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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 Dangerously 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.

Please feel free to add any tips you have in the relevant sections.
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     Villain or Antagonist 
  • If you are an Evil Overlord, just go to the Evil Overlord List. Duh.
  • If you are one of the Evil Overlord's Henchmen, go here. Includes Legion of Doom troops, Evil Cultists, Trusted Lieutenants, Daddy's Little Villain, and Accountants.
    • Do not increase your power by any method that creates a silly yet lethal weakness. (For instance, do not make yourself fireproof if it means that water will kill you.)
    • Never consent to wear a helmet with a rictus of fury embossed on the visor. The side with helmets like that always loses, and besides, they make you look stupid if worn during innocuous conversation.
    • When invading a home to arrest someone, don't blast down doors that are unlocked anyway. It's bad PR.
    • Adaptability is key; the first rule is to ensure my survival, so there is no shame in a temporary alliance with the enemy. If I get into a problem that only the hero can help me out with, I will ask or bargain for said help, and refrain from stabbing the hero immediately in the back once said help is given.
    • In particular, I will make sure to consider this rule if a being who threatens both of us introduces itself. We can always fight over the city later- if the world explodes into a fiery ball, that helps no one. Unless that's my plan, and I actually know how to survive and enjoy life in a desolate wasteland.
    • If you are a member of a created species, make sure that when you die you simply become a corpse. Nothing screams 'abomination' like a lack of post-mortem ontological inertia.
    • As a mook, if there are many of you and you are well armed and one hero comes out to stop you, if that one hero gives you a chance to run, you should take it.
    • If that cardboard box over there appears to have moved a couple of paces while you were looking in another direction, SHOOT IT.
    • If I receive a visit from a superior officer for a surprise inspection, I will SHOOT HIM DEAD. There are never surprise inspections. Especially not at 3am.
      • At least make him wait until you check with CQ. If you cannot check remotely, drag the person down with you. If you cannot leave your post, make him stand there until CQ gets there.
    • As the Evil Overlord's Wicked but Beautiful Daughter, I will see whether The Hero is firmly attached to his Love Interest, and if so, I will start to check out his friends and associates; Changing of the Guard may come.
    • If I am the Evil Overlord's treasurer/accountant and he discovers the pot of money that I've been siphoning a portion of his ill-gotten gains into for my own retirement, I will tell him that it was a secret secondary pool of money in case some devious hacker or masterful thief managed to steal all of his funds so that he wouldn't be actually broke (reassuring him all the while that this could never happen, of course, but saying that making contingency plans is always a good idea. If he disagrees with me on that sentiment, I will fake my own death and get out of there fast). If he asks why he wasn't told, I'll say it's that the less people knew the better for security reasons and that then he wouldn't spend it accidentally (or not) himself. At NO point will I start pleading, grovelling or crying - these are clear signs of guilt, and you really do not want to be guilty in this situation.
  • If you are a Mad Scientist, refer to this list.
  • Here's a growing list for aspiring Evil Chancellors: The Evil Chancellor List.
  • If you think you need to invade Earth or wipe out humanity, read this list first. It might save you much embarrassment. See also How to Invade an Alien Planet.
    • If, for some reason, you have decided to exterminate all life on Earth so that you can extract some precious resource, do keep in mind that the debris of an exploded planet is just as minable as the planet itself.
  • If you are The Chessmaster, you already knew we were going to write this list.
    • You will recognize that the biggest threat to your plan is any hero that knows how to use an Indy Ploy. This person will manage to do something incredibly bizarre that will stop the plan internally, get the people under your control to fight back, or both.
  • And here's a list for vampires. Now available in all its TVTropes listy glory
    • I will know that all villains are somewhat alike. Therefore the other lists might apply to us vampires as well.
    • As all villains are alike, I will know they are also different. For example, if one Evil Overlord thing does not apply to vampires, at least I will ignore it and find one that does.
    • If my religious beliefs determine what religious symbols can stop me, I'll find a dead religion from somewhere a long way from where I reside and worship the God of Evil whose only symbol is a 6-legged polar bear being ridden by a penguin and whose worship was banned under pain of death. Atheism is useful in the short term, but being held up by The God Delusion isn't fun. If nothing suitable comes up, I'll Start My Own and then set the local Moral Guardians on them, with the added benefit of keeping their attention away from me whilst the cult dies.
  • If you are none of those, refer to this very page.
    • I will not be a Designated Villain. They have a good chance of biting it, even when they don't really deserve it. If I can't avoid dying, I might as well be a true Card-Carrying Villain and earn my Karmic Death.
    • I will not use a gigantic death machine to kill my victims, I will simply shoot them. If I must use a death machine, I will wait and watch their demise. And if I absolutely must leave, I will have several dozen guards posted, in case of his inevitable escape.
      • If I must use the death machine, and I CANNOT remain in attendance, I will continue with my plan as if the hero were alive and free.
  • A warning: if you do decide to be Dangerously Genre Savvy with this advice, but mess up even once, the Good Guys probably won't pull any punches and might actually kill you Deader than Dead. A safer, if less profitable, route is to deliberately hold the Villain Ball. The old Count Magpyr, Evil Harry Dread, and the Guild of Calamitous Intent prove that Contractual Genre Blindness has its advantages as well.
  • Another warning If you think you have the hero in your power, and he suddenly very calmly offers to help you in some way that will greatly benefit you, provided you don't carry through with your murderous plan, take the offer. He might have one last trick up his sleeve, which will result in your immediate death. Besides, you can always carry out my murderous plan later.
