What "things I'll do if I ever become an evil overlord" are on our favorite antiheroes' lists? (Click the list title to expand.)
Numbered entries taken from the TV Tropes edition of Peter Anspach's Evil Overlord List.
2) My ventilation ducts will be too small to crawl through.
5) The artifact which is the source of my power will not be kept on the Mountain of Despair beyond the River of Fire guarded by the Dragons of Eternity. It will be in my safe-deposit box.
6) I will not gloat over my enemies' predicament before killing them.
7) When my captured adversary says, "Look, before you kill me, will you at least tell me what this is all about?" I'll say, "No." and shoot him. No, on second thought I'll shoot him then say "No."
14) The hero is not entitled to a last kiss, a last cigarette, or any other form of last request.
15) I will never employ any device with a digital countdown. If I find that such a device is absolutely unavoidable, I will set it to activate when the counter reaches 1:17 and the hero is just putting his plan into operation.
16) I will never utter the sentence "But before I kill you, there's just one thing I want to know."
20) Despite its proven stress-relieving effect, I will not indulge in maniacal laughter. When so occupied, it's too easy to miss unexpected developments that a more attentive individual could adjust to accordingly.
26) No matter how attractive certain heroes are, there is probably someone just as attractive who is not desperate to kill me.
27) I will never build only one of anything important. All important systems will have redundant control panels and power supplies. For the same reason I will always carry at least two fully loaded weapons at all times.
35) I will not grow a goatee. In the old days they made you look diabolic. Now they just make you look like a disaffected hipster.
39) If I absolutely must ride into battle, I will certainly not ride at the forefront of my Legions of Terror, nor will I seek out my opposite number among his army.
43) I will maintain a healthy amount of skepticism when I capture a beautiful hero and she claims she is attracted to my power and good looks and will gladly betray her companions if I just let her in on my plans.
50) My main computers will have their own special operating system that will be completely incompatible with standard IBM and Macintosh powerbooks.
55) The deformed mutants and odd-ball psychotics will have their place in my Legions of Terror. However before I send them out on important covert missions that require tact and subtlety, I will first see if there is anyone else equally qualified who would attract less attention.
58) If it becomes necessary to escape, I will never stop to pose dramatically and toss off a one-liner.
65) If I must have computer systems with publicly available terminals, the maps they display of my complex will have a room clearly marked as the Main Control Room. That room will be the Execution Chamber. The actual main control room will be marked as Sewage Overflow Containment.
66) My security keypad will actually be a fingerprint scanner. Anyone who watches someone press a sequence of buttons or dusts the pad for fingerprints then subsequently tries to enter by repeating that sequence will trigger the alarm system.
72) If all the heroes are standing together around a strange device and begin to taunt me, I will pull out a conventional weapon instead of using my unstoppable superweapon on them.
73) I will not agree to let the heroes go free if they win a rigged contest, even though my advisors assure me it is impossible for them to win.
76) If the hero runs up to my roof, I will not run up after him and struggle with him in an attempt to push him over the edge. I will also not engage him at the edge of a cliff. (In the middle of a rope-bridge over a river of molten lava is not even worth considering.)
82) I will not shoot at any of my enemies if they are standing in front of the crucial support beam to a heavy, dangerous, unbalanced structure.
86) I will make sure that my doomsday device is up to code and properly grounded.
87) My vats of hazardous chemicals will be covered when not in use. Also, I will not construct walkways above them.
96) My door mechanisms will be designed so that blasting the control panel on the outside seals the door and blasting the control panel on the inside opens the door, not vice versa.
99) Any data file of crucial importance will be padded to 1.45MB in size.
3) My noble half-brother whose station I usurped will be killed, not kept anonymously imprisoned in a forgotten cell of my dungeon.
8) The beautiful princess and I 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.
10) I will not interrogate my enemies in the inner sanctum — a small hotel well outside my borders will work just as well.
12) One of my advisors will be an average five-year-old child. Any flaws in my plan that he is able to spot will be corrected before implementation.
13) All slain enemies will be cremated, or at least have several rounds of ammunition emptied into them, not Left for Dead at the bottom of the cliff. The announcement and celebration of their deaths will be deferred until after the aforementioned disposal.
17) When I employ people as advisors, I will occasionally listen to their advice.
21) I will hire a talented fashion designer to create original uniforms for my Legions of Terror, as opposed to some cheap knock-offs that make them look like Nazi stormtroopers, Roman footsoldiers, or savage Mongol hordes. All were eventually defeated and I want my troops to have a more positive mind-set.
22) No matter how tempted I am with the prospect of unlimited power, I will not consume any energy field bigger than my head.
33) I won't require high-ranking female members of my organization to wear a stainless-steel bustier. Morale is better with a more casual dress-code. Similarly, outfits made entirely from black leather will be reserved for formal occasions.
40) I will be neither chivalrous nor sporting. If I have an unstoppable superweapon, I will use it as early and as often as possible instead of keeping it in reserve.
41) Once my power is secure, I will destroy all those pesky time-travel devices.
