Gaffer
 member, 1674 posts
 Ocoee FL
 45 yrs of RPGs
Tue 27 Apr 2021
at 05:15
Harlem Unbound - Call of Cthulhu
About a month ago I posted looking for a GM to run Call of Cthulhu in either the Berlin: The Wicked City or the Harlem Unbound setting. I struck out.

So, having reviewed the Harlem Unbound source book and despite my trepidation, I think I am prepared to run a scenario using its background. Why have I been hesitant? Because I'm a white man in the 21st century, not a black resident of 1920s Harlem and I wonder if I am up to communicate that milieu and guide others through it. But I'm ready to make the attempt. I'm encouraged by these words from the book.

"This game…actively encourages players and Keepers to take on roles of minorities. This may lead to a more difficult gaming challenge: to look at the past for what it really was. Harlem Unbound does not gloss over racism in the name of gameplay. Racism is part of the world and part of the game. …I tried to write the book in such a way that it would be approachable to all gamers, but respectful of the truth of history and racism without making a mockery of the pain and perseverance of so many people.

When playing someone of a different race, there must be sensitivity to avoid any form of cultural appropriation. It is possible to honor and interact with the culture on more than just an aesthetic level.

Blackface? Just don’t. Don’t try to talk with a “black” accent. Don’t try to have “black” mannerisms or fall into any of the countless stereotypes. This is a key thing for any Keeper to convey once you have crafted your scenario.
"

Note that player characters aren't restricted to AfricanAmerican backgrounds, other minorities and white allies and patrons may be included, but I would hope to have a good representation of black characters.

Are you up to the challenge?
tibiotarsus
 member, 228 posts
 Hopepunk with a shovel
Tue 27 Apr 2021
at 07:09
Harlem Unbound - Call of Cthulhu

What were you thinking to do with the setting?
Gaffer
 member, 1675 posts
 Ocoee FL
 45 yrs of RPGs
Tue 27 Apr 2021
at 12:55
Harlem Unbound - Call of Cthulhu
In reply to tibiotarsus (msg # 2):

Run the usual Call of Cthulhu investigative horror story.
tibiotarsus
 member, 229 posts
 Hopepunk with a shovel
Tue 27 Apr 2021
at 13:11
Harlem Unbound - Call of Cthulhu
That's a given; I meant, like, are we likely to be a jazz band whose instruments got swapped over with more dire ones of terrible function, plucky randoms facing a string of mysterious stray dog mutilations, tenants of a house where people disappear, just beaten up by cops with a side hustle in culting, watching our friends get sucked into something they shouldn't that might have apocalyptic effects...?
Alcuin
 member, 14 posts
 Retired Bureaucrat
 RPGing since 1974
Tue 27 Apr 2021
at 14:25
Harlem Unbound - Call of Cthulhu
Members of the African Legion perhaps? Or Black Cross Nurses, or UNIA activists?

"One God! One Aim! One Destiny!"  - Marcus Garvey
"Princes shall come out of Egypt: Ethiopia shall soon stretch forth her hands unto God." - Psalm 68:31

http://nationalhumanitiescente.../tkeyinfo/garvey.htm
Cliope
 member, 180 posts
Tue 27 Apr 2021
at 15:55
Harlem Unbound - Call of Cthulhu
I'd definitely be up for it.
InQueli
 member, 15 posts
Tue 27 Apr 2021
at 16:13
Harlem Unbound - Call of Cthulhu
Sounds great to me, I'm in if you'll have me.
PCO.Spvnky
 member, 469 posts
Tue 27 Apr 2021
at 16:26
Harlem Unbound - Call of Cthulhu
I haven't heard of this, supplement?  But I always like a good CoC game.
Gaffer
 member, 1676 posts
 Ocoee FL
 45 yrs of RPGs
Tue 27 Apr 2021
at 16:44
Harlem Unbound - Call of Cthulhu
In reply to tibiotarsus (msg # 4):

