There comes a time in every successful evildoer's career when thoughts turn to one's lasting impression, and one of the most common ambitions is to have one's reputation elevated beyond the mundane to the pantheon of gods for all eternity. Some supervillains find it most gratifying to think of their legacy spoken of in hushed tones for eons to come, long after the original monstrous deeds have taken place. And, of course, it is an accomplishment that will raise one's standing within one's family. Still, it is important to recognize that such a role is one which has ramifications touching every aspect of your image, your operations, and your treasure hoard and before embarking on a campaign to ascend to this realm, it is worth your while to consider whether these are right for you.
- Your evil temple. If you are merely a religious figure you may live atop a sacred mountain in the middle of a wilderness. If you are just a sovereign you may occupy a concrete bunker beneath a gritty city. But if you happen to be both, these options are not suitable at all, as you are expected to abide in a temple equipped with soaring spires, awful to behold, with acoustics designed to amplify the wails of despair to the surroundings. Seek out an architect experienced in harmonizing the practical features of an working lair with the horrible majesty expected of the seat of your religion.
- Broadcast empire. It simply is impractical to manifest to every single follower in a large cult, so it is accepted practice to turn to the media for assistance, for indoctrination, correction, mobilization, and incitement. These days we must include an active social media presence as part of the necessary outreach to the grassroots of any thriving cult.
- Hierophant. A combination of head preacher, chief evangelist, and ritual performer, a high priest(ess) is an effective way to outsource the more time-consuming and specialized aspects of the cult you are establishing and thus free yourself to work on other productive activities. The individual chosen to fill this role should have ironclad loyalty to you, with some popular choices including extortion victims and humaniform robots.
- Offerings, burnt and other. Along with the cold, hard cash the symbolic sort of offering emphasizes the separation between your exalted state and the base one of your worshippers. If you don't like the smell of burned fat you may of course install a air cleaning system in your lair.
- Keep it haughty. A healthy distance from the common brainwashees is desirable to preserve the sense of an unreachable mystery between the great leader and the flock. Moments of photographic candor, speaking in down to earth language, an impression of human fallibility disseminated far and wide, all these are to be violently avoided. A crystalline doctrinal clarity is the most stable working pattern to maintain.
Strokes of genius
- Coffers. Like any other state a theocracy needs sufficient funding to keep the lights on, and given the extra demands for spectacle and brutal architecture you may expect to occupy a stratum above the average in this regard. Besides the stores of cash and precious metal, the costly paraphernalia of a high-profile autarchy also needs to be safeguarded in a way that allows for easy access on ceremonial occasions. A continual deadly guard force, with supernatural capabilities when possible, should be high on your list of requirements when planning your complex.
- Line of succession. As in any monarchy, those near the top need to know where they stand if something happens to the leader, largely to deter such a development. This can be obviated under some systems including those involving reincarnation and immortality.
- Smiting. There will almost regularly be times when the administration of strict discipline will be necessary. A public spectacle of the ritual will pay for itself manyfold in the minds of the witnesses. Do not overlook the opportunity to read for signs of discomfort among the weaker followers during these moments which might presage a move toward rebellion.
- Rallies. The most fervent of your charges should be encouraged to make loud and showy testimonials of their faith in hopes that breaking down the barriers to emotion will help incite your people to a mass frenzy which may be harnessed as you will. This is a gradual process which involves a sustained assault on the rational faculties, deprivation of sleep, mood-altering pharmaceuticals, and other measures carried out in a coordinated fashion.
Traps for mere fools
- Elder Gods. Better to avoid encroaching the turf of an established power in the first place.
- Self-inflicted downfall due to hubris.
- Freelance prophets.
- Snipers and assassins.
Precious and needful
- Titles. Keep them appropriately impressive: His Photonic Majesty is better than Mid-Atlantic? Gourd Queen or The Vowel Lord.
- Appearances. Humans are very simple psychological creatures underneath the modern trappings and are easily influenced by appearance. Fangs or horns they find endlessly impressive. A shiny orb, sceptre, and vestments go a long way to dazzle the simple primate mind.
- Brainwashed subjects.
- Sepulchral voice.
- Oratorial genius.
- Winged chariot. Alternatively, you may wish to levitate over the crowd in a golden nimbus.
- How to become the richest being in the Solar System
- How to collect damned souls
- How to reign over love slaves
- How to give everyone their heart's desire
- How to run a virtual world
- How to manage a virgin supply chain
- How to cast giant holograms of yourself
- How to haunt an evil forest
- How to rock an evil wardrobe
- How to rule men's minds through sex
- How to serve man
- How to worship an evil god
- How to issue an ultimatum
- How to possess eternal youth
- How to look frighteningly deranged
- How to roll with a gang of energy beings
- How to be enrobed in flames
- How to blot out the Sun
- How to run a police state
- How to summon spirits of the dead
- Image credit Aura by erlucho
- Image credit There's Still Hope Inside (Fragment) by alphadesigner
- Image credit Sovereign Angel of Nothing by M Domondon