Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Frankenstein Protocols

This is an idea I had about 10 years ago and never really got around to developing. It's basically a variation on the Evil Overlord List, but geared toward preventing mad scientists from being total putzes and being destroyed by their own creations.

As you can see, I have only a few entries. I welcome and encourage everyone to contribute to this list (that's why they aren't numbered) or even suggest new categories. You are free to collect this list and email it, post it to websites, etc, as long as you list me as the original author. Contributors will be credited, assuming I get any submissions.

EDIT: New submissions are printed in bold.

And now, I present to you all....


Basic Safety
  • As a scientist, I am neither the strongest nor the most charismatic person in existence. However, it is entirely likely that I am the smartest. Therefore, under no circumstances will I endeavor to create something that is smarter than I, be it organic, computerized, or extra-dimensional. Something that is smarter than me is something which can out-think me, and therefore conquer me. I know this because I'm smarter than everyone else and I'm plotting to conquer them.
  • Remember: a remote lab is free of meddlesome do-gooders and investigators, but it is also beyond the response range of fire, medical, and rescue units. Mad Laboratories must be maintained well beyond OSHA standards.
  • A loyal lab assistant is good. A loyal security detail is better. But a dedicated damage control team is best.
  • Should anyone cause the failure of my most precious experiment, inadvertently or not, I will not hold a permanent grudge and devote my life for revenge. I am still entitled to yell at him/her right after the experiment is ruined, though. (submitted by McNum)
  • I will consider if any device I create can somehow be used against me and develop countermeasures if so. (submitted by McNum)
  • I shall cultivate a healthy relationship with neighboring townspeople: attending their fairs and events, inviting them to the castle for pot luck dinners, and giving them free health care. Ignorance breeds fear, but no one assembles a pitchfork-and-torch wielding mob to attack "kindly old Doc F." (submitted by Chris Bridges)
  • I am a scientist, not a warlord. Taking over the world by force is therefore inadvisable. There are likely to be bigger military geniuses out there than me. I can invent the weapons, but not fight the war. (submitted by McNum)
  • Close political proximity to an Evil Overlord can be beneficial. Close physical proximity is usually less so. There are many various sub-species of Overlord; however, they all possess a similar resistance to the process of Trial and Error. As such, they tend to gravitate toward the idea of "If it fails, kill the person that suggested it."(submitted by M_I_Abrahms)

Standards & Practices
  • As a scientist, my mind is my most valuable asset. As a result, I will not cultivate the "exposed brain" aesthetic. A skull reinforced with kevlar and titanium is more sensible.
  • I will not purposefully misspell the name of my creation in order to achieve a pleasant alliteration or a useful acronym. Mad Science does not excuse bad grammar.
  • Similarly, if I intend to use a dead language in the process of creating something, I will first ensure that I am completely fluent in that language. Summoning a Babylonian demon while attempting to create a pulchro-simulationix will invalidate my experiment, to say the least.
  • While peer recognition is important to me, I must nevertheless resolve NOT to reveal how I accomplished any given scientific achievement. Therefore, when a party of do-gooders gasps in astonishment and suggests that which I have done is impossible, I will NOT explain that a fantastically miniaturized quantum power source at the base of my creature's brain is the secret to the whole thing. Instead, I will simply nod and say, "You're right. It's impossible." (submitted by John N.)
  • I am a Mad Scientist, not an Evil Overlord. Therefore it is perfectly acceptable for me to cackle madly at the triumph of my creation. However, I will work with a vocal coach to insure that my mad cackle is properly intimidating without leaving me out of breath.
  • If I am unable, unwilling, or sufficiently distracted to perform a properly mad cackle, I shall designate a henchman, who has likewise received vocal training, to do it for me.
  • I will accept the possibility of "magic". At the rate new discoveries about the universe have been found, it would be stupid to rule out this possibility. Especially if my next door neighbor is a witch, wizard, vampire or similar. (submitted by McNum)
  • If magic exists, it must be analyzed. If I can figure out quantum physics with nothing more than a pencil and a stack of post-its, I can figure out magic. As a girl genius once said: "Any sufficiently analyzed magic is indistinguishable from science." (submitted by McNum)
  • Note: One more like these and I'll create a separate category for magic.

