Security in Club Apocalypse
Setting Information for Call of Cthulhu/Delta Green

Morrigan (
Date: Sunday, December 21st , 2003
With little better to do, I glanced through Countdown this morning, and I came across the floor plan for Club Apocalypse contained therein. The club itself would be a nightmare to secure, with a parking garage, the two entrances off 99th street, two alley way entrances, four large licensed areas (main dance floor, Neophyte bar, Green bar, and main bar), and two long hallways between the patron area (those four licensed areas) and the parking garage, surrounding the climate control plant and storage areas.
Those long hallways, with all their nooks and crannies, would be bad areas, the sorts of places where assaults could take place and crimes be committed. The security staff at most clubs have a designated area to beat someone down in, somewhere where a lot of people don't go, and which is not easily seen
from the security cameras. At Club Apocalypse, this would probably be in the hallway leading off the parking garage, opposite the ramp up and heading eastwards. One of the building storage rooms in that part of the club could also be used. A concrete room with a stack of phone books in the corner and a drain in the floor...
There is no reason to think that the mundane portions of Club Apocalypse would be any different from any other night club, and, in places like that, the mix of alcohol and people is a dangerous one. To secure just the dance floor and interior of the club, a minimum of twelve bouncers would be needed, and that's just to work the doors and stationary positions. You'd probably want four to six more personnel just walking around and maybe another guy or two to work the parking garage (this is where you'd put the animals - the bouncers who really get off on hurting people). The club does have a security monitoring room off Lexington Avenue, but security cameras don't prevent things from happening - they tell you when they have happened, and usually allow weasels to attach blame without knowledge of circumstances.
Of course, the owners of Club Apocalypse are anything but mundane people, but would the likes of Robert Hubert or Stephen Alzis employ preternatural forces to provide club security? It seems unlikely to me. I wonder who does provide security for the Club? Probably not the Adepts, I have heard that many bouncers in New York City have connections to organized crime, but I doubt that the security personnel at Club Apocalypse would have mafia ties...not in a Fate establishment. An interesting possibility would be ghouls, either ones that could still pass for human, or whose true appearances are camouflaged. Ghouls are strong and tough enough to be bouncers, and a "hard bounce" or "fighting bounce" could end very poorly for a trouble maker indeed. If the security staff at Club Apocalypse is some sort of high wattage private army, they would probably draw some extra duty as enforcers for Robert Hubert. These are trained fighters anyway, who are already on the payroll. If Belial ever needed to punish someone, or to make an example, the logical choice would be his bouncers at Club Apocalypse. After all, he doesn't even have to go to a lot of trouble to pay them for the service. They just get to log more hours of work that week.
The head of security - the head boucner - at Club Apocalypse would be someone to be feared. Such personnel are usually dreaded anyway, and the "extra magical bits" that such a person at a Fate club would have would be terrifying. The head of security at any establishment is usually also your cooler - the toughest guy on staff - who makes sure that bar personnel always win any fights that happen, and they do happen. Even in the most tame clubs. The head of security at Club Apocalypse would be the security staffer most likely to be a ghoul. He would also have to be a leader of men and have a considerable degree of formal fighting training.
If you wanted to do the security staff of Club Apocalypse with a high degree of realism (perhaps your PCs have finally worked up enough courage, or you want to start the adventure there) - at least, the public part of the club that is the largest illustration on the fold out pages in Countdown - there would be about twenty guys, including the head of security. They'd be fairly outgoing and diplomatic, because even the animals don't want to fight all the time. Bouncers tend to be slightly bigger and stronger than the club's average patron, but not giants, because they can be too intimidating. They will typically have some form of formal fighting training (off duty soldiers and policemen are popular choices). Bouncers are especially protective of any women on staff or who are in the club as patrons, and the surest way to have a close encounter is to menace a waitress or female bartender. Male bartenders, on the other hand, have usually started out as bouncers and been promoted to bartender, so you really don't want to mess with experienced head crackers like them.
This is the important part: a bouncer cannot be intimidated. You are there in their environment, where they, not the police, are law. This would go doubly for Club Apocalypse. Credentials don't mean a pinch of piss in the wind to nightclub security. You could be a special forces soldier on active duty, but to the guys who do night club security, you're one more drunk asshole that they have to deal with. Since most of them have been trained how to deal with armed assailants, weapons do not intimidate either. In fact, pulling a knife or a gun on a bouncer will likely get you beaten worse, because security will get that weapon away from you, and it does not matter how big and bad you are, when five guys are pummelling you, the will to fight vanishes pretty fast. In a Fate club, bouncers are likely to have some exposure to magic, so even spells might not intimidate in Club Apocalypse. You never fight one bouncer alone. Even if its just one guy you happen to be trading punches with at any one time, his co-workers will be watching, ready to jump in it if you start to win.
You would have:
  • Two on each of the entrances off 99th Street (these look like the main public access entrances on the illustration). This is a prestige position, and also requires higher than average diplomatic and conversational abilities.
  • Two each in the main bar and the Green bar (is it really green?). These bouncers must be clean cut and presentable, since, even if they're not interacting with patrons, the patrons can see them, and they are a living, breathing advertisement for the club. The head of security would spend the bulk of his time in these bars and at the front door.
  • One in the Neophyte bar (a smaller space, and this guy can get help from one or both of the guys in the Green bar). Like main and Green bar bouncers, this guy should look good.
  • At least four on the main dance floor (one in every corner, probably on elevated positions to see the entire room; a big square room like that, even with two thousand people in it, can be easily watched). Strong powers of observation and quick reaction time are critical here.
  • One in the parking garage (this would be a tough guy, since he's there by himself) and one on the alley way entrance on the west side of the building (this guy wuld have lots of chances to make extra money as people pay a few bucks to come in the back door and beat the line up)
  • Three to five more guys who walk around all night, circulating among the patrons. These bouncers, because they interact with the patrons more, have to have the highest diplomatic and conversational abilities on the security staff. This position, called the roamer, carries a certain prestige, and would go to the more senior guys on staff as their reward. In Club Apocalypse, these roamers would pay extra attention to the long hallway parallel to 99th Street, and the two hallways heading south at right angles to 99th Street. For some arcane reason, nightclub patrons like hallways.
Trouble will happen anywhere that people are in close proximity for too long: the line up at the front door, in front of the bars, and the quieter corners of the dance floor. The witching hour, when trouble breaks out, will be around 1:00 in the morning, when people have had time to get drunk, but not enough to drink to pass out. Contrary to urban legend, nights of the full moon are not more dangerous or more violent than any other night, and the more people in a club, the less likely it is that a fight will break out, because there isn't enough room for pin heads to square off. Women will fight just as often as men, and they will be more energetic and violent in a bar fight than men will be.
Irregardless of the policies of the management of Club Apocalypse, the security staff will not want to deal with pot heads and dope fiends, so they will be on the look out for evidence of drug use, including the odor of marijuana. The bathrooms will have blue lights, which both calm patrons down and prevent intravenous drug users from finding an artery to shoot into. The second best way to receive a profound beating from the security staff, after pulling a weapon on someone, is to try to deal drugs on the premises, or close enough to the premises for the trafficking and the club to be connected.
And a final note on the Hell's Angels. Provided that their reputation in known to a preponderance of the patrons and staff at a night club, a Hell's Angel never causes trouble inside the club. In fact, they are the patrons you want: they have lots of money to spend, and have been known to back up security if the mood strikes them. This is not to apologize for the HA, or excuse their behavior, but only to say that, in a night club, they are not the ones security has to worry about.