My search did not turn up anything on this site, which kind of surprised me. So here we go:

  • Late Iron Age (think roman) backdrop
  • There are augmented humans, really good fighters. They would be able to fight up to [NOT REALLY MY POINT, A LARGE NUMBER] "normal" combatants at the same time and win, given they have enough fuel. Basically a biological tank.
  • 500 is actually a huge number of fighters for the armies of the factions within my project.
  • Fuel: They need some rather common (low-yield) or rare (high-yield) substances to fuel their abilities. If you take their fuel away, they could just get it by force from another place, since most are naturally occurring substances.

From the perspective of a guild, which creates these fighters at a really high upfront cost and high education costs, how can you ensure loyalty/obedience to your guild?

You lend them to people who pay you. They go on missions (exterminations, protection etc.) .

Please don't:
- Mind Control.
- Make them dumb. To fight effectively they actually have to be smart (akin to modern elite soldiers)

[I removed a bunch of statements intended to "rank" those soldiers power-wise]

There has been some confusion wherever these fighters are wizards, from the future or whatever.

My Point is, it does not matter much. They are humans with the power to kill armies, but normal humans in all other aspects. The interesting part is how to control somebody who is presumably stronger than you and not dumb.

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    $\begingroup$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch - Reinstate Monica Sep 13 '19 at 8:19
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    $\begingroup$ "For the answer to the real question, please assume that they are powerful wizards" That doesn't make sense, since the rest of your description seems to make them technologically based. How are these soldiers created? Is it a genetic aberration, an experiment gone wrong or purely training + technology? Describing how they differ from your ordinary folk will help with finding a good answer how to keep them in line. $\endgroup$ – Mast Sep 13 '19 at 10:33
  • $\begingroup$ @Mast Turns out moving all the comments before to chat has not cleared that up. I will try the final clarify. $\endgroup$ – user6415 Sep 13 '19 at 10:46
  • $\begingroup$ Physical space constraints -- and range weapons fired by enemies -- means that "They would be able to fight up to [A LARGE NUMBER] "normal" combatants at the same time and win" is impossible. $\endgroup$ – RonJohn Sep 13 '19 at 14:20
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    $\begingroup$ If "nothing is impossible" then just assert that they are obedient to their masters. $\endgroup$ – RonJohn Sep 13 '19 at 16:36

18 Answers 18


Historically, militaristic castes - not even supersoldiers - ended up taking control of societies or organizations that created them. This shouldn't be surprising as they become essentially the same as any other skilled worker, your organization's viability and profitability relies upon them and they can substantially damage your reputation without anything like explicit rebellion simply by underperforming or being uncooperative. Examples include samurai and janissaries, and fear of professional soldiers led to China to rely heavily on levies; at its most extreme, in the Song dynasty barely having much of a military at all.

So the question essentially would be - how do you prevent skilled employees from becoming dominant? You want to prevent them from unionizing in any way, essentially, from exerting in cooperation.

1) First solution is to have your guild leadership be entirely or at least significantly composed of the same type of supersoldiers. Then you can just ritualize dispute resolution through honor systems, e.g. dueling to handle scores and disagreements - violent methods are useful here as it can form a common front of understanding that's already a core competency required in their profession. By emphasizing individual or cliquish bonds, this prevents the "super soldiers" from seeing the "leadership" of the guild as an other, and therefore devolves into typical cliques at most.

2) An religious or ideological solution has been suggested by others, but it needs to also have a status component that isn't focused on violence, since the supersoldiers know that they are highly superior in that context. If the leadership knows esoterica and as seen as holding divine mysteries, which the supersoldiers are mostly ignorant of or which only a few have granted access to, then this means that they will find reason to respect physically more normal humans for their spiritual vastness. Having "initiated" inner circle supersoldiers be particularly gifted or powerful further creates that sense of awe or respect.

3)Intense competition - if being a supersoldier isn't that uncommon and there are a lot of them, then their challenge is finding patrons and staying employed. Violence won't be a solution if brigandry will be met by their own kind; therefore they will stay loyal to the guild who will take on the more onerous task of marketing, contracting and reputation management and they can focus on what they are most familiar with: bashing heads.

