Just For Fun / The Universal Genre Savvy Guide

"Isaac Clarke is basically the character who does everything we keep yelling at people in horror films to do. He has a suit of armor that he never takes off, he uses convenient high-powered cutting tools to carve his initials into slime monsters, and he never speaks, because he knows his dialogue would have to come from the same God-awful script that all the other sods are using."

Why should the Evil Overlord have all the Genre Savvy knowledge? Anyone can figure out what to do, depending on what kind of fiction they are in, and what kind of character they are.

Read these lists, and you'll be Genre Savvy, or close enough. Fail to read them, and your Genre Blindness will condemn you to pick up any Idiot Ball you see, perhaps even become Too Dumb to Live. Just make sure you read the right list. As a note, any one of these might count just as well for another kind of story (for example, Caveat Emptor when entering The Little Shop That Wasn't There Yesterday is a given in both a transformation comic and a horror story) but it's your choice how much of each genre you decide to be savvy about in any given moment.

Note that developing one's character further, whether good or evil, is always beneficial. No matter what genre you're in, it makes you popular among the fanbase, and may even make the story more popular—which is, again, always good. Done properly, it may even induce characters of the opposite side to assist you.

For various character types and other miscellaneous guides, see the TV Tropes "How to" Guides index.

Please feel free to add any tips you have in the relevant sections.

    open/close all folders 

By Genre

    Multi-genre 
  • No matter what genre I am in, if I walk into a room/house/cave/forest clearing/etc, and see my beloved spouse/fiancée/love muffin being kissed by someone else, I will not automatically assume that s/he is cheating on me. I will remember that sometimes people are the recipients of unwanted affection. Above all, no matter how much emotional pain this puts me in, I will not run away sobbing and flat-out refuse to listen to anything my loved one has to say. I will at least stay there until I have clear confirmation that he/she is cheating on me. Then I will run away/take revenge/whatever.
    • Scratch the above, actually. Whenever I see people doing strange, seemingly violent or suggestive things, I will not make assumptions about the situation. Far too many relationships—both romantic and platonic—have been ruined that way. Anyway, if the situation really is as dangerous as it seems, running away won't help—it'll just alert the killer to my presence.
    • I will also consider the possibility of it being an illusion or the result of brainwashing by a villain. There's nothing better for seeding conflict than telepathic abilities.
  • If I am informed that I have, for example, won something in a contest I don't remember entering, I will ring back and inquire about it. I will not simply say "Woot, free stuff!" and accept—many cursed items cannot be passed on unless the receiver willingly takes it on themselves.
  • If someone I know causes the lights to flicker when they enter the room, I will disassociate myself with them immediately until it is conclusively proven to be safe to do otherwise.
  • My Best Friend is not allowed to take my Cool Car out for any reason, least of all to impress a chick. The Monster of the Week will start his attack the instant that car hits asphalt.
  • If the dashboard of my Cool Car is covered with buttons, I will have it programmed to only accept input from myself and the True Companions least likely to start blindly pushing random buttons trying to find the A/C and radio controls.
  • I will never just roll on into a backwater town or county in my Cool Car and start asking questions unannounced. Instead, I will conduct careful research into the area and call ahead to make sure the sheriff knows who I am and what I'm expected to be doing in his jurisdiction (as much as I'm at liberty to disclose to him, anyway).
  • I will ascertain whether the fireproof tunic makes me fireproof as well. If it only actually protects an area of my body the size of a short-sleeved shirt, it's not going to be that helpful to me.
  • I will be polite towards any cop who arrests me, unless they're working for a tyrannical dictatorship (and maybe even then). Especially if the cop is forced to postpone my imprisonment for whatever reason and go on a journey with me. We may have just found ourselves in a buddy cop movie.
  • Being interrupted in the middle of a ritual is a real bummer. As a guideline, any single ritual longer than 15 or so seconds (30 seconds maximum) can generally be replaced with the appropriate use of a 12-gauge shotgun or other mundane weapon of choice.
  • While keeping an important key on a chain around my neck isn't a bad security idea, I will make sure to tuck it under my nightwear before I go to sleep so some enterprising hero can't steal it while I lie there helpless. To help this, a short and relatively tight chain is a good measure, although I will make sure I can't be choked using it.
  • I will not send an inexperienced patrol to deal with a dangerous suspect, especially not if the crime is happening so many floors up. Instead, qualified site personnel will be dispatched in packs to subdue the offender.
  • If I'm head of a religious order or a cult, I will abolish the practice of lynching anyone thought to be a witch without so much as a fair trial. The long-term results are never worth it.
  • If my enemies ever try to get me to cease my actions by listing off all of my flaws, vices and past misdeeds, I will realize my enemy is trying to psychologically manipulate me. If possible, I will ignore them. If I can't ignore them, I will refute everything they say. If I can do neither, I will kill them, then go back to whatever it was I was doing.
    • Furthermore, if I am the hero, I will realize that the villain believes I won't attack him while he's talking. Fighting with honor and glory is certainly preferable to underhanded tactics, but if the fate of the city/country/planet/universe/etc. is on the line, my moral quandaries about murder become secondary.
  • I will never insult- or even mention- anyone's weight, height, unusual name, disability, lack of a partner, pronounce/spell their name wrong, question their expertise, question the importance of something they value greatly, insult their family, touch their hair or their hat, misidentify their species, or do anything else that could make them angry unless it's absolutely necessary. You never know what could set people off.
    • Furthermore, by deliberately refusing to make fun of their disability, especially if it's very noticeable, I may win myself a friend through my compassion.

    Fairy Tales 
  • I will be polite, kind, charitable, virtuous, honest, caring, etc. Karma will reward me. However, I will not pretend to be any of these things expecting a reward.
  • I will be polite and helpful to anyone or anything I meet, especially old people, talking animals, and not-so-inanimate objects. I will graciously accept any gift they give me. It will come in handy later on.
  • I will listen to and follow the advice of a mentor character like a talking animal or magical old person.
  • If I am given a choice between a plain object and a fancy, valuable, shiny object, I will not take the shiny one, especially if I was warned against it by the talking animal or magical old person.
  • I will not make deals with mystical beings if I can avoid it, especially if it involves me giving up something important like my firstborn child. If I do make a deal with a mystical being or anyone else, I will hold up my end of the deal.
    • If I am the mystical being making the offer, I will ask to be invited to the wedding rather than take the firstborn. It works out better.
  • In fact, I will go out of my way to avoid mystical beings, unless I'm absolutely sure it will help me on my quest with no Devil's-deal catches on my part. I will always wear my iron bracelet. If I ever see beautiful girls dancing in the meadow, I will turn around, ride away and never look back.
    • If I must encounter one of The Fair Folk, I will make it my top priority to learn its real name. This will give me leverage should I have to make a deal with it. In turn, I will remember to call myself by an alias. (Note: I will check my setting to see if I'm allowed onomantic powers before I try this.)
    • I will also pay very close attention to their Exact Words.
  • If I am an eldest or middle child, I will be extremely nice to the youngest child and let them go ahead with whatever quest or something needs to be done, instead of trying it myself first and inevitably failing.
  • I will remember that if a being is immortal and incapable of lying, they have had a long time to figure out how to twist the truth, abuse loopholes, use Self-Fulfilling Prophecy, etc.
  • If I am the hero, I will be persistent. The Determinator always wins.
  • If I am king and looking for a way to find the next king, I will use a series of impossible tasks. The hero will be the only one who completes it. However, if I am putting out the impossible tasks so that no one will be able to marry my daughter or become the next king, I will be aware that it won't work and there will be a hero who completes them. Adding more tasks after they've completed the ones I originally set out is just delaying the inevitable, and may have ugly consequences.
  • No matter how sweet my governess or my neighbor is, I will not suggest that my father marry her.
    • This goes double if I have a Wicked Stepmother, and this governess or neighbor gives me an idea on how to kill her so that it looks like an accident. It can indeed get worse.
  • If I know that I am prone to extreme jealousy, I will not marry someone who already has a child, particularly if their child is my gender. I will also check for whether we are in Fractured Fairy Tale before marrying.
    • If I do marry, I will treat the child as if they were my own and seek therapy immediately if my jealousy of them manifests even once.
    • That includes if their child is a son, I have a daughter, and my attempts to match-make them don't succeed. I will look for other matches. Turning him into a bear doesn't encourage him to marry her, and even if it happens, my grandchildren will suffer for it.
  • If I am the child of the Wicked Stepmother, I will be perfectly nice to my step-/half-sibling. True, I'm more like to be the supporting character than the hero, but it's better than the villain—and hero is not absolutely impossible.
  • I will never kick, punch, or otherwise damage The Hero with any sort of object. Chances are, someone is going to need him the instant it happens.
  • Similarly, I will never get into anything with the Damsel or the Princess except what is absolutely necessary. Plenty of time for that when it's all over.
  • If I really have to kill my beautiful step-daughter I will do the deed myself. And I will use a dagger instead of feeding her a poisoned apple and leaving her not quite dead to be awakened by her true love.
  • I will never stand on the way of True Love. It never works.
  • If my beautiful step-daughter falls in love with a prince, I will fully support their relationship and enjoy benefits of being (legally) mother of the future queen. I will also ask my step-daughter to arrange good marriages for her less fortunate, less beautiful step-sisters. Preferably with the king's younger sons.
  • If I have a magical mirror that seems to know everything and always tells the truth, I won't waste it on asking if I'm World's Most Beautiful Woman; I'll let the Evil Empress do that. There's plenty of more practical things, chief among them wise political decisions, I can use it for.
  • If I run into an angry feline beast, I will check its paws for splinters.
    • From as much of a distance as possible, mind, just in case there aren't any.

    Fantasy 

For Dragons
  • I will be a good-aligned dragon (or at least feign being good-aligned), and be of as much benefit to the surrounding territory as I can. Being a grumpy recluse or an evil tyrant is just asking to be slain.
    • Likewise with the kidnapping of princesses and damsels.
    • I will ignore their respective Spear Counterpart as well. More often than not, a man put in this role will be an insufferable prick and/or a Dirty Coward to make the female protagonist rescuing him look more heroic. Not worth having in my lair.
  • I will take a chill pill and not fly into an Unstoppable Rage if somebody pinches a coin, artifact, or Damsel in Distress from my hoard. Dragons that do this get slain and lose their ENTIRE hoard to the pink apes.
  • It's only a matter of time before another dragon shows up to kill and/or overthrow me. Therefore, I will train the pink apes into a Badass Army and finance the building of fortresses designed and equipped to take down this dragon before he reaches me.
    • Note: fortresses that can take down another dragon capable of killing me are capable of taking me down. Therefore, I will include magical self-destruct mechanisms in the structures and weaponry, in case the pink apes get uppity.
    • Forcing the pink apes to rebuild the fortresses and defenses every time I leave the lair will only make them disgruntled and prone to further rebellion, so self-destruct mechanisms will be reserved as a last resort. Instead, I will have the anti-dragon weapons equipped with safety mechanisms to disable them when not being used for their ordained purpose.
  • I will maintain active diplomatic relations with other non-hostile dragons. Socially-active dragons share advice, intelligence, and other resources that can vastly improve their overall life expectancy.
    • I will compile a whitelist of the names and portraits of these dragons to give to my generals. Any pink ape that so much as considers attacking a dragon on that list will be arrested. I'll decide how best to discipline them at the trial.note 
  • Combat with The Dragonslayer assumes that I'll be stupid enough to stay within range of his weapons, let alone land and try to fight him on the ground. It does not assume that I'll use my superior intellect and vast fortunes to develop and use long-ranged weapons his armor can't possibly protect against.
    • I will keep an eye on The Dragonslayer if he's a noble-paladin type. I might be able to manipulate or reason with the guy. If not, I'll just let him go about his business. Unless it happens to be killing me. Then I'll have him assassinated, reforge his armor into a nice plant pot and use his ashes to fertilize the shrubbery I plant in it. note 
    • The barbarian Blood Knight Dragonslayer who wantonly slaughters any dragon they happen across for glory and profit, and then dresses himself and his gear with their body parts as trophies will NOT be welcome in my territory.
    • I will offer bounties to my followers for identifying and disposing of hostile Dragonslayers for me. It saves ammo.
  • I will keep a mirror in my lair large enough for me to inspect myself for any obvious weak spots that can be hit by Annoying Arrows and thrown swords.
  • If patching those weak spots isn't practical for whatever reason, I'll see about forging a suit of badass dragon armor.
  • I will never do the Dragonheart thing and transplant some part of myself into a human to give him the strength, power, and/or long life of a dragon. It's never worth it, even if they're a saint.
    • I will not hide this ability from my followers, though. Instead, I'll keep them well informed about this ability, as well as the above rule. Anyone that refuses to take "no" for an answer after being so educated will be blasted into embers.
  • I will NOT refrain from mating with the pink apes. Half-Human Hybrids with Dragon Ancestry make for some of the most badass heroes in existence, and I want some of them working for me.
    • I will see to it that my half-dragon progeny are raised with love and treated as equals by their pink-ape peers, and that they're offered the best military training and ample opportunities to learn whatever trade skills they fancy. I will not abandon them to a life of abuse and Fantastic Racism over their Dragon Ancestry, and then come back years later to kill or manipulate them when they're hardened badass Dragonslayers.

    Furry 
General Furry
  • That strange hairless monkey with no common sense is called a human. He or she is the main character, and shall be treated appropriately.
  • If I am the only Furry in the work, I will not behave in any manner that will encourage the fan base to kill me off—they'll already be after my blood. Safest to hide as comic relief.
  • If there is, has been, or may ever be sort of conflict between humans and furries, I will act conciliatory towards both sides (especially if I'm human) to avoid being on the wrong side when conflict breaks out.
    • If I'm human, I will not attempt to engage a furry in a fair fight. A lot of furries will have at least some of the physical attributes that give their normal-animal counterpart the advantage.
    • If I'm furry, I will not attempt to engage a human in a fair fight. I may have claws, teeth, and other natural advantages he doesn't, but his species has a millennia-long history of experience in the killing of animals, humans and humanoid animals.
    • Or, should I wish to stay neutral, I will do as much as I am able to get away before such a conflict breaks out, detractors be damned.
  • I will take note of and learn how to respond to any Animal Stereotypes that exist in the setting I live in, and especially ones applicable to my particular species. If they exist, they will be used against me at some point in my adventures.
  • I will learn hand-to-hand combat and keep at least three nonlethal weapons within easy reach at all times in case of a would-be assailant. I'll also try to stay modest and follow personal-safety guidelines to minimize the chance I'll ever need to use them.
    • If I need to fight off a would-be assailant, I will make use of whatever natural weapons and defenses come as part my species, as demonstrated here.
    • If my natural senses aren't sensitive enough to detect somebody stalking me, I'll look into artificial senses that are.
  • If any methods of making me the size of a toy or insect (potions, shrink rays, etc.) exist, I will stay FAR away from them, by any and all means necessary. If being around such hazards is unavoidable, I will avoid handling them unless I absolutely have to. If any counters/antidotes to these shrinking hazards exist, I will keep one at hand at all times if possible. No need to spend who knows how long the size of an ant.
  • I will do what I can to mate within my own genus if it's at all possible. Interspecies Romances tend to yield hybrid babies that are harder to manage than non-hybrid ones. Not only that, but hybrids are also frequent targets for Fantastic Racism later in life.
  • I will dress fully and wear shoes, even if it's normal to be half naked, naked except for a few accessories, or barefoot in the setting. Fur and feathers are a bitch to clean after slogging through mud, oil, sewage, etc.

Yiff and Fetish

  • I will not participate in any activity that involves any kind of crazy fetish, inflation or otherwise.
  • Most of the time, an object or place will telegraph that its purpose is to trigger a fetish scene in some way. I will only worry about something being a fetish if it actually has those tells; otherwise, I will go about my business as usual.
    • The name or background of the place or object will contain an obvious reference to the fetish in question, and it will be adorned with images obviously depicting that fetish in some way.
    • If somebody insists on giving an item to me over my objections, I will accept it...and then immediately turn it over to the police as soon as the person is gone. It was either stolen from somebody dangerous or enchanted with a fetish spell. Either way, bullet dodged.
    • If I see a piece of gum with the word "Wonka" on the wrapper, I will run like The Legions of Hell are spawning from it. Yes, I have read the book and seen both movies. I know exactly what is about to happen to whoever chews it.
  • If anyone mentions yiff and the like to me, I will feign complete incomprehension in the hope that my hilariously innocent personality will insulate me from any goings-on. If it doesn't, I'll make use of the hand-to-hand combat training I learned up in the General Furry rules.
  • I will not associate myself with anyone that pressures me into participating in any kind of crazy fetish.
  • Herms are characters that have the sexual organs and characteristics of both sexes, and it's rare to see one outside of fur fetish. However, rejecting or avoiding a herm because of their dual sex is a good way to get targeted with a fetish as Laser-Guided Karma, so I'll accept them as a friend (without benefits, let it be stressed) and help them develop away from being only good for fetish.
  • If I walk in on an inflation fetish scene in progress, I will immediately subdue and restrain anybody that's not inflated, stop and disable any equipment they have running, and see if I can deflate the victims safely.
    • I won't try to run away from the scene. If the fetishist doesn't block my escape, I'll be leaving him free to continue his work and his victims to pop and possibly die horribly. That automatically sentences me to Karmic Death by the same method.
  • If I have fetish-friendly Bizarre Alien Biology—the ability to self-inflate, for example—I will learn to manage it such that I don't lose control of it at inopportune times.
    • I will also make it public knowledge. Keeping it private gives the pervert intent on having his way with me fewer people to distract.
  • I will make sure to get a security system for my living space, and I will especially never let anybody inside unless they're friends.
  • Feral animals are just as capable of being on the giving and receiving ends of a fetish. Therefore, every rule here applies to feral animals as much as they do any Funny Animal or Petting Zoo Person.

