The great majority of all supervillain activities that take place in a dungeon or other area of confinement are unsavory, not only from an ethical standpoint but from an olfactory one as well. Bodily fluids, charnel works, pools of stagnant water, creature holding pens, abattoirs, and demon summoning rituals each contribute their own characteristic notes to the atmosphere in a way that is rarely considered to be harmonious, and the secretive nature of such undertakings militates against the simple remedies of fresh air and cleansing sunlight. (The case we are making is helped by the fact that when one stows significant amounts of clean and odor-free treasure deep underground one invariably ceases referring to the place as a “hellhole” or a “slammer” but instead terms it something like “Federal Reserve.”) This would not be a problem were it not for the way that most evil geniuses manage to design their fortresses with the living quarters smack on top of the pits of peril, degrading the quality of life for all housed there. There are a number of measures, however, which can make a tangible difference in the sensory aspects of the subject (if not always in its actual wholesomeness) at the price of not too many arms and legs.
- Prevention. Before you undertake one of the more objectionable smell-producing activities, ask yourself whether it may easily be carried out in a barren wilderness or in an imposing tower? Even if you cannot do so fully, you may be able to outsource the major odor-causing aspects of it (for instance, large-scale biological recycling to a professional services company better equipped to deal with these concerns. Also, a death ray should not produce excessive amounts of ozone when adjusted properly.
- Hot spots. A dungeon can be a busy place with many urgent tasks going on at the same time. In the process, it can become a haven of dust, dirt, filth, and bodily secretions, which, together with ambient moisture, encourage the growth of bacteria, mold, mildew, and lifeforms unknown to man, all producing a myriad of reeking odors. Often, however, these are organized around a few key locations which you can tackle with full force. Identify these and have your workers clear a path to them.
- Ex-ter-mi-nate. The tough stinks and emanations of a dungeon are often too strong for a bit of sachet or a couple of pomanders as you might use in your average home. Concentrated detergent, powerful scrubbers, and an army of minions are the best way to attack these sorts of problems, with a boxcar load of baking soda or similar substance to adsorb future agents in a way that is easily disposed of.
- Rinse thoroughly. If all you do is dab a little cleaner and let the mess air-dry, this does nothing to remove the root cause of the dungeon fetor. If you instead arrange to divert a river through your compound the sources of the undesirable condition can be carried far away giving your evil lair a chance to start with a clean slate literally.
- Kill it with fire. After as little as a single millennium, odor molecules can attach themselves stubbornly to all surfaces in an undisturbed dungeon leading to a pervasive musty stench that no amount of spot treatment can fully eliminate. If this is leading to a major dropoff in operational effectiveness, than more radical measures must be taken, such as the ozone overpressurization, the application of open flames, or high dose irradiation.
Strokes of genius
- Work with nature. Degrade odor-producing biological waste with scavengers, whether microscopic or larger, whose own waste products can be much less objectionable once you get used to them. Chemical smells can sometimes be neutralized by the judicious use of other agents, or can be transported out into a location where they pose no problem — deep space, alternate realities, or over the neighbor’s fence.
- Drop the bomb. Smoke bombs can be easily modified to produce high volume scent flows to blanket a catacomb or a prison wing, seeping into the smallest of crevices where the vileness of ages may have accumulated. For a thorough job, incorporate custom nanotech into the mix set to destroy all biological material it encounters.
- Not strictly human. When nightmare beasts and insanity-inducing abominations from space are involved, a certain amount of unpleasantness to our sensibilities can often not be avoided entirely. Spacious quarters and opportunities to venture beyond the confines of the dungeon can help knock down the greatest concentrations of volatile compounds to tolerable levels. Scrupulous attention to mucking out their quarters where odor-causing scum and mold can take hold is essential.
- Check the traps. Booby traps guarding your lair can be a major source of stench. Use an antibacterial spray and shop wipes to clean retracting spikes and the sharpened pendulum. Check the poison gas emitters for slight leaks. Pay special attention to clean debris from the rotating knife assemblies and the stone deadfalls which have seen action.
Traps for mere fools
- Accumulations of clutter. Antique corpses, non-working doomsday devices, boxes full of quaint and curious volumes of forgotten lore, dusty mummies you no longer need: all can become the sources of pungent smells.
- Apertures leading to the underworld.
- Bat guano.
- Nerve agents.
- Elder Gods.
Precious and needful
- Apron. The ones coated in vinyl are easiest to wipe down when you are done.
- Old toothbrushes.
- Long-handled mops.
- Scent-deprived slaves.
- Lava fountains.
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- Image credit http://www.flickr.com/photos/57366077@N00/3065955443/IMG_0902.JPG by j.s. clark
- Image credit Los Muertos 4 by the G™
- Image credit colors by ShawnaScottPhoto
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