First Impressions of Harlem Unbound [Darker Hue Studios]

I have spent the last few days reading the new Harlem Unbound for the Call of Cthulhu RPG. I’m absolutely impressed with the quality of the writing and the historicity that has been included. This is going to be a great setting to explore. I’m excited to introduce my players to some of Harlem’s famous citizens like Duke Ellington, Fats Waller, Josephine Baker, and Langston Hughes to name just a few. Not to mention some of the historical locations that are part of the fabric of the Harlem Renaissance. As I read the book my mind continued to wander with various ideas of how to incorporate various locations and personalities into a deep and rich narrative. To me, that’s the mark of a good setting book! Harlem Unbound will force many out of their comfort zones and will challenge their ideas of race and racism in such a way that everyone walks away from the experience a little more learned.

There is an understanding that most, if not all of the investigators, will be African American with occupations that are fitting for the time period and setting. To be honest, it will force many to step out of their comfort zones to be able to better explore the setting, the culture, and racism. This may be a completely foreign experience for some, but for most, we will explore the topic of racism and the setting through new lenses. Having been a history major in college, I’m looking forward to taking on this challenge, but in all honesty, it’s a little daunting. I want to run investigations that are deeply rooted in the history of the setting while being respectful of that history, culture and the people of Harlem. I will discuss this and much more in a forthcoming deep delve review. There’s a lot of deep gaming here where we can have lots of fun and learn all while beating back the mythos.

If you haven’t checked it out yet, you can grab the PDF over at DriveThruRPG.

~ Modoc

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Noah Lloyd says:

    I somehow didn’t hear about this setting book until now, and I’m *very* excited to read it.

    “There is an understanding that most, if not all of the investigators, will be African American with occupations that are fitting for the time period and setting.” I love that this assumption seems baked into the setting; this pushes against the equivalence between gamers and whiteness that seems so prevalent, that is also hopefully being whittled away at everyday (whittled away at by books like this one).

    Looking forward to the in-depth review!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. modoc31 says:


      Darker Hue Studios has done a fantastic job at writing this material and the level of depth and detail with not only the setting, but also with the topic of racism, is amazing. Chris provides some tips for those that are not African American to be better able to run and play within the setting.

      As I stated previously, I feel up to the challenge, but it is daunting. As a white man, I have had different experiences in life and as such my reality is different. I do feel this is a gaming experience that will take me out of my comfort zone and allow to me learn a new narrative and carry that experience forward.

      ~ Modoc

      Liked by 1 person

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