Haven't settled on a story yet. It will depend to a great extent on the characters the players create. All of those ideas are good.
liblarva
 member, 697 posts
Tue 27 Apr 2021
at 17:43
Harlem Unbound - Call of Cthulhu
What is the level of racism we can expect from the NPCs in game? How much of a part of the game as a whole do you expect racism to be?
tibiotarsus
 member, 230 posts
 Hopepunk with a shovel
Tue 27 Apr 2021
at 18:08
Harlem Unbound - Call of Cthulhu
Question seconded, though I'd assume that'd depend on the storyline/who and where we had to be investigating.
zeone3000
 member, 573 posts
Tue 27 Apr 2021
at 18:12
Harlem Unbound - Call of Cthulhu
So it sounds like you want to base the story on what the players input, instead of having characters based on the story you output.
Boogs
 member, 33 posts
 I do boogie consistently.
 Consistently boogie I do.
Tue 27 Apr 2021
at 18:20
Harlem Unbound - Call of Cthulhu
In reply to zeone3000 (msg # 12):

It sounds like you think these two things are mutually exclusive.

@Gaffer: I appreciate your openness about where you come from and trying to be accommodating of your players in your worldbuildiing. Good stuff.

This message was last edited by the user at 18:21, Tue 27 Apr.

zeone3000
 member, 574 posts
Tue 27 Apr 2021
at 18:25
Harlem Unbound - Call of Cthulhu
In this case, to begin with. When the OP has literally said they haven't come up with a story yet and it will depend on what the players create. Though, it helps to know what they will be doing. You know the where at least, 1920's Harlem.
Boogs
 member, 34 posts
 I do boogie consistently.
 Consistently boogie I do.
Tue 27 Apr 2021
at 18:45
Harlem Unbound - Call of Cthulhu
That's a fair enough observation. I respect that.

I'd honestly be interested in the game myself (surprisingly never played COC before!) but I'm full up on obligations.

Seems like a pretty cool aspect of horror to explore, and I'm not usually a fan of historical.
keyland
 member, 28 posts
 Wookiee Scout
Tue 27 Apr 2021
at 19:39
Harlem Unbound - Call of Cthulhu
I'm interested in joining this game. If you want a good radio drama to get in in the mood for 1920's check out Harlem Queen
coded steve
 member, 25 posts
Thu 6 May 2021
at 19:23
Harlem Unbound - Call of Cthulhu
Have you started this one yet?
Gaffer
 member, 1678 posts
 Ocoee FL
 45 yrs of RPGs
Thu 6 May 2021
at 20:06
Harlem Unbound - Call of Cthulhu
Still working it up, but I think soon. I'll post here.
Eur512
 member, 865 posts
Fri 14 May 2021
at 14:08
Harlem Unbound - Call of Cthulhu
As someone with a professional interest in NYC history...

While I can't join the game it ought to be interesting.
Cthulu is all evil supernatural stuff, yes?

In the 1920's, the regimental armory on 5th and 142nd would be under construction.  This was the new home of the 369th Regiment of the New York National Guard.

In WWI that unit, which was African American because the Army was still segregated, earned its nickname: the "Harlem Hell Fighters".

Perfect for opposing the forces of supernatural evil.
Alcuin
 member, 17 posts
 Retired Bureaucrat
 RPGing since 1974
Fri 14 May 2021
at 16:59
Harlem Unbound - Call of Cthulhu
But at the same time, there was also Marcus Garvey's African Legion, the paramilitary arm of the United Negro Improvement Association.
Gaffer
 member, 1683 posts
 Ocoee FL
 45 yrs of RPGs
Fri 14 May 2021
at 23:49
Harlem Unbound - Call of Cthulhu
In reply to Eur512 (msg # 19):

The source book includes info on the Hellfighters.
Gaffer
 member, 1684 posts
 Ocoee FL
 45 yrs of RPGs
Fri 14 May 2021
at 23:50
Harlem Unbound - Call of Cthulhu
In reply to Alcuin (msg # 20):

There may be some overlap there.
Gaffer
 member, 1693 posts
 Ocoee FL
 45 yrs of RPGs
Wed 16 Jun 2021
at 01:10
Harlem Unbound - Call of Cthulhu
I just about have this ready to go.
Gaffer
 member, 1694 posts
 Ocoee FL
 45 yrs of RPGs
Thu 17 Jun 2021
at 19:59
Harlem Unbound - Call of Cthulhu
Here's the game: link to another game