Boston: Between the Cracks is a game about Boston Below, a shadowy world underneath the world we all know. The Below is a universe of its own, many of the places there cannot be found on any map created in the surface world. It is a world of fantasy and myth, where things the Above has forgotten about, or refuses to believe in, can be found. The Below is where things which have fallen between the cracks end up. People, items, even entire places can be forgotten, and many of them end up here. Nearly anything can be found here; wondrous things, and dangerous things.


The Below is a real every bit as extensive and varied as the Above. It extends through the sewers and sealed off basements, and winds through the crypts and catacombs of Bostonís graveyards and churches. Its thoroughfares are the access passages of buried highways and tunnels, and abandoned subway stations and train lines. You will find it in the long forgotten ancient secret passages under the modern city, created by revolutionaries and smugglers, and in the caves and caverns formed by the landfill that makes up most of Bostonís foundation. Occasionally the Below even extends Above, finding its home in attics and rooftops, hidden belfries, and decaying towers. It is even rumored that in the Below can be found passages to Faerie and Hell, and other realms even stranger.


One of the strangest aspects of the Below, is the passage of time, which is often very different than it is in the Above. Some say that time in the Above is accelerating, each day, and year passes faster than the one before. It seems that places which were separated by days or weeks, can now be reached in only hours. It may be that in the Below time is slowing to compensate, and certainly people and object seem to last far longer down here. Or it may be that once someone, or something has fallen between the cracks, and ends in the below, it is forgotten completely, even by time. Whatever the case, there is no argument that many people is the Below are old, very old, perhaps even ancient by Above standards. It is not unusual to encounter souls who remember (or claim to remember) the opening of the subway in 1897, the great Boston fire of 1872, the Boston Tea Party in 1773, and even earlier events.


Those who make Boston Below their home are as strange a mix as the tunnels they inhabit. Most are human, or mostly so, though more monstrous denizens who can no longer make the claim of kinship to humanity exist, as do the rare entities of ancient and alien nature, who never shared a common ancestor with the race of man. The Below is a hard and dangerous place, and most of itís inhabitants band together for protection and survival. The Below is divided again and again by the fiefdoms, baronies, clans, motleys, and cabals which make up its populace. Lone individuals often exist, but the ones who last tend to be dangerous hunters who are able to take care of themselves, ancient entities pursuing their own agendas, or those so twisted they are forced into solitude. Organizations in the Below are quite varied. Some are composed of individuals with a similar talent or nature, such as the Ratspeakers. Others are organized along feudal, family, or even pro-democratic structures.


Once forgotten, it is hard to be remembered again. And once fallen through the cracks, it is hard to return tot he Above again. This is the common curse of those who have been forgotten by the Above. The many wonders and unknowing residents of the Above would seem an attractive draw to anyone who has lived in the harsh world of the Below. But once in the Above, the amazing trinkets and tools of that world slip through their fingers, and they find it impossible to draw even the slightest notice from the people there. Those few denizens of the below who venture into the Above find themselves like ghosts, unseen, unheard, and ignored. From time to time someone from the Above will fall between the cracks and find himself in the Below. Veteran residents of the below call such individuals cuckoos, but this belies a very real need for the new arrivals, as they are the primary source of information about the world Above, as well as a source for new tools and wonders from the sunlit spaces.


It takes a special kind of individual to survive in the Below. Everyone needs some kind of advantage, some ace in the hole, to get by. Knacks are what makes the Below folk special. A knack can be anything someone can do that most other people canít. It might be long-forgotten esoteric knowledge, a hunterís bad-ass combat skills, or the seductive touch of a velvet. Some knacks seem superhuman, or even supernatural in origin, others are easily explained by decades or centuries of practice and experience. Others canít be explained at all. But knacks are what set the denizens of Below apart, and what makes them unpredictable. Its impossible to tell who might be able to conjure fire out of thin air, or can talk to the giant sewer gators.


Various groups in the Below have different days of import, but market days are noted by everyone. Equal parts flee market, job fair, bazaar, and carnival, the market drawls every denizen of the Below who is able to make the often dangerous journey. Because of the risks associated with traveling in the Below, the market is held at a different location each time. That way no-one gains an advantage by being consistently near the market. The market is neutral ground, attacks are not permitted, and violators are dealt with harshly, and often permanently. However duels and contests of martial prowess are allowed, provided they are agreed to by all parties. Nearly anything which exists in the Below can be purchased at market, and those who have nothing else, sell their services, their bodies, and their souls. Currency is meaningless in the Below, so most transactions are carried out in trade, or in favors. Market days form the center of the Below economy, but are also the most important social gathering as well. Clans that would otherwise fight to the death can be found trading with each other, and the latest rumors and stories spread like wildfire, as the Market is the only contact many in Below have with others outside their clan or fiefdom. The leaders of such groups also depend on the market to recruit for new members.



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