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Archetypes Shooter Boomer Scrapper Hacker
Driver Breaker Patcher Facilitator
There are as many character types as there are characters in the MetaCyber setting, but for ease of conceptualization there are eight broad Archetypes of characters that are generally recognized and sought out in the hard and fast world of Runners.
The Archetypes are not straightjackets; they are just intended to provide recognizable niches that are typically sought out by those putting together Runs. A Fixer trying to fill out a contract will sit down and think to themselves "Going to need a Driver for insertion and extraction, two Shooters to pin down the front and back doors, and an inside team comprised of a Hacker, a Breaker, and a Scrapper. The Hacker and Breaker can be one guy maybe, in which case a secondary Scrapper with some ancillary Breaking skills could work...", and then proceed to seek out talent to fill such a roster.
However this is mostly a concern for new Runners and loners that either don't have or don't want to Run with an established team and have to look for pick up contracts where they are hired or not hired based upon what they can bring to the table specifically for that job.
Runners that function as part of an established Runner team usually have a Facilitator who in effect subcontracts Runs from Fixers and manages the details of the planning and execution themselves, typically taking into consideration the skill sets of the team and fitting the plan to that rather than the other way around. Runners in such a team environment are much more free to pursue individualized progressions and not have to worry about being competitve within a narrowly defined skill set.
Since Archetypes are very generic or idealized, many characters wont fit exactly into an Archetype while some other characters will be very generalized and have the potential to grow into various Archetypes with time, but currently are more jacks of all trades.
There is nothing wrong with this per se, but such characters will have to work harder to prove their value to Fixers to convince them that they are assets to a Run when they are trying to break into the field. There's no margin in just tossing warm bodies at a contract and thus Fixers hire Runners, particularly new Runners without a proven track record, because they claim to have relevant Skills that are specifically applicable to the job at hand.
However, Fixers also put a premium on experience and results, so if a Runner that doesn't fit nicely into an accepted role manages to get work and pulls it off, they're likely to find no shortage of work thereafter once word of it gets around. A Runner with a perfect skill set match and no experience is usually passed over for a Runner with a partial skill set match and proven experience.
Some Runners are combinations of two or sometimes three Archetypes, or have the semblance of one Archetype but fill the niche of another. For instance, a Runner that specializes in piloting heavily armed Drones from short range has the semblance of a Driver but serves the purpose of a Boomer. Similarly a Runner that is a brutal Hand to Hand fighter that excels at infiltrating a facility, finding someone with a high access level and either coercing them or mugging and bio-collecting parts of them to defeat security, functions more like a Breaker even though on the surface they fit the bill of a Scrapper.
Such Runners can be very successful, particularly for specific Runs that require exactly their sort of M.O., or working as free agents. However the volume of jobs where their off-brand approach is sought out will be far fewer than more mainstream Runners that excel at filling the standard roles. Thus while the occasional contract will come their way preferentially and pay off higher, most of the time such Runners will find themselves in the position of having to get work by presenting themselves as conforming more closely to an established role.
Some of the top Runners are in fact nonconformists; their nonconformity and unusual approaches are part of what helped elevate them from the rank and file. Young Runners aiming for the top via a path less traveled can and do take hope from the fact that at least some that reject the narrow brush strokes of the typical Runner roles make it big in the end.
Most starting characters belong solidly to one Archetype simply due to point economies, or risk spreading themselves too thin. However as they progress their characters players will either tend to branch off into other skill sets, or reinforce their existing Archetype's skill set.
The upper echelon of Runners is composed of those who are experts at two or more specialties that are capable of wearing many hats on the one hand, a smaller selection of ultra-specialized people that are insanely good at filling one sort of role in another hand, and a smaller group of odd-ball individualists that made it to the big leagues doing their own thing in a third (and final) hand.
The ultra-specialized can demand the highest rates for jobs that need them, the broad-based have a much larger selection of jobs they are capable of pulling down, and the left fielder Runners that go their own way typically excel at a particular type of job for which they are one of the recognized world's best at -- though some compete effectively with the mainstream rather than controlling a niche. It's all just yet another example of Supply and Demand at work.
All that aside, the upper rung of Runners are like brand names. What they do and how they do it are so well established that people hire them basically to be themselves. You don't hire "Daring" Lee because he's a Shooter / Scrapper, you hire him because he's "Daring" Lee and he's done more Runs than you can count without the aid of an actuary or math whiz.
In fact, most of the best Runners plan their own missions from soup to nuts and many have learned to be paranoid enough even of their own employers to demand total autonomy and to refuse disclosure of how and when they will execute their missions.
For instance, someone that hires Gra$$$nake to penetrate a megacorps and extract a top brainworker isn't hiring him or his team because they fit certain recognized roles in some idealized configuration of skill sets. They are hiring him because he and his team have a proven record of carrying out successful extractions. Whether they pull it off via stealth, force, hacks, all three, or something else is really not a concern to the hiring party so long as the job gets done.