    Harem 

If I am the lead...

  • I will keep my hands in my pockets at all times around women. Failure to do so can have unfortunate consequences.
  • I will memorize a large list of Innocent Innuendo and avoid using any of it, especially when talking to my female costars.
  • I will stay away from the hot spring, especially if it is clothing optional. This goes double for communual baths. My bath will be in a separate room only accessible from my own bedroom, which I will keep locked whenever I am not there.
    • If avoiding the baths is impossible, I will invest in a check-in sheet for the door, so that I do not end up entering while someone of the opposite gender is inside.
      • Even with that precaution in place, I will make sure to knock and ask if someone is inside at least three times before actually entering. Loudly slamming the door is a good idea, too.
  • As mentioned above, I will not encourage the advances of suitors. I will tell them at the first possible opportunity that I am not looking for a relationship. My door will have a sign on it that says "Nope, still not interested." It would be prudent of me to already have a boy/girlfriend who is not a member of the harem and to inform the harem about our existing relationship. Wearing a fake engagement ring might help as well.
    • If the above fails, I will claim to be homosexual. Unless my harem includes a Yaoi Fan/Yuri Fan.
    • If the harem includes a Yandere, this is could mean a death sentence for my significant-other, me, anyone nearby, and/or a few police. Thus, in the interest of saving lives, I will demand a Suicide Pact as proof of love, ideally with the Yandere dying before and me later (of old age, surrounded by grandchildren). Note: This will not work if they're already some sort of undead.
  • Before committing to any one girl (if that's even necessary), be sure to have sufficient knowledge of all the girls in the harem and sort out any problems, psychosis, etc. they might have. While this can and will be difficult with other girls being jealous of your attention giving and may end up making said girl harder to get rid of from the harem, the last thing you need is a Yandere at your neck.
  • I will never allow my friends to convince me to peek in girls bath, changing room, or anything similar to those examples.
    • If they go on without me, I will not try to stop them. Chances are good I will get caught while they get away. Instead I will tell either an adult or one of the girls. (But not the Cute Psycho. Screams of Agony make a poor lullaby)
    • In the same vein, I will attempt to avoid having friends that are Loveable Sex Maniacs or any other personality that perpetuates the All Men Are Perverts stereotype, who salivate at the idea of taking advantage of my situation without regards to whatever harm will befall me in the long run. Those types lead to the situations described above and generally cause more problems.
    • If I can help it, at least some my friends should consist of other, like-minded, rational folks who are able to respect the people who make up my harem as people first and not "opportunities". Not only will that help with managing all the girls attracted to me by not causing unnecessary confusion, but it will also allow the possibility for some of the girls to become more attracted to my friends rather than myself, thinning out the ones chasing me and ensuring all of them don't end up being alone in the case I begin a relationship with one of them.
  • Should I have an attractive younger or older sister or female cousin that I have a very close relationship with, I will make sure to introduce her to all of the girls attracted to me as soon as possible to avoid confusion.
  • If I hear someone scream in another room, I will shout "What's wrong?" and wait for a response before entering the room.
  • I will make it clear that I do not intend to accept physical abuse from anyone, regardless of my gender. Anyone trying to hit me will be stopped. If I am unable to stop the attack, I will either counter to the best of my ability or else try to get whatever authorities are appropriate to deal with the situation.
  • At no point will I use the word "love" towards someone unless I seriously mean it. Above all, I will never say "I love you/her...as a friend." It never helps.
  • Upon discovering I have a harem, I will go over each member in my head. If there are one or more members I feel I would never choose over the others, I will be sure to tell them I'm not interested. Otherwise, things get needlessly complicated.
    • The only exception to this rule is if their hidden depths are later revealed to me, and that drastically changes my opinion of them.
    • When someone who I don't love confesses to me in that way, I will treat their emotions seriously and not forget about how they feel the minute I walk out the door. I don't have to pussyfoot around them for the rest of our lives, but I should take into account how they feel when doing things that are relevant. I will not assume that their emotions have gone away until shown otherwise, and I will remember that denial, though comfortable for me, ultimately solves nothing.
  • To be truly savvy, grow a spine and then deliberately break most or all above rules. Play those girls for all it's worth, because you may never have another chance like it.
    • I will make sure that no lasting harm will come of this. A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, no matter what its nature, is no excuse to be reckless.
    • Caveat: most of the above advice is intended to avoid serious injuries delivered by pissed-off girls. Taking advantage of the situation has been known to result in an instant Karmic Death.
  • If I have a potential love interest but if I find out that there is someone else who has known him/her well and cared for them since childhood and is quite possibly in love with them (even if they won't admit it at first) I will back off and not be a potential threat to their love life, especially if that potential love interest still genuinely cares for that person. (In fact if possible I might even try to see if I can play match-maker with them but that's optional.) Because even if I do make that other person an Unlucky Childhood Friend there is a very good chance that the fanbase will (to put it mildly) definitely want to take their side (and it's often rather justified). However that's only if that person is genuinely good; if s/he would deserve to be an Unlucky Childhood Friend then it's no problem then.
    • This policy may be modified if they faced a long separation and seeing each other for the first time several months after I met my love interest. In that case I still stand a chance. Naturally, I will still be as nice as possible, but I may use this opportunity to act conspicuously insecure somewhere my love interest can see me.
  • If I am trying to be a Victorious Childhood Friend I will persevere but do it in the friendliest way possible, while it is true that if I do end up to be an Unlucky Childhood Friend I will most likely appear to be quite sympathetic. (However I should be really careful and try not to take a level in Jerkass; otherwise that would make any sympathy go away.) But if I can't avoid being an Unlucky Childhood Friend, and if I have a choice in either I Want My Beloved to Be Happy or Took a Level in Jerkass, I will definitely choose the former.
    • For that matter, if I find myself having romantic feelings and/or attraction to my childhood friend, I will tell them as soon as I figure it out. If I wait until after the crazy stuff has started or someone else starts to show an interest in them, it's probably too late.
  • If I'm stuck in a situation in which all of my love interests are sadistic arseholes, I will speak my mind when they get out of control instead of keeping my mouth shut, and find some way to escape my situation even if it kills me. Besides, they don't seem to care about me, so it would just make sense to take a "burden" off of their shoulders.
    • Above all else, do not fall in love with them. I'll be more likely to justify and excuse their less savory actions towards me if I do. I'll try to keep as many loving influences around me as possible too, in order to remind myself what kind of relationships I should actually potentially want.
  • If (while still in high school or college) I have been assigned to become the landlord/manager for a girls' dormitory, and I run into a girl my age (literally or otherwise), I will ask her for directions to the place, since she will most likely be a resident there (and thus can back me up when I have to convince all the other residents that I'm not a pervert).

If I am a love interest...

  • I will not be a Tsundere if I can help it. It can be needlessly confusing and any lead worth their harem would stay away from the Mood-Swinger.
    • If I must be a tsundere, I will be a Type B.
  • I will also not be a Yandere. See bullet 1. Also, do I really want to be known as "The Crazy One"?
  • I will befriend the other members of the harem. First, it's good to know the competition. Second, a friendly harem is less likely to Murder the Hypotenuse and more likely to end on relatively good terms.
  • If I happen to be female, the doors to the bathroom and my room will be sturdy and have locks, my clothes will be durable and able to withstand a strong tug without falling apart, and any diaries/embarrassing pictures/other such items will be either disposed of by burning or kept in a safe inside a locked closet at all times.
    • I will not immediately attack the lead if I catch them doing something that's possibly perverted. Instead, I will calm down and listen to what they have to say. Unless they are known for being a Handsome Lech, they probably ARE telling the truth, as farfetched as it may seem. And sometimes, even the lech is being honest.
  • Unless I am sparring with them, I resist the urge to attack the lead with the exception of the occasional Dope Slap or Bright Slap. By attacking them, I have given them the right to retaliate, female or not. Also, I have given the rest of the harem reason to attack me as well.
  • If I am the Broken Bird in the harem or Troubled, but Cute, I will remember that unless the lead is explicitly the cause of my emotional problems, they are not responsible for my emotional problems and thus resist dumping or projecting them on to them.
  • If I am the Cute Psycho in the harem, I will try to quell my psycho urges. Most leads will put up with a cute psycho so long as they are more cute than psycho.
  • If I genuinely expect the lead to become my lover, I will tell the lead that I LIKE THEM. I will do this as soon as I personally figure it out. I will say it in ways they understand and as long and as often as it takes for them to get it or until they tell me to shut up.
  • If the lead tells me "No, I don't want to go out with you," I will neither Murder the Hypotenuse nor the lead. Instead, I will smile, say "Thank you" and leave with as much dignity as I can muster. This has a two-fold benefit: one, the lead will be more likely to remember me fondly which will help my chances should I decide to try again much later; and two, this will likely impress the lead's attractive friends, at least one of whom may consider dating me.
  • When I, the lead, and the other members of the harem go to a water park, and one of the girls gives me an inner-tube that needs to be inflated, I will not accept it (because if I did, she would get a big head-start).
  • I will keep an eye on the lead's attractive friends. If they can have choices, so can I. Fair's fair.
  • If I can see that the lead genuinely cares about me and the other girls in the harem, and isn't able to choose between us, I will consider Marry Them All solution. This will spare us trouble with a Love Dodecahedron and prevent Ship-to-Ship Combat from destroying the fandom.

    Horror 
Cosmic Horror
  • I will not treat things as a Scooby-Doo style man in a mask when there is blatant, copious evidence to the contrary.
    • I will avoid associating myself with anyone who does the above, lest that person ends up taking me with them to their graves.
  • I will not waste time trying to get my friends, family, etc. to believe me. This is a lovely way to get institutionalized.
    • On the other hand, if this Eldritch Abomination can't get to me while I'm in the asylum, it's not a bad hiding place while I figure out what the right course of action is.
  • I will make sure not to be an asshole, a snob or a mean spirited person in any way. Though my chances of surviving this at all are slim, the way I die will be less horrific if I'm not as much of a monster as what we're facing.
    • It had better be a we and not just me, or else the evil will have already won hands down.
  • I will immediately drag my true companions into this. The odds of me dying drop for each other person involved.
  • I will not attack the unspeakable evil with a baseball bat. It won't help. Nor will trying to hit him with a car.
  • I will not taunt Cthulhu or anything Cthulhu-like in nature.
  • I will always keep my car in good condition to avoid this situation at all costs.
  • If I do go need to go to a suspicious looking place, I will try to minimize my time there and not sing about it. note 
  • I will join the army and never stray from my unit which is full of anonymous guys who fire strictly in volleys. That way my only job will be to save the last person left alive.
    • If the story happens to focus on my unit even a little, I'll make sure to ditch the helmet as soon as possible. This will hopefully get the camera pointed on me most of the time and immensely improve my odds of survival.
  • Above all else, I will avoid being a part of the conflict as much as I can. The less screentime I get, the better my chances of survival.
  • If this turns out to be a true Cosmic Horror Story, I will ignore any or all of the above at my leisure, since I and everyone else is doomed anyway. I can at least take some cold comfort in knowing that whatever horror gets me is just as screwed in the grand scheme of things.
  • If possible, I will try to get turned into a monster. I may go insane and will almost certainly be outcast from human society, but at least I'll be on the winning side.
  • If I find a dusty old book filled with occult writing that mentions unspeakable horrors, I will burn it.
    • On the off chance burning the book may unleash the demonic entity trapped inside, I will make sure to keep my damned mouth shut as I check the text for advice on what to do next. What kind of moron can't process information without reading it out loud, anyway?
  • If I happen to live in Ireland, Scotland, Wales, New England or Louisiana I will leave immediately and relocate somewhere innocuous and sunny.

General Horror

Go here. Or read this.
  • Above all else I will remember it's entirely possible to be wrong. Just because it looks like something might happen is never a guarantee that there won't be at least a subversion or two. As soon as I know I'm wrong I shall change strategy and adapt to the correct genre.
  • If anything bad has been happening around my neighborhood lately, under absolutely no circumstances whatsoever will I have sex with anyone, even my spouse; that never ends well. In fact, even when everything's apparently resolved, I'll be sure to wait a week or two to see if the monster/Serial Killer/Eldritch Abomination/whatever is truly gone for good before having sex.
  • If I am a child or teenager when bad things start happening in my neighborhood, and my parents, guardians, or other responsible adults impose a curfew or insist that I only go out in a group with friends, I will follow their rules. I will also never attempt any Loophole Abuse by going out alone with anyone to whom I've only just been introduced and don't actually know that well. If said stranger tries to invoke this loophole by claiming I do know him or her, I will both flatly refuse the offer, and report this incident to a trusted adult; chances are, that's the monster who's been doing all the killing/raping/other horrible things.
  • I will remember that, for anything that should be dead anyway or has too many tentacles, Murder Is the Best Solution.
  • If something tall and wearing a coat stands in front of my door, I will not open the door nor will I run away. Instead, I will grab a shotgun and blast the door and the figure down. Then I'll blast the figure again. In its head. Until it no longer has a head.
    • I will, though, make sure to install a peephole ahead of time. Nothing's more embarrassing than blasting the census man by mistake, and in the time it takes to realize my error, guess who just appeared right behind me...?
  • In the rare event that I have the killer at my mercy because I'm pointing the gun at him or her, I will not stop to toss off a taunt or Pre-Mortem One-Liner or offer one last chance to repent. Even if such Third Act Stupidity doesn't get me killed, it will only prolong the horror movie (which has lasted long enough already) and possibly add to the body count and number of injuries the good guys suffer. Instead, I will shoot the killer on sight.
    • If, however, the killer is actually encouraging me to pull the trigger and a friend has just arrived and is telling me to stop, I will hear my friend out (while keeping my eyes and gun leveled on the killer). It doesn't hurt to listen, but it just may if I don't. (Demonic Possession and monsters who make monsters of their slayers can be a major headache in these stories, particularly if the the horror at its core is supernatural.)
  • If I hear weird noises coming from behind a door, I will instead use another door. Or improvise.
  • If I strike a dark figure while trying to escape from a menacing being, I will not check to make sure the figure is okay. Instead, I will either make sure it is dead by running over it again or just keep driving.
    • I will not do this if I have not seen the killer yet, however. Even if it is a horror movie, getting arrested for Hit and Run will not help. The police will not be able to stop the killer when he comes after me.
  • If I am currently in America I will stay away from New England, or the Deep South. If I am in England I will try as best as I am able to get off that Island.
    • If circumstances arise in which I absolutely must travel through one of these places, I will carry more fuel for my vehicle than I think I will need. I will strap more to the outside of the car if I need to. Under no circumstances am I stopping for longer than absolutely necessary to refuel if I run out, and asking the locals for more is completely out of the question.
  • If I am female, and just must investigate strange noises in the dark outside, the basement, the attic, the air lock, etc, if the option exists I will wear more than a bra/panties, a towel, or just a T-shirt. Even if it doesn't improve my survivability, it makes for a more dignified ending.
    • I will also bring a weapon, even if I have to improvise it; even if the horror I'm facing turns out to be impervious to such weapons, horror writers love to spare girls with a brain who dress sensibly and make their best effort to survive, and such girls consequently have a much higher probability of being the Final Girl.
    • If I am a blonde, I will immediately dye my hair some other colour. If not for my own intellect, then because blondes seem to be targeted more frequently.
  • As soon as the killings start (assuming I wasn't among the first set of victims), I will relocate to another neighborhood as soon as possible.
  • I will never come back to my isolated and seemingly peaceful dying hometown, if I know there were mysterious and deadly things happening in the past. Especially if said events were the reason I left town in the first place! Any of my old friends claiming that these events didn't take place is either a part of the conspiracy and will get me eaten or Too Dumb to Live and will end as a snack for the monster themselves. Either way, they're not to be trusted or saved.
    • If I hear that something strange is happening again, I won't rush to check on my loved ones or old friends. Mobiles exist for a reason and if they don't respond, they're most likely dead meat anyway.
  • Musty old Tomes of Eldritch Lore are to be avoided at all costs. If I absolutely must peruse one, I will never read it aloud. It's safer that way, both for me and for everyone around me.
  • If a strange voice starts talking to me in my head, it probably isn't my conscience.
  • If I'm the only black guy in the movie and can't just up and leave town, I'll go out of my way to loudly complain about how "I'm gonna die with all these crazy-ass white people!" Sure, it's undignified, but it's the best chance I've got; irony is the one thing slasher movie villains love more than killing the only black guy.
    • On the other hand, if I'm the only black guy and played by a rapper—especially one named LL Cool J—I'll just kick my heels up for the next 80 minutes and enjoy a nice, hot mug of chamomile with a twist of lemon. Nothing will be required of me until it's time to pop up out of nowhere and save the Final Girl, and I'll be in no danger whatsoever even then, because the rapper never gets bumped off.
    • As a corollary, if I'm one of two black guys in the movie and the other guy is played by a rapper—especially one named LL Cool J—then I'll have no choice but to kill him immediately by any means necessary; they only put two of us in there so they can safely kill one and leave a spare to come back and help save the day, and the rapper never gets bumped off... unless I do it.
  • No matter what the deal, that abandoned old house in the middle of Nowheresville is no bargain. If I am selling, those pretty young things looking for a deal aren't likely to ask any questions. If I am a potential customer, I'll opt for something within the city limits.
  • If I'm into homosexuality or bisexuality or any other unconventional sexuality, or suspect myself to be, I will never follow the main characters or be seen with my significant other near the site of conflict. In fact, I will just move out of town if I can. The less screentime I get, the better.
  • I will never, NEVER, NEVER, NEVER pick up a handheld camera, ever. The handheld camera is an Idiot Ball with a lens, and the crippling stupidity I'm required to possess while I tote one of the damned things around through all sorts of mortal peril is in no way worth the inevitable payoff of the audience getting to see me kick the bucket in 1st-person. I don't care if people "have to know" what happens to us; they're just going to have to find out through some way that isn't me.
  • I will never go play hide-and-seek after dark, in an abandoned building or in the forest. Especially if there are rumors of people disappearing.
  • I will keep my back to the wall at all times, unless the killer lives in the walls or has the ability to phase through walls or teleport. The last thing I need is to get jumped by something I could have seen coming.
  • If I suffer from a weight problem, can be considered a "geek" in any sense of the word, or have bullied anyone in the past, I will leave the country as soon as the killings start (if I am not one of the first victims).
  • I will keep in mind that competence and pragmatism are both double-edged swords that might get me killed to show how dangerous and unstoppable the villain is. At the very least I will not be visibly competent to the point of becoming the world-famous expert on dealing with monsters/demons/masked killers, as this tends to drastically decrease one's chances of survival. For the same reason I will think twice before advocating any plan that involves sacrificing someone for the greater good.
    • If the sacrifice I'm suggesting is myself, on the other hand, I just instantly upped my chances of survival by about 35%. Obviously, that's 65% less than the ideal, but at least if I don't pull through, it'll likely be considered part of a Bittersweet Ending.
    • Even then, I'll need to weigh all my options very carefully, as there's a distinct possibility that the writer is just being an asshole and setting me up for a Senseless Sacrifice. Hey, being savvy doesn't always make things easier.
  • If I take charge in my own survival by acquiring a firearm, I will count the rounds in the clip or magazine. Then I can count in my head while fighting to ensure I know exactly when I'm out of ammo.
  • I will NOT carry a flashlight. Flashlights only work in one direction, and are prone to crap out with little to no provocation in most horror scenarios. Plus, monsters love to sabotage flashlights by stealing the batteries and bulbs from them while the humans aren't using them. Instead, I will use another portable light source, such as a liquid fuel or kerosene camping lantern. Not only do they shine brighter in more directions, but they're also more difficult to tamper with without being detected. If the horror scenario I'm in allows MacGyvering, I can also modify the lantern into a last-resort firebomb.
  • I will always have a satellite phone with me, as I'm more likely to catch a satellite than cell signal. The phone will be of the everything-proof variety—I prefer sturdiness to blatant smartphone product placement. Apart from the satellite phone, I will always carry a power pack and a cable so that I won't be caught with my phone's battery dry.
  • If the house to which I'm supposed to be going looks vaguely Gothic or Neo-Gothic, then I am not going to that house.
  • I will regularly check my car's engine so that it will start seamlessly when I have to get away quickly.
  • Before moving to a new house, I will carefully check its past and what it was built on. If there's anything suspicious, I will choose a different house instead.
  • If upon moving to a new house my shy, antisocial child starts to claim she/he has new friends I can't see, I will investigate and, if those imaginary friends act in unsettling way, I will forbid my child to associate with them and get the hell away from this house.
  • If for some reason I expect to be alone for the night in potentially-haunted house, I will instead spend this night with my friends or family.
  • If I hear suspicious noises, I will not go to investigate them alone. Instead, I will quietly, but quickly go in the opposite direction. This goes double if the noises are maniacal laughter, human scream or oddly loud breathing or eating sounds.
  • Basements are bad. Cellars are worse. If there's no sign of any unusual activity yet, I'll move my stuff upstairs and have it walled off as soon as possible. If there are already strange things happening, I will leave my stuff down there and just fill the whole damn thing with cement right away; I can get a new foosball table, but I can't buy a new head after whatever's down there gets hungry and decides to snatch mine off at the shoulders.
  • Upon entering a room or any other enclosed space, I will always check the ceiling, wardrobes and drawers. I will do so with a ten-feet pole.
  • I will not assume that I can outrun the monster or killer. Even if it moves slowly when I see it, I can be sure it has mastered Offscreen Teleportation or similar means of transportation.
  • If I'm lucky enough to have armor and/or helmet, I will never take those off. Never.
  • One exception for the above: if I'm part of an armed group wearing armor and helmets, and something starts rapidly killing my buddies, I have to take off the helmet immediately. My friends and I only popped in so the baddies could show how deadly they are by slaughtering us all, and losing the helmet greatly increases my odds of becoming a Sole Survivor; horror stories love that guy!
    • Corollary: If the helmet trick didn't work, I'm out of ammunition, cornered by the baddie who just shrugged it all off, and it's clear that I won't be surviving after all, I'll make a point to have something cool to growl out in defiance instead of panicking and whimpering while it moves in for the kill. As the last one to die, I'm representing the rest of my squad; we couldn't stop the threat, but that doesn't mean we have to go out like a wuss.
  • I will make sure to be on a good terms with resident priests, doctors, police officers and the bartender.
  • If I figure out who the killer is or how to stop them, I will keep my mouth shut. Figuring this out first makes me the smart guy and revealing the secret aloud would condemn to be killed off mid-sentence. I will instead silently work on my plan and wait for the protagonist's main plan to fail and lure out the killer to get the killshot myself.
  • Under no circumstances will I attempt to dress up as the monster/killer and try to scare my friends. That can only end one of two ways: either the real monster/killer will pop up and kill me, or my friends will kill me by mistake. Either way, it's suicide.
  • If I know how to ride a bicycle, then I will keep one around, preferably with off-road tires. It's better than walking and a great alternative for when the car won't start.