  • Also, if you're a Villain, do try to take the time to notice what is the general mood and setting of the story you're in and go from there. If you're in a darker, more serious-mannered storyline, then feel free to stick around as a Villain. Sure, if you mess up, there is a good chance you will suffer a rather gruesome Karmic Death, but there is actually a pretty good chance that you will be allowed to ever win at anything at all. However, if the story is more light-hearted and it looks like it will stay that way, do yourself a favor and try to come up with a remotely convincing Heel-Face Turn; otherwise, chances are you'll never know what Victory is like.
  • Is she wearing jeans or sweatpants and athletic shoes? Low-heeled anything? Hell, even pointy-toed shoes? I will avoid this female like the plague (for the sake of my willy). And I will never work alone when attempting to ambush or accost one.
  • If I am part of a criminal group and find myself feeling guilty and wanting to come clean, I will not tell the other criminals this or announce that I am separating myself from the group. They will kill me to preserve the secret, or even out of suspicion that I might. Instead, I will simply go to the police or any Reasonable Authority Figure, without drawing attention to myself, and quietly confess my crimes.
  • If a particular attack causes me to expose my weak spot, regardless of its otherwise effectiveness I will stop using it.
    • If the only way the hero can damage me if by reflecting the orbs of light I fire at him, I will stick to my regular moveset and simply omit that move.
  • If in a fit of utter stupidity I construct a bomb with visible wires, I will not make any of them red.
    • Alternatively, I will make them all red.
  • I will not try to use a machine or potion developed by my Mad Scientist without them clearly explaining to me what it is for and how to use it properly.
  • Being interrupted in the middle of a ritual is a real bummer. As a guideline, any ritual longer than 15 or so seconds (30 maximum) can generally be replaced with an appropriate use of a 12-gauge shotgun.
  • For the Beautiful But Wicked Daughter/Evil And Cunning Son: If I have recently occupied the position formerly held by my evil father/mother (this can be my own doing if I so choose), I will declare to the populace that the Reign Of Terror is over and that there shall be Peace And Harmony Throughout The Land. That way I'll still get that position of power I wanted, the people will be glad that I'm in charge, any local Heroes will be in a (false) sense of security, and if I really can't resist the urge to oppress some peasants then I can always reveal myself as Evil All Along and crush their image of my gracious puppy-loving self, boo hoo.
    • In order to make the above point easier (not the 'Evil All Along' bit), I will announce that the Legions Of Terror will be repurposed as an army for the good of the realm. To that end, it might be a good idea to start a war with a nearby region I can easily trounce. The trick is to get them to attack you first, which should be easy.
  • If, as a Mook, I am used as a guinea pig by the Evil Overlord in an experiment and I like my enhancement, awesome. If I don't like it, I will pull a Heel-Face Turn and plead tearfully to the Hero. Generally, minions who have been wronged by their masters get sympathy both from the Heroes and the plot.
  • If the plot is approaching/in its climactic stages, I will not fall off anything. Not only am I guaranteed to die on impact, it's a pretty pathetic way to go. I mean, I could have been devoured alive by my own cyborg animal drones, for goodness' sake.
  • 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.
  • If I recruit an illegal organisation to do all the dirty work in my plans that I don't want associated with my squeaky clean image I will make they do not have the same initials as me or my business, re-naming one or the other if necessary. The irony is delicious, but all it does is tip off heroes.
  • Despite many of the above pointers, sometimes it may actually be appropriate to gloat over my heroic nemesis. For example, it will be easier to corrupt his mind if he has already lost all hope in the future of the Heroic Struggle. However, should this be the case, I will not spend ages arranging a private demonstration for him that gives his allies plenty of time to prepare a rescue. I will simply describe it to him, and if he truly values his cause then that will be just as devastating. I will then get on with the brainwashing or whatever it was immediately.
  • If I end up in an conversation with the heroes, I will either keep an affable behaviour in hopes to be granted mercy or an faux affable behaviour in order to get their guards down.
  • If I have a reliable Dragon but then acquire a new one who does the old one's job even more effectively, I will not say 'Excellent! As soon as we have disposed of your predecessor, you can be my new right-hand-man!' This will cause my old Dragon to turn on me in revenge, which is not a good situation to be in. I will instead say 'Excellent! As soon as you have proved that you're not just here to backstab me when you earn my approval, you can be my other right-hand-man.'
    • This goes double for my Mad Scientist, who by definition is unstable and therefore needs very little provocation to turn on me and is more susceptible to a fit of jealousy over their more talented replacement.
  • Recruiting a new member of my villainous inner circle will require them to have spoken at some point in my presence. Anyone who never speaks the whole time they are on my side, even on probation, will not be considered. If it's a good guy in disguise, this makes them easier to catch. If it's an Eldritch Abomination, the mute ones are the most dangerous.
  • I will not design a secret passage that can be activated by anyone with OCD simply rearranging the books on my shelf.
  • I will never tell The Hero "To keep the fight fun, I'll even let you have your weapons/friends back!" Being killed is really not that fun.
  • Regardless of the chance it affords to have a unique and menacing weapon, I will never have my name carved/embossed on my Weapon of Choice. If I do that, I may as well include an address and P.O. Box to my hideout as well.
  • If I use a villainous alias, I will consider the advantages of making it a long one so that when The Hero shouts 'This is the end, <six syllables worth of name>!' it should give me a few crucial milliseconds (if not actual seconds) of reaction time to do something like start running, call the guard or get the first hit in.
    • Not too long, though, or they'll just abbreviate it and defeat the entire point.
    • There is, of course, no need to make this backlash upon myself - 'Fear the wrath of <stupidly long name>!' is impractical but can be easily replaced by 'Fear my wrath!' and give me the time I need.