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    $\begingroup$ There's something else that can behave just like 2), but doesn't warrant an answer of its own: Theatrics. If you convince the super soldiers that what they need to sustain themselves is a magic potion that only you know how to make (because only you are magical - or blassed by the gods or something akin to that), you can have them bring the ingredients to you, and you redistribute what would be essentially water and blended up ingredients. To put it in a better way, imagine that the Magic Potion from Asterix and Obélix isn't magic at all, the druid just wants them not to be independent. $\endgroup$ – Oak Sep 13 '19 at 5:04
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    $\begingroup$ Amazing how generic this anwser is, independent of time and profession truly fascinating $\endgroup$ – Hakaishin Sep 13 '19 at 6:43
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    $\begingroup$ To add to what @Oak mentioned: You could also have something that they require that physically controls them, such as a drug addiction. In other words, the "potion" in this case doesn't necessarily contain magic, other than the magic of avoiding withdrawal. See Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and the Jem'Hadar's control by the Founders. $\endgroup$ – jwir3 Sep 13 '19 at 16:15
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    $\begingroup$ Since you basically say this is a real-life issue, I'd like to hear from some Special Forces members: why don't you guys get together and take over? (I assume the most common answer would be "basic patriotism" - you're either satisfied with the system, don't want to be in charge, or would run for office instead of pulling a coup) $\endgroup$ – Shawn V. Wilson Sep 13 '19 at 16:51
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    $\begingroup$ Special forces are the final leg of delivery for a long "kill chain" of a complex military ecosystem; e.g. the guns they use, the intelligence they are provided with, the transport they utilize. However, there are examples of special forces "going rogue" and "taking over" with terrible results, such as the Los Zetas drug cartel and its origins from an entire unit of Mexican Special Forces deserting(Grupos Aeromoviles de Fuerzas Especiles). These operators not only took their combat knowledge, but also other training skills and the cartel went from an obscure sub-branch to unrivaled dominance. $\endgroup$ – user67631 Sep 13 '19 at 17:05

Trying to enforce loyalty and obedience is generally a bit of a non-starter, but there various ways you might get them to toe the line.

Firstly, make sure the training is shrouded in secrecy and spread all sorts of ominous, yet plausible (and probably entirely false) rumours about what goes on. Do you training in highly secure, hard-to-get to regions... go for the whole "warrior monk" stereotype. Run the thing like a mystery cult.

Don't let your trainees and regular folk mingle. Make sure to remind all your trainees how much vastly more powerful they are than the masses. Make sure regular humans are treated with contempt. At the same time, spread rumours about how your trainees are terrifying monsters... not to the extent that people are scared enough to break out the torches and pitchforks and burn down your nice mountain retreat, but, y'know, claim that they probably eat babies or something.

Tell the trainees that the fuel they consume must be blessed or otherwise processed via sacred rite in order to work. Don't let on that it can be trivially replaced. Tell them dire stories of what happens when they consume unblessed fuel. If you were feeling optimistic, make an example of a failing or traitorous (heretical, perhaps) trainee with a dose of some unpleasant poison. Spread rumours in the outside world of the dire threat posed by the unblessed fuel to discourage other people from stockpiling it, and take steps to secure or destoy it as practical.

Should a trainee attempt to break ranks, well. They're institutionalised now, and surviving outside the walls of the monastery amongst people they've only ever known as greedy weaklings who will in turn treat the trainee as a murderous baby eating demon is going to be challenging. They have no support networks. No money. Maybe no possessions. Their best initial hope is going to be miserable banditry, and stories of demon-bandits will make it back to the monastery at which point groups of your former peers, well fed, well equipped and working as a team, will come out and end your petty reign of terror.

Should another power shelter you... another church or kingdom or whatever, then it will be open season on those people. Cheap mercenary work. All the enemies of the demon-harboiring kingdom will be able to get cut-price supersoldiers. And what good will it do to those who shelter you? You can't teach them the mysteries... you're a grunt, not a teacher, and even if a teacher did somehow defect (fighting against the only family they've ever known, perhaps, against everything they hold true) what good is one ageing supersoldier? They'll never set up a good enough school quickly enough to protect them from their former peers.

