Mugshots of the 1920s – Photos for CoC or Pulp games

Here’s a good resource for running a RPG in the 1920s. It’s a collection of mug shots from 1920s Sydney. They’d make great portraits for players & PCs for Call of Cthulhu, pulp games, or any 1920s based game.

Apparently, the New South Wales PD had a really great photographer back in the day. The pictures are, of course, more than a little sad.

Honestly, I hesitated before I shared these. These are all real people who lived and died, and happened to have their picture taken on one of the less fortunate days of their lives. None of them actually signed up to be image fodder for some strange future fantasy game.

However, real world stuff, be it actual history or thinly disguised history, gets pulled into games all the time. Also, I didn’t unearth any of these, they’re public records on a museum website. Why did using these feel a little weird to me, when using real world wars and atrocities doesn’t?

I suppose it’s that these are real people, with real names looking directly at me across time. Some of the photos have information about what crime they had been accused of. They feel more human than a dry biographical entry in a history book.

So I’ve overcome my squeamishness, to link to this resource. It’s worth it to jump around the whole Sydney Living Museum site. They’ve got some interesting stuff there.

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