Interlude #1

The following is a transcript of Machrone’s interview with Dintiradan of Spiderweb Software Message Board. Interview reprinted with permission of Talk Show at Ten.

A small table with two chairs sits center stage. Machrone enters from the left and faces the studio audience.

M: Welcome to Talk Show at Ten! Today’s guest is Dintiradan, a member of Spiderweb Software Message Board. For years Dintiradan had been the resident Evil Overlord, but last year he abandoned that gimmick. Today we finally find out why the Evil Overlord retired and how he is handling life on the straight and narrow. And now, without further ado, let’s welcome Dintiradan!

The audience applauds. Dintiradan enters from the right. He is humanoid, but his armor prevents an identification of his race. He wears a flat-topped helm and gauntlets of blackened steel. His tunic, pants, belt, and boots are also black without any insignia or decoration. The only other color to be seen is an occasional glimpse of dull gray mail from the hauberk he wears under his tunic. Machrone shakes Dintiradan’s hand.

M: Welcome to Talk Show at Ten, Dintiradan. How are you today?

D: Very well, thank you.

They both sit.

M: Tell us a little about yourself.

D: Well, I’ve been at Spiderweb for six years now. I originally came for Blades of Avernum, but I never made much of a name for myself there. Although have you played Kill Prize, Win Ogre? It’s my best work. (He pauses.) I’m majoring in computer science and my favorite fruit is the kumquat. Finally, although you can’t see it, I assure you I have the coolest beard ever.

M: How did you become an Evil Overlord?

D: When I first arrived, gimmicks were quite popular, even more so than they are now. TM had a thread dedicated to all his name changes, Archmage Alex had his comics, Dikiyoba talked in third person, Alorael and Salmon had their ever-changing signatures, and Ed had his vegetable insults—although that might have been part of his breakdown and not a gimmick. But evil gimmicks were lacking. This was before ET, Ghaldring, and the rebellion, mind you. Spiderweb was a simpler, more trusting place back then. Anyway, I saw my niche and it just so happened that I came across a guide to being an effective Evil Overlord right about then, so I took that as my gimmick and ran with it.

M: But there were already lots of Evil Overlords out there—Sauron, Darth Vader, and Voldemort, to name just a few. What made you different?

D: I’ll admit I wasn’t the strongest, smartest, or wealthiest Evil Overlord out there. And I definitely wasn’t the most evil! But frankly I think of myself as the most determined. Sure other overlords were more patient, but they mostly just waited, and when it was finally time to do something, they did the same thing over and over again and often passed the most difficult work onto their minions. I didn’t do that. I studied theory. I came up with original ideas. When something worked, I used it again. When something failed, I learned from it. And eventually I achieved my ultimate goal—domination of Spiderweb!

M: But you gave up control of Spiderweb after just a few months. What was that all about?

D: I found out the hard way why so many Evil Overlords aren’t dedicated as I was, or do silly things that let some heroic schmuck bring them down. Being an Evil Overlord is about the journey, not the destination. (A few members of the audience laugh.) It sounds corny, but it’s true. Without something to strive for, I was bored and restless. Besides, it was all too much drama. I tried my best to usher in a new and better age, to maintain control and implement new policies, to give the people bread and circuses while brutally squashing any hint of rebellion, everything a good Evil Overlord should do. What did I get in return? Complaining members, whiny mods, annoying newbies, and an endless stream of spambots trying to get inside. Ugh. It wore me out, it really did. I needed to set my sights elsewhere, so I gave my admin position back to Stareye and left to plot my next, even bigger plan.

M: I thought Stareye had you banned the moment you resigned.

D: (Reluctantly.) Well, yes, that too.

M: So why did you decide to retire the Evil Overlord gimmick?

D: While I was away from Spiderweb, I realized that it was no longer a fun gimmick. It was controlling my life. I didn’t have friends; I had minions. I wasn’t worried about school or a career; all I cared about were my evil plans. It was corrupting me. Something had to change. Also, as one of the few Evil Overlords in history to achieve my goals and not be overthrown by some teenage hero, I figured it was smart to quit while I was ahead.

M: What did you do after you retired?

D: I wandered the Internet. I focused on my schoolwork and rebuilt my friendships. I reminded myself how ordinary people lived and thought. Then I went back to Spiderweb. I showed the mods I had genuinely changed and they let me return. (He pauses.) Eventually.

M: How is life now that you are reformed?

D: Pretty nice, actually. I’m no longer wrapped up in scheming, plotting revenge, and dominating. It’s actually a huge weight off my shoulders. In fact, if it weren’t for school and Spiderweb, I would actually have spare time. (Several members of the audience gasp.) I know, it’s incredible, isn’t it? Plus, everyone is so much nicer to me now, and I can even be nice back!

M: What do you miss most about being an Evil Overlord?

D: Being genre-savvy. I used to know what to expect during major events. Now I’m just as clueless as everyone else.

M: What can we expect from you in the future?

D: Not much, I hope. I’m enjoying the peace and normalcy that I didn’t get as an Evil Overlord now, so I’m in no rush to start something new.

M: So no plans for a new gimmick?

D: Not any time soon, at least.

M: We still have a few minutes left. Do you mind if I open it up to questions from the audience?

D: Not at all.

Machrone stands up and faces the audience. Several of them raise their hands. Machrone selects one. An usher hurries over to him with a microphone.

A: If you are really reformed, why do you still wear your Evil Overlord outfit?

D: It’s extremely comfortable and it protects my privacy. I haven’t found anything else that can do both of those things.

Machrone points to another audience member. The usher hurries over.

A: Why do you always hide your face?

D: Next question, please.

A: Did you have any Evil Overlords you looked to as role models?

D: Hmm. Well, I did look up to Xykon of Order of the Stick. Whatever else you may think about him and his goals, that lich is badass.

M: We have time for one more question. Yes, you.

A: Should I get any Spiderweb Software games?

D: Yes, yes you should.

M: Well, that’s all the time we have for today, I’m afraid. Thank you for coming, Dintiradan.

D: No problem. I enjoyed coming. I hope you’ll invite me back someday.

Dintiradan stands and shakes hands with Machrone once more. He exits stage right.

M: Next up we have Rita Cskany, author of the controversial book Premature Baldness, Sandwich Time, and Fiery Portals Straight to Hell: What Wizards Don’t Want You to Know about Portals, Pylons, and Other Forms of Magical Teleportation. She’ll be here after the break.

The audience applauds.