The Generic Villain vs. the Evil Overlord List, Items 54-58

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.

54. No striking a bargain with a demonic being and then double-crossing it simply to be contrary. Yes. Strike all the bargains you like (make sure you watch the terms carefully), but if you’re going to break them, make sure you have a very good reason—and that any other demonic beings you’re likely to make bargains with are of a type that would not be offended by your having double-crossed that one. If you can get your other demonic bargaining partners to actively bribe you to double-cross the other one, so much the better, but be careful with that. There are proverbs about the proclivities of turncoats, and most demons probably know them.

55. Use deformed mutants and odd-ball psychotics in the Legions, but try to find equally qualified but more inherently innocuous minions when choosing people for important covert missions requiring tact and subtlety. Yes, absolutely. The ones who inherently stand out are much better for missions that would be nice if completed but serve more as ways to make the foe think that your attention is directed somewhere else. Being obvious, used right, can be a super power in and of itself. Just make sure that they don’t know their missions are optional; it spoils the effect.

56. Train the legions in basic marksmanship—use those who can’t hit a human-sized target at ten meters for target practice. Alternately (and particularly if they’re useful in other areas of the operation) get their vision corrected and/or put them in desk-work jobs. Not only does this make sure the jobs get done and free the more combat-competent minions for battle, every now and then it’s useful to have someone who can’t really fight but won’t get out of the way standing between the heroes and their objective. The pause while the heroes soul-search about harming a clear civilian may buy some time for reinforcements to arrive.

57. Before employing captured artifacts or machinery, read the owner’s manual. Yes. In the absence of an owner’s manual, ensure they are in a secure and closed-off environment and being tested by your second-most qualified minions in whatever scientific or arcane discipline is most appropriate to the items in question. (Your most qualified should be held in reserve to determine what happened to the second-most qualified if something goes wrong—and make sure that all of the above do happen to have decent qualifications in the field, rather than being most qualified simply because they dabbled a bit and the remainder of your minions don’t even know the basics. These are artifacts of great power; never, ever trust them to someone without training.)

58. If escape is necessary, do not stop to pause dramatically and toss off a one-liner. Particularly not if you’re prone to esprit de escalier. No, not even if you have the absolute perfect line that could only be used in this situation, and there is no chance that any of the heroes could possibly interfere with you as you do so. …in fact, no, there are no exceptions, ever, at all. Something can always go wrong, and the time you would spend determining whether there are exceptions could be more productively used to escape. If you absolutely, positively must get the one-liner in, then do it while you are running.

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