Background: Around 600 years ago, the whole world was in conflict.

Outside of Ser, the world was a chaotic and dangerous place. Ser was the only neutral country in a world filled with violence and devastation. There were at least 8 wars going on and nobody had any alliances. All trade was cut off.

The country Ser, led by an aging Empress Ana, said the following:

Let them fight, die, or whatever it is that barbarians do with one another. There is no need to intervene, so long as they do not cross our borders.

Upon her death, her son gained the throne and had a much different stance on the matter. In fact, he declared war upon the entire world:

As of this moment, the Ser Empire will begin to liberate the people in the world burdened by their oppressive governments, who forfeited their right to yield power when they abused it. We will extend our hand in leadership towards these victims and one by one, we will unite all of mankind. This will be the last war.

In a nutshell, they were able to actually conquer the entire world due to their brilliant military strategist. I won't go into detail.

In response to being conquered, about 50 years later a superhuman organization intent on overthrowing the Ser government was created called Res. They almost succeeded.

A new secret organization of superhumans called Rova was created, secretly sponsored by the Ser government to defeat Res. Res was defeated and disbanded, only to keep resurfacing every once in a while.

500 years later, in a world very similar to modern Earth, Rova continues to protect the world from the chaos of Res.

I'm having a hard time figuring out just how big secret organizations such as Res and Rova would be. How big would Res be, considering that its leaders and key figures have been defeated time and time again? How big would Rova be, with the support and finances of the Ser government?

The way the Rova organization works currently in my story: They have a shell organization or organizations that are legitimate on the outside, but most of its members are all part of something bigger. For example, the Rova headquarters is located in the capital city of Ser, in a building that leases office space to some other large organizations.

Specifically, I'm trying to figure out how buildings each organization might own, or how many employees I should decide each organization has. Or how they might get away with staying in the shadows for hundreds of years and yet maintain influence on an international scale.

EDIT Clarification 1: Superhumans are born, not made. They can been seen as similar to mutants from the X-Men/Marvel universe. However, there is also some genetics involved: Normal people tend to produce normal children, and superhumans tend to make superhuman children. But it is also not out of the ordinary for normal people to produce superhumans, or vice versa.

EDIT Clarification 2: Although it is true that rebellions thrive on publicity, Res is keeping themselves secret because they aren't strong enough to take on the entire world by themselves. They need to slowly gain enough members secretly until they believe they can take on the entire world's armies. Their political views simply do not have enough public support to justify coming to the surface - especially with their history of violence.

  • $\begingroup$ First question: How does creation of a superhuman work? Is it a natural thing, and superhumans are recruited, or is it that they get immersed in a tank of phlebetonium and they come out with super powers? $\endgroup$
    – Halfthawed
    Commented Oct 7, 2019 at 23:09
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ Second question: Why does Res want to keep secret? They'd want to keep their identities secret, sure, but rebellions and resistances thrive off of public displays. $\endgroup$
    – Halfthawed
    Commented Oct 7, 2019 at 23:10
  • $\begingroup$ @Halfthawed Good point, I'll address that in the question. Basically, they aren't strong enough to take on the entire world by themselves. They need to slowly gain enough members secretly until they believe they can take on the entire world's armies. $\endgroup$
    – overlord
    Commented Oct 8, 2019 at 14:08
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I don't understand why Rova is secret. Res secret is okaish. Let say it's your world equivalent of Al Kaneda. Rova would be something like CIA or MI6. Otherwise You might have a problem with "who is the reall baddies here". Cool guys don't keep secret police that make regular citizens dissapear. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 8, 2019 at 14:42
  • $\begingroup$ @SZCZERZOKŁY It is secret because the government doesn't want the world to know about the existence of superhumans. Maybe I could potentially change it around to be a secret branch of a well-known government organization? $\endgroup$
    – overlord
    Commented Oct 8, 2019 at 15:10

2 Answers 2


My answer is: pretty small. I'd personally go with something like 1000-3000 humans in the whole world. That is to cover the entire planet. Here is a couple of points to justify the number.

  • Consider how much influence google, facebook, and amazon are for example. Each can be run by a couple of people. Gone are the days of dragging the rebel to the town square and beheading him. It's enough to simply omit them from the internet.

