A long lull in mystical energies of the universe has subsided and magic has returned to the world. Elves, dwarves, orks, and trolls have assumed their true forms, throwing off their guises. Creatures of the wild have changed as well, transforming into beasts of myth and legend. The many traditions of magic have come back to life and shamans and mages have carved out a place in the new world for themselves and their powers. Many aspects of the Awakening remain mysteries, but modern society fights to assimilate the ways of magic into a technological world.
The decades that followed the Awakening were years of panic and turmoil, as the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse seemed to race across the Earth. Cultures that had never lost touch with their mystical past began to use magic against the great nations that suppressed them for so long. The vast global telecommunications network collapsed under an assault by a mysterious computer virus. Dragons soared into the skies. Epidemics and famine ravaged the world's population. Clashes between newly Awakened races and the rest of humanity became common. All central authority crumbled, and the world began to spiral downward into the abyss.
But man and his kin are hearty animals. Out of the devastation and chaos, a fragile new social order slowly emerged. Advanced simulated sensorium (simsense) technology helped eradicate the last vestiges of the computer virus and replaced the old telecommunications network with the new virtual-reality world of the Matrix. Amerindians, elves, orks, and dwarves formed new nations. Where environmental degradation and pollution have made many areas inhabitable, eco-groups wage wars on polluters, and Awakened powers use incredible magic to heal the earth. Central governments have Balkanized into smaller nations and city-states, as fear of the world's changes drive wedges between people of different backgrounds. Vast metropolitan sprawls known as metroplexes cover the landscape, these urban jungles swallow whole regions. Police departments unable to contain crime waves and civil unrest have been privatized or their work contracted out to corporations.
are jobs where a decker hacks into a computer system host and steals information. This can be done from a remote location, though there is always the danger of being traced and raided by police or security forces. Many computers stay disconnected from the Matrix for security reasons. In these cases the decker must break into the facility and access the computer directly.
Extractions are frequently arranged by corporations who wish to steal valuable personnel from other corporations. Top research scientists, skilled financial agents, and other suits with valuable knowledge are hot commodities, and are suitably protected. The "victims" in many extractions are willingly targets--employees who have decided to defect to another corp. Some corporations consider certain personnel so valuable that they would rather have them killed than see them working for a rival.
Courier runs are glorified delivery jobs. Most often, the object to be delivered is of strategic or monetary importance, or it is otherwise valuable and so needs protection from others who want it. Runners hired for this job must make sure the object reaches its destination safely and intact.
Smuggling is similar to courier work, though smugglers usually have their own specially equipped vehicles for sneaking goods across borders and out running (or outgunning)the law. Smuggling can be quite lucrative if the runner knows the markets. Such work usually goes hand in hand with piracy, as pirates are often the cheapest source for illicit gods. Smuggling is done through various means and with many different vehicles, but the smuggler's choice is undoubtedly the Scout-class, vector-thrust, low-altitude vehicle (LAV) known as the thunderbird, or t-bird.
Wetwork is assassination, pure and simple. Many runners refuse to take these jobs, and view dirtying their hands for money in this way as vile. the world of 2060 contains many factions, each with a multitude of enemies who they find most convenient and cost effective to simply remove. Corporations or underworld figures sometimes place bounties on certain individuals; collecting on these can be profitable, if risky.
B & E stands for breaking and entering. Most runs involve B&E in some way, whether to steal research, commit sabotage, plant false evidence or otherwise further the nefarious plot of this week's Mr. Johnson. Security in the 2060s is considered an art form, ranging from mundane retinal-scan maglocks to concertina-wire electrified fences to patrolling spirits to full blown security riggers. Any runner team worth its name is going to need the know-how, creativity, or brute force to bypass these defenses.
Hooding is robbing from the rich to give to the poor, a definition that has expanded to include any run spurred more by a commitment to social justice than anything else. Examples include destroying a pollution-producing factory, mugging the Yakuza protection-racket enforcers and returning the money to the neighborhood, or defending a metahuman community from a human supremacist group. Some, especially corps, view such acts as "terrorism", while more cynical people may view such social concerns as a weakness to be exploited.
Structure hits are sabotage runs intended to do structural damage to the target that will cost time, nuyen, work and perhaps more to repair or recover from. Runs of this nature often involve large explosives so demolitions is a useful skill. Structure hits can be accomplished by other means from smart corrosives to rampaging elementals to pushing the button at the wrong time.