Dear Evil Space Princess

Don’t even ask, but some of you have decided to send me questions.  I find them amusing, so I will answer them.

Dear Evil Space Princess, {or Lackeys(or minions)} I would like to conquer my patch of the galaxy but I am not sure what to wear to a conquest? Any suggestions? Sincerely, Evil in Training.

Dear in Training:

If you are asking what you should personally wear, the normal attire for going on a war of conquest is black.  Black makes you look intimidating, is slimming, and, as a useful side effect it can hide blood splatter.  You know how hard it is to carry clean clothing along when your vanguard outstrips your supply lines.  And while that whole “I wash my clothes in the blood of my enemies” is very impressive, it does tend to make it look slovenly and like you’re strapped for clothes (and soap) by the end of it.

Now, if you wish to dress your minions, we encourage you to spare on clothes for the cannon fodder.  For the brutes who are just supposed to be killed, try either a loincloth or some simple whole body thing, depending on the level of technology.  Look, the stuff is just going to get shredded.  Don’t over think it.

For the troops after the cannon fodder, the actual trained marksmen in whatever level of weaponry, you should get the best protective clothing you can.  It might be just quilted wool, or it might be some super-high-tech material, but it should be the best you can afford.  Trained warriors are expensive.  Try to spare them.

The same applies to your inner guards, who should be as well protected and armed as possible.

On the other hand, your inner, largely ornamental guard, should be dressed to impress.  Depending on your preference, we recommend leather loin cloths and oiled bodies for the males, and oiled bodies and leather bikinis for females.

No one really should wear chainmail bikinis, as they heat too fast in the sun, and pinch delicate areas, but if you really feel a need to use chainmail bikinis for your minions, remember to have them lined in some quilted material.

It’s all very well to torture your minions for a purpose, but to make them wear chainmail bikinis for no reason is just evil.

Dear Evil Space Princess.
My fat black Manx cat SugarBelly insists on sitting in the place which makes it most difficult for me to write. For example, right now, she is sitting slightly off to the right of the keypad, and keeps reaching out her paws to move my hands away so she can sit on QWERTY and friends. She also likes to sit on the mouse, or sometimes on my left wrist.
If I moved to PagoPago, do you think she would find me?
She’s Not My Type of Cat

Dear Not My Type of Cat

She’s a cat.  She might follow you to PagoPago, or she might start pretending to ignore you tomorrow and never acknowledge your existence again.

The purview of the Beautiful but Evil Space Princess extends to many worlds and planets, but never to cats.

It is not for us to understand superior aliens like cats.

Dear Beautiful but Evil Space Princess:

Is it better to kill off your brothers and sisters or leave them alive to take the blame later? – A Fellow Evil Lord of Evil

Dear Fellow,

I am unorthodox in this.  I believe you should kill them all.  As useful as it is to have someone to blame, it seems they are always destined to take the throne, and then they upend your entire legend.

Forget keeping them in the evil and insurmountable fortress.  Some cute maiden or willing knight will get them out.  Just kill them.

Richard the Third, the original evil overlord of evil had the right idea.  Kill and bury brothers and sisters, nephews and nieces and anyone who can contest your power.  In the end, when you’re long dead, they’ll find their bones, but even then some soft head will insist you weren’t the one who killed them.

Dear BBESP, Every time I capture the hero, I get this overwhelming urge to spill the entire plan, including the way out. How can I stop myself from giving it all away? Sincerely, Evil Underlord who can’t quite make the big leagues

Dear Under,

Oh, Sweetie.  This is a compulsion written into you by the author.  You must use aversion therapy.  Have one of your underlings dress up as the hero, and when you start spilling things, force yourself to do something really distasteful.  I don’t know, pet a puppy or give sweets to children or something, until you break the compulsion.

It’s all right.  If you manage to cure yourself, you can blend the puppies into a nice smoothie afterwards and it will make you feel much better.

I have not yet begun to conquer the world, let alone the solar system, but the planning stages are going well, at least. However, I do have one question: At what point in the process should I start assembling my harem? “At the end” might mean I’m decrepit and old and in no shape to enjoy it, but too early might make it a distraction. What other factors should be considered?

Asking for a friend.

Dear Friend,

This is a difficult question.

One would recommend you assemble your harem as soon as possible, because after all, one of the best perks of being an evil overlord is getting to play.  Isn’t it written “All evil and no play makes the overlord really annoyed?”

On the other hand one of the side effects of harems are descendants, and people tend to feel a certain reluctance to kill their own children.  The problem is that, inevitably, the more sons you have the higher the chance one of them will be a blessed hero destined to bring down your evil reign.  And truly, once they get the Author on their side there is nothing you can do.

So unless you are willing to ruthlessly kill your own spawn, we recommend you staff your harem with non-fertile aliens or forego this idea of a harem altogether and get your jollies out of torturing your enemies like a normal evil overlord.

Dear Beautiful But Evil Space Princess:

At what rate should one kill henchmen for incompetence to achieve the maximum of discourager pour les autres for the minimum of wasted salary and training budget?


Keeps Running Out Of Henchmen Around Rigel

Dear Rigel,

You don’t kill your actual henchmen.  Yes, I know it’s satisfying and lets out all that pent up aggression, but I recommend investing in holographic virtual reality minions that you can kill with maximum show and gore, without wasting the actual talent.

Dear Beautiful But Evil Space Princess:

What booby traps do you prefer, and do they need any modifications to work in zero gravity? – Confused in Space

Dear Confused,

I prefer my boobie traps in lace.  Black lace, of course. For zero gravity it is advisable to have the more enveloping and less elastic type of boobie traps, otherwise the boobies will be all out of shape by the time you return to Earth.

I am very much against underwires, for the same reason I am against chainmail bikinis.  Hard metallic objects don’t belong near your boobies.


And that is all I have time for this week.  Tune in next week for more “Ask the Beautiful but Evil Space Princess.”  It is the duty of successful evil to train incipient evil, after all.

Together, we can terrorize the galaxy for many years to come.

311 thoughts on “Dear Evil Space Princess

  1. I have started reading, but I am having a problem. It is rather hard to read through the tears that come with the laughter.

  2. Asking for a Friend could also have his harem sterilized before taking them in, right? But while that eliminates the chance for offspring, barring meddling from divine source (or just the doctor who should have done the job) then there is still the risk that one of the members of the harem will be the sweetheart of the hero, or fall for him, and then plot against Friend from the inside.

    1. I would advise, go ahead and have your harem, and simply execute any of your offspring that become sufficiently troublesome. There’s plenty of historical precedent. Right now a couple of Ottoman sultans come to mind, but I’m sure there are others.

      1. The absolute simplest system is that pioneered by King Shahryar: kill each new wife after the first night. This not only prevents conspiracies against you and eliminates concerns the new concubine slaying you while you lay in satiated exhaustion, it helps save on upkeep. Strangling each bride on the wedding night also enables you to recycle the betrothal wardrobe with minimal laundering expense.

        1. Killing them after 1 night seems rather wasteful. For male Evil Overlords, how about :
          1. Keeping the harem member for 30-60 days in the harem.
          2. Demoting them from the harem and placing them for 1-3 weeks in your ranks of minor henchmen/henchwomen. (Or simply give them to your henchmen/henchwomen to play with for that period.)
          3. At the end of the 2 periods, make a big show of identifying how the now-former harem member has $!#@ up as a henchman/henchwoman and then kill them yourself as an example. Note – killing them yourself is mandatory to avoid a Huntsman/Snow White problem.

          The only key would be to prevent your henchfolks from bonding with the ex-harem members. If such a bond is allowed, it could lead to the palace revolt problem. Provided you make sure all of the harem are dead within 3 months or so of entering the harem, you are guaranteed no (human) offspring survive.

    2. *lightbulb* No! Any harem spawn should be told they have to “work their way up”, starting as henchmen! This way you can execute them for incompetence, motivating the *real* henchmen. Your rivals will be awed that you can kill your own children so ruthlessly, and, let’s face it, you aren’t going to live forever and the universe will still need oppressing. You need to think about your legacy, too. Any kid of yours who survives the culling process is probably going to be pretty tough and sneaky, right?

