A little while ago I designed an Art Nouveau character sheet for 1890s Call of Cthulhu — you can see it a couple of posts back on this blog. Several folks over on the Yog-Sothoth.com forums spotted this sheet, said that they liked it … but also put forward an intriguing suggestion. Wouldn’t it be cool, they opined, if someone made a similarly themed character sheet for the default (1920s) era of the game. Obviously the predominant artistic movement of that time was Art Deco … so … would it be possible to build an Art-Deco themed sheet for 1920s Cthulhu?
Well I thought to myself, who am I to stand in the way of the accumulated voices of the international community of Lovecraftian Roleplayers (well, actually the accumulated voices of the two people who posted on the forum they liked the idea)? So, I thought I’d give it a go.
I’d have to say that I found it much harder than I initially thought to pin down exactly what defines the Art Deco look … it’s a term that is used to describe a lot of different types of art, architecture and design created in the 20′s and well into the 30′s. I looked at a lot of samples of art from this period by way of background research, and collected quite a number of example designs in many different Art Deco-ish styles. But, in the end I decided to just pick the parts of the Art Deco style that appeal to me most … and that’s the more geometrical, pastel-oriented stuff. I’m hoping that’s sort of what most other people think of when they hear the term.
So, here’s my attempt to create a character sheet that incorporates the unique Art Deco style.
In making this sheet, I ended up drawing several original drawings / designs, based on samples that I found in period art works (mainly because I couldn’t find the exact thing I wanted in a form I could easily pinch it). The two major pieces of “new” art on the sheet are the repeating border pattern — which is based on a design for an Art Deco stained glass window — and a new “Call of Cthulhu” logo that tries to be 1920s-ish in an Art Deco-y kind of way. I’ll leave it to you to decide whether these creations do the job of evoking the period.
Front Side of the Art Deco Sheet
Reverse Side of the Art Deco Sheet
Detail of the stained-glass window design that I used as the basis for the border design for the character sheet, traced from an original Art-Deco window design:
And, here’s the sheet itself, provided in two versions — one for folks who use US Letter sized paper, the other for those who use A4 paper.
- two-sided Art Deco character sheet for A4 paper
- two-sided Art Deco character sheet for Letter
- a version of the sheet with thinner borders for Letter paper (avoids cropping at top and bottom on US printers)
I revisted the Art Deco character sheet a couple of times later in 2011, mainly just to create a “fillable” version (i.e., a PDF form you can fill in and save) and do a little cosmetic tidy-up. Here are links to this “v1.1″ version:
- two-sided fillable Art Deco character sheet for A4 paper, with some autocalculation of fields
- two-sided fillable Art Deco character sheet for A4 paper, with no autocalculation
The autocalculation on this sheet is limited to automatic fill-in of Idea, Know, Luck and 99-Cthulhu Mythos. Because these automatic fields default to “0″ even when the sheet is blank if you want a purely clean version of the sheet for printing out and filling in by hand, use the version without autocalc
Please feel free to grab these character sheets and do whatever you like with them (well, except make money). Go ahead, transcribe your Octogenerian Professor of Linguistics onto one and use it as you send him to Syria in search of rare pottery shards. Whatever works for you. If you do anything truly creative or intriguingly original with these sheets, feel free to drop me an email to tell me about it! (But if your professor comes to a sticky end while you’re using my sheet … please *don’t* get in touch — I take absolutely no responsibility :-))
The layout of these sheets (and most of the text) is identical to the 1920s Character sheet from the Chaosium 6th Edition Call of Cthulhu rules. Those aspects are copyright Chaosium (but have been distributed freely). The bits I have added, including the graphics, text ornaments and logo I am happy to release under the same Creative Commons license I have used for releasing other media on this blog.