  • $\begingroup$ Sounds a bit like android management in Blade Runner. Does not work out in the end. $\endgroup$ – KalleMP Sep 15 '19 at 18:34
  • $\begingroup$ @KalleMP plot-induced stupidity was also heavily involved there. $\endgroup$ – Starfish Prime Sep 15 '19 at 18:46

Go the assassin route.

Get them hooked on something, then control the supply to make sure they obey


Citizens first, soldiers second.

Your supersoldiers are ordinary citizens. In return for military duty they are given good state-owned farmlands and the profits they reap from using them. Their super abilities are useful in nonmilitary contexts too. These soldiers have families and they children will inherit their lands. The citizen supersoldiers have a big stake in the polity remaining as it is. This worked for the Byzantines for a very long time - the theme system.

Division of power.

Your supersoldiers are divided into legions. Legions will be structured along similar lines although a given legion might have particular strengths making it more suited for a given task than the other legions. When there is a need to deploy the supersoldiers, it is all soldiers from the same legion that deploy.

If the supersoldiers in a given legion rebel, the other legions can set them straight. Even if two legions collude to rebel, there are several legions total and the loyalists will be set against the rebels.



Aliens literally abduct a Roman Legion right before they all die due to losing a battle. The aliens then force them to fight for the next 2000 years in low-tech wars across the galaxy. Great book series. I highly recommend giving it a read.

Control mechanism #1: is that you are more powerful and/or technologically advanced than those you are controlling. If your guild is creating these soldiers, then the creators are keeping the best for themselves, or they have other tools, and are in line with each other ideologically, whether that be under a specific leader, supporting a specific cause, etc.

Control mechanism #2: The guild has various groups that can be used to keep individual groups in check. Look at universal soldier for this. One solider goes rogue, and multiple other super soldiers are there to (try) to keep the rogue in check. Everyone is getting paid or generally doesn't want to rock the boat. They all know the risk of bucking the system, and most don't, which includes enforcing orders to kill rogues even though maybe they would rather not.

Control mechanism #3: The guild can ultimately just go after your family, torture you to death, or a number of other extremely undesirable situations that would keep everyone else in line. Of course the entire organization needs to be set up in a way where this is a normal course of business for them.

Control mechanism 4: Have a substance the super soldiers require, and not getting it kills them and/or is extremely unpleasant for them.

Control mechanism 5: Shock collars, bomb implants, and anything else that means rebellion = instant pain and death.

Control mechanism 6: They don't need to be controlled. They love what they do and why they do it. Maybe the love killing, maybe they love defending freedom, or maybe all of the above. The number that do rebel are low enough in number so as to not matter or be easily taken down.


You kind of already have most of your answers within the premise. Though I have some arguments against the amount of power you are talking about.

  • Supply lines/Logistics. So, with enough fuel, your guys can do anything. Well, even if these aren't rare substances, they are things that have to come with. Sabotage the supply lines, burn stuff, taint the supply...I can think of lots of different things you can do with this. They aren't just naturally powerhouses. They NEED something. Even if it is something common, it will quickly become valued, simply because it's super-soldier fuel. You say that they can just "go get more" but that's on the premise that they don't RUN OUT before they can. And if I know people, they will exploit the ever-loving crap out of that. One single person can be smart, but it just takes one ordinary general who is smarter...I can tell you this, most of the more famous military successes in centuries past became famous for one reason: logistics. It's not glamorous, but I would seriously look into it. Regular troops, like your specials, need fuel/food. It was the generals that figured out how to most efficiently supply that during their time, and limit the ability of the other side that had to supply their troops that won. And they lost when they could not do this (see Napoleon).

  • They aren't super without some substance. Make it addictive or special and you are halfway there to control. Even if it isn't, you can make it quasi-religious. See how the Founders handled their soldiers and the White in Star Trek DS9. I would recommend modifying what they are fueled with and how.

  • You already have a guild/society structure in mind. This means rules. This means the enforcement of those rules by the people in the society, including those soldiers. People at the top and on down will have a vested interest in enforcing those rules. See John Wick 2 & 3. These killing machines have a structured society. It just means that other killing machines will be sent to kill you when you step out of line.