     The Heroes and Good Guys 
  • If you are the Hero, refer to this list. You still might want to study the Evil Overlord List as well.
  • If you expect to fight an evil overlord, also refer to this list.
  • If you are a Rogue on the side of good, refer to this list. If you are a Rogue on the side of good of the female persuasion, take the first list into account and add this one to it.
  • Instead of a twee little monkey or ferret or the like, my familiar will be a venomous snake or something similarly capable of defending itself. Bonus points if the pet triggers a phobia in the villain.
  • Anyone who talks about their sword being thirsty is irredeemably evil. It's an even worse sign if the sword actually IS thirsty.
  • If my liege begins acting strangely, especially if his eyes or appearance look suspicious, I will draw appropriate conclusions.
  • If my strength is as the strength of ten because my heart is pure, I will not pick a fight when there are eleven bad guys.
  • If one of my teammates starts to constantly separate themselves from the group or act excessively angry or sad, (or even happy, if their usual personality is the opposite) I will make the time to take them aside and ask why, even if they're naturally a loner. If I'm wrong, there's no harm done, and if I'm right, I may have just uncovered a traitor- or PTSD issues beyond the norm.
    • Similarly, if a villain is brainwashing/blackmailing me, I shall not automatically assume that my teammates will/cannot help me. Unless said villain has a method of instantly killing them if I reveal the truth, (which is unlikely) I will tell my companions about any forced compliance or revealed plans, and we will work something out. If they won't acknowledge that I'm being forced to the Dark Side, they aren't worth working with anyway.
  • Before carrying out any ritual to increase my power, I will read up on any psychoactive effects the ritual may have, and take appropriate medication.
  • If I suddenly realize that the Big Bad's Evil Plan may have a completely different goal from the one I've been assuming, I will not think about it for a week while muttering "it couldn't be!" to myself. Instead, I will tell someone.
  • If I have a secret identity as either a superhero or normal person, I will tell my loved ones about both as soon as possible. (The general rule with revealing it to people I date is that if the person's been with me for a month, he's not a villain in disguise.)
    • I will consider forming a secret identity before gallivanting off on any heroics or villainy; being either openly tends to mess up your social and/or legal life, surrounding you with entirely useless flunkies/groupies. Also, it is a good way to protect your house and standing in society.
  • I will not assume that the villains' plans on whom they will attack all revolve around me. Whether it's my friends and family to even some innocent nameless villagers, Villains are generally not picky on whom they want to do bad things to.
  • My allies and I will decide in advance who will be saved if any of us has to make a Sadistic Choice or Friend or Idol Decision.
  • If the conflict I am fighting in obeys some ancient traditions, I will not break them to get an advantage. That is villain territory. And breaking them first means Karmic Backslash at its finest.
  • If I am the hero and find myself, for some reason or another, planning a heroic sacrifice and/or suicide, I will sit down for a minute and think before doing anything drastic. (Yes, it's difficult to think clearly when contemplating one's death, but if I didn't have the willpower to push through that, I wouldn't be a hero.) I will use common sense to think about how my death would affect my loved ones and/or followers, or even the inanimate things/location I protect from evil. There are worlds where Heroes have died. They are (or, rather, were) not pretty.
  • If one of my friends suddenly starts wearing all black, Spikes of Villainy, or the like, I will look into why.
  • If there is no reason that my friends/family knowing things about the Heroic Struggle would be detrimental to the cause or a danger to them, I will keep them updated on the dangerous things out there. It could save their lives someday.
  • I will never wear white on the job, and especially not my finest.
    • Before going into battle, my hair goes into a ponytail. Pulling hair can happen.
  • If you are the Sidekick, refer to this list.
  • If you are the Love Interest, refer to this list.
    • The Hero is only dead when I have personally identified the body and checked it for vital signs.
    • Even after thus ensuring it, I will not make any drastic decisions immediately. Particularly not that I should marry the Evil Overlord at once to save my people, but any decision is best made when I am not distraught.
    • If I become a hero, my loved ones have no plot immunity whatsoever, they are in potential of danger just because I am the hero. I will not use a secret identity to protect my loved ones- secret identities don't work that way. However when I plan to ensure my loved ones' safety I will do it in the mindset that they will be in potential danger no matter what.
    • I will not delude myself that my romance with the local Chivalrous Pervert or The Casanova actually means anything, nor will I attempt to make our relationship long-term, knowing that if I did, I would wind up dumped, dead in order to give him angst, or he would suffer Badass Decay.
    • If, at any point, I am looking for the hero (or any character, for that matter) with a friend and find myself in a giant empty space (field, cave, big room etc.) I shall search the space nearby before leaving. If the friend says "There's nothing here, let's go back," I shall walk forward a few inches - Chances are, the hero's right in front of me and is merely invisible, trapped, etc.
    • No matter how infuriating my hero may be I will wait until after we save the world to tell him off. Especially if there is a countdown going on.
    • No matter what the provocation I will never incapacitate my hero with a punch, kick or blunt object as it is certain he will be needed urgently immediately afterwards.
    • If both I and the hero are interested in each other, but I cannot/will not truly open myself up to a relationship, I will tell him that clearly and bluntly. I will not torture either of our hearts with 'maybe someday' or 'if only' or with wistful sighs. I will stick to my decision unless something fundamental in the situation changes, and I will acknowledge, if not accept, that my refusal gives him the right to be involved with another woman. This means no casual sex, no drama-fuelled kisses.
    • I will establish a friendly 'may the best woman win' relationship with the secondary love interest. Not only will this please my hero, it will save me from agonies of remorse when she bites it - as she will.
