A Revelation Changes Everything
You and your squad have been making it across hostile terrain toward the enemy's stronghold. You've been getting orders from your higher-ups over a radio carried by one of your men.
And then comes the revelation: You learn that your radio is bugged. Your enemy knows where you are and everything you've been planning.
You can make it even more interactive if you didn't have to bring that radio with you, but you elected to do so as one of the five accessories you could carry on the mission. Because you chose to bring the radio, this plot twist won't seem as if it's "rammed down your throat."
Innocent People Are in the Way
The enemy has put his compound in the middle of a densely populated area. If you shell it, you'll kill many innocent people.
A Key Piece of Equipment Breaks Down
You're making a final assault on the enemy's fortified compound. The rocket-grenade launcher, your main and only sure way of destroying the ramparts, breaks.
A Character Changes Sides
Continuing the preceding story…You turn around, and there's the enemy's right-hand man. You panic! Assuming he's here to kill you, you shoot first. Blam!
As he dies, he confesses he had deserted the enemy and was changing sides. He tells you there's a lightly guarded, secret back entrance to the compound. He's about to tell you exactly where it is, but he dies.
You Fall into a Trap
You find that entrance and storm it but your enemy's men are inside, waiting. It was all a trap.
A Hostage Is Taken
No sooner are you inside the walls of the enemy fortress when your best buddy is captured. Do you go to rescue him, or do you go after your enemy?
Forced to Carry Out Another's Agenda
The enemy's henchman has got you in his sniper scope, and you're in an open area with no place to duck for cover. The way you discover you're doomed is that he's tapped into an ear microphone you've been using as part of a communications system, and he taunts you.
The henchman says he'll kill both you and your buddy (the one taken hostage earlier, who's still their prisoner) unless you tell your men to leave that you'll take it alone from here.
So, to save your and your buddy's life, you dismiss your very confused men. You've been forced to carry out another's agenda.
A Mini-Goal is a goal you need to accomplish first before proceeding to the main goal.
Let's say that there's an enemy soldier up in a guard tower, picking off your men. Before you charge the enemy's HQ, you've got to take out that soldier one way or another. This becomes a mini-goal.
Out of the Frying Pan, into the Fire
The solution to one problem gets you into an even worse problem. For example:
I think you get the idea.
A Problem with No Obvious Solution
In the hypothetical game depicted on the left, a destructive spirit has taken refuge in your space ship. You can't dislodge it or even harm it without damaging your ship.
Finally, you're forced to blow up your own ship. You don't kill the spirit, but you do succeed in injuring it. Unfortunately, you've also eliminated your only way off this planet.
Getting your player into problems with no obvious solutions can be quite dramatic and emotionally engaging.