1. Always do your legwork. Know who your Johnson is and know who your target is. Do recon in the astral, the matrix, and the physical.
2. Never go into danger without an escape plan. Don't take unnecessary risks. Don't get cocky just because you haven't died yet.
3. The weakest link in any security system is always the metahuman element. Build your plans around exploiting that link.
4. Paranoia will keep you alive. Always check and double check for RFIDs. Use a quality commlink full of necessary programs even if you're not a hacker. Only trust yourself, your team, and your mother. Expect your Johnson to betray you, and expect contacts to sell you out to Star. Be extra careful not to leave a data trail or leave evidence at a crime.
5. Make an effort to build trust and camaraderie in your team. Not only do they help you make more nuyen, they'll save your life.
6. Be an expert in one field and contribute your expertise to the team. Be proactive with your contribution and don't wait to be asked. Everyone should be the leader of the team in their field.
7. Be well rounded. You don't want to be a liability in combat or negotiations, and the odd skill can come in handy when no one in your team is an expert in that field, or the expert is unable to help.
8. Don't be afraid to look outside the team for help. If your team is missing a skill set needed for a mission, hire another runner to fill the gap. You can even hire entire groups of runners for distractions.
9. Network with everyone you can. You never know when a new contact can come in handy. The face isn't the only person who should do this.
10. Enter negotiations with a game plan. Legwork should start before the mission. With enough legwork, sometimes you can even know what the mission is before the Johnson tells you; exploit this to negotiate for more nuyen. Some factors that can increase payment:
- Level of danger (Danger to yourself, your reputation, and your possessions)
- Time constraints (How long do you need to work and how quickly does it need to be done?)
- Team experience and reputation (Have you done work for this Johnson in the past? What does your team have to offer that other runners don't?)
- Amount of legwork needed (Paying contacts and bribing people can be expensive)
- Stealth requirements (Leaving no trace, no or limited killing)
- Assets needed (IE drones, explosives, bullets, drugs, and contacts)
11. Remember that you're a professional, and act like it. Don't be an ass to the Johnson, keep your cool at all times, and protect your reputation at almost any cost. Survival should be the only thing that takes priority over professionalism.
12. If you're making plenty of nuyen from the Johnson, don't squeeze out more by looting the ganger's Streetline Special and Meta Link commlink. Your contacts don't want to waste their time with used junk. But also don't overlook expensive paydata and gear that can substantially increase your income.
13. If you're not being paid to kill someone, you're usually better off not doing it if you can avoid it. You never know when a death can spur on a vendetta from a loved one, and you never know if that ganger is the runaway daughter of a megacorp exec. At the same time, be careful not to leave crucial witnesses.
14. Don't get cocky just because you're "king of the barrens." Don't think that because gangers run in fear of you that you can toss your weight around wherever. No matter how good your team is, someone out there has a bigger gun. Even the Star outnumbers you two-hundred to one, and most any military team with a little support will likely make mincemeat of you.
14. The best way to win a shootout is not to be there.
15. Safehouses. Each team member could have one or they could chip in to split the costs. Have it some place out of the way and unobstrusive. Make the payment trail as hard as possible to to link back to you or any of the other runners. If the smelly stuff hits the fan, you've got a place to run to and (hopefully) hide for a while.
16. Make friends in the Barrens. At least avoid making enemies. The Star, the Corps, will not go into the Barrens to get you, unless you REALLY pissed them off. By which I mean, "costs in the millions of nuyen."
17. Unless you have absolutely NO other choice, don't kill the cops! Whether it's the Star, KE, or whomever else, nothing says "chase them down, hurt them bad and kill them" like knocking off a cop. Narcoject , stun rounds and flash/bang grenades are reasonably priced and much better than a death warrant from everything in a badge.
Good advice, Holly. I'll add some of my own; vintage stuff. *Pulls up file*
<<<Traveler Jones>>>Ladies, gentlemen and hackers of the class of '67,
Never Deal with a Dragon.
If I could offer you only one tip for the future, avoiding Dragons would be it.
The long term dangers of associating with Dragons have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience...I will dispense this advice now.
Enjoy the power and beauty of your tres chic clothing; oh nevermind; you will not understand the power and beauty of your clothes until they have faded. But trust me, in 20 years you'll look back at wanted posters of yourself and recall in a way you can't grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked.
You're not as fast as you imagine.
Don't worry about the Awakened World; or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to summon a spirit by chewing bubblegum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind; the kind that are 2 metres tall and want to blind you on a Tuesday at 4am.
Do one thing everyday that scares the neighbours.
Don't be reckless with other people's heavy machine guns, don't put up with people who are reckless with yours.
Keep up with SOTA; sometimes you're ahead, sometimes you're behind; the race is long, and in the end, it's what keeps you alive.
Remember the secret pay data you retrieve, forget the loused up runs; if you succeed in doing this, tell me how. Keep your old cyberdecks, throw away your old credsticks.
Don't feel safe if you don't know what you want to do with that hot merchandise, the most wanted people I know didn't know at 22 what they wanted to do with their illegal wares, some of the most dangerous 40-year-olds I know still don't.
Get plenty of soykaf.
Be kind to your knees, they're expensive to replace.
Maybe you'll goblinize, maybe you won't, maybe you'll have HMHVV, maybe you won't, maybe you'll retire after 40 runs, maybe you'll dance the funky chicken on your 75th ;what ever you do, don't congratulate yourself too much or berate yourself either. Your survival is half chance, so is everybody else's.
Enjoy your Ares Predator, use it every way you can; don't be afraid of it, or what other people think of it, it's the greatest instrument you'll ever own...
Deck, even if you have nowhere to do it but in your own living room.
RTFM, even if you don't understand it.
Do NOT read Slashnull, it will only make you feel ugly.
Get to know your parents, you never know when you'll need some extra cash from them.
Be afraid of your criminal record; it's the best link to your past and the thing most likely to stick with you in the future.
Understand that Johnsons come and go, but for the precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle because the older you get, the more you need the money.
Live in Seattle once, but leave before it makes you hard; live in Chicago once, but leave before you turn into a bug.
Accept certain inalienable truths, the weirdness will increase, runners will sell out, you too will get old, and when you do you'll fantasize that when you were young the streets were normal, runners were noble and elves were trustworthy.
Never trust an elf.
Don't expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a stolen bank account, maybe you have a wealthy Johnson; but you never know when either one might be eaten by insect spirits. Don't mess too much with your wired reflexes, or by the time they're 40, they will be out of warranty. Be careful whose BTL's you buy, but, be patient with those who supply it.
Advice is a form of nostalgia, dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it's worth.
But trust me on the Dragons.