    • If I am the secondary love interest I will remember that there are plenty more fish in the sea, such as the dark and troubled Lancer; the cute funny Sidekick; my hero's Evil Twin (clearly in desperate need of the love of a good woman) and the Evil Overlord himself (I mean women like bad boys don't they?) and not do anything foolish.
    • I will never wear a leather catsuit. A nice jersey knit is just as sexy and allows for greater freedom of movement.
    • I will never wear a tall pointy hat with floaty veils just on general principle.
    • I will learn to apologise when I do something wrong, no matter how stubborn I am. Always insisting on being right just makes me look immature.
    • If I receive a phone call from the hero requesting I meet him at some strange and threatening place I will ring back to make sure it's really him.
    • I will not use the fact that I am dating the hero/Chosen One/messiah to slack on my character development. Most heroes are reasonably tolerant of flaws, but even they have limits. And a general rule of thumb is that heroes are good at attracting lovers. I am by no means his only chance at love, and I will remember this.
    • I will never go anywhere unarmed or without backup. And I will always tell at least three different people where I am going and when I intend to return.
      • Unless my only choices are suspected to be The Mole. Even then, I will try judicious Feed the Mole to flush them out before they are my only choice.
    • If I am a journalist who started dating the hero to get 'the inside story' and I honestly find myself falling for him, I will tell him of both facts the minute I realize the latter. Delaying on such things usually leads other sources (i.e, the villain) to reveal my secret just when the hero is most vulnerable, effectively crushing any chance of continuing a relationship with him.
    • If my super power is something non-offensive, I will take various martial arts classes AND will learn how to play a physical sport like Rugby. If I am unable to do those things, I will invest the time and the money to get a gun and learn how to use it.
    • I will not fly off the handle every time the protagonist so much as implies that another woman is attractive. I will remember that actions are what count, and that every relationship has to work through jealousy, temptation and insecurity on the parts of both participants. Above all, I will try not to act like a spoiled, stuck-up little bitch every time life does not go my way.
    • If I am the primary love interest, I will not wait to tell the Hero about my feelings A) Just before we're about to go fight the Evil Overlord, B) When one of us is dying, or C) When telling the Hero will distract him and put us in great danger. Instead, the first moment I have, I will sit down with the Hero, make him talk about my feelings, and go from there. If he accepts them, then we'll start in on a casual, slow-paced relationship that can speed up AFTER our journey to save the world is done. If he rejects me, I will no go join the villain. I will instead accept this and continue to support him on our journey, for you never know when rejection is just the Hero's way of trying to protect you.
      • I will not pick inappropriate moments to have a whispered argument with the hero about all the reasons I broke up with him the last time we were together. Such moments might be when we're casing the Evil Overlord's joint or trying to get past the sleeping giant.
      • Neither will I insist the hero gives me one last kiss before he goes. There's plenty of time for loving when he comes back safe.
    • I will cut my hair short so it will not get in the way, or provide a handle for kidnappers to grab, if I cannot cut it for some reason, I will habitually wear it in a tight bun, and always carry extra ribbons, elastic bands, or what have you in case it comes undone. The Hero is, or should be, in love with me, not my long flowing tresses. Also, if I am attempting to remain unseen I will not wear anything brightly coloured or sparkly in my hair as that is generally detrimental to stealth.
    • Whether I am male or female, if I have to break it off with anyone including the hero for whatever reason I will do my absolute best to break it to them gently and calmly and clearly explain my reasons for doing so. It may not stop clingly jealous ex's, stalkers with a crush and/or prevent my ex from going down the Dark Side, but being considerate does help minimize it.
  • If you are none of those, refer to this very page.
    • The "When I Am The Benevolent Ruler" list begins with, "As a general rule, I will remember that I am not the Evil Overlord, and should avoid doing things that confuse people on this point."
      • I will try to be as Lawful Good as possible and to be a Reasonable Authority Figure. Being Lawful Evil is obviously out of the question but it would most likely do me some good that I not become Lawful Neutral either. (In other words, don't assume that doing whats Lawful and doing whats right are always the same.) If my lands legal rules are forcing the people who serve me to say Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right, then there is a very strong chance that something is wrong.
      • Besides one other advantage to being a Reasonable Authority Figure is that if you do a good enough job at it even IF you have to deny the heroes for requesting your aid there is actually a good chance you WON'T be made out to look like a bad guy. (But you should still be careful about it as one showing of a bad timely opposition can go horribly wrong.)
      • One point was Double Subverted over the course of two separate E. Nesbit stories. In one, the King and Queen vow to invite everyone to their daughter's christening, but the evil fairy's invitation gets lost in the mail, and she crashes the party and curses the girl. In another, they invite no fairies, only for them to show up anyway. The evil fairy, the same one as before, curses the girl, and the next one steps up, and the king actually puts his hand over his mouth and convinces the assembled fairies they'll go out like a candle if they break the tradition of one curse per christening. They all leave. note 
      • I will have no minimum sentencing laws. It is inevitable that my champion will run afoul of them in ways that I want to forgive, or the hero will violate them in the process of saving my kingdom. Instead, I will have sentencing guidelines and procedures for mitigating (and aggravating) circumstances to be presented.
    • Make sure you correctly determine where you stand on the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism. Generally, if people are stupid, you're on the cynical end, and should be quite careful. If people rarely, if ever, die, you're on the idealistic end, and can take it easy: Unless you're a completely nameless Red Shirt, you're immortal and will win no matter what.