    Mystery 
For Investigators And Private Detectives
  • If I am the Private Detective, I should always assume there's more than meets the eye to my client (especially the Femme Fatale) until proven otherwise. They may very well be behind some of what's going on...
  • If I believe I am in danger because I have information important to the investigation, I will call the police and tell them over the phone. I will not insist on waiting for them to arrive.
    • But absolutely not from a phone booth.
    • Then I will call everyone else I can think of and tell them as well.
    • And I will make several copies and records of the information I have, hide some of them in secure locations and mail the others out.
    • And I will certainly not go to confront the culprit, alone, without having delivered any helpful information to anybody else. Even if all I witnessed was jaywalking, it's probably key to a vast mystery involving arson and murder that the perp won't hesitate to kill over.
    • If Character A mentions that Character B has been acting oddly or been strangely forgetful lately, I will immediately assume that Character B is being impersonated.
  • If I am a detective and am interviewing the first suspect I will assume he is innocent.
    • Unless he happens to be the accomplice. Then he will be murdered in a gruesome manner.
    • If there is something suspicious about the first suspect he is just covering up an adulterous affair. The first suspect is never the murderer.
    • Rather, the one I start tracking leads on will be the wacky bit character I met at the beginning of the episode. Even if he's unrelated to the case and supposedly several hundred miles away, it's almost always him.
  • If one of the suspects is a beautiful maiden I will assume right away that she is innocent.
    • However if it was a professional job, it is not unknown for a hired killer to be a beautiful woman. If I suspect this, I will assume she is the most formidable killer I have ever met.
  • If one of the suspects is an old and ugly guy with an unpleasant disposition, chances are, he is the murderer.
  • If I am a Kid Detective and my mother is acting odd, she's either pregnant or planning a surprise party, so I won't waste my time when there are real mysteries I could be investigating.
  • I will ignore the biggest and most blatantly Jerk Ass member of the group of suspects. He is innocent anyway.
  • I will learn some kind of unarmed combat and always carry a canister of pepper spray with me.
  • I will not take matters into my own hands simply because one method of sleuthing doesn't work.
  • If a Person of Interest has uncannily pale eyes, I will instantly be on guard.

For The Suspects
  • Before blackmailing a murderer, I will keep in mind that this person has killed his way out of a previous problem.
  • If I hear Jessica Fletcher is going to visit town, I will leave before she arrives.
    • Likewise, if I find myself invited to any function at a country manor in a time-locked inter-war Britain, I will politely decline; someone there is going to be found murdered by the maid.
    • The same applies to Jane Marple, Hercule Poirot, Adrian Monk, and, well, any famous amateur detective.
  • Before doing something that could be incriminating, I will consider the chance it is a trap.
    • If I hear the police are going to search the area where I might have left some evidence, I will weigh the risks of them finding it against the risks they've already found it and are trying to induce me into looking for it.
    • If I have killed somebody and hidden the body, then it looks like the person is still alive, I will not check whether the body is still there. There's nothing to be gained, and it would probably just lead the police to the body.
  • If I am asked questions which imply that I may have killed a loved one, and I didn't, I will suppress my natural indignation as best I can and remain courteous and helpful, including owning up to any affairs I may have been having. The cops have to ask these questions and the smoother the investigation goes, the sooner they will realize my innocence. Being a Jerkass will drastically increase my chances of being Acquitted Too Late.
    • If I did do it, I will still try to seem helpful (too much deflection and obfuscation just makes me look guilty) and find someone to frame. I should have done this before the murder, but better late than never.
      • Unless I'm being interrogated by Columbo. Then I'll refuse to answer even the most innocuous questions and demand a lawyer immediately. I especially won't say anything to the effect of, "If I did do it, you'll never prove it."
    • If this is real life (or the closest thing to it), I will (at the very least) complain that I'm insulted anyone would suspect me of such crimes while firmly denying all charges, since police typically know to expect innocent people to get angry when they're accused of crimes they didn't commit.
  • If I am being chased by the killer, I will not run into any unfamiliar alleyways. Nine times out of ten it's a dead end, and the one time it isn't the killer will be waiting at the other end. I am not that Buffy broad.
  • During interrogation, I will invoke my right to silence and and my right to a attorney regardless of my innocence/guilt.
  • If I should happen to see or hear anything about that scatterbrained blonde peach, it's time to skedaddle. Dames like those don't say, "and one more thing"; they lull you into making a slip, then they drop the mask.
  • If I get a letter asking me to meet someone in secret at an oddly specific time, I will never, ever do what it says, no matter who I think sent it or how justifiable their desire for privacy is. If I do go to the meeting, I will tell someone about it beforehand and make certain to arrive just slightly early or late: the trap will still probably be fatal, but doing those things might throw a Spanner in the Works of my killer's plan. I will also ask the letter's purported author if he or she really wrote it.
  • Especially not during an interrogation, I will not talk about my testicles. That's just putting a bull's-eye and a neon sign with arrows on the penis.

For The Culprit
  • When I arrive in a city and begin setting up my plans for crime, I will first check the Yellow Pages for "Wizards". If I find any, I will call them and act like a potential customer. If they are legit, I will find a new city. Not only will their presence be a detriment to my plans, but the strange occurrences that follow them everywhere—of which Walking Techbane is only the mildest—are likely to turn out as bad for me as they do for them. Not worth the risk.
  • I will never dress up as a ghost or monster—especially if it's a bunch of kids and their pet, it's going to end badly.
  • I will especially never dress as a ghost or monster to scare people away from my illegal profiting scheme; I'd make better progress by running the operation from a police station's parking lot. I'm already breaking the law, so when it comes to dealing with meddling kids, a shovel and some quicklime is far more effective than rubber masks and white bedsheets will ever be.
  • If I hear a famous professional or amateur detective is vacationing in my area, I will put off my crime until after they leave. It doesn't matter if they are so far out of their jurisdiction they're in another country; the local police will ask them to help out, and the detective will solve the case.
  • If I have committed a serious crime, and the detective says "Just one more thing", I will hold him to that.
    • Unless I have encountered an inquisitive old lady, in which case I will ignore the police (who will be incompetent) and focus on evading her.
      • And if said little old lady was dumb enough to confront me alone and with no witnesses (and I'm absolutely certain she told no one else where she was going), I will just add her to my body count instead of admitting defeat and turning myself in to the police. This will apply to any investigator dumb enough to make those same mistakes. Of course, I will only resort to measures that drastic if my previous crime would warrant a life sentence or the death penalty anyway, but simply tying up the old bint, shoving her in a supply closet, and making a run for it is only what, an extra two to five?
    • Locking MacGyver in the Store Cupboard + Never Mess with Granny = Too Dumb to Live.
  • I will complicate the case as much as possible! As such the first victim will always be a blind with the real intended victim being someone who I convinced to jokingly claim he knows who did it so that when he dies I won't be a suspect since I was the one who planned the joke and thus wouldn't need to silence him.
  • If possible I will be the President of the US (with a body double to provide an alibi while I perform the murder in a mask), a Dog or a Cat. All three could pull off a murder easily!
  • When preparing for a heist, I will avoid facelifts. Chances are, the person I'm imitating will be the one to deliver the final blow to my game. In both senses of the term.

For The Victim
  • If I am a man of wealth and good standing who receives death threats at the start of the story, chances have it my murder is going to be the focus of the plot. Oh well. However, to make things easier for the detective, as soon as I receive such threats I will give all my serving staff an enforced and immediate holiday, so they are not on the grounds when I am murdered in my armchair. Since they are everyone's first suspect, the hero can save a lot of time at the start if he knows that it wasn't any of them.
    • And if one of them is my murderer-to-be, it should be a darn sight easier to catch them.
      • I will keep in mind the possibility that the killer has already rigged something in my mansion to kill me without actually needing to be on the grounds, however.
    • I will leave not just one, but multiple notes detailing who (I think) my killer will be and why. I will make sure to mention his/her name constantly throughout said notes, as well as reveal any dangerous secrets pertaining to my work, friends, and family. These notes will be written in pen, not pencil—the latter is too easy to erase.
    • If I live in the 21st century or a world parallel to it, I will leave the aforementioned notes on several external drives to forbid my killer from destroying all the evidence I have against him/her. I will add no password to those notes, or I will add a password simple enough for people investigating my death to figure it out in a few minutes.
    • If I live in 19th century or a world parallel to it, I will leave those notes in two or three baggage lockers on a railway station, and leave keys to them clearly labeled and in a visible place.
    • I will consider taking public transportation for the foreseeable future when I need to leave the house. Dealing with public transport is a small price to pay for avoiding bombs or cut brake lines.
    • No matter what, if someone confronts me with a weapon and tells me to come with them, I will resist. There's a better chance of getting out alive if I do so than if I go with them.
  • If I am young, innocent, pretty and appearing only in this story, I can be fairly sure I will be kidnapped by the murderer in the climax so that the hero can have his Always Save the Girl moment. Bearing that in mind, I will learn how to pick locks, untie ropes without seeing them and open shackles with hairpins. I will always have hairpins. I will also apply for self-defense course and keep a pepper spray on me.
    • If I am gagged, attempts to call for help are more likely to annoy the killer than bring anyone friendly, so I will not do it.
    • I will take psychology classes so that when captured, I will avoid Stockholm Syndrome. Instead, I will try to make the villain succumb to Lima Syndrome.
  • If I am a Jerkass, chances are, I will be a victim in this story. I will recognize my jerkassery and attempt to fix it before I am killed by the nicest member of the cast. Even if this doesn't help me, at least people will have more incentive to find out who my killer is, and he'll be easier to find if there are fewer suspects than "everyone who knows me".
  • I will not enter dark alleys, abandoned warehouses or other similarly ominous places without a friend I am absolutely sure is not a killer. Even then, I'll insist they walk ten paces in front while I keep a hand near my gun. Gotta watch out for those damn Shocking Swerves, y'know.
  • If I intend to hitchhike, I will always look around a car before I enter it. If I see suspicious brown or red stains, or the driver smiling in unsettling way, I will politely decline a ride and move away.
  • I will wear brightly-colored (preferably luminescent) clothes so that if I'm killed, my body will be easier to find.

    Reality Shows 
General Rules
  • While I won't let on that I have, I will make sure to study as many seasons past as possible. Invariably, one or more patterns will emerge.
  • Absolutely nothing before reason; not revenge, not honor, and definitely not merit.
  • I will not treat it as a springboard to fame; more often than not, it is the quickest way to have the doors bolted shut and the keys thrown away.
  • I will never discourage a quitter. One more hurdle cleared.
    • Nor will I quit for any reason below a medical emergency. Quitters are usually frowned upon at a reunion.

Survivor
  • Due to the tendency of the producers to bring back former contestants for a second chance, I will study the most recent seasons and look for potential returnees.
    • I will specifically look at contestants who finished in second place or received a Creator's Pet edit, as they tend to have the highest chance of being brought back. I won't even bother to look at former winners.
      • Especially if one of those former winners is Sandra Diaz-Twine? Get ready to be destroyed in front of the jury!
    • Once I reach the island, I will quickly look at the number of people of each gender. If there are six males and nine females, it's safe to assume that there will be three male returnees.
  • If everyone starts on the same beach before being divided into tribes, I will not take the leadership role. This goes double if there are an odd number of people.
  • I will not assume the tribes are merged until Jeff Probst says that they are.
  • I will not attempt to create an alliance. Instead, I will wait until someone else asks me to be part of one.
  • I will not look for the hidden immunity idol without a clue to its location, unless I absolutely need it.
  • If I do end up with the hidden immunity idol in my possession, I will tell everyone that I have it, and that I will give it to my ally, person B. This would cause the other alliance to target my other ally, person C, as a safeguard against the idol, only for their votes to be negated when I give the idol to person C.
  • If I am the last remaining person from my alliance, I will recognize the possibility of me being a swing vote, and play as if I were one.
  • I will not attempt to cause a 3-3-3 tie with nine people on my tribe. I'll be voted out 4-3-2 if I try, so I won't even consider it.
  • I will not change my vote at the revote after a post-merge tie. I am not John Cochran.
    • Especially if my own tribe has treated me like shit. That gives me leverage to go with whichever side wins the rock draw.
    • Which is why the best way to avoid a Cochran Flip is not to make a Butt-Monkey out of him. He probably won't be thinking straight when we need him to.
  • If I win the first post-merge immunity challenge with the two tribes at equal numbers, I will pretend to flip to the other tribe. I will then give my immunity up to their intended target. One of two things will happen: either the other tribe all votes me, it's a 5-5 tie, and I'm immune to the rock-drawing tiebreaker, or the other tribe doesn't all vote together and one of them goes home 5-4-1.
  • The purpose of the game is not to eliminate the competition. Besides getting to the end, I will need to consider:
    • which opponent should face the jury with me (this is of total importance);
    • who is actually going to be on the jury (how I treat its members is also critical);
    • how to get us both there without losing the votes I already have. The less dangerous my chosen goat thinks I am, the better my chances of getting to the end and beating him for the big bucks.
  • Once we make it to the merge, the village nutjob becomes the perfect goat for the jury. I will not view this player as a "goat threat"; taking out this player in a blindside will effectively force me out into the open and hinder my chances of a rebound. Rather, I will work to protect this player at any and all cost; what's good for the goose is good for the gander.
  • Lastly, if my plans fail and I do end up on the jury, I will choose my own criteria for voting. I am on the jury and therefore have no obligation to those standing in my judgement.
    • The only rule by which the jury is bound is: "Vote for the player you want to win." Ignore the last four words of this rule and woe betide you.
    • If I am campaigning for a particular finalist to win, I will take my cues by Erik Cardona and not Spencer Bledsoe. The rest of the jury does not have to put aside anything, either.
  • Whatever Russell Hantz did, I will not. I will attempt to model my game on Natalie White instead.
    • For tribal relations, I will model my game on the Koror. Too risky to take the Aitu approach.
    • For alliances, I will take (most of) my cues from the Black Widow Brigade rather than the bowheads. And preferably try to win immunity against the one remaining straggler.
  • Whenever we are told we can protect one member of the opposing tribe, whether through voice vote or ballot vote, it will be Whomever They Indicate They Are Going To Get Rid Of. Without exception. A chain of deals has a nasty habit of failing at crucial times.

