The Generic Villain vs. the Evil Overlord List, Item 46

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.

Item 46 of the Evil Overlord List recommends responding to an adviser pointing out that The Hero is only one person and asking what one person can do with “This” and killing the adviser. While it does make a definite point, I’m thinking we need to look at this strategy a lot more closely before committing to it. As with any other administrative kill, we need to think it through.

Okay, step one: is it worth it to kill the adviser? That depends a lot on the quality of the rest of the advice you get from him. If he’s overall pretty good at managing logistics, or morale, or some other specialized field, and it just happens that he doesn’t understand how much damage a single person can do, he’s probably worth salvaging. There are plenty of things one person can do to him that aren’t, you know, death. Destroy something of value to him, incapacitate him in one move, that sort of thing—or, if you have an audience, have a brainstorming session: “What can one person do to us?” Along with getting your adviser back on the right track, you might find someone worth promoting in the process. Make your demonstration, then move to step three. If, on the other hand, the advice he provides is dubious at best, move on to step two.

Step two: do you have an audience? If you’re going to kill off one of your higher-level minions, someone needs to learn something from it; if there’s nobody there to get the object lesson, you might want to stay your hand… or, at least, to arrange things so that you will have an audience when you do something about the guy. A public gladiatorial match could be good here (not against a captured hero, mind, but maybe against one of your more ambitious minions, giving her a chance for advancement, you a chance to see what she’s capable of, and the rest of your audience a “one person” who is most definitely doing a proper job of wreaking havoc. Alternately, set the adviser up against overwhelming odds, and let him see what he, as “one man”, can do. If he survives, he’ll have learned something. If not, someone else will probably get something out of it.

Step three: retrain him. Your adviser has just demonstrated a glaring weakness of mental processes. If he’s worth keeping around, this weakness needs to be fixed. If he still doesn’t get the idea, when this incident next rolls around, then you can go back to Step 2.

The important thing is to make sure that someone learns something—death without education is a waste of resources.

Leave a Reply