Friday, September 30, 2016

Evaluating the Evil Overlord list, 31 - 40

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.

Evaluation: The Duchess approves!

Dredd didn’t need any forced romantic subplots, and neither does high fantasy. Plus the Molly Grues of the world are much more interesting that the Tika Waylans anyway.

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.

Evaluation: Prudent.

33.I won't require high-ranking female members of my organization to wear a stainless-steel bustier. Morale is better with a more casual dress-code. Similarly, outfits made entirely from black leather will be reserved for formal occasions.

Evaluation: Probably falls under the umbrella of “uniforms should be practical”, but very prudent.

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

Evaluation: Curiously specific.

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.

Evaluation: Of course not. You’ll leave that to your parallel universe counterpart.

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.

Evaluation: More difficult in execution than in theory, due to the costs of making prisons truly secure,  but a prudent idea.

37.If my trusted lieutenant tells me my Legions of Terror are losing a battle, I will believe him. After all, he's my trusted lieutenant.

Evaluation: Prudent.

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

Evaluation: Wow, this is kind of dumb.  It just shifts the vendetta to the friends of the guy you killed.

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.

Evaluation: This, coupled with 38, probably plants the seeds for a different type of trouble.  Who among us can forget the time Fingolfin challenged Morgoth before the gates of Angband? Although I really love this entire passage, I’ll limit the quote to the relevant portion.

'Now news came to Hithlum that Dorthonion was lost and the sons of
Finarfin overthrown, and that the sons of Fëanor were driven from
their lands. Then Fingolfin beheld (as it seemed to him) the utter
ruin of the Noldor, and the defeat beyond redress of all their houses;
and filled with wrath and despair he mounted upon Rochallor his great
horse and rode forth alone, and none might restrain him. He passed
over Dor-nu-Fauglith like a wind amid the dust, and all that beheld
his onset fled in amaze, thinking that Oromë himself was come: for a
great madness of rage was upon him, so that his eyes shone like the
eyes of the Valar.

Thus he came alone to Angband's gates, and he sounded his horn, and
smote once more upon the brazen doors, and challenged Morgoth to come
forth to single combat. And Morgoth came. That was the last time in
those wars that he passed the doors of his stronghold, and it is said
that he took not the challenge willingly; for though his might was
greatest of all things in this world, alone of the Valar he knew fear.
But he could not now deny the challenge before the face of his
captains; for the rocks rang with the shrill music of Fingolfin's
horn, and his voice came keen and clear down into the depths of
Angband; and Fingolfin named Morgoth craven, and lord of slaves.
Therefore Morgoth came, climbing slowly from his subterranean throne,
and the rumour of his feet was like thunder underground. And he issued
forth clad in black armour; and he stood before the King like a tower,
iron-crowned, and his vast shield, sable on blazoned, cast a shadow
over him like a stormcloud.

So you’re an Evil Overlord who kills large groups of people for what must seem very arbitrary reasons to the populace at large.  The populace will have reason to revolt, and they’ll be further encouraged by your apparent reluctance to get involved. They won’t fear you. Plus there is the danger from ambitious underlings who may see this as a sign of weakness.

I suggest doing what the Harkonnens do. Public gladiatorial matches stacked heavily in their favor.

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.

Evaluation: Somewhere between ineffective and foolhardy.  The Death Star, to use a notable example, was used as early and as often as possible. They had a field test to make sure it worked, and then they were trying to use it to blow up Yavin 4 when the rebels destroyed it. You’re better off using conventional forces for most of your military actions.

What’s going to happen is that Princess Leia is going to bait Grand Moff Tarkin with a tweet about his tiny hands. He’ll warp the Death Star to her last known location and she’ll have the entire rebel fleet waiting for him.

Either that, or the weapon will be on the other side of the galaxy or recharging when you really need it.


  1. RE: #34 I always supposed this referred to Thulsa Doom in the first Conan film:

    1. Well, there you go. I am now a wiser man.