America's Next Top Model
  • No matter how insignificant it is to the field into which I am trying to break, I am not too cool for any task.
  • Rage Against the Mentor is a great big fat no-no.
  • If I were on Survivor, personality would be of great importance; here, it takes a backseat to something called a high-fashion look (good job, Ann).

The Bachelor (also applies to its Distaff Counterpart):
  1. No matter how badly I dread the activity, I will never, ever, ever raise any sort of a stink on the site of a group date. Nothing will turn the Bachelor off me faster than being a wet blanket.
    • In fact, I will never raise a stink about anything within his earshot. As soon as he gets a whiff of my true colors, I'm as good as dog toast.
  2. With two dozen or so other broads in the house on the first night, it's far too soon for anything beyond the superficial, let alone an "amazing connection."
    • For this very reason, I will get in as early as possible to score my shot at the Bachelor. One, we all want a piece of the guy. Two, it's going to help my chances at getting a rose. And three, you can bet the other girls aren't going to give you a sporting chance, either.
  3. Teasing or insulting the other girls is for when the guy is on his next date and I'm not. They're not the ones holding the roses.
  4. Just as shooting is not too good for any enemy of the Evil Overlord, Skinny Dipping is not too good for the Bachelor. Rest assured, the other girls aren't above using their birthday suits as weapons, either.
  5. If the other girls attempt to rat me out, I will work overtime to smooth things out with him. After all, you want that last rose, right?
  6. I will tell only little white lies about my background. When the time comes to visit the other girls' locations, he's going to find out stuff.
    • Similarly, the Bachelor has his own closet full of skeletons. If you expect him to be squeaky-clean, you're going to be in for a very rude awakening.
  7. No boozing, ever. If I can grab some water instead, I will. In vino veritas.
  8. The "free spirit" is just comic relief. She's no threat to my progress.
  9. I will remain true to my real-world profession after the season. Especially if I am in the legal field, I will never quit my real-world job in the midst of an important case or event just for the sake of something called True Love. One, the track record of previous headliners speaks for itself. Two, the public probably will never associate me with anything else. And three, my job might not be waiting for me when I get back.

If I become the Bachelor(ette):
  1. Patience is a virtue. True love does not happen overnight, or even within the span of a single season. It worked for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
  2. Under absolutely zero circumstances will I take a dig at the previous Bachelor(ette) in any promotional material. Not only is it being a poor sport, it's sinking to his / her level. And probably not good PR, either.
  3. If her real world career is that important to her, I will support my chosen debutante every step of the way, no matter what. There is, however, nothing wrong with being a model or special correspondent for the sake of her pet causes.
  4. Dancing with the Stars? Not the best way to test the love interest, although it is useful to capitalize on the extremely short shelf life of your time in the public eye.

Hell's Kitchen
  • I will not talk back to Chef Ramsay under any circumstances. Same goes for the sous chef or maî·tre d.
    • Additionally, I will always tell the truth. Even if it gets me thrown off the show, being honest about my shortcomings will go much more smoothly than attempting to lie about my abilities.
  • I will recognize that I am attempting to win a position at a fancy restaurant whose reputation hinges on my leadership and management skills, and not just a cash prize or just to be the best. If at any point I doubt my ability to do that, I will defer to a more competent contestant if possible.
  • I will make friends and forge relationships, since good teamwork is necessary in the kitchen.
  • I will remember I am on television, that every move I make is televised, and my actions affect the perception of restaurants across the country. If I don't win, I will still make an effort to look skilled and competent, and never do anything that makes me look stupid or like an asshole (essentially, don't be Joseph).
  • I will pay attention to my cooking at all times, taste and inspect my food to make sure its done right, and if I'm running the pass inspect everything with a fine-toothed comb to find the intentional mistakes the sous chefs throw up.
  • I will not interfere with another's cooking under any circumstances unless they're thrown off the station by the chef and need to be replaced. It's not like I'll get in trouble for their mistakes.
  • I will stay fully focused on the task at hand, be it the challenge or the service, and not do anything that could be considered a celebratory remark or an attempt at humor until the chef orders the kitchen switched off.
  • I will not get drunk, no exceptions.
    • If the reward involves wine-tasting, I will either not swallow any wine, request an alternative (if I'm a black jacket) or even just elect to stay with the losers and help out with punishment. It might suck, but I'm also guaranteed to be on my A-game for service that night.
  • During punishment, I will shut up and get to work helping the team, no exceptions, no matter how much it sucks.
  • I will not use prepackaged ingredients, no exceptions.
  • I will go to bed as early as possible, to ensure I'm well-rested when Chef Ramsay sends up the hellishly loud wake-up call the next morning.
  • I will stop myself at the first sign of being a bitch, no matter my gender. That will just cause my teammates to bulls-eye me during elimination throughout the season.
    • When telling Chef Ramsay who's up for nomination, I will just give the names and reason, no more, no less.
    • Also, I will not automatically assume I'm safe just because I'm not up. Even if I'm on that night's winning team.
  • I will stay out of any and all drama and just focus on keeping the kitchen running, and communicating to teammates. The drama kings and queens will all get caber-tossed off the show anyway.
  • Finally, when picking my team for the final, I will keep in mind the reason each person was eliminated and delegate them to tasks where they will deal the least damage.

Other
  • I will not utter the phrase "I'm Not Here to Make Friends" as it will ensure I will lose. Just to be safe, I won't even say it while quoting someone else.
  • If I am on a reality show where the elimination process is decided solely by the shows' writers, I will be the biggest drama-creating Jerk Ass possible to ensure good ratings. When it looks like my schtick is wearing thin, I'll have a quick change of heart ready to avoid elimination.
    • However, if I am on a reality show where elimination is decided by my peers, I will be the blandest, most boring Nice Guy you've ever seen. I will avoid any and all backstabbing and say nothing but nice things about people. This way, at the end of the season when it's me versus the Magnificent Bastard, everyone will vote for me just to spite him.
    • Finally, if I'm in a reality show where elimination is decided by popular vote, I will try to create some sort of catchphrase or meme so that America latches on to me.
  • I will remember that in some cases, The Runner-Up Takes It All, therefore I will focus less on winning and more on being marketable.
  • If I am on a reality show which has been known to have mental challenges, I will take detailed notes on everything that has happened on the show whenever it's feasible to do so. Chances are there will be an open-notes pop quiz later.
  • If I am going on a show with physical challenges, I will learn to swim.
  • If I am going on a show where outdoor survival skills may be important, I will find an older edition of the Boy Scout Handbook and practice all the techniques shown therein for at least six months prior to appearing on the show.
  • I will learn how to read a map. It's a good skill to have in general.
  • I will make sure to watch previous seasons of the show, so as to recognise any or all of the following: reused challenges; commonly used 'twists' or surprises; what the host or judges like; things that got previous contestants eliminated; skills or tasks I should probably practice before going on; whether I'm actually good enough to be on the show in the first place; mistakes commonly made by other contestants, etc.
  • If there is even the smallest chance that I may have to drive a car on the show, I will learn how to operate a manual transmission.
  • Secret Talents Of The Stars: the ultimate research failure. I will devote at least two years to the concept. And I will not have it scheduled in a suicide time slot for anything.
  • No matter how much I think I'm the favorite to win the challenge/round/entire season/whatever, I will not brag about it until it's over. The guy who brags about their advantage, imagined or real, always ends up screwing themselves over with their hubris and/or complacency. Then the editors inevitably show as much of their bragging as they can possibly fit into the show's time slot, making them look like an even bigger idiot.
  • If I ended up getting nominated into Canada's Worst Driver or any other bad driving show, I will take the driving lessons seriously and attempt to learn further while the show is not taping so that I can graduate early and not ended up making a fool of myself in front of the viewers all over the country.

    Romance 
  • I will take any dares suggested to me, especially if they are of a romantic or sexual nature.
  • I will never lie to, rape, or cheat on someone. One relationship at a time.
  • If I am a protagonist, I will find the person who gives me the best sex and assume that they're my Love Interest. Besides, it's likely that the only person the author will allow me to have sex with will be the other protagonist.
  • When wooing my lover, cheesy and cliche is the way to go—unless that way would embarrass her.
  • If I am neither extremely plain nor extremely beautiful, I am probably a side character.
  • If a side character, I will learn to recognize protagonists and relentlessly ship the main couple.
    • I will also cultivate a comedic side, ensuring that I will get more lines. Keeping a banana peel on my person is also a good idea in case I ever need to quickly pull off an oh-so-endearing pratfall; if they turn this into a movie, that'll get me in trailer for sure.
    • If the above stratagems fail, I will be a caring shoulder for my female BFF to cry on. (Because if I'm in the story at all, she's definitely female—none of the lead male's friends get any screentime.) I will never ever suggest that she's being whiny or insensitive, or that her love for the male protagonist is anything less than OMGtruewuvforever.
    • If the author offers me a Pair the Spares situation, I will take it. It'll ensure that I get a happy ending.
  • If I am the lead female's supportive best friend who's had a crush on her since childhood, and she mentions meeting a new, attractive man, I will save myself time and give up right now.
  • Note that the pratfall advice mentioned above works equally well if I'm the Romantic Lead, male or female. Being such, the only character flaws I'm legally allowed to have are either charmingly mild clumsiness or a charmingly harried workaholic personality, and a quick slip, trip or cranial impact with a low clearance is not only better for cheap giggles but it also frees up more time to pursue my One True Love.
  • If I see a girl being assaulted or intimidated, I will ALWAYS intervene, even if that would get me beaten up.
  • If the local mythology of the quiet country town I've moved to prominently mentions vampires/werewolves/any supernatural creature, I will assume that All Myths Are True and take appropriate steps to protect myself. I will not ignore the old crazy guy's illogical ramblings or take long, lonely walks on the beach/forest at night.
    • However, I will be willing to acknowledge that the legends may have misrepresented said supernatural creatures, and show friendly interest in their side of the story—while keeping my hand on my gun. You never know when the author might decide to pull a Genre Shift...
    • On that note, if I left my small hometown years ago because of a dark secret in my past that I never talk about, I'll keep that fact in mind, leave the will and estate business up to the family lawyers, and try my best not to move back there or visit the place for any other reasons. Yes, I'll miss out on passionate romance with the brooding, lantern-jawed hunk with his own dark secrets that I would've inevitably met there, but going by established trends in the genre, there's at least ten dudes exactly like him where I live now anyway.
  • I will study the cultural norms and religious leanings of whatever country my book is published in. Then I will play up to said norms to establish my place as the Love Interest.
  • I will not be the catty, bitchy girl who constantly throws herself at the male protagonist. That never turns out well, and is usually punished by the author.
  • I will be open to trying any fetishes that come up in the story, but I will be strictly Safe, Sane, and Consensual. People who aren't the latter have a way of becoming villains.
  • I will not take drugs or be an alcoholic: if I do, I will try to kick the habit quickly. Smoking may be attractive or disgusting, depending on the image I'm trying to cultivate, but if the Love Interest asks me to quit, I will.
  • I will take the words of matchmakers and fortune-tellers as gospel truth.
  • I will explain to my Love Interest the nature of any close female relationships I have (ex-wife, sister, coworker...) early in the story. This will prevent any misunderstandings later on.
  • If I find myself attracted to a brooding, darkly handsome rebel that all my friends tell me is bad news, I will assume that I'm the exception to his love of solitude, and that I can change him. Seriously, this has a high rate of success in romance novels.
  • I will realise that being a 'light feminine', if I am one, does not have to equal 'generic, boring Girl Next Door.'
  • If a handsome stranger tells me that he's some kind of supernatural creature and that I am his destined mate, I will believe him.
  • If my Love Interest breaks into my house to watch me sleep, I will not freak out and/or press charges, but instead take it as a grand romantic gesture and fall deeper in love with him.
    • If I am the Love Interest, I will not allow any moral aversion or fear of legal consequences prevent me from doing so. It's only considered stalking in fiction if an ugly person does it, and if I'm the romantic lead, that won't be an issue.
  • If I possess some rare, exotic trait (like wings, oddly-colored hair, or demonic ancestry), I will make certain to angst about it to my Love Interest, thus invoking a tearful, ego-building comfort scene and speeding up the plot.

    Science Fiction 
General
  • My means of tracking people on my starship or space station will not rely on badges, wristbands, communicators, or any other device that can be jammed or removed.
  • The same will extend to implants, cybernetics, or body parts that can be cut off or mutilated to avoid being tracked.
  • If my plan is to kill somebody by having them Thrown Out the Airlock, I will not stand there gloating and laughing at his stupidity long enough for his True Companions to come around the corner behind me and shoot me in the back. I will seal him in and hit the button to blow the outer hatch immediately, then start running like hell.
    • The writer might throw a curveball and have the airlock depressurize slowly to give the good guys time to save their friend. I'll throw a primed frag grenade or ten in with the victim before sealing him in, just to be sure.
  • I will have a layer of lead added to the ship's hull and corridor bulkheads, and then have the hull's interior further modified to turn the inside of the ship into a Faraday cage. Enemy ships we run across should not be able to scan the inside of my ship and know exactly where all our people, cargo, supplies, and critical systems are located.
  • If I'm a doctor, scientist or military researcher and think one of my colleagues might be unhinged based on the absurdity or inherent danger of his proposals, I'll make a point of not telling him that to his face, encourage my other associates to do the same, and send anonymous tips to both our benefactors and to the proper investigative authorities. Mockery and dismissal of these guys has a way of coming back to bite you hard in the ass. Note that if I'm in a horror story, this advice is equally sound.
  • Even if the cultural standards are against it, I will be the best friend and confident of the token Ridiculously Human Robot, Spaceship Girl, Hologram, or Artificial Human.
    • If this character develops a crush on me, I will handle the relationship delicately and make sure they understand what they're experiencing as much as I possibly can.
    • If this character starts muttering through clinched teeth or speaking in Creepy Monotone, I will immediately employ whatever means we arranged ahead of time to stop them from turning on us as per the Ridiculously Human Robot rules.
  • Nobody on the bridge of any vessel under my command will be allowed to make any casual comments on any current or future situation we find ourselves in. If it's important for me to know or predict what might be happening, I will ask the guy monitoring the sensors to read back whatever it says on his screen and silently draw the conclusions myself. Everybody else, SHUT UP.

