Sunday, June 15, 2014

Rise and Fall of HYDRA: All about HYDRA

My F2F group seems interested in the Rise and Fall of HYDRA idea, so I've started thinking about it a bit more. One thing that was immediately apparent is that this game would need to be fairly player pro-active: it's up the heroes to figure out how to defeat HYDRA. One of my players reasonably pointed out that they'd need some information about HYDRA's weak points in order to plot out their plan of attack, which spawned the following info-dump:

HYDRA Overview

HYDRA is a global defense organization, currently enforcing world-wide martial law as part of the state of emergency due to the Chitauri invasion of Siberia. HYDRA took over the assets of the Chitauri-allied SHIELD organization, and has also globalized several national militaries. As such, HYDRA has global reach and nearly infinite power, though much of its strength is focused on the Siberian Gate and the counter-invasion.

HYDRA is headquartered out of the Triskelion building in Washington, DC, which is also the maintenance yard and control center for its semi-automated Helicarriers. A Helicarrier is always stationed near the Triskelion to protect against traitors; two other Helicarriers roam the US to provide heavy support against Chitauri agents. Several other Helicarriers perform a similar duty on other continents, but the majority of the fleet is engaged in a counter invasion of Chitauri. For security reasons, HYDRA does not release the number or operational status of the Helicarriers.

In addition to the headquarters, HYDRA maintains a large R&D operation in Los Angelos and a pan-optic surveillance operation based at the former Fort Meade in Maryland. HYDRA's information specialists operate of sub-offices in DC, LA, and Chicago.

HYDRA leaves local law enforcement to local organizations, but HYDRA field commanders can commandeer any local resource as they need. Initial investigation of potential traitors is handled by the FBI, but most quislings are captured by HYDRA's SWAT teams with Tesseract weaponry and Iron Patriot powered armor support ("Agents of HYDRA" is the most popular show in the US, now on its 6th season and 3rd movie.) HYDRA super-soldiers deal with exceptional threats beyond the capability of the SWAT teams, and there are rumors of exceptionally gifted soldiers (included the fabled Winter Soldier) who deal with more serious threats. Ultimate enforcement of martial law and Chitauri defense is provided by the Helicarrier fleets, their massive and abundant onboard weaponry, and their onboard aircraft and supersoldier teams. Unofficially, HYDRA also maintains a substantial secret police organization, modeled on the old German Gestapo and the East German Stasi.

Threats to HYDRA

AIM and Centipede are avowed terrorist organizations, allied with the Chitauri, who use their Extremis and Centipede powered supersoldiers to weaken humanity from within. There are also informal networks of collaborators and quislings, who band together to further their efforts of selling out to the Chitauri. AIM has bases in Europe, especially Switzerland, and Centipede has world-wide cells but is widely believed to be based out of Mexico.

The Chitauri, a technologically advanced alien species from another dimension, is of course the greatest through to world-wide security. New York City had to be nuked to repel their first invasion, but HYDRA has risen to the challenge and secured the Siberia Gate and counter-attacked. Fighting also continues, though at a lesser tempo, around the Beijing Gate. The Chitauri use micro-gate technology to insert spies and agents around the globe, forcing HYDRA to divert resources to hunting out these agents and their human collaborators. Fortunately, HYDRA's surveillance operation and data mining capabilities allow them to predict potential threats and deal with them quickly and decisively.

Certain gifted individuals, such as the Iron Man and the Hulk, were initial allies of the Chitauri. All of them have been eliminated by HYDRA, and they are no longer a threat to loyal HYDRA subjects. Irresponsible rumors regarding sightings of a monstrous green man are potential treasonous behavior and should be reported to law enforcement.

