51. If one of my dungeon guards begins expressing concern over the conditions in the beautiful princess' cell, I will immediately transfer him to a less people-oriented position.
I will hire a team of board-certified architects and surveyors to
examine my castle and inform me of any secret passages and abandoned
tunnels that I might not know about.
Unless you want to go full-on Pharaoh here and have your architects
executed immediately afterward (which you probably do), you’ve added a
dozen people who know the ins and outs and your secret lair.
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.
It depends on why you want to marry the princess. If it’s a love
match, the list has already covered the perils associated with this path
at some length. If it’s political power, have your show ceremony, and
then lock her up like Eleanor of Aquitaine.
54. I will not strike a bargain with a demonic being then attempt to double-cross it simply because I feel like being contrary.
Infernal pacts are generally to be avoided. You want to sign a
magically binding contract with something smarter than a human that has
possibly millions of years of experience in the ins and outs of exactly
these kind of covenants? Be my guest, but don’t come crying to me when
you lose that fiddle contest.
The deformed mutants and odd-ball psychotics will have their place in
my Legions of Terror. However before I send them out on important covert
missions that require tact and subtlety, I will first see if there is
anyone else equally qualified who would attract less attention.
My Legions of Terror will be trained in basic marksmanship. Any who
cannot learn to hit a man-sized target at 10 meters will be used for
Evaluation: This is a bit of
discredited trope, and if the list were written today, I don’t think it
would be included. As any Star Wars fan will tell you, the
Stormtroopers on the Death Star were trying to miss so the Empire could
follow them to their base once they escaped. (They might also add
Obi-Wan’s line regarding the devastated sandcrawler: “Only imperial
Stormtroopers could be so precise.”)
57. Before employing any captured artifacts or machinery, I will carefully read the owner's manual.
This reminds me of criticism I once made of Joss Whedon’s work. It’s a
bit of a cheat to have your villains engage in every hoary cliché since
the dawn of cinema while simultaneously making your heroes incredibly
genre savvy. It works the other way. On its face, this is good advice,
but as the list preaches the gospel of misinformation, I’d expect the
your enemies to engage in the same practices, and leave you incomplete
or misleading instructions.
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.
Intelligence is notoriously difficult to quantify, and computers don’t
process information in the same way humans do. AI, just like the
infernal contracts mentioned above, can backfire in so many ways that
you’re better off avoiding them entirely unless they’re absolutely
essential to your plan.
60. My five-year-old child
advisor will also be asked to decipher any code I am thinking of using.
If he breaks the code in under 30 seconds, it will not be used. Note:
this also applies to passwords.
Evaluation: The hands
down best description of hacking I’ve ever heard came in a Doctor Who
audio play. One of the characters had to get into the restricted area of
a space freighter, but a login was required to get in. The Doctor's
companion met up with him in 1989, but went undercover at a university
in 2001. When trying to access the door, she remarked to the Doctor that
sometimes she would accidentally enter her password on the login line,
where it would be added to the drop down menu. She checked there and saw
that someone on the freighter had done exactly that, and with this
information, they were able to access the restricted area.
point of this is that security is hard, and the people that use the
system are the weak point. Mandate hard passwords for your staff and
they just wind up scrawling them on post-it notes stuck to their