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The Evil Overlord ..

The Good Hero ..

.. in the Land of Swords and Sorcery.. in the Land of Swords and Sorcery
LowTech Overlord
Becoming an Evil Overlord seems to be a good career choice. It has many rewards, there are all sorts of perks and you can even set your own hours. Being English, I'm already one step closer to Supreme Over-Lordship than anyone born in The Colonies (and especially anyone living or working in Hollywood). Of course the first step is always the most difficult - gaining your initial 'power base' - and typically has to be 'inherited' from some existing ruler. It thus helps if you are already related to Royalty or can get yourself adopted into the ruling family at a young age (after which it's typically a relatively easy task to make sure you are the only surviving heir, fatal accidents (especially whilst hunting - falling off a horse, being accidentally being shot in the eye with an arrow) and 'suicides' (drowning in the local lake etc) being amazingly easy to arrange when it comes to Royals

However every Evil Overlord I've ever read about in books (or seen in movies) is inevitably overthrown and usually meets a rather nasty if somewhat unexpected end.

This is, of course, unavoidable, since, no matter whether they are Barbarian Lords, Evil Wizards or Despotic Kings, they keep on making the same basic mistakes every single time !

With that in mind, allow me to present, in no particular order ...
Unlike the Evil Overlord, becoming the Good Hero is never by choice. It's a post that you are 'elected' into during the 'darkest hour' of the Revolution, just after most of your comrades have been massacred by the Evil Overlord's forces, and by the 'popular acclaim' of the few survivors, usually whilst the body of the previous holder of that position is still warm. Whilst it might seem you are the ideal candidate for the job, often this is because all the other potential candidates have seen what's coming and found a good reason to be elsewhere (or their bodies are being stacked up with that of the previous holder and you are the only one 'lucky' enough to survive).

On the subject of luck, this is the one 'must have' that every Good Hero needs, since more often than not, it's only by unbelievable good luck that he manages to survive long enough to ever achieve anything.

Even so, being the Good Hero is never easy. Whilst you can be sure you (or, should your luck run out first, some future holder of this position) will always win in the end, you can expect to receive the most amazing life-threatening injuries on the way to ultimate victory. Whilst you will typically make a miraculous, full and (almost) immediate recovery, sometimes you will be forced to retire to bed with a high fever, suffer memory loss or remain in a coma for years on end and/or walk with a limp for a few hours or days. Also, all those injuries must be very painful, even if you never show it - which pretty much restricts the Good Hero position to some-one of British descent well practised in the art of the 'Stiff Upper Lip'.

Your innocent friends and family, however, are usually not so fortunate. Not only do they lack your miraculous powers of recovery but they can also expect to be kidnapped, imprisoned in impenetrable dungeons, held to ransom and generally tortured at the slightest whim of the Evil Overlord. Needless to say, your companions and close associates thus lead rather short and painful lives, often being done away with in the most unexpected ways and at the most inconvenient times.

Of course the one individual that will never receive the slightest scratch will be the bumbling fool of a co-commander that you are forced to co-operate with for family or 'political' reasons. Nor will the headstrong morons who make up most of 'founding members' of the Revolution (and who will always insist on rushing in where angels fear to tread) ever get their well deserved fatal reward

As if that is not enough to put up with, you can also expect to be betrayed by your closest compatriot, childhood friend or the half brother/sister or a parent you have not seen for years (and believed to be dead). Various childhood friends and lost relatives will also unexpectedly turn up on your doorstep, with no explanation what-so-ever of where they have been or what they have been doing, but since this will usually be right in the middle of the Revolutionary Council Meeting that is deciding the Final Details of the Rebellion (for example, setting a date for the Storming of the Palace), you will immediately take them into your full confidence and reveal to them your every plan. Although you will always discover their treachery just in time, many innocent bystanders and large numbers of unnamed revolutionaries will perish in the inevitable resulting ambush.

From all of the above you might start to suspect that the average Good Hero comes from a genetic line lacking in intelligence - or even basic good sense. Regrettably this is true - however it seems that even the most stupid Hero can follow a script, so, in order to reduce the loss of life among the good guys, let me present :-
The Top 101+ Things I'd Do if I ever wanted to became an Evil Overlord. The Top 101+ Things To Do if I ever became the Good Hero.

Ruling the Realm.

(1) My noble half-brother, whose throne I usurped, will be killed immediately I get the chance, and not kept anonymously imprisoned in some half-forgotten cell** of my deepest darkest dungeon.

And whilst I'm on the subject, no prisoner, no matter how 'recognisable', will ever be fitted with a 'mask', iron or otherwise, that prevents their identity being confirmed by the guards. No guards of mine will be diverted from their duty by the identity of the prisoner (any that might will have been 'weeded out' by a recruitment process that starts when they denounce their own friends and relatives).

**Whilst my cells will be deep, they will never be forgotten or dark. All my cells will be of a very well maintained 'high security' type and very well lit at all times (so the Guards can see exactly what any prisoner is getting up to) = see later for more details
Having successfully sneaked into the Overlord's Palace, there is no longer any point in attempting to reach the dungeons. Evil Overlords have taken to executing half brothers, ex-partners and captured revolutionaries at the first opportunity, so the Dungeons can only be expected to contain the Evil Overlord's store of surprisingly inferior wine.

Of course not needing to free the prisoners will save you a lot of time and most likely avoid your courageous but dumb comrades being discovered whilst doing something that even the most poorly trained Palace Guard will regard as highly suspicious (such as running around opening the doors of empty cells in a pointless search for the non-existent prisoners).

On second thoughts, assigning the hopeless bumbling incompetents (you are required to keep in your inner circle for political reasons) to 'free the prisoners' is just what you need to keep the Evil Overlords Guards occupied whilst the rest of your forces get on with destroying his Source of Power / stealing his plans / kidnapping his Chief Wizard or whatever.

Note to self. Make sure the local vineyard is run by members of the Revolutionary Cadre, since, if all else fails, they can always poison the wine (see also later re: The Guy Fawkes Gambit).
(2) If I learn that a callow youth has begun a Quest to destroy me, I will slay him (and all his nearest relatives) while he is still a callow youth instead of waiting for him to mature. I will also discover all his associates (by questioning neighbours and having his personal possessions and living area searched for clues to their identities). These will be kept under close observation and any that show the slightest interest in avenging his demise will also be put to death. Before growing up to become the Good Hero, it is entirely possible that you will discover your family history from your adoptive parents. Typically this will include overwhelming evidence that the Evil Overlord (or his minions) killed your father / mother / both parents, older brother and all your uncles - but (amazingly) there will never be any hint of the existence of your twin brother or sister.

Under no circumstances should you reveal what you have learned to any mysterious visiting adult, and especially not if they claim to be your 'Guardian', 'Fairy Godmother' or some long lost 'Uncle', especially since they will immediately come up with some totally impossible 'explanation' for why your parents are now missing (which, of course, you will totally believe no matter what the solid documentary evidence you have discovered yourself). So it's best not to be distracted (or targeted for early termination) until you are a bit older and wiser - either that or expect the inevitable bumbled attempts at assassination to wipe out a good proportion of your friends and most of the adults taking care of you - your immediate neighbours are not likely to survive either - and you will spend a lot of time moving from one place to another that is, perhaps, less flammable. Avoiding the attention of the Evil One also means not asking questions (or poking around in the local records of births marriages & deaths) until you are in a position to do something about whatever you might discover.

Note to self. Should I later discover my mother / father / older brother / half-sister etc. working for the Evil Overlord, for example, as his chief lieutenant, I will start by investigating the use of contact poisons before sending any 'Dear Mummy / Daddy / Bro / Sis' letters.
(3) If an enemy I have just killed has a younger sibling or offspring 'abroad' (or otherwise not immediately available for execution), I will pay assassins to find them and kill them as soon as possible, instead of waiting for them to grow up harbouring feelings of vengeance toward me in my old age. All close friends, uncles, god-parents and surviving older siblings of enemies of the Evil Overlord are the natural recruits of the Revolution. Remember - one heroic death can lead to a dozen new recruits ! Given enough time, this will include every living soul in the Evil Overlords domain.
(4) All independent midwives, helpful priests and friendly witches etc. will be banned from the Evil Realm. All babies will be delivered by well-trained state-approved trusted 'nurses'. This will ensure the early 'weeding out' of any potential future claimants for the Thrown (such as those born with strawberry birthmarks, for example) and should also put an early stop to any 'unknown twin sister/brother' plot.

All newly created orphans and unidentified babies found on doorsteps will be cared for by the Overlords Orphanages where they will be trained for useful positions in the Legions of Terror - or, for those who fail to make the grade, useful positions as 'State Farm Workers' (see under 'Slavery', later) - and for sure never abandoned in the woods to be raised by creatures of the wild or left in the care of the local Religious Cult (no matter how peaceful they might seem).
The Revolutionary forces will start by recruiting those running the Evil Overlords orphanage system. Every orphan will be told "what must have happened" to their natural parents and "who must have been responsible" - but only after the Revolutionary Propaganda Department has "found" the necessary supporting documentation.

Since the Evil Overlord will be paying for their board and lodging - and training with long range weapons (such as longbows, crossbows, blow-darts and the like) from an early age - they will only be allowed to 'run away and join the revolution' after they reach maturity.
(5) If an attractive young couple enters my realm, I will carefully monitor their activities. If I find they are happy and affectionate, I will ignore them. However, if it appears that circumstance have forced them together against their will and they spend all their time bickering and criticizing each other (except during the intermittent occasions when they are saving each others' lives at which point there are hints of sexual tension), I will order their immediate arrest. In the event you are forced to co-operate with some desirable but inaccessible female, agree in advance what each of you will do and make sure you cross the boarder into the Evil Empire at different times, via different routes and operate out of different 'safe houses'. If you have to communicate, each do so via your own spokesperson. Only meet up at the last possible moment - perhaps at the final Storming of the Palace.

Note to self. Each year all newly joining numbers of the "7th Year Anniversary Married Couples Guidance Club" should be financed by the Revolution to take a short holiday in the Evil Overlords domain. The resulting executions should earn him the displeasure of every bordering country and swell your ranks with their friends and relatives ...
(6) I will run a high quality well educated Empire with proper schooling and training for all professions, and especially for "entertainers" of all types, who will be required to pass 'aptitude and ability' (and loyalty) exams. Needless to say, only those that pass the final exams will qualify for a 'Right to Perform' Licence (the rest will be found useful 'employment' as peasant farm workers (see re: slavery) or, for the less capable, offered a post in the Legions of Terror (see also re: assisting troop training at the Archery Ranges)).

So there will be no bumbling Conjurers, clumsy Squires, of no-talent Bards, and clever (but cowardly) Thieves etc. to be found anywhere within the Evil Empire (thus ensuring that at least some of my foes will give up and abandon their Quest when they find no source of comic support).

Should I learn that, despite the well publicised Licence requirements, an unlicensed troupe of travelling players has entered my realm, instead of inviting them to perform at my Palace, I will send a crack team of assassins from my Legions of Terror with instructions to "take no prisoners" and leave nothing living, not even an insect (and especially not some cute furry animal or colourful talking bird).

The remains of these spies etc. and all their belongings (including transport) will be collected by the assassins and taken for examination by my experts in a self-contained Fort / Castle a long long way from the Capital (and my Palace) before it's all broken up, burnt and the ashes scattered to the four winds. Anything I need to know urgently will be 'transmitted' by flag telegraph / signal fire / magical 'far seeing' and not be some possibly infected, impersonated, possessed or 'turned' messenger.

In fact, my assassins will remain at their remote 'home' Fort until assigned a new task (since the one thing any highly trained assassin WON'T ever be doing is visiting either the Capital or my Palace any time soon).
However carefully you, the Hero, try to be in choosing your companions, for political or family reasons you will find yourself stuck with at least one youthful headstrong bumbling moron who won't shut up, can't be discouraged from taking risks, refuses to recognise danger, walks into trees and/or falls over whilst trying to sneak up on the Evil Guards then always rushes in noisily & gets himself and everyone else caught. You will also be stuck with at least one stunningly beautiful but spoilt 'Princess' who will never, ever, do what she is asked (or agrees) to do, nor stays where she is told, no matter how vital the reason.

Under no circumstances should you tell any such your real plans. They can still be of help, however, if, a few hours before starting the final assault, you ask them "not to ruin our plans for the day after tomorrow / next weekend by trying to sneak into the Palace tonight". Of course as soon as your back is turned, he/she will immediately come up with some insane reason to sneak into the Palace the moment it gets dark. They will, of course, be immediately captured - however whilst they are being interrogated, you can take advantage of the distraction by sneaking in to carry out your real plans = which will not include rescuing the bumbling moron - you know will just lead to massive loss of life among his would-be rescuers, the survivors of which he will immediately ensure are caught as well = but will include some totally laughable plan to rescue the Princess which will, of course, no matter what the odds, inevitably succeed.

Note to self - make sure you give him the "secret weapons pack" and her an "amulet of power" that same afternoon with the words, "this is our most secret weapon that must on no account fall into the hands of the Evil Overlord". They will, of course, take it with them for some totally impossible but superficially believable reason. Your only real difficulty will be in deciding what time to set the detonator (or when to release the demon).
(7) All naive, busty 'tavern wenches' in my realm will be replaced with well-trained and Licenced (and thus surly and world-weary) 'waitresses' who will provide no unexpected reinforcement and/or romantic sub-plot for the hero or his sidekick.

And whilst we are on the subject of Pubs & Taverns, I will NEVER EVER expect the Publican to put me into contact with mercenaries or assassins 'for hire' nor will I be tempted to hold 'secret meetings' in the corner of the Bar or the Private Function rooms out back. Secret meetings will be held in secure rooms at the centre of my Evil Lairs where the single person 'air-lock' style access door system will ensure no unexpected observers (not even if they have their own personal invisibility cloak) - and just to make sure, any room not in current use will be kept in a 'disinfected' state (by filling it with something similar to mustard gas)

Finally, drinking laws will be strictly enforced and anything under 5 feet will be classed as a 'child' and will NOT be allowed in the Bar. Anything that tries to buy a drink but is too short to look the barman in the eye will be thrown into the street (even if it is raining).
One way to finance the Revolution is by employing the now out-of-work naive busty tavern wenches to serve strong ale to off-duty members of the Legions of Terror in illegal basement drinking dens. These dens will be located conveniently near to 'houses of ill-repute' (also run by the revolution) and staffed by well trained volunteers who can worm details of the Palace defences out of them. On the night the Palace is stormed, make sure every glass of ale is dosed with a suitable (i.e. slowish acting) sleeping draft (so everyone gets to have a good drink before anyone falls over), both to minimise the chances of any off duty guards noticing your forces gathering or of coming to the aid of the Evil Overlord later.

Note to self .. after the Revolution, Justice and Due Process will be re-introduced. To avoid bankrupting the new order with lengthy trials, during the storming of the Palace (and whilst you are busy facing the Evil Overlord in person), some of your most trusted companions will be checking the identities of the soundly sleeping and soon-to-be-ex Guards and making sure that any known war criminals (or relatives of the Evil Overlord) never wake up. Although the Evil Overlord will undoubtedly escape, you will make it a lot more difficult for him to rebuild his organisation if his most trusted supporters are 'no longer available' due to an 'unfortunate overdose'
(8) I will always keep a close eye on any hard working eccentric mystic or pious hermits in my realm.

Sooner or later one of these bumbling morons will stumble across my 'real source of power', esoteric means of 'life extension' or accidentally uncover my 'one true weakness'.

Fortunately they will always boast of what they have found in front of my Guards, but not be actually heard, understood or believed by anyone else. Whilst my Guards will always rush off to alert me, by the time I find out what's going on the moron will have departed to tell the Good Hero in person. At this point most Evil Overlords make the mistake of having the bumbling moron followed in order to 'discover the identity of the Revolutionaries'. However a series of impossible mishaps and insane misunderstandings will inevitably lead to him getting away and the bumbling moron will then be left to run around free and, sooner or later (usually later) 'reveal all' to the Good Hero at the most inconvenient moment (typically just as I'm about to attain Ultimate Power) thus leading to my inevitable downfall. So, instead of some silly 'wait and see' plan that is bound to go wrong, I'll just order he be intercepted immediately and put to death on the spot

For sure there will be none of that time wasting (and escape / rescue opportunity creating) 'bring him to me alive so I can question him and discover what he knows' nonsense .. the fact is, I already know what he knows = and that's way too much !

