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  1. If I am immune to the hero's attacks, I will make sure that I am also immune to my own. If I cannot ensure this, I will avoid using any attack that could possibly be redirected to hit me.
  2. As 116 above demonstrates, any extremely competent Evil Overlord is indistinguishable from an extremely competent benevolent ruler. This also applies in reverse.
  3. I will never, I repeat NEVER, use an online list of "Evil Overlord Rules", "Advice for Villains" or any other such variation. A geeky Badass Normal will read it, realise that I'm using it and promptly inform the hero, allowing them to either know my plans in advance, or even worse consult a similar "Vows for Heroes" list and ensure I'm destroyed rather than severely weakened or sealed away.
  4. When I read Evil Overlord lists online, I will remember that not every piece of advice is a good one. Circumstance Savviness is even more important than Genre Savviness.
  5. Defensive systems can be fail-dead (like explode if defeated). Defensive systems MUST be fail-safe (at least for me: local explosion only and only when I'm sufficiently far away).
  6. If a trained monkey can do it, I will let said trained monkey do it so that my minions can do something more important.
  7. I will assume that all of my enemies are not left handed, and plan accordingly.
  8. I will find out where Doctor Doom orders his Doombots and stock up. You never know when you'll need a robot stand-in to take a missile or ten.
  9. If I find out about an evil being with power greater than my own, I will not attempt to take its power for myself. I will instead make sure the heroes find out about it, and I will do anything I can to help the heroes defeat my rival, short of actually joining the party. Then, when the heroes have defeated this being, the moment I can be sure the coast is clear, I will kill the heroes before they have a chance to recover, in the quickest manner possible. Once that's taken care of, if it is still possible to absorb the super being's power, and if I can be sure it won't take over my body, kill me, or drive me any more insane, I will do so.
  10. The front door of my fortress (or any other building I need guarded) will have three guards—one standing on each side, and one hiding within visible range whose sole job is to send out an alert if anything happens to the first two (or if they even just have to leave the post for something). Resources permitting, all doors worth guarding will have three guards.
  11. I will get one of my most loyal followers to disguise as an oracle of some sort and create (or modify, if need be) a prophecy regarding my downfall. Not only will it be a completely useless way to approach me, I'll know what the good guys will be attempting and can thus plan accordingly.
  12. I will hire an adviser whose sole job will be to criticize my plans and point out their flaws. I will listen to him.
  13. I will make my Doomsday Device look like a stuffed animal. Not only will nobody try to stop me from holding my stuffed bear, but should I be stopped it will be given to a hero's child, who will then hug it and cause The End of the World as We Know It.
  14. Before teaming up with a fellow villain to defeat our common enemy, I will first perform a background check. If said villain's ends are morally repugnant, or his means are idiotic, then I'll just sic the good guys on him.
  15. If I must team up with the heroes to defeat a greater threat, I won't attempt to backstab them during the battle. Instead, I will fake a change of heart and earn the trust of the good guys, in order to discover their secret weaknesses and destroy them from within.
  16. I will keep a pet dog, not a cat. Dogs are better for PR, more affectionate, and more easily trained to attack.
  17. I will do the whole "This Cannot Be!" after the heroes have defeated my penultimate boss form. That way, when I sprout a wing or grow really long hair, they will be completely unprepared for my next attack.
  18. If the heroes have the ability to "save" their progress at specific points, I will assign a special force to find these points and destroy them.
  19. I will drive a car of the same make as the heroes. I will avoid traveling in any vehicle between two and thirty years old. In fact, I'll just consult with major Hollywood stuntmen about which type of car they LEAST like to work with, and get one of those.
  20. I will remember that Ominous Latin Chanting is never obsolete, no matter the setting or era.
  21. Instead of killing minions when they're so successful I don't have anything left for them to do, I will either give them some vacation time or come up with some busy work for them, and call on them again later. After all, I know these guys can get results, so why not keep 'em around a bit?