        1. That’s why you reward your kids when they do well and punish them when they don’t unless there’s good reason for their failure.

          Sure there will be envy but they should know that serving you is better than not serving you.

          Oh, it doesn’t hurt if you have several kids and encourage them to compete (as long as the competition doesn’t get out of hand).

                1. Nod, their major weakness was that their “kingdom” couldn’t compete with European nations.

                  1. Yes, well. I tend to think really long term.

                    It is surprising how many places fell to the European nations before the European nations adopted self hatred. One might conclude that this idea was planted in order to get them to defeat themselves.

          1. For extra points, if any of your rebellious offspring flee into a neighboring kingdom in fear of their lives, lure them home with promises of safety. Then, when they do return, execute them anyway.

          2. I like the Stormhold paradigm from Stardust. Sibling rivalry is a powerful thing. Besides it’s gauche usurp the throne while other princes live.

            1. That’s why you want to do away with them first. Even more gauche is to try to usurp the throne while the Old Man is still sitting on it. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

    3. Really, the best way to assemble a harem–if one must, they’re hotbeds of intrigue–is to not “assemble” one at all. Just carries on with the plan, and then the women who find power to be the ultimate aphrodisiac will come to you.
      This is really a much safer option in terms of maintaining audience sympathy, and is much less likely to result in a hero’s daughter/sweetheart/sister becoming part of the thing, which will inevitably lead to your demise.
      I would, however, recommend doing thorough background checks on those women. Somewhere around the level that you have to go through to get “Top Secret” clearance.

      1. No, you need much better than “Top Secret.” I could some tales unfold… but my name doesn’ begin with “Clinton”, and I don’t want to do time. I suggest outsourcing the background checks. Your own bureaucrats will inevitably suck at this.

        1. If you outsource the background checks, inevitably one of your worst enemies will manage to either (a) get employment at the background check center or (b) sneak in and change the records – maybe the underlying records or maybe catching the records in transit to your office.

    4. Forget the harem- an evil, tough yet really hot henchbabe is a better option. Of course one must beware of heroes who can pull a “Bond Reversal”- never let your hencbabe spend time alone with any hero, even if she is offering to perform unspeakable tortures on them.

      1. Villains who save their henchbabe’s life in earlier years and train them in the lethal arts are usually guaranteed loyalty.

        Goes double if you can get a lycanthropic henchbabe or any other pack-based shifter.

      1. Done correctly that could cause extreme problems for the heroes.

        Instead of one master villain to defeat, the heroes have two master villains to defeat.

        Of course, if they have a good partnership, each “covers” the other’s blind spots. 👿

      2. It would certainly be a radical and shocking characterization. I can’t ever recall seeing a monogamous villain in any media.

          1. I can’t remember – did Ramba actually do anything villainous besides oppose the main characters?

            But Dozle is a good example. The show made it clear that he loved his wife and daughter very much. The hapless Jerid Messa in Gundam Zeta is another example, and he seems to have a pretty solid relationship with his girlfriend in the second half of the series (which contrasts rather sharply with pretty much every other “romantic” relationship in that show…).

            1. Ramba is more anti-villain. He fights on the side of Zeon, but isn’t himself really evil.

        1. The video game Overlord insists that you’re evil, and makes you decide through your actions over the course of the game whether or not you’re corrupt. At one point in the game you rescue two sisters (separately), and the game eventually forces you to pick one over the other (and one of them, predictably, pushes for you to be more corrupt).

          The sequel, Overlord 2, looked like it might be going in that direction. But the closest that it got was forcing you to pick which of the three women in your life was the “chief” woman. And even that wasn’t necessary as there was a very easy way to “pick” all three of them.

      3. It would have the shining advantage that the villain would have someone to tell his plans to, and the spouse could admire his genius. I think that causes more monologuing than anything else: no one can appreciate your plans without your explaining the subtleties.

    5. Forget the harems. Try to inflict it upon the hero for the aggravation, distraction and comic relief. Plus it may turn your tale into an anime series and you may stay alive a lot longer if you’re a sufficiently popular villain. 😉

  3. That brings to mind: are there any ways to guard against the meddling celestial beings, if one lives in a world where gods/goddesses/angels or similar beings exist and take an active role?

    1. Are we talking about the very tangible and flawed variety of gods such as are found in the Greek pantheon, or the more ephemeral types in dualistic systems?

      The most obvious move is to get yourself a patron/protector god/goddess, but that, of course, carries its share of dangers: it imposes obligations on you as a tool and it makes you as a vulnerable mortal a target for oppositional gods as a way to hurt your patron. The only path I can think of is to up your value in your patron god’s eyes as high as you can, and see if you can get a top-tier god as your patron.

      Also, be aware of the rules and limits of the gods. Are the gods bound by their word if they give it? What’s the nature of their power? Are they easily distracted or have any other emotional issues?

      In more monotheistic fantasy worlds, such as Narnia or some of Gene Wolfe’s novels or Tolkien’s, the first step is recognizing the nature of the world and your position in it. You will have to act counter-intuitively and not give in to overwheening pride (this will be the roughest part). Never go ‘all-in.’ Go for the sure thing: if you can kill off a traitor and guarantee victory, but your divine foe offers himself in sacrifice in the traitor’s stead, don’t take the offer!

      These types of divinities also tend to work through human agents, usually the holy fool archetype, capable of overturning the best-laid plans and awakening good feelings in others, causing them to takes risks for the cause of right and goodness, just by being themselves. In those cases, you’ll just have to drop everything and stay out the holy fool’s way, picking up again after he passes through, and if possible set up a secondary villain for the heroes to fight while you hide out.

      Of course, if you want to live dangerously you can try to corrupt the divine’s chosen, so that it will be hopefully be years before the god sends another one, but that takes a lot of insight into the chosen in question and a lot of set up and risk (see Matt Stover’s novelization of Revenge of the Sith and his depiction of Palpatine’s corruption of Anakin.)

      1. Of course, if you make a deal with a major god/demon, don’t try to break the deal.

        After all, the only reason to “make such a deal” is if you need their power on your side and trying to break the deal will get you in very very deep trouble. 👿

        1. The problem with dealing with demons and certain gods of mischief is that their ‘deals ‘ are usually traps in the long term.

          Much better in a demon’s case to find where it hides its life or heart and take it, or find something like a jinn bound to a bottle.

          1. True, but when dealing with a being more powerful than oneself, you have to be careful to NOT make it mad at you.

            Even if you have (what you think is) a perfect hold on their actions, you better be concerned about what happens to you if you lose that hold.

            Of course, Demons & Jinn can be creative about “how they obey you” so it is best to get on their “good” side (such as they have one).

            If you are on their “good” side, they might be willing to ask “do you really want to give that order”. 😉

              1. And make *darn* sure you know that you can put down that which you summon, and don’t just have delusions about your abilities…

  4. …“I wash my clothes in the blood of my enemies” is very impressive, it does tend to make it look slovenly…

    As blood dries it congeals. I have found that on those occasions when proper uniform maintenance is not an option, if you take off the blood soaked uniform at the end of battle and carefully lay it out to dry you that can take advantage of this. This has the added advantage of keeping the uniform from sticking to you as it dries, which can over time produce uncomfortable chaffing. Of course, this does not solve all problems. While not appearing so slovenly, I find that my freedom of movement is restricted and that has occasionally proven a problem at the beginning of the next battle. So if at all possible I do advise washing and pressing your uniform on a regular basis.

      1. Battle tends to be rather smelly. I yet to find an adequate a solution to the stench of guts, particularly in hot sunny locations. It can get rather sickening. Maybe I should write Beautiful but Evil Space Princess and ask what she has found to manage the stink of battlefield problem.

        1. This is the primary purpose of the chainmail bikini (well, aside from showing off your fabulous abs and distracting* male opponents) — their ease of washing after battle. A quick dip in a nearby pond is the traditional method of such offal removal, which is why you always want to take care when laying out the battleground to ensure that spilled blood will flow away from at least one of the ponds.