Star Trek
  • The obvious one: I will be a main character and not a Red Shirt. If I am some low-ranking officer, I will try to get a job in which I interact with the main characters on a regular basis, such as being the guy who operates the transporter or being that nurse who is always helping the Chief Medical Officer. However, I will not have a big role in my debut episode as that is more likely to set me up as a Sacrificial Lion.
  • During starship dogfights, I will stay away from the instrument panels. I will also install seat belts into my chair.
  • I will obey The Captain over all higher-ranking Starfleet officers. The latter will always turn out to be yet another Insane Admiral.
  • I will do lots of research on the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. I'll end up time-traveling back then sooner or later and I don't want to look like an idiot when I get there.
    • I will buy lots of historical atlases as well.
    • If I must send an away team to 21st-century Earth, I will make sure that I send an away team of all humans. The 21st-century human we get to help us WILL notice my Vulcan friend isn't human and WILL turn belligerent on us at a critical moment.
  • Whenever using the holodeck, I will bring a phaser with me in case the safety protocols malfunction again. If all the main characters are having some kind of holodeck adventure together, I will just stay away.
    • Better yet, I just won't use the holodeck ever. If I'm bored I'll ask someone over to play chess or something.
    • If all the main characters go on a holodeck adventure together, I will take the initiative to get somebody from engineering to camp out in the Jeffries tubes with an EMP bomb, next to the power conduit running to the holodeck. In the meantime, I will set up camp outside the holodeck door with security personnel, medical personnel, plenty of breaching charges, and a cutting torch. We can repair the ship after the crisis is averted.
      • If anything, the above plan may earn me recommendations from the captain and bridge crew, further helping my chances of getting promoted and being assigned to my own ship. Where I can have my engineering crew find and squash all those little bugs and glitches that crop up around the ship BEFORE they end up threatening somebody's life.
  • If I'm the captain of a ship, I won't hang around Earth when there are no other starships there, especially not if my ship is called "the Enterprise".
  • If a lot of weird things (more than usual) happen on the ship/station/planet/whatever that I am currently on, especially if on a weekly basis, I will immediately conclude that this area is the setting of the series. I will request a transfer immediately, to avoid the danger. The longer that I am there, the higher the risk of my death.
    • If, after the transfer, I still encounter strange events, then I will conclude that I am a main character that the plot can't stay away from. At that point, nothing can kill me, so I am free to do as I wish.
      • Unless the actor portraying me quits the show. In which case, I should have some plan to transfer my consciousness to another physical form, similarly to how the Doctor does it in Doctor Who. If I am a joined Trill, or a Vulcan with a katra, this is easy. Otherwise, I will create a robot or a hologram or something to continue to exist as me after the actor quits. However, I shall never show what this new form looks like to anyone, in order to allow for flexible casting choices. Also note that the above is only likely to happen at the end of each year, when there always seems to be a bigger-than-usual problem for no reason, at the same time every year.
  • If a character tells me that the timeline has been altered, I will instantly believe them.
    • If multiple main characters die, I will assume that the timeline has been altered, or else it needs to be altered.
  • I will keep a log of all important events using pen and paper. Computer data can easily be deleted or lost.
    • Similarly, I will back up all of my computer files often.
  • If I am the Captain, I will, during all First Contact missions, whatever the circumstances, order my tactical weapons officer to keep a weapons lock on the other ship. I will need it more often than not.
    • On a similar note, I will have transporters and internal sensors locked on ambassadors and envoys coming aboard my ship at all times.
    • As their presence on my ship should be purely diplomatic, all weapons and equipment will be checked in and confiscated during their visit. Sensors will be calibrated to scan for anything that does not match that species' normal physiology, and the transporter room door will remain locked and sealed with a forcefield until every discrepancy has been accounted for. I'll not have my ship crippled by somebody smuggling in an explosive thumbnail.
    • Once we're past the transporter room checkpoint, they will be restricted from doing anything more technical than order a plate of food from the mess hall replicators without a security escort (the ones in the guest quarters will be kept offline for "maintenance").
    • If one of them breaks away from the group and starts trying to pull panels and bulkheads to tamper with ship's systems, he will find those panels and bulkheads to be bolted shut and sealed with forcefields and blast-resistant alloys...right before he is automatically transported to the brig, and any tools and equipment he was using are confiscated by security.
  • If the Captain ever asks me how long it would take to get something done, I will always respond by telling him/her a time limit that is far more than is actually necessary. I can expect him/her to ask me to do the job in less than half the time that I give him/her.
  • If I ever visit the Mirror Universe, then my primary goal is to get home alive. No matter what moral dilemmas I have to deal with. If I can easily impersonate someone with a position of power (likely to be my counterpart), then I will kill those who are directly below me. If not, I will kill the person in charge.
  • If someone tells me that something is possessing my mind and changing the way that I think, I will believe them. Assuming I haven't been altered enough to forget this.
  • If I am not human, I will do everything within my power to make sure that my species allies themselves with humans, befriends them, and stays on good terms with them. If this is impossible, then I will assume that we are the "bad guys" and I will immediately pull a Heel–Face Turn and defect to the humans. They seem to always win in the long run.
  • I will make sure that at any given time, there is at least one transporter that works. We will need it to beam a crew member back from a situation that they got stuck in. Or, occasionally, to beam a dangerous substance off of the ship.
  • I will listen to my doctor's advice. Always.
  • If I insist on playing the role of an antagonist, and I am given a chance to kidnap or severely injure a member of a Starfleet ship, I will NOT target someone who works on the bridge, the chief engineer, or the chief medical officer. They will be able to get out of it. Target someone else.
    • If, however, I am given the opportunity to kill one of them, I WILL target one of the aforementioned people, to show that I pose a threat. Killing a Red Shirt just makes the main character retaliate.
  • If an alien culture has a gimmick that I dislike, I will ignore it and not call them out on it, no matter how strange or morally wrong it may seem to me.
    • Unless I am asked to participate, in which case I will ask my doctor whether or not it is safe. And I will follow his advice.
  • If I encounter a pre-warp civilization, and somehow end up stuck on the planet, I can ignore the Prime Directive and tell people who I am. I would break it eventually anyways, so I may as well get it out there.
    • Considering how the Prime Directive only applies to Starfleet I would make sure I become a ship's captain without joining Starfleet so that I can interfere with other planets to my heart's content. I would also point out to Picard and Worf that only Starfleet members are bound to the Prime Directive and ask them to attain confirmation from Data and once they have they would be duty bound to abandon the planet I'm interfering with leaving me to my own devices.
      • Criminals trying to Rules Lawyer diplomatic immunity using the Prime Directive is a MAJOR Berserk Button for Starfleet, and Starfleet officers (even non-captains) are encouraged by Starfleet Command to bend or outright ignore Starfleet regulations to make you stop what you're doing, even if it means attacking and/or killing you. If the Federation take any disciplinary action at all, it'll seldom be more than a slap on the wrist. With that in mind, I will form an illicit trade business instead and sell salvage from the wreckage of other independent captains' ships after the Federation ship they tried to parlay with warps off with the witless toad in its brig for trying this plan. The Federation likes granting neutrals with illicit trades favors and witness protection in exchange for being an occasional snitch.
  • When preparing for an away mission, the first thing to do is to get a lifeform, even something as simple as a single-cell organism, and then beam it down and back up again, to make sure that there's nothing wrong with how the transporter would function with organic life in this environment. If it doesn't work, and we decide to use a shuttlecraft instead, I will refuse to go on the mission. Something WILL go wrong.
    • In fact, it's probably best to avoid away missions anyways.
  • I will invent code words for my senior staff to use whenever we have reason to believe that we are being monitored.
  • I will not trust people with secrets. Even if they wouldn't say anything to anyone, that information may still be taken from their brain against their will.
  • If someone is acting suspicious, they are likely to be The Mole, especially if they are a close friend of mine.
  • I will routinely say "Computer, end program." to make sure that I am not in a holodeck and being deceived. Especially just before telling someone confidential information. It will also be the first thing I say in the morning upon waking.
  • If the adventures of my crew stop, and then start up again years later, with the same exact people, then I will conclude that we are making The Movie of the series now. In such an event, I will keep track of how many adventures we've had. If it's an odd number, I will expect nothing to make sense. This is normal and is not a reason to panic.
  • The weapons lockers on my ship will be stocked with kinetic weapons in addition to phasers. Most boarding parties we encounter will not expect my Red Shirts to come packing AKs and 12-gauges. Anyone who complains about kinetic weapons being "barbaric" will be required to submit a dissertation to me cataloging the number of times a Starfleet crew's been massacred because of their over-reliance on phasers for defense against hostile forces with phaser-proof personal Deflector Shields.
    • Speaking of those Red Shirts, my ship's security detail will be a combination of flesh-and-blood officers and holographic personnel. The flesh-and-blood Red Shirts will be issued combat armor and personal shields, and trained in a variety of self-preservation combat techniques such as evasion and use of cover. The holographic Red Shirts will be a mixture of holograms projected by the ship's emitters and holograms on mobile emitters with built-in shields and frequency jammers. And yes, the point below about artificial lifeforms will apply to them as well.
    • I will also remember that certain features on my ship, such as forcefields and environmental controls, can in fact be used against intruders inside the corridors of my ship. Thus, I will weaponize those functions if my ship is ever boarded; instead of sending a Red Shirt team to deal with the intruders, I will simply use ship's holoemitters to send holographic, high-velocity bullet trains through the corridors. Or replace the directional decals on the bulkheads so that the bad guys end up walking into a cargo bay filled with armored security escorts with riot shields and shotguns instead of the ship's bridge.
    • I will give everyone who come aboard my ship a complementary gas mask. They will be instructed to put on the gas mask the moment we go to Red Alert, and not to remove them until I give the all-clear. This is a precautionary measure; if we get boarded, and the transporters go offline, any parts of the ship with intruders in it are getting gassed.
      • If at all possible, I will have all crew member's uniforms be comfortable space suits, with about an hour worth of air in them, with which the crew will be instucted to grab and wear nearby helmets during red alerts until the all clear. This way I can not only make use of the aforementioned gassing tactic, I will be able to teleport or otherwise pick up crew that thrown into space, ensuring that casualties due to hull breaches are kept to a bare minimum. I will also have a self destruct of some kind built into each uniform that the crewman can activate with a push of a button, to prevent capture by the enemy.
  • I will not take my ship alone into enemy territory. If I can't get a solid fleet to accompany me, I will ask for reassignment.
    • I will not set my flight path to pass through any dense gas clouds or nebulae while in enemy territory.
    • If the admiral contacting me with the assignment is Kathryn Janeway, I will demand fleet support or reassignment, or else resign my Starfleet commission altogether. She has a reputation for giving orders and assignments that end very, very badly for the people that follow them. Case and point: Jean-Luc Picard's "purely diplomatic assignment" to Romulus.
  • I will not confine high-threat individuals in my ship's brig. They always get back out one way or another, and usually proceed to be an even greater threat to the ship and its crew. Instead, I will have them beamed into one of the ship's escape pods. And then I will launch the pod. And then I will lock weapons and shoot the pod.
  • I will have artificial life forms fitted with kill switches and failsafes against foreign transmissions specifically targeting them. If the ship's computer detects those transmissions, it will be programmed to beam the affected android(/hologram, assuming it's on a mobile emitter) off the ship IMMEDIATELY. They can survive being in space long enough for my Chief Engineer to figure out what happened to them and whether it's safe to beam them back and turn them back on.
  • I shall identify, befriend, and exploit the Creator's Pet for his Plot Armor and other Canon Sue qualities no matter how annoying and Too Dumb to Live he is. (In fact, his repeatedly surviving in spite of being Too Dumb to Live is one way of identifying him.) This is the guy I want standing in front of me on a planet whenever the phasers and disruptors are blazing. However, I will studiously avoid being on any team assignment with him that involves exploring any as-yet unknown phenomenon or civilization, as his bumbling is sure to get his teammates killed.
  • In the event that I am a Red Shirt and my duties absolutely require being on away missions, I shall always insist on working solely with the highest-ranking Vulcan officer on the ship, or the nearest equivalent. Say what The McCoy will about his personality, The Spock has a much better track record for bringing underlings back from dangerous away missions alive and (mostly) intact.
  • If I find myself in an encounter in which being morally good conflicts with following Starfleet regulations, I will identify the option that's only there as an excuse for the 21st-Century clod writing the episode to shoehorn in hack social commentary and ignore it instead of spend the entire episode agonizing over which option to choose. Being competent and decisive is a great way to become an Ensemble Darkhorse with Plot Armor in this universe, so if I'm wrong, I'll get the opportunity to do something awesome later to make up for it.
  • If I'm a changeling officer, I will wear real boots instead of shape-shifting my feet. There will come a time when I will need to regenerate, but won't have access to my bucket. The boots will be my backup.

    Situational Comedy 
  • If I am unmarried and not part of a set of True Companions, I will join one ASAP. Preferably one where everyone has a very distinct personality.
  • I will never utter the words "Can't you see I'm busy?" to relatives or loved ones. Chances are that what they have to say is far more important.
  • Family always has higher priority over work, even if it means I have to miss a chance for promotion.
  • If I am a member of an Acceptable Target, I will act as unstereotypical as possible.
  • If I have children, I will familiarize myself with the latest video games. Nothing says uncool like a parent who only knows how to play Pac-Man.
  • When I'm in an embarrassing (but not illegal) situation, I will tell the honest truth instead of covering it up.
  • I will learn how to treat the Drop-In Character as a close friend. Yelling at him will never convince him to go away.
    • Unless it's once in a blue moon, I will not be a Drop-In Character. That's the fast track to either getting thrown out (perhaps literally) or getting a rap sheet. And probably both.
    • Alternatively, if a Drop-In Character is just that annoying and intrusive, I'll mosey on down to the hardware store, look for one of those crazy "lock" contraptions I keep hearing about, and maybe consider installing one on my front door. Yes, even if there is already one installed on it; the Drop-In Character may have acquired a key to it at some point offscreen.
  • If a close friend is a Mad Scientist, I will not be anywhere near him when he performs his experiments, no matter how well-intentioned.
  • When I am about to tell a friend/lover/relative something important, I will not allow said person to make a statement of their own first. Chances are that said statement is some glurge-ey emotional speech that will guilt me out of saying what I was about to say.
  • I will not, under any circumstances, cheat on my boyfriend/girlfriend if I am not sure I can get away with it. Getting found out usually results in my fellow True Companions turning against me. And if I get caught I will take extra care to not try and justify my mistake by claiming that me and my boyfriend/girflriend were on a break.

    Superhero 
NOTE: This folder is for Innocent Bystanders and other civilians in superhero stories. For advice for actual superheroes, refer to If I Become a Superhero.

  • If I am a character in a comic book, I will not become a scientist—particularly not to do with chemistry or biology. They all either become superheroes (Spiderman, Mr. Fantastic, The Flash etc.), become supervillains (Doc Ock, The Lizard, Doctor Doom etc.) or get killed by the new supervillain as he trashes his lab (thereby showing the audience that he is dangerous).
    • To clarify—Spiderman wasn't a scientist, but his superpowers were induced from a bite by an experimental radioactive spider. By this principle I will not even associate with scientists, and I will definitely not go to their expos.
  • If I am an ordinary non-super-powered civilian in a superhero comic book or movie, and inadvertently happen to discover any superhero's secret identity, I will keep this discovery entirely to myself, and maybe even try to find some way to wipe it from my memory. Even assuming the superhero is not an anti-heroic sociopath and has a personal moral code against killing me for knowing too much, the writers do not, and any attempts I make to exploit this discovery for fame and/or profit will surely end in death or worse.
  • Speaking of superheroes, if I have no superpowers of my own, I shall in no event knowingly live in any building next to a known superhero or supervillain base. Both are preferred targets for every extraterrestrial invasion, interdimensional Eldritch Abomination attack, and gratuitous super-powered property-wrecking slugging match in the cosmos. In the event that I discover a nearby building is secretly such a base, I shall immediately put my own living space on the market before everyone else inevitably finds out the same thing. Those Conveniently Empty Buildings around superheroes' and supervillains' bases are conveniently empty for a good reason.
  • Superpowers derived from cosmic rays, Sufficiently Advanced Alien technology, or unknown interdimensional phenomena are not meaningfully different from superpowers derived from genetic mutations, and any of my fellow citizens who thinks so is a poorly-written one-dimensional bigot created by a hack writer seeking an easy metaphor for racial, sexual, and other forms of discrimination. I shall avoid all such poorly-written characters and their Fantastic Racism hate groups like the plague, as their lack of characterization makes them mindlessly and irredeemably evil, and means their schemes may well harm an Innocent Bystander such as myself for no good reason at all.
  • In the event that I am a CEO or other high-status corporate executive, I shall not be a Corrupt Corporate Executive in any world that has people with superpowers. In the event that my company's factories produce pollution, superheroes with a strong affinity for the environment will not be persecuted for attempting to expose our pollution to media scrutiny, but will instead be hired to clean up our mess at any high wage or salary that is less than what government fines and conventional cleaning methods would cost.
  • If I am a petty criminal, ideally I will stick to robbing houses while the occupants are out at dinner. If I can manage this, I will avoid taking anything that glows. If I absolutely must mug people, I will stick to huge overconfident guys and leave triangular men, well-endowed women, and skinny teenagers in hoodies alone.
  • If I'm working as security at any building (whether my boss is a legitimate businessman or a crime lord) and the local costumed crime fighter with a reputation for being bulletproof or just really good at dodging gunfire comes barging in for whatever reason, I will not bother pulling my gun on the Cape or Cowl in question; as everyone in my world ought to know by now (but doesn't), that never helps. If guns don't help, using melee weapons is also out of the question, as they will be no more effective. I and any personnel working for me will also not attempt to do battle with any supervillain known to be likewise invincible. In fact, if any kind of super is attacking, our policy will be to evacuate immediately and call for super-powered backup if any is available.
  • I will seek out a career as a paramedic or firefighter. While it will keep me incredibly busy with all the superheroes and supervillains running around blowing each other up, as a Real Hero, I will be virtually immortal. I will not, however, become a police officer. Unless their last name is Gordon, police officers in superhero media can only achieve Real Hero status posthumously after proving the bad guy to be Immune to Bullets.
  • I will only join the military if I greatly dislike my family. This isn't a war drama, so as long as I put in twenty minutes of Character Development per day I'll be perfectly safe. There's a strong chance of my gaining superpowers, though, in which case I'll be the world's most invincible class of being, but they'll be doomed one way or another.
  • I will pay attention to the nerd wearing the horn-rimmed glasses. If he disappears or gets sick after a lab incident, then comes back healthy, fit, and sans glasses, I will spend the next month or so on the other side of the continent.