  22. If my Second-in-Command asks me: "Why don't you just kill everything?" then it's probably a good idea to start searching for a new Second-in-Command.
  23. Not only will I not build man-sized ventilation shafts, I will not build any ledges, back corridors, ladders, or anything else that serves no obvious structural, artistic, or architectural purpose, and seems solely to exist to give the heroes an (alternate) path.
  24. I will always send my Amazon Brigade to defeat male enemies. I will make sure they are Happily Married, to ensure they won't fall in love with them in the case they are defeated by them.
  25. All shipments will be viewed by someone with X-Ray Vision before being let in my base.
  26. Vampires will not be placed in positions of power. Minions who die if they go outside during the day are pretty useless. Also, I can do quite well without all that Wangst, thank you very much.
  27. I will execute any vampires that are capable of sparkling on the spot, period. After all, Even Evil Has Standards.
  28. I will investigate all vampires capable of wielding Solar-Powered weaponry.
  29. I will consider novel methods of disposal of vampires or similar creatures, just in case one or more of my enemies happen to be them. Sunlight and silver are fine, but I doubt medieval peasants ever had the chance to test vampiric response to disintegrators.
  30. My jail cells will be sealed by thick reinforced metal bars, not energy fields that can be deactivated by pulling the plug. If I do have access to energy field cells, I'll just make sure they have metal bars as a backup containment method.
  31. If three heroes have been making my life hell at the same time, showing three different personas and sets of powers, I will check the timing exactly to see if it's possible for a single organism to have done it all, to prevent any rather depressing reveals.
  32. My space stations and orbiting weapons will be assembled in space and will not be equipped with heat shields. That way, if the hero attempts a Colony Drop on my planet-side base, the satellites will burn up in the atmosphere long before they hit my base. They will not carry enough fuel to move out of orbit either.
  33. If I send multiple bounty hunters after the hero, I will offer to pay them each the full value of the bounty if they bring the target in together. That way, they are dertered from competing with each other.
  34. I will study chess. I will get good at it. To be on the safe side, I will also have at least a working knowledge of Twister, Battleship, Catan, and other contemporary games.
  35. I will remember that in a pinch a game of chess can be won by using the board to knock your opponent unconscious. I will apply that principle to my strategy when appropriate.
  36. I will use lie detectors during interrogation. But only if I have access to magical and/or futuristic lie detectors that actually work. There's a reason why polygraph readings aren't admissible in court.
  37. I will not set my base to self-destruct upon my defeat; such sites are notoriously difficult and expensive to locate and build, and it's easier to just take it over again should it be captured. I will, however, set all my equipment to short out and set controllable fires to destroy any projects I am currently working on, to make sure my enemies don't get their hands on them after forcing me out of my lair. I will also make sure that all data and backups of such plans are saved in other locations, so I won't have to start from scratch with each defeat.
  38. If I develop a seemingly flawless plan, only for it to be foiled by the hero at the last second through a million-to-one stroke of luck, I will immediately start work on reusing the same plan. The odds of that trick working twice are a trillion to one. I will keep in mind that there are heroes who can succeed even if the chance of victory is zero percent.
  39. If I have the ability to teleport anywhere at will, I will wait until the hero is asleep, and then teleport right beside him and kill him.
  40. My lair in turn will be warded against both screening and teleportation. If possible, the screening ward will project realistic but entirely false images to distant observers and the teleportation ward will dispel buffs on all intruders before redirecting them into a suitable death trap.
  41. If I capture two of the hero's closest companions and force him to choose which one to save, I will not actually show him his two companions. Instead, I will disguise two of my henchmen as both of the hero's choices, so that when he inevitably saves them both, he'll be killed by the two henchmen he just "saved".
