Lich!Dear Osvaud,

This is Osvaud. If this is being read by anyone else, I want to be clear that this whole diary is a well-planned distraction, and my legions of cunning henchmen (and henchwomen, I’m an equal opportunity antagonist) are surrounding you at this very moment!

Hah hah. No not really. That would be great if it was true though, right? No, I’ll inevitably have to kill you myself.

Which brings me to today’s topic—minions. Good help isn’t just hard to find, it is nearly impossible.

Minions all fall somewhere on a spectrum: from competent to incompetent and from loyal to disloyal. Picture it like an X-Y grid, with loyalty on the X-axis and competence on the Y-axis. The theoretically perfect minion with absolute loyalty and competence would then be in the top right corner, with the bottom left containing a doofus that constantly tries to stab you in the back in the stupidest ways possible.

One problem with being a lich is… we don’t generally attract people from the top right corner. People from that region are rarer than sparkly pink unicorns. They are those logic-defying fanatics willing to die on a leader’s behalf because it is the “right” thing to do. We can maybe start our own religion (and kudos to the visionaries that went that route), but that’s a lot of freaking work and maintenance… for arguably minimal pay off. Plus, it has been done to death.

Powerful people tend to be ambitious. Otherwise, it is unlikely they got to where they are. Smart people rightly think we are a bad horse to hitch a wagon to. Think about it. What savvy up and comer wants to work eternal middle-management for an immortal boss? What intelligent loyal underling looks around at expendable mind-controlled or undead servants and thinks, oh here’s a position with benefits and job security? We are recruiting from a pool filled with ruthless jerks paying lip-service long enough to take our place or lunkheads that actually think we care about them.

Naturally, not having minions is a rough option. Even the stupidest burglars work in teams and stick together for good reasons. Guys like us cast one or two spells every five or six seconds. Four moderately powerful dog-piling jerks with magic maces can potentially bash us a dozen times in that same span. They might even keep us from casting in the first place (which is super lame). That doesn’t even account for them getting the drop on us.

So minions are a necessary evil to soak up the punishment. You just have to decide if you want a smart backstabber, a trustworthy brute, or a forgettable shiftless nobody. Sooner or later the competent ones are going to take a shot at you, or the loyal ones are going to bungle things spectacularly. The boring “split the difference” group might last the longest, but they always end up being an unknown failure model. You can at least plan for betrayal or incompetence if you know to expect it.

On the upside, murdering minions after betrayal or failure is hilarious. It wouldn’t as funny or happen as often if they were actually loyal and competent.

[Previous Memoirs of a Lich]


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