Investigate the Cthulhu Mythos during the Harlem Renaissance!
Chris Spivey's ENnie-winning breakthrough book is back and better than ever!
New York City.
Prohibition is in full swing and bootleggers are living high. African-Americans flee the oppressive South for greener pastures, creating a new culture in Harlem. The music of Fats Waller and Duke Ellington pours out of the city’s windows, while women in stylish skirts and silk stockings, and men in white gloves and Chesterfield coats crowd the sidewalks. There’s a feeling of possibility in the air, like never before.
But, even in this land of promise, Harlem is a powder keg, ready to explode. While classes and cultures collide, the horrors of the Cthulhu Mythos lurk beneath the streets, creeping through dark alleys and hidden doorways to infect the hopes and aspirations of the unwary.
Can you hold it together and keep the terrors at bay for one more song?
The Skinny on the Goods…
Harlem Unbound 2nd Edition is expanded and improved from the first edition. New areas are shown below:
- Seven scenarios (four new to 2nd Edition).
- Unique occupations tailored to Harlem.
- New Mythos monsters to terrify your players.
- Ready-to-play investigators.
- Random plot generator.
- Crash course on addressing race in gaming.
This book package includes the following:
- Harlem Unbound - 2nd Edition - Hardcover
- Two Page map of Harlem
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What The Critics Say
An essential Call of Cthulhu 1920s supplement, expanding not just the game we love, but how you view the entire genre and society itself."
— Mark Morrison, Call of Cthulhu writer (Horror on the Orient Express, Reign of Terror, Terror Australis, etc)
"Harlem Unbound gives raw material for creating journeys as well as destinations... [it is] a strong labor of love that combines both passion for a vital time and place in American history with a deep pool to draw various strains of horror, both familiar and unfamiliar, into the Call of Cthulhu game. I love this book and cannot recommend it enough."
"Style 5/5, Substance 5/5: Anyone who already bought and enjoyed the first edition should definitely get the second: there's so much more material that it presents almost literally double the content, depth, playable material, and sheer value. For anyone who doesn't have it, Harlem Unbound belongs on just about every Call of Cthulhu or cosmic/investigative horror gamer's shelf..."
— Paul StJohn Macintosh, RPGNet review.
"Harlem Unbound understands what it is to create atmosphere… this game is set in the world of the Cthulhu Mythos, but more explicitly, it’s set during the Harlem Renaissance... Classes and cultures brush up against each other in a melting pot on its boiling point–and then layer the eldritch horror of the Mythos underneath all of that, and you have a recipe for a game that’s rich and wonderful."
"1920’s Harlem turns out to be a great place to set a game. You get prohibition and gangsters, you get zoot suits, lindyhop, jazz music, flappers and the Cotton Club... the intention is not that you play investigators from elsewhere who pass through Harlem en route to traditional adventures in New England. The intention is that you play characters from Harlem, who are connected to Harlem and bound up in the explosion of creativity that is going on there... For $22 (PDF) you’re getting a great setting, some fantastic gaming advice and scenarios that will provide your table with at least many sessions of top quality gaming."
"A R’lyeh different perspective"
"Somewhere along the line Cthulhu campaign settings have made the realization that it isn't all about having a backdrop for horror. Investigators have lives, loves, and reasons to fight the forces of the Mythos. Thus, the richer the setting, the more incentive the players have to care about it, and frankly it doesn't get richer than Harlem Unbound."
— Andrew Logan Montgomery, Exploring the Otherworlds of Fiction, Magic, and Gaming.
"Don’t play CoC? Get Harlem Unbound anyway; the history and reality that it adds to any real-world campaign is essential and is presented agnostically with respect to system... Am I happy I bought it?: There are no other gaming purchases I’ve made that have been as personally impactful in a very long time. You can have fun with a lot of games, but this one will make you a more informed human being."
"An expansion of Call of Cthulhu, Chaosium’s wildly popular tabletop roleplaying game based on Lovecraftian lore... Spivey’s critically lauded expansion of the game is a landmark for both the tabletop roleplaying world and for Lovecraftian literature. It focuses on the Harlem Renaissance and assumes that all players, regardless of their real world ethnicity, will be stepping into the shoes of a black, indigenous, person of color in that time period. The book is an engrossing historical tome as well as a literal guidebook for meaningfully exploring racism in Lovecraftian fiction."
