It's easy to get wrapped up in one's daily stresses, and spend so much time on micro-management that you lose sight of what's really important in this life -- crushing your enemies, seeing them driven before you, and hearing the lamentations of the women.

I suppose every man has, at one time or another, considered what would be the most-complete method of utterly destroying his enemy. Men fantasize about this sort of thing in the same fashion, and certainly with the same care, that young women daydream about their wedding day. The perfect scenario is rarely if ever realized, but make no mistake -- there IS a perfect scenario.

For me, the 'crushing my enemies' part of the equation has never held a candle to the satisfaction that could potentially be derived from seeing them driven before me. There is no lasting pleasure in destroying an enemy -- there are practical benefits, of course, but if you have the power to destroy them utterly then their threat level really can't be all that much of a concern -- but watching them fleeing from you in terror, well, that's something to nod happily to yourself about when you're sitting by the fire on cold winter nights, swigging great flagons of ale and pulling softball-sized chunks off of a whole leg of lamb with your teeth.

Of course, I ran out of REAL enemies just about the same time that I got out of high school, and you really do need real enemies to make the scenarios work. There are generic, evergreen enemies that one can mentally dispatch with some small amount of enjoyment -- your muggers, bank robbers, dog-kickers, etc. -- but to do the fantasy justice, you really need a personal relationship with your enemy. You can make your enemy kneel before you, but if your enemy isn't Jor-El, and you aren't General Zod, then what's the point? You want your victory to be as meaningful as it is total.

Because, in the end, it's not about theatrics, or cheap thrills -- it's about seeing the fear in your enemy's eyes as he realizes that all of his sins have finally caught up with him, and that any power he once had over you has long fled him, leaving him naught but a broken shade. When you hold this wretched creature's life in your hands, when his will has been crushed so that the only words that can now escape his lips are, "Please, Norm, Warlord of the Wastes, take my money, my home, and my woman -- but spare my life, I beg you. And I'll throw in my cat," well, that's a level of satisfaction that can never be attained by simply setting a random evil man on fire.

I hope you'll take these lessons to heart when next you daydream, faithful readers. Until tomorrow, I'm Norm, and you will all kneel before me.



Check out Hsu and Arnie in an EGM reprint, "Wrested Peace," in the archive!

All content copyright 2006 (or earlier-like) Jeremy "Norm" Scott, all rights reserved.