Fortress of Doom: Or, the Evil Lair Explained

So you’re a dastardly villain. You probably have multiple plans for world domination worked out, involving ancient artifacts or secret technologies or what have you. You might even be trying to open a rift into another dimension or take over the world with a mind-control virus. You probably have numerous henchmen who’ve been brainwashed or bribed to do whatever you tell them to, and I”m guessing they mostly wear black. However, whatever your minion situation and whatever your evil plot may be, I’m guessing you’ll be wanting an “evil lair.” Now, the creation of an evil lair is an exact science. One could even call it an art form. The importance of carefully considering your evil lair cannot be overestimated. What if the Death Star had no equatorial trench to allow easy access to its venting system? It might still exist today, and the galaxy would be significantly less populated.

So allow me to explain how I would construct my own evil lair. Please understand that this is entirely hypothetical, and should not be taken as an accurate map of any evil lair I may or may not actually possess.

First you must choose a location. Traditionally, evil lairs are built in very dramatic locations. Inside active volcanoes, on the floor of the ocean, deep in the mountains. But I think this tradition has contributed greatly to the deplorable track record of villainous success. These lairs are nearly always found and destroyed. While it is nearly impossible to create a truly hidden lair, there are things you can do to maximize your chances of success. Choose a boring location. Someplace perfectly normal, like an average house in a suburban neighborhood. There’s plenty of room underground for a villainous complex. Whatever you do, don’t choose a skyscraper. The more interesting and dramatic the location, the more likely it is to be found. For my hypothetical evil lair, I’ve chosen a grocery store in a suburb of Des Moines, Iowa. Make sure to avoid New York City, Los Angeles, or Chicago at all costs, but do find a reasonably large city–you need plenty of traffic going in and out to disguise your own operations.

The next step is to determine the layout of the place. The labyrinth option is usually a valid one, but is rarely as effective as you might think. If it’s made confusing enough to truly prevent people from finding their way through it, then your own minions will find themselves hopelessly lost. Typically everything important can be found in one or two central locations of the lair. AVOID THIS AT ALL COSTS! Decentralization is the key. Don’t have one central computer which holds all your records. Have five of them, scattered throughout the lair, each containing a different segment of your information. Encode EVERYTHING, and do not trust to the overall evilness of your lair to prevent your secrets from being found. Don’t have one central barracks for your minions–it’s far too easy for someone to gas them that way. No, have several small barracks scattered throughout the evil lair. And so on for everything important. Design any control center so it will not function if it isn’t manned by at least five people. Naturally, you’ll want to make sure you have an override for this, which should ideally be operated by nothing less than your own fingerprint. My evil lair is mostly beneath the grocery store, going down several stories into the earth, and is laid out as I’ve described. As an added bonus, I have a barracks in the back of the grocery store, which I have cleverly disguised as an employee break room.

Another thing to consider is lair defense. The traditional method is a horde of incompetent minions coupled with numerous ingenious but relatively easy to avoid traps. The trick here is to design your lair from the ground up to be defensible. Cultivate a castle mentality. Yet at the same time, you would do well to remember that evil lairs most often get attacked by small groups of enemies. Therefore, I’ve designed my lair like this. Most of my corridors are quite wide, wide enough that they are largely impossible for a single person to hold. Likewise, my rooms are large and bare, with cover arranged in such a way that you can hide behind it and aim easily at the door. Nothing at all should be near the doors. You’ll want at least a ten foot square around every door, so an impetuous rush by an attacker will leave him completely exposed for that critical split-second. These arrangements allow me to use my numerical superiority to my advantage, throwing more foes at any attacker than they should rightly be able to handle. I’ve coupled this with a few heavily armored, well-protected gates, which divide my lair into segments. Each segment has gas gents in the walls, which allow me to incapacitate its inhabitants and then send troops over from the next segment to kill any intruders while minions and “heroes” alike sleep peacefully under the influence of the gas. My men will be armed with high-power stun guns, which will allow them to negate any chance of intruders attempting to take hostages. Once everyone is stunned, my troops will draw pistols or knives and slay the incapacitated intruders at their leisure, then wake up the former hostages. Now, on the subject of ventilation… never, NEVER make your ventilation shafts large enough for anything above the size of a hamster to crawl in. Please. Just resist the temptation. There must be no entrance into this lair other than the entrance you wish your foes to use! If the walls are properly reinforced and you have not included any large shafts, any expansive sewer system or ventilation, then you should be able to accomplish this easily enough.

Traps. Time-honored, well-loved. They can be effective, but you must design them so that they both leave no way to escape, but also do not harm your own minions. I suggest doing as I have done, and placing small transmitters, which operate on a frequency nearly impossible to detect, on or in your minions’ bodies. These will signal the traps that their bearers are not to be attacked. Of course, you must make sure no one else ever gets wind of this, otherwise you  might have intruders carrying around the corpse of one of your minions for protection! Anyway, the traps can be any sort of thing once you’ve established that, but remember that traps which effect an entire area are better. Don’t have one small pit in the middle of the your hallway. Do as I have, and build in acid sprinklers into the ceiling. Arrange explosives all about a corridor, which are designed to go off whenever something without a transmitter passes them. Poison gas is a nice touch, but may not be effective if your foes have masks, so I prefer to use a flesh-eating virus. Avoid beasts at all costs. They will more than likely go insane and destroy your own minions, or worse, the intruders will tame the beast and use it for themselves. Arrange a self-destruct mechanism which superheats all the walls instantly, melting the entire structure into rubble and burning alive anything caught inside it. This mechanism should activate only with your own fingerprint, and give no warning of its activation–no countdown. Finally, never underestimate the value of well-placed caltrops which protrude unexpectedly from the floor.

This is, as I’m sure you can see, only the first step into a vast world of evil lair building. It pays to study the subject extensively, as I have; in fact, you might consider reading my book about the matter. Please consult my robot aides for information on where it can be bought, and be aware that my firm is not to be held responsible for any damages you may incur on yourself or others by following its advice.

At any rate, happy evil lair building, and I hope that your Fortress of Doom may one day become truly impregnable!


~ Sir Villain


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