Crossers are the elite criminals of the galaxy. 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.
Watch your back. Shoot straight. Conserve ammo. And never, ever, cut a deal with a Titan.
What is a Crosser?
Crossers commit crimes, known as Crossruns, usually for money. When a corporation or other backer looks for someone to do their dirty work, they look to the shadows. As "assets to be denied," Crossers pose as advantageous - and expendable - tools. Crossers usually operate in teams. A team can consist of any combination of character Archetypes, depending on what the players want. The team should have a plausible reason for working together, such as being old friends or cellmates, having the same interests, or being brought together by circumstances. Different teams have different skills and the game master should take this into account. For example, one team can be excellent at breaking into places, while another is a unit of thugs that can work best as hired muscles. While Crosser teams usually want to work in their areas of expertise, the main attraction of the plot is that the protagonists are sometimes thrown out of their element and then have to find a solution with their limited abilities. Crossers have Contacts - people they know and whose knowledge they can draw on in an emergency. Some of them are underworld types, such as gang members or contract killers. Others can be ordinary people, useful for information or "special arrangements"-for example, the company secretary who tells them when the top scientist leaves the building they are supposed to kidnap. The more they rely on the skills, information and resources of a particular Contact, the more they will ultimately owe her - even among longtime acquaintances, money and favors are sometimes needed to grease the gears. The relationship between a player character and a Contact does not have to be friendly. Sometimes the people who can help you the most are the ones you like the least. The most important connection for Crosser is the Fixer. A Fixer acts as a middleman, and can usually help Crossers find Gear, other Contacts, or work (Crossruns) - all for a fee, of course. A Corporation or other employer who needs Crossers will send someone to a Fixer to ask for recommendations. If a Crosser team has a good reputation and meets the requirements for the job, a meeting is arranged to discuss the details and negotiate payment. Since such matters are highly sensitive, anonymity is necessary for smooth operation, and employers of this type are known as Mr. Johnson. Mr. Johnson is not always a corporate representative. The world of Swan Song is rich and complex, with many people and groups who want to hire Crossers to achieve certain goals. A crime Syndicate may hire a Crosser to go after competitors, a scientist may hire her to obtain certain rare materials, or Joe Nachbar may want to search for the terrorists who kidnapped his wife. Regardless of the money source, if a job involves dangerous and potentially illegal activity, it's a Crossrun. Just as Mr. Johnson is anonymous, so can the sponsor - if the price is right, most Crosser teams don't care who pays. Misdirection is common, and Johnsons often leave false clues that lead Crossers to believe they were hired by someone else entirely.
Crossers fall outside the structured corporate world. Many are outcasts, having risen from the streets or fallen from corporate or government ranks. Their ranks include idealists and pragmatists, professionals and amateurs, disillusioned ex-corp/government/military personnel who have thrown off the shackles of corp 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 the gigantic corporate buildings. In theory a crosser can come from any Species, any Lifestyle, any background and any planet. The only thing they all have in common is that they are now working in the Shadows, as a Crosser, leaving behind who they once were. Usually a Crosser is a SINless, meaning that he does not have a legal SIN and thus is living outside the system. But since life without a SIN is almost impossible in the known galaxy, most Crossers have fake SIN which they use to get by. Even those Crossers who do have a legal SIN use fake SINs when working the shadows, so they can't get identified and tracked down.
No two crossers are alike, but there are broad categories of specialization that their culture recognizes, known as Archetypes. Every broad Archetype can be further broken down into so called Playbooks. And while every crosser falls into one Archetype or another, many live by more than a single Playbook, making for almost unlimited combinations of skillsets.
Note that these Archetypes and Playbooks are broad skillsets, meant to offer direction to a player character adn categorize them in broad terms. The Names and example Backgrounds of these Archetypes are just sterotypical examples of what such a character might or might not look like. Feel free to come up with your own backgrounds and stories for your character, instead of feeling limited by the background stories presented in those articles. Just make sure to first speek with your gamemaster about your ideas.
In addition to their birthname every Crosser also has a Street Name, the one they usually go by when they perform Crosser work or move about in the Shadows. A street name can come from word-of-mouth reputation, a lifestyle, a cover profession, a childhood nickname, or just about anything. Most other characters in the Shadows will know your Crosser by his Street Name, and. more often than not, only by his Street Name.Some Examples:
- Black Friday - Face/Street Sam and a man with a plan, and a way to make that NuCred
- Bloody Sunday - Street samurai/Face with a personal flair for wetworks missions.
- Bulletz - Vosk ammo specialist
- Cripple - Creepy Biotic, who causes turnabouts to those who pick on others.
- Diesel - Rigger that seems to live in his car.
- Element - Rigger that has mounted Culiwan Weapons to all his drones.
- Garbage Man - Rigger with a highly modified garbage truck.
- Knockout - Pugilist Adept that tends to KO his targets rather than killing them.
- Lolita - Hot young Nymphea Seducer.
- Lotus - Shinobi Assassin.
- Magdump - Vosk Adept earned it by charging through suppressive fire.
- Mr. Cleanhands - Smooth talking Face that never gets his hands dirty.
- Numberz - Highly intelligent Decker.
- Oddball - Decker with a multi-functional ball shaped drone assistant.
- Pling - A highly armored Korrug Juggernaut.
- Rural - Survivalist Explorer that prefers the Wildlands over the Sprawl.
- Sandman - Hitman for hire.
- Shutdown - Street Sam / Decker who shuts down his opposition by any means necessary.
- Smashbitz - Korrug Enforcer.
- Smoker - Face who seems to always be smoking, no matter the occasion.
- Smurf - A heavy weapons Derram that earned his name by acting before thinking.
- Static - Decker that specializes on system outages.
- Tinman - Cyber Samurai with almost no Essence left.
- Wheelz - Crosser who lost his feet and replaced them with permanent roller blades.
- Zero - Edgy Street Samurai Blademaster.