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Harlem Unbound designer announces subversive horror-western RPG Haunted West

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After tackling the racism of the 1920s in celebrated Lovecraftian RPG Harlem Unbound, designer Chris Spivey is taking aim at the good, bad and weird of the Wild West in his next game.

Haunted West is described as a collision between tropes of the horror and western genres, taking place in a ‘weird west’ American frontier setting in the wake of the Civil War.

The upcoming RPG has been inspired by both real-life figures such as pioneering black marshal Bass Reeves, infamous gunfighter Doc Holliday and Deadwood resident Fee Lee Wong, and pop culture staples including Sergio Leone’s Dollars trilogy (A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly) and sci-fi western Firefly.

As in Harlem Unbound, Spivey says that Haunted West will bring people of colour to the fore, focusing on stories and characters often ignored or mistreated in the western genre.

The gameplay will be built on a new roleplaying system co-designed by Spivey, Ariel Celeste, Neall Raemonn Price and Brennen Reece – with more collaborators due to join the ‘slow burn’ project ahead of its early 2020 Kickstarter campaign.

Spivey is also currently working on an unannounced sci-fi RPG for Call of Cthulhu studio Chaosium, following his success with Harlem Unbound – which includes multiple ENnie Award nominations, a nod for the Diana Jones award and a revised and expanded second edition.

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