She’s never heard of the Evil Overlord lists???

I recently corresponded with a blog reader who’s dipping her toe into the waters of fiction writing.  During our discussion, she mentioned something that triggered a memory, and I referred her to the Evil Overlord lists.  To my utter astonishment, she’d never heard of them!

Clearly, this was intolerable, and I hastened to send her the links to the original list, the second part, and the third part.  I also noted that there were other, similar lists out there, most of them copying the originals, but some of them had worthwhile additions.

It occurred to me that other readers might perhaps have missed out on the fun and games;  so I’ve included the links above for your reading enjoyment.  Here, selected at random, are a few examples of “The Things I’d Do If I Ever Became An Evil Overlord”.

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

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.

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.

65.  If I must have computer systems with publically available terminals, the maps they display of my complex will have a room clearly marked as the Main Control Room. That room will be the Execution Chamber. The actual main control room will be marked as Sewage Overflow Containment.

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.

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.)

109.  I will see to it that plucky young lads/lasses in strange clothes and with the accent of an outlander shall REGULARLY climb some monument in the main square of my capital and denounce me, claim to know the secret of my power, rally the masses to rebellion, etc. That way, the citizens will be jaded in case the real thing ever comes along.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

There are many more at the links above.  Go read, go forth, and conquer!



  1. Thanks for this. I knew of it. I showed my high school students this (twas a slow day when they needed a break from what I teach). My geek-ish students were reading this and trying to decide which rule they loved the most.

  2. The problem with the Evil Overlord lists is that only a mentally well balanced person would do all those things, and such a person would quickly deduce that life would be much more pleasant, rewarding, and generally survivable if he put the same amount of energy into building a successful business, and then retired on the proceeds. It takes an unbalanced whack-job to want to rule the world, and unbalanced whack-jobs make stupid mistakes.

  3. #342: I shall be in radio contact with my Legions of Terror at all times, and they shall be trained to execute complicated maneuvers from simple code phrases. For example, the phrase "You and what army?" shall be a coded order for "Final protective fire, my position."

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