          *N.B.: not a benefit when fighting berserkers. May also prove ineffective against certain sexual orientations.

          1. I have found a few dead animals too, but when I was young our neighboring farm did dispose of dead animals – like miscarried calves and such, I remember seeing a cut up one with the head on top of the pile in that spot once – in their forest, usually in the same spot (was not illegal back then, and the foxes and smaller critters etc did do a fairly fast clean up job most years – plus there was nothing larger than foxes in the area back then). Did check it from time to time when I was a preteen and in my very early teens. Kids find all kinds of stuff fascinating (I did puke, a few times. Warm summer days…).

            1. I lived in an apartment building in Brooklyn after college – the old lady downstairs passed away – leaving Lysol (lisol?) in bowls for a few hours while I wandered the neighborhood did remove the unfortunate smell. Did I mention it was a few days before we figured out that she had passed on? (this happens in apartment buildings with old ladies – you only see each other every couple of days – so it is not clear that the lack of seeing them is a big deal until after a couple of days – unfortunate but the way it was).

              She was a nice lady, and had a nice family when I met them at the funeral. She had a young priest in the family tree and he said the service – nice guy.


            2. That was standard back then here, too. Connecting a wire or chain . . . well, it never got messy, but sometimes they died in water troughs and once a syrup kettle we used for watering.

              We did have larger than foxes, so they didn’t last long.

        2. Vics Vapo rub applied to the upper lip will overwhelm almost any other scent in the near vicinity.

            1. Actually, a good one will stop the smell, cold. One of our tractors was an orchard type, with the exhaust slung beneath the fender instead of straight up like a smoke stack. Wasn’t bad plowing, but when we went to round hay bails, the exhaust would come right back on you. By then I was allergic to smoke, and that made it hard taking out the hay.

              My solution was an Army Surplus gas mask. The canister was on the right side, which is probably why it was surplus – can’t imagine shouldering a rifle with that configuration. Later discovered it would stop the stench of pretty well decayed animals. Of course, you had to know to carry it first, and that usually didn’t happen.

              Anyway, my guess is any mask designed for organic vapor might do the trick. FWIW, I never trusted that surplus gas mask for pesticides or other nasties; it had to do with trusting that the cartridge was really rated for such.

                1. The newer ones let you switch which side the canister is on. I shot lefty, so whenever I went to a new unit, I always had to make a switch.

    1. “While some cultures you wish to awe might tend toward the sanguine, it is far more more practical to ceremonially dip your garments in blood, washing them later and adopting dark red for your outer venture. Blood dries hard, the excess flaking off with the remainder in the weave becoming hard as resin. While this can be ideal when you need light armor and find none at hand, the lack of mobility can be detrimental on the battlefield or in facing a hero.”

      “The choice of your colors go beyond the season of your complexion. Black is a popular choice for intimidation, the exception found in tropical empires where white has the same connotation. White, though hard to clean and easy to show blood and other fluids, works better than white if you could be exposed to nuclear explosions. If you are presenting yourself as a divine leader, the colors of the local clergy are a good choice, as are simpler clothes if you are going for ‘man of the people.'”

      “In general, it’s best to restrict ostentatious symbols of power to your cloak or robe, with a cap, crown, scepter, or sash to denote office, and common, sensible, clothes beneath. Clothes do make the villain; a quick toss of your symbols of power and you stand a good chance of walking right past the hero and into a sequel. It also spares you the embarrassment of your loyal minions, willing to fight to the death and expecting you to do likewise, seeing you make a discrete exit. The longer they fight, the better chance you have of escape.”

      – from Hero Eye for the Evil Guy,

    2. Taking off your blood-soaked uniform at end of battle may result in more “distraction” of your henchmen than you have strength, by that time, to deal with…

      1. You would have to clean your chainmail bikini very quickly to just “wash it off” in a cold water pond. I suspect you would need a powerwash nozzle, or a metal brush and really good soap, because blood is like jelly.

        As for using bloody robes as light armor?

        Um… no. Although the smell might keep people away.

        1. Spit actually cleans blood pretty well. Getting a large enough quantity to clean your armor would be… disgusting.

          1. Nonsense. Just keep a few captive heroes on hand wherever you go, and make sure that you parade in front of them whenever you need your armor cleaned.

            1. Alternatively, keeping a pack of wolves to drool over your armor after a good slaughter is a common villainous practice.

                1. Well, you could ask Fenrir:

                  “The chain was then tied to a boulder and a sword was placed in Fenrir’s jaws to hold them open. As he howled wildly and ceaselessly, a foamy river called “Expectation” (Old Norse Ván) flowed from his drooling mouth.[2]”

              1. I for one would be more likely to drool over armor if it happened to have, say, Alexis Denisof or Jake Gyllenhaal in it. But that’s just me.

          2. Maybe you can get Fluffy to spit on it to dissolve the blood, then a quick rinse in the nearest stream will do to clean it the rest of the way.

        2. Hmm . . . my only experience is my own wounds, and occasionally towels and such to staunch bleeding in others. Blood dries hard, especially in denim. The fabric gets very stiff. It’s not going to stop a bullet or do much with a stab, but might blunt a slash.

          No, I haven’t tried it. The only thing I’ve tried is salvaging clothing and towels and such with a soak and wash. My experience with that is a definite maybe.

  5. Posting under threat of a death-ray:

    Dear Evil Space Princess,

    The mortality rate for villains tends to be rather high, with some notable exceptions. What can I do to make myself as interesting as possible so that I will be brought back for repeated appearences and story arcs, and so that fans might clamor for my return should the Author attempt to kill me off (or failing that, at least provide plentiful fan fiction for me to live on in – preferably with agreeable shipping), and even allow me some victories?

    How do I become incredibly threatening but just this side of ‘too dangerous to be allowed to live,’ and avoid crossing the line from ‘love to hate’ into just ‘hate’?

    Most sincerely,

    In This For the Long Game.

      1. Nope. For every Joker, Dr. Doom, Kingpin or Magneto there are dozens of villains who never catch the imagination of the reading public.

        There’s the obvious Loki route of becoming a heartthrob of teenage girls, but I’m ill-equipped in temperament or physicality.

              1. Purely to escape the moniker, “Paste Pot Pete,” I’m sure. Honestly, exactly who would quake in his boots at the thought of “Paste Pot Pete?” Collapsing in a fit of giggles, maybe…

                1. Definitely to escape the “Paste Pot Pete” moniker.

                  You want to get Trapster mad?

                  Call him “Paste Pot Pete”. 👿 👿 👿 👿

        1. Unsurprisingly, you’re correct there. Dictator-type villains, communist or otherwise, often have a lot of staying power. They also have a whole country full of hostages, and if they rule over a turbulent part of the world and can make it costly enough to overthrow them, then taking them out can be more trouble than letting them rule.

          1. And they seem to come with a huge fan-club. Visits from Hollywood actors/actresses and sports stars can be positive aspects of being the evil mastermind. You can mix this up with the ideas below – let the visitor only see good things (kill the happy workers afterwords, don’t want word getting out) and then send them on their way. This could help confuse the hero about who is truly bad.


            1. Note that communist dictatorial types can use visiting celebrities as a substitute for a harem – at least so long as they don’t get *too* old.

              1. Yeah, I saw that headline. No way I would do that because (a) why go to North Korea and (b) going to North Korea does not automatically cause one to leave North Korea, rather like taking off from an aircraft carrier does not automatically entitle one to a landing on the same aircraft carrier.

          2. Yes, and no.

            Some seem to last forever. Others, like Pol Pot, don’t. Also remember the fate of the Ceauscescus in Romania, who were executed by firing squad when the population turned away from them almost literally overnight.

            1. It’s a risk that increases abruptly when you run out of other peoples’ money to bribe them with. Populaces (and for that matter, henchmen) don’t necessarily stay bought.

            2. As General Tarquin observes, you can’t have everything. If the last five minutes stank, still you had all the years before.

