Shadowrun (4th Edition)
Basic Runner Types
The following terms refer to runners who specialize in various fields.
Faces are charismatic individuals—they may be good looking, smooth talking, quickwitted, or just have a great force of personality. Th face usually acts as the front-man at any meet, handles situations where legwork and networking are necessary, and negotiates with Mr. Johnsons, dealers, and infobrokers. A face may be all natural, but more often than not they’re augmented by bioware such as tailored pheromones.
Magicians use their force of will and the power of their beliefs to manipulate magic and control spirits. Magicians who have similar beliefs often gravitate to one another, adopting schools of thought known as traditions. Magicians of all traditions are able to cast spells and summon and bind spirits. Most can also perceive and project into the parallel mystic realm of astral space. Two magical traditions are common: hermetic mages and shamans. Mages (hermetic magicians) are known for using thaumaturgical abilities in a
scientific manner. To mages, magic is about knowledge and structure. Shamans are magicians to whom magic is attunement with the forces of nature.
Adepts are the modern-day ninjas and berserkers, using magic to enhance their bodies’ abilities. Adepts tend to be athletically oriented, with good stealth and combat skills.
Hackers are characters who specialize in computers, and accessing and manipulating data via the Matrix—either using augmented reality or going full-bore and using virtual reality to do their dirty work. Most hackers use customized computers called commlinks, often with personally written programs that manipulate the Matrix in ways beyond any sysop’s intention. While illegally logged into the Matrix, hackers can search and sift
through information of all kinds, tap phone calls, and disable and enable other systems at will. Most hackers are experts in cybercombat—a battle of skills and programs against other hackers or intrusion countermeasures (IC).
Riggers are a subset of hackers who focus on using and manipulating modern vehicles and drones. Many riggers are adept at controlling multiple drones at once and using them as “eyes and ears.” Others excel at “jumping into” vehicles through full virtual reality, effectively operating as if the machines were extensions of their own bodies. Similarly, security riggers—typically known as spiders—interface with the sim-enhanced security systems built into buildings and facilities. From this “web,” the spider’s reach spans the entire building, allowing him to see through sensors and mentally control security features like locks and hidden weaponry. For riggers looking for work on the sly, good smugglers are always in short supply, and piloting a t-bird across hostile borders or running BTL chips up and down the coast can be profitable shadow-ops. For getting down and dirty with a ride’s mechanical and electronic guts, riggers can take tech-wiz jobs to modify vehicles according to a client’s (probably illegal) desires—a lucrative biz that also requires less travel.
Street samurai are physically enhanced combat monsters. With implanted cyberware, bioware, and combat skills, they strive to be the quickest, meanest, and strongest killing machines on the streets. Many of them cybernetically boost their reflexes to increase their action and reaction speeds, or boost their strength so that they can inflict more damage. Many are also lethal with firearms, and almost all have a smartlink system installed for increased precision in shooting. Some fight for honor, some because they get paid for
it, and others because they are insane enough to go up against anything. Street samurai is a catch-all term—some characters may identify themselves as bodyguards, mercenaries, assassins, or some similar label, but in general a character based around physical skills and non-magical augmentation can be called a street samurai—even if some of them don’t like the implication.
These basic runner types are just the tip of the iceberg and are not meant to define a set of character classes. Players can create a dizzying variety of characters using the character creation rules (p. 80)—for example, a detective character who relies on charisma and skill as opposed to cyberware, or a covert operations specialist who has all the gear and cyberware necessary to penetrate electronic defenses. Th only limit is your imagination. For more examples of the types of characters you can play, see the Sample Characters beginning on p. 98 (of the Corebook).