  42. If I employ a team of Muggle laborers to build some device that is crucial to my plans, I will have a reasonable idea of how long I can expect the job to take. If the foreman tells me it is impossible to finish within the specified time frame, I will adjust my plans accordingly. Having him killed will not make the work go any faster, and suspicious deaths will only attract the heroes to come investigate.
  43. A hero entered the realm bitter and alone. He met a love interest. She's beautiful. She's smart. She becomes his everything. She is his reason to fight me. If I ever capture both, for fuck's sake, I WILL NOT TOUCH HER IN FRONT OF THE HERO! Cuckolding a hero never works, and has only one possible outcome. Love, jealousy, revenge, and hatred make a very explosive mix.
  44. I will leave the operation of my Laser of Death, Doom, and Destruction to licensed professionals. There are good reasons why I hired all those scientists to build my big, dangerous, complex weapon. Mostly because it is big, dangerous, and complex.
  45. If the heroes have the power to undo some of my plans, I will just do them over and over again. It will keep them busy, and it will be a nice way to pass the time.
  46. If the hero begs me to stop my Evil Plan before it's too late, then I will listen to him and seriously consider the merits of his offer. Sure, Taking Over The World would be nice, but he might know something I don't.
  47. I will not make a Deal with the Devil. Ever. If I ever am in the position where Satan approaches me with an offer I think sounds good, then I will carefully review the chain of events which led me to that situation.
  48. If I am the Devil or otherwise a mystical creature who likes screwing people over with deals, I'll let someone insignificant "win" once in a blue moon. Maybe I'll pretend to lose, or maybe it'll just be a straight-up "honest" exchange. Then I'll make certain that word of this incident gets out. Why? Because it works for casinos and lotteries. Far more souls will be willing to risk it than if every deal I ever make goes sour.
  49. I will carefully watch for Genre Savviness in my minions. The ones who aren't are more likely to be incompetent, but the ones who are, are most likely looking to take my place.
  50. If I am immortal, then I have absolutely no excuse for not learning martial arts, sword fighting, and how to properly aim a gun.
  51. All minions will be taught how to deal with the Bare-Fisted Monk who relies on kung fu, karate, or similar. A good ol' fashioned grab-and-slam is unusually effective against them.
  52. I will not maintain Medieval Stasis when I come to power; I will encourage the march forward with technology. I will research Psychic Powers, Functional Magic, and Ki Manipulation to surprise any heroes with. Let's see them cope with an unexpected Genre Shift from High School Drama to Dungeon Punk!
  53. I will not wield any gun or sword in any combination as my primary weapon. My primary weapon will always be land mines. The gun/sword is a backup.
  54. As cool as it might seem to have the power to fly or shoot energy blasts out of my hands, given a choice, I will always spring for one or more of the following: immortality, invulnerability, regeneration, precognition, clairvoyance, or supergenius-level intelligence. If I'm really that concerned about it, I'll just use my superhuman intellect to build a jetpack and an energy rifle.
  55. I will not leave clues for the hero that will eventually lead to my demise. If I do, I will make sure they are false clues, to throw the hero off my trail. Said false clues will not be the exact opposite of what I want the hero to do.
  56. As an alternative measure for rule 88, I will send the same group that failed me again and again. Since they didn't die the first time, I'd rather have those incompetent fools suffer The Worf Effect instead of my more competent underlings.
  57. As wily old mentors are Walking the Earth everywhere these days, I will secure the services of some of the more morally ambiguous ones, so that my henchmen can endure Training from Hell and Take a Level in Badass. It works for the heroes all the time, so why not try it out?
  58. I will not brainwash any captured heroes into turning on their friends; they'll always break free in time to stop me. If I can catch any of them, I'm just going to shoot the guy and be content with one hero killed.
  59. Should my enemies live in an area I want to take over, I will take over every area the heroes do not live in first.
  60. I will subtly encourage my evil rivals to avail themselves of Rule 64. After all, a good psychiatrist will refuse to treat them, and if they go to an evil psychiatrist, they have handed a convenient master list of all their weaknesses and phobias to someone who will sell it to the highest bidder. As a corollary, I will bid high (keeping in mind the possibility that the evil psychiatrist may be planning a double-cross).