            3. …Ceauscescus in Romania…

              About which Mark Russell quipped that even though he was dead he was so hated his life was still in danger. That’s quite an accomplishment. Not a good one, but it certainly is one.

    1. I recommend for your study Jacob Nighthorse, of “Longmire”. You must concoct plausible excuses for your evil deeds, and occasionally even cooperate with the hero or his supporters. This may require the sacrifice, or the apparent sacrifice, of some of your more effective minions, but as long as you can maintain the cover of being shocked at the extent of their evil, you can get away with creating considerable doubt about whether you are as evil as the Hero thinks you are, and possibly even seduce his supporters to your side. If you are sufficiently smart and present enough contradictory appearances, you can run this game almost indefinitely.

      Not Beautiful nor a Princess, but Possibly Nevertheless Evil.

      1. In that light I also suggest that the In This For the Long Game also review the historical record of Justified. The villain of the first installment, Boyd Crowder, was fated to be eliminated. Other villains came and went, but Boyd Crowder outwitted the fates. You will see that he appears in 74 of 78 installments, but pay close attention, for the fates do not like to be cheated. In the end Boyd does not fair well. The record is a chock-a-block with lessons clearly illustrating the problems created by partners, assistants, lovers, hirelings and weasels.

        1. But the one thing stronger that fate is profit and market forces. If your villainy moves the books, you’ll keep showing. Don’t please the hero, please the READER!

        2. But, He is alive, in prison, rather than dead in some drying shed. As long as he is alive, there is always a chance of, , something interesting happening.
          unlike bleeding out and dying on a lonely highway somewhere because you over estimated your ability, again.

    2. Also, following up on that last one, be affable, and do sort of a bait-and-switch thing every now and then. If you should take the hero’s love interest prisoner, invite her up to your chambers and have your minions bring her something nice to wear. Then, when she arrives, doubtless wondering how brutal the attempt on her virtue will be, simply have a nice dinner, talk about the hero, don’t do the whole evil gloating thing, and inquire as to whether she finds her accommodations satisfactory. Then send her back to wherever you’re holding her–preferably not a dungeon. A comfortable but spare room in a tower should do the trick.
      Also, have a plan to escape that involves taking your more loyal minions and portable treasure with you, as well as sailing off for parts unknown to the hero but at least familiar to yourself. Also, should you decide as part of your escape plan to force the hero to choose between saving his love interest or chasing you down, don’t *actually* put her in life-threatening peril, just make everyone think she is.
      In other words, be polite, be professional, and always have an escape hatch.


      Neither beautiful, nor a princess, but possibly evil

    3. The most common solution is to select a puppet just smart enough to follow your command but stupid enough not to realize he’s only a puppet. This allows you become the “advisor.” If the hero is the squeaky clean sort, it is surprisingly easy to portray yourself as the advisor horrified his “ruler”: has become a monster, and offer your assistance in his overthrow. Should the hero offer you the throne, under no circumstances should you take it. Instead, play the humility card. This works well on squeaky clean heroes, and allows you to offer your services as advisor to your next carefully selected puppet, or even one the hero places in charge. In this manner you can survive the inevitable transition of power with minimum discomfort.

      1. This is an amazingly effective ploy for females, as male heroes come with convenient handles for ease of manipulation. Squeaky clean heroes are perticularly slow to suspect females of nefarious intentions.

        1. But it can backfire if the hero/author must think of creatively non-lethal ways to deal with female villains. Robert Jordan was infamous for this.

          1. Especially “fun” when the males “do unto the females what the females planned to do to the males”. 👿

            1. But that takes us back around to the main problem: how the chivalrous male hero can remain heroic when dealing with a female villain as she deserves?

                1. I recall de Winter tried that with Milady in The Three Musketeers. Didn’t work out too well.

                  The optimal course (from the hero’s perspective) usually being confinement in a nunnery or convent. Preferably in the equivalent of Siberia or on a deserted Island or the back end of nowhere.

                  Just don’t underestimate the ingenuity of the fairer sex…

                  1. True, but there was a “good guy” who while under a “love spell” broke an evil sorceress’s neck because she was going to kill his friend.

                    1. And as Jordan and others have demonstrated, some of those creative methods can very easily wander into the ‘fate worse than death’ area.

                      It can generally be a smart move for female villains to exhibit some reluctant villainy or otherwise redemption potential.

                    1. Call it the “Don’t Hit A Lady” syndrome.

                      Some heroes realize that the villainess “isn’t a Lady” and others have problems with fighting the villainesses.

                    2. A drawback of honor and civilization. It’s simply Not. Done.

                      Even when the Musketeers finally dealt with Milady, the only way they could do it was with full process. They had to be as official as possible, with a trial and a genuine executioner, so that it wouldn’t be murder, when with a male they might have settled it with a duel or killed him out of hand, and the whole matter was more harrowing for them than any mere duel.

                      And like Milady herself said: it took frakking ten of them to do it.

                      That’s why authors like Jordan come up with creatively non-lethal options whenever possible.

                    3. Shorter answer: men fighting and killing each other is still a fun adventure.

                      When you kill a woman, it’s no longer a fun adventure.

                    4. What they said. That said, there are solutions:

                      Nanoc stared at the evil sorceress. “A woman? I can’t kill a woman.” He tossed a dagger to his girlfriend. “You do it.”
                      “Of course, dear.”
                      “Now, wait a -”

                    5. Old chivalry, I guess.
                      Though bringing a female ally can help if the guys are reluctant. 🙂
                      (Yes, the Deadpool movie had an effect on me. Why do you ask?)

                    6. The line is all blurry.
                      (Might as well throw in ANOTHER Deadpool clip since it’s mildly related. Naughty words in this one, folks.)

                    7. As others have said, it goes back to old notions of Chivalry. But also to the purpose of Chivalry. Which is ‘Those who are stronger should protect those who are weaker and restrain themselves, even in the face of great provocation.’ It’s an anti-tyranny/abuse switch. Even if the woman has demonstrated she has other strengths that make her a genuine valid threat those circuits can be hard to over ride, especially if the writer has trouble with the shades of threat and the balance of such notions. They forget the other side of Chivalry which was “When strength is used it should be used to END the problem, in a deliberate manner.”

                      There are likely holes in this theory but it seems to work across good chunks of the real world as well as stories.

                    8. I remember in The Silver Chair, Rilian was relieved when the Green Lady turned into a giant snake so that he could kill her with a clear conscience.

                    9. Pick your hero carefully. Booster Gold got to take out a girl with a good punch and carefully explain that since in the future they’re all enlightened, they get to hit everyone.

        2. Particularly ironic when a stupidly heroic hero barges into a situation without understanding it and ‘rescues’ a female villain.

          One of my story attempts opened with such a hero charging into a ritualistic human sacrifice Conan style and carrying off the girl, unaware that she wasn’t the sacrifice, she was the one who would be wielding the sacrificial dagger. Hero gets bashed over the back of the head for his trouble.

      2. The evil adviser is enough of a cliche it should probably be avoided if you’re really thinking long term. It is too high of a visibility position. You don’t want to be the visible puppet master. You want to be the invisible antagonist that the hero doesn’t even know is in the game. If you move, it is through 2-4 layers of puppets and/or allies of your puppets. In other words, the titles like “emperor” and even “Evil Overlord” go to the people manipulated by the student of your disciple (who would die before identifying you).

        Ideally, your day job would be someone that no one would see – something like the night janitor/sweeper in the castle of the hero. Your Evil Overlordship would then hide behind the facade of a little bald wrinkly smiling man/woman – that gives you the advantage of Pratchet’s Rule One.

        Either that or simply grab the title “Author”. Then you get to think of the worst thing that could happen to the hero and watch how it plays out under your careful supervision. You might even allow the hero to die….

        1. My WIP villain has just such a role, but his trick is 1) incredibly long life and 2) adopting new names/personas/appearences. He finds himself a puppet who’s short-term goals fulfill the villain’s long-term goals, gets what he wants, and moves on to adopt another identity and find another puppet to carry out the next phase of the plan while the hero is busy with the prior front man.