His immediate execution at the earliest possible opportunity may fail to satisfy my curiosity, but I'll be a lot happier each time I hear someone has taken my secrets to their grave (not that any such mystics will ever be buried, since I'm well aware of the ability of some Hero's to 'raise the dead' - however this usually requires an actual physical body (or artifact imbued with their 'life force'), so the remains and all the possessions of those I want to stay dead will be cremated and their ashes scattered to the 4 corners of my realm)
After years of research or (more often) just an incredibly unlikely amazingly impossible co-incidental 'lucky break', some otherwise unknown individual or (more often) one of your chief companions will always discover some vital information crucial to the success the Revolution - for example, the nature and location of the Evil Overlords 'one true weakness' or perhaps his means of 'un-natural life extension' etc.

After some half hearted attempt at contacting you by announcing in a loud voice to anyone nearby that he has 'made a vital discovery', he will, of course, immediately drop everything and rush off to inform you of the details in person .. and then get killed or captured along the way. As a result, much time will be wasted and many lives put in jeopardy. To put a stop to this sort of behaviour is almost impossible - experience has shown that time and again, that no matter how often you explain the use of pen and paper for record keeping and the use of Messengers or trusted Servants, anyone discovering something vital will never, ever, leave any sort of record of their years of research, never mind their conclusions, let alone any clue to the nature or location of the 'vital discovery'.

As a partial solution, all your companions and anyone you identify as a possible 'searcher of the truth' will be assigned a well trained 'assistant' who will spend each evening preparing a written summary of the days activities (no matter how inconsequential or obscure) and dispatch this by messenger before going to bed each night. Needless to say, should anything vital be discovered (or any of your companions or member of the 'inner circle' depart from his/her normal routine activities / location) the 'assistant' will immediately depart 'on a routine task' to report in person.
(9) Overtaxing the peasants only drives them into the hands of the Revolution. So the Evil Empire will have no 'direct' taxes at all. Indeed, one of the first things I will do on conquering a new land is to eliminate most of their vast number of non-productive bureaucracy (starting with the Tax Collectors) - actually, most will be 'reassigned - only those totally incapable of doing any other work will actually be eliminated (see also later re: salvery)

Whilst the peasant Citizens will own their own farm buildings and the right to grow their own crops on the land (and no-one will be allowed to hold such rights unless they and their immediate family are actually living and working on it themselves), I will own everything not specifically planted (such as rivers, forests etc) as well as everything that (flys) over it or (can be mined) under it. As is usual in most lands, rivers will be state owned but all citizens can make use of the water 'without charge' (drinking, irrigation, transport)

Since labour - especially skilled labour - is a valuable resource, the Empire will encourage large families and no time will be wasted in improving productivity. This means free compulsory education from the age of 4 with every child attending their local state schools. Failure to turn up or bad behaviour will be dealt with by applying a suitable punishment to both parents (say 5 lashes, on the first transgression). Class advancement will be based on ability and, following final exams, a guaranteed career path (civil service, apprenticeship, armed forces, peasant farm worker etc.) will be available to all

In addition, the State will provide free medical care for all. No one will be left to 'malinger' at home - those unable to work will be nursed in the State Hospitals (where free euthanasia will be made available to anyone the doctors / magicians decide is never going to recover from an illness etc. soon enough to do anything useful). An extensive medical service with well practiced doctors is vital to the continued functioning of the Forces of Evil, especially in time of war. It takes time and resulrces to train troops, so it's vital to ensure as many as possible recover from any wounds (and return to the front line) as soon as possible

Everyone will, of course, be required to learn the official language of the Evil Empire - those who won't (or can't) show reasonable proficiency within a year of being conquered (or 5 of being born) will not qualify for Citizenship - and since only Citizens are allowed to own anything within the Evil Realm, they will be given the usual choice of volunteering for the Legions of Terror or joining the ranks of the peasant farm workers.

Further there will be no 'poor orphan children' or other 'beggar' types in the street - indeed there will be no 'poor' at all = in fact, being 'destitute' will be classed as a disease, one that is instantly cured with 10 years (paid) service in the Evil Legions of Terror (for the most able bodied) or immediate 'recruitment' into the ranks of the peasant farm workers (for the rest).

There will be a position in the Evil Empire for everyone, whatever their ability - those who don't qualify for anything else will find life-long (or, to be more exact, rather life-shortening) employment at the Legions archery ranges helping new recruits practice shooting at moving targets. So crime will be almost non-existent, and for sure there will never be any 'repeat offenders' and absolutely no-one will enjoy free board and lodging at the Empires expense pointlessly 'serving time' in any sort of prison. The motto of the Empire will be 'A happy life is hard work' (for sure anyone who doesn't work hard will soon discover how unhappy life can be = see later re: slavery)

On the subject of hard work, the Evil Empire administration and it's Forces will be totally 'self financing'. So rather than pointless 'patrolling' and 'marching around', when they are not training the Evil Forces will get their exercise building useful (and chargeable) infrastructure etc. - such as nice solid Toll Bridges and Toll Roads to 'facilitate trade' with my neighbours (and make it easy to move my troops to their borders, when required). To further encourage self sufficiency, foreign goods (and non-citizens) coming into the Evil Realm will be heavily taxed, whilst goods leaving (and returning citizens) will not. To assist trade, a citizen parent (who has done their patriotic duty by having at least 8 kids) will be allowed to visit foreign lands (however their partner and their children will not). Needless to say, any who fail to return within a reasonable time will find their property 'assigned' to some-one else, their partners now part of the Evil Forces (a equal opportunity employer, with positions for all) and their (younger) children having been redefined as orphans and now in the Evil Orphanages (whilst the older kids will be enjoying their new home in the barracks as members of the Junior Legion of Terror)

Evil Forces on coastal assignment will work in the Evil Overlords ship building yards, which will focus on constructing good solid 'trading craft' (with the sort of bows onto which a ram can be easily fitted) along with a few faster 'messenger' ships etc. These will all be made available to traders etc. for a reasonable share in the profits (say, 10%), thus ensuring all craft have well trained and experienced crews available from the first day war is declared.

'Punishment duty' in the army will mean a stint working in the Evil Overlords Mines where precious metals will be minted into coins (the only legal tender of the Realm).

Since there will be no 'money printing', there will be no inflation so the concept of 'interest' will be unheard of. Whilst this essentially eliminates straight 'loans' (especially as lending money is illegal (which means no loan may be legally paid back)), it will not stop groups of individuals banding together to finance a joint venture, in which each individual shares both the risk and profits

Since the Evil administration will run the docks, customs posts, money changers and banks, it will be an easy task to ensure any 'foreign' coinage arriving 'in country' is immediately exchanged for the official currency, whilst all the foreign coins are melted down and turned into Evil Empire coins before it can circulate. Any 'notes' will, of course, be presented to the foreign bank for redemption into gold/silver (the owners/directors of any banks that refuse such redemption will soon discover how efficient (and well armed) the Evil Empires 'Debt Recovery' (foreign home visiting division) can be)

There's nothing like being surrounded by gold, silver and copper coins with the face of the Evil Overlord looking out of each one to demoralise any potential enemy - especially after I start the rumour that I can indeed magically 'look out' from my face stamped on each and every coin ..
Whilst eliminating direct taxation always proves popular with the peasants, the Evil Overlord has slipped up in a major way - no Tax Collectors means no officials will be making regular visits to the outlying farms etc. So the Revolution can start building training and supply camps 'out in the countryside' without fear of immediate discovery
(10) Slavery is not permitted within the Evil Empire. Slaves can be sold, where-as the non-Citizen peasant farm workers are the property of the state (i.e. me) and simply 'on loan' to some peasant farmer (until I need to employ their labour elsewhere). Since they can never be 'owned' by anyone else they can't be sold, which means they can't be slaves (anyone who disagrees with this definition will be invited to experience life as a peasant farm worker for a year or two, after which, I feel sure, the experience will have resulted in a change of mind).

Whilst on-loan, the peasant farm worker will 'earn their board and lodging' - whilst they will always be fed sufficiently to do a full days work, harder work will mean, for example, better food - such as a bit of bread with their basic potato and cabbage gruel. Any Citizen mistreating a peasant farm worker will be dealt with under the Damage to Property laws, requiring immediate restitution and the payment of a fine (restitution for anyone responsible for the injury of a peasant farm worker will mean taking the place of the injured worker until they recover). Of course, damaging the Evil Overloads property (and that includes the farm workers) will result in double the normal fine.

Needless to say, anyone unable to make restitution or pay the fine (for example, two peasant farm workers who get into a fight and damage each other) will soon discover that the Evil Empire archery training camps are always in need of new target assistants (or, to be more exact, assistant targets)
(11) Part of maintaining control over the Evil Realm is fast communications and being able to move the Evil Forces to trouble spots faster than any possible enemy. So, whilst farmers and traders will have access to the solid and slow moving 'shire horse' to pull ploughs, wagons, carriages and act as pack-horses etc. all the faster breeds will be the sole property of the Evil Overlord and thus used only by the Evil Forces - i.e. for mounted troops and messengers etc.

Of course this helps the Evil Forces 'fast mail' and 'fast stage coach' service to compete against the slower (but cheaper) service run by the local merchants and traders. Horse riding is a skill that will be taught only in the Evil Forces. Anyone turning up with horses at the border will, of course, have their (faster breed) horses exchanged for the slower breed (they will be given the opportunity to purchase a 1 man cart at the same time) and warned that anyone found within the Evil Realm riding on anything will either be part of the Evil Mounted troops (they can 'volunteer' immediately they are stopped) or will be assisting the Forces of Evil with their archery practice against mounted targets

Needless to say, horse breeding (especially shire-horse breeding) will be another money making activity run by the Forces of Evil
Again the Evil Overlord has slipped up - anyone spotted from the other side of the valley on a horse can be instantly identified as part of the Legions of Terror .. thus giving the Revolutionary Forces plenty of time to hide any traces of their activities - put out cooking fires, camouflage buildings etc. - or arrange an ambush. The ban on riding fast horses just means extra meat rations for all the Comrades after ambushing the Evil Mounted forces ..

Further, whilst the shire-horse breed may be slow moving, it is much more 'robust' and able to carry much heavier loads - so when the Revolutionary Army goes to war, the Good Hero (and other high ranking members of the Revolution) will be virtually invulnerable leading the charge as heavily armoured knights on shire-horse (as well as needing far fewer horses to carry supplies).
(12) The Evil Empire will be a multi-faith society, however whilst my citizens will be free to worship as they see fit in the privacy of the own homes, the Evil Empire will not tolerable any sort of useless non-productive organised religion - especially as that would be in direct competition to myself.

So, after executing the Royalty, aristocracy and various other totally non-productive individuals (and potential underground opposition leaders) of a newly conquered land, all religions will be disbanded with the High Priests, their administration and all the local 'preachers' etc. being given the opportunity to apply for more productive jobs.

Any showing innate powers will be immediately accepted into to the Evil administration since the free hospitals are always in need of healers etc. Those with no intrinsic powers will be free to apply for a 'Local Preacher' Licence, however they will have to demonstrate an ability to 'call upon their God' to 'heal the sick' or otherwise perform productive tasks allowing them to be assigned a useful Job ('walking on water', for example, will get them assigned to the Evil Coast Guard service). Those unable to do anything useful will have the usual choice of joining the peasant farm workers or 'volunteering' for service in the Legions of Terror. Needless to say, anyone caught preaching without a licence will be sentenced to 10 years in the Legions of Terror where they will assist with the training of new recruits at the archery ranges (this will give them the opportunity of demonstrating an ability to call upon their God to deflect arrows from a distance of 10m - any who succeed will, of course, be issued a Preachers Licence - however they will still be required to serve out their 10 year sentence)

The now vacated 'houses of worship', associated buildings and other ex-religious holdings will all be put to more productive use. Religious buildings are typically built from decent solid stone, so these will be modified by the addition of ground floor window bars & arrow slits etc., as necessary, to become the homes of my new local 'chief administrator' (who will hold an appropriate rank as an officer in the Legions of Terror - a General will administer a City, however a village will only rate a Sargent). Being situated on a hill and having the tallest tower for miles around will also make them useful as a means of keeping an eye on the locals as well as providing a signalling relay point as part of my high speed communications (flag and lamp) network.

Any 'religious artifact' that shows any sort of magical effect (such as healing the sick etc) will be put into immediate use by the Evil Medical Corps etc. - anything else made of precious metal (gold, silver etc.) will, of course, be melted down, minted into coins and used to finance the activities of the Evil Realm. Other religious artifacts such as 'relics', 'icons' and especially prayer books will be exported for sale to my neighbours, where their interpretation will, no doubt, soon lead to the inevitable religious civil war. Any not-particularly religious items - pews, carpets, podiums etc. - will be sold at local auction (the names of the bidders will be noted just in case they take to Preaching without a Licence)

Building design.

(13) ALL the Ventilation Ducts in ALL of my Palaces, HQ's, Barracks, Weapons workshops, Warehouses, Prisons etc. etc. will be no larger than 6" in diameter, thus ensuring they are MUCH too small to crawl through !

Even though air intakes will never be at ground level, they will still be fitted with stout iron cover plates with air holes too small even for a mouse (just to make sure even a snake or mouse etc. can't 'get through the air ducts' I will fit 'sieve' type plates into the air shafts at regular intervals)

Any buildings I 'inherit' will have the ventilation systems modified as necessary BEFORE I or my Evil Legions (or even my admin staff) move in.

External air vent covers will require special spells and/or tools for removal. Should knowledge of how to open the vents 'leak' or any tool go missing, all vents will be replaced with new ones requiring a new spell / tool (which will be incompatible with the old tools).

Said covers will be of sufficient quality to withstand any amount of kicking, punching or pulling and the air holes/slots will be far too small even for a mouse to get through let alone the Hero's pet monkey / ferret / cat / any other sickeningly cute pet that might be sent inside to filch the keys or open the door.
Although Evil Overlords are now fitting Ventilation Ducts that are rather too small to crawl through, the Ventilation system in every Evil Overlord designed building complex still suffers from the usual basic design flaws that any half-knowledgeable Hero can always take full advantage of.

First, you can sure that every room, no matter what it's function, will always be 'connected' to every other. Second, the Evil Overlords 'Inner Sanctum' will always be 'down stream' from the Guard Room, which is itself is always be 'down stream', and only a few yards away from, any dungeon or prison cells. Finally, all 3 of these will be connected to an easily accessible and unused (or at least unmonitored) 'store cupboard' where any amount of revolutionary equipment can be left unattended in the sure and certain knowledge that it will remain undiscovered for all eternity (or at least until a member of the Revolutionary Forces arrives to pick it up).

Since Evil Overlords insist on good air circulation no matter what, they will never have any way of closing off any ventilation duct. Further, although the external air inlet is no longer positioned at shoulder height next to the front or back door, it will always be conveniently positioned for easy access - typically on a flat roof with an external stairwell.

The knowledgeable Good Hero will thus investigate the deployment of suitable 'good' (as opposed to 'evil', but never-the-less still deadly) 'spirits' and other acceptable air-born weapons (such swarms of locusts, mosquitoes, wasps or killer bees, for example).

Note to self. You should personally deploy any airborne virulent diseases. Remember, History is written by the victor, and if it all goes wrong you can always claim the Evil Overlord's Wizards must have had an accident with something nasty they were brewing up to use on you. After all, he's the Evil Overload, so no-one is going to believe him when he denies it - and so long as you are not actually caught in the act, no-one is going to think the Good Hero would ever dirty his hands with Germ Warfare (so make sure yours are well scrubbed afterwards).
(14) My Central Palace / Headquarters will incorporate livestock pens where animals can be quarantined for a few days whilst they are checked over by my well trained (in animal husbandry) butcher/cooks for possible poisons etc. before being slaughtered and sent to the kitchens. Needless to say, the butcher cook eats the first cut from the meat before it's served
To keep them focused on their jobs, every so often a contaminated animal will be introduced without telling them

Drinking water will be drawn from an internal hidden (but still well guarded) well and carefully tested before use. Extensive use will be made of rainwater for washing etc. including the regular flushing of the sewers at random intervals. Needless to say, the sewer system will consist of multiple 6 inch pipes and U bends, and NOT a single man sized 6 foot pipe (the 6 foot man-sized 'sewer pipe' with the easily removable grating will run under the walls for some dozens of yard before curving abruptly downward until it joins the chimney of the Palace furnace sited in the lowest dungeons)
Make sure the Evil Overlord and his Guards have a stressful life by delivering sheep / cattle splashed with various completely harmless coloured dyes - this should really upset his testers as they spend hours on end trying to detect the non-existent poisons
(15) Entrance-ways to my HQ / Palace etc. will conform to the best in Advanced Medieval Castle anti-intruder design. This means a two step 'air-lock' style entrance system.

