Harlem Unbound: Horror in Harlem.   Posted by Keeper of Harlem.Group: 0
Keeper of Harlem
 GM, 3 posts
Mon 28 Jun 2021
at 17:16
Harlem Unbound: Horror in Harlem
Call of Cthulhu is a horror/investigation game from Chaosium. The Harlem Unbound setting is placed in Harlem NYC during the Harlem Renaissance in the 1920s. It is expected that the players will portray non-white individuals as they try to figure out the mystery and deal with the horror.

Let me share this from Chris Spivey, author of the book:
"This game…actively encourages players and Keepers to take on roles of minorities. …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."

As I’ve indicated elsewhere, I intend to approach this setting seriously and sensitively. It will still be a Call of Cthulhu horror/investigation game and (I hope) fun for all on that level.
Keeper of Harlem
 GM, 4 posts
Mon 28 Jun 2021
at 17:17
Harlem Unbound: Horror in Harlem
Racism
It shouldn’t need to be said that no one in the game, in any circumstance, may use the n-word, but I’m saying it loud and clear. That will get you immediately and irrevocably banned from the game.
There is a host of other pejorative terms that will also not be tolerated. I expect everyone knows what those are. Acceptable designations will be Negro, African, and colored. If you have any question about other terms, ask me in private before you commit yourself.
NPCs under my control may use certain pejoratives to emphasize their prejudice. If ever this offends you, drop me a private message and I will amend the post and any future posts.

As for racism in the setting, the author provides a tiered system of “reality.” We will use the Harlemites level in the book, using the Racial Tension Modifier described below and add a couple of backdrop features listed above in addition to the ones here.
• Being black means living with a presumption of guilt.
• Being black means living under the unspoken assumption you are not as smart as a white person.
• Wealth and class do not protect a black investigator (at any social level) from racism.
• The normal police response is to threaten or use violence against black investigators.

The Racial Tension Modifier reflects the mistrust between the different groups to add a level of play and complexity for Keeper and players. When an investigator and a non-player character (NPC) are of different races or cultures, increase the difficulty of the roll (such as social skills) by one level (Regular becomes Hard, Hard becomes Extreme). At the Keeper’s discretion, an additional penalty die may be applied for particularly challenging encounters.