The Generic Villain vs. the Evil Overlord List, Items 41-45

The Generic Villain continues a point-by-point facedown and update of that reference material of all baddies with imperial ambitions, The Evil Overlord List.

41. Destroy all time-travel devices once power is secure. Heck, why wait? See how many time-travel devices you can work into the collateral damage while you’re still taking over—don’t go to special efforts, mind, as people will start figuring they might be useful, but just make a point of convenient explosions, disruptions to magic fields, EMPs, or whatever it takes to make ‘the time machine is destroyed’ a convenient part of the usual round of effects from you mounting an attack. Then, when you actually come for the remaining time machines, there are fewer to get and thus fewer to slip through the cracks.

42. When capturing the hero, get the small cute thing too. YES. THIS.

43. If the beautiful rebel professes attraction and offers to betray her companions if you’ll only reveal your plans, be skeptical. Absolutely. This goes for overlords of either sex… and for dealing with rebels of either sex, for that matter. Yes, there’s a precedent of people betraying our side for love’s own sake alone. Yes, we probably want to feed our egos and think that we’re just that awesome. But seriously? She’s not going to turn; if she turns, she’s not going to stay turned. On the other hand, why let her know you’re onto her? You can play this game as well by swapping the conditions—she needs to flip first, and she can show she’s done so by doing [insert a list of tasks here, carefully chosen so that they can't easily be turned into a setup to get the hero close to you while you're off guard], and then you’ll talk.

44. Only employ bounty hunters who work for money, not the pleasure of the hunt. Yes. Unless, that is, you’d get just as much advantage out of the target being alive and chased in a certain direction. If you do that, though, give the hunter as little information as you can to ensure that he’ll be working toward both of your possible objectives. The more they know, the more they might blab—or might decide that what you’re doing is just not sporting and refuse to do it or tip the hero off.

45. Make sure you know who is responsible for what, particularly when it comes to making examples of failures. I recognize you don’t want to pull a Vader and go through half your chain of command in one mission, but you could start by using punishments other than death. That way, your officers survive your displeasure, but you don’t necessarily have to trust discipline to the outdated idea of the whipping boy. Seriously, some of us were princes, we know it doesn’t actually work—heck, some of us were probably princes who misbehaved simply because it’d get the whipping boy flogged. People get punished for their own errors, in a survivable manner, nobody gets hit for something they didn’t do, everyone’s happy but the screw-ups.

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