    Time Travel 
  • I will recognize that using time travel to solve my problem can be difficult and confusing, and it tends to cause more problems than it solves... and that's assuming that I actually can change anything at all. This means that before resorting to using time traveling to solve the problem, I will consider all my other options carefully, since sometimes they can also solve the problem without all the mess time traveling may cause.
    • However, if I'm fighting a villain that uses time traveling, then it is likely that using time travel to defeat him is my only option.
    • Similarly, if the problem I'm trying to solve is caused by unexplained and/or involuntary time traveling, then the only thing I can do is probably using time travel to Set Right What Once Went Wrong.
    • Generally, I will evaluate the situation and to expect and prepare accordingly. For example, if I'm trying to stop a cataclysm, I should have a pretty high chance to succeed on the first try. If I'm trying to revert a smaller accident — a car crash, for example — it would be harder, but I'd still have a fair chance. Trying to save my Love Interest is usually substantially more difficult, especially if I'm trying to save him/her from a cataclysm or car crash, but it is still possible. Trying to stop a war, however, is downright impossible and I will not even bother to try.
  • If I happen to be stranded in another time and need to know when I am, I will not ask people What Year Is This?, as this will either make me look crazy or draw unwanted attention to me. Instead, I will use a newspaper. If there are no newspapers and I know I'm in the future, there will hopefully be replacements of some kind. If I happen to be in the past, I do at least know that the latest date I am at is the year 1605.
    • If I must ask, I will try to sound annoyed and comment on how I did this because of a lost bet or the like after getting my answer.
  • I will do my homework and find out (if possible) how to dress in my destination time and dress accordingly. For example clothes that are completely normal can make a woman be mistaken for a prostitute 100 or more years ago.
    • I will not dress as nobility, unless I really want to pretend to be a member, as nobles tend to have limited freedom of movement and draw unwanted attention. In addition it is pretty often forbidden to pretend to belong to the nobility if you are a 'normal' person.
  • I will not assume locals will understand me without problems. I will at least bring an interpreter with me who is fluent in Old English/Latin/etc.
  • I will keep my electronic devices hidden, placing more effort on such an endeavor the further back in time I go so as to avoid dying in a Burn the Witch! incident.
    • I will never leave devices from the future behind, no matter how broken. They will be reverse-engineered. I will have altered the past.
    • If possible, I will avoid bringing them with me to begin with.
  • I will be very aware of Values Dissonance. As mentioned before, I will investigate my destination before leaving if possible and avoid standing out. Better not try to rise a slave revolt in ancient Rome or try to install a democracy in medieval Germany, it will just lead to more trouble then I want and most likely kill me.
  • I will refrain from altering the outcome of historic events. If, for example, I'm in 1893 in the small town of Braunau am Inn in Austria-Hungary and happen to run in a 4 years old boy with the name Adolf Hitler, I will leave him alone. In the best case he will be protected by time itself and strange things happen if I try to kill him. In the worst case, if I do succeed, I will travel back to your present and find out that the Holocaust and World War II never happened but made place for something far worse, leaving me in the rather awkward position of wishing Nazi Germany was back in place. In addition there are the moral implications to consider, even if I ignore the aforementioned problems. In 1893, Adolf Hitler is an innocent child who didn't hurt anybody (yet). Killing him would make me a child murderer, and besides, someone can't be punished for committing crimes which didn't happen (yet).
    • If I'm back in time and seriously intent on killing a young Hitler, then I'm already over the moral hangups of killing a child, no matter how innocent. On top of that, if I'm that ruthless, then odds are good I've also figured out a way to do the deed without being remembered in the history books (clauses like "killed by an unknown assailant" and "dead by unknown causes" come in very handy for would-be time assassins).
    • There is, however, the problem of causing multiple time paradoxes. As evil as his actions may have been, they did bring the Great Depression to an end and inspire the formation of international organizations and trade agreements that shaped the present. If Hitler never rises to power and any one of those factors changes as a result, then the time machine I used to go back in time to kill Hitler as a child may not be available to my new present self to go back in time and kill Hitler as a child. If it is, then my new present self won't see any need to go back in time to kill Hitler as a child, because my current present self already did go back in time to kill Hitler as a child. If he does go back in time to kill Hitler as a child even then, there's the chance that he'll run into my current present self traveling back in time to kill Hitler as a child in my timeline and open up a different can of worms.
    • Finally, the preceding pileup of paradoxical probabilities will set off alarms with the Time Police or any time-traveling heroes, at least one of whom will be waiting at my destination to stop me. And they will be in any other place I try to travel to with the intention of altering major historical events.
  • I will always assume that I don't have Ripple Effect-Proof Memory, which means that I will take detailed notes on all of my time travelling experiences, including what originally happened and what I have changed. At the very least, my tale will not become The Greatest Story Never Told.
    • I will also realize that if my memory is not ripple-effect proof, my notes probably aren't either. If the time machine has a compartment that is explicitly stated to be a Place Beyond Time, I'll keep my notes there.

    Transformation 
  • I will avoid the following known catalysts for bizarre transformations and/or magical powers if I want to stay a normal human:
    • Crossdressing. It may become permanent. Not that the costume will be unremovable, but it will turn you into a girl.
      • On a similar note, don't go in the other gender's bathroom.
    • Weird blobs of latex.
    • Strange chemicals and substances. Specifically, do not ingest, sniff, or otherwise use as recreational drug.
      • I will never drink anything glowing faintly green, fizzling, randomly hidden in a strange lab's fridge, or that that friend of mine gives to me while smirking.
      • I will never inject myself with anything with a DNA symbol, the letters DNA on it, the Mega Corp. label, or anything that vaguely hints at the word Phlebotinum or MacGuffin.
      • I won't even go near them to be accidentally poked. Any needles or syringes shall be viewed as safely away as possible—preferably through a telescope. Just to be on the safe side, glass containers should be expected to be shattered by any mishap around them.
    • Strange gems.
    • I will never handle any magical artifacts with animal motifs without gloves. Or better yet, tongs.
      • Having my spunky and/or sarcastic female sidekick handle them might work, though.
    • Strange costumes.
    • TF guns.
    • Misogyny around women. Not so much a physical catalyst, but a karmic one known to cause genderbending. There's an entry on it below.
      • If you are male, don't make any reference to 'melons'. Even if you are at a produce market.
    • Don't think being a woman protects you from karmic genderbending either. It's not nearly as popular, but supernatural karma vigilantes are vicious and have an incredibly sick sense of humor. Depending on the story and the views of the author, exploiting your femininity to manipulate people or simply get away with doing horrible things to people of the opposite gender is an extremely good way to get yourself turned into a man.
    • Any locations with the word "Wolf" in any language in the name. There be werewolves. In any other medium there will be either werewolves or dangerously competent local warlords, if at all possible—so, not worth sightseeing either way. Locations with names referencing silver, full moons, and/or signature aspects of a werewolf's behavior and/or anatomy will likewise be avoided.
    • The Little Shop That Wasn't There Yesterday. Actually, this applies to any medium. Aside from not entering, don't buy stuff there. It's nonrefundable and may come with... added difficulties.
    • A family member's lab, if they are a geneticist of some kind. If unavoidable, follow said relative at all time and do not touch anything if not wearing thick gloves.
    • Getting out of the car and acting even potentially trigger happy in a forest with any wildlife more imposing than squirrels is asking for me to become some friendly woodland creature.
    • If I am a burglar, using the term 'cat burglar' is plain Tempting Fate.
    • Wearing any type of collar, even as a fashion statement.
    • Opening mail packages if I don't know who it's from or what it contains. Even if it seems harmless, put it down anyway.
    • If someone asks me do to summer work on their farm, I will make it clear in advance that I'm not being the horse. This may not stop them, but at least I made my wishes apparent.
    • Any products with an animal motif, any at all.
    • Don't go to university. It all goes down there.
      • I'm aware that you may be into some of this stuff and want it to happen to you, but that just increases the possibility of an incoming partial to total mindwipe, inability to enjoy your old life anymore or that you may be in a Genre Deconstruction. The risks sort of outweigh the benefits.
    • If I must take a work experience class, internship, or other work-related requirement to fulfill my education credential, I will opt for a Boring, but Practical option such as business accounting, retail or politics and avoid anything even remotely having to do with biological or medical science (even just being a forest intern), especially if it involves pharmaceuticals and/or genetics to any degree.
    • Any "custom" electronics with unusual color schemes, or have names that should be a tip-off like "Man Box".
      • I will especially avoid breaking them, even chipping part of it, since whatever I break will be the specific part capable of causing others to transform. I will also avoid prototypes of said products, or "rare" electronics.
  • If I am a guy, I must remember that Mandy's Law of Anime Gender Bending is pointing directly at my manhood like a howitzer at all times. Thus, I have to get proactive with one of these options:
    • The best option is to find a friend and become Those Two Guys. This isn't an 100% effective strategy, but it does make it far more likely that any "incidents" will be temporary. Otherwise, our value as a Greek Chorus would be ruined.
    • I will avoid anything that will get certain elements of the fanbase Shipping us. Having a runaway love affair with your best male bud is awkward at best, even if one of you is currently sporting a pair of C-cups.
    • If I'm already too important to pull that off, I will have to bite the bullet and try to arrange becoming a part time woman, to avoid ending up as a full time woman. Alternately, I can get myself an Opposite-Sex Clone. Though that's not a guarantee either...
    • If I think I can pull it off I'll try to become the guy all those girls are in love with and act completely surprised.
    • Alternatively, I will just bite the bullet and take it like a man.
    • If I absolutely cannot abide being even a part-time woman (or that option is simply not available), I will follow the lead of transgender men from the mundane world and invest in binders, a packer, and testosterone supplements. I will not tell the endocrinologist that I was turned into a girl by magical forces from outside of space and time for the purposes of audience titillation—that'll only baffle them. Instead, I'll just say "I always knew I was a man". If, even after all this, the magical forces insist on transforming me back again, I'll flip them the bird and find myself a transformation device that lets me shed my physical form entirely, because seriously, this is just pointlessly cruel.
    • If I and/or a large number of my friends seem more comfortable in genderbent forms than in our birth-assigned genders, but nobody ever uses words like "transgender" or "genderfluid", I will consider the possibility that my author doesn't know that these are actual things. Accordingly, I will try (within my usual sensibilities) to attract enough of an LGBT Fanbase that my author might get an email or two politely explaining the concepts, which will hopefully leak into our lives and make them a little more sensible.
      • Although they might be: trying to keep the work SFW, keep it at a lower rating, trying to avoid having confused children look it up, or they might just not want to get that deep into such things
  • If I have a name that can be easily turned into a female name (Chris -> Christina, Nick -> Nikki, Tony -> Toni, etc) I will not act too surprised when I just happen to be the random person that gets gender-swapped. Names that are hard to feminize (Bob, Steve, David, etc) rarely get their owners zapped. (Aka The Whateley Rule of TG Protagonist Names.)
    • Likewise, if I have a name or nickname mentioning an animal, I will not be surprised if random DNA of that particular animal ends up in my bloodstream.
    • Ditto if I notice the mysterious new transfer student with a moon or animal based name or family name appears at the same time people start seeing monsters around town. One would think a family of werewolves would be more discreet than name their daughter Luna, but, there ya are.
  • I will not piss off any young girls or old women with magic wands. Especially if they have red hair. However, If I'm feeling adventurous, befriending them is an option.
  • If I'm a guy and offered magical powers, I shall make sure they're not talking about magical girl powers. (Unless I am willing to accept the transformation.)
    • Given the difficulties your average hero faces in regards to his secret identity, my powers being linked to a total appearance change could be a boon to my heroics!
  • I will remember that gender equality has made great advances in recent decades. Becoming a girl does not mean I have to go look for a frilly pink dress. In all likelihood, I can just keep going like nothing's changed.
  • If I happen to see a freak in a lab coat, I will make sure to have as many witnesses around me as possible, and/or deck him the second an opportunity presents itself. The beatings shall continue until good intentions are confirmed.
  • If I happen to see a half-human creature, I will stop and think:
  • If my best friend acts suspiciously and werefolk exist on this world, I will hold any unfair prejudices against my friend—he or she could have turned against me long ago.
  • If ever any animal—even a bug—bites me, I will get it properly checked out by someone who knows what they are doing. I won't just shrug it off thinking that if I ignore it that it will go away.
  • If I am looking for employment, stay away from genetic research facilities, zoos, or any place that works with animals. If I have no choice in the matter, I will keep my back to the wall, keep a sharp eye on everyone around me, and for god's sake, don't eat or drink anything offered to me.
  • If I am a transgender person I will remember that not every transformation results in a Gender Bender and thus provoking any beings who can force me to transform is still a bad idea.
    • If I get transformed and it is indeed a Gender Bender transformation, I will make it a point to politely thank whoever changed me and even more politely ask them if this can be made permanent.
  • If I go into any store that sells magical items, manage to aquire a TF gun, get my hands on any sort of scientific machine/weird transformation goop/new scientific invention, or stumble across a book of spells or magic wand, I will cut all ties from boyfriends/girlfriends, best "friends", roommates, neighbors, classmates, acquaintances and especially ex-boyfriends/girlfriends, rival coworkers, or enemies immediately until the object is destroyed. These people want nothing more than to torture me with transformation.
  • I will not, under any circumstances, try to save anyone from weird animal men, latex or not, no matter how much they beg and scream. Interfering with this results in at best the attackee getting bitten or slimed and at worse both of us getting transformed.

    Metafiction 

By Medium

    Anime 
  • For general heroes.
  • For general villains.
  • Tips for a Magical Girl.
  • If I have any kind of Transformation Sequence, be it Magical Girl, Super Sentai, or some other form of Henshin Hero; Combining Mecha, putting on Powered Armor, or activation some other large-scale device; or digivolving; and it is anything less than instantaneous, I will absolutely make certain I have some sort of protection while it plays out. Nothing's more embarrassing than getting blasted by a opponent before you're ready. Alternatively, I'll transform before I confront them.
  • If my powers rely on Activation Phrases and Magical Incantations, I will keep them as short as possible, with one or two words being the absolute max. Better yet, I will find ways to use my powers without needing to speak at all; nothing is more humiliating than having your entire arsenal rendered useless by a silencing spell, voice stealing power, or any other Phlebotinum that a villain can use to take away your ability to speak the words.
  • Tips for Humongous Mecha pilots.
  • If you are none of those, refer to this very page.
    • I will keep a pack of Shinto Charms on me at all times. If a minor demon manifests or possesses someone, this is the most effective way to ward them off.
    • If I am calling my attacks, the best time to do so is during said attacks, rather than leaving myself wide open before them.
      • If I have to call my attacks before I execute them, the names will be short and misleading. For example, a whirling kick that generates a gust of wind? "Knuckle spark".
      • If possible, all of my attacks will have the same name. That way, no one knows if I'm going to merely throw a fireball or nuke the place to oblivion.
      • If possible, just don't call your attacks at all.
    • Before piloting any Humongous Mecha or other combat vehicle, I will make sure I know how to evacuate from it, and if possible, how to trigger its self-destruct mechanism to keep the technology out of enemy hands once all personnel have escaped.
    • I will never be the first one to join a fight. That's the hero's job.
    • If it's really important that my allies accomplish something, I'll pretend it's impossible, then act surprised when they do it.
    • If I am a young man and twenty girls fall in love with me out of the blue, I will under no circumstances encourage them. When they're not feuding over me, they'll be smacking me upside the head for noticing the others. Unless you ladies can be civil about this, I think we should see other people.
      • On the other hand...if I know the flaws of the individual girls, and they happen to balance each other out? A Balanced Harem can be QUITE fun. That way, I can at least get to sit back and watch the fireworks...
    • If I am not The Hero in a Shonen anime, but am a good guy, I will not, I repeat, not, attempt to fight the Big Bad. Instead, I will encourage and/or train The Hero to this end.
    • If I am a mentor whose student has gone evil, I will not engage him myself, nor will I say anything to the effect of "I'm the only one who can stop him". Such a fight will definitely end in my death. Even if the school's honor is more important, having a more loyal student beat him later still counts as a victory for the team. If this demotes the traitor from an apprentice who outgrew his master to a random bad apple who was given a chance, but didn't see the light—so much better.
      • Also, while training my students, I will make sure none of them are stronger than me. If one is, I will make sure to know his weaknesses—this will be priceless in case he decides to switch teams.
    • I will force the opponent to begin a long monologue about his place in life, his feelings, dreams, hopes, etc. When he is distracted, that is when I will attack.
    • I will by no means have any sort of flashback in the middle of a life-or-death battle. If I do, I may as well kiss my rear end goodbye.
      • Unless said flashback distracts my enemy long enough for me to win the battle.
    • I will let the Hot-Blooded guy be the hero. Always, without exception or exemption.
    • If my team runs a combining mecha and the villains repeatedly prevent it from combining by keeping one of my team members occupied, I'll train a backup pilot for use in such situations. More than one if I can.
    • I will refrain from mentioning my fatalism, nihilism or Ubermensch-complex to the hero. He will teach me a lesson about his philosophy and that lesson will be painful.
      • If possible, I will acquire a working knowledge of philosophy and after the hero states his beliefs, I will destroy them intellectually, gaining the audience's sympathy.
      • I will keep in mind that this usually backfires horribly in certain types of anime. Effort will be put into finding out where this series lands on the Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism.
    • Should I somehow gain dark powers, I will use them only as a last resort to prevent either loss of sanity or else fueling my Superpowered Evil Side.
    • I will establish whether or not my attacks can hurt the villain. If so, I will ignore the Hero's "I have to do this alone" speech, gather everyone else whose attacks can also hurt the villain, and we'll all gang up on him. If not, I will politely bow out and see if there is something I can sabotage.
    • If I am a Well-Intentioned Extremist, I will remember to apply extreme measures only after normal measures failed to work. Trying to steal something and then finding out I could have just asked for it, for instance, makes me look stupid and unreasonable.
    • If I find a naked girl in the middle of nowhere, I will kill her, right then and there. Or run away fast and far, and never return. She is obviously the harbinger of destruction, and it will be easier to do it before I fall in love with her.
    • I will use my most powerful attack at the beginning of the battle. Repeatedly.
      • In the event that my most powerful attack kills me, I will trap the enemy to ensure that they die as well. This includes restraining them, removing any magical jewelry, and generally ensuring that no Deus ex Machina happens.
    • I will not assume that the guy who can't use magic is a weakling. He can probably still kick my ass six ways from Sunday.
    • I will not judge people by appearance. Yes, my opponent looks ridiculous, but he can probably kill me without much thought. This holds particularly true if I am in One Piece.
    • The instant I realize that the Super Prototype can win a battle in only a few seconds, I will call up the heads of state and get them working on having it mass-produced.
      • I will, however, make sure that each replica is an exact copy, and is not inexplicably weaker. Cutting the corners on army contracts is known at least since the time of Xerxes, so dying for lack of a working acceptance board would be embarrassing. If necessary, a solution to this problem may also be borrowed from Xerxes.
    • During the Tournament Arc:
      • I will refrain from stating that I was saving my super attack for the finals unless I am actually in the finals.
      • I will not cheat unless I'm on the team that features The Hero. If I'm on any other team, we will not only be mercilessly beaten, but we will be exposed as cheats.
      • I will avoid actions that make me a Complete Monster. I want to survive past this Tournament Arc, so I will avoid that. If possible, I will inform The Hero as to the weaknesses of the Big Bad.
  • If I live in a universe with Power Levels, I will attempt to discern if the scale is linear, logorithmic, or exponential. Under no circumstances will I attempt to solo an opponent who is a level or higher above me. Whether I try a group attack or retreat depends on the answer to the previous question.
  • If I am minding my own business, and suddenly a hot member of the opposite sex or cute little critter comes along and offers me the chance to do something really cool (such as pilot a giant robot, become a magical girl, or travel to another world), I will make damn sure the setting is not a Deconstruction before I accept.
  • I will make double sure of my actual genre and the role I am actually in, instead of the genre and role I think I'm in. Being Wrong Genre Savvy can be just as bad as being Genre Blind, and depending on the story and author, I am most likely going to look like a fool or have any number of bad things happen to me.
  • If I am ever in a Mons setting, especially if I am among the main cast, I will learn about any form of combat or Mons neutralization that is not dependent on Mons and train myself in it immediately. No matter how skilled I am at commanding Mons, I will invariably be separated from my team and attacked or otherwise put in peril without them, and waiting for them to save my hide is asking for trouble. If my enemy is on the same level of pragmatism as Cipher, I will take extra lessons and expect to be attacked in these circumstances.
    • Likewise, I will train my Mons to fight or command others without me for the same reason stated above. Whoever separated them from me is most likely out to control them for their own ends, and they should be inconvenienced or thwarted as thoroughly as possible.
    • If I plan to enter a Tournament Arc, I will be prepared to face a Canon Sue out of nowhere with Olympus Mons in the semifinals. I will go on Smogon, do the research on every Uber, take notes on their weaknesses, and equip my Mons with lots of speed-boosting items.
  • If I am in a sports anime, I will not give up. Period. Even if every joint in my body aches and I can barely stand up. The Hot-Blooded Determinator always wins.
  • I should realize at some point that the cuter the world's design is (without being a comedic work), and the more innocent my friends appear to be, the more I'll have to start worrying for everyone's safety.
  • If anyone runs into me, I will not feel around to see who it is. I will get slapped. And if my hand does end up on something warm and soft, I will move it away as quickly as possible.
  • If I'm in a Hentai manga, I should count on getting screwed one way or another at some point. There is a 95% chance that the Hentai will be Porn Without Plot and everyone will be screwing everyone, but regardless, I will remember to pack some Astroglide and a wooden stick to bite down on, as even if no plot gets introduced, it doesn't guarantee that I'll know ahead of time exactly what kind of objects, appendages or entities will be going into which of my bodily orifices.
    • However, I will remember that even if I am unlikely to die in a Hentai, there are fates worse than death (especially in darker works where I am likely to become a mindbroken Sex Slave or Breeding Slave for villains and monsters), and will endeavor to avoid such situations however I can.
  • If, after overcoming all the difficulties and much angst that are separating us from getting together, I am finally able to meet my Love Interest alone in an atmospheric location, I will have to realize that this meeting is not gonna last very long and will usually end in the disappearance of my Love Interest. With that in mind, I will confess my feeling to her again and have a Big Damn Kiss with her. More importantly, I will do anything I can to make sure she will remember me and I will remember her since while we are guaranteed to meet again, the next time I'm going to see her can be anywhere from a year to our next life and I certainly don't want to forget about her due to some Easy Amnesia.