  61. If I hear about a prophecy or prophecies that state that a child will be born with a birthmark or some other sign who will bring about my downfall, I will not immediately send troops to kill the child and its entire family, as this always backfires. Instead, I will wait until the child is about five, while keeping it under surveillance, and then have it kidnapped and killed. Once this is done, I will bury the body in a careful location so the body does not get eaten by wild beasts, resurrected by the good guys, or washed up on some foreign shore. And for everyone's sake, I will make sure that the child is actually dead, instead of just stabbing it once or suffocating it. Bullets are very helpful, especially fifty-fold.
  62. If some extremely important and powerful foreigners come into my land/s, I will not threaten to take them hostage in my capital; instead, I will help them find and kill the person they were after. Especially if the person they were after is my enemy too. I will then ship them out of my lands ASAP. After all, "power" is only good when I have it.
  63. If I am aspiring to take over the world, or at least the known world, and I am informed that there is/are a person/s that can stop me if I do so, I will not kill the person who told me this and send out my entire force to kill the person/s. Instead, I will make sure that they cannot know about my plans and/or conquests until it is too late to stop me.
  64. I will have a staff of public servants who will behave as servants of the people; that is, be friendly and helpful. Also encourage idealistic people to work with the disadvantaged. Let them be known and liked among the population, so that they can hear any bit of gossip and learn ASAP whenever something unusual is happening. I would also encourage people talking in taverns and public places on all possible subjects, in front of public servants. This would save millions in local espionage salaries, and such spies tend to have an intimidating appearance which causes people around them to be quieter - exactly the opposite of what I am trying to accomplish.note 
  65. If I can't replicate it, I can't fix it. If I can't fix it, I can't control it. If I can't control it, I will not use it.
  66. When designing my fortress/fort/castle, I will not choose a Gothic design on a mountaintop in brooding, dark stone with too many towers and the occasional eagle. And it won't be surrounded by lava. Instead, I will design it somewhat in the manner of Castle Floret: on a raised hill surrounded by a moat, with a big heavy drawbridge. Also, the castle will be designed for height rather than length, and I will place the prison/dungeons right at the top.
  67. If any of my towns/cities/fortresses are to be outfitted with big heavy walls, I will have them buttressed from both the outside and the inside, in order to prevent an inside job.
  68. I will not sexually harass the princess I've captured. When I am inevitably caught red handed by the hero, he'll just be that more pissed off because he hasn't got that far with her.
  69. When engaging in warfare with whatever army the hero has assembled, I will not attack his army directly, even when my army outnumbers his a million to one. It will almost always be defeated through luck, tactical brilliance on the hero's end, or incompetence in my own minions. Instead, I will target his ammunition dumps, food stores, fuel reserves, and medical supplies. Without these, he can't raise an army to fight me in the first place. Remember, amateurs study tactics; professionals study logistics.
  70. I will not take There Is No Such Thing as Notability for granted. Sure, the hero may never find a use for my fears and turn-ons, but why take that chance?
  71. If I am in charge of a nation/empire that shares its continent with many others, and I go to war with some of them, I will never, ever regard another nation as "useless" simply because they have no real army. Chances are, they're renowned for poisoning and assassins, and you can kill an enemy just as easily by poisoning him as you can by actual conflict.
  72. If I hear about any form of magical foods that can give the eater a special power, I will not.
  73. My execution chamber will contain a variety of complex Rube Goldberg Death Traps, with a substantial time delay from the moment the switch is thrown until the eventual horrible death, from which a victim of sufficient ingenuity might conceivably escape. Needless to say, these will never be used on any prisoner I seriously want dead; those get a single pistol-bullet to the brain. The Rube Goldberg devices will be used on condemned-but-unimportant criminals on my realm-wide reality TV show, Who Wants to Live? It's always a good idea to give your subjects Bread and Circuses. Surviving contestants will be offered recruitment in the Assassination Regiment of my Legions of Terror, or a single pistol-bullet to the brain.