    Therefore, when they follow the rules they get rights and privileges. When they do not, those are taken away, up to an escalation that includes death.

  • Not that this answers your question directly, but...500 people? Why that number specifically? Given that most armies aren't more than a few thousand, just one or two of these guys would be more than significant--and that stops it from being interesting or challenging. Given that organized efforts of humans have brought down larger and stronger prey in our history, I really don't see how that can be true, unless this is a kung fu movie and they decide to stupidly fight him 1-3 at a time? We can be very, very resourceful as a group, so...please don't discount that. Enough humans with the right tools and strategy can definitely defeat one superpowered moderately smart single human. Unless you're talking Homelander (from The Boys) levels of power here (like Superman).

I said the above doesn't directly answer your question because it does in an indirect way. Ordinary, everyday humans, when they work cooperatively, are a force to be reckoned with. These guys shouldn't be untouchable. Narratively, I would want them to be powered enough to be arrogant, but, with the concerted effort of regular people--defeatable. Might not be easy, but it should be more possible than you've made it.

  • Kryptonite. Your problem is a problem already faced and solved by the creators of Superman. See, the comic book writers had a problem. They'd written a totally invulnerable, superstrong hero. So they created something to make him vulnerable. Pretty soon, the stuff was EVERYWHERE. Everyone had it. Contrast Batman with Superman. Batman's awesome, he has great gear, but he's not invulnerable, he's not so powered that we never believe that he's in peril. It's easier to create stakes then. Point is--your guys can still make a significant difference without being overpowered. Anyway, everyone's more scared of Batman.
  • $\begingroup$ Somewhat of an misunderstanding there. Their powerlevels are superhuman, and not mundane/realistic. But they are far from the most powerful creature in-world. I will again amend the question. $\endgroup$ – user6415 Sep 12 '19 at 17:09
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    $\begingroup$ @openend You really should have stated this in your question. Perhaps many people were thinking "Captain America" when you really meant "Superman" as it were. $\endgroup$ – BLT-Bub Sep 12 '19 at 17:28
  • $\begingroup$ @Chickensarenotcows Yep. In our comic book lore, most of the time super soldiers are not anywhere near Superman levels. Examples I can think of: Deadpool, Captain America, Wolverine, Mockingbird, and on the upper end, Luke Cage. Even on the upper end of that, Luke Cage is pretty invulnerable, but not unstoppable. So, yeah, Kryptonite needs to be introduced. $\endgroup$ – Erin Thursby Sep 12 '19 at 19:44
  • $\begingroup$ @openend I think my answer still applies and I stand by it. Kryptonite or something like it for the win! I'm still team Batman though. ; ) $\endgroup$ – Erin Thursby Sep 13 '19 at 3:04
  • $\begingroup$ I do not understand. Are you telling me I need to rebalance my world (of which you know nothing about other than there are people who can slaughter other normal people very easily?) I really appreciate the first parts of your answer, though, thanks! $\endgroup$ – user6415 Sep 13 '19 at 8:05

I'm surprised no one has mentioned this, but to control a powerful human you just need a more powerful one. That, or to have enough power in general, either raw, economical, or political.

In terms of raw power, you just have to set up an organizational structure where you have enough powerful and loyal enforcers to keep the workers in control, or the leader is so powerful no one can think to rebel against him.

Economic power is something that also cannot be underestimated; an army can destroy a city by itself, but who will provide the food? A bunch of superhuman folk would probably not deign to go out and farm for themselves, so having a big guild to solve the problem of logistics would be a big help to them.

A thanks to Li Yun for discussing economic power/logistics in the comments below, as he/she pointed out that economic power alone cannot keep a group of people under control, because the super-humans can just migrate to another group. Still, economic power is very important because the superhumans would want to procure the best equipment and best treatment. The economic power of a guild would allow them to provide those incentives, and the best guilds would be able to offer incentives and equipment that lesser guilds simply cannot compare with.

TL;DR, competition and being the best at something, whether it's raw power, or economy, will naturally allow the structure of guilds to stay in place. Loyalty due to power is not as 'stable' as faith or mind control, but it is naturally occurring and the simplest cause for stability. It will also be easily acceptable for any readers, because it draws a parallel with our own society.