  • Lobbies, interest groups, and all the actual dirty politics of the modern world. Oh boy. Are we talking. Imagine how much those groups actually effect the country and even world. Why are we letting them get away? Simple. They control the elected officials. Now there are levels of this. But in truth if your group is big enough and strong enough, which is is because magic, you can be even more powerful. And you just need a handful of people to control it.

  • Money. If you control the money you control the world. Honestly it's that simple. Especially in the context of magic and planning for centuries for advance. Your group of people can have the entire world in debt and still have them borrow more. Think of Crassus in the Roman Republic. So have a bunch of venture capitalist and bankers in there.

  • Big companies. Like really big companies. Think GE. Pretty simple. One figure head for that company.

  • Science and research. Yep. They can be bought and sold. I don't want to get into too much real world politics. But you would be surprised how much the actual scientific community is... Well. A community. A group of humans with all that brings. So again with enough money you can easily control the whole thing. Also science is not an abstract meditation thing. Scientists need money. And if you control the money...

  • The military. If you control enough of the high ranking generals you effectively control the military. Pretty simple.

  • The media. If they are not corrupt they are just plain wrong and stupid. And if you super duper smart journalist can't find a sing newspaper or channel to run their story, then they don't have a story. If the idea the games causes violence or that metalhead are satanists then I'm pretty sure they won't mind getting paid to still cover lies. I mean if they gonna suck anyway, might as well get paid.

  • Art. You finances the next movie, game, play, and other stuff? Yeah. They decide what is on screen and what people can see. Think how big Netflix, Sony, and Disney are. Just imagine. OH you just made a masterpiece with a crew of 2 and a budget of a grilled cheese sandwich and some change? OK. But where will it air? How can people see it? If you are into cinema you will be surprised at how much they even screw up the non political parts of it. And all that with the supreme goal of mere money making. However if your group don't care then it won't even matter if the movies make money or not.

  • Friendly head of states in third world countries. Is a thing. And it sucks. Want to mine Phlebotinum but can't find it anywhere but in this hellhole that is in a constant state or civil war like an NPC in a loop? Just a couple of millions in peaceful aid. Just your run of the mill artillery, tanks, automatic rifles, and kevlar The stuff children need to survive. And now you have your very own government. Ask that dictator for the hearts of a 100 child monthly and they will oblige. I read about literal cannibal dictators in Africa. So. Yep.

  • Little global conflicts. Because you already own most of the world as it is. You still let people have their fun and problem. But you don't have to worry about actual opposition.

  • The Godfather's model. The idea is that you do people favors of all types and sorts and then they owe you. And you should not be stupid enough to ask them something they won't like doing.

So how can you actually control a several million people army? You approach the up and coming officers. You don't break their door and drop a bag of gold on their beds while putting a gun to their child's head. You gradually introduce them into you world with whatever vices or method is more appropriate. With time they come to depend on their "godfather" more and more. You insure they rise to the top or whatever position you want.

By that point, we are talking years, they already view that person as a good guy. If he says they should support that war against that country then it's not like a stranger or a blackmailer. It's the guy that have been looking out for them since day one. Then you already have the entire cabinet in your pocket. You also have the media. They open the TV and it's about the necessity for war against country X. They speak to the elected people and again it's war. Their fellow officers want war. If you control enough people then the rest will follow. Same with every single aspect of society. Buy the head of university, but the think tank, buy people the head of the local fast food store for all it matters. You can afford it.

You also don't ask the upstanding vegan doctor who volunteers all the time and uses a bicycle and is really child, to go butcher a nosy journalist. You ask the corrupt cop, you ask the button man. In fact the ruling class/elite/group...etc is so removed for the request of murder that they are never aware about the day to day affairs.

All this is with as little magic as possible. You superhumans can change it further. So just having the resources, focus, and time to do it is enough. They can do it with a 100. But I gave a more generous number to comfortably cover the world. So that there is no stress of worrying.


Well, you need to consider what resources and superhuman abilities that Res has access to, and the power levels of supers in the setting in general. Perhaps it keeps coming back because a leader/founder has some kind of reincarnation ability or something similar that allows him to keep starting the organization up again no matter how many times Rova finishes him off? Can some members teleport away from capture? And just how easily can each side recruit new supers?


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