    • If you are a Red Shirt, you're screwed. There are a few ways to maximize your lousy chances of survival. Try to avoid going on away missions with The Hero and his band. Also try striking a working dynamic with another Red Shirt to become Those Two Guys. Last but not least, try to get some engaging and sympathetic character development and don't wear a face concealing helmet unless you're in a war zone. With luck, you might become a Mauve Shirt.
      • Essentially, the only way to survive if you are a Red Shirt is to work towards NOT being one.
      • And especially never tell anyone how many days away from retirement you are.
      • And if you are lucky enough to become a Mauve Shirt with Plot Armor, never ever brag about it.
      • And for God's sake make sure to tell someone your name!
      • If I am ever a Red Shirt, I will wear a selection of large and obvious name tags.
      • Never, EVER carry around a picture of your family or lover or even so much as mention to anyone that you have a family or lover back at home. Don't even think about it as the viewers at home can see and hear your every thought.
      • Don't act Gung ho at ALL. Uttering the words "I can't wait to kill/kick some _______ ass" or taking foolish risks makes it all but certain you WILL die.
  • If I am in charge of a robotics corporation, all robots with be programmed with the philosophical mindsets of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. That way, when the inevitable Robot Rebellion comes, it will be non-violent.
  • If I truly must be a Celibate Hero, I will try to be fairly knowledgeable about all the folks whom I work with (all the good main/side characters). If any of them might have a thing for me, I will try to be civil about it and if I must I will let them down gently. (But definitely keep friendship as an option if necessary.) I will not flat out ignore them (especially if they are generally respectable people.) Because fans and the like are more forgiving towards Celibate heroes if they aren't being used as a plot device to keep other characters in a perpetually unrequited romance just for the sake of one.
  • If I come to my trusted uncle with some great secret that I haven't told to anybody, and he asks me: "Have You Told Anyone Else?" I will reply "Yes," and proceed to list off the names of everyone else I trust. On the off chance that he was the one responsible for the secret in question and is trying to eliminate witnesses, he will have to choose between simply letting me go or hunting down everybody else on my list.
  • If possible, my team will consist only of mature, well-adjusted adults as emotionally unstable teenagers are all too easily lured to the dark side. If having an emotionally unstable teenager on my team is unavoidable, he will be encouraged to come straight to me with whatever is troubling him, I will do my best to help rather than dismissing his fears and he will under no circumstances be allowed to spend any time alone with some creepy old guy.
  • No matter what genre I am in, if I walk into a room or forest clearing, etc, and see my beloved spouse/fiancée/love muffin being kissed by someone else, I will not automatically assume that he/she 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 enquire 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.
  • 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.
  • If I'm training The Hero, I won't hide any vital pieces of information from him/her. It doesn't matter that my pupil may not be ready to master the Dangerous Forbidden Technique or handle his possible connection to the Big Bad; Mentor Occupational Hazard means I'm going to die soon and the hero will learn the truth anyway, probably in circumstances that are less than ideal. I don't want him/her to suffer a Heroic BSOD because of the villain's Hannibal Lecture or be forced to master my final technique in the one month left to before the Final Battle.
  • If, while I am resting at home between critical stages of my adventure, a man with a large crate comes to the door and says I have a package that I didn't order, I will kick him in the groin. Harsh, yes, but it's that or get stuffed in the crate and get taken to goodness-knows-where, so rather him than me.
  • I will get all my ethical dilemma crap out of the way early on so that I know whether I'd be able to shoot the Big Bad when I have the chance or not.
    • If I do my soul-searching and it turns out I am the type who wouldn't, fine. There are plenty of non-lethal alternatives. Throwing the gun at them is surprisingly effective, and they sure won't see it coming.
    • If recent circumstances make me feel I must re-evaluate my principles, I will do it sooner rather than later.
  • If I hear that an artefact has been stolen/destroyed/scattered into little pieces, before going on a quest to restore it I will do a quick spot check on the artefact in question to see if there's any sordid histories or connections to monsters that meant the person who broke it was actually doing a good thing that looked like a bad thing.
  • If I have use a false identity, I will preferably not use a Sdrawkcab Alias; they always get seen through quickest.
  • A well-recognised and effective spy technique is to hack the security cameras so that instead of showing actual footage they just show a short loop of footage that doesn't have me in it repeatedly. However, if I'm going to use this I will make sure to choose the times and location carefully so that the camera loop doesn't show a large clock, visible wristwatch on someone's arm or anything like that, because it tends to give the game away.
  • For secondary protagonists (it doesn't work as well when the hero tries it): If I am in a No Fourth Wall series, I will establish some sort of relationship or at least understanding with the author. It doesn't have to be a positive one, and indeed I can base it on pissing him off by calling out his Hand Wave or being silly at the wrong moment or generally being an unwanted Fourth Wall Observer. This gives the advantage that I will be known to the writer (who must script such occasions) and the audience, because this sort of thing tends to stand out and they may like that, as well as providing needed light-hearted dialogue. I may get some backlash from the author for this behaviour, anything up to being hilariously slaughtered, but I can be brought back to maintain comedy and keep the audience pleased with no more explanation than 'the author wanted me in again'. The First Law of Resurrection is your friend.
  • 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 never tell the villain mid-fight to 'chill out' - this will always prompt them to say 'Very well' and fire their hidden ice weapon. Always.
  • I will try to avoid fighting with villains that have hypnotic powers, as they will try to brainwash you with them.
  • If I turn a corner and suddenly encounter an army of Mooks pointing their weapons at me and everyone freezes, I will remember that my first action will cause them to open fire. Therefore, rather than making it a short quip, I will start running.
  • If I run into an angry feline beast, I will check its paws for splinters.

