"Hail, HYDRA! Immortal HYDRA! We shall never be destroyed! Cut off a limb, and two more shall take its place! We serve none but the Master—as the world shall soon serve us! Hail HYDRA!"
—The HYDRA Oath
HYDRA is a criminal organization dedicated to the achievement of world domination through terrorist and subversive activities on various fronts, resulting in a fascist New World Order. Its extent of operations is worldwide; always attempting to elude the ongoing counter-espionage operations by S.H.I.E.L.D. HYDRA is funded by Baron Strucker's personal fortune, based on his recovered hoard of Nazi plunder from World War II, and funds established by the original leaders of the Japanese secret society that became HYDRA.
The organization is run with behind-the-scenes direction by Baron Strucker, alias Supreme Hydra. Under him is a central ruling committee; under them are individual division chiefs, and under them are the rank and file members and special agents.
In order to become a member of HYDRA, an individual must be a legal adult willing to submit to a thorough investigation of the applicant's personal background and to swear a death-oath of loyalty to HYDRA and its principles.
Despite the name's capitalization, the name is not an acronym but rather a reference to the mythical Lernaean Hydra. The organization's motto references the myth of the Hydra, stating that "if a head is cut off, two more will take its place" proclaiming their resilience and growing strength in the face of resistance. HYDRA agents often wear distinctive green garb featuring a serpent motif.
HYDRA was headed by nondescript businessman Arnold Brown, who was killed as S.H.I.E.L.D. apparently crushed the organization. It soon returned, however, headed by Baron Wolfgang Von Strucker, with the support of the Nazi Red Skull; After its initial defeat, several of its branches, such as its scientific branch A.I.M. (Advanced Idea Mechanics) and the Secret Empire, became independent.
During the earliest recorded days of human history, a group of Egyptians, led by a man named Imhotep, fought back a Brood invasion. Spurred by this, the survivors formed two secret organizations - the Brotherhood of the Shield and the Brotherhood of the Spear. The Brotherhood of the Spear spread out, ingraining itself into all facets of human society - science, magic, politics - like a multi-headed beast, apparently destroyed around the time of the French Revolution. And although it went by many names - the Cathari sect, the Thule Society and all its antecedents - it is under the name of the many-headed Hydra that it is most well-known.
Reformation and efforts
Formed during World War II, HYDRA originally had a State Shinto Imperialist as its Supreme Hydra. Baron Strucker slew and replaced this man, but Captain Savage and the Leatherneck Raiders thwarted Strucker's attempt to gain an A-Bomb. HYDRA then clashed with the Invaders. Earlier, Strucker had uncovered Gnobian advanced technology, while he also time traveled to the future from 1942.
Aries organized Strucker, the Fury brothers and others into a loose partnership known as the Great Wheel. The tasks he sent this group on led directly to the formation of S.H.I.E.L.D., HYDRA, and Leviathan. HYDRA's history is a long, tumultuous and convoluted one, spanning the decades from the end of the Second World War up to the present day, tied directly to surviving fugitive members of governments of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan.
Soon after the formation of S.H.I.E.L.D., one of its members and a former member of the Great Wheel known as the Professor secretly betrayed the organization to HYDRA and became a double agent. Strucker used this connection to make HYDRA the secret master of S.H.I.E.L.D. and thus Nick Fury . HYDRA used S.H.I.E.L.D. as part of a years-long, slow burning plan to subvert the entire world and bring it under their control.
Shortly upon joining the original HYDRA, Von Strucker seized control of the organization from its Japanese founders and slowly steered it towards the goal of conquering Earth. That campaign brought him into conflict with Charles Xavier and the future Magneto among others, and once HYDRA became more brazenly public in its operations, eventually led to the creation of the agency known as S.H.I.E.L.D. S.H.I.E.L.D. was formed by HYDRA proxies in the UN specifically to gain power and information in ways that HYDRA never could from its position then. After the apparent assassination of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s first executive director, Nick Fury was appointed as executive director. This decision, after several HYDRA campaigns including the creation of the Overkill Horn (designed to detonate all nuclear explosives worldwide), and the bio-engineered "Death-Spore" Bomb, led directly to Von Strucker's first death at the hands of Fury and several deceived HYDRA operatives.
