Some undertakings are much too important to leave to the ordinary workings of the universe, but need to be bolstered by influences from the beyond. It may be a matter of a slight boost or it may be something which has to fly in the face of sustained cosmic forces, something which simply merely aids in some small aspect of one’s machinations or a central linchpin of one’s psychic and material manifestations, but if it is in some way important to show a stout commitment to, it may be a good candidate for an unbreakable oath by the empowered evildoer. These kinds of things cannot be crafted on a sudden whim if they are to be play the role the necromancer intends rather than an ever more despised albatross around his or her neck, but need to be planned with a number of considerations in beforehand before setting them into place.
- Selection of oath. The ideal oath is one which represents all that animates the evildoer, is nearly superhuman, yet still achievable, novel in some way so as to avoid looking as if it had been copied from some other villain of your acquaintance, and reasonably brief in order to accommodate modern attention spans. Nobody, not even your greatest admirers, wishes to sit through pages of legalistic gobbledygook. By law you should also be provided with a clear statement of what quid pro quo you will be receiving in exchange for your sworn vow, which it is advisable to store in a safe place just in case.
- Delivery. In a forbidding chamber, amidst a scary pentacle and flickering candlelight, with smoke and thunder lying heavy on the air, and perhaps a few recent sacrifices to heighten the drama, the ceremony of the mighty oath is best performed as the climax of a shocking ritual. You will need either witnesses who will go their own way afterwards spreading the word of the grotesque proceedings, or arrange to have the whole thing recorded and broadcast to your adversaries as needed.
- Penalty clause. To mark this as a serious deed, you will need to include language to specify what will happen should you break the oath, generally of the direst and most gruesome sort. Falling short in this area will surely doom your oath to being regarded as trivial, or, even worse, laughable, potentially jeopardizing your well-being in as thorough a fashion as the act itself would have done without any of the positive aspects.
- Sealing. There should be blood to bind the oath to yourself, enough to spill in an impressive stream to the ground in your oath circle. Failing that, you should look to contribute something equally vital to your being. This is necessary in the scheme of such things to give the oath the vital force which will multiply its potency by giving it measure of an independent spirit of its own. It will mark the emotional high point of the oathtaking ceremony and will provide the best opportunities for professional photographs to remember this day by.
Strokes of genius
- Flexibility. While a certain amount of legal review to cover the main stipulations of the oath is a good thing, many villains find that excessive rigidity in the formulation of the oath ends up being a drawback utimately. While you do not want to have the reputation of engineering loopholes in your solemn vows and leave yourself open to mockery, you also do not want to saddle yourself with an arrangement that consumes much of your free time and treasure and diverts you from the main business of performing evil works.
- Infernal assistance. A vow is a nearly ideal way to cement relations with the evil god, gods, or demons of your choice, assuming you can in fact trust the entity in question. Make sure you involve the divinity or his/her/its representatives early on in the process of planning the rite to clear any schedule conflicts and to avoid embarrassing misunderstandings later. Many of them have staffers whose only job is to accommodate supplicants seeking to offer themselves in service, who will also be useful contacts for you later on as a personal liaison to the deity.
- Achievement unlocked. If as a result of your mighty oath and your subsequent work to fulfill it you receive powers or artifacts that help you dominate, you should probably waste no time in learning how to master them, since these are most often bestowed with the clock running. If you can crush your enemies before they can come up with an adequate defense, an unprecedented and vast alliance of armies and fleets, or an equally powerful counterweapon, so much the better.
Traps for mere fools
- Oathbreaking. Besides being personally embarrassing, forswearing a solemn oath is likely to leave a person liable to a wide range of bloody and mortal vengeance to be carried out by paladin type enforcers of the cosmic order, devotees of the hellish spirits (if any) one may have aligned one’s fortunes with, and disgruntled underlings whose idealism has been shattered. In extreme cases, it can even be regarded as a last dying act of crossing over to the side of Good, with all that would imply.
- Trivial situations. The solemn oath is not an easy technique to learn because it is inadvisable to practice much with it on matters of little import. Doing so will invariably rouse the cosmic forces of irony to rearrange matters not to one’s favor, so as to remind you that evil is not a toy.
- Empty unenforceable promises. Thoroughness is key here. Do take the trouble to read anything that you are signing in blood.
- Scene stealers. These include such things as hostages who work their way free and raids by heroes who seek only to disrupt the proceedings.
- Permanent insanity or catatonia.
Precious and needful
- Sterile bandages.
- Dramatic lighting. Pyrotechnics, lasers, and rivers of lava are all fine launching points for your own ideas on enhancing the spectacle.
- Public address system. The increase in your personal prestige is directly correlated with how awe-inspiring the proclamation of your solemn oath is.
- Stage makeup. Also have some cold cream on hand for afterwards.
- Catering service.
- Maniacal laughter.
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- Image credit Sworn Oakland Graffiti Art by anarchosyn
- Image credit Pinky Swear by MuJa K
- Image credit One drop by 'Ian Humes