Game Mechanics

Boston: Between the cracks does not use any game system or rules set. The focus of the game is on roleplaying, and character interaction, and the need for a system to resolve scenes should be minimal. Since games take place exclusively at Markets, combat should also be rare. Players are encouraged to agree to outcomes of conflict among themselves whenever possible (for example: if two characters arm wrestle, and the players agree on who is the stronger, they should simply roleplay the match, with the stronger character winning). When situations develop that require adjudication, the GMs will narrate the resolution of the scene in the most cinematic manner possible. Of course in the world of Boston: Between the Cracks, there are certainly ‘in game rules’, such as the sanctity of the Market, the favor system, and gravity. character may follow or ignore these rules as they see fit, but must be willing to accept the consequences...


Knacks are the only character abilities that exist in the game. Each character has a single knack. Players are free to request or suggest knacks, and even base a character around one, but the GMs have final approval of knacks, and their effects. A knack may have a mechanic that goes with it, and may have a limited number of uses, depending on its nature and power. Generally knacks are one of four varieties: something you can do, something you know, something you are immune to, or something you possess. Over the course of the game it is possible for knacks to improve, degrade, or even be lost and possible replaced by new ones. All of these changes will be driven solely by roleplay and are at the discretion of the GMs.

An example knack might look like this:

This knack allows you to turn a portion of any vertical surface into a transparent window to someplace else. You do not need to know where the other side of the window is, but must be able to unambiguously define it (the other side of this wall, my bedroom, wherever the Baron is, etc.). The window is transparent from both directions, but does not pass sound very well. The window remains open only for a few moments. You may use this knack 3 times per game.


The player characters in Boston: Between the cracks are the focus of this story. They are the heroes (and the villains), and in the BBC production of this story, they will get top billing. Weather through skill, chance, force of will, or simply by being a nexus, these are the characters who’s actions will be felt in the Boston Below. In short they are more important than ‘average people’, even average people in the Below. To reflect this importance the GMs are using a concept called Karma Points. Each character starts the game with a single Karma Point. A Karma Point can be used at any time to do something exceptional, something the character would otherwise be unlikely to accomplish. Karma points could be used to defeat a clearly superior opponent, to receive a flash of insight regarding an difficult problem, or to escape from nearly certain death. Physically, the Karma point represents the rush of adrenaline, the moment of courage, or even fate itself conspiring to help the character. Karma Points cannot be used to accomplish something which is physically impossible for your character to do (walking through walls, growing 10 feet tall, swallowing the sun, etc.). However they can be combined with your character’s knack to accomplish something truly amazing. The GMs have the final decision on the use of Karma Points. Karma Points do NOT replenish (not even between games), once they are used they are gone forever. The GMs may reward exceptional roleplaying with an additional Karma Point. This rewards players who not only roleplay their character well, but involve other characters and expand the story and plot lines.

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