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Digital Subscriptions > Tabletop Gaming > August 2019 (#33) > Chris Spivey

Chris Spivey

Chris Spivey’s groundbreaking Harlem Unbound confronted the monster of racism as unflinchingly as the cosmic nightmares stalking the streets of New York. His next RPG, Haunted West, takes aim at the western

‘AS A BLACK KID IN SOUTHERN ALABAMA, HORROR IS A GENERAL ASPECT OF YOUR LIFE’

Main illustration of Harlem Unbound: Second Edition by Brennen Reece

For Chris Spivey, roleplaying and racism were intertwined from a young age. The future designer first discovered Dungeons & Dragons when he was around seven, picking up the RPG’s iconic Red Box to play with a friend.

“Even as we were flipping through it, we didn’t see anyone that looked quite like us, so that was a little disturbing even at that age,” Spivey says.

Shaken but undeterred, Spivey stuck with the game, eventually joining an Advanced Dungeons & Dragons group. A fondness for the fantasy stories of Michael Moorcock saw him then move on to Stormbringer, the roleplaying game based on Moorcock’s Elric of Melniboné books and built on the Basic Roleplaying gameplay of Chaosium’s RuneQuest. Spivey’s love of roleplaying soon led him to begin creating his own settings to explore.

“One of the first things I did was I actually made a sort of African fantasy world using some of the Stormbringer rules,” he recalls. “So around 12 or 13 I started designing and making games for myself.”

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About Tabletop Gaming

Dungeons & Dragons: Descent into Avernus: Ahead of the fantasy RPG’s momentous journey into the depths of the Nine Hells in this year’s Descent into Avernus adventure, principal story designer Chris Perkins tells us about returning to Baldur’s Gate, surviving the Blood War and taking inspiration from Mad Max: Fury Road. Pathfinder: Second Edition: A fantasy roleplaying giant in its own right, Pathfinder’s second edition brings over a decade of changes and stories to the RPG for players new and old. Director of game design Jason Bulmahn runs us through everything you need to know. Chris Spivey: The roleplaying designer speaks to us about confronting racism in his acclaimed Lovecraftian RPG Harlem Unbound and upcoming western Haunted West. Die: Kieron Gillen tells us about his ‘goth Jumanji’ comic book for roleplaying fans – and the real RPG it spawned. Undaunted: Normandy: David Thompson and Trevor Benjamin follow up their acclaimed War Chest with an innovative blend of deckbuilding and tactical wargaming set during World War II. Games for kids: As the summer holidays begin, we run through the perfect games to enjoy with younger players – and older players, too. How We Made: Viticulture: Jamey Stegmaier and Alan Stone pop open the cork on their winemaking strategy hit. Reviews: Villainous: Wicked to the Core Proving Grounds The Expanse RPG Roll for Adventure Patchwork Doodle Blackout: Hong Kong Slide Quest + more!