The megalomaniac mad-scientist is a stereotype that dates back to Frankenstein and can be found in every genre and medium, including such classics as Dr Strangelove. It is also a common stereotype for Boss Monsters in role-playing games, where evil wizards dream up schemes to take over the world or resurrect long dead gods. Whilst these characters seem overblown and melodramatic, they do have real world counterparts.

For example Herman Sörgel, a german architect and philosopher. His dream was simple. He wanted to create dams at either end of the Mediterranean to generate electricity, and reduce the water flowing in so that an area the size of France and Belgium combined would be reclaimed from the see. The idea was to give Europe easy access to Africa’s resources so that a European superstate would be strong enough to fight of the ‘Yellow Peril’ coming from the East.

The plan had many flaws, not least of which is that the dam at Gibraltar was so large, it would need more concrete that actually exists on the planet. This did not stop Sörgel giving his life promoting the scheme. Quite literally, he died in an accident on the way to give a speech about the project.

So next time you planning to have a megalomaniac Boss Monster, remember the real life megalomaniacs and their plans. Your Boss needs to be truly grandiose plans to beat Sörgel.

For more about Herman Sörgel and his plan to dam the med, visit Strange Maps.