          I based the guy off of Anthony Ainley’s portrayal of the The Master from Dr. Who. A true master of disguise who could pop up anywhere.

          1. Actually, Star Wars used this with the New Jedi Order series (Yuuzhan Vong) – it turned out that the overall leader of the vong wasn’t the big bulging emperor dude. It was the court jestor who was using Jedi powers to control the emperor. Interesting idea – the court jestor as man in charge…

            1. I thought that idea had potential, but they didn’t make the most of it. I thought it would have been cool if the jester was actually the evil overlord’s twin brother — they had made a big deal that he was a twin and in that culture twins are significant, and they had to fight and one had to kill the other — who’d been allowed to survive for some reason. Instead the jester’s backstory was sort of tossed in there at the end, not really connected to anything.

              1. I grant that one easily – not much foreshadowing or anything. But they referenced a lot about the Vong and other things (ie the codexes, etc) but didn’t develop many of them. They had some great battle scenes, but a lot of the series I found just not – fully formed? Like Mara’s sickness which seemed to ebb and flow, Chewie’s death seemed to be due to “we need to kill someone to get across to the audience that this is serious” – not like it really developed a plot or anything. Okay it made Han depressed for a while – but I felt it was meh.

                I thought the overall idea was fascinating – a race that used biological tech and thought science tech was heresy. Some of the ideas were interesting – the dovin basils (sp?) which created mini-black holes instead of shields was very interesting – and gave root to a whole new set of tactics and counter-tactics. I wish they had reissued X-wing versus Tie Fighter with these other ships. Then watch for 9 months to see what kind of tactics the users came up with.


                1. I was fascinated by the concept, and the novels up to and including Star by Star by Troy Denning were a fascinating example of building up a story. The problem I thought was in the back half of the story, a lot of writers had to push their way to a conclusion and didn’t have as much leeway to go their own way (a blessing and a curse, since stories can get out of control) and there were a lot of things brought up that didn’t get to play out. The idea that Jacen and Jaina might be forced to fight each other, characters like Tsavong Lah who were given such build-up, only to have their personas butchered and then killed offhand, etc.

                  I also sensed a sort of mid-series conflict behind the scenes. I got the sense that the Vong experiments on Jedi had originally been intended to create some new form of corrupted Force users that the Jedi and Vong would have had to work together to defeat. There’s were some canceled novels whose covers had been released that seemed to suggest that, and some of the ideas made their way into Tahiri’s storyarc I thought.

                2. However, on the technical front I do indeed give them credit for some inventive applications of biotech. And those gravity-manipulating creatures, truly amazing.

                3. Also, the religious element of their culture and how it blended in with the biotech elements worked very well as a motivator and a philosophical reason why their self-modification was limited rather than having them all turn themselves into some kind of composite worldship monstrosity operated by a bunch of brains or parts of brains.

                  The tennents of their religion was downright intriguing at times, and I noticed how some of the writers slipped in some parallels to Islam and jihad: how ‘peace’ actually meant ‘submission’, their views on deception, their dealings with collaborators and turncoats, etc.

            2. So, a character similar in some ways to the Mule in the Foundation Trilogy? Although, the Mule used a Visi-Sonor instead of The Force.

              1. If they tossed the Mule in at the last couple chapters of the last book of the series, with almost no buildup.

    4. According to my school notes, Professor Char Aznable made the following points in his class about how to be a near-immortal villain:
      -Be more interesting than the Hero.
      -The red ones truly do go faster
      -Backstory, backstory, BACKSTORY!
      -Be the best you can be- good fighting skills are very useful
      -Everyone loves the Magnificent Bastard. Killing your best friend is just sneaky. Setting up the youngest son of your worst enemy by being his best friend is magnificent. But calling him up on the radio right before is true Magnificent Bastardy

      1. Oops, that should read “calling him up on the radio right before he dies in the enemy ambush you set up and bragging about it is true Magnificent Bastardy”

    5. In addition to the above, be aware of your genre.

      If the good guy likes sending his enemies to prison or the asylum, you’ve lucked out. Just stay away from tall buildings (or wear a hidden parachute as part of your outfit), and make sure your doomsday devices are up to code so you can turn them off without nobly sacrificing yourself. Do, however, watch out if your hero goes from colorful tights to black leather… it means you’ve finally broken them enough that they’re about to snap. While this may be amusing, it’s likely that you’ll be the first victim when they go supervillain (or at least 90’s anti-hero).

      If your designated hero is comfortable with killing people, check to see under what circumstances he’s willing to do so. If they only kill people that are actually an immediate threat, practice dropping your weapon, establish a reputation for fair play, and never be tempted to go for it when the hero’s back is turned. You can always escape from prison, after all. Even better, leave the violence to the minions. Cultivate a good public reputation (and hire some good PR people) and the hero will be unable to touch you.

      If the (so-called) hero is willing to kill perceived evil-doers indiscriminately, they’re likely more dangerous than you are. Normally, at this point, I recommend discreetly getting rid of them permanently as soon as possible. If the hero already has bad PR, if you play your cards right, this could easily be good PR for you. If you have some very good tricks up your sleeve, it can be tempting to use them. Find out what made them so angry and bitter, and subtly direct them at your problems. For example, if a criminal killed their family and they’re intent on punishing all criminals, stay as legal as possible, and subtly direct them at criminal organizations that pose a threat to your plans. While it can be great fun to turn a so-called hero into an asset, this is quite a risk, and I can only recommend this when they don’t pose a threat to you personally.

      “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.” Knowing your enemy is the most important part of staying alive.

      1. It’s possible to be a recurring villain against an anti-hero with few compunctions against killing. But it takes its toll. Jigsaw has managed to stay around as the Punisher’s recurring adversary. Likewise Sabertooth against Wolverine. Swamp Thing has often been indifferent to humanity, but Arcane keeps coming back to trouble him.

        Possible, but you’re really playing the odds. And you’ll have to be okay with getting maimed, deformed, mutilated, loss of body parts, and occasionally dying and going to hell and being spat back out.

      2. Even better, leave the violence to the minions.

        This is a very important point. As Evil Overlord, you don’t have TIME to be performing your own executions, except for the occasional object lessons to your minions. And if you have a large empire, your day-to-day workload is not likely to lend itself to your keeping in top fighting shape, anyway.

      1. Mark Hamill on the Joker’s laugh:

        I chose not to subject you to the DCAU Animated Joker Laugh Compilation (Mark Hamill) – BONUS: The Killing Joke! which purports to include each and ‘every laugh, cackle, and giggle’. It certainly does illustrate range within a character.

      2. Start with the Shadow. Sure, he’s an elemental force of vengeance working for the wrong side, but he’s got style and when you’re inevitably forcing other evil not-quite-so geniuses and their henchmen out of their territory, it will add a dash of terror and doubt.

    1. For Evil Space Princesses there is the Noblewoman’s Laugh from… lots and lots of anime. It’s EVIL.

      1. Dressing like Naga the White Serpent is optional…

        For the gentlemen, may I recommend the Jinnai…

        Pick the language of your choice. The Spanish version is a popular choice.

          1. Worse, in one episode some wizard cloned her (though he found it embarrassing to find so many outfits to match the original) and there was a Naga chorus running around.

  6. Apparently her sense of humor recovered first….


    This was serious?

    I’m going back to the gulag err typing pool aren’t I?

    1. I am of the belief that the sense of humor is necessary for recovery. If one is careful to nurture it properly it will not only highlight good times, but lighten bad times.

  7. I’m definitely with the BBESP on the subject of underwires. What sadist thought those were a good idea to put anywhere near sensitive parts of the female anatomy?

    1. IIRC it was in Clark’s _Rendezvous with Rama_ where the protagonist makes an observation concerning the regulations about, ahem, “support et cetera” for women in low G/ zero G that came about after a series of accidents . . .

  8. This is Torture, pure torture. Reading this at the office, which means I cannot start laughing manically – My co-workers are still under the impression that I am a “normal” person.

    1. Wyldkat, your success at deceiving your co-workers into believing you are “normal” shows significant potential in the evil overlord career category.

