- Opening Mission — Initial scene where the PCs are assigned a mission. It could be to fight an evil villain in his lair, rescue someone, or pull off a heist. The key concept is there is a location that the PCs have to investigate and scope out before the final act.
- Prep — The following scenes are investigation, strategy, and preparing to accomplish the goal. The PCs drive the action; the GM simply answers questions.
- Boss Scene Trigger — At a certain point (usually ½ or ? through the game), regardless of what the PCs are doing, something ‘triggers’ the final climactic scene. The trigger is important because it makes sure you have time for the final infiltration and boss fight.
- Boss Fight — This is the final set piece battle.
Some examples of Triggers:
- You receive a secret message from an informant tell you something is happening at a certain location and time (which is only minutes from now).
- You are rescuing a kidnap victim held in an impregnable fortress. You discover they will be relocated and there is an optimal time and location to free the victim. At the Trigger point, you receive word the victim is being moved.
- You are exploring a dungeon. At the trigger point, the next door you open is the lair of the boss monster. (You may want to redraw the map on the fly so that the final room or cavern is now at that point in the dungeon crawl).
- You are exploring a derelict spaceship. After the fourth room you investigate (regardless of where in the ship you are), the fifth scene kicks in, which is a boss fight with an enemy.
To create a quick Triggered Mission adventure, follow these structured steps:
- Invent a villain.
- Put the villain in a fortress or sanctuary that has guards, traps, or hazards.
- Have the villain possess something (an artifact or kidnapped person) that the PCs desperately need to rescue.
- Have an open ended part of the adventures where the PCs can investigate the fortress, gain clues, scope out guards, and lay plans to infiltrate the fortress or location.
- At a time of your choosing, announce a ‘trigger’ that forces the PCs to make their move. Maybe the artifact is going to be destroyed, the kidnap victim killed, or some other disaster.
Triggered Missions are one of the easiest types of games to run. Aside from sketching out the lair or ambush location and coming up with a villain and object or person to rescue, the players drive all the action. You can sit back and enjoy the story that unfolds!