When do you pick a new Focus?

Something that came up in a previous game system. The characters were translating into Cataclyst for the first time, and needed to choose new foci. Luckily I'd arranged it so the translation happened right around the end of our session, so we could take the time to do the paperwork for the new focus between sessions.

However, one player (who had played a grand total of 3 RPG sessions ever at this point) was pretty well lost at the process and we lost a chunk of time taking care of his new focus and the updates to his character sheet.

In general, how do you guys do this? Do you pick foci at character creation? Leave it between sessions? Do you end up translating multiple times in a single game session, or arrange things so that translation only happens at a reasonable breaking point in the session?

Just curious how other tables handle this?


  • Ya, translating near the end is optimal, but can't always be be done.

    What I like to do before starting a session is write down some suggestions for my PC's beforehand. Something like 3 suggestions per player. I let them know that the're more than welcome to wade through the available foci if they wish first. Most of the time they'll take one of my suggestions. Most of my players are not fond of mechanics to begin with and it helps reduce the time lost to bookkeeping.

    I also like to use poker chips to represent their stat pools. Red for Might, White for Speed, and Blue for Intellect. We put each individual's points in a small bucket in front of them. If they have it, its on the table and if it's gone, it's in the bucket. That way, any time we need to make changes to their pools all I have to do is give them more chips, or take them away. It also gives me a nice visual check on how close their characters are to being debilitated.
  • My players usually do it between sessions, if they're heading to multiple recursions, I try to make sure it's recursions they've been to in the past, so they can just pull that extra sheet out of their folders.
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