Focus and Multitasking

FORTUNA MONTHLY

The current global environment places higher demands on the situational awareness of contractors than ever before. Even non-security mercenary work has become complex, often placing contractors in the unenviable position of having to make judgment calls based on situational awareness that are entirely outside the scope of operational training. What is a mercenary to do?

Two schools of thought are emerging on the subject. Some trainers are recommending focusing narrowly on mission objectives, while others are adopting an approach encouraging flexibility and juggling multiple tasks.

Focus advocated argue that certainty is king. When you absolutely need to make a shot, bind a spirit, or disarm a security system, you can’t let the chaos of the situation cause you to fail. Senior Blue Sky training contractor Eli Sugimoto has taken the novel approach of instructing his recruit classes in Zen Buddhist meditation, claiming that the sectarian tradition helps them come through in tight spots. “When the chips are down,” Sugimoto told Fortuna, “you don’t want your operators worrying about their finances or their loved ones or incoming fire. You want them on task”.

Others, like Specialists recruiter Shelby Smith, have other ideas. “Focus is well and good, but modern contracts are complex,” she asserts. “Situations evolve. Problems occur. Even among the Specialists, with a higher degree of training and intelligence support than is typical in the industry, you can’t control all outcomes. Sometimes you have to pilot the airship AND fire the harpoon. You can’t neglect one in the interest of the other if you want the mission to succeed. Is it taking a gamble? Absolutely. But, when the chips are down, sometimes a gamble is the right choice for the objective.”

We all know the difficulties presented. We all know that sometimes the certainty of a narrow success trumps the possibility of total victory, and that sometimes it’s the other way around. Why specialize in one over the other? Is it reasonable to train recruits both to focus and to multitask? Is meta-tactic training for individual mercenaries merely a sales scheme, or is it of true value in the field? The opinion of Fortuna is that there is no answer that can always be correct, but we’re likely to see more and more mercenaries training on tactics as well as specific functional aptitudes. Expect to see more controversy on field doctrine as the market becomes more complex and more competitive.

By The Editorial Board, 16th February 2017

Focus

The ability to focus under pressure is key to surviving crisis situations. By shutting out distractions, a focused individual can increase their likelihood of success at nearly any task.

  • First Tier: +1 to any one roll per day.
  • Second Tier: +1 to all rolls to resist being disarmed, distracted, or otherwise subjected to interference. Additionally, the penalties imposed on rolls due to loss of resilience are reduced by 1.
  • Third Tier: +1 on all rolls that are not multitasking.
  • Fourth Tier: All instances of +1 in the first through third tier increase to +2.

Multitasking

In a crisis situation, there are always more things to accomplish than one person can handle. Learning to juggle multiple tasks gracefully can improve the chances of success while multitasking.

  • First Tier: Talking while taking other actions never counts as multitasking.
  • Second Tier: Multitasking penalties are reduced by 1. (-1,-3,-5,-7, etc.).
  • Third Tier: You can do two things at once without any multitasking penalty. Penalties begin when attempting to add a third action into the mix, with the first two actions counting as one action for the purposes of tabulating penalties (-0,-1,-3,-5,etc.).
  • Fourth Tier: You can now attempt two actions with the same limb (or other system) simultaneously once per round.