Entry control will start with the iron re-enforced door of the outer Gatehouse (positioned in front of the Drawbridge - which, due to it's see-saw counterweight design, will naturally default to the 'up' position'). The Gatehouse door will be 'remotely operated' i.e. lifted & lowered by chains from within the Barbican (at the other side of the drawbridge). A mechanical interlock will prevent the drawbridge being lowered (pulled down) until the gatehouse door is properly opened (pulled up) - and another will prevent the Portcullis being lifted before the Gatehouse door is fully closed. This will finally put paid to the "wait until they start to open the door and then push the gate, over the (already lowered) drawbridge and throw yourself under the slowly closing (but still partially opened) portcullis" trick. As already hinted at, detaching chains or cutting ropes will leave the drawbridge in the 'up' position whilst doors / Portcullis will falling down shut.

Should a visitor appear that is acceptable 'at first glance' (from inside the Barbican) the outer-gate will be raised and then the Drawbridge will be lowered. Once they have cleared the gate and are on the Drawbridge, the outer gate will be closed (the mechanical interlock preventing the Portcullis being raised until the Outer gate is fully closed) before they are allowed off the drawbridge.

An initial visual & magical 'remote sense' check will be done on the visitors as they wait for the Portcullis to be raised - should the Guards see (or Wizard sense) anything 'wrong', the Drawbridge 'hinge' will be disengaged and the whole lot dropped into the Moat - which, of course, will be filled with the usual Evil Overlords choice of piranha, crocodiles, sharks, vengeful spirits of the drowned, evil mermaids etc. etc.
This should also stymie the Good Hero's trick of 'overpowering the guards', 'dressing up in their uniforms' and 'waiting for the changing of the Guard' to sneak in, since any returning guards will be some of the most carefully examined 'visitors'

Having passed the initial inspection, the Portcullis will be raised and the visitors will then enter the double gated ('air-lock' design) Barbican. At this point, visitors will be separated from their carriages, carts, pack horses & backpacks etc. and enter a separate side room where they will be observed whilst their vehicle, carts and other belongings are 'sensed' & searched for any hidden weapons etc. by a team made up of a junior Wizard assisted by a pair of guards, all of whom will all be randomly assigned just before the search.
To keep the trainee Wizard and the guards on their toes, every so often a sword or dagger will be hidden in a pack .. should the sword/dagger not be discovered, the team assigned to search that pack will be given additional training. Those who fail twice will assist the training of new recruits at the archer range (where they will be given the customary 10m head start)

To view the visitors, 'periscope' style spy holes will be used so that any attempt to 'shoot the guard' by 'firing through the spy hole' will result in immediate return fire (from the heavy cross-bows installed in the sides and roof of the room) and NOT the opening of the main gate by some sort of insane 'dead mans handle'. If all else fails, the entire floor will hinge open dropping the intruders into the moat. Needless to say, the Moat also awaits any vehicle with something on-board that the Guard Wizard 'senses' as a bit 'off' (and especially any that start hissing, smoking or ticking).
Rather than attempt to sneak in via the high security anti-terrorist airlock style main front gates, your spies will simply join the Overlords cleaning staff. When it comes to the final assault on the Evil ones Castle Palace, your forces will enter via the simple main rear entrance door that will have been left propped open by the cleaning staff 'as usual'.

If necessary, the Revolutionary Forces might ram the outside gatehouse door just to lock the Drawbridge in the 'up' position and seal the Evil Overlords troops inside whilst the killer bees or good (but deadly) fairies etc. do their work.
(16) I will avoid installing ground floor windows in any of my buildings. In any event, all windows (no matter how 'inaccessible') will be installed with solid iron bars and air-tight shutters - all 'Evil Overlord style' buildings have always been fitted with a more than adequate internal ventilation system. 'Arrow slits' (with cover that can be opened only from inside the building) will be positioned below each (upper floor) window just in case some bumbling Revolutionary types try to scale the walls.

It goes without saying that none of my buildings will have flat roofs of any type, except perhaps a 'decoy' stand-alone 'store room' or 'stable' (where the density of poisoned spikes covering the easily collapsible flat roof will be exceeded only by the density of poisoned stakes directly below).

Internal doors are of special concern and are dealt with in detail below

Whilst the best Medieval Building Safety Regulations may require easily accessible fire escapes, I'm the Evil Overlord and I'm not having any of that rot - anyway, all 'employees' of the previous administrations' Royal Health and Safety Inspectorate will have been well up near the top of the list of those who will find their heads on stakes outside the main City gates when I came to power.
You can be sure that the relatives of those employed in the Royal Health and Safety Inspectorate will be some of the Revolutions most dedicated founding members. So start recruiting them as soon as you hear the Evil Overlord has gained power.
(17) I will design fortress hallways with no alcoves, window bays or protruding structural supports which intruders could use for cover in a fire-fight. All my windows will be fitted with simple shutters, not curtains or drapes - this should finally put paid to the 'hide behind the column / in the alcove / behind the curtains' trick. Of course some hallways will have large decorative picture widows that intruders might even be able to open from the inside .. however this will not assist them in bypassing any of the defenders because one thing none of my designs will incorporate are external window sills (in fact, no building will be designed with ledges wide enough for anyone to stand on, external pipe-work of any type and especially not gutters solid enough to hang from). Further, long corridors will be fitted with dividing doors and all stairwells with doors at the bottom and, for those leading to vital areas of the Palace - such as the Evil Overlords living quarters and the armoury - a second set of 'interlocked' doors at the top (i.e. a pair of doors that can't both be open at the same time).

All main doors will be iron bar re-reinforced and designed to close UPWARD from the floor driven (at high speed) by heavy counter-weights assisted by springs. This will finally put paid to the Hero & his companions favourite 'sliding under the slowly downward closing door' gambit.

Door opening, using a winding handle to crank up the counterweights, will thus be a lot slower than closing. On spotting anyone trying to climb over a slowly opening door, my Guards will be trained to pull the 'close' lever (thereby disengaging the opening mechanism and allowing the counterweights to close the door again) first, after which they will have both hands free to deal with the intruder. Doors will close with a satisfactory 'clunk' (and open with a drawn-out mechanical clatter) = so any Guards within hearing distance will thus know if a door is opening or closing and not be fooled.
Your revolutionary forces must be trained to not charge along the bare and empty long corridors toward well armed enemy forces .. instead the smoke producing fire-buckets will be employed (under cover of which the good fairies, swarms of trained killer bees etc. etc. will be released).
(18) The winding mechanism on all doors will be designed so that it 'latches' only when the door is fully open. Prior to that point, if the winding handle is released (i.e. before the door is fully open) the counterweights will wind the handle backward (and the door will start to close again). This means that one guard can hold a door at 'half open' and others use it for cover whilst shooting at intruders, and, in the event that the guard holding the handle is hit, the door will automatically close. Further, pulling the 'close' lever will totally disengage the opening mechanism, which will not re-engage until the door is fully closed. Holding down the close lever will, of course, prevent the door being opened (from the other side) at all

All of this will stop any single intruder trying to jump through a partially open door (since letting go of the open handle lets the door close), whilst a single defender may pull the close lever and then have both hands free to fight (knowing that the door must finish closing before it can be opened again).

Hidden cables will be run from every door mechanisms to a 'Central Control'. One cable will 'pull' the close lever (thus allowing every door to be closed at once) and a second cable will pull the pin from the 'open' latch (thus preventing the door from being 'latched' in the open position) = whilst this will not stop the door being wound open and held, it will slow down any intruders (and require one of their number to remain behind holding each door open). Needless to say, unlike the more usual design of 'Evil HQ Central Control' this guarantees that no matter how much you 'push' on a cable you will never succeed in opening any door remotely ...

Finally, each winding handle will be 'unique' and easily removable - so my Guards can take them away (should they have to retreat) and intruders will find that a winding handle taken from one door will not fit the next.
Your forces will arrive equipped with levers, pickaxes, hammers, crowbars, bolt cutters etc. for easy access to the standard internal door mechanisms and with Magicians experienced in manipulating unseen mechanical pulley systems for the more stubborn ones .. however often none of this will be needed as the most vital doors (such as those giving access to the Central Control Room) will always consist of easily bendable bars.

In the unlikely event that it should become necessary to get access to anything protected by a iron re-reinforced security door (eg. the wine cellar or the stationary cupboard), it will often be easier to break through the adjourning side wall (which will be made of nothing more solid than a double layer of plasterboard) instead.
(19) My lighting systems will be designed to resist any attempt to extinguish them. This means protective spells on oil lamps and the use of magical back-up lighting etc. as appropriate. Should all the lights ever go out, those Guards who have been trained in the use of night-vision spells / enchanted seeing glasses etc. will take immediate charge and whose without will stand still and await orders and NOT panic and run around like headless chickens (or run toward, away from, or open fire at, the first thing they hear).

The occasional unannounced drill will be held and anyone who starts any pointless running around (or firing at nothing) will be used for target practice by those with night vision training thus providing them with something to do whilst waiting for the exercise to end (or waiting for the Good Hero's Revolutionary troops trying to climb over the rapidly closing doors or attempting to squeeze past the barred windows to present themselves as better targets).

Individual lamps that go out for any reason will be replaced immediately and not left to provide a 'dark alcove' for intruders to hide in undetected as your guards march by (not that there is going to be much pointless marching about - it would only upset my magically enhanced 'intruder detection' systems).
See what the Revolutionary Maintenance Engineers can do about having all the Evil Overlords Palace lamps fail at irregular intervals (cutting wicks short, under-filling with oil mixed with water etc etc). After a few weeks of constant 'drills' the Guards will go to sleep (or starting shooting at anything that moves).
(20) I will not design my Main Control Room so that every look-out point / speaking tube / Magician's Throne is facing away from the door. Further, none of my control rooms will have windows that can be opened - and especially not my main Laboratory (Evil Laboratories are traditionally housed underground for very good reasons).

The staff duty rota will be wildly circulated and quickly updated - any attempt to use the 'credentials' of some-one not on duty (or who is off sick, just been transferred or simply left for the day) will lead to instant arrest. All 'passes' will be 'expiry dated' and the 'style' (colour / logo etc) changed at irregular intervals - and immediately after anyone reports a lost pass

On the subject of staff duty rota's, every Evil Lair will have well trained Guards on the sole entry/exit door clever enough to maintain a continuous 'balance' count of EVERYBODY who enters and leaves the administration / office / workplace block (it goes without saying that I will not employ illiterate or innumerate Guards). The Guards will thus always know the exact count of people still in the building - and no Guard will be allowed to go 'off duty' until the count reaches zero at the end of each day

So there will never be any of that "hiding in the privy / store cupboard / behind the tapestry" and "waiting until everyone goes home before sneaking into Overloads Office / Laboratory / Central Planning room and stealing his Evil Plans" nonsense - and just to make sure, any of my really 'high security' buildings (armoury / weapon stores / workshop / laboratories) that are 'closed for the night' and are (supposedly) empty will have a 'Resident Evil Vampire Demon' that is released after the last worker leaves to roam the building all night and noisily devour any living thing that is found or enters before dawn
Just prior to the final assault, members of the Revolution who have infiltrated into, or been recruited from, the Evil Overlords cleaning staff will take care of the remaining occupants of the Central Control Room of every Evil Lair - and then release the Resident Evil Vampire Demon to start devouring the Guards in the rest of the building. The resulting confusion should make it easy for the rest of your forces to sneak into the Palace - with spears disguised as mops and weapons hidden in their buckets - without being challenged
(21) None of my buildings will be equipped with any means of 'self-destruct' (cellar full of gunpowder, imprisoned demon, Wizard earthquake spell etc) unless absolutely necessary. If it is necessary (for the prison, perhaps), it will not be 'activated' by a simple fuse or large red lever labelled "Self Destruct". Anyone lighting such a fuse (or pulling such a lever) will be blown up in the resulting localised but still powerful instantaneous explosion. Further I will not build on an active volcano, dry river bed (and especially not downstream of the dam) nor on the edge of a cliff or, in fact, on anything but solid rockOn the question of built in self-destruct mechanisms, most Evil Overlords no longer fit them. It is thus necessary to ensure sufficient undermining of any walls / vital building is performed months before the 'storming of the Palace' and ready to be 'activated' immediately. During the final confrontation the slightest disturbance should bring the Evil Overlords walls and buildings 'tumbling down' around him
(22) Any vats of hazardous chemicals or liquids (including molten metal, liquid gas, magic potions and any form of alcoholic beverage) will be firmly bolted to the floor and kept covered when not in use. Also, I will not construct walkways above (or directly below) them. Whilst Evil Overlords have taken to putting in place necessary Health and Safety precautions re: covering vats of dangerous substances, they are not immune to sabotage (or the destruction of the supporting struts .. )
(23) Unwanted messages and other documents will be properly burnt, not simply screwed up and thrown on the floor or in the nearest unlit fireplace. In fact, in all important Evil buildings a fire will be kept going for just this purpose (and with a chimney too small even for a child to climb down but with an iron grating half way up anyway). Discarded paper documents are a good source of information, so the Overlord must be discouraged from burning such valuable material. If the revolutionary inspired local council's "Recycling Initiative" fails to convince him, then, at every opportunity, any paper supplied to the Palace must incorporate some 'highly toxic when burnt' additional ingredients. This should put paid to his in-house incinerator game, at least for a while, and ensure the revolutionary clearing staff on "trash collection" duty have an information gathering field day.
(24) My 'high security' dungeon cells will be strictly for 'single occupancy' and not be furnished with objects of any sort - and especially not with any that contain reflective surfaces or with anything that is combustible, can be unravelled, dismantled or used as any sort of weapon. This means the naked captive will have to sleep on the bare floor and lick water from a small hollow depression fed from a dripping wall whilst using the drain hole in the opposite corner for their toilet, none of which is strictly Geneva Convention, but then few Evil Overlords have even heard of Geneva (except perhaps as a 'target'), as any prisoner will soon come to realise.

There will be a hole in the floor furthest from the door (and in full view of the door) from which a chain will run to collar around the prisoners neck. The collar will be of the type that 'clicks shut' but can only be opened by a key (which, of course, will be kept in some admin building miles away and not dangling from some slow witted prison guards belt). Before the door can be opened, the chain will be drawn tight to the hole pinning the prisoner to the floor (and ensuring the prisoner can't use the free length as a weapon). In any event, the full chain length will be too short to reach the door. Needless to say, the walls will be constructed of solid stone or bricks and not set with the sort of cement that goes crumbly in the damp and can be removed with a wooden teaspoon (or long fingernail).

The floor will slope gently from the water 'bowl' toward the toilet drain in the far wall which will start with a 6 inch opening, fitted with iron bars, leading to a 3 inch pipe that traverses a number of U bends before it empties into the cess pit (which will be irregularly flushed with water into the moat).

There will be no windows, especially not any opening onto a central courtyard or a rear alleyway with easily removed bars and through which the prisoner might be rescued or escape. In fact, all cells will be in the lower dungeons, so any escape tunnel will have to go up through at least 2 other floors before reaching ground level. Normal illumination will consist of light reflected down a series of small tunnels. In the unlikely event that in-cell lighting is required at night, lamps will be placed at the exterior end of the tunnels (nothing flammable will ever be allowed into the cell)

All cells will be equipped with an 'airlock passage' door system based on the Evil Overlords patented upward closing doors mechanically interlocked to ensure one door has to be closed before the other can be opened. The cell door will, of course, close flush with the ceiling. This will prevent all those 'hiding behind the (inward opening) door' or 'slam the (outward opening) door into the Guards face' manoeuvres and defeat even the ever popular 'hide on the ceiling above the door' gambit (not that anyone could cling to the smoothly curving bare ceiling anyway). Since prisoners will not be fed there will be no tricks with eating utensils nor will their confederates have the chance to pass them tools, weapons or anything else (such as invisibility potions etc) hidden in the food. All prisoners will be either executed (usually) or released (rarely) well before they start to get hungry, let alone had a chance to starve to death - high security cells are expensive to run and maintain, so the quicker each prisoner is 'processed' the better
The entire cell ceiling will be equipped with small holes for the built in 'shower' system that will be used before any visitors to the cell (to maintain prisoner hygiene).
Make sure that the revolutionary forces have used the old abandoned tunnels to hide escape kits in every dungeon cell months before you and your companions arrive. Since the cell itself is totally bare, good place to hide the kit is behind a fake stone/brick in the wall.
(25) I will employ a team of expert Wizards and surveyors to examine any building I 'inherit' from any previous owner. They will inform me, and only me, of any secret passages and abandoned tunnels found, no matter how well blocked up or old and unused they may appear to be.

Any tunnels connecting to the outside will be bricked up, ESPECIALLY the 'secret escape route' leading from the old 'Master Bedroom' (which will become the new Guard Room and not my Inner Sanctum) and also those ending in a nearby cave, behind the waterfall, under the lake or beneath the moat etc.

