A Tyrant’s Guide to the Family



While many tyrants avoid the complications of family entirely, either making no provision for succession or picking a trusted lieutenant as a successor, the classic option for succession has always been children.

Families are complicated things and while they have their difficulties for normal people there are a selection of problems unique to tyrants.  This guide helps you avoid those special pitfalls the average guide fails to mention.

Producing Children

See any guide to reproductive biology for technical details!  This is normally the easy part unless you cannot find a member of the opposite sex that is the correct species.  If you are female, you will wish to pick a time when you are not riding around on horseback conquering people or doing similarly strenuous activities.  If this proves impossible, you may wish to resort to cloning.  For this option see your local evil scientist or magician.

To Marry or Not to Bother

In many situations it will be necessary to marry the other parent of your child in order for that child to be considered a legitimate successor.  Of course, as a tyrant you may be able to abrogate this requirement if you so desire.  The rest of this section assumes that you have decided to choose a mate who will participate in raising your child and with whom you will be spending some time.

Selecting a Spouse

A) It is best to pick someone who does not hate you.

The many benefits of this include:

  1. You do not have to fear that they will attempt to kill you in your sleep.
  2. They are less likely to attempt to turn your children against you.
  3. They are less likely to make your life miserable (although this is not guaranteed).
  4. They are less likely to harm your children and are more likely to take good care of them.
  5. They are less likely to embarrass you by running away with somebody trying to overthrow you.
  6. It reduces stress when you’re trying to take over the continent/world/galaxy.

B) It is best to pick someone who does not have illusions about you that you intend to break.

The benefits of this include:

  1. Not having to deal with a tearful spouse when they discover what you’re really like.
  2. A lowered likelihood of incessant nagging.
  3. Not having them decide later that they hate you with all that entails.

Picking someone who is unethical and ambitious has both benefits and pitfalls.  The main benefit is that they share your ideals and can be of great help in your endeavors.  The main pitfall is that they may attempt to take your place.  Practice caution if you go this route and don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Don’ts for Parenting Small Children

  1. Do not wear spiky black armor around a three year old, especially if they are likely to rush up to you yelling “daddy, daddy!”
  2. If you break this rule, do not pick them up.
  3. Do not leave your sword/axe/poisoned arrows/ray gun/disintegrator or other weapon where they may play with it.
  4. Do not let them play unsupervised in the room containing the super weapon controls.
  5. Do not let them play with implements of torture no matter how amusing you find it.
  6. Do not pick an evil henchman less intelligent than your child as a babysitter.
  7. Do not use foul language around your child; the child will repeat it at an inopportune moment.
  8. For similar reasons, do not discuss your secret plans in front of your child.
  9. If the child’s other parent hates you, do not allow them access to your child.
  10. Do not spoil your child – spoiled brats do not make competent tyrants despite what popular literature may imply.
  11. Do not harm your toddler when they yell “no!” repeatedly in answer to your orders.
  12. Do not let the hero see you playing with your child unless it is part of your plan to have him die laughing.

Do’s for Parenting Small Children

  1. Keep weapons and other sharp objects out of reach at all times.
  2. Acquire a babysitter with small child experience and no personal grudge against you.
  3. Put railings beside any large drops, or better yet a wall high enough your child cannot climb over it. This has additional benefits in reducing deaths and injuries to your minions and thus the expense of medical treatment and/or finding new ones.
  4. The dungeons should be off limits to small children.
  5. Spend quality time with your child.  This is necessary to determine that they are not being subverted by your enemies and provides a defense against later attempts to make them work against you.
  6. Treat their other parent decently, but spy on them to be certain they are not teaching your child to hate you.
  7. Allow your child to socialize with other children. How else will they learn to intimidate and manipulate others properly?

Older Children and Teens

Older children and teenagers require somewhat different handling from small children.  During the teenage years the desire to imitate one’s parents lessens and children try to distinguish themselves from you by behaving differently.  This does not mean that they hate you, nor that they are trying to overthrow your government; although that is a possibility that must be guarded against.  It is a stage and they usually grow out of it eventually. Here is a list of reminders on how to handle this awkward stage:

Do’s for Parenting Teenagers

  1. Be consistent in your rules. They will whine and complain loudly if you aren’t.
  2. Be aware that a certain amount of rebellion is normal at this stage.
  3. Keep idealistic teenagers away from rebels; especially if the rebel is an attractive member of the opposite sex.
  4. Involve your teenager in the family business; this prevents them being shocked and turning against you when they learn the terrible truth.

Adult Offspring

Congratulations!  If you have reached this stage of your child’s life without having them have a fatal accident, turn out useless as a successor, or try to overthrow you, you definitely deserve congratulations.  Dealing with your adult offspring is beyond the scope of this guide, but further guidance can be found in A Tyrant’s Guide to Putting Off Succession, which will be forthcoming from this house if and when demand requires it.

This guide owes a certain intellectual debt to Peter’s Evil Overlord page, which can be found at www.eviloverlord.com/lists/overlord.html.