      Write me at Famous Villain School, and send your bank account number and password, and I’ll send you your first lesson in Evil Overlording ASAP.

  9. This reminds me of the Austin Powers movies. “What chance do you have? You don’t even have a nametag. Why don’t you just lie down?” – and the evil henchman does so…..

    But one question you haven’t addressed (which I assume will be covered next week) is the use of puns – which any evil princess/lord/etc should have elevated to a high art.


    1. Weren’t puns outlawed by the Geneva Convention? If you’re an evil person of the sort who actually tries to keep your evil constrained within International Law (which makes sense — after all, if the United Nations supports it, it’s bound do be evil — right?) then puns might not be an option for you.

      1. Sir,

        As the Head of the Evil Overlord Association, I wish to inform you that we do not consider ourselves bound by International Law.

        The main reason that we do not consider ourselves bound is that we refuse to subject to decrees made by the Supreme Idiots of the UN.

        Of course, it is fortunate that many of our opponents do feel subject to such idiotic decrees.

        1. We aren’t subject to international law… unless it benefits us. The ability to say “I’m the sovereign head of the Republic of Doomveria (or wherever) and since this embassy is Doomverian territory, international law protects me! Neener neener neener!” is such a great way to get lawful stupid heroes pissed off.

          For that matter, I thought the Supreme Idiots at the UN were one of our plots. Who else would put Saudi Arabia on the Human Rights commission?

      2. The problem with puns is not their illegality but the fact that they are generally accepted as reasonable grounds for summary execution. As an Evil overlord you want to have every opportunity to take advantage of all potential loopholes, but puns put paid to that.

  10. O Mistress of Mayhem –

    Above all of your words in condemnation of chain mail bikinis and “metal near one’s boobies” runs a header image of someone wearing bikini armor. Is this meant to confuse and vexate? Well-played.

    (PS – anyone with booby trap problems can write to me. I have an entire flock of the darned birds that I now can’t get rid of, and which do not hinder adventurers in any fashion. I may give up evil and just open a pet shop.)

    1. I believe that the costume you are referring to is made of leather which has been rubbed with metallic powder at the finish.

    2. I have seen, as in directly witness with mine own eyes, a gal who had donned a chainmaille bra which was quite obviously un- (or very, very minimally-) -lined. Even aside from any chafing sorts of issues was the matter of rather fair skin and bright daylight and.. prolonged exposure of one to the other. I can only presume a most.. interesting… tan or perhaps burn pattern. One does tend to see some oddities at a renfaire, but this one stood out. As did another, about the same time, but was another person. One dressed quite obviously in Xena fashion…. pushing a stroller around.

    3. I have an entire flock of the darned birds that I now can’t get rid of

      I’ve heard Alka-Seltzer tablets work very well on avian pests…..

    4. With regard to this – and the first question answered in the post – and, speaking as the father of a daughter (although she’s now a grown woman), I have to wonder if there’s an Official Evil Space Princess in Training Bra.

      1. As the father of three young girls – the oldest just old enough to start with a bra (11 going on 12) – I could use shopping hints on where to get the Official Evil Space Princess in Training Bra.

        I have gotten her (and her 8 year old sister) to start going with me to Pokémon day at the game shop (I play real games, but there is a good sized pokemon group – and it gets me to the gaming store with the excuse that I am doing it for the kids…)


  11. In the next to last question: “discourager pour les autres”

    Arghhhhhhh. (Rolls eyes. Foams at mouth. Tears at what hair he has left.)

    Voltaire, Candide: “Dans ce pays-ci, il est bon de tuer de temps en temps un amiral pour encourager les autres.

    Yeah, I know, how many pet peeves can a guy have? Sorry. 🙂

      1. It is an evil pet shop, so we have a wide selection of peeves. You may also enjoy one of our ferrets, cats, and badly-domesticated foxes. They make great children’s gifts!

          1. I’d love to, but it’s tough to get the necessary licensing. Even though it would be deliciously evil to sell them anyway, I am not so ruthlessly crazy as to incur the wrath of federal bureaucrats.

            1. Yeah, they do have an edge in vindictive experience and a very large tool box for increasing the suffering of those who come under their wrathful gaze. We should probably be taking evil overlord and minion notes. 😉

              1. A good point, but bureaucracy is banal evil.

                I pretty sure that beautiful but evil space princesses and evil overlords tend toward flamboyant evil. Which, honestly, is more fun anyway.

                    1. I had a great aunt that did that job back in the 50’s. Although it wasn’t quite a proper Evil Empire. Apparently, everybody needs somebody to do their books for them.

                  1. They are the chorus line background for the star dancer.

                    They are the living scenary against which the flamboyance plays.

                  2. Only if someone is Deconstructing the genre. Otherwise those sorts of things — under the technical term of No Fun At All — handle themselves.

          1. Now THAT is evil! Go to our Stoat Counter and talk to Gina. Double-check before signing *anything* – she may try to insert language requiring your soul if the ferrets are damaged. This is nonstandard; we’d fire her but she’s union. And please note that any offspring of said animals remain our property.

    1. My millionaire cousin says she always wanted a pet peeve. When she and hubby-to-be got pregnant, they bought a house and acquired a Cat. Named, of course, Peeve. Her Majesty appeared to accept the conceit with equanimity.

      1. Regarding Evil: I suspect that parsing good and evil as we might rarely enter into their thinking. They are correct and they know it. They deserve what they want and they will get it. Anyone who does not agree is a mild annoyance to be brought in line at best and an obstacle to be removed at worst.

        1. Agree.

          Of course, some “evil” people may think that they are “working” for the Greater Good and of course that Greater Good depends on them being in control.

        2. Alan Dean Foster had one interesting character (the MC of The Man Who Used The Universe) that the reader found it hard to know if he was a “good guy” or a “bad guy”.

          By the end of the story, he was the most respected person in two star empires (human and an alien one).

          One of the aliens (who we had been following) got a private interview with him and asked “why did you do all this?”.

          In short, the man had wanted to create a situation where “nobody was in control of him”.

          He didn’t seek control of others but didn’t want anybody to have power over his life.

    1. Once a sufficient level of Evil is achieved it becomes self evident. As an example: Maleficent (original animated version, not that person pretending to be her in the live action.)

      As another example: The Greek in Charles Williams’ “War in Heaven”

    2. It’s possible to be evil and know it, and just not care, but it’s hard to depict. The Joker is probably the best example (not the one in Suicide Squad, he cared too much for Harley): Everything’s just a big joke. Why so serious? People, ideals, institutions, the things they love? Just play with them. Pull their strings and make them dance in amusing ways, because really, what else is there to do? Certainly there’s nothing really worth doing, and if you think so then the joke’s on you.

      1. There’s the adolescent thrills level. Poseurs. Who can, in fact, do a fair amount of harm.

        And of course there’s the dried out dessicated evil. The best example of which I remember is one that, when asked about his evil, chuckled and called it a conventional question.

      2. I am partial to Loki–the myth, not the comic book character. Not a villain, just fond of practical jokes. Right?

        In the mythos he was the god of fire. Life of the party, and the best ally you could hope for. Just don’t turn your back on him. Ever.

      1. I recall a long-ago discussion in the Letters Pages of X-Men (Uncanny, IIRC) comics, about Magneto’s little group calling themselves the “Brotherhood of Evil Mutants,” pondering why the group would identify as evil. The conclusion was that they were early (proto-?) hipsters, using “evil” ironically in much the same way Yankee-Doodle gained popularity.

        1. In light of Magneto’s later characterization (that is, with elements of ret-con), it was more a belligerent declaration of indifference to being called Evil.

    1. I had a hand in introducing my sister to TV Tropes. She says I have now helped to ruin her life. ( a “quick” visit/recon lasted around 3 hours) -eg-

      1. The second best part of the evil overlord list is the list of items. The best part of the evil overlord list is that it includes no links that turn it into a time sink.

  12. Needs an illustration. I recommend something in the vein of a Planet Stories cover, complete with ray-gun wielding space-babe blasting hordes of ugly aliens.

