Even as a child, I dreamed of being an evil genius -- someone with a plan for global domination, a cool evil laugh, and various secret weapons. The most important element, I felt, was a secret fortress where I could hatch my schemes, plot the downfall of my enemies, and practice my laugh.

When I actually got to the design phase, I realized that the logistics involved in creating a secret fortress are quite involved. Here then, for all of you budding world dominators out there, are the manditory specifications for your average, run-of-the-mill Lair of Evil:

Location
The word is secret, but that can mean a lot of things. Some options:

Natural Obstacles
Even before an interloper gets to the secret fortress, there should be some hoops to jump through. I recommend some of the following:
  • lava (but with some stepping stones, chains to swing on, or poorly constructed bridge),
  • shark-infested moat (but not too many sharks, just a couple),
  • volcanic cave system,
  • glacial ice field,
  • really big parking lot.

Parking
Very important. You must be able to park at least: (Don't forget space to turn around!)

Bedrooms
You're going to have a lot of evil minions, and they all have to sleep somewhere. Evil minions can't commute, because your secret fortress is surrounded by natural obstacles (see below), so they all have to live with you. Don't forget bathrooms, gyms, shooting ranges, etc.

Laundry
Since all of your evil minions are going to be clothed in identical one-piece jumpsuits, there's going to be some serious cleaning to do!

Big Hall
Before they go out to do your evil doing, you'll need somewhere to get all of your minions together and get 'em riled up. (Note that the big hall must also have some small, concealed balcony where good guys can look down on your lecture/pep rally/evil ceremony/mission statement and find out what your plans are.

Secret Passageway
This should bypass all security checkpoints, guard stations and natural obstacles and go directly to the Control Room. Even if the rest of the fortress is made out of poured concrete and stainless steel, this should be carved out of rough stone and be dripping, slimy and damp. There may be bats, insects, or other vermin for added atmosphere.

Reactor Core
It should glow, throb, shoot sparks, and be filled with gantries, catwalks, and other stuff to fall off of or be thrown over. Another place to consider a self-destruct button just for kicks.

Death Room
When you capture an interloper who's working for the forces of good, you just won't make a good impression as an evil genius unless you have a special room just for putting interlopers to death. It should be overly elaborate, with swinging blades, slowly moving laser beams, a special table with flimsy straps, a shark or pirahna tank, or the poison gas-with-glass-windows combo. It should be pretty close to the Control Room.

Control Room
Where the action happens. This is where the secret weapon is controlled. It could also be the bridge of the ship or walking/flying/swimming robot-in-the-shape-of-an-animal. There should be a self-destruct button prominently displayed in an easy-to-break unlocked glass case. At least one count-down display is mandatory. You should have a big chair and sit right in the middle.

Escape Pod
It should be close to the Control Room, large enough for only one person (something that your evil minions will not notice), and can be operated by any schmuck who finds it.

You forgot one of the most important bits: your secret fortress must spontaneously break apart and crumble if you should die; the building codes inspector for the Evil Overlord Association simply won't approve your fortress if this is not included. Of course, since your brilliant plans simply cannot fail ("Inconceivable!"), you it's silly to worry about this rule, but bureaucracy... What can you do?

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