the appropriate tolerances.

61. Make a careful study of whatever documentation comes with your decorative old computer junk. Learn to imitate its style. That way, even if you foolishly succumb to the temptation to tell the hero the details of your plan, he won't understand a word of it.

62. It should never be necessary to store explosive materials and/or fuel anywhere near your central control or commuter complex. If for some reason this happens anyway, they should not be in the same room as your central computer. They should be in a concrete bunker protected by blast doors and fire prevention systems. The same goes for the vats of toxic waste, acids, and super-cold liquids.

63. All non-instantaneous deathtraps (drowning pools, trash compactors, gas chambers, etc.) should be isolated from the communications and power grids.

64. It's wise to assume that deathtrap manufacturers' brochures base their Estimated Time to Kill (ETK) on tests using non-heroes, and test only the minimum ETK. Therefore, Heroes trapped in a non-instantaneous deathtrap should remain there a minimum of several times longer than its ETK, and even then should be treated as potentially dangerous until any remains are incinerated.

65. All deathtraps will have only one way in or out. Any way out should lead to an even more cunning and fast-working deathtrap.

66. Remember: No amount of decorating finesse makes up for the lack of an overwhelming aura of evil.

Notes Regarding Ultimate Weapons/Spells

67. I will never attend an auction of an Ultimate Weapon. If it's truly as good as advertised, the auctioneer would already be the Evil Overlord.

68. Any Ultimate Weapon that requires assembly of five components scattered to the four corners of the earth can be made in my private laboratory with three times the security in probably half the time.

69. Any Ultimate Weapon that was disassembled in the distant past and its components scattered to nearly inaccessible niches across the globe could not have been that great in the first place, or else it would never have been disassembled.

70. If my Ultimate Incantation or Supreme Summoning leaves me weak and vulnerable from the expenditure of energy, I will only undertake it deep in the center of my fortress, and get plenty of sleep before applying the results.

71. There is a reason why the spell book of the last Evil Empress is available to me. If I came into possession of it through any means that involved defeat of its power, I will use it as a doorstop only.

72. Instead of going to the trouble and risk of stealing a 200 MT nuclear device and ransoming a city for the billions of dollars I'll need for my Ultimate Diabolical Plan, I'll simply open a evangelical teleministry. That way I also get a bonus Fanatic Legion that will obey my every command, should I ever need such a thing.

73. If I come into possession of, or manage to assemble the Ultimate Weapon, I will immediately use it at full power in direct pursuit of my goal of world domination. No warning shots across the bow, No "This is only a fraction of my weapon's potential!" grandstanding.

74. I will also refrain from using the Ultimate Weapon for simply offing the Hero. If it's really the UW, the Hero's efforts will come to naught anyway.

75. No Ultimate Incantation that requires sacrifice of a Virgin is worth the trouble of a) securing such a rarity and b) relying on a quality so easily cured by an amorous Hero or Heroine in a few minutes' stolen time.

76. If my superweapon can be controlled by computers or other electronic/electrical means, then there is no need for there to be only one set of controls right next to the main power source. A fake set, directly connected to a multi-amp circuit, will occupy this location.

77. While it may be tempting to use an Ultimate Weapon or Spell with a rare, almost impossible to exploit, Tiny Flaw to accomplish my goals, if many Penultimate Weapons or Spells with no such flaw can achieve the same effect, I will employ them instead.

78. I will not use area-effect, mind-altering spells as a long-term solution to civil unrest, because (a.) They wear off, or the subjects gain or breed immunity, and the population I made to love me will inevitably hate me; and (b.) Outsiders not susceptible to the initial spell will quickly become suspicious, and try to Do Something about my subjects' mindless happiness.

Miscellaneous Evil Resolutions

79. My planned assault on the rebel base will take place after my assault on the rebel base.

80. If my objective is world domination, I will not be tempted by tantalizing opportunities for absolute power, which invariably backfire. If my objective is absolute power, I will consider settling for world domination.

81. I will never enter into an alliance if I am not sure I can betray it if necessary. I will always assume my new allies observe this same condition.

82. When it is time to unite all the diverse underworld organizations into a single cohesive crime syndicate, the meeting with all my fellow under-bosses will not feature the elimination of the vociferous objectors and intimidation of the rest. It will feature the deputization of the most powerful that I can control easily and the elimination of the rest.

83. If I can't execute the Hero immediately, I can take the time to completely -- and I mean no finger, toe, or tongue wiggling -- immobilize him. A couple of rolls of Saran-Wrap plus some judicious cordage will do fine.

84. One of my close advisors will be a prolific hack novelist. If my plan matches or mimics any of his plots, it will be summarily rejected.

85. I've murdered tens of thousands in cold blood. If I can't ice the sad-eyed puppy too, I don't deserve the job.

86. If I must fight hand to hand, no matter how I outclass my opponent in skill and finesse, I will fight dirty and get the job done as quickly as possible.

87. Total commitment is essential. If I discover that I have not truly and completely gone over to the Dark Side, I will immediately suspend all world-domination efforts until that last morsel of Goodness can be expunged.

88. Planting a tracking device on the Hero doesn't mean I shouldn't also use other means to track him.

89. The "safety" switch on my personal blaster and laser sword will in fact be a "reverse" or "overload" switch.

90. If I cannot take the time to create and remember a nonsensical 12 digit password with numbers, symbols, and alternate cases, I might well keep my Ultimate Plan in an ASCII file on my desktop.

91. If my Evil Offspring is corrupted by the forces of Good, I will not try to attempt to bring him back to the Dark Side. I will give him up as a lost cause, eliminate him if he goes against me, and find a suitable Evil protege somewhere else.

92. I will always keep a few Useless but Loyal Advisors on the payroll and in proximity, both to help my enemies underestimate me, and to provide a few extra bodies between the enemy and myself should my defenses be penetrated.

93. I will exploit my subjects, but not to the point of destitution, decrepitude, or desperation. I'm Evil, not Stupid.

94. If reputable prophecy dictates that I will be defeated or killed by a certain person or event, I will not waste time trying to eliminate him or prevent it. I will enjoy my power for all it's worth, as long as I can, and meanwhile devote reasonable energy to a search for new prophecy that will get me out of the first one.


rule

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