  13. Dear BBESP, while it has become “All evil and no play makes the overlord really annoyed” the original and still more proper expression is “All evil and no play makes the overlord very cranky.”

    Yrs sincerely,

  14. Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you.
    Is there any chance of syndication. I would love to see this column in the New York Times. I would even more love to see them paying you for it. I would not love so much to see it raise their circulation.

      1. Oh certainly to start, but having the rag beg for the right to use it would be so deliciously evil.

  15. Elfquest creator and artist Wendy Pini used to model and booth babe for Frank Thorne’s Red Sonja. You could hear the whoop when she first put the metal bra on three floors away.

    1. I thought of “pinch”. I had not thought of “COLD, especially in certain climates”. You may now assemble the traditional mob of frothing-at-the-mouth SJW’s (with proper torches and pitchforks, tradition is very important) to ritually denounce me for my male privilege. Just be careful not to let the ritual denunciations turn into actual attempts to storm my evil castle: the carpapults on my battlements far outrange the pitchforks the mob will have. They could probably succeed in storming the castle if they carried real weapons, but since an SJW recoils in horror at such a thought, my evil lair will remain secure. See? A proper evil overload plans ahead, and makes sure his opponents are of the right caliber*.

      * Like, say, .9 mm. No, that’s not a typo. *grin*

      1. If you carry weapons, that’s evil. If my minions carry weapons, that’s good. It’s an important distinction. Besides, if you’re an evil Overlord, you should not disdain the use of SJWs. When properly supported by PR Flacks, they can be quite useful in providing camouflage for your real intentions.

    2. What? People admiring a beautiful woman at a convention? Call the Social Justice Police!

  16. Given the shocking evidence of Buzzfeed’s hatred of interracial marriages, do you now have reason to think that the Puppy Kickers are motivated by intolerance of interracial marriages?

    1. Sure, why not?

      After all, their attitude has been “any stick is good enough to beat us with”, then under the “turnabout is fair play” ROE…

  17. Dear BBESP, do you favor longer or shorter shirts while majestically stalking the upper deck of your world-shattering dreadnought? No reason.

    Lower Deck Terminal Monkey

  18. As a student of Thrawn & Vetenari’s School of Wise Villainary, I find the following henchman management tip useful. When your henchman fails, an honest performance review should follow.
    If a henchman bumbles through laziness, willful ignorance, or failure to follow the clear procedures as laid out in the Employee Handbook, he should be executed publicly with a clear public explanation of why.
    However, if your henchman fails because they were over-matched, faced an outside context problem, or for some other reason did their best, but it didn’t work, he should be praised for his loyalty, and rewarded if he showed unusual initiative. Use the failure as an organization wise learning opportunity, especially if the hero used some sort of tricks or gadgets to effect his mission.

    1. Going along with this.

      Every Evil-Overlord has to have disciplined fighting forces (or other minions).

      You don’t want to deal with problems caused when your orcs wipe out the wrong people or problems caused when a minion steals items that should have gone to the fighting forces.

      Yet, there can be times when one of your people disobeys the rules because the rules get in the way of working in your best interests.

      While the rules may need to be changed after the fact, there is still the problem of one of your people breaking the rules.

      You really can’t allow your minions to go around ignoring your rules even if “it was the correct thing to do”.

      The classic answer is to give a non-lethal punishment to the minion in question so he (and others know he was punished) and then promote him (or otherwise reward him) because he was correct to violate the rules.

      1. This is where it pays off to have cultivated and developed a good cadre of NCO-minions – a simple inquiry of the NCO-backchannel can determine what course the Evil Overlord should best publicly take, while a similar word-to-the-wise message down-chain can get a promising junior minion to accept NJP, or conversely the troublesome ones can be encouraged to fight their issue in front of the Evil Overlord’s Courts Martial so they can be disposed of with all proper procedure being scrupulously followed.

    2. I agree – if you are going to be the Evil Overlord instead of the behind-the-scenes role, Lord Vetinari is the one to emulate:
      1. “Never build a dungeon you wouldn’t want to spend the night in yourself,” 2. “Never build a dungeon you can’t get out of.”
      3. Always be the one to organize the grass roots efforts against yourself – up to and including the assassination plots.
      4. Always know what is going on. If someone is in your audience chamber, you should always know why the visitor is there, even if the visitor him or her self does not.
      5. Make sure that all the power wielding factions dislike each other more than they dislike you.
      6. Co-opt the rightful heir to the throne/highest noble into a leadership role in the equivalent of the Watch so they have an incentive to enforce law and order.
      7. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
      8. Spend the time and energy to organize criminals into Guilds.

      1. It should be noted that Vetenari didn’t co-opt Carrot into a leadership role in the Watch. Carrot more or less did that to himself. Vetenari is presumably familiar enough with the role of narrative to realize that he shouldn’t interfere.

        1. Nod, Vetenari likely knows the advantage “being the true heir” brings to a rebellion and since Carrot is the “true heir” that means a rebellion against Vetenari is less possible to be successful.

        2. This is Vetenari we’re talking about. Carrot may have thought it was his own idea to join the Watch. Somehow I doubt that was indeed the case (or that Vetenari ever lost track of Carrot in the first place). See above re intelligence networks. Of course, once Carrot is in the Watch, Vetenari is smart enough to let the role of narrative play out.

      2. Problem with #2. – If You can get out of it, hero/victim has a chance to find a way out of it also.

        1. If the hero is a threat, or the victim is that valuable, then they won’t be thrown in the dungeon.

          Easiest way is to build two types of cells, a large number of standard dungeon type cells, and a couple of more comfortable high-security guest quarters for ‘special guests’. The dungeons don’t need to be absolutely escape proof, because the common rabble likely won’t be clever enough to escape, and if they do, they’re not important enough to matter. If you get overthrown by someone stupid, that’s where they’ll throw you, because it’s the dungeon.

          The guest quarters aren’t inescapable, just much more difficult, because you should always assume the hero is smart enough to escape in a way you didn’t plan and make your plans accordingly. For a hero you absolutely need to keep alive and in one place, you want multiple layers of security keeping them in, not just rely on the physical design of your prison. If your enemy is smart enough to throw you in the ‘guest quarters’ instead of the dungeon, they want you alive for a reason, and are smart enough to think like you would, so plan accordingly.

          Vetinari puts this principle into work in Ankh-Morpork. The dungeons are lousy places he throws people he doesn’t care about, or doesn’t care if they escape. He knows he can recapture Moist if the conman escapes before he can make his offer (in fact, Moist escaping is part of his plan to show how futile trying to fight Vetinari is). On the other hand, Leonard of Quirm, while an involuntary guest of his Lordship, has ‘guest quarters’ accommodations which are nice enough that the inventor doesn’t try to escape (though Leonard is… clever enough he probably could).

          The stupid enemy thing is important. If you’re up against a smart man, well, to paraphrase the Discworld saying, if they don’t need you alive, “a smart man will kill you with hardly a word.” This goes for bad men as well as good men.

  19. Dear Evil Space Princess.

    Although the advice on wardrobe is helpful I still have some questions. While you mentioned colors you didn’t bring up styles, accessories, or makeup.

    Do you recommend pants in all cases for personal wear or can a skirt be properly intimidating? I’m partial to black lace. Do you think it has a place in an conquest outfit? Also, is it okay to carry a full purse or is conquest a clutch or (going another direction) backpack kind of event?

    Finally, is it acceptable to wear bright and shimmery looks? Can I contrast my basic black outfits with something more dramatic, say purples or reds, for the eyes?

    Aspiring conquering fashionistas await your guidance.

    1. The thing to remember is the total effect. Many Evil Overlords have achieved quite dramatic effects with bright and shimmering colors. The famous White Witch and Lady of the Green Kirtle, for instance.

    2. As always with costumes, functionality comes first. If you are relying on your costume to protect you from attacks or the environment, look at a good armored full-body outfit. If you rely on mobility, make sure any skirt won’t hamper your movements. If you rely on a magitech force field for protection, or don’t engage in combat at all, just about anything goes… for the female villain (or, specifically, the young-looking female villain).