Further, since no Evil Lair will ever allow 'visitors' to wander around un-escorted, it will not be necessary to pin helpful maps to every wall. If I must make available maps of my Palace complex, the room shown as the Throne Room will, in fact, be the Guard Room. The actual Throne Room will be marked as a Wash Room or Broom Closet or similar. Needless to say, that marked as 'Armoury' will turn out to be the actual broom cupboard
These days it is no longer necessary to send in spies (or take similar risks) in order to discover the layout of the Palace. Whilst a full copy of the plans will be found at the local stone masons, any publicly available maps of the Evil Overlords Palace will be regarded with deepest suspicion. For this reason, before your forces effect entrance to the Palace, spies will infiltrate the Overlords cleaning staff and draw up the real layout. Of particular interest will be the location of the actual Armoury, Guard Room and, of course, the Evil Overlords Throne Room and Bed-chamber (both of which will likely be discovered as soon as they open the first Broom Closet or Wash Room door)

With a bit of luck they will also confirm the existence of the obligatory abandoned tunnel from the local cave, behind the waterfall etc. leading directly into the otherwise impenetrable unused cellars and dungeons. Whilst these will have often been carefully 'sealed', this will only be from the Palace side, and by no more than a single layer brick wall or layer of plaster and perhaps a few feet of loose rubble. Careful excavation and use of this tunnel will allow the early employment of the "Guy Fawkes Gambit"

The opposing forces - uniform, basic equipment and training.

(26) The front-line Infantry and mounted shock-troops of my Legions of Terror will have battle helmets with detachable visors that will only be fitted immediately before combat, and not the all-face-concealing type. Squad members will be expected to recognise every other member of their squad on sight. Squad leaders will recognise members of their own squad and the other squad leaders in their battalion and so on up the chain of command. To aid recognition at a distance and from the rear, individual squads, battalions etc. will be encouraged to develop their own unique and instantly recognisable uniform "motif's" and "badges" - to which some addition will be made just prior to the unit going 'on active service'. Anyone concealing their face without the 'active service' flash will be used as immediate target practice - and the same applies to anyone without a clearly visible means of identification.

During actual combat or whilst on Guard duty, my Evil Forces will use their own squads 'secret recognition signs' as well as the Legion of Terror 'universal hand signals'. Orders will never be shouted and all written communication will employ unbreakable codes (mainly because most 'orders' from myself will consist of nothing but random groups of letters and numbers - my Generals having been verbally briefed on my strategic objectives well before any campaign / battle, after which I will leave them to get on with whatever tactical plan they feel is appropriate - and so on down the chain of command). Passwords will never be used, they are much too easy to overhear. Anyone unable to count the number of members in their squad will never be promoted to any leadership position.

Anyone claiming to be 'the new recruit', 'a recent replacement' or 'an officer from Regional HQ' who arrives suddenly and without notice will provide my Guards with more target practice (new recruits and replacements will always be accompanied by original squad members until they are recognised and 'unknown' officers will be escorted by well known ones).
To conserve lamp oil and magical power, preserve night vision and generally make it harder for the Forces of Evil to identify any member of the Revolutionary Forces in the field (and especially at night), NO lights of ANY TYPE will be fitted to ANY item of equipment and ESPECIALLY NOT to the INSIDE of any helmet.

During daylight hours, members of the Revolutionary Forces will go about their normal lives. Thus all Revolutionary Activity will take place at night. Your forces will be trained to move as silently as possible whilst listening for and identifying the enemy. Extensive use will be made os 'see in the dark' and 'life force detection' spells. No one, and especially not the 'rank and file', will be permitted to walk around with any sort of device capable of emitting light, not even a flint, let alone a lamp or 'illumination' spell

Lamps & torches etc. for emergency use will be issued to those who have received proper training in the art of night fighting and concealment. The Revolutionary Guard Archers will be trained to shoot on sight anyone spotted walking around the camp with a light at night. Needless to say, as a consequence, all (surviving) members of the Revolutionary Forces will be confirmed non-(pipe)smokers.
(27) For formal use only, I will hire a talented fashion designer to create original uniforms for my Legions of Terror, rather than adopt some cheap knock-offs that make them look like Roman Foot Soldiers, Ninja Warriors, Mongol Hordes etc. All of these were eventually defeated and I want my troops to have a more positive mind-set. Any designer that comes up with face concealing helmets with non-removable visors (or stainless-steel bustiers) will find that 'loosing the contract' is only the first step to loosing their heads.

In the field, of course, uniforms and armour will be designed to fit the function expected - so Scouts etc will have camouflage appropriate to the terrain and foot / mounted focus on protection. For sure there will be none of that sunlight reflecting polished brass or bright steel nonsense that would give away their position twinkling from the other side of the valley and especially no buckles or chain-mail etc. that can be heard 'clanking' from hundreds of yards away

I will, of course, insist on all troopers having decent 'hob nailed' boots - after all, treading my opponents into the ground will be one of the prime functions of all my Evil Forces
Rather than go to all the trouble of disposing of groups of patrolling guards and stealing their uniforms the day before you plan to sneak into the Palace (and thus risking tipping off the Evil Overlord to your plans), why not find out who supplies uniforms to the Legion of Terror and recruit them into the revolution ? This allows your forces to turn up in clean, well fitting, tailored uniforms made for you months in advance, and neatly avoids the inevitable blood, bullet holes & knife cuts in the fabric of captured uniforms that could give the game away on the day. If this proves impossible, you can always obtain uniforms from the local laundry service - over a period of months they can certainly 'loose' as many as needed without suspicion. If all else fails, just buy the required uniforms 'off the peg' from the supplier or get the local 'masked ball' costumers to run some up.
(28) Except when in battle, I will dress in bright and cheery colours, as will all members of my Council of Evil and all my high ranking Evil Henchmen. When on actual campaign, I and my commanding officers will all adopt the same uniform as the troops - whilst the 'decoy' command tent will be filled with a well trained anti-assassination squad dressed in our best cheery cloths - this should help throw my enemies into confusion as well as extending my life expectancy.

Note to self - no matter how tempting it might be, I won't require any high-ranking female members of my organization to wear a stainless-steel bustier. Morale is better served with a more casual dress-code. Similarly, outfits made entirely from black leather will be reserved for formal occasions (you know you just can't keep black leather clean whilst fighting in the field)
Revolutions are not won by fighting pitched battles in the field. So your comrades will attack those in the Palace grounds wearing the most expensive and colourful cloths. The one in the plain, but rather well tailored, army uniform will be a lowly guard of no account who may be safely counted on to switch sides as soon as he realises which way the wind is blowing. However those in the fancy uniforms with all that gold braid and fake medals will be the Evil Overlords chief Officers and those in fancy brightly coloured well tailored suits his top Evil Henchmen (all of whom know they will be condemned to the gallows when you win, so have nothing to loose by fighting to the death) . .. and you never know, some-one might get lucky and kill off the Evil Overlord himself.

Revolutionaries themselves, of course, never have any sort of uniform - it makes them much too easy to separate from the innocent bystanders. Looking like the rest of the population, of course, means the Evil Forces will always massively under- or over-estimate the numbers opposing them. The only uniforms we might be found in, are, of course, those of the Evil Overlords Legion's. If any sort of armour is available, the Revolutionary forces will make extensive use of it, no matter how unflattering it may be, so long as it can be hidden under our cloths.
(29) All troopers in the Legions of Terror will be trained as basic archers and/or crossbowmen. Any who cannot learn to hit a moving man-sized target at 10 meters will be held back until the next intake of recruits arrives (a second failure will result in them being given a 10m head start when the 3rd group starts to practice). The more proficient will get the chance to train as horse archers, whilst the best will move on to become 'snipers' (and be expected to target enemy officers). The rest will be trained with spear and shield as basic 'front line' foot soldiers (front line meaning their job is to stand in front of the archers and protect them whilst they take down the enemy)

Whilst Recruits will look after their 'own' bows etc. they will not be permitted to walk around with arrows or crossbow bolts until they pass their basic training. Arrows & bolts will be provided at the target range, and at the end of any practice session all will be accounted for (any group unable to return the correct number will be held back and given the usual 10m head-start). Those who qualify as 'marksmen' will be allowed to keep their bows and issued with an appropriate number of arrows / bolts to which they will be expected to add their own 'personal' mark and which will be counted at each equipment inspection. Anyone unable to account for missing ammunition may find themselves helping the new recruit training sessions ... from a distance of 10m.

If, for some insane reason, I decide to visit the archery training range where some newly 'turned' ex-revolutionaries recruited to the Legion are being 'tested', I will have a crack squad of bodyguards with large shields standing by in case one of them finds a reason to choose a different target (for example when they recognise one of their 'less-willing to turncoat' ex-comrades or relatives standing just 10m away).
The Revolutionary Forces will plan for the long term. Orphans will be trained to shoot, and those achieving the best scores in practice will be encouraged to apply for posts in the Legion of Terror. The weapon of choice has to be the cross-bow - bolts are easy to conceal (and even easier for 'dear old mum' to send baked into a Birthday Cake etc.). There is a reasonable chance that one training day, when only long term Legion members are practising, the Evil Overlord will turn up to watch without his bodyguards .... even if they miss, after the confusion is over and the training bolts counted there is even a possibility they will get away with it

NB. Whilst infiltrating the Legion of Terror marksmanship training school, your agents should make sure any genuine recruits who look to be good shots are given arrows with doctored flights or unevenly weighted bolts ..... this should ensure they are 'weeded out' as soon as possible.
(30) I will never make demands like "... and he (or she) MUST be taken alive !". If for some unlikely, but still valid, reason I wish to capture the Hero (or his beautiful female companion), my Legions of Terror will be told "... after killing or capturing everyone else and inflicting the usual non-fatal wounds, please try to take him/her alive, if that is at all convenient and reasonably practical, don't take any risks and especially don't let them get away, no reward, I'm just saying ...".

To minimise losses among the Legion of Terror, all of my Chief Henchman will be allowed to offer mercy to the opposition forces, especially when they are cornered and might fight to the death. Since I'm a sucker for 'last requests', any that respond "I would rather die than surrender to Evil" will be killed immediately. After the rest have laid down their arms, they will be separated out into 'military trained' and 'peasants'. Peasants will be 'deported' (sent to work separately on the farms of my retired troops in another province) and the others escorted (a few at a time) to the weapons training ranges where they will be offered the choice of joining the Legion of Terror (or given a 10m head-start). Needless to say, no squad will ever include more than one ex-revolutionary (if there is one thing every Evil Overlord needs to remember, it's that it's almost impossible to be a revolutionary when you have no-one to plot with)
If you have reason to suspect the Legions of Terror have orders to take you alive, stop fighting when it becomes pointless. Although it will prove very difficult, you must train yourself and your companions to avoid, at all costs, using that unforgivable phrase "You will NEVER take me alive !" - remember - surrender now and you can soon escape to fight another day (after any battle, the Legion of Terror will always be too busy looting and generally beating up innocent bystanders to pay any attention to guarding prisoners).
(31) I will instruct my Legions of Terror to attack the Hero & his companions en-mass, instead of standing around waiting whilst a few individuals break off and attack one or two at a time.

Of course since all my forces will be trained in the use of ranged weapons, those with bows etc. to hand will first use up all their ammunition before closing and indulging in hand-to-hand combat. Of course part of every recruits ranged weapon training will involve keeping out of the 'line of fire' of their comrades who have not yet depleted their ammunition (those who failed this part of their training will, of course, have been buried with full honours).
Revolutionaries must never indulge in mass battles with the Evil Overlords Legion of Terror - the vast majority of his forces will be simple soldiers who will be only too happy to switch sides as soon as he is gone. If, for some reason, it becomes necessary to exterminate his forces, remember, he will ALWAYS attack you, no matter how well defended your position.

For this reason, only reveal yourself to the enemy hoards after covering the ground in front of your position for hundreds of yards with caltrops, hidden 'trip' wires, 'ankle' (as in break them) pits & poisoned / sharpened bamboo spikes etc. spaced at 6 inch (or less) intervals. Ensure a suitable delay (more robust coverings for the 'ankle pits' nearest the enemy) so that the Legions 'front runners' pass over unharmed (to be caught later) and thus not 'give the game away' before the entire Legion of Terror is trapped in the killing field.

Needless to say, your forces should be trained almost exclusively in the use of longbows and other long range weapons .. should the Legions of Terror actually ever get close enough for hand-to-hand fighting, cutting the bow strings and running for your lives should always be your forces most immediate option of choice (remember - 'he who runs away returns to fight another day' is always true for the unarmed 'I'm just an Innocent Bystander (and not a revolutionary), honest Sargent'.

Note to self - make sure all arrows are well treated with the Revolutions special 'arrow-head polish' containing something ultra-fatal to open wounds ...
(32) When my Evil Guards split up to search for intruders, they will always travel in groups of at least two.

Evil Guards will be trained so that if one of them disappears mysteriously while 'on duty', the other will immediately sound the alert and call for backup (instead of standing around quizzically looking about whilst scratching his, no doubt soon to be missing, head).

When arresting suspects, Evil Guards will not allow them to stop and grab a useless trinket "of purely sentimental value" - any that they do reach for should be dumped into a bucket of water onto which a large rock is placed and left behind for the Evil Magic Investigation Team to examine later
If you have planned effectively, there should be no need to waylay the Evil Overlords minions. However, should it be necessary to put any Guards out of commission, they will be immediately killed without the need for any discussion, both simultaneously and as swiftly and silently as possible. No revolutionary will carry any unnecessary 'tying up rope' and there will be none of the 'aim to wound' or 'just knock them out' nonsense.

Never put down any vital item of escape equipment etc. when it can be placed into a buttoned pocket instead.

Of course your female companion(s) will always put vital items down, give them to poor beggars, leave them in the other hand-bag or on the dressing table "because it didn't go with this uniform" etc. etc. So any items that they need to retain eg. Passes, Magic Amulets, keys to the front door etc. will be attached to unbreakable 'gold' chains that you will insist they put on first thing in the morning BEFORE they choose their outfit for the day (and which will be magically enchanted so they can't be removed before Sundown).

As a concession to your really important female companions, a variety of different coloured Amulets / 'key' covers and chain designs will be provided. Needless to say, none of your magically enchanted door controls will work for them without their 'key'.

Note to self and companions - in the event of imminent capture, always attempt to grab some random object as a distraction
(33) I will not have captives of one sex guarded by members of the opposite sex. Further, young, gullible, naive new Recruits will never be assigned to guard anything, let alone something as important as prisoners. Instead, that duty will go to the most cynical of my long serving Sergeants who have lost the most close comrades in battle against the Revolutionary forces. Members of the Legion of Terror will be assigned Guard duty in pairs and required to keep an eye on each other as well as the prisoner. They will be trained to avoid the more obvious distractions, such as indulging in pointless 'chit chat' with the Prisoner, or rushing off to deal with some disturbance (or other escaping prisoner) without calling and waiting for their replacements. Should a fire be found in the cell block, one Guard will give the Alarm whilst the other activates the in cell shower systems. If that fails, the guards will execute the prisoners (we all know that 'leaving them to burn to death' never works) and only then look to their own escape.

It is, of course, inevitable that any Guards ordered to keep any prisoner or object "under continuous observation" will turn their back on their duties at the most critical moment.

Since this is totally predictable, some 'automatic' system (such as a tipping counter weight balance) will be installed in all 'containment' areas which will only be reachable via triple airlock type doors. Suspect containers of any size or shape (and especially man sized ones) will be placed in the smallest possible air-tight room whilst valuable captured valuables and (apparently) solid objects will be stored under water.

Under NO circumstances will any random stranger (no matter how young, good looking or innocent appearing) ever be immediately taken to, or imprisoned in, any of the Legion of Terror's HQ's, barracks, prisons etc.

The Evil Empire has no prison system for the 'general public' - I don't believe in rewarding criminals with free board and lodging, so convicted criminals will work extra hard for a living. A typical 'sentence' would be 10-20 years service in the Evil Forces of Terror, or the rest of their life in the same (i.e. assisting with archer training). Those unsuitable for this will be deported to work on the farms of one of my more remote provinces or, in rare cases, a simple fine. All 'vagrants', 'criminals, 'curfew breakers', 'suspicious individuals' or those just 'in the wrong place at the wrong time' who are 'stopped' by the Evil Forces will undergo 'due process' (i.e. 'questioned on the spot' by an Officer or Wizard). Most will be let go or 'invited' to join the Evil Forces or sent to join the peasant farmers, whilst persistent offenders and deserters will assist with target training. Occasionally a high ranking member of the Revolution (who might reveal further information) will be identified and taken in chains to the nearest prison (remember - the Evil Empires prison cells are very 'complex', so the Evil Treasury can only afford to build and maintain a handful per Evil Lair).
Interrogations will take place in the cells, not elsewhere (and especially not the Evil Overlords Palace). So anyone turning up at the gates of any Evil Lair with 'a Prisoner for Interrogation' will be used for immediate target practice by the Guards on the wall (no matter how colourful or well tailored a uniform they might be wearing)

Since prisoners are kept chained in their cells until executed or let go, they will never need to be 'transferred' from one prison to another - so anyone turning up at the gates with that story will give the wall Guards more target practice.
Any member of the Revolutionary Forces assigned Guard duty or told to keep a prisoner under 'continuous observation' will be trained to avoid the more obvious distractions, such as indulging in pointless 'chit chat' with their comrades, or going for a meal without waiting for their replacement. However it is inevitable they will turn their back at the most critical moment. Since this is totally predictable, all Evil prisoners (and especially Evil Overlords) will be chained to immovable objects (such as walls or large trees). Guards will, of course, never be given the means to remove the chains.

