The Generic Villain vs. Evil Overlord List Item #8

Yes, I’m still working through the Evil Overlord List. I imagine you have two questions right now: What happened to 6 and 7? And why is this only one item? The answer is simple: while the first five (and, for that matter, six and seven) fall easily into a paragraph or less, I found Item #8… interesting. And response-worthy.

For those of you who haven’t memorized the list, #8 is the following: “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.”

As a premise, this one seems pretty good. Minimize the heroes’ chances of interference, and make sure it isn’t a bright, brilliant double target with Phase Last of your plan. But as with everything else, there are a few things to take into account.

For now, I’m going to operate on the assumption that you actually want to marry the princess (or equivalent Vulnerable Marriage Target—I’ll stick to princess for now, though). We’ll come back to that. From a practical standpoint, the first thing you’re going to want to look at is whether, by the local laws, metaphysics or what have you, marriage under duress still counts. If it doesn’t, you’ve got bigger things to worry about than when and where the ceremony is, like how to make sure that it doesn’t count as duress/coercion/equivalent for the purposes of said relevant laws and metaphysics. If it does, go ahead with the small, immediate ceremony, but make sure it’s a well-protected small immediate ceremony and that you have an escape route; after all, if there is any way for the Laws of Dramatics to interfere with it, they probably will. Note, though, that you’re still going to have to worry about interference with Phase Last.

On the other hand, there are circumstances under which it makes perfect sense to have a lavish wedding and Phase Last go off at the same time. The most important condition is if marrying the princess doesn’t matter all that much to you; if you’re good whether she’s rescued at the last minute or not. You want to have a party. That may or may not be interfered with by the heroes. Wedding the princess is just gravy.

Second, Phase Last of your plan is somewhere else, and can be carried out without your direct supervision. Seeing where I’m going with this? This big lavish wedding concept absolutely screams out “Hey! Heroes! Come attack me!” Not only is it a perfect diversion, but if as far as they’re concerned you’re definitely intent on princess-marrying for your own nefarious purposes, and they know the last thing the princess wants is to be married to you—well, nine times out of ten, Save the Girl breaks ties. This is especially the case if they know little to nothing about Phase Last, or if its success wouldn’t directly affect anyone they were close to. (If you’re really worried about Phase Last, send your best body double to marry the princess, or bilocate or use an illusion or something.)

Note that if this is your plan, you need to leave as little evidence as possible. Don’t talk about it in front of neutrals. Don’t mention it to anyone you don’t trust implicitly—if you can, don’t mention it at all. Carry on as if wedding the princess is your number one priority, bombast a little about the spectacle and the morale effects when this thing goes off without a hitch—assume that you’re being watched from behind the Wall at all times, and make sure that audience will be caught just as flat-footed as the heroes when the time actually comes.

In sum, I think this is one of those List points where you can’t just look at it in absolutes—nuance makes you a lot more dangerous. Keep in mind strategy and Dramatic Necessity, and go get ‘em.


  1. Black Vulmea says:

    I’m enjoying the Evil Overlord posts very much.

  2. Philo Pharynx says:

    Another point to be sure of – make sure this princess is not the self-rescuing kind. In the old days it was so easy – women were helpless. The most they might do would be to kick the sword back in the reach of the male hero.

    But nowadays, many women are formidable heroes in their own right. If they aren’t properly neutralized, they’ll disarm your honor guard and attempt to strike you down at the altar. This is very embarassing when foreign digntaries are invited.

    My recommendation is to stage an opportunity for escape before the wedding. Have one of the best actors of your minion team appear to be vulnerable in a way that would allow the princess to escape. Of course you’ll have additional security and the actor minion will only have ineffective weapons. Done right, this will help determine the nature of your princess.

  3. Ravyn says:

    Vulmea: Thanks!

    Philo: Excellent point. (Also highly applicable when dealing with other forms of Vulnerable Marriage Target, as not all of them are necessarily female, and being Vulnerable Marriage Targets doesn’t necessarily preclude some level of skill in Making Your Life Difficult.)

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