Moving Goalpost

Keeping quest chains going can be tricky. Sometimes quests lead nicely into each other and one adventure segues nicely into the next, moving the players from story to story organically, through natural consequences or related plotlines. Other times that’s just not going to work, and you just need to put the end of the quest into the next dungeon to keep people moving.

In logical fallacy circles, this is known as “moving the goalposts”, where the standards for an argument shift once the previous criteria has been met. It also applies to adventure design when the quest goal moves when the previous goal has been accomplished. You need to save a princess and she’s in a castle? Oh, too bad, she’s in a different castle. You need to stop the cause of giant raids across the countryside? Oops, the source wasn’t really the giant chieftain, as he was working for the drow, who are working for Lolth. The badguy is always a minion to a larger badguy, no matter how much you thwart the villain’s evil schemes you just delay their plan, and no matter how much you succeed you’re always starting over. ¬†