Monthly Archives: May 2011

Art Deco Cthulhu Character Sheet

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.

Gallery

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 Art Deco-ish “Call of Cthulhu” logo I designed for the 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:

The Sheet

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.

[UPDATE]

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:

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

[/UPDATE]

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.

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Re-Reborn: “In A Different Light”

A little while back, I released a free-for-download scenario called “In A Different Light”, here on Cthulhu Reborn. You can still grab the scenario and read a bit about how it came into existence, over on this blog post.

Since releasing the PDF, I have been contacted by several people who have either run, or are planning on running the adventure. That’s great. Interestingly, a couple of people had already built their own player handouts for “In A Different Light”, prior to the PDF coming out. Emailing with these folks (and in one case seeing their props), I was impressed by the amount of work they’d put into preparing to run the scenario. I also realised that even with most of the key player clues provided in the original PDF as handouts, there were still several (more tangential) artefacts of the investigation that are sort of glossed over with a paraphrasing summary in the text rather than provided verbatim for the players.

So, armed with the wonderful pre-PDF props made by Andy Miller (aka Max_Writer), I set about building some additional props for the scenario. All-in-all I have constructed another seven pages of props and maps (including two hand-drawn maps, plus ten handouts). These supplement the six pages of handouts included with the original PDF.

Here are a few snapshots of the new handouts:

The “Unpublished” news article — on Arkham Advertiser letterhead (as seen in the wonderful props from the HPLHS)

A couple of old books with information on Crawford’s Rise and its mysterious disappearance

Detail from one of two extracts from Prof Jamisons (very weathered) notebook

As always, these files are provided entirely free … and you can put them to whatever (non-commercial) purpose you want. I hope that these props make your game more enjoyable.

If you do want to download the Add-on Pack, you can do so simply by right clicking on the link below and select “Save As” from your browser’s pull-down.

Download the Web Add-On for “In A Different Light” (eight pages, 4.2MB, v1.1)


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