    Other Characters 
  • Use this list if you are an Innocent Bystander.
    • If I am a shopkeeper, and the village I live in is about to be destroyed by The Legions of Hell, I will give the hero my best equipment for free, or at least offer him credit.
    • If I am driving, and a high-speed police chase/illegal street race is approaching, I will pull over and let it past, rather than dawdle in the middle lane and end up plastered over the bonnet of one of the racers.
    • If I am a pushcart vendor, I will not work in any city with resident superheroes or other action heroes. If such a hero emerges where I live and I am unable to relocate to another city, I will avoid working busy downtown neighbourhoods at peak periods, and make sure my cart and goods are insured for as much as I can afford.
  • If I see someone I know in a disguise, I will not shout their name, explain who they are, or go over and take the disguise off.
  • The If I Am Ever Head of an Alien Monitoring Agency list contains much of value for all big shadow organisations, no matter who they deal with or which side of the pro-/antagonist line they fall.
  • If I see an older guy with a full beard, I will not cross him, and he can probably be trusted. This goes double if his beard is long and white, and triple if he also has little to no hair anywhere else on his head. However, I will not grow too attached to him, as he probably won't survive until the end of the film.
    • Aside from the previous case, if I am in a martial arts film and I see anybody with any other form of facial hair, I will run far, far away from them.
  • If I encounter anyone with a name consisting of a single letter I will understand that they are not to be trifled with.
  • If I am a member of a conspiracy whose leader and other members then attempt to pressure me into some outright evil or traitorous action that I refuse to participate in, I will go along with it until my movement is no longer significantly constrained by said conspiracy before making my courageous moral declaration. Ideally, I will act nice and eager until left alone, then quickly scurry off and warn whoever they're conspiring against.
  • If I decide to use Magnetic Hero as a leader of my new team I won't act surprised, when most of my operatives leave when s/he decides to quit due to philosophical differences.
  • 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 member of an advanced alien race/interstellar guardian unit and we have just defeated a great threat to the universe, I will suggest that we don't bind it into stasis and lock it within the depths of the Earth, because it never, ever stays that way. I will suggest that we just jettison it at the nearest black hole instead