  • $\begingroup$ they may can plunder it from other place though just like their need of fuel in the description $\endgroup$ – Li Jun Sep 12 '19 at 16:08
  • $\begingroup$ besides the people or nation that purchase them probably provide food for them during fight, and if they rebel to their original guild they probably find another company/guild or kingdom to provide it for them. $\endgroup$ – Li Jun Sep 12 '19 at 16:12
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    $\begingroup$ Plundering while they go will just cause chaos and put the people against them. It's also bad supply chain management because if they fail to take an objective they'll start starving and make serious mistakes. Yes, they can definitely find another guild to provide logistics, but no matter which guild they go to, they will still need those logistics. So providing them with better logistics and support is important. $\endgroup$ – Enthus3d Sep 12 '19 at 17:15
  • $\begingroup$ i really doubt it gonna be a long battle/champaign anyway since single person can deal 500 people so i doubt it require many person or mouth to feed or require plenty of food, but eitherway i agree with you that logistic is important but other can provide it, and that doesnt mean the super soldier will stay loyal to their original guild because of it which is what the questioner ask, because they can find other guild or kingdom to support them instead, if the guild neglect them from food it will definitely become a cause for rebelion and they can get it from other. $\endgroup$ – Li Jun Sep 12 '19 at 17:35
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    $\begingroup$ I believe they'll need logistics to provide them with their power source, and I'm sure they'll have higher demands for food/power as a result, but you're right in that logistics alone is not an answer. I feel that economic power will still be important though, because they will need better equipment and simply robbing those will not be sufficient to provide them with a good support. Eg. in certain online RPG games (eg. Path of Exile), it is more sustainable to trade for the things you need than to farm them yourself. The most powerful guilds could provide connections and the best support. $\endgroup$ – Enthus3d Sep 12 '19 at 17:43

This is iron age time. Any super soldiers you create will mean that you are viewed either as a wizard/witch or a holy priest offering godly boons. Since the wizard/witch thing is burned most of the time the priesthood is the best option.

As priesthood offering godly powers to people you already have a lot of power over the one's you enhance. They have to be pious believers in your god. But this isnt enough, perhaps a rebellion did occur that was stopped by other supersoldiers or by the ruling soldiers not being able to make more, or maybe they just build precautions. No matter what they decide to not tell the supersoldiers what exactly their fuel is, and ritualize the fuel to such an extend that it is taken after priests have prepared it. You arent offering fuel, but special food enhanced with godly powers from the priesthood.

There is still something that can go wrong, these are smart super-soldiers so there is going to be at least one that's going to be asking some questions. Answer those questions as follows: the fuel you take is lethal for normal humans, only someone as godly as you can take it, in fact its the purity and lethality of the substance that makes it such a good fuel for these super-soldiers (this is whar you tell them, not what is true). This makes sense for the super-soldier who already does things no ordinary human does every day and prevents the super-soldier from forcing a priest to create it under threat of life and subsequently to let the priest ingest it to test its effects. Then you let slip some formula's and ingredients of dangerous substances supposedly used in the creation of the fuel. These have nothing to do with the actual fuel as you want any runaway super-soldier trying to make his own fuel to kill him/herself in the process.


Faith! Or indoctrination or brain-washing whichever you prefer.

Make them not just an elite, but "chosen by the gods themselves", or so they are indoctrined from the earliest days of childhood alongside their martial training and never to question this dogma. Thus, fighting faithfully according to this code which should include obedience to their superiors within their guild and absolute loyalty with the worst pains of hell awaiting them in the afterlife, if they ever were to go against your principles.

While training the children/youngsters after removing them from their birth families in order to become this elite, make sure to instill in them the belief that their special fighting gifts have been granted to them by the gods, but can also be taken away when turning aginst said deities. While they are still young, create scenarios where you let them fail purposefully as a punishment for ever breaking their code and instill in them the notion that breaking the code will take away their powers. This can be via feeding drugs to wrong-doers without them noticing which will deminish their physical prowess and mental capabilities and showing their failure publicly as to turn all others of breaking their code and ever turning against their god-given place.


since your super soldier is an augmented soldier and the guild create it, i guess the guild can monopolize on their maintenance, they are the only person know how to fix and have the spare parts, so.... either way they have no choice but to obey.

also give them good payment (if they still want/need money) to make sure they dont think themself as slave or have some higher status than slave or commoner.