On second thoughts, any member of the Evil Overlords forces that turns up and tries to surrender will be immediately suspected of being something other than the obvious (such as being human) and will be 'shot whilst escaping' at the earliest opportunity.

Under NO circumstances will any stranger (no matter how young, good looking, innocent or female appearing) ever be taken to, or imprisoned in, any of the Revolutionary Forces Secret Meeting places.
(34) I will not employ dubious mercenary Wizards, nor pack my forces with the unwilling enslaved peoples of my latest conquest. In fact, my Legions of Terror will consist largely of well paid volunteers (well, the Officers will all be paid since they won't have time for looting, unlike the 'other ranks'). Promotion will depend on experience (experiencing a battle, for example) and ability (the ability to survive the battle, for example). Further, as an 'equal opportunity' volunteer army, preference will be given to young married couples (the men folk in the front ranks will fight harder knowing their loved ones are in the rear ranks providing archery / crossbow support). Volunteer troopers will earn their reward after 10 years service - a farm with sufficient land to support themselves and their family along with the loan of one or two 'workers' - and earn extra land for additional service. Some tasks (such as Guard duty) will count as 'double time' thus ensuring there is always sufficient well trained eager volunteers for guard duty etc. (rather than having to assign the most incompetent as a punishment)

Having conquered one land, my next 'target' will be their hereditary enemies. This should ensure the vast majority of those who initially opposed me will immediately volunteer to help invade their nearest neighbour. Further, after the successful completion of each conquest, older serving members of the Legion due for retirement, together with those too injured to make a full recovery, will be settled in the conquered lands where they will over-see the integration of it's citizen's into the Evil Empire. There will be plenty of land (and houses) available since that of all the enemy 'Royalty' (all of whom will be immediately executed under the Evil Overlords policy of leaving no obvious opposition leader alive) and that of the existing 'landowners' will all have been seized.

Needless to say, those members of the just conquered forces not volunteering for duty in the Legion of Terror will join the ranks of the peasant farme workers instead (senior officers excepted - they will get the usual 10m head start at my archery training camps). To avoid the new farm workers forming an instant 'resistance' they will be widely spread out and assigned to live and work at the new holdings of my own retired troops in other lands (and not allowed to cluster together in their ex-Lord's farm just down the road from their old town). Of course any now vacated property not distributed in this way will then be sold off to help finance the Legions next campaign
Unfortunately, it seems that many Evil Overlords have discovered the one infallible route to achieving World Domination - setting one neighbour against the next. Since it is impossible to convince any politicians of the danger of failing to form an Alliance with their neighbours, the Revolution must either depose the Evil Overlord before his World Domination plans are put into effect or wait until he has run out of potential enemies and has disbanded his Evil Legions.

Wizards and the use of Magic.

(35) Needless to say, anyone in my Realm showing even the slightest magical talent will be immediately recruited into my Evil Forces. I will form a special team of 'far seeing' Wizards as my main strategic intelligence force. Their task will be to 'keep an eye' on my neighbours and warn me of any who start making preparations for war. Should any be detected, I will immediately send diplomats to their own neighbours to warn them of an impending invasion and to offer an alliance ... this should be enough to get their neighbour to start mobilising. As soon as this is detected, I will then send diplomats to the first country warning them of their neighbours intention to invade and offering them an alliance. In fact, even if they are not preparing for war I will still send such warnings and offers of alliance.

Should any two neighbours go to war, I will wait until it's well under way and, when both sides are almost exhausted, my 'alliance' forces will arrive just in time to take part in the 'final battle' where they will attack their own 'allies' leadership thus bringing the war to an immediate end. This will earn the gratitude of all 'other ranks' and normal citizens of both sides and ensure minimal resistance when my forces march in and start executing the aristocracy who will have been held responsible for starting the just ended debilitating war (and before any of them works out who really orchestrated it).
The Revolutionary Council will infiltrate the Evil Overlords diplomatic system and, on learning of any offer of alliance, will send representatives to all of the Evil Overlords neighbours warning them of his intentions to invade but cautioning them hide any preparations for war. It is, of course, a forlorn hope that any two neighbours will see sense in time to band together to oppose the Evil Overlord, however if opportunity presents itself, the intransigent incompetent political leadership of both countries will be assassinated (and the blame put on the Evil Overlord) to give their military leaders a chance to take action. Even so, it is almost inevitable that whatever the evidence, each will blame the other and they will soon start fighting among themselves. Fortunately the Evil Overlords policy of executing the morons who started the war plays straight into the Revolutions hands (since take will provide an opportunity to ensure they are replaced by someone brighter and more willing to listen to reason i.e. us)
(36) I will never employ any Wizard who is more ambitious or devious than I am.

I will, in fact, adopt the 'two party system'. My Wizard 'council' will consist of at least two 'teams' (or 'parties') with 'opposing' ideas on how to achieve World Domination in the shortest possible time. Further, one of the primary tasks of each will be to 'keep an eye on the others' for signs of disloyalty.

To make sure my Wizards don't upset the peasants too much, every so often the entire population of the Empire will be given the chance to 'vote' for individual Wizards to 'represent their interests'. This will keep them 'on their toes', especially as I will decide the result of the 'vote' (and the losers will join my Legion of Terror for a stint as a 'Combat Wizard', where any who have really upset me will discover how dangerous even 'simulated' combat can be)
One task of the Revolution is to ensure that the Evil Overlords Wizard advisers will never be 'top class'. So, having identified the most effective, it should be a simple task to plant evidence of their disloyalty for others to find. The ensuing confusion should ensure the Overlords plans for World Domination proceed at a snails pace
(37) Should I become disabled I will not move around in a wheelchair, not even if it's one of those really nice fancy 'steam punk' ones. A self-contained (magically powered) "battle suit" will be considered, however I will avoid any that require spells in Pseudo-Latin or the chanting of "Exterminate ! Exterminate !! EXTERMINATE !!" before I can attack my enemies. Whilst coal gives off too much smoke to be considered as a power-source, almost anything else (that does not involve an easily identifiable glowing component fitted to my chest) will be considered.
(38) If I must use Golems, Zombies or other un-dead / non-human / magically animated troops, they will not have glowing red eyes. Further, any that lurch from side to side and bump into things are plainly unsuitable and will be immediately disposed of. Magically animated troops that depend on the concentration and commands (or continued existence) of a single Magician will never be used - so the Golems and Zombies etc. will need to be 'self sustaining' and obey commands from their appointed (non-Wizard) masters.

I will have no use for any 'unidentified', 'captured' or 'disabled' Golem or Zombie etc, so these will be destroyed on sight where they stand (and not taken to some 'Golem prison' or 'Zombie medical centre' first).
Revolutionaries typically lack the Magical talent necessary to animate Golems or Zombies, so you will have to rely on subverting the Evil Overlords creations. A crack team of 're-education' specialists will be formed to convince them of their basic humanity and 'turn' them to the side of the righteous.

Where this proves impossible, Revolutionaries will impersonate the human 'masters' of the Golems / Zombies.

Heavy arms and siege equipment.

(39) No matter how well it would perform, I will never squander the entire military arms budget on building any sort of massive & complex siege equipment.

Wars are won by those controlling the land - the farms, the people and (especially) the markets - and not by those sitting in some 'impregnable' castle or walled city waiting to starve to death. When conquering foreign lands, any castles, fortified buildings / walled cities etc. not immediately taken by the initial surprise attack will be surrounded with the minimum necessary forces and then ignored until the rest of the country has been subdued.

For sure, no Legions of mine will ever die in their thousands attempting to 'beach the walls' of some mountain fortress - instead the inhabitants will be kept well bottled up inside whilst the surrounding land is being integrated into my Empire. After a season or three, when they have run out of food and have no choice but to surrender, the starving will be given the choice joining my Legions or the peasent farm workerforce, whilst the obviously still well fed (being, of course, the 'leadership' i.e. Royalty etc) will, as a rule, be put to death immediately.
The Revolutionary forces can't afford to build siege equipment, and now that the Forces of Evil refuse to commission any, we can't capture it either. In any event, there is little point in directly attacking any of the Evil Forces strong points when we can sneak in dressed as tradesmen, suppliers, deliverymen or (especially) the cleaners (or, during the final attack, in the uniforms of the Legion of Terror) etc.
(40) I will never build only one of anything really vital or important.

If, for some insane reason, I should actually convince myself of the need for some massive specialist item of siege equipment etc. I will always build at least two of them. Further, I will have 'spares' made of any especially fragile or delicate parts and especially of any 'custom built' projectile / exploding device etc. One thing I will never rely on is some 'unique' weapon or unique ammunition of which only one example can be made.
Now that Evil Overlords no longer relies on unique weapons it should be possible find out where he has them made and get a few duplicates run off for our own forces as well. This will allow you to develop counter-measures - or even use his own clever weapons against him !
(41) Whilst many of my forces will be trained to use long range weapons (stone, bolt & spear throwers (Ballista etc), all will be equipped with, and trained in the use of, swords and daggers and shields. This will be especially the case for my Combat Wizards who, in addition to bodyguards with large shields in attendance at all times will also wear chain mail vests under their more traditional gowns - any that can't handle 'cold steel' will be equipped with long hardwood staffs, glass daggers and Lamellar armour for personal defence - so they are not totally dependent on 'magical' defence alone.

For sure, having spent a lot of time and effort training up specialist troops and Combat Wizards, I'm not having them killed off by some kid with a sling (or stabbed in the back by some peasant) simply because they are too busy loading the stone thrower (or casting spells) to notice what's going on around them
Always train your revolutionary forces to seize and use the weapons of the fallen enemy. Often the Legions of Terror will have rather more effective weapons than your forces can ever aspire to - and although their defences (spells, armour, shields etc.) are often immune to your best weapons, it is a fact that their shields & armour will always be completely useless when faced with their own weapons.

Note to self. No matter how heavy and inconvenient the weapon you are armed with, NEVER EVER put it down (and walk away) whilst in enemy territory, and especially not when releasing prisoners or assisting a companion. Most weapons come with 'scabbards' to carry them in, or wrist or shoulder straps .. make sure you use them, especially when a task would benefit from the use of both hands. In this context, if you feel you must keep a weapon in your hand when climbing ladders or running around on roofs or above steep drops, either employ a wrist strap or just drop it before starting out (it will save time later)
(42) I will never employ any device with a visible slow burning fuse. If I find that such a device is absolutely unavoidable, the fuse will burn slowly only for the first half - after which it will 'flash over' and ignite the device (hopefully just as the Good Hero is putting his 'bomb disposal' plan into operation). Of course the best explosive devices are those without fuses that can be magically detonated at a distance The Revolutionary forces will also never employ any device with a visible fuse. A lit fuse is a dead give-away to even the most incompetent of the Overlords guards and can lead to awkward questions when arranging delivery by some minor member of the Revolutionary Forces

The best type of time delay fuse is a spring (or gas pressure) operated detonator triggered when the released acid eats away the retaining bolt. Make sure that a spring loaded mechanism is arranged in such a way that, should the lid be opened by even the tiniest amount, the bolt will be sprung out and the bomb will immediately detonate (and not start hissing or smoking before exploding). It goes without saying that the ensuring detonation wave will propagate at super-sonic speed (or at least faster than anyone can run). All this may seem 'unsporting' but the Good Hero's bombs will have the following vital advantages over the Evil Overlords preferred types :-
1) the presence of the device can not be discovered by any ticking sound, flickering light or the presence or use of mystic power
2) opening the lid of the device ensures immediate detonation, thus preventing any possibility of it being defused or allowing the intended victims time to leap under tables or jump out of windows etc. before getting caught in the super-sonic blast wave, no matter how nimble they might be or how fast they can run.

Note to self - make sure any bomb is 'armed' (delay started) well before it reaches the Evil Overlords inner sanctum - even if transporting the bomb yourself, you will be much too busy trying to avoid being shot in the arm, leg (or some other non-vital body part), to attend to other tasks. Further note to self - when the device is being delivered by some-one else (junior officer, messenger, maidservant etc), make sure they have been told that it must be delivered to the Evil Overlord in person with the seals intact or it will self destruct - this should ensure that the box only is opened at the correct moment (but set the timer anyway).
(43) Any artifact which is the 'one source' of my magical power will not be kept on the 'Mountain of Doom' beyond the 'River of Fire' guarded by the 'Dragons of Eternity'. It will be kept in a locked box under my bed. I will tell no-one of this, not even my most trusted Generals. To ensure no one will ever learn what is in the box, I will tell the cleaning staff that it's a captive daemon, which, if let free, will devout the living flesh off your bones and is my weapon of 'last resort'. This should put off even the most curious, especially after they find the skeleton standing in the broom closet still holding a bucket and mop. For sure I will not boast of my 'power source' to any female, no matter how tempting that may be. The same applies to the object which is my 'one true weakness' ... Locating the Evil Overloads 'source of power' or 'one weakness' is never simple. On the other hand, infiltrating the Overlords Palace is not as difficult as you may think, especially given the frequent vacancies in the Palace cleaning staff as the more impressionable open the 'wrong' broom closet and quit after they recover
(44) If I learn of the existence and whereabouts of the 'one artifact' which can destroy me, I will not send all my troops out to seize it. Instead I will send them out to seize something else whilst organising a few 'surveying' teams to 'map out' that and similar areas. I will then organise 'military training' in each of those areas, under cover of which the 'one artifact' will be retrieved by a fast moving 'snatch squad' in a 'training exercise' whilst other squads are sent out on the same night to snatch dozens of other random objects. They will then mix up and return half of the objects to all the 'wrong' places, whilst sending the rest with the 'one artifact' direct to me. Of course all such 'one artifacts' are always 'indestructible' (not that this will stop me assigning some of my best Wizards the task of trying to destroy it), so all the artifacts (including the decoys) will be kept in the locked chest under my bed (with a bit of luck no-one will ever work out which is the 'one artifact' and which are decoys) Always pay attention to any 'non-military' activities of Evil Overlord. Sudden 'surveys' might well point in the direction of his next invasion plan. Should you discover the 'one artifact' that is the Evil Overlord's "one true weakness", have a reasonable facsimile made and coated with contact poisons and stuffed with explosives etc. before allowing it to fall into his hands ..

Treatment of prisoners (general).

(45) When groups of revolutionaries are initially captured they will first be kept together under close observation in some 'holding area'. Trained Wizards and experienced officers will observe them and take note of the leaders and the ones likely to break down under questioning first and those who might be 'turned'. Needless to say, all overheard conversations in the 'holding area' will be written down.

When the prisoners stop taking to one another, they will be separated out and taken to individual 'holding cells' (actually, any available room) where they will be simply chained to the wall whilst you analyse the group conversations. After deciding who is important enough to know anythimg usefull (they will be sent to the real cells and interrogated for real) the rest (peasants of no account) will be allowed to 'volunteer' a confession and then given a once-in-a-lifetime offer of recruitment into the Legions of Terror (those who turn down this offer will discover why it's only once-in-a-lifetime, since the other choice is to assist my forces training efforts with the usual 10m head start).
As is normal in any Revolutionary Army, no badges of rank will be worn in the field, except the Squad Leaders Badge, which will be worn as a punishment by the most incompetent member of each squad. When off-duty, resistance fighters will be encouraged to think up and discuss the most outrageous and fantastic of schemes and plots. If captured, they can then provide plenty of material for the Evil Overlords interrogators.

Needless to say, any member of the Resistance given the chance to join the Legions of Terror should accept at once. Who knows, one day they might be holding a ranged weapon when the spot the Evil Overlord in the distance - or, even better, get just close enough with some sharp object.
(46) I will not interrogate my enemies in my "inner sanctum". In fact I will not even be present during most interrogations, especially not if it involves the Good Hero himself or any of his close Companions - that's a job for my Chief Torturer and it's never a good idea to undermine the authority of your underlings. In any event, if anything goes wrong during the interrogation (as it almost assuredly will), my underlings are much more expendable than I am.