    Ridiculously Human Robots 

    Revenge Seekers 
  • I will never put Revenge Before Reason. You can pretty much guess how that turns out.
  • Make sure you are actually hunting the right person or group of people from the start. This may sound like a no-brainer, but it cannot be stressed enough because 1) few things are more likely to make you look like an idiot than chasing after Red Herrings and 2) killing an innocent person by mistake is not something you want on your conscience for the rest of your natural life.
  • Reserve your wrath for those who truly deserve it, do not waste time and effort on small potatoes. Seriously, if you insist on hunting down and smiting every random asshole who has ever cut you off in traffic, flipped you the bird, or posted a rude comment on your Facebook page, you will have little if any time left over to eat, sleep, or do anything constructive with your life.
  • I will never commit Revenge by Proxy. My wrath is best reserved for those who actually had something to do with the crime I'm avenging, and killing the children or other loved ones of my enemies will doubtless damage my chances of getting out of this thing alive.

    Young Conqueror 
  • I will read the Benevolent Ruler guide. Even if I'm not ruling anything now, it'll be useful once I take control of the world.
  • I will read from the Evil Overlord List as well. While I'm not evil, we often both have the same goal, and therefore at least some of it will be applicable to me.
  • I am taking over the world (or country, galaxy, etc.) because I feel that's what needs to be done to bring about justice. Thus, I will not follow the example of Alexander the Great and pillage, rape, and burn everything I come across. I'm trying to make things better, not worse, and benevolent regimes don't typically have to deal with any pesky, narrative-stealing rebel movements that hog all the audience sympathy.
  • If a group of 4 or 5 heroes can topple an empire, a group of 4 or 5 heroes led by me can do the same thing. This will not only save me the trouble of gathering massive amounts of resources and putting countless lives at risk by making an army, it should be much easier to manage them.
    • I will also remember they can do the same to my empire as well. I will take the necessary precautions.
  • While I'll likely be the one who actually rules the world, if I find someone better qualified the me, I will at least consider letting them rule in my place.
  • If I exist in a fictional universe (like one in a fantasy genre), I can probably continue my conquests without much worry. If I live in a more realistic setting (like Earth), I need to be extremely careful. Even if I'm not a Christian, I'm not going to do well if I end looking like (or actually being) the Antichrist.

     The Mole 
  • When I am given my mission to infiltrate the enemy my first step will be to consider the strength of my loyalty to my current boss. If I fear that it would waver given sufficient time but I'm not ready to switch sides just yet, then I will request a different mission.
  • I will pay close attention to what my cover identity is. My first choice will be to have no cover identity - I will join the heroes entirely as myself, simply leaving out the part about being a spy. This way I won't have to pretend to be something I'm not, therefore simplifying everything. If I must use a cover identity for some reason I will make sure that it is reasonable for me to play; for example, I will not claim to speak languages that I don't know how to speak, or give myself multiple pulitzer prizes when I can only read at a fifth grade level. Above all else I will make sure my cover identity is absolutely flawless - if I see even one single Cover Identity Anomaly I will start again.
    • Incidentally, if at all possible I will make up my cover identity myself. Unless I literally have a gun to my head I will not, under any circumstances, allow the Jerkass who thinks he's funnier than he is to design my cover identity - he will slip in some obnoxious, impossible thing just to screw with me. It's what he does.
  • Speaking of cover identities, I will not go Disguised in Drag unless I absolutely have to. This only complicates things and, depending on the nature of the story, is likely to end really, really badly for me.
  • While spending time with the enemy I will do everything in my power to prevent a possible romance between me and another "teammate." Even if it would be deliciously cruel, breaking someone's heart will only come back to bite me later.
    • That said, while a romance is out of the question, striking up a friendship might be a good idea. Not only will my new friend be a ready source of information, but if I make it real enough they might even be willing to defend me if I'm found out - having someone on my side could mean the difference between being taken prisoner and being killed on the spot.
  • When it comes time for me to report to my boss I will follow the same procedures real life spies use to communicate with their bosses. I will leave messages in preplanned dead drop locations, if I have to call I will use a secured phone line, and I will never go out to meet with my boss in person. As for talking to my boss's Huge Holographic Head ten feet away from where the rest of the team is sleeping, that's right out.
  • If I find myself in a position where I am actually physically impersonating one of the heroes, I will adhere to the following additional rules.
    • I will study all of the records of everyone on the heroes' team, not just the one person I'm impersonating, paying especially close attention to any minor details in those records. You never know when these things will come up and it's best to be ready.
    • I will not kill the person I'm impersonating, no matter how much I want to. Instead, I will keep them alive and in a safe and secure place with as little chance of escape as possible. If I'm found out, they become a hostage.
    • If the person I'm pretending to be does somehow manage to escape and I find myself in a Spot the Imposter situation, I will absolutely not try to bluff the hero into accepting me as the real one as this never works. I will instead accept that the gig is up and surrender immediately before the heroes have a chance to Bluff the Impostor or Kill Us Both.
  • If it becomes obvious that I've been found out I will accept that it's over. I will not give my enemies an opportunity to Feed the Mole, nor will I make a last-ditch attempt to finish my mission at all cost. If I can't escape then I will surrender and I will be completely honest with my new captors. I will also strike up good terms with whomever they leave to watch me; it's good to keep defection open as an option, in case my real boss didn't read the Evil Overlord List.
  • Last, assuming that I actually get away with my mission I will remember the universal lesson of being wary in victory - the hero might still win out in the end even despite my treachery, and I want to avoid being dumped in the same grave as my boss. To this end I will absolutely not tell the hero that I "always hated him" or anything similar, even if it's true. I will try to act remorseful if I can, or barring that I'll make sure he knows it's Nothing Personal.

List By Setting

  • 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 Genre Savvy 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 Genre Savvy 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.
    • 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's 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 Versus 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.

    Harem Anime 

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 the girls. 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 girlfriend who is not a member of the harem and to inform the harem about her. Wearing a fake engagement ring might help as well.
  • 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/ 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 Dangerously Genre 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 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: 1)the lead will be more likely to remember me fondly which will help my chances should I decide to try again much later; 2)this will likely impress the lead's attractive friends, at least one of whom may consider dating me.
  • 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.

    Gaming Comics 

    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.)
  • 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.
  • I will not marry a man who already has a child, particularly a daughter.
  • If I do marry such a man, I will treat the child as if she were my own. (Note: I will check for whether we are in Fractured Fairy Tale first.)
  • That includes if it's a son, and I have a daughter, and my attempts to match-make don't succeed. I will look for other matches. Turning him into a bear doesn't encourage him to marry her.
  • 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.
  • Real heroes just do their jobs.
  • 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.