      Male villains should never wear shorts or kilts unless explicitly dictated by their theme. The Scottish Avenger and Anubis, Lord of the Underworld can wear kilts, and the Surfing Death can wear shorts and possibly not look ridiculous. Villains with associations with chaos or insanity can possibly get away with anything, as the rules of fashion tend to be deliberately reversed for them.

      As far as colors go, anything works as long as you fit it with your powers and theme. The pink laser can get away with a neon pink costume, while someone with control over darkness cannot. Two important pointers: always get a color profile done. Neon blue does not go with a ‘fall’ color profile. Second, if you are going anywhere near Japan, get a second profile done, as colors tend to look odd there, especially hair colors. It must be something in the lighting…

  20. Dear EBBSP,
    There’s a young, but very talented kid coming up fast in my Legions of Doom. I’m wanting to make him my prime henchman (against the advice of my current prime henchman), but I have some misgivings. For one, he looks a lot like one of the foes I vanquished, humiliated, tortured and killed in front of his family about 15 or so years ago.
    My question is this- should I promote him in a lavish, grand ceremony, or just do it privately?

    1. IMO you may have failed to do a strict background check on members of your Legions of Doom.

      Too many evil overlords have been taken down by an avenging relative of people they have killed some of which have managed to join the overlords’s forces.

      On the other hand, ignoring the advice of your senior henchman is extremely foolish. There a good reason that you made him/her your senior henchman so why are you ignoring his advice now?

      Of course, even if you have good reasons to trust this member of your Legions and have good reasons to replace your senior henchman, since your senior henchman obviously doesn’t want to be replaced, you’re best off in removing your senior henchman permanently before you promote the new guy.

      In short, your question about “grand ceremony vs privately” is the least of your concerns.

      1. The kid tends to get really evasive and nervous when questioned about his background, to the point of staring off into the distance… as if he’s having some sort of flashback. Or giving me hate filled glances.
        Come to think of it, he really doesn’t seem all keen on joining in during Village Pillage Time, and his Evil Performance Stats are way lower than my current Prime Henchman’s.
        Anyway, the kid has a lot of drive, almost as if he has some sort of difficult goal to reach, and that’s the important thing, right? Despite the utter lack of background info, and the fact that he is less effective than my Prime Henchman (who has demonstrated personal loyalty since we started out).

        1. Give him a gift of an exploding amulet (don’t tell him what it is) and send him off to command an outpost (while keeping a secret eye on him).

          When/if he betrays your trust trigger the explosion.

        2. Sounds like a test of some sort might be in order. The next time you have a village that needs to be completely and utterly destroyed, I suggest that you have the young up and comer personally command the forces leading the attack. You and the rest of your army can hang back in the hills a bit and watch the carnage. Perhaps you could enjoy a nice picnic, enhanced by the screams of those who are painfully dying in the village below.

          Make sure that you remind the up and comer that every last person in the village must be put to the sword. I’m sure that he’ll be so excited about having the opportunity to lead that he’ll accidentally forget this important admonition. It’s your responsibility, as the Evil Overlord, to make sure he doesn’t forget.

          1. And if the kid doesn’t perform as ordered, we put ’em in the Needlessly Complicated Death Trap, yeah?

        3. Personally, I’d recommend a private ceremony just like Joe Pesci’s character Tommy received in Good Fellas. Suddenly, he’s gone and we can’t do nothing about it.

          1. Reason, and my Prime Henchman’s collected evidence finally won out, and after a good bit of torture, we found out the little (redacted) was the young son of my defeated foe from way back on a quest for revenge. Who would have guessed it?

            We debated the idea that we should either throw him in the Needlessly Complicated Death Trap, or release him for some vague reason having to do with shame or something??.. I’m not really sure what the point was.
            Anyway, I personally shot him in the head, then personally ran him through the woodchipper, and personally tossed what was left into the volcano.

            1. Well, it is good that you managed to find enough research to pin down his identity. For him, your killing his father was the most important day of his life while for you it was Tuesday. Hard to keep track of things like that. 😉

  21. On the Harem.

    As the evil overlord called “Lacks Balls” learned, beware of the “brainless bimbo”.

    The bimbo may not be as “brainless” as you thought.

    In the case of “Lack Balls”, she was observed for sometime as well as being “brain-scanned” and she actually was “brainless”.

    However, once she was alone with “Lack Balls” her true personality/memory/intelligence returned and she killed him as well as removing his balls. 😈

  22. Never underestimate the power of a molded cup and strong elastic to give the proper form when gravity is not on your side. Also useful for storing small weapons.

  23. The chain mail bra brought to mind a disguise to grab the attention of one’s enemies and get close enough for a 100% kill rate: Paint two blue legs and feet below each, for they will never have seen such attention-grabbing blue-footed boobies.

    Carp Shields UP. Mr. Sulu!

  24. Dear Evil But Beautiful Space Princess,

    May one ask for an explanation of the “cold shoulder top?” It puzzles me that someone thought of this, although in a certain cut it looks fancy.

    1. Most women have good symmetrical shoulder shape, even if everything below the shoulders is unfashionably fat or thin. Also, showing skin provides a handy mind control device, while any sort of precarious appearance to one’s clothing invokes the theoretical possibility of wardrobe malfunction or sexy dishabille (another mind control device). Finally, it does look pretty.

      But anyone with uneven shoulders should usually avoid the look, just as scoliosis and backless dresses do not usually mix.

  25. Dear Evil Space Princess,
    You’ve rightly mentioned careful oiling of hot bodies, for which I commend you, but might I also suggest oiling of loincloths and bikinis? After all, leather tends to become rather uncomfortable if not properly maintained, leading to the very pinching that it’s meant to avoid. And chainmail rusts terribly without attention. Maintaining one’s gear is a tricky business, to be sure, but it’s all part of proper henchmanship, and it wouldn’t do to disappoint one’s adoring henchfans.

  26. Several thoughts, some seconding those of others: on battlefield stench – Vicks Vaporub or orange oil around the nostrils counteracts most smells, although some advocate the Big Black Cigar, assuming OSHA still permits smoking in your dungeon or torture chamber. Blood needs to be removed from leather, else it hardens and diminishes utility. Harems must be considered like any other addictive substance or behavior – remember that overlording is your primary purpose; this also goes for personally torturing insignificant foes – such things should be delegated to minions (wih appropriate supervision.)
    Considering pet peeves – local shop has ferrets next to guinea pigs – so far, I have refrained from transferring one or two to the other cage but the urge is growing.

  27. Regarding the harem: I’m surprised no one yet has advocated the “prisoners-as-harem” model, where you keep them locked up and have one (or more) brought to your chambers shackled for your evening’s pleasure, and returned when finished.

    1. There are probably women out here who are not desperate to kill you, so maybe recruiting from that pool is a better idea.

  28. Dear Evil (But Beautiful) Space Princess,
    Just saw this on Instapundit and immediately thought of your carp-a-pult operators. This could be a really nice (and very evil (SJW definition)) Christmas (another evil (SJW definition)) gift for them.

    1. Dear EBBSP, I posted a comment without refreshing to see that the evil scott2harrison had beaten me to the carp-punch.

      What should I do now. Total thermocarpular war?

  29. I think at this point the “erotic carp calendar” link posted by Insty the Blogfather should be entered into evidence.

    Evidence of what, I am not quite exactly sure.

    1. Evidence that the West is trying really hard to duplicate the “Dream of the FIsherman’s Wife” but not quite succeeding?

  30. Dear EBBSP,
    I’m having problems with the children of long slain foes on vengeance quest- either attempting to infiltrate my organization, or by learning strong fighting skills to lead rag-tag bands of misfits.
    We changed the rules on Village Pillage night so that my Armies of Doom & Darkness are to leave no survivors, but there’s always some little brat that gets saved by warrior monks, barbarian heros, wolves, or something!
    What should I do?

  31. “… the normal attire for going on a war of conquest is black …”

    I’ll have you know that a silver cape and a small metallic “disco” ball in your hand can get you anything you want

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