In fact, captives will never be allowed anywhere near my Palaces, HQ's, officers quarters, barracks, armouries etc. Instead, prisoners will be kept chained to the walls or floors of their dungeon cells and the Chief Torturer will be forced to get up off his backside and visit the prisoner, not the other way around. If, for some vital & obscure but nether-the-less still valid reason, prisoner interrogation has to take place away from the prison dungeon, the basement of a small castle well away from any of my Palaces, headquarters etc., will be chosen at random and at the last moment and pressed into service.
If any of your companions are captured whilst entering or spying in the Evil Overlords Palace, HQ etc., try to ensure some-one is positioned on the obvious routes out of the building with a suitably destructive weapon (eg. caged demon). In any event, all roads in and out of all the Evil Overlords discovered lairs should be regularly infested with a wide select of booby traps, just on the off chance. Even if you miss the Evil Overlord himself, you will cut down, and eventually eliminate, all of his personal Guards. Whilst this may seem tough on your captured companions, at some stage they will all have said "You know what to do if I'm captured" .. and it would be a shame not to carry out their final wish.

NB avoid the use of suicide pills .. if it is necessary to provide the Revolutionary Council with the means to take their own life, this should be seen as an opportunity to ensure as many of the enemy as possible perish at the same time. For this reason, companions etc. liable to capture will be offered the choice of a 'potion' or 'hollow tooth' filled with an infectious but slow acting and incurable, fatal disease.

If you (or one of your companions) go the 'hollow tooth' route, replacing the traditional gas with a virulent disease means you no longer have to use clever ploys that involve getting the Evil Overlord to bend over your face before 'crunching down' on the tooth and blowing the poison gas at him. Instead you only need make a simple check that he is in the same building (or in the same city) before infecting his guards (who will have plenty of time to pass it on before succumbing to it's effects
(47) I will not imprison members of the same party in the same building or cell block, let alone the same cell. Of course this means I will miss out on the 'vital' information they exchange when together, I expect almost all such talk will be compliants about myself, my adminsitration and my plans for World Domination or just their plans to escape, none of which I need to hear. Keeping them apart makes it that much less likley they will escape, since the Good Hero's forces almost never escape one at a time.

The one or two really important prisoners held at any one time will be in one of my even more 'high security' cells that can only be opened by the simultaneous use of two separate keys. I will keep one key to the cell door on my person and the Chief Torturer the other. When the Chief Torturer needs access to the cell, he will send two of his trusted underlings, one of whom I will choose at random and to whom the key will be chained. The function of the second underling is to keep an eye on the first since both will be put to death should the key go 'missing' before they return it
Should you, or any of your companions, ever be captured, add to the Evil Overlords levels of stress (and lack of sleep) by ensuring he has to visit the cells as often as possible. For example, shout that you have just remembered something else that you want to reveal / confess but will speak only to the Evil Overlord himself in the early hours of the morning. If a group of your companions are captured, take it in turns to 'confess'.
(48) If I have a fit of temporary insanity and decide to give the Hero the chance to reject a job as my 'new trusted chief lieutenant', I hope to retain enough sanity to wait until my current trusted chief lieutenant is out of earshot before making the offer. Just in case I don't, my trusted lieutenant will have written instructions to execute the Hero the instance he overhears any such offer being made (as well as calling for the doctors to help me recover from this hopefully temporary fit of madness ..) If you are offered a position as the Evil Overlords trusted lieutenant, AGREE AT ONCE. Once his current trusted lieutenant is out of the picture you can implement a full, wide-ranging and lethal purge of his remaining henchmen. After you have packed the ranks of the Legion of Terror with your own supporters, your forces should have no problems taking out the Evil Overlord's few remaining loyal bodyguards before you deal with him personally.
(49) I will not let the Hero or his Companions go free if they win some 'rigged' contest, even if all my advisers assure me it is impossible for them to win. Of course it might be fun to play the game, so I'll make sure that the offer includes some 'get out clause' should I loose = whilst Evil Overloads never keeps promises that are 'inconvenient' it's important to 'maintain appearances' so, I'll explain that "Of course I will let you go, just as soon as your head has been separated from your body / you have completed your 100 yr. sentence / you have named all your fellow revolutionaries etc.". Needless to say, should I actually 'loose', the adviser who came up with the 'rigged' contest will soon be helping out at the archery training range ... Always jump at the opportunity of taking part in a game of chance or skill against the Evil Overlord. Win or loose, if you have properly investigated the use of infectious diseases you will want to take every possible opportunity to cough, sneeze or, if absolutely necessary, bleed, on him ..
(50) All my cells will be equipped with spy holes in addition to the hygiene 'shower flush' system (small holes in the ceiling through which water can be poured from outside). Should a Guard hear shouts of 'HELP', 'FIRE' (which even the dumbest guard should find hard to beleve when the cell contains nothing but bare walls and a naked prisoner chained to the floor/wall) or hear anything 'unexpected' (like, nothing), they will manually activate the water system from outside, inform 'Control' and only then use the (armoured glass periscope style) spy holes etc. to check what is actually happening inside.
The modern Evil Overlord knows all about the use of 'invisibility' spells (which tend to result in man-sized gaps appearing in the sprinkler system 'rain') and is quite aware of the ability some may have to 'walk through walls' (which is one reason why all doors are 'iron bound' and why all important prisoners are kept in well separated underground cells = an ability to 'walk through the ceiling' isn't of much use when it's 10 feet over their heads and they don't have a ladder)

So Evil Guards trained to use the spy-hole, will, no matter what they think they see, report back to Control before taking further action. To discourage any Guard that managers to convince 'control' to bring the keys, and then decides to 'go in' to see what's 'really happening', the 'airlock' style cell door will automatically shut behind them, locking them in until others come to investigate. As a general policy, any Guard caught in this way will spend a few days with the Prisoner (which might sound like a minor punishment until you remember I have a strict 'no feeding the prisoner' policy).
Don't bother shouting 'FIRE' - whilst this may liven things up for a while, especially after you have spent hours sitting on the cold cell floor awaiting rescue, being soaked and sitting on a cold wet floor for more hours is far worse, especially if you are chained to the wall and some now very annoyed Guard is locked in with you.
(51) My dungeon will have its own qualified medical staff complete with bodyguards. That way, if a Guard thinks an important prisoner really has become sick enough to be a risk of premature death, and Prison Control agrees it's an emergency, the medical trauma team will first check with me if the prisoner really is important enough to be treated (the 'default', should I not be available, is 'no') and only then visit the prisoner and treat them in their cell. To further prevent any slip-ups, the medical team will, of course, be locked in whilst the prisoner is being treated and only let out if at least two of the watching guards are willing to swear on their lives that the prisoner remained chained to the wall/floor at all times during treatment.

Less important prisoners will be left to recover (or not) on their own. In the event of any death, the cell will be sealed and the contents cremated 'in place' (for sure there will be no moving of 'bodies' to some external grave / mortuary etc. since doing so would be followed by an inevitable miraculous recovery and an equally inevitable escape)
The use of virulent infectious diseases has already been discussed. It should not be necessary to state that the Evil Overlords in-house medical team (who might realise what's happening early enough to contain the spread) needs to be among the first to be sneezed on ..
(52) Neither the Hero (nor any of his followers, not even his beautiful but inaccessible female companion) are entitled to a last kiss, a last drink, or any other form of 'last request'. If, for some obscure but still valid reason, a 'last meal' has to be provided, it will be cooked in the prison kitchens and passed by the resident Wizard before being served on wooden plates with wooden cutlery and NOT purchased from the local market and never delivered with a steak knife. When it comes to kisses, see notes about infectious diseases, poisoned lipstick and similar. If there is no chance of a kiss, your followers should try to sneeze on him (the Good Hero's companions would never spit, especially since doing so might give the game away).

If caught without the necessary poisons etc. see if some lethal virus can be smuggled into the prison kitchens. Whilst it's too late to inoculate your captured companion(s) against whatever you manage to smuggle in, at some stage they will have said "We are all willing to die for the Revolution" and it would be a shame to ignore their final request.
(53) I will never utter the sentence "But before I kill you, there's just one thing I want to know ...". The fact is, the only thing I really need to know is that the Hero and his companions are permanently dead, after which the 'revolution' will always fall apart for lack of leadership and that knowledge is best gathered by killing them as soon as possible.

After the Good Hero is dead, and the Revolution collapses, I will not risk 'loosing it all' by looking for traitors or conducting a 'purge' of the peasants who might have supported the revolutionaries. Indeed, even known or suspected individual revolutionaries 'still at large' will be told 'all is forgiven' and allowed to join the Legions of Terror (even if only for a short time at the Archery training ranges)
In the (unlikely) event that the Evil Overlord should ask you (or any of your companions) "... who betrayed me ?", make sure you have passed around a list of his most trusted advisers and most efficient commanders ..
(54) Any apparently dead prisoner or Revolutionary 'officer' found 'in the field' will have their heads separated from their bodies (so the heads can be 'advertised' on stakes outside the nearest Imperial building) before each part is individually cremated (one at a time, in separate crematoriums) and the ashes scattered to the winds (from opposite ends of the Empire). Lets see them 'come back from the dead' after that !

For sure, nobody will ever be 'left for dead' in the woods, thrown off the cliff or down the Bottomless Pit, loaded into a flaming boat and sent out to sea or floated into the lake and especially not wrapped in linen and left in a cave. The announcement of their deaths, as well as any accompanying celebration, will be deferred until after the aforementioned cremation.
Whilst the Evil Overlord's expressed intention may be to 'chop you into little pieces', when it actually comes right down to it, no Evil Overlord can resist having captured enemies cremated, or preferably buried, alive and intact. To rescue your captured companions, it is thus only necessary to ensure your loyal followers are in charge of all the local 'crematoriums' & graveyards.

There should be no problem swapping your wrapped and tied companions (or letting them out of their coffins) just before they end up on the funeral pyre or in the ground. Make sure that an appropriate 'substitute' bodies are ready wrapped and found to hand. Whilst improvising will always save the day, being well equipped ensures fewer mistakes are made (like leaving behind something that will later lead to your capture) and allows plenty of time to refill the coffins with wood etc. so that the Overlords Henchman do not become suspicious. No matter how long it takes, you will always be able to save your chief companions, including the loyal but suicidal bumbling moron who got them all captured in the first place, and who will always be found, just in time, in the last coffin.

Note to self. On second thoughts, when it comes to the rescuing the loyal but suicidal bumbling moron in the last coffin, 'just too late' rather than 'just in time' now is likely to save a lot of lives later.

Treatment of female prisoners.

(55) I will maintain a healthy amount of scepticism when I capture any beautiful female rebel and she claims she is 'attracted to my power and good looks' and will 'gladly betray her companions' if I 'just reveal all my clever plans'. Make sure all attractive female members of the revolution are inoculated and carriers of something nasty, virulent and fatal .. after all, one day one might get within sneezing (or kissing) distance .
(54) No matter how attractive certain members of the rebellion are, there is probably someone just as attractive who is not desperate to kill me. Therefore, I will think twice before ordering any prisoner sent to my bedchamber. There is a good chance that the Evil Overlord will be vulnerable to an attractive female (or male) member of the revolutionary forces. After all, he will have met very few eligible females (especially after having all the tavern maids replaced with surly, world-weary waitresses) and may well believe all women to be like his insanely homicidal mother and/or sister. So, should a suitable volunteer come forward, by all means allow them to make the attempt. Supply them with a (non-ticking) handbag and the usual assortment of weapons to conceal about their person. Make sure they are surreptitiously inoculated and then give them a good dose of whatever virulent infectious disease you have chosen - but don't tell them about that (what they don't know, they can't reveal). Even if she/he fails to reach the Evil Overlord, there is a good chance something horrible will happen to his Palace Guard and a few self-selected leaders of his Legions of Terror.
(56) After I kidnap the beautiful Princess, to whom I must be wed to achieve 'legitimate' power, she being the Last True Heir to the Kingdom, unwitting owner of the Immortality Charm, the unknown Most Favoured of the Goddess of Power, unaware Possessor of the Hidden Keys of Chaos (or whatever), we will be married immediately in a quiet civil ceremony, to which only the guests essential to my accession to ultimate power will attend, and not at some 'lavish spectacle in N weeks time' to which every peasant in the realm is invited, and especially NOT whilst the majority of my forces are absent attending to the final phase of my Evil Plan. Should you discover that the Princess / your sister / your desirable but inaccessible female companion, your chief allies beautiful daughter or some other significant female has just been kidnapped, assume the Evil Overlord will arrange a hurried wedding. Disguising yourself as one of the caterers is a good way to get inside the Palace in time for the wedding (if required), however supplying a Wedding Cake made of something nasty (such as a powerful explosive and decorated with ball bearings, concealing a trapped Demon, or laced with an undetectable, incurable and slowish acting poison = of which see later for more) is a by far the better option. After all, you can be sure that any desirable female will have already told you at some point "I would rather be dead than married to the Evil Overlord" and it would be a shame to deny her final wish.
(57) If the beautiful princess says "I'll never marry you! Never, do you hear me, NEVER. I would rather die first !!!", I will say "As you wish" and kill her, no matter what her connections with the Goddess of Power or her knowledge of Charms or Hidden Keys etc.

On second thoughts, I'll kill her first and then say 'Your wish is my command' ..
If you wish to take advantage of the opportunity of delivering wedding gifts or cakes formed from some powerful explosive (and tastefully laced with ball bearings) or simply injected with something nasty, you will need to ensure that the beautiful Princess is advised well in advance not to protest too strongly. After all, if she manages to get in a kiss early enough, the Evil overlord might not even live long enough to reach 'I do' let along light the fuse (sorry, I mean candles).
(58) If one of my dungeon guards begins expressing concern over the condition of the beautiful princesses cell, I will immediately transfer him (or her) to a less people-oriented position (such as "assisting archery training from 10m"). Unionise the Palace Guards. In addition to preventing any unwelcome re-assignments of your carefully planted spies and revolutionary sympathisers, at any one time half of them will be away on Health and Safety courses, Equal Opportunity training and Prisoner Rights classes. Keeping the Palace in chaos during the day with prisoner 'almost escapes' and security alerts should soon wear down the rest. When presented with a demand to work double night shifts and cancellation of their rest breaks, they will need little encouragement to go on strike. As soon as you see the picket lines forming, schedule the storming of the Palace gates (there is every chance those 'managers' remaining inside will open up to let in your forces whom they may well believe to be strike breakers).

Treatment of male prisoners.

(59) When I capture any apparently of no-account minor Revolutionary, and he says, "Look, before you kill me, will you at least tell me what this is all about?" I'll say, "No" and kill him.

On second thoughts, I'll kill him first and then say "No"
You can no longer expect the Evil Overlord to explain his plans in all their brilliant details to you after you get yourself deliberately captured whilst disguised as a simple peasant. Instead the Overlord has taken to shooting you in some non-vital body part. However the Overlord will, at some stage, boast to their henchmen / partners / cronies or drinking companions in some place where they can be easily overheard = the local Bar or Tavern 'back room' being a favourite choice. So to learn of all their evil plans in advance, just ask the local Barmaid = she will have overheard every evil word and will also have a smoldering hatred of the Overlord and his cronies because they never leave tips. When she discovers she is going to be replaced by a surly waitress, she will not only tell you everything but will volunteer to assist the Revolutionary Forces in it's most dangerous missions.
(60) When I capture the Hero, I will make sure I also get his dog, monkey, ferret, or whatever sickeningly cute pet animal(note 1) that I find happens to follow him around, ESPECIALLY any capable of untying ropes and filching keys.

Note 1. Cats, of course, are much to bright to throw in their lot with such a hopeless cause as a 'revolution' and since all members of the Evil forces will be instructed to feed cats 'on demand' (whilst the Revolutionary forces are unlikely to have enough resources to feed themselves let alone provide treats for any stray) this will doubly ensure no cat will betray the Empire.

Needless to say, whilst I'm dragging the Hero off to the dungeons, his cute pet will be chopped into small pieces, cremated and the ashes scattered to the four corners of my Empire (even if it takes the couriers weeks to get there)
You will, at some stage, be captured. To distract the Evil Overlord, make sure you are accompanied by some suitable animal - a cat is a good choice (when he has it killed, if nothing else, news of his actions will lead to a lot more converts to the Revolution).

In preparation for your inevitable capture, spend some time investigating virulent infectious airborne deadly diseases with no known cures. Chose the most infectious one against which it is only possible to be immunised against in advance of being infected (and not after) - and, needless to say, make sure you are immunised as soon as you discover it. This allows you to be a 'carrier' (something Typhoid related is a good historic choice). Before you enter the Evil Overlords Palace for the usual pre-conflict audience, make sure you infect yourself with a good dose. To maximise it's distribution, take a quick sniff of pepper as you enter the Palace. After a decent interval has passed, and you can be sure his Palace Guards have passed on the infection to his Legions of Terror, you can start immunising your troops. This approach has the added advantage that any spies the Overlord has subverted or planted in your forces are likely to be infected before they can be immunised.