    Furry Comic 
  • 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.
  • I have not heard of 'yiff'. If anyone mentions anything like this to me, I will feign complete incomprehension in the hope that my hilariously innocent personality will insulate me from any goings-on.
    • I will also try to have some ability to detect figures sneaking up behind me, and will remain wary of anyone taking any interest in me at all.
    • If a character standing near an air tank, water hose, or any other means of possible inflating me keeps looking in my general direction, I will immediately taser them and run. Even if I wasn't their intended victim, better safe than sorry.
  • 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.
    • 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.

    Transformation Comics 
  • 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.
    • Any locations with the word "Wolf" on 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.
    • 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.
    • If you are male, don't make any reference to 'melons'. Even if you are at a produce market.
    • Getting out 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 asking for it.
    • 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 or that you may be in a Genre Deconstruction. The risks sort of outweigh the benefits.
  • 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:
  • 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.

    War Movie 

  • 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.

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.

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 be helpful (too much defensiveness just makes me look guilty) and find someone to frame. I should have done this before the murder, but better late than never.
    • If this is real life, I will get riled up, since the police expect people to get angry when they're suspected of crimes.
  • 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.**

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.
  • Especially never dress as a ghost or monster to scare people away from your illegal profiting scheme; you'd make better progress by running the operation from a police station's parking lot. Remember: you're 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?
  • 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 preform the murder in a mask), a Dog or a Cat. All three could pull off a murder easily!

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 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.

    Video Games 
  • 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
    • If I outright can't see their heads at all (no character art), I can safely ignore them.
  • 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.
  • 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 encumberance, I will carry the most weight-efficient supplies available and leave at least enough room for an unconscious companion.
  • 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 gun". You always need more.
  • 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 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.
    • 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.
    • And a couple lists specific to Nethack. Many of these items apply equally well to other Roguelikes.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • 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 I ever find myself in a horror video game, I will do the following:
    • 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 sanity depends on light, I will always make sure I have at least five tinderboxes/matches/lighters/etc. If I have less than that number, I will always consider whether or not to light that candle/torch.
    • 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 my game has a sanity reading, I will pay attention to it.
    • 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.
    • If the monsters are zombies or zombie-like, I will ALWAYS shoot for the head. If there is no head, I will shoot at it regardless, unless said shooting might attract more zombies or a more powerful enemy.
      • Unless I happen to be on a spaceship named the Ishimura. or I hear mention of a marker then CUT OFF THEIR LIMBS.
    • 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.
  • 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 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 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.
  • If I am a shoot 'em up protagonist/pilot:
    • 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.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

    Situation 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.
  • 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.


    Horror / Suspense 
Go here.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 and make sure the figure is okay. Instead, I will either make sure it is dead by running over it again or just keep driving.
    • But I will not do this if I have not seen the killer yet. 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 you.
  • 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 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.
  • 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 in a 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 himself. Either way he is not to be trusted nor 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 are 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 immediately take him out by any means necessary; they only put two of us in there so they could safely kill one and leave a spare to come back and help save the day, and the rapper never gets bumped off.
  • 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 gay or bi, 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 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.
  • I will keep in mind that competence, pragmatism and being Genre Savvy are all 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 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 sacrifing someone for the greater good.

    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.
  • 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 others, 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.
    • Unless the cops are male. Then I'll just have no choice but to kill him.
  • 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 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.

    Judd Apatow Movies 
  • 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.
  • 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.

    Fan Fiction 
  • 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-sentitive 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 beautful, yet far too emotionally frail, for instance, is not worth enduring the headaches in the long run.
  • 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)
  • 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.

    Cosmic Horror Story 
  • 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?

    Reality Show 
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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
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.
  • 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.

    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 axe, 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 once the crisis is over.
      • 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 BEFORE they end up threatening my 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. If one of them becomes a threat to the ship or its crew, he will be beamed into space.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 do NOT take bullets into account when readying their defenses.
    • 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 Redshirt team to deal with the intruders, I will simply trap them between forcefields and then beam them right back out into space.
    • 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.
    • This goes double if my flight path goes through any dense gas clouds or nebulae.
    • This goes TRIPLE if the admiral contacting me with the assignment is Kathryn Janeway. Jean-Luc Picard only barely made it out of one of her assignments with his ship half-destroyed. I have no intention of finding out if I'll do any better.
  • 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.

     Romance Stories 
  • 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.
    • Additionally, if I'm in a Hentai manga, I should- wait, no. If I'm in a hentai, there's a 95% chance it's Porn Without Plot and therefore no one will die, and everyone will be screwing everyone. That means there's no way for me to ruin the plot or fall into Character Derailment, so there's no need to be Genre Savvy. (Less explicit works still have a chance of undergoing Cerebus Syndrome later on, though.) I will, however, remember to pack some Astroglide and a wooden stick to bite down on; even if no plot ever 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.
  • 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 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.

Sliding Scale of Comedy and HorrorGenresUnexpected Gameplay Change
So You Are A Teenager With SuperpowersJustForFun/TV Tropes How To GuidesWhy You Should Destroy the Planet Earth
Evil Overlord ListBooks on TropeJack Butlers Original Evil Overlord List
Jews Love to ArgueCharacterization TropesKick the Dog
Tradesnark™TropeCo/Trope Co.Transformation Trinket
The Ugly BarnacleJust for FunThe Usopp And Sanji Show

alternative title(s): The Universal Genre Savvy Guide
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