The Generic Villain on Destroying the World to… Ummmm….

One of my first riffs, a very long time ago, was on why it is a generally bad idea to destroy the world. Sometimes, though, we find ourselves in situations where the world needs to be destroyed–or at the very least remade so thoroughly that to some it might as well have been destroyed–in order for our goals to be met. For this to work, though, it helps to have concrete goals: if your plan goes Do Something, Destroy World, Profit without any sense of what the profiting actually entails, I really can’t help you.

First, double-check your calculations. There is nothing more embarrassing than realizing, just as your grand doomsday weapon fires, that if you had carried the one here or taken into account this one little variable, you would have realized that you didn’t need to use the weapon. (Admittedly, having one of the more obnoxious prots call you out on something similar in front of everyone is almost as bad, but….) Remember that old carpenters’ saw: “Measure twice, cut once.” And never forget to look exceedingly carefully over any information gleaned in any capacity from a rival, enemy, or particularly intelligent but amoral lightsider: they might be baiting you into sticking your neck out for Narrative Causality to take a chop at.

Next, make sure you have your own contingencies together. Narrative Causality tends to come down heavily on anyone with a low disregard for collateral damage; at the very least, try to make sure that there’s something that you consider worth saving and that you make every effort to save it/them. (This goes whether or not your own death is part of the grand plan: if you’re dying and it looks like you chose not to sacrifice people you could perfectly well have used, it gives you a minor air of nobility. PR outlives us. Always.)

If what you have is verifiably a Noble Cause, and you think the prots will agree, by all means consider finding some opportunity to explain it to them. Think about it: a majority of the time, “take a third option” is all but explicitly a key part of the heroes’ power list, and more than mildly common among antiheroes; more, they often know something you don’t or just plain have the laws of physics and metaphysics alike bending around their whims. Even if they don’t come up with an alternative you haven’t considered, there’s a decent chance they’ll find out that you really did have a reasonable objective and end up fulfilling your goal one way or another. When you do this, try not to monologue too hard; impress them with your sincerity, be a good enough actor that they’re impressed with sincerity you don’t actually have, or just be so right that even though they hate you they have to admit you have a point.

Keep a very close eye on your accomplices. If there’s someone you trust with knowledge of what it is you’re actually doing, that’s wonderful–but bear in mind that they still might not ultimately agree with your strategy, and might even attempt to sabotage it for your own good.

While I maintain that world destruction should be a tactic of last resort, I recognize that occasionally it is necessary; make sure, then, that you are approaching it with as much thought and strategy as possible.

Note well, readers: I have convinced the Management to extend her Blog Carnival until Wednesday, May 2nd. Someone post or I swear, I will let Lilith eat your fingers.

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