Obvious Actions

So if you're a legacy of Captain America, Iron Man, or the Hulk, or you're just some other super-powered individual who doesn't want to live under a bunch of brutal, totalitarian thugs, there are some obvious actions for dealing with HYDRA:
  • Find and recruit allies. The Chitauri are supposed to be pretty bad, and AIM and Centipede are not angels, but there must be some kind of resistance that would like to restore freedom.
  • Uncover HYDRA's lies. Almost all information about HYDRA is available only from HYDRA's own propaganda operations. Any resistance organization would need to learn the truth, and might find it advantageous to subvert HYDRA's broadcasts to reveal that truth to the world.
  • Steal HYDRA technology. HYDRA researches applications of Tesseract technology (such as energy weapons and flying suits) at the Hammer Research Center in LA. Breaking into the center and stealing technology and disrupting research would be beneficial to any resistance.
  • Disrupt HYDRA surveillance operations. Fort Strucker is supposed to maintain the largest database and data mining operation in the world, capable of predicting threats to HYDRA and advising the security forces on how to deal with them. Destroying or corrupting the database would be enormously difficult, but would simplify further resistance activities just as much.
  • Deal with the Helicarriers: The Helicarriers, as flying gun platforms and aircraft carriers, are HYDRA's trump card. Subverting their control systems, taking them over directly, or destroying them would be a great blow for any resistance, but would be the final step in a long campaign of identifying weaknesses, infiltration, and direct action.

These aren't the only actions for dealing with HYDRA, just some of the most obvious ones.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

The Rise and Fall of HYDRA

According to the official propaganda, the Chitauri invaded New York six years ago with the aid of SHIELD and the treachery of the Avengers under Secretary of Defense Pierce. HYDRA was forced to declare a world wide state of emergency to defeat the alien menace and root out the collaborators and traitors. Now, thanks to the glorious leadership
Director von Strucker, the human race has pushed the Chitauri back and is invading their homeworlds. Still, renegades and quislings are everywhere, seeking to sell out humanity for the false favors of the Chitauri. HYDRA must divert a small portion of their massive fleet of all-seeing, invincible Helicarriers to patrol Earth, dispatching justice to the craven renegades who weaken the human race from within.

But you remember the first Chitauri invasion and the heroic defense by the Avengers, more than a decade ago. You remember two years later when SHIELD built the Helicarriers to provide a further defense, and when Secretary Pierce usurped control of them and turned them on innocent civilians, proclaiming the new rule of HYDRA. And you remember the second and third Chitauri invasions, and the coup that replaced Director Pierce with Director von Strucker.

Hydra is a totalitarian organization, dedicated to stamping out freedom and individuality. Their propaganda are lies; their control of humanity premised on cruelty, brutality, and overwhelming firepower. If you werean ordinary human, you would have little recourse but to keep your head down and watch America's liberties crumble. You, though, are an heir to the fabled powers of the Avengers: a superbeing, a person of mass destruction. If you can avoid the attention of HYDRA's spies and informants, if you can find allies as powerful as yourself, if you can strike against HYDRA's organization and fade into the night before they counterstrike; then you might be able to bring the whole corrupt regime crumbling down. It will not be easy: HYDRA has strange weapons of unearthly power and superbeings of its own, as well as the awesome power of its fleet of Helicarriers. But if you're smart, persistent, and a little lucky, it would be possible.

What the Heck Is This?

So this is the teaser for a game I'm thinking about running for my face to face group. I'm pretty happy with the concept. I'm still bouncing indecisive about what game system I want to use: I like the Mutants and Masterminds, but I might want a more narrative combat sequence than something derived from D&D and using 5' squares and 6-second rounds.
general power framework of


So this game draws a lot of inspiration from X-Men: Days of Future Past (post-apocalypse hunted renegade superheroes), but uses the slightly simpler cosmology and characters of Captain America: Winter Soldier.

When I tossed this idea out to my group, one of the players suggested Misspent Youth, which he said was mechanically horrible, but had a neat collaborative exercise to create the strengths and weaknesses of the Authority. I still need to read it, but I like the concept.

I also need to dig out my old Marvel Superhero RPG adventures and see if there's anything from the actual Days of Future Path modules that I could steal.