In the wake of von Strucker's first death, the surviving elements of HYDRA broke into factions that each adopted its own reorganized modus operandi. Several of these factions developed "super-agents" that would occasionally break away in turn to become freelance operatives, or, in some rarer cases, superheroes such as the first Spider-Woman. In Von Strucker's absence Deltites had joined Hydra and risen in the ranks. Von Strucker was eventually revived and reunited several of the HYDRA factions under his leadership to renew his campaign against S.H.I.E.L.D. and humanity for several more years.
Enemy of the State
In an alliance between HYDRA and the Hand, Baron Von Strucker orchestrated a plan that saw Wolverine taken and killed by the Gorgon. Wolverine was then resurrected by the Hand's magic as a loyal agent of HYDRA. Wolverine was then sent on a killing spree in the superhuman and law enforcement communities in the service of HYDRA. Some of these super-humans were made into HYDRA agents using the same Hand magic that was used on Wolverine. Along the way, he also acquired defense secrets and Reed Richards' technology for HYDRA. He was eventually brought down by a combined effort from the superhero community and freed of HYDRA's brainwashing. Despite this, HYDRA still accomplished a great deal.
All was not well within HYDRA, though. The Gorgon had entered into an affair with Elsbeth Von Strucker, Baron Von Strucker's wife, and used this to depose him as the Supreme Hydra. Both HYDRA and the Hand were now under the Gorgon's command, and he focused on the part of Von Strucker's plan involving using the Hand's magic to recruit super-humans. He ordered the mass murder of both superheroes and super-villains alike so that their bodies could be revived as loyal HYDRA agents, quickly gathering together a small army.
However, S.H.I.E.L.D. had successfully deprogrammed Wolverine, and the mutant now wanted nothing but revenge. He tore through the Hand and Gorgon's former death cult, the Dawn of the White Light. He then came after Gorgon as he was carrying out a plan to assassinate Nick Fury. It was only Wolverine's last second intervention that prevented Gorgon from killing Fury, and Wolverine just barely managed to kill Gorgon, cutting off another head of HYDRA.
The Hydra Four
Edgar Lascombe took over as leader and under his command, Hydra planned an all out attack on the United States by smuggling missiles into New York for use in a planned bio-weapon assault on the Ogallala Aquifer. Lascombe know the reason why hydra had failed so many times, was the lack of superpowers, so they formed a distraction using clones of the Avengers (Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and Hawkeye, who was dead at the time) but were foiled when Spider-Man joined the Avengers' new line-up.
The Seven Capital Cities of Heaven
A man known simply as Xao formed an alliance with HYDRA in a plot to break through the mystical barrier separating Earth from K'un-Lun and pillage the city of its ancient wonders. This plan failed when Iron Fist managed to unite the Immortal Weapons of all the other cities of Heaven against HYDRA's invasion force. They never made it through to K'un-Lun, and Xao was killed.
Wheels Within Wheels
In the closing days of the foiled Symbiote uprising, Strucker destroys his undersea base Ichor, which was crawling with a Symbiote horde. With the Avengers shattered, he then changed his plans from subverting the world to conquering it. Fury found out that HYDRA was controlling SHIELD since its foundation after discovering a database in a base in Gotham City . The Database also hinted the HYDRA had a plan in place to subvert criminal organizations around the world; starting with the crime families of Gotham City
Strucker learns about this and comments "We've been dancing to the melody for so long, and finally you hear it too." In turn, Strucker gathers his new ruling council of Hydra: Viper, Kraken, the Hive and Madame Hydra. To complete this council, they had the Hand resurrect Gorgon.
This new direction began by stealing technology from secret SHIELD facilities around the US, as well as kidnapping psi-agents from the cryo-storage facility known as "Red Worm".
Hydra Agents can be replicated using the Militant Character build on Pg 217 of the Mutants and Masterminds 3e Hero's Handbook
HYDRA's level of technology is as highly advanced as that of any on Earth, based in part on technology of the alien Gnobians discovered by Baron Von Strucker in 1944. HYDRA uses various advanced experimental vehicles and devices in its activities, and various conventional military vehicles, sea-craft, aircraft, pistols and standard concussive force blasters, and conventional communications equipment.
HYDRA personnel are issued cowled jumpsuits, which have included a number of designs over the years. Originally, the jumpsuits were green with a yellow H design, and later incorporated a red and brown color scheme, but in time were changed back to green with a serpent motif.