    Fan Fiction 
General
  • I will throw myself down at the feet of the nearest Mary Sue and pledge my everlasting loyalty to her. Humiliating, yes, but I'll probably make it to the story's end (if it has one) in one piece if I stay on her good side.
    • If I absolutely cannot stand said Mary Sue, nor really care about her, however, I will leave the vicinity of said Sue immediately. Howling for her blood will end badly for me, and just being anywhere near her if I'm indifferent towards her will likely ensure that I get dragged into her adventures anyhow.
      • However, if said Mary Sue is of the shapeshifter type (assuming she has the kind of personality I won't mind), then I wouldn't mind her anyhow as long as she's not dating anyone canon. note 
  • If the heroine is dating the Draco in Leather Pants and insists he isn't so bad, I will believe her. I will not explode when I find out and then go overboard trying to protect her, especially not if I wanted her to be in a relationship with me.
    • If I still loathe the Draco in Leather Pants despite what the heroine says about him, I will respectfully let the couple be and leave the story entirely, or at least the vicinity of the couple.
  • I will hang out with whichever characters are described as attractive. And I will wear whatever clothes and listen to whatever music they do. And if they all swear, I will swear too.
    • Alternatively, if I find the above rule undesireable for any reason, understandable or otherwise (more likely the former), I will leave the general area those characters occupy as quickly and quietly as possible.
  • If two male characters hook up, I will most emphatically not be homophobic. I similarly will not express outrage over any romantic pairing, no matter how wrong. It's always Twue Wuv.
    • If I am indifferent about the above, should I happen to be in said Slash Fic at all, and at the place where said hooking up takes place, I will leave the vicinity where said hooking up occured as calmly as possible and do the mind scrubbing in someplace private. That goes double if there are very good reasons such a pair wouldn't happen canonically.
  • I will not attempt to change or disturb The Stations of the Canon. It probably won't hurt me, but it's just a waste of time.
  • If I'm male, I will be a perfect gentleman to the heroine, but will have no romantic interest in her. If I'm female, I will have no romantic interest in the heroine's man and most certainly will not act jealous or try to steal him. In fact, whatever my gender, I will not be in a relationship with anyone just to be safe.
    • If the hero/heroine turns out to be utterly insufferable for any reason, I will make a break for it the instant they enter the picture.
  • I will be as Wangsty as possible. Having actual reasons for my moodiness is, however, purely optional.
    • Alternatively, I will not be emotionally unstable, as the chance of the above super-sensitive type of characters being seen as hair-pullingly obnoxious by the readers is nothing to be laughed at.
      • The above goes double for if the whiny character is the protagonist. If I am not the main character, and I really wish they would just shut up, I will avoid being anywhere near them as much as possible. Being near someone so ungodly beautiful, yet far too emotionally frail, for instance, is not worth enduring the headaches in the long run.
  • If a character becomes Ron the Death Eater, I will assume they are completely evil and irredeemable now, no matter how nice they were in the canon.
  • If it's a Troll Fic, I will be as wildly and entertainingly Out of Character as possible. Surely the author would never kill off the character who provides half the lulz.
    • Also, I will take this opportunity to do as many wildly improbable things as possible, as the excessive Rule of Cool will allow me to achieve absolutely insane and entertaining things.
  • If someone attractive is being mean to me, I will immediately decide to have sex with them. If someone unattractive is being mean to me, I will kill them.
  • I won't feel any pressure to be funny if it's an MST fic. Instead I'll just state the obvious and this will be considered hilarious.
  • In a Rational Fic, I will find whichever hero has received an intelligence boost and align myself with them.
  • As you might have noticed already, a recurring advice in this section can be expressed this way: If i notice evidences that i am in the 90%, i will do my best to put myself on the next bus and get away from there!

Specific fandoms
  • If it's a Harry Potter fanfic:
    • If the "good" side and the "bad" side have been twisted beyond all recognition, I will join the side with most of the following characters: Harry, Hermione, Draco, Snape, Lupin, Luna, and the Weasley twins.
    • If Harry is accused of a horrific crime, I will assume he's innocent right away. I will also hide Hedwig and his photo album from everyone else until his innocence is proven.
      • If a key part of the evidence against Harry is that the Marauder's Map said he did it, I will remind everyone that one of the Map's co-creators is a known Death Eater. I will also remind everyone that the last time they assumed someone was guilty just because all the evidence SEEMED to point to that person being guilty, an innocent man spent 12 years in Azkaban, and will insist that the Map be thoroughly tested (ideally by a surviving Marauder other than Pettigrew) to ensure that it hasn't been tampered with (or replaced with a defective copy/prototype)
    • Dumbledore is either a wise sage, an evil manipulator, or a harmless buffoon. It is imperative that I determine as quickly as possible which version of Dumbledore I will be dealing with.
  • In the Pokemon-universe, I will never trust anyone accompanied by a Hypno. Given the name of the species, the reason for this should be fairly obvious.

    Films 
General
  • If possible, I will become the narrator and always speak of the film as portraying past events that I survived intact.

Judd Apatow's films
  • I will try to be as average-looking as possible, but funny. Definitely funny. If this is the case, I'll be getting tail like nobody's business.
  • I will try to be the "leader" of my group. This will mean I will be landing the most attractive female.
  • I will by no means attempt to improve my life. Self-improvement is for losers. Chicks dig unattractive, funny guys who still work in retail. Besides, my life will probably improve anyways once I get handed a great new job or promotion I may or may not have ever been shown working hard to receive.
  • If I'm in a relationship with the lead female at the beginning of the movie, I will just save myself the time and trouble and break up with her now. She will be ending up with the average-looking funny guy who still works in retail.

Lifetime Movie of the Week
  • I will make sure that the legal measures I am presently taking will allow me to keep my baby for the rest of my life. I don't want to get jerked around by any more lawyers.
  • Building on that, I will go and get a female lawyer the first thing I do.
  • I will avoid the male gender at all costs. They are only out to get me. I will make an exception for the childhood friend who has no romantic interest in me, because he won't be as evil as the rest of them.
    • In fact, I'll have to put him on notice, too. The nicer and more supportive he is, the more likely it'll become that he gets murdered by my evil husband, boyfriend, stalker or whatever.
    • If he happens to be a Gay Best Friend, then I'd better just cut the crap and see if there are any secure bomb shelters in the area he can hide in 'til this whole thing blows over; there's no way he's getting out of this alive otherwise.
  • I will believe any and all stories about the man I am about to marry: allegations that he has a secret second family; that he's really an Ax-Crazy murderer; and other unflattering accusations and profiles; these will all be completely true by the end of the movie.
  • I will not have children. It never helps things. They only end up used as bargaining chips in kidnappings anyway.
    • If I must have children, they will be wearing tracking devices at all times. I will have a network of people just making sure that they're OK everywhere they go. When any daughters I have turn 13, I will send them out of town to live with relatives until they're able to work through whatever life issues they will no doubt develop.
  • I will go to the cops the instant my husband shows the slightest hint of being abusive.
  • When I am in the hospital giving birth to my child, I will make sure that my room is secure and there is a sign-in sheet on the front door. Only female doctors will be allowed in. I will tell my terrible, awful baby daddy that I'm giving birth at another hospital on the other side of town. Finally, I will make absolutely sure that the child is legally mine and that no one can take him/her from me.
  • If I am male, I will identify the heroine as quickly as possible and stay away from her. The less screentime I get, the better.
    • If I absolutely must be around her (for work-related reasons or something), I will remain cold and aloof at all times, and use any excuse I can find to be in a different city. The less I interact with her, the better.
    • If I can't get out of it, I will, at the earliest opportunity, smash a hole in the Fourth Wall and brutally murder the writing staff and the producers in revenge for every indignity they would no doubt subject me to. That will at least mean if I'm the villain, I've earned it rightfully.
  • Better yet, I will cross-dress. I'm male. What the hell am I doing on this network, anyway?
  • Even better, If I am offered to be on this network before the above future indignities occur, I will decline said offer, no matter how well it pays, and haul ass outta the vicinity as soon as possible.
  • While jogging, I will never wear headphones that block out all sounds. If I feel the need to stop and stretch, I will either suppress that desire or find a very well-lit and crowded public place.

War Movies

    Music 

    Pro Wrestling 
  • If I'm in the same promotion as Hulk Hogan, I will verify if he is the traditional, heroic Hulkster or if he's in his Hollywood persona.
    • If I'm a villain and Hogan is in red and yellow, I will avoid facing him at all costs.
    • If I have to face him, and I get to the inevitable part of the match where he starts hulking up, I will immediately attempt a sleeper hold, or my finishing move. Anything except punching him. If I punch him, I will lose.
    • I will not try to defeat him by submission, however. Unless I am Brock Lesnar, this will not work.
    • If I somehow manage to defeat him, I will refuse to grant him a rematch. I will lose that rematch, and being one of the few people Hogan has never beat will make me more of a threat.
    • If I beat him for the title and he gets a title rematch, I will immediately get myself D Qed. That's my only hope.
    • If I am a hero, I will befriend Hulk Hogan, but not be a hanger-on to him. Being friends with the Hulkster means I have a trump card ally. Being close friends to him will make me a target of every villain who is fueding with him.
    • If he's Hollywood, I will attempt to remove his posse from the equation if at all possible. If I cannot do this before the match, I will bring backup to neutralize any run-in attempts.
    • My backup will not consist of anyone I've had a storied relationship with, good or bad. An old rival is likely to betray me. A good friend will almost certainly betray me. I will also turn down anyone who volunteers to be my backup without me asking them. They will also certainly betray me.
    • Whoever I select as my backup will not be allowed to wear any T-shirts, jackets, or anything else that can be used to conceal a T-shirt underneath. This will reduce the odds of my backup betraying me significantly.
    • I will instruct that my backup that if they manage to send Hogan's lackeys to the backstage, or if no lackeys show up to the match at all, that they are to immediately go to the back and remain there. Anyone who doesn't do this is going to betray me.
    • Should anyone who shows red flags that they are about to double-cross me, I will immediately hit Hogan with my biggest move and attempt to pin him before the traitor can interfere. I will ignore the traitor, because paying attention to him is part of Hogan's plan.
    • Even though this version of Hogan will give up in a submission move, I will not attempt to put him in a submission, because the referee is approximately three times more likely to miss the tapout than he is to fail to notice I've pinned Hogan, and if this happens, Hogan's victory is inevitable.
  • I will not, for any reason, attempt to powerbomb Billy Kidman.
  • I will also not attempt a hurricanrana on Chris Jericho, or any high flying move on Randy Orton.
  • If my opponent is a Pacific Islander, I will not attempt to headbutt him or her.
  • Unless my last name is Anderson and I am from Minnesota, I will never trust Ric Flair. Especially if I'm Sting.
  • If I am in a tag team and we're in a slump, or just lost the titles, or lost a match because of a miscommunication, I will accept the blame.
    • If my partner doesn't seem satisfied by this, or seems too satisfied by this, I will betray him before he betrays me. The backstabber is stastically the one more likely to win the rivalry and if it's going to be him or me, I'd rather it be me.
    • Furthermore I will always be a team player and part ways with any tag team partner who thinks it's all about him. Amicably, if possible.
  • If a team of three are surrounding the ring, I will wait until they get on the apron, and leave the ring through the side that no member is on. For some reason, nobody ever tries this.
  • I will ensure that my diet is rich in Vitamin D, and will immediately leave the ring should the lights go out unexpectantly.
    • If I hear the sound of a bell, I will leave even faster.
  • If I'm in a ladder match, I will not dive from the ladder until someone else has already tried to. This will improve my chances of victory significantly.
    • Unless one of my opponents is Jeff Hardy. Then all bets are off.
  • I will not accept any opportunity, special or otherwise, from Dario Cueto.
  • If I am in ECW, I will never issue an open challenge.

