This article originally appeared in the September/October 2016 issue.
Cyd Annasser will generally be encountered in his role as the proprietor of “Club 101”, a “gaming” (gambling) club within the extrality zone of a starport on a world near the border of the Imperium and the Solomani Confederation, where meetings between officials of the two polities occur out of the public eye. He is always well-dressed, showing wealth and elegance without being showy or ostentatious. He is unfailingly polite, even when making it clear that a particularly incivil soon-to-be-former guest is to become a former guest as quickly as possible, preferably without needing the assistance of one of his “safety escorts”.
To be admitted to his club, one must either be known to be a member by the doorman (who is also one of the “safety escorts”), or accompanied and vouched for by someone who is. Membership may not be purchased—one may be identified as a suitable potential member and interviewed by Cyd himself, after which, if Cyd is satisfied, the new member will receive a card signed by Cyd, which will only need to be shown once or twice in the future, until the “safety escorts” all recognize the member.
His staff, whether “safety escort”, steward, croupier/dealer, or administrative staff, all fit in to the “elegant but not ostentatious” image that Cyd presents, and would not look out of place in any high-end tasteful establishment.
Cyd’s only real criteria for membership—or permitted guest—center not around the person’s actual wealth or occupation, but simply on the question of whether the image of the club is maintained. A loud boor who could spend a million credits would be shown the door, while a manual laborer, brought in as a guest, but who can wear a borrowed suit well, be polite and soft-spoken, and hold his intoxicants without disgracing himself would be welcomed back in the future, even if his bets were only centicredits to the other guests’ kilocredits.
The club itself carries through with the same theme—elegance and wealth without ostentation. Wood and stone, both finished to bring out innate beauty, but otherwise with little in the way of carving or other similar decoration, dominate the decor, with tapestries and drapes hung to make the rooms acoustically quiet. Gaming tables in the “play salon” and dining tables in the “dining salon” are spaced at comfortable intervals, with reservable rooms available for private affairs.
It’s all a front. Cyd (not his real name) is really an agent of the Imperial Office of Intelligence, as is his entire staff, and the club games are crooked when Cyd wants them to be. While the information above regarding members and guests is accurate, if the player is in a position where he might be able to get information of interest to Imperial Intelligence, Cyd and the staff will be a bit more tolerant of otherwise unacceptable behavior. Once Cyd determines that the player is, in fact, in a position that would be of use to IOI, Cyd will carefully “feel out” the player to determine if s/he will willingly help Cyd and IOI, without actually cluing the target that s/he is being recruited; if the target is found unwilling, the games will be subtly “adjusted”, with the ultimate objective of getting the target into a financial position where s/he will be ripe for recruitment. As is usual in such situations, the threat of exposure of the debt will be held over the target’s head, and the information initially requested will be relatively unimportant. Over time, however, the information will become more and more important and sensitive, with exposure of the target’s past assistance being an additional threat.
If the PCs encounter Cyd, it will be because they have something that he needs—or which will at the very least make his current task(s) easier. That might be anything from gathering information about his current target, to sitting through some deportment lessons if needed and filling out a table in his club to isolate a target and make it easier to “work” him, to acting as couriers for information or money, to … whatever. Generally, as the PCs are not IOI, he will keep as much information as possible from them, but he also will not knowingly or willingly place them in a compromising or dangerous position—not that that has prevented problems in the past.