When the Megacorps want something done but they don't want to dirty their hands, it's a Shadowrunner they need, and they come to them. Their existence is not acknowledged by any governmental or corporate database, the demand for their services is high.
Shadowrunners are the elite criminals of the Sixth World. When conflicts arise that cannot be solved by legal means, the corporations, governments, wealthy individuals, and even organized crime will subcontract their dirty work to deniable specialists.
Shadowrunners fall outside the structured corporate world. Many are outcasts, having risen from the streets or fallen from corporate or government strata. Their ranks include idealists and pragmatists, professionals and amateurs, disillusioned ex-corp/government/military personnel who have thrown off the shackles of structured society to achieve freedom, and those who have never known any life outside the shadows. The one thing they have in common is that through necessity or by choice, they work in the shadows cast by megalithic corporate buildings.
No two shadowrunners are alike, but there are broad categories of specialization that their culture recognizes.
- Street Samurai: Technologically-enhanced physical combat specialist. An enforcer for hire whose combat skills and reflexes make them the ultimate urban predator.
- Adept: Magically-enhanced physical combat specialist.
- Decker: Technologically-enhanced electronic warfare specialist.
- Technomancer: Magically-enhanced electronic warfare specialist. Sliding like a whisper through the databases of giant corporations, spiriting away the only thing of real value -information.
- Rigger: Vehicle/drone control specialist.
- Face: Social warfare specialist.
- Mage: Hermetic Magic specialist. One with an ancient gift, the ability to wield and shape the magical energies that now surround the Earth.
- Shaman: Shamanic Magic specialist.
- Investigator: Stealth focused specialist.
- Shadowrun: First Edition, pp 6-7 (1989).