Even the most brilliant hyperintelligent mad scientists have their days when nothing seems to go right, and the consequences may amount to a steep price. Distress, humiliation, and shame are all common feelings in the immediate aftermath of such a setback, followed by the numb ache when one considers the final tally of damages, which can send the proudest of spirits down into a spiraling sense of inadequacy. Yet if one reflects on what is essential, in a calmer moment, it is often possible to look forward to a more optimistic sequel where one may well receive all one desired and more, fueled by a desire for revenge made even intense than was previously believed possible. Getting to that place of serenity is a matter of recognizing a few simple universal truths about the supervillain psyche.
- Time heals all wounds. Do not press too hard to get back into the game too soon, as the mental state of anyone who has come up on the losing side of an epic battle is more fragile than you might feel at first. With patience and persistence, you will gradually come to be in the right mental state to face the stress of scheming without giving in to your own doubts and fears.
- Emphasize the negative. Although your preoccupation may be with the way you have had to cut and run from the foe, escaping only by the slimmest of margins, it would do well to reflect on the losses you have also inflicted on the opponent’s forces, which you are probably not in a position to witness first-hand. The great temptation of the victor is to fall into complacency once the danger is no longer in sight, a thing which history has shown time and time again to do more for the fortunes of the forces of evil than many an act of destruction by the villains.
- Wake up and smell the napalm. When you get in the mood to brood, do not spend all your time sulking in your lair. Get out and threaten the world once more, even a little bit, and see how it raises your neurotransmitter levels.
- Think of others. To avoid being too wrapped up in yourself, remember to do something awful to someone else. Not only will you feel as if you are being useful once more, it will help cement your self-image as a heartless fiend and help drive away your doubts.
- Strike out in new directions. If in your previous campaign you were the scourge of the seas, feared in scores of portside towns until your downfall, how about taking to the mountains for a change? Not only does it make it harder for any possible pursuers to discover your tracks, it will stimulate your creative faculties in a way which will promote the healing process.
Strokes of genius
- Once over lightly. Avoid seasonal affective disorder during the dark winter months by spending at least one hour, preferably two, in front of a live reactor core. Turn around halfway through.
- Suffering. For a change of pace, watch your favorite gladiatorial contest, torture scene, or reality television and you may find your own troubles will begin to recede. You can record the screams to play back later on your personal music player.
- Count your captives. Try to see the individuality in each doomed soul, rather than comparing them to whom you had before or those your adversaries have enslaved. Make good use of them as an audience for venting and lashing out.
- Change your look. If you are on the run from enemies and need to conceal your identity anyway, try having some fun with your disguises. Take a vacation of sorts as an antique vase or perhaps spend a little time as the opposite sex, and see whether that offers a useful perspective on matters.
Traps for mere fools
- Ironic pointless demise.
- Revenge seekers.
- White lightning.
- Seeing images of rebuilding.
Precious and needful
- A blazing inferno. Molten lava or incandescent fire elementals lend a festive glow to the lair gone stale and predictable.
- Fun vacation wear.
- Guns. Lots of guns.
- New coat of paint on the hideout.
- Effigies of yourself. If you had gigantic statues of your image in the empire you lost, see whether you might be able to arrange to take these along with you, so they won’t experience a degrading and humiliating fate at the hands of the new masters.
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- Image credit The Ludovisi Gaul thought to be a Roman copy of Greek original by Epigonus commissioned by Julius Caesar 1st century BCE by mharrsch
- Image credit Step into the Light by *saxon*
- Image credit BSOD 0x07B by Justin Marty