I get it. Your evil kingdom is suuppper evil. They are just so evil that even where they live is somewhere scary.
I’ve briefly talked about this before, about how often in fantasy novels there is an evil lord taking over the kingdom, and they never really mention what he plans for after the fact.
Is gremlin number 578 going to become a farmer? And gremlin number 382 going to become the royal seamstress?
A lot of the time fantasy novels simply state that he is evil, he is taking over the kingdom, and he is killing everyone and everything as he goes. Not only that, he also lives in some sort of creepy wasteland of ice, volcanic rubble, or endless night. It is somewhere that the average person would not survive in, and it just makes him look even more creepy.
Unfortunately, this is a problem because he has to get his food somewhere. He’s killing everyone and everything, but we are still supposed to believe he is some sort of human-like creature. Hate to break it to you, but humans, animals, and human-like creatures all need to eat.
Both him and his army, are both going to need a food source. A lot of novels try to get around this by having his minions eat people, but eventually, the people are going to run out. If you are not farming the people, the people will run out.
All in all, it’s a major plot hole. This guy wants to take over the kingdom, but once he has it he is going to have nothing left. He wants this power, but once he has the power, he is ruling over…dust? And then he dies.
It is not a sustainable plan.
There are two major ways you can get around this. The first is think of a food source. Maybe in his icy landscape, they eat seals and fish, or maybe in his volcanic rubble, there is life the manages to survive. Or maybe they are more advanced and have worked out underground gardening with some sort of artificial light source.
A second way to get around the cliche is to rethink your villains’ motives. If he really is living in some sort of area devoid of life, of course, he would want to get out. Maybe the reason why his kingdom is a volcanic wasteland is that a volcano erupted and it used to be a paradise. Now, his people are dying and he is trying to take over the enemy kingdom to save his own people. Now, you have a reason for both your villain and his army to be extremely motivated; if they fail, they are dead anyway. If they win, they have farming grounds again.
Just as an extra, one final, and unpopular way, to get around the cliche is to avoid having your evil villain in an “evil” landscape. It would be an interesting twist to have the villain in a lush green landscape not all that different from the lush green landscape the hero is from.
All in all, please remember one simple rule when coming up with your villain: even evil people need to eat.