  74. Honor is worth its weight in gold. A reputation for honor, on the other hand, might have some practical value. Therefore, I will never make a promise I might find it inconvenient to keep, except when breaking it is certain to result in the immediate death of all persons other than myself who know it was made.
  75. I will take acting lessons until I can perfect the role of a fawning, cringing, servile toady. My trusted lieutenant will be trained to strut around in black robes intoning things like "Seize them!" and "Evil will triumph!" in a booming and threatening voice. Thus if the hero is ever brought into my presence, my lieutenant and I will switch roles, just in case the hero has something up his sleeve despite being naked and shackled (they always do, you know). This will allow me to remain in the room and keep an eye on the situation while my lieutenant becomes the target of any possible attack. My lieutenant, just to keep him from getting above himself at that moment, will have a minibomb inserted into his heart, to which I will have the detonator in my pocket.
  76. My Legions of Terror will not march back and forth in front of my Fortress of Evil carrying long spears and wearing flashy uniforms. That role will be filled by expendable security guards (or even more expendable actors) hired from a private agency. My Legions of Terror will wear practical camouflage fatigues and be trained to lurk out of sight until needed.
  77. If a incompetent subordinate fails me, I will not execute him; that would give his friends and relations a grudge to nurse. Instead I will transfer him to some functionary position with no important responsibilities and no prospect of advancement. He will still be of some use to me but his incompetence will no longer be any major hindrance to my schemes, and everyone will praise my mercy.
  78. I will not try to discipline my beautiful daughter to rein in her dangerous carnal appetites. To the contrary, I will raise her to use and discard men like this week's hot fashion. That way, if she falls in love with the hero... well, that's what he thinks!
  79. I will never employ any Doomsday Device that is so destructive it would leave me with no world or subjects to rule over. I mean, if the world leaders can't or won't come up with the ransom, what options does such a device leave you?
  80. If I discover that the hero has an Orphan's Plot Trinket in his possession, I will not show up at his door dressed in spiky armor with a gang of mooks and demand he give me the White Magician Girl's necklace. Not only will he wipe out my squad, but he will then know that the trinket is important and will go to great lengths to keep it away from me. Instead, I will disguise myself as a merchant, and when he stops at my store to pick up the latest weapon, I will offer to buy his trinket from him for an exorbitant amount of money, or perhaps trade it for a component of the Infinity +1 Sword. Not only will it allay any suspicion, but if I get the necklace or whatever at the beginning of the quest, my plans will be complete before the good guys have any idea what happened. Besides, you can't get the Infinity +1 Sword until the very end anyway, and he won't make it that far.
  81. I will find the Bonus Boss, and do anything in my power to get it on my side. Even if the hero manages to defeat it, he'll be so weak afterward that I can kill him without any trouble.
  82. I will never keep the final room where I reside, with my hostage/artifact/escape point, guarded by a line of bosses ending in one big, almost undefeatable one. Chances are it will be defeated.
  83. I will create agencies staffed by experts and competent leaders to deal with any and all natural disasters, even if the chance of it occurring. I will supply these agencies with twice the funding and manpower they claim to require. They will be ready to act at a moment's notice and will have outposts loaded with supplies at all towns and cities of significant size, and will regularly drill the public on what to do in the event of a disaster. It will do me no good to crush my enemies if a freak act of nature brings my empire to its knees.
  84. Very often, the Chosen One has mentors who are... let's be charitable and call them dicks. They'll use their Omniscient Morality License to put the hero through hell, force them to make hard choices whether to defend the world or their families, and generally not be very truthful when it comes down with it. Should my spies report this is the case, I will pay for the hero's little brother's education, and keep his grandparents fed and healthy, and give his Ill Girl sister her operation. And there won't be any of those "mwahaha, but you have to do something evil first" deals. No, this will be be done with a smile.