Tampering in God's Domain
  • If I do decide to create a pulchro-simulationix, her source of power and/or nutrition will not be sexual in nature. I want a sexual partner, not a succubus that will kill me through dehydration.
  • Unless I plan on dying after its release, every creation will have some manner of an "off switch". Preferably remote. (addition by Tripp_Hazzard)
  • I will not control my creations through pain, drugs, or aversion therapy. Instead, I will use a radical technique known as "good parenting" and ensure that they obey me because they love their Daddy.
  • If my creation still holds a ravening hatred of my very being, despite my best efforts to be a good parent, I will destroy it. I will not lock it away somewhere where some Goody-Goodnik can release it and use it against me.(submitted by Tripp_Hazzard)
  • I know that in the party of inevitable do-gooders out to ruin my day, one will be an attractive member of the preferred sex of my Monstrous Creation of Doom. Therefore I shall neglect to give it a gender of any type, ruling out 'lust' as a reason for betrayal. (submitted by Seph Hexen WR)
  • Corollary to above: my pulchro-simulationix shall never, under any circumstances, become my Monstrous Creation of Doom, lab assistant, security chief, damage control chief, etc., because depriving her of gender rather defeats the whole purpose of a pulchro-simulationix in the first place.

Mad Computer Science
  • The laws of probability dictate that if I am involved in A.I. research, at least one of the do-gooders out to ruin my day will be computer savvy. As such, if I create a sentient robot it will not be compatible with Windows or any other commercially available operating system. (submitted by Demonic Bunny)

Mad Human Resources
  • I shall do my utmost to insure that any and all laboratory assistants I hire are competent. The least that I should find myself accepting of in this category should be of the college level. While a high school or lower education could perform the menial tasks I am sure to give them, it is within my best interests to have an assistant that's at least capable of pretending to be a civilized individual, and if they've made it into college, they can at least manage that. (submitted by MikoReimu)
  • I shall endeavor to make sure that my assistants are taken care of well. They should receive a decent wage, have the best health benefits I can manage to give them, and I should treat them more like a friendly associate then some meager tool for my own nefarious ends. This gives the added security that, should any goody-two-shoes types try to infiltrate my agency through the acquisition of spies, they will have a harder time convincing my men (women, or not-applicable - equal opportunity recruitment tactics also helps) will have very few reasons to want to turn against me. After all, I'm paying them good money, health care, and treating them like almost equals. What's a hero going to offer them that can compete? (submitted by MikoReimu)
  • All of my hirelings, underlings, lackeys, and creations which are capable of human speech shall be held to the highest standards of grammatical correctness. Splitting an infinitive, ending a sentence with a preposition or using "who" instead of "whom" will be met with immediate imprisonment, as they are either being mind-controlled or are do-gooders in disguise. (derived from a submission by Anvildude)
  • As above, but with hygiene and basic grooming. A disheveled uniform and handsomely rugged stubble is a giveaway.
  • I am not an Evil Overlord, so I have no reason to keep captives. If I must restrain someone, I will lock them to a hospital bed and then immediately administer a drug-induced coma.


  1. There is also the "The laws of drama dictate that if I'm involved in AI research at least one of the do-gooders out to ruin my day will be computer savvy. As such, if I create a sentient robot it will not be compatible with Windows or any commercially available operating system"

  2. Make it gender neutral.

    "I know that in the party of inevitable do-gooders out to ruin my day, one will be an attractive member of the opposite sex of my grand creation. The last thing I need is for my hard-earned success to be ruined by my naive monster popping a boner. Thus I will be ensure in the creation of the already-God-abhorring creature to neglect to give it a discernible gender of any type. Since I'm already loving it (see above), that also rules out 'lust' as reasons for betrayal.

  3. I will make sure my creature is fully trained in the proper uses of articles and personal pronouns. Once again, Mad Science is no excuse for Bad Grammar.

    As Fire=Bad, I will install a regulation or better sprinkler system in my castle/lair/secret laboratory.

  4. While peer recognition is important to me, I nevertheless commit myself to NOT revealing how I accomplish any given scientific accomplishment. Revealing how something works can lead to vital weaknesses being exposed. E.g., when a party of do-gooders gasp in astonishment and suggest what I have done is impossible, I will NOT explain that a fantastically miniaturized quantum power source at the base of my creature's brain is the secret to the whole thing. Instead, I will simply nod and say, "You're right. It's magic."


The Fine Print

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