48) I will treat any beast which I control through magic or technology with respect and kindness. Thus if the control is ever broken, it will not immediately come after me for revenge.
59) I will never build a sentient computer smarter than I am.
67) No matter how many shorts we have in the system, my guards will be instructed to treat every surveillance camera malfunction as a full-scale emergency.
68) I will spare someone who saved my life sometime in the past. This is only reasonable as it encourages others to do so. However, the offer is good one time only. If they want me to spare them again, they'd better save my life again.
70) When my guards split up to search for intruders, they will always travel in groups of at least two. They will be trained so that if one of them disappears mysteriously while on patrol, the other will immediately initiate an alert and call for backup, instead of quizzically peering around a corner.
74) When I create a multimedia presentation of my plan designed so that my five-year-old advisor can easily understand the details, I will not label the disk "Project Overlord" and leave it lying on top of my desk.
78) I will not tell my Legions of Terror "And he must be taken alive!" The command will be "And try to take him alive if it is reasonably practical."
79) If my doomsday device happens to come with a reverse switch, as soon as it has been employed it will be melted down and made into limited-edition commemorative coins.
81) If I am fighting with the hero atop a moving platform, have disarmed him, and am about to finish him off and he glances behind me and drops flat, I too will drop flat instead of quizzically turning around to find out what he saw.
84) I will not have captives of one sex guarded by members of the opposite sex.
85) I will not use any plan in which the final step is horribly complicated, e.g. "Align the 12 Stones of Power on the sacred altar then activate the medallion at the moment of total eclipse." Instead it will be more along the lines of "Push the button."
88) If a group of henchmen fail miserably at a task, I will not berate them for incompetence then send the same group out to try the task again.
91) I will not ignore the messenger that stumbles in exhausted and obviously agitated until my personal grooming or current entertainment is finished. It might actually be important.
95) My dungeon will have its own qualified medical staff complete with bodyguards. That way if a prisoner becomes sick and his cellmate tells the guard it's an emergency, the guard will fetch a trauma team instead of opening up the cell for a look.
1) My Legions of Terror will have helmets with clear plexiglass visors, not face-concealing ones.
4) Shooting is not too good for my enemies.
9) I will not include a self-destruct mechanism unless absolutely necessary. If it is necessary, it will not be a large red button labelled "Danger: Do Not Push". The big red button marked "Do Not Push" will instead trigger a spray of bullets on anyone stupid enough to disregard it.
18) I will not have a son. Although his laughably under-planned attempt to usurp power would easily fail, it would provide a fatal distraction at a crucial point in time.
19) I will not have a daughter. She would be as beautiful as she was evil, but one look at the hero's rugged countenance and she'd betray her own father.
23) I will keep a special cache of low-tech weapons and train my troops in their use. That way — even if the heroes manage to neutralize my power generator and/or render the standard-issue energy weapons useless — my troops will not be overrun by a handful of savages armed with spears and rocks.
24) I will maintain a realistic assessment of my strengths and weaknesses. Even though this takes some of the fun out of the job, at least I will never utter the line "No, This Cannot Be!! I AM INVINCIBLE!!!" (After that, death is usually instantaneous.)
28) My pet monster will be kept in a secure cage from which it cannot escape and into which I could not accidentally stumble.
32) I will not fly into a rage and kill a messenger who brings me bad news just to illustrate how evil I really am. Good messengers are hard to come by.
34) I will not turn myself into a snake. It never helps.
36) I will not imprison members of the same party in the same cell block, let alone the same cell. If they are important prisoners, I will keep the only key to the cell door on my person instead of handing out copies to every bottom-rung guard in the prison.
37) If my trusted lieutenant tells me my Legions of Terror are losing a battle, I will believe him. After all, he's my trusted lieutenant.
44) I will only employ bounty hunters who work for money. Those who work for the pleasure of the hunt tend to do dumb things like even the odds to give the other guy a sporting chance.
45) I will make sure I have a clear understanding of who is responsible for what in my organization. For example, if my general screws up I will not draw my weapon, point it at him, say "And here is the price for failure," then suddenly turn and kill some random underling.
52) I will hire a team of board-certified architects and surveyors to examine my castle and inform me of any secret passages and abandoned tunnels that I might not know about.
63) Bulk trash will be disposed of in incinerators, not compactors. And they will be kept hot, with none of that nonsense about flames going through accessible tunnels at predictable intervals.
75) I will instruct my Legions of Terror to attack the hero en masse, instead of standing around waiting while members break off and attack one or two at a time.
89) After I capture the hero's superweapon, I will not immediately disband my legions and relax my guard because I believe whoever holds the weapon is unstoppable. After all, the hero held the weapon and I took it from him.
90) I will not design my Main Control Room so that every workstation is facing away from the door.
97) My dungeon cells will not be furnished with objects that contain reflective surfaces or anything that can be unravelled.
100) Finally, to keep my subjects permanently locked in a mindless trance, I will provide each of them with free unlimited Internet access.