Seattle, 2072. A sprawling metropolis, notionally a member of the United Canadian and American States, an isolated protectorate surrounded by Native American Nations who seized back control of most of the western USA following the return of magic 60 years ago. In practice however, the government is mostly irrelevant – the real powers are megacorporations, gangs and organised crime.
Most people work regular day jobs, wage slaves to the megacorps, tagged and tracked wherever they go, obedient mice in an urban maze. You’re not most people.
You’re Shadowrunners – free agents specialising in the kind of work that can’t be done any other way, either because it’s expressly illegal or when ‘deniable assets’ are needed. The Corporate Court notionally regulates what corporations are allowed to do to each other, and the (largely privatised) law enforcement covers everyone else, but if some enterprising group should step outside those boundaries to tip the balance one way or another, well that’s just unfortunate and can’t be pinned on anyone…
The person contracting you for a ‘run’ is always known as ‘Mr Johnson’ – a convention that avoids the inconvenience of divulging any actual names. The risks are high, the job usually illegal in some way, and there is no backup if things go wrong. On the plus side, the money is better than a regular job, and you actually have some freedom and independence in life – something no wage slave really ever has. As for the motivations behind each run: most of the time, it’s best not to ask Mr Johnson too many background questions, he’ll probably find someone else. If you happen to find out more details independently though – well, that’s just good business sense. Maybe someone else will make you a better offer; although be careful about your reputation, no-one wants to hire a regular double-crosser.