Whilst you are being paraded before the Evil Overlord, his guards should be dropping like flies - and your forces can then storm the Palace with a good chance of rescuing you before he accidentally shoots you in some vital organ.
(61) Should I ever be sitting down to dinner with the Hero (instead of feeding him in his cell), and, for some insane reason, decide to put poison in his goblet instead of having my Guards rush in and kill him out of hand, and then have to leave the table for any reason, I will order new drinks for both of us instead of trying to decide whether or not to switch goblets with him. To prepare for the inevitable 'dinner for two' with the Evil Overlord, choose some undetectable fast acting poison against which you can be immunised. At the earliest opportunity, put the poison in all the empty goblets & water/wine jugs. As soon as the wine is poured, take the glass offered and hold onto it. Invite him to drink first to prove he has not poisoned the wine (especially if he seems eager for you to drink) or take one sip and spit it out whilst complaining about the vintage ... alternatively, insist you are much too noble to drink anything intoxicating and demand a glass of fresh water instead.

Objectives and strategy.

(62) I will be secure in my superiority. Therefore, I will feel no need to prove it by leaving clues in the form of riddles or anagrams and for sure I will never leave my weaker enemies alive "to show they pose no threat" (they can perform a much better 'no threat' example with their heads on pikes outside the castle gates)

I will, however, pay special attention to collecting and, as necessary, destroying, all my early work - school books, diaries etc. and especially my previous half-formed Plans to Rule the World. In the unlikely event it ever becomes necessary to imbue any item with part of my 'spirit' or 'soul', these items will be held in various securely locked boxes in the guarded Palace dungeons, not left in the teachers cupboard or the school cellar (no matter how 'forgotten' or hidden that may be) nor on some island in the middel of some 'enchanted' lake, no matter how hard it is to reach.
It's never a good idea to allow the Evil Overlord to see you as any sort of threat. So always present an image of the 'honourable (but totally ineffectual) adversary'. Of course, in actual battle against the Evil Overlord, it is not beneath the Good Hero's moral code to employ all sorts of underhand means (such as gas and poisons) to good effect = after all, it's your intentions that count and history is written by the winner (or in your case, the Revolutionary Public Relations Executive). However, the Evil Overlord must always be convinced otherwise (why else would he insist on installing all those easily accessible unmonitored ventilation ducts ?), so to maintain this illusion, when using poisons or gasses of any sort, they must be undetectable (colourless, tasteless and odourless).

It is especially vital that any gas employed by the Revolution does not condense out of the air forming a slow moving ground hugging fog (like those employed by the Evil Overlord) especially when flowing out of ventilation ducts. Even more important, all gasses and poisons must be slow enough acting to allow all the Evil Overlord's Guards and henchmen to get a good sniff / sip / bite before anyone starts falling over - again, unlike the Evil Overlords preferred 'one sniff and you're deceased' types (which give your remaining forces plenty of time to escape).
(63) I will make sure I have a clear understanding of who is responsible for what in my organization. For example, if one of my Generals screws up, I will not draw my sword, point it at him, say "And here is the price for failure" ... and then suddenly turn and stab to death some random underling - instead he will be sent off to correct his error along with sufficient forces to guarantee success. Further, I will never tell him "Succeed this time or don't come back" - which is an invitation to betray me and 'defect' if I ever heard one - instead I will say to the second-in-command of his forces "See that he succeeds, or I will have both your heads" At some point the Evil Overlord will demand of you (or one of your companions) "Who has betrayed me ?" .. make sure everyone has a ready list of his most effective Commanders & Advisers and pack it with the names of every one of his Generals who ever failed at anything...
(64) Deformed mutants and odd-ball psychotics will have their place in my Legions of Terror, however before I send any out on an important covert mission that requires tact and subtlety, I will check to see if there is anyone else equally qualified who would attract less attention and be more likely to succeed. As an Equal Opportunities employer, there is a very good chance that on any given occasion the men from the Legions of Terror assigned to guard the Armoury will be blind, deaf, wheelchair bound or lacking in skills or basic common sense (or any sense at all). Take advantage of this by breaking in and seizing the weapons needed to arm the revolutionary forces as often as required.
(65) I will only employ bounty hunters who work for money. Those who work for "the pleasure of the hunt" may cost less but always do dumb things - such as giving the Hero (their most usual 'target') "a sporting chance".

Any that turn up with face covering helmets and claiming to have 'captured' one of the hero's companions will be required to leave both helmet and captive at the gate (or be used for target practice by the guards).
Start rumours that the Evil Overlord Banks his cash with the Fairies (or one of the lesser known Icelandic Banks) - or that his Gold is made by alchemists and reverts to lead over night. That should allow you and half your companions to get inside the Palace whilst fully armed and disguised as the only bounty hunters still willing to work for him. Even if you don't get a chance at the back of his head you may learn some of his plans ..
(66) Since I will employ some people as advisers, I will occasionally listen to their advice. One of my advisers will be an average five-year-old child. Any flaws in my World Domination Plan that he is able to spot will be corrected before any otherwise doomed attempt at implementation. The same child will check any 'unbreakable' codes I might wish to adopt - any they break within 30 minutes will be discarded (and the same applies to passwords) Try to get members of the revolutionary forces onto the Evil Overlords team of advisers .. even if he fails to listen to them, they can sow such confusion and create such delay that nothing will ever be decided or ever get done. When the Evil Overlords post is intercepted, anything that is suspected of concealing some hidden code will be randomly re-arranged. This should not only cause confusion in all his forces but massively increase his levels of stress ..

Note to self. Make sure the local authorities and village council learn of his 'inappropriate' conversations with young children - this will make it a lot easier when it comes to recruiting the obligatory angry mob (armed with the usual assortment of timeless locally available weapons & missiles - pitch-forks, scythes, cobble stones & the like). Needless to say, the part played by the 'angry mob' in the storming of the Overlord's Palace is to provide a distraction at the front gate (as well as providing something for the Evil Overlords Guards to fire at) whilst the real Revolutionary forces sneak in from the rear.
(67) Should I find it necessary to commit my plan to paper in a way designed so that my five-year-old adviser can easily understand the details, I will not label the notebook "Project: World Domination" and leave it lying around on top of my desk. If nothing else I will at least keep it in a locked drawer It's always worth having the Revolutionary Forces within the cleaning staff check the Evil Overlords private office for any book labelled eg. "Tales of the Evil Overlord" or "The Evil Overlord achieves World Domination". "What the Evil Overlord did on Holiday" and "What the Evil Overlord did next" should also be snapped up (even if only for the blackmail potential).

On second thoughts, just have them steal anything they can lay their hands on, especially the contents of waste paper bins and scribbled notes left screwed up in the fireplace. Should they get caught, it is highly unlikely that anything other than normal cleaning staff behaviour will be suspected ..
(68) My five-year-old child adviser will also be given sight of any vital order I am about to issue and asked to explain it. Hopefully he will spot all the obvious ambiguities in 'send forces to the enemy guns at the front' in time to have it corrected ("order suitable forces go collect the abandoned guns on hill at co-ordinates abc/def") before the pride of my mounted troops charge down the valley toward the fully manned and operational (and wrong) guns Note that one way to discover the Evil Overlords immediate plans is to locate the 5 yr. old child he is using as his 'chief adviser'. No doubt in exchange for suitable bribe - such as a 'large packet of sweeties' - you can learn all.
(69) If my advisers ask "Why are you risking everything on such a mad scheme?", I will not proceed until I have a response that satisfies them. Make sure your planted advisers enthusiastically encourage any mad schemes the Evil Overlord comes up with. Denounce any real adviser who opposes them - there is a good chance they will be executed as Evil Overlords don't really like critics (they would never have achieved absolute power in the first place if they really listened to those advising caution). Any scheme that looks like succeeding should be questioned in the most minute detail. With a bit of luck these can be delayed whilst something much more hair-brained is put in place.
(70) If an adviser says to me "My Liege, he is but one man. What can one man possibly do?", I will draw a dagger, reply "This ...." and stab the adviser in some painful (but not life threatening) part of his (or her) anatomy. Whilst being patched up by the Evil Medical corps they will hopefully think of more constructive advice to offer next time - if not, then a more usful job (with a customary 10m head start) awaits them ALWAYS project an image that the 'Revolution' consists of only one man, i.e. yourself. To this end, always use 'I' and not 'we' when demanding that the Evil Overload gives up his evil ways. Hopefully this will increase the chances that some of his less observant but otherwise competent advisers will eventually utter those fatal words "What can only one man ..."

You should always act to reduce the number of his henchmen or encourage his advisers to become 'yes men'. The less he is questioned, the more mistakes he will make.
(71) I will not ignore the Messenger that stumbles in exhausted and obviously agitated until my personal grooming or current entertainment is finished. Instead I will immediately stop what I'm doing and signal for him to speak .. it's impolite to leave Messengers waiting after they have run all the way, and what he has to say might actually be important.

Further, I will not fly into a rage and kill the Messenger who brings me bad news just to illustrate how Evil I really am. Good messengers are hard to come by, especially those who have the courage to interrupt you with bad news.

Finally, if my trusted lieutenant sends news that my Legions of Terror are losing a battle, I will believe him and send reinforcements (or arrange a quick get-away). After all, he's my trusted lieutenant.
At some stage it will inevitably become necessary to penetrate the Evil Overlords 'Inner Sanctum'. Whilst knocking out a member of the Palace Guard and stealing their uniform is the normal approach, Evil Overlords have done away with the convenient smoked glass visors and all encompassing helmets so making this approach a lot more difficult.

If time allows, you should get some of your companions drafted into the Legion of Terror and join the Palace Guard. The best posting, which allows them to wander around unchallenged and rush into the Inner Sanctum at just the right moment, is plainly that of Messenger (especially now that Evil Overlords have stopped shooting them out of hand).

No mater how well (or badly) any battle is going, Messengers should rush in shouting 'all is lost'. If the Evil Overlord has made the old mistake of fitting a Self Destruct mechanism that is activated when 'all is lost' your job will be done.

Note to self. Just prior to the real final battle, make sure your messenger is given a new non-ticking message briefcase.
(72) Promotion within the Legions of Terror will be strictly on merit. Anyone aspiring to officer level will be required to attend officer training school and Generals will be required to show an understanding of Strategy as well as Tactics.

When the war starts, no matter how dire the situation appears to be from HQ, I will never, ever, instruct my forces to 'Hold the position at all costs' or 'Fight until the last man'. My Generals at the front will have a much better grasp of the situation than I and they will be free to conduct strategic withdrawals or fighting retreats etc. as necessary to preserve my forces to continue the fight (rather than die as a result of some pointless 'No retreat' orders).

Further, when battle is joined, I will not insist that my Generals seek my permission at every turn .. instead they will be allowed to conduct the battle as they see fit, including the allocation of Reserves etc.

Finally, Generals who loose battles will not be executed out of hand. There will be a Court Martial first (unless I have any reason to suspect they lost deliberately).
You should avoid pitched battles against the Legion of Terror at all costs. Now the Evil Overlord has stopped appointing his closest friends, relatives and other incompetents as Commanding Officers and no longer executes his (only competent) Generals at the slightest set-back, the Legions of Terror have become an efficient fighting force to be feared.

Instead you should focus on all the usual Revolutionary 'underhand tactics' designed to wreak their morale and encourage desertions, whilst recruiting their sons (and daughters & wives) to the Revolution to reduce the pool of new recruits.

Given enough time (and enough relatives) the Legions of terror will collapse under the weight of desertions and lack of new recruits.
(73) No matter how inconvenient it may be, I will never leave any of my 'personal transport' in some easily accessible 'coach house' or stable, or 'parked up' unattended in a public place. I will employ magician level drivers (who will be assigned their own Bodyguard) who will be responsible for ensuring that none of my coaches are ever 'traced' and all are kept in perfect mechanical condition with well fed & rested horses available at all 'staging posts'. Needless to say, all my coaches will be made of non-inflammable materials with arrow & bolt (and spell) proof iron plate build into doors and side panels.

I will choose a coach at random, at the last moment, before making any journey. The others will be used by members of my Bodyguard, who will be encouraged to visit nearby villages and local inns at irregular intervals (whilst I stay safely indoors).
In a massive departure from all previous Hero's, I too will never leave my transport in an easily accessible place or unattended. Unlike the Evil Overlord, however, Revolutionaries can not afford to maintain multiple armoured coaches with 8 horse teams and switch them around at random. So, instead, I will travel mostly on foot or by horse and when a coach is a 'must' I will borrow one at random from one of my companions**.

**Note to self. Never, ever, borrow a coach from any female member of the revolution. The horse will be well groomed and any pair perfectly matched but incapable of pulling the coach at more than a walking pace. Further, avoid the bumbling morons cart. It will be well known to the Evil Overlords Wizards and will never get further than the next village before breaking down (or blowing up).
(74) I will maintain a realistic assessment of my strengths and weaknesses and the capabilities of my Legions of Terror. Even though this takes some of the fun out of the job, at least I will never utter the line "No, this cannot be! I AM INVINCIBLE!!!" ... after which, death is inevitable and usually more or less instantaneous. Always encourage the Evil Overlord to believe in his own invincibility. Subverting his otherwise reliable and competent psychiatrist is a good start. Sooner or later he WILL utter those fateful words .. "No, this cannot be! I AM INVINCIBLE!!!" ...
(75) Shooting is not too good for my enemies. Evil Overlords have no idea how to string a bow and are rotten shots. So although they have taken to shooting at you at every opportunity, they will always miss any vital organs. This suggests an investment in extensive upper & lower body protection (double layer chain mail and ceramic plate arm and leg protection or the appropriate spells & charms etc) will pay dividends.

Whilst arm and leg wounds do not slow you down beyond the initial few moments (and the occasional arm in a sling or limp), pulling arrows out of each arm & leg at regular intervals must be very painful. Also, you will need to force your companions (especially your chief field commander) to wear their lucky charms, chain-mail and arrow proof vests since their chances of survival always go down dramatically when the Evil Overlord starts shooting - after all, they will inevitably be caught in the cross-fire or feel the need to throw themselves in front of the Overlords arrows & fire bolts etc. especially those that would never have hit you anyway.
(76) I will not gloat over my enemies' predicament before having them arrested, tied up, interrogated, imprisoned and beaten or executed.

Whilst gloating may be a basic requirement of any Evil Overlord, it will be performed after I have discovered the true identities of the Revolutionaries and all their secret plans ... and even then, gloating will be strictly limited to the minimum necessary and (if at all possible) performed in the privacy of my own Inner Sanctum.

Despite its proved stress-relieving effect, I will not indulge in maniacal laughter. When so occupied, it's all too easy to miss unexpected developments that a more attentive individual could adjust to accordingly. Anyway, maniacal laughter is no longer expected of modern Evil Overlords.
Whilst todays' Overlord no longer indulges in excessive gloating or maniacal laughter, there will still be many opportunities to observe the Evil Overlord whilst he is fully occupied and totally distracted doing his Evil Deeds.

Often he will be threatening poor and downtrodden (but amazingly good looking) female villagers or having some rough & ready but world-weary old men beaten into making confessions. Although they will always reveal where the Revolutionaries meet, where the weapons are hidden and all that sort of thing, they will never be believed. However they will always command the Evil Overlord's full and undivided personal attention and you will often find yourself accidentally overlooking the scene from a place of concealment. In order to take advantage of the clear opportunity presented on these occasions (such as the back of his head) you must practice with a long-range weapon (such as a crossbow). Under no circumstances should you jump out of your hiding place first, and if you do feel the urge to shout 'Stop beating that poor (but surprisingly good looking) woman or I'll shoot', only do so AFTER you have loosed the bolt/arrow.

NB Note to self. The nasty looking henchmen actually beating the helpless good looking females will be a lowly minion of no account who will stop as soon as he sees his Overlord is out of the picture, so, whatever you do, do NEVER ATTACK THE HENCHMAN FIRST - he can be dealt with afterwards, if necessary by the Revolutionary 'Forgiveness and Reconciliation' Council (aka the War Crimes Tribunal) - and you know that circumstances will always arise that prevent you getting off more than one shot.
(77) If I manage to recruit the Good Hero's potential allies to my cause, I will not execute their leaders in a fit of rage at the first betrayal, deliberate mishap or partial failure of my plans. Rather I will send a team of newly recruited mercenary assassins to their HQ as 'diplomats' and suggest they invite the Hero to 'cease-fire' talks.

These 'allies' should be able to convince the Hero to leave his weapons and most of his guards at the front door. In any event, should the Good Hero's personal guards insist on remaining with him, they can be easily distracted .. creating a commotion at the front door before opening fire from the rear should avoid them throwing themselves in front of your assassins poisoned arrows and crossbow bolts.