    Video Games 

General

  • If I ever meet someone with an odd hair, skin or eye color I will instantly pay attention to them.
  • If I ever fight a powerful enemy who later, for what ever reason, comes to my side or team. I will be immediately aware this person will be nowhere near as powerful as they were before, and likely have none of the same weapons either.
    • In the case of a game where murdering significant characters is possible, I will make sure not to kill them.
      • Unless they seem like a villain, then killing is the first option.
      • Or I have effectively completed the game, and am now just having fun. (Also known as the Morrowind Manoeuvre.)
    • If everyone has the same set of faces, the next time I see a face I've never seen before, I will do the above.
    • If the person is a young skinny boy who shows little to no sign of puberty, I will befriend him, especially if his hair is messy/spiky. He's probably the protagonist, and if he isn't, then someone in his party is.
  • I will tell my allies to equip their own friggen armor and weapons.
    • I will always be aware of team members who are about to leave forever and take all my equipment back so it's not lost forever. Doubly so if said character has rare items or one of a kind weapons I can never get back.
  • If I can't see someone's face they aren't in my team. Hiding your face is a sign of evil.
    • Unless I already know who they are through a past life/game. cough-Candalore-cough
      • Unless they are a friendly alien engineer who has information that will help you on your quest. cough-Tali-cough
    • If I outright can't see their heads at all (no character art), I can safely ignore them.
  • I will always carry as many health potions as physically possible.
    • And ammo.
    • Spell scrolls
    • Mana/Magic potions.
    • Healing food
    • Guns
    • Grenades/Explosion things
    • I will not be too cheap to use them as and when necessary.
    • Alternatively, in the case of limited encumbrance, I will carry the most weight-efficient supplies available and leave at least enough room for an unconscious companion.
  • If I'm lightly equipped or unarmed and manage to subdue an adversary with superior weaponry, I will make a point not to leave their perfectly functional weapons lying around unclaimed for no good reason. If there is a good reason I can't operate them —like, say, guns with biometric lockouts or what have you— I'll still think about taking it anyway so long as it can serve as a decent cudgel.
  • Rather than using my time warping powers to revive myself after death (loading game), I will learn to harness it into time travel and instantly win.
  • If I can level up my magical abilities by using magic, I will constantly use it over and over while doing everything. For example, by setting the same button that makes me walk forward, to "Cast Spell #1".
    • Hooray for Elder Scrolls!
  • I will compulsively reload immediately upon the end of any combat unless this expends the remainder of the clip. Similarly, I will rest/heal/whatever after every combat unless this will demonstrably worsen my situation or I was uninjured and not forced to use any of whatever gives me my fantastic powers.
  • There is no such thing as "enough guns." You always need more.
  • If I have any relatives that are scientists I will not visit their workplace. Especially if it's sponsored by their company. Even though it'll make me the protagonist it's not worth the trouble that will ensue. Similarly if you are a scientist do not take your daughter to work.
    • If my planet is under attack, under no circumstances will I call in more hostile aliens.
  • I will never assume that a fight is almost over. My enemy might have/probably has a One-Winged Angel form or has been fighting with his left hand. A fight is either over or it isn't.
    • Even if they don't have such a voluntary hindrance, just because s/he is low on health and I still have plenty left does not mean that their attacks are any weaker or that one slip will prove any less fatal. Justin Wong underlines this point very well.
    • This goes for cutscenes too. If my opponent is crippled and I am still fine, I will get on with landing the appropriate finishing blow instead of wasting time on anything longer than a Pre-Mortem One-Liner, giving him chance to escape. Remember, also, a Bond One-Liner can be just as clever but infinitely less risky.
  • If I realize I am not the protagonist, I will find out who is: (s)he'll be the guy talking to everyone, making himself/herself more useful than anyone else and stealing everything not nailed down. I will then make certain that person knows my name.
  • If using saving and being able to magically respawn at a specific point is an option, I will abuse it unless I have a save limit.
  • If I am ever given multiple possible choices in a scenario, I will immediately assume that one choice can lead me to a bad ending and have saved beforehand. After making the choice, I will not save again (at least not on the same file) until I am directly certain what the effects are.
  • If the boss kills or almost kills me due to me being too low on level, I will not endlessly retry in the hopes that I will win. Unless I made a mistake, this means I am not ready for future bosses after this one.
  • If there is water in a level, I will do my very best to avoid walking into it. If I must go into the water, I will do all that I can to be ready for it.
    • I will always assume something terrible is waiting for me under the water and never let my guard down if I must go near it.
    • I will also remember that just because that I have exited the water doesn't mean that I am safe. It could be even more dangerous.
  • I will always have a healthy respect for the dark, but be constantly aware that danger is everywhere. I will not be lulled into a false sense of security just because I can see the whole room.
    • I will remember that some monsters are invisible, and listen carefully for anything that doesn't sound right or seems to be coming closer in my direction.
  • I will always remember to look up if possible or allowed.
    • Just because something is shiny doesn't make it valuable, it could be a trap. Always approach everything with caution.
  • If what should be a simple action prompts me to go to a cutscene, I will immediately assume I am about to be screwed over.
  • If I have a minor encounter with some evil-looking minions early on in the plot, I will automatically assume that I will have repeated clashes of escalating seriousness with them throughout my quest and eventually confront and defeat their boss within minutes of their masterplan succeeding. Anything less than that is a bonus.
    • Surprisingly, humor is one of the better ways to gauge the seriousness of their threat to me. If they're constantly laughing and nobody's trying to be funny, I'd better watch my ass. If they're constantly trying to be funny and nobody's laughing, then I'm most likely dealing with a Goldfish Poop Gang and don't have too much to worry about, so long as their employer doesn't have access to mind control or some kind of Psycho Serum (both of which can quickly lead to a Not-So-Harmless Villain situation, and those are never good).
  • If a Goldfish Poop Gang's malevolent deeds don't involve any really serious crimes like torture, rape or murder, or they want to be villains and just really suck at their job, I won't immediately rain down the Holy Fires of Ultimate Justice on their heads, but rather let them slink away to lick their wounds. Who knows? I might be able to coax a Heel–Face Turn out of these poor dopes after dealing out a sufficient number of ass-whoopings. This goes double if I catch wind that their evil master has a habit of abusing them or threatening their loved ones.
  • If I hear rumours (or, especially, tales told by old women) about special Orbs, mystical elements or anything that sounds vaguely MacGuffin-like, I will drop everything and immediately search them out until I find said items. If I don't someone else will, and that's never pretty.
  • If I ever enter a room with a generous amount of supplies along with a save point, I will mentally prepare myself for getting my ass kicked repeatedly.
  • Also, bosses, take a cue from Mr. Freeze: if the player character hits you with an attack, neutralise the environment or beef up your defences so that they can't do it again.
  • If the protagonist is tasked with rescuing hostages by picking them up in their car and I'm one of those hostages, I will take one of two options:
    • Get my ass into the protagonist's car ASAP. I will not stop to perform a taunt, and I will maneuver around or jump over obstacles in my way. If I can't reach the door to get into the car for whatever reason, I will either find another door or signal to the protagonist to move the car.
    • Take one of the protagonist's inexplicably numerous weapons and help him cover the other hostages and clear our escape. Then get in the car with the protagonist and either fire back at pursuers while he drives or take over driving while he shoots.
  • If I'm a passenger in the car the protagonist is driving, and one of the bad guys pulls him out of the car, I will stay in the car and shoot the bad guy so the protagonist can recover, get back in, and drive us the hell away.
  • If I'm a passenger in the car the protagonist is driving and the car suddenly catches on fire, I will bail out immediately and keep a safe distance from the inevitable explosion. I won't stay in the car until the protagonist steps out, get caught in the explosion, die, and force the protagonist to reload the mission from the beginning.
  • If I'm the contact giving the protagonist the above task or any other task that requires the use of a vehicle and involves pissed-off bad guys shooting at it, I will make use of the upgraded vehicles in the protagonist's garage, and not whatever stock crap my faction provides as a generic car. This will go double if rockets and/or explosives are expected to be involved in any way.
  • Also, if I'm unlucky enough to be a hostage, I will get on the ground, cover my head, and STAY that way until the shooting stops and the heroes give me an all-clear, at which point I will move slowly with my hands up and clearly identify myself. No matter how happy I am to be so close to freedom and safety, blindly running from cover toward an armed hero while there's a damned gunfight going on is only gonna net me a posthumous Darwin Award... And I'm gonna deserve it, too.
  • If I see the protagonist barreling toward me with reckless abandon, I will remove myself from their path immediately. This will go double if the character is flashing or sparkling, and triple if their theme music starts blaring as they approach.
  • If the protagonist offers to escort me somewhere, I will thank them for the offer, but decline unless I am essential to the plot. They have more important things to do than sort out my petty problems. If they absolutely insist I will take the shortest, safest, least-enemy-filled route possible to my destination. I will also take note of where the protagonist and not go wandering off without them, or move so slowly they overtake me.

Fighting

  • If there is a fighting tournament being held fairly regularly that I frequently participate in, I will not be very likely to win unless I have a deeply personal issue with the person conducting the tournament. This will not stop me from participating in each and every tournament, because otherwise there would be some fans out there clamoring about my disappearance from the scene.
    • Likewise, if my opponent is a tough bastard who's very likely to kick my ass, I will not wait for him to get up for a second round and instead pummel him to unconsciousness. This will ALWAYS apply to any horrific monster, mutant, or maniac I encounter at/after the tournament finals, since they're clearly up to no good, and it'll save me a lot of trouble and frustration.
    • Alternatively, if the tournament is being organised by a person/organisation of dubious history then I can rest assured that the same guy who kicked the last such person's ass will almost certainly kick this guy's ass too, and if not then it will probably be some upstanding newcomer who has never entered one of these tournaments before. I will therefore feel free to use the tournament for publicity and a few friendly cameos.
  • If my series is organising a tag-team spinoff, I will assume I will be teamed with my best friend. If not, it will probably be my deadly rival. If not that, assume it will be the most obnoxious and pathetic member of the cast and anything better is a bonus.
  • If I see the person I am to fight next does not wear shoes, I will request a different opponent. For some reason, the shoeless ones are always badass.

Horror

  • I will collect EVERY item I can. Ammo, weapons, tinderboxes, oil, etc.
  • Make sure that every room I go to will be free of monsters. If it isn't, I will either shoot them down or run away without attracting their attention.
  • If my game doesn't allow me to fight back the monsters, I will designate a handful of areas per location to serve as my hiding spots.
  • I will listen intently to both the music and the player to when or if there is a monster in the area.
  • I must never waste my items. EVER.
  • If my game has a sanity reading, I will pay attention to it.
  • If some aspect of my survival depends on light, I will collect every mirror I can find and angle them to light the way. Mirrors aren't just for puzzle solving, each one saves on using suddenly rare tinderboxes/matches/lighters/etc. This will also serve as a warning if something sneaks up behind me.
  • If I'm limited in the amount of items I can carry, I will try to remember that I can definitely fit more than just one key into the average pants pocket.
  • If I am running from a monster, I must NEVER look back to see what it looks like or if it is still there. I will ALWAYS assume that it is following me until I get to my safe area.
  • If I am not the main character, I will expect to not make it. There's a chance that I might, however.
  • If I encounter a Breather Level, I will assume that there are worse horrors ahead.
  • Depending on the game I'm in, I will either wear a diaper or a pair of brown pants.
  • Instead of aiming for a monster's hard-to-hit extremities, I will shoot at its hips (or whatever joints it uses for locomotion) crippling their movement rate. Then I will aim for their now slowly moving weak point.
    • If ammo is scarce, it's better to have a group of live monsters that you can outpace by walking, than even one that you get exhausted running from.
    • The same goes for shooting enemy vehicles, better to do so when it's parked and stationary, not zipping around and full of mooks.
  • If there is a prison/dungeon level, expect there to be monsters.
  • Always be wary when going to the morgue if there is one.
  • If people around me start dying not long after I find a mysterious artifact, I will put said artifact back where I found it. Failing that, I will at least stop carrying it around with me.
    • Should a mysterious Baron ask me to come to his castle, claiming that he can solve all of my problems, I will run as far and as fast away from him as I possibly can.

MMO/RPG

  • If I live in a village and I seem like a protagonist, I will be constantly prepared for a surprise attack. If I know someone who looks like a protagonist, I will immediately move village. Any relatives or friends who die in the attack will not be mourned, it's more likely that they were captured or escaped and I will inevitably meet them again later.
  • If at the beginning of my adventure a Professor asks me to choose between three cute little critters, I will give the choice to my jerkass rival and instead pick the critter that has an advantage over his instead. These days, however, some rival trainers will do so without my input, but better safe than sorry.
  • If I am the antagonist of an RPG with Action Commands to dodge hits, I will start my Boss Battle with a lengthy monologue.
    • Then I will open with a difficult attack pattern designed to kill my enemies on the first turn.
    • I will also dodge attacks.
    • If I kill the Player Character, I will be aware they will just come back from their last Save Point. Thus I will start monologuing again, only to cut my monologue at a random point and immediately attack the Player Character with my insane pattern just to cheap shot them. Cutting my monologue at a truly random point is essential for keeping the player on their toes: if I skip the monologue at the same point every time, or if there is a discernible pattern, the player will be able to predict my cheap shot.
    • I will try to attack the Player Character while they are navigating the menus.
    • I will take my sweet time before attacking the player characters or taking my actions, in hopes that frustration due to boredom will make them more prone to mistakes.
    • Right before I will be hit by the killing blow, I will use an insanely hard to dodge attack pattern that has nothing to do with my opening pattern, so that the player will have to go through the entire Boss Battle again to be able to learn how to dodge this one.
    • In short, Sans and Rictus are the best teachers for becoming a good boss, and I will learn from both their successes and mistakes.
      • If you do use the Special Attack (doing nothing for a turn, which can only be ended if the opponent moves the bullet box to the FIGHT button), be advised that this frees up the opponent's turn for Chara to attack you, so you may have to dodge twice.
      • This advice is meaningless, however, if you let yourself fall asleep while waiting for the player to give up. Bring a case of Red Bull.
  • If I am a wild animal who is not cute/cool enough to befriend the protagonist, I will never pick up and carry about valuable items or large amounts of money. I will also stay out of the way of any man-made structures, and if possible, run away from anyone who looks like a hero as soon as I see them.

Roguelikes

  • If I find myself in a roguelike... no, wait. I'm screwed anyway if that happens, so may as well go on an omnicidal rampage.
    • Contrariwise, said rampage will be tempered by caution. Any monster I have not seen before can potentially end me. Therefore, I will think before attacking. If they turn out to have the armour class of a pinata, I shall practice upon them as if they were filled with gold coins. Because, perhaps, they are.
  • And a couple lists specific to NetHack. Many of these items apply equally well to other Roguelikes.
  • Bad weapons are better than no weapons. I shall remember that "Weapon proficiency (Stick)" also covers quarterstaves.
  • I will remember that any entity that starts walking towards me is bad news.
  • I shall not slaughter innocent NPCs unless I'm sure I can get A) away with it; B) something out of it; C) both.
  • Quests are only as useful as the loot the quest-giving NPCs gift me with. If the quest is near-impossible, I shall not accept it.
  • Artifacts are worth any price... except my life.
  • I am not too honourable to lead my enemies to a strong NPC to soften them up, even if this would result in the NPC's death. If it doesn't and I need him dead, the experiment will be repeated.
  • I shall consider my equipment unconventional emergency ammo. Throwing potions at a Greater Daemon may have surprising results.
  • I will learn how to cook and prepare food for extended shelf life, and carry a stack of it at all times.
  • I will strive to become the fastest moving thing in the dungeon. They can't kill you if they can't catch you.
  • Better yet, I will immediately go back up the stairs I entered the dungeon through and demand that they get their own damn Artifact of Doom.

Sandbox

  • If the commercials have more than their share of Accidental Innuendo, and I don't have any ties to the criminal underworld, I will move away from the city before I get run over by a Drives Like Crazy protagonist or have my property devalued by a septic truck.
    • If I can't afford to move out, then I will stay indoors as much as possible. Considering the homes in these kind of cities seem to be able to withstand a tank blast, I can't think of a safer place to be when the protagonist inevitably rampages through the streets.
  • I will figure out which street gang or criminal empire seems to be the underdog that is rapidly expanding. Then, if I have to do business with any gang, it will be with them and ONLY them.
  • If I have to own a car, I will make sure to drive a slow, crappy sedan. Driving an exotic sports car is just asking to get carjacked.
  • If I'm a cop or gangbanger in the aforementioned setting, I will remember one very important rule: tank beats everything. If I'm not equipped to take on a tank when the protagonist starts rampaging through downtown in one, I will call in somebody that is and leave town. Same rule applies if the protagonist is driving an Awesome Personnel Carrier or anything else with heavy armor or weapon turrets.

Shoot-'em-up / Bullet Hell

  • I will use bombs instead of hoarding them when danger comes up, unless I happen to have auto-bomb ability which has no drawbacks.
  • I will pay attention to the entire screen instead of myself because I will never know the nasty surprises that come from afar.
  • I will pay attention on how scoring works as having more scores means more lives, unless if scores are irrelevant then the attention should be on how to collect more lives and bombs.
  • I will simply shoot at the bosses once they appear even if they are immune to them for a while, lest the score accumulated this way may provide me with an extra life.
  • I will put my speed down whenever I am in danger of being hit as it allows me to maneuver between the bullets better, unless the patterns indicate otherwise.
  • I will memorize how the hitboxes of myself and the bullets work so that I can squeeze myself between them safely.

Stealth

  • If I am part of a stealth game or are otherwise being stealthy, I won't wear my weapons all over my body.
  • I will not wear a hood. Instead I will obtain plastic surgery to give myself an unrecognizable face along with the most common skin, hair, and eye colors.
  • I will hide a freaking knife somewhere on my body. I will use said knife if things get hairy. 0% casualties is a stretch goal.
  • My goal is to avoid detection. I'd rather check the same room twice than face a boss.
  • I will remember that I am not the only agent around; Someone will inevitably betray me. The sooner I start making contingency plans, the better.
  • I will not murder hapless guards because I can. I am not immortal, and facing them all in the afterlife will be so embarrassing.
  • I will not murder hapless guards because it is convenient or easier. It is sloppy, and when I am inevitably betrayed and have to clear my name, redemption is easier when I haven't slit the throat of half the US Army. Even if it's not an issue, it still can make the difference between becoming infamous as romanticized "master sneak" or reviled "that butcher".
  • I will not wear tap shoes.

    Web Comics 
Gaming Comics

In General
  • If bizarre stuff starts happening around a person or place, stay as far away as possible.
    • If said bizarre stuff happens to me, get used to it—it's not gonna stop.
    • Since everyone gets into weird situations sooner or later, I'll get my weirdness in early when it's mostly beneficial, as opposed to the traumatic kind you get after the plot sets in.
  • Everything even slightly mythical exists, plus a lot of stuff you've never heard of.
  • Don't tick off smart people. More often than not, they'll create an elaborate plan to defeat me, or will pull out their ball lightning gun.
    • (Or they'll have magic powers, but ticking off wizards is stupid in any medium.)
  • If anyone looks like a black mage, I will leave the universe.
    • Unless my name is Culex, in which case I will leave the universe if nobody looks like a black mage.
      • Says you. If I'm an ultra-powerful demonic warrior with the power of the four elements at my fingertips, and I am beaten by my opponents, and the consequences are to compliment their ability, give them a valuable treasure and part on amicable terms, I might just want to stay in that kind of universe. It hurts to crumble into dust, you know.
      • That is assuming I can breathe the air.
      • And that whoever sent me to find the Black Mage isn't the kind of guy who would pursue and kill me for skipping out on my mission.
  • If I notice an increasing number of people are, by various means, having suspiciously similar problems, experiences or fetishes and I do not wish to share them, I will move out of town immediately.
    • If you don't have a problem with either said experiences or kinks (depending on what you prefer, personally) mentioned in the above rule, and you have friends who don't want to share such themselves, do them (and yourself) a favor and let them move elsewhere.
  • If the comic seems lighthearted in tone, work to maintain that. Bizarre, annoying things may happen, but as long as you can avoid Cerebus Syndrome, you're unlikely to actually die or be traumatized.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/JustForFun/TheUniversalGenreSavvyGuide?from=Main.TheUniversalGenreSavvyGuide