The guild leaders have something that the super-soldiers need but can't produce themselves.

This could be...
1) The super-soldiers are all addicted to a very rare drug that only the guild leaders can produce.

Taking the drug produces an effect so pleasurable that they can't live without it, and therefore willingly obey the guild leaders.

The drug is produced by a kind of magic that the soldiers don't have.

2) The super-soldiers are all infected by an incurable disease. They need a dose every so-often or they will become very sick or die. Only the guilds can produce a medicine.

3) Though the soldiers are powerful, they need some sort of special equipment to be at maximum strength. The equipment wears out and needs to be replaced regularly. Only the guilds have a means of producing the equipment.


One approach to take from real-world history would be to do as the Japanese Tokugawa shogunate did, hold their families. If we presume that every soldier has a family, then have the guilds control their access to their families. For example, have a soldier go out on a mission or many missions for six months, and then spend three months with the guild training, learning, etc., but also spending time with their family. The family live a comfortable life with the guild, but can't leave (this also allows soldiers' children to be raised in a controlled environment). The soldiers then know that if they disobey their guild, then the guild will harm/kill/etc. their families. However, if they stay loyal, then their families will continue to lead comfortable lives and they will be allowed to see them.

This idea can even be extended into time limitations. For example, if a soldier is minorly disobedient, then the time next spend with his family can be reduced or the like. This allows temporary punishment to continue ensuring loyalty. However, this would have to be coupled with longer visits for acts of extreme loyalty so as to also provide an incentive to the soldiers, otherwise they'll just become bitter toward the guild, and thus less productive overall.

This solution isn't perfect, but could certainly be one way of controlling them to a point. If you combine this with some of the other ideas suggested here, you could certainly have a viable way of controlling these soldiers.

Hope this helps!

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks Hen! I am compiling a list right now, because those soldiers are a global phenomenon in my project and every culture would have a different approach at control. $\endgroup$ – user6415 Sep 13 '19 at 14:13
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you very much @openend! Glad I was of some assistance! $\endgroup$ – Arctic_Hen7 Sep 14 '19 at 3:58

Go the Janissaries route that the Ottoman Turkish empire used.

Very short version:

  • Kidnap children so they have no familial loyalty to anyone in your empire. (Or augment children; or maybe the process makes this moot.)
  • Maintain strict discipline.
  • Instill a code of honor. (Look at thinks like bushido or chivalry for ideas.) A sense of patriotism - or, better, devotion directly to the king/emperor/whatever - would be a bonus.
  • Like many Special Forces groups today, teach them they are the best-of-the-best, and superior to "normal" people.
  • Pay them very, very well.

Because of the first one, they have no external loyalty. Because of the second and third, they are easier to control. Because of the fourth and fifth one, they are harder to bribe: they already have a "better" life than the "mere" mundanes of the realm.


Adopting them as babies and raising them to be unconditionally loyal should be the norm. It's not mind control, but more like long term brain washing. It's similar to the story of how a baby elephant was tied using a chain that it couldn't break, no matter what, untill it simply stopped trying, and even a simple rope would now suffice despite it having grown up. If a person is raised to listen to orders from a young age, their brain literally gets hardwired by the time they become adults and it's very difficult to break through such a mental chain.


In WWII, the doctrine for tanks included different roles -- Anti-infantry tanks, tank-destroyers, the British had cruiser tanks (intended for flanking). Perhaps your soldiers have similar roles, and order is enforced by only allowing the most loyal, proven members to train in the anti-supersoldier schools?

Further, in real life martial arts, wrestling was one of the more effective styles in early mixed martial arts, as many fights end up on the ground. However, attempting to wrestle multiple people at once leaves the wrestler in a very vulnerable position, as pinning one opponent will leave them open to strikes from the other. Perhaps the anti-supersoldier school is similarly weak against groups, rendering this caste useless without the normal supersoldiers to lord over. This provides them with a strong incentive to stay loyal to the guild, and is also a potential source of dramatic tension.