  85. If I possess craft capable of taking cities off the map from orbit, I will not bother with a ground invasion but instead kill the hero and his hometown without him ever seeing me. The hero and his or her friends need never meet me or my Legions of Doom in person.
  86. Addendum to point 10 of the original list: if I possess a fleet of spacecraft, ocean-going vessels, or whatever, I will make sure that any captured heroes are brought not to my flagship, but to a small support ship (without the capacity to destroy my flagship).
  87. If the only thing that can kill my enemy is a silver bullet, I will make more than just ONE silver bullet.
  88. I will not give myself an absurdly specific name, but rather be known as "Mr. Guy, subjugator of places." My methods will remain unknown to all but my own minions.
  89. If the hero's sidekicks are all or mostly Yaoi Fangirls or Yuri Fanboys, I will use this to my advantage. If we are both highly attractive (and the hero is NEVER not), they will be too distracted by my innuendo-laden dialogue to even think about killing me off. As a nice bonus, the hero will likely be too confused to attack.
  90. If I for some reason decide to take my enemies alive, I will keep in mind modern prison standards when designing cells for my enemies. All cells will have modern concrete walls and floor, as throwing the hero in a decrepit and abandoned old part of the castle, with brickwork that could potentially be dug through, and leaving him to die unsupervised is right out. For important prisoners at least two guards will be posted outside the cell at all times and will have easy access to a button that will immediately kill the prisoner in case of prison riots, betrayals or attack by enemy ninjas. The cell block will also be kept under constant surveillance with hidden cameras, with the control room having remote triggers for all the "kill prisoner" buttons.
  91. When I achieve immortality, I will keep the fact a secret. Bragging about it just gives people the motivation to prove you wrong.
  92. If one of the villagers in my realm has a legitimate beef with a member of my Legion of Doom, I will deal with the matter in a fair and equitable manner. If they have no reason to be disgruntled with me or my Legion, they won't bother helping the hero when he comes around.
  93. I will keep my peasants in check by providing a wide variety of amusements and entertainments. They won't bother helping the hero if it means they might miss their stories.
  94. To all potential (heterosexual) MALE Evil Overlords: All my nefarious plans can wait until after my wife's birthday, daughter's wedding or any significant woman in my life's important events. Missing said event will likely cost me very dearly. Additionally, no event in the girl's life would be too insignificant, because honestly, who kills the evil overlord when he's having tea time with "Daddy's Little Princesses and her court of Cute Stuffed Animals"?
  95. I do not need to beat the hero myself. It will be made clear that killing the hero in battle will earn my minions a handsome pay bonus. Legion of Doom troops tend to respond to two things: kindness from superiors and greed. And I have just wrapped them both up in a bag of super motivation.
  96. When engaged in time travel, I will never ally myself with Those Wacky Nazis. It never helps, and brown is such an ugly color.
  97. I will not censor the Internet. Nothing pisses off kids more than not being able access Wikipedia and YouTube.
  98. Although I enjoy More Dakka and a wide selection of BFGs as much as anyone, and it does wonders for establishing my superiority over the hero's nation, once superiority has been achieved, I will withdraw all such weapons from service in my armies, as well as all armored vehicles and aircraft. My forces may question this decision, but when the hero begins his first mission and comes to the realization that he will never acquire a weapon more powerful than his starting pistol or enjoy a vehicle selection, he will resign in disgust and learn to live under my rule.
  99. Well before the date the prophecy declares the hero will be born on, I will head for my space station and have an asteroid (preferably one whose diameter is measured in the hundreds of miles) be dropped on the planet. I will then watch as the planet is quickly sterilized.
  100. I will not have anyone work on a project involving something that had killed their families or traumatized in any way without their explicit consent.


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