"Chaosium absolutely do not half-ass this new edition of the book, and nor should they have: the original edition of this has been selected for inclusion in the libraries of multiple museums, after all, so we’re talking an RPG supplement of significant artistic merit... With this new edition of Harlem Unbound, Keepers have never been better-supported in presenting this era in Call of Cthulhu."
"An amazing book and one you need in your Call of Cthulhu collection."
"Strongly Recommended–This product is exceptional, and may contain content that would interest you even if the game or genre covered is outside of your normal interests."
— Gnome Stew.
"Harlem Unbound takes the fight to New York City during the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920’s. Not only does the book offer an excellent history of Harlem, how the Renaissance came to be and what caused its downfall, it also offers thoughtful discussion of the racism of the era and different ways in how to address the issue."
— Forbes, Fight Cthulhu Across Time and Space on your Tabletop.
"A top tier supplement, which I think belongs in every Keeper’s library... All in all, it is the best historical RPG sourcebook I’ve encountered. It is very high quality, and has material enough for multiple campaigns, and it will both educate and inspire you. I highly recommend it."
— Mindlands, That Jazz Craze & Harlem Unbound: Review and Keeper Advice.
"Harlem Unbound is exactly the sort of sourcebook and adventure collection which drives the popularity of Call of Cthulhu. I love the fact Chris Spivey treats the readers as adults and never pulls any punches about the overwhelming racism and racial tension of the era while also never engaging in the sort of finger wagging or handwringing we often see in RPG books tackling difficult subjects. It's also quite an accomplishment to fill a supplement with interesting and educational material, which keeps the reader (and thus the players in turn) entertained, AND present a series of uniquely engaging adventures at the same time. I give the second edition of Harlem Unbound my highest recommendation. 10/10"
— The Gaming Gang, Harlem Unbound 2nd Edition reviewed on the Gaming Game Dispatch.
This supplement is best used with the CALL OF CTHULHU (7th Edition) roleplaying game
and optionally the PULP CTHULHU sourcebook, both available separately.
Physical Product Settings
Is Physical Product: [Y]
Has Inventory: [Y]
United States: [Y]
United Kingdom: [Y]
Is PDF Available: [Y]
PDF Product Name: [Harlem Unbound - 2nd Edition - PDF]
PDF Product Link: [/harlem-unbound-2nd-edition-pdf/]
Has Physical Product: [Y]
Is Physical Available: [N]
Physical Product Name: [Harlem Unbound - 2nd Edition - Hardcover]
Physical Product Link: [/harlem-unbound-2nd-edition-pdf/]
- Year Released:
- 7th Edition Call of Cthulhu
- Full Color Hardcover
- Page Count:
- Chris Spivey, Sarah Hood, Alex Mayo, Steffie de Vaan, Dr. Cameron Hays, Bob Geis, Noah Lloyd, Ariel Celeste, Neall Raemonn Price
- Brennen Reece, Alex Mayo, Jabari Weathers
- Alex Mayo
- Nicholas Nacario
- Dixie Cochran, Jill Spivey, Adam Alexander, and Mike Mason
Finally digging in to #HarlemUnbound from @Darker_Hue and @Chaosium_Inc and am already hooked. Fantastic writing on a subject and period I knew next to nothing of - the book just oozes plot hooks and menace.There's a fantastic section on Racism: Reality and the game; Application in Play which should be required reading for anyone in gaming. If you liked #LovecraftCountry even slightly, you *need* this book. It's also beautiful. Fantastic art direction, great illos, and some phenomenal contemporary photographs.
A Superlative Book
It's hard to know where to start. The book is packed with period detail, whether of Harlem's history, geography, "current" (for the Twenties) events, or people. The writing is so rich you can almost smell the food and hear the music as you read. Add in some intriguing Mythos and supernatural forces, and an excellent set of scenarios, and you have a book that will have your soul *demanding* you run a game with it. And, yes, it's about the ugly history of racism. Not just America's, but the Caribbean's and the European history that birthed them both. Reading the book, or running or playing a game in it may not be comfortable for us white folks. But that is as it should be. And Chris Spivey offers solid advice and signposts. Worth every penny.