You wanna be valuable out on the streets? What can you do? Don’t say “nothing.” Everyone’s got something they can contribute to make themselves valuable. If you want to survive, you better find it, fast. You can be a crack shot, an ace grease monkey, a hacking wiz, a master spellslinger, or an expert in how not to be seen. The streets demand a variety of skills, so hone yours, then figure out how to use ’em to get paid. Wanna look a little more at what the best shadowrunners can do? Check out what faces, magicians, deckers, riggers, adepts, technomancers, and street samurais do to give you just a taste of what happens on a run.
Great shadowrunners tell stories of runs they pulled off without firing a shot, and faces are the ones that make that happen. Whether they’re bargaining with Mr. Johnson for more money, smooth-talking their way past security, or working up a long con to make the mark gladly fork over money that lesser runners might collect at gunpoint, faces use their words, their charm, and their certain undefinable something to make the world spin around them.
Why do you geek the mage first? Because they can kill you with fire, ice, or electricity. Because they can make the wounds you inflict on their teammates disappear. Because they can summon spirits to make more pain appear out of thin air. Because they can throw any object in a room at your face. Because they can control your mind and your body.
For all these reasons. You get them out of the way because of all the nightmares they can make come true.
The Matrix knows everything. It has the records of where billions of people traveled today, what they ate, what they purchased, and what fantasies they indulged in their scant free time. It also knows of plans, preparations, and prototypes that groups in every corner of the world are working on.
The Matrix knows all that. And deckers know the Matrix. They infiltrate its deepest corners, and they weaponize it. They make hosts, commlinks, cameras, vehicles, and more do their bidding. They know how to throw a monkey wrench into the cogs of the world.
Being a rigger means drifting on rain-slick streets at 200 mph. Taking a jet ski through caves no other boat can get to. Flying in low to avoid detection. And sending an army of drones to spy, mess with stuff, and light up targets with weapons fire if need be. It means having an automated army at your fingertips and doing more than controlling them—it means feeling the road under your feet, the wind in your hair, and the water on your chest as you do more than steer a vehicle—you become it.
If magic can make a cat who can mess up the Matrix (and it can!), it can do anything. Adepts are proof. Magic flows through their bodies and helps them run faster, punch harder, jump higher, and even become more charming. They can be fighters, covert operatives, faces, and more. They continually explore new ways to make magic interact with their bodies, and then punch people in the face with it.
To technomancers, the Matrix is more than a convenience. More than a necessity, even. It’s like blood. It flows around and through them. It informs everything they do, and most of them have never known life without it. They are used to seeing it around them, to summoning answers to questions with only a thought, to making the world of devices respond to their brains. Their connection to the Matrix comes from something known as the Resonance, which is believed to house everything that has ever been stored electronically. The secrets of the world are theirs—their mission is discovering where and how to look.
It takes more than a bunch of weapons and strategically selected augmentations to make a street samurai. Yes, you need to be able to bring the hurt, but being able to wage violence just makes you a thug. Being a street samurai means knowing when and how to use violence. It means having a code. The exact outlines of the code are up to you, but make sure you have one. It’s what separates you from the animals—and there are plenty of them out there.