Your own team of 'demolition' experts should visit the meeting hall weeks in advance. The remote controlled explosives or 'trapped daemon' should be detonated/released as soon as possible after the assassination team confirms the presence of the Hero by starting their attack.

Even though this assassination attempt will assuredly fail, with a bit of luck your allies unreliable leaders will be 'taken out' and you can blame the arrow filled bodies (and explosion/released demon) on the Hero's over-enthusiastic Guards and magical means of protection 'gone wrong'. In any event, this should ensure the allies future loyalty since the Hero will never trust them again.
The Good Hero always has a rotten time convincing the 'authorities' of his own country, let alone any potential allies, of the danger the Evil Overlord represents. They will inevitably turn aside all your warnings of his World Domination plans and no matter what evidence you present of the danger of imminent invasion by the Legions of Terror massing on the borders you will be totally ignored. Indeed, should you start recruiting and training your defence forces BEFORE you own country has fallen to the Evil Overlords Legions, it is entirely possible that your own incompetent moronic childish rulers will spend all their rime and efforts on suppressing their only hope of survival rather than looking at what the Evil Overlord is getting up to.

The proper approach is to avoid all attention by 'the authorities' but by all means make sure that the common foot soldier is aware of the existence of the Resistance and how to join up as soon as their own Generals order them into hopeless battle against the overwhelmingly superior Legions of Terror with the inevitable 'fight to the death' command. Any of your sides own Generals who learn of your existence and express anything other than immediate support should be targeted for some fatal 'training accident' ASAP.

Should a potential ally (or my own 'Government in Exile') ask me to visit them to discuss an alliance, cease-fire etc. and then insist that I leave my Guards & Weapons at the meeting hall door, instead of agreeing to this I will choose one of two alternatives (a) depart immediately and negotiate a new meeting at some neutral location or (b) launch an immediate attack on anyone who looks like the Evil Overlords diplomats or mercenary assassins.

During any (later) meeting with a potential ally, should a sudden commotion start up nearby, I will NOT instruct my personal Guards to leave me and investigate - instead I and half my guards will make an immediate departure by the nearest available exit (in which context, ground floor windows count as exits) whilst the rest act as a rear-guard. Needless to say, I will always leave a few non-ticking briefcases behind.
(78) I will not have a son. Although his laughably under-planned attempt to usurp power would easily fail, it would provide a fatal distraction at a crucial point. I will, however, ensure a clear line of succession is established - there is no point in taking over the world only to have it all fall apart (and have to do it all again) after you retire To avoid an early overthrow, Evil Overlords have become childless bachelors. Since it will have taken them most of their natural life to achieve Evil Overlordship (there are no young Evil Overlords) they will always be on the last legs when, as a young child, you first encounter them. In many cases you can avoid unnecessary loss of life among the Revolutionary Forces (and the local inhabitants) by simply waiting for them to reach the end of their natural life (or have a fatal accident) and for their Domain to collapse into civil war (as their henchmen fight over the succession) before starting the actual Revolution.

Of course, most Evil Overlords will have some unnatural means of extending their natural lives, however, if you really do need to end their Reign of Terror at an early stage, arranging an accident for the Evil Overlord is often a lot simpler than you might think, especially when most of his closest advisers and commanders will be only too happy to assist in the process of their own early succession, sometimes even without your prompting.
(79) I will not have a daughter. She would be as beautiful as she was Evil, but one look at the hero's rugged countenance and she'd betray her own father without another thoughtIt's always worth trying to trace the present location of Evil Overlords past Mistress / Estranged Wife / rejected lover etc. In fact, you should track down all female employees who worked at the Palace and left 'under mysterious circumstances' (especially following a Full Moon, Eclipse of the Sun or Planetary Alignment of any sort). Having tracked them down, make sure to visit all the local for Convents (and Monasteries) to enquire about any mysterious 'foundlings' or 'babies found in baskets on the doorstep' taken in during the last 20 years.
(80) No matter how tempted I am with the prospect of unlimited power, I will not consume any magical energy field bigger than my own head. Always temp the Evil Overlord to consume something beyond his capacity to absorb (whilst also poisoning his inferior wine and sending bombs by 'signed for' special delivery at the earliest opportunity).
(81) I will not grow a goatee. In the old days they made you look diabolic. Now they just make you look like a disaffected member of Generation X. Consider recruiting all local barbers into the revolutionary forces. Make sure they have steady hands and very, very, sharp razors ..
(82) I will not turn into a snake. It never helps, especially as all the ventilation ducts are much too small to provide a convenient route to depart from (or return to) the Palace without being seen. On the same subject, turning into a flock of bats is a bit pointless in an Evil Lair that lacks opening windows. The Revolutionary forces will be trained in the most efficient means of disposing of large snakes, wolf like dogs, large bats (or flocks of smaller ones) and other such animals as a matter of course. Of course discovering the Evil Overlords means of unnatural life extension should be simple enough if his lifestyle involves any sort of animal transformation. In any event, you can be sure it involves obscure and difficult to obtain substances, only available from far away lands and thus delivered by the Postal Service and intercepted by your Revolutionary comrades (either that, or some power source that can be shut off from the Palace central control room).
(83) In the highly unlikely event I decide to keep an untrained / unreliable pet 'monster', it will be kept in a secure cage from which it cannot escape and into which I could not accidentally stumble. The Evil Overlord will want to show off his pet monster before opening the cage door and pushing you in. To create suitable confusion and delay (during which you can make good your inevitable escape), take along a spare padlock with which to seal the cage (before he has a chance to let it out or push you in).
(84) I will treat any beast, which I control through magic or technology, with respect and kindness. Thus if the control is ever broken, it will not immediately come after me 'for revenge' (although it might seek me out for 'treats'). Don't waste time trying to free the Evil Overlord's pets .. especially as they will be more likely to turn on you than him .. in fact, if you get the opportunity to do away with his favourite pets try to make them terminally ill instead - at the very least it some cause him some level of increased stress.
(85) I will not strike a bargain with a demonic being then attempt to double-cross it simply because I feel like being a bit contrary that day. You should advise all available but totally ineffectual Good Spirits to make as many bargains as possible .. with a bit of luck the Evil Overlord will soon by committed to so many conflicting bargains and deals that he won't know which way to turn .. in any event, the stress of trying to meet all the conflicting demands should help him toward an early grave.

Tactics and personal combat.

(86) If I absolutely must ride into battle, I will certainly not ride at the forefront of my Legions of Terror, nor will I seek out my opposite number among his army in order to indulge in some macho 'personal combat'.

After months of living rough and evading capture by my Legions, the Hero is likely to be in peak physical condition, whilst after years of banquets and warm beds every night, I'm likely to be somewhat less fit.
When your long range sharpshooters and snipers are being trained, always make sure they have pictures of the Evil Overlord and his trusted lieutenants to hand .. of course in the heat of battle, anyone on a horse is a prime target (especially anyone hanging around at the back).
(87) I will be neither chivalrous nor sporting. If I have an unstoppable super-weapon, my Legions of Terror will use it as early and as often as possible (instead of keeping it in reserve). In hand to hand combat, at some point you will disable/knock out a member of the opposition who will always drop their easily operated super-weapon. MAKE SURE TO PICK IT UP AND USE IT ON THE OTHERS WITHOUT DELAY.
(88) Before employing any captured artifacts or machinery of unfamiliar design, I will carefully listen to descriptions of it's previous operation (and read the owner's manual) before having it tested a long way away from anything valuable (such as myself). Always fully train your troops on the correct operation of your weapons, especially the nature of the 'self destruct AFTER next use' setting (aka Little Red Button). NB never, ever, include any information about The Little Red Button in any manual - sooner or later a weapon will be captured and, after reading the manual, some-one will say "I wonder what this Button ..", whilst pressing it firmly. Of course The Little Red button will actually be coloured Green (and perhaps even helpfully labelled 'Safety Switch')
(89) After I capture the Hero's super-weapon, I will not immediately disband my Legions and relax my guard because I believe whoever holds the weapon is unstoppable. After all, the Hero held the weapon and I stopped him. All major weapons of the revolutionary forces will incorporate an automatic 'self destruct on next use' mechanism. This will be negated by flipping the Red switch marked 'self destruct'. Although not detailed in any Manual or Instruction Book, members of the revolutionary forces who forget this aspect of their training will soon be weeded out of the army. The same goes for any who forget the real function of The Little Green Button marked 'Safety Switch'.
(90) If it becomes necessary to escape, I will never stop to pose dramatically and toss off a one-liner. Try to avoid cornering the Evil Overlord within his own Palace - there will always be some handy secret panel & escape tunnel etc. nearby. Much better to lure him out and deal with him on your own territory. If you must tackle him in his own Palace, then, needless to say, any Gasses or Poisons employed by the Good Hero must be 100% deadly - 'knock-out drops' and 'sleeping gas' are unreliable and typically result in the Evil Overlord recovering and escaping at the most inappropriate moment - (such as just BEFORE the self-destruct / explosive hidden in the wine cellar goes off).
(91) I will see a competent psychiatrist and get cured of all extremely unusual phobias and bizarre compulsive habits which could prove to be a disadvantage. Make sure all competent psychiatrists in the Evil Overlords realm are aware of the Revolutionary aims. Eventually one will find themselves with a mysterious new patient, Mr. E. Overlord, who may be helped toward a permanent 'cure' (perhaps by re-reinforcing his belief in his own invincibility)
(92) I will spare anyone who saved my life sometime in the past, even if they are discovered to one of the Good Hero's chief lieutenants. This is only reasonable as it encourages others to do the same. However, the offer is good 'one time only'. If they want me to spare them again, they'd better save my life again. Any member of the Revolutionary forces who is discovered to have saved the Evil Overlords life will be sent in to have a nice short chat with him. They will, of course, be provided with a well packed (but non-ticking) briefcase .
(93) If the Hero and his companions are standing together chanting around a strange artifact and then begin to taunt me, I will send in my forces armed with conventional weapons instead of using my now well known "unstoppable" magic super-weapon on them. If your forces are being routed by the Evil Overlords personally operated super-magic and the opportunity presents itself, get your companions to join you around a the nearest half-strange looking artifact and start taunting him ... whilst some-one sneaks around behind him. Make sure they are trained to fire as soon as they get a clear shot at the back of his head, no matter what discussions might be taking place between the Evil Overlord and the Good Hero - for sure there will be none of this 'Surrender or I fire' nonsense..
(94) If for some insane implausible reason I find myself fighting with the Hero atop a moving platform, rooftop or high place, have disarmed him and am about to finish him off, and he glances behind me and drops flat, I will immediately drop flat as well (instead of either standing over him and gloating or quizzically turning around to find out what he was looking at before whatever it is inevitably hits me in the head).

In fact, any standing around gloating will be done when I gave some confirmed reason - such as after the Good Hero has been finished off - and never before
When fighting the Evil Overlord, if you need to distract him, make a significant glance over his head and pretend to duck .. as he throws himself to the ground you should be able to get in a couple of (hopefully eventually lethal) blows, stabs, shots etc. before making good your escape. NB. See notes about the use of wrist straps.
(95) If the hero runs up onto a roof, I will not run up after him and struggle with him in an attempt to push him over the edge. Nor will I engage him on the edge of any sort of high drop = the question of what to do should he runs across a wildly swinging rope-bridge suspended over a river of molten lava is not even worth considering. To guarantee your escape, always choose a route that takes you over a steep drop - the Evil Overlord will never pursue .

Note to self. All modern weapons will be equipped with a shoulder / wrist strap, and these can, and will, be fitted to any older items. These straps exist for a very good reason, so USE THEM - and always carry a spare to attach to any captured hand weapon that comes without one.
(96) I will not attack my enemies if they are hiding within (or standing in front of) some heavy, dangerous, unbalanced vital structure (unless said structure is vital to the enemy, and not me, in which case I will send in some of the less vital members of my Legion, surround the place with the rest (who will stand well back), and hope for the best). If any of your forces find themselves in front of crucial supports of some building within which the Overlord is hiding, they should take the first offered opportunity to remove said supports.
(97) I will never use any tactic which is horribly complicated, e.g. "Align the 12 Stones of Power on the Sacred Altar of Amon within the Pyramid of Fear during the 30 seconds of the once in 5,000 year Planetary Alignment then activate the Medallion of Control at the moment of Total Eclipse whilst spilling the Blood of a Virgin at the feet of Death Incarnate". Instead my plan will be based more along the lines of "Light the blue touch paper and stand well back."

If, for some obscure but valid reason, a Human Sacrifice really is necessary, I will prepare well in advance and obtain a 'volunteer' of no-account from Death Run (aka the Evil Archery Training Camp) and not attempt to press the daughter / wife / sister of my chief lieutenant / main ally into the role at the last possible moment (although if all else fails, that would still be preferable to expecting the Hero or his female companion to take on the role).
(100) If a group of my Henchmen fail miserably at some vital task, I will not refuse to listen to their explanations, berate them for incompetence and then send them out to do exactly the same task again. Instead the task will be reassigned to more experienced men (who will be advised what went wrong last time) and the original group will be sent for further training - of course any that are really inexcusably incompetent will find themselves assisting the training of others from a 10m (starting) distance Don't make the Legions of Terror look foolish or incompetent - this will only lead to improved training and thus increased effectiveness. Instead create the impression that they are invincible. This should soon lead to budget cuts in the training department. They will soon become complacent and consider you totally ineffective. Your superbly executed final attack will then come as a total surprise - with half of them frozen with shock and rest having no idea what to do next, this should help avoid any unnecessary deaths among your forces.
(101) If my weakest troops fail to eliminate the Hero's 'invasion' forces, I will send out my best troops instead of wasting time with progressively stronger ones as he gets closer and closer to my fortress. Your forces must try to avoid contact with the Evil Overlords forces .. have your companions slaughter his weakest and most incompetent troops and then avoid the replacements at all costs. Whilst they are decoying his best troops miles away from anywhere, you can be sneaking into his realm to observe his evil deeds. With a bit of luck, you may soon find some vantage point that allows an uninterrupted view of the back of his head.
(102) If I ever have to negotiate directly with the Hero, I will not taunt him. Instead I will announce that "his dogged perseverance has given me new insight on the futility of my Evil Ways" and suggest that "if he leaves me for a few months of quiet contemplation I will return to the Path of Righteousness".

Heroes can always 'see the hidden goodness' in their Evil opponents (they are incredibly gullible in this respect) and with a bit of luck can be convinced to leave me alone (to get on with my plans for World Domination) for successive periods of months at a time.
Avoid any personal communication with the Evil Overlord .. employ a worldly wise cynical old veteran to do your negotiating for you and exit the premises. Whilst your chief negotiator keeps the Overlord talking with promises to stop hounding him in exchange for the release of all political prisoners, a free holiday for all, return of confiscated property, pensions for invalided veterans etc. etc, you can be moving to position that gives you a better view of the back of his head ..
(103) If, for some insane reason, I find myself interviewing the Hero in my Palace and then, for some even more insane reason, decide to hold a double execution of the Hero and some underling who failed or betrayed me, I will see to it that the Hero is scheduled to go first.

Of course, normally I will have made sure to send the underling to assist with archery training well before (or after) interviewing the Hero - and any 'Hero interviewing' will be done whilst he's chained to the floor naked in a high security cell (and not walking about unrestrained in my Palace). So there will never be any this 'taken away' nonsense and especially not for any 'double execution' = prisoners are always executed whilst chained to the floor of their cells = which avoids any possibility of escape during some pointless 'being taken away' opportunity (even if it does mean extra work for the cell floor cleaners)). In the unbelievable event I'm discussing things with the Hero in my Palace, rather than telling him I'm going to have him executed (which will only lead to his almost immediate miraculous escape), I'll inform him I've decided to let him go "To prove he's no threat" or "Provide me with a worthy opponent" or some other such bullsh*t (Hero's will believe any amount of this rubbish) .. then, as soon as he turns around I'll stab him in the back whilst shouting "Guards ! Guards ! the prisoner is trying to escape !"
No matter who is scheduled to be executed first, you will always be given plenty of time to talk to follow prisoners. You will also have no problem convincing any failed underling to throw himself at the Evil Overlord's guards in a vain attempt to avoid the inevitable .. and during the resulting confusion you will always escape. Of course should the Evil Overlord announce he's going to "let you go", you know that within the next half second you can turn your back, grab his favourite dagger when he tries to stab you, trip him up, cut your bindings, leap out of the window and swim half way across the moat before the Guards have even opened the door ...
(104) Once my power is secure, I will destroy all those pesky time-travel devices, along with any Wizard who knows how to make more. Should the Revolutionary Forces ever obtain access to a time travel device, something fatal will be arranged for the Evil Overlord that will not become apparent until the day AFTER he has had all the time travel devices destroyed ...

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