If your forces see themselves as mercenaries then the corruptibility of human nature will lead them astray, and some may become uncontrollable.

From history and fiction, there are several examples you can draw inspiration from for how to create a disciplined and loyal cadre of soldiers.

In no particular order of importance, you need to establish the proper culture, a sense of interdependence, and esprit de corps.

Culture: The social structure your soldiers must establish the need to see loyalty and discipline as a point of honor, and a condition of membership within their 'tribe'. That honorable and respectable soldiers are committed to the goals of their officers. And, the officers, in turn, see the goals of those that are leasing their services as of tantamount importance. Examples from history are Samurai or Janissaires serving with absolute fielty to their liege lord. From fiction, the Sardukar from Frank Herbert's Dune novels is one example, of many.

Sense of Interdependence: You soldiers need to know that they need on another to be victorious on the field of battle. This is over and above disciplined. They need to know that they are fighting as much to keep themselves alive to keep their teammates alive too. I think this is important because its harder for groups of people to turn their back on their traditions compared to one person. The group keeps everyone focused on the values of the group. I always thought this was a trait of the Fremen in Herbert's Dune novels.

Esprit de Corp: This instills a sense of separateness from the rest of humanity and is a source of resilience and strength in times of adversity. The value of the second part is self-evident. The first part might seem counter to logic. My reasoning is if these super-soldiers see themselves as alien to the world around them, then it will be harder for them to be seduced by relationship and opportunities that lie outside the group. And, it will make them feel odd to regular people too. This further distances them from relationships that might compete with their loyalty to the overall tribe, which keeps them loyal to their tribe.


You can't control them by religion. Religions are like memes (if you ignore the esoteric part of summoning spirits/astrology/alchemy/geomancy) and memes evolve with time, selecting the variations most useful, most fulfilling to it's followers. In your case that means that eventually your super soldiers will modify it and soon they will have a prophet justifying them taking over your kingdom.

You can't control them with money/land/women because if they are supersoldiers they can TAKE the money and gold and the women.

You can't drug them: you don't want supersoldiers with withdrawal symptoms because the supply network broke down because of enemy horsemen raiders pillaging the carts.

So they will eventually take over the leadership of your kingdom, like the Mamluks of Egypt.

What they can't do is rule your (now theirs) empire without bureaucrats. The bureucrats will carry their edicts and bring them information. So the bureaucracy will be their eyes and hands once they take over. So if you control what they see (the inflow of data) and what they do (the outflow of data, to carry the edicts) you control them.

This control can't be done by a single individual because if the supermen get pissed off they can simply kill the annoying bureaucrat. But they can't kill ALL bureaucrats. So, factions of bureaucrats can control them after they take over. You will get the ocasional harsh superman that will purge a lot of bureaucrats, but the bureaucratic class, the mandarins, will always be there...


Don't put all your eggs in one basket

The key to any rebellion is to turn enough of an organization's forces against itself. If you can only turn a small fraction to be disloyal, then the rebels will be killed by the loyalists. So, instead of having a single central location where you train and barrick all of your superhumans, you seperate them in small cadres located across the whole country side. Each group is taught that betrayal is the gravest crime a person can commit, and it is their first and most important duty to end a betrayer's life.

In this manner, if a single soldier steps out of line, he knows his cadre is sworn to kill him, because that is what he is sworn to do. He also knows that even if he can convince his whole cadre to join him in a rebellion (they are his friends after all) that there are 20 other cadres out there who he does not know who WILL hunt them down if he tries.

This fear of death for disloyalty means that many of the super soldiers will play the part of being loyal as best as they can, even if they feel in their hearts it's not quite right. Their friends who see this loyalty to the guild will then be reinforced in their belief that they will be killed for disloyalty; so, they too play the part.

By keeping cadres separate and isolated, you also control information because there is no counterpoint to your words. If you only have 20 cadres but you tell everyone you have 60, then even if a large number betrays you, they will be on the run instead of turning to fight you believing that it's only a matter of time before you muster the full strength of the guild to put them down.

As long as you keep each soldier believing that you will always have enough loyalist to win, rebellion will feel just as daunting as if they were normal soldiers in a normal army.


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