(Any) – An extra layer tacked onto one of the other reasons
imagined they were someone else/delusional/insane
mistaken for someone else
was about to die but recovered unexpectedly (and no one knows yet)
Annoyance – Often to gain peace. The murderer will return to regular life, not take on power or control. Most of the reasons indicate a severe need for anger management training.
“road rage”

57 years of irritation
android malfunctioning in an annoying way
annoying habits
bad taste
better at everything

charming popular personality who is actually clueless about the subject he/she is an “expert” at
disgusting habits/repulsive
dreams too big, makes others who’ve accepted lot in life look like failures
dumps garbage on property
famous person whose attention, fans, etc. are destroying peace of neighborhood

inexplicable dislike, sets teeth on edge
jealous of privilege
jealous of the free, easy life someone has when others have had to work so hard
jealous of their success
maker of annoying jingles that get stuck in peoples’ heads
mentally or physically challenged
messenger with bad news
no longer necessary for goal
obnoxious little kid
once famous person who won’t shut up about it
out of control animals (loud, killing livestock, pooping in yard, attacking)
overly ambitious
owner of annoying business (loud, smelly)
peeping tom
phobic/unreasonable fear of person
practices or holds opposing beliefs/values (Hummer driver)
recovered from mourning too quickly
represents what someone hates
smug winner
steals services (water, electricity, gas, phone, cable, internet, etc.)
stinky (e.g., fish monger)
tabloid reporter
taunting/embarrassed on purpose
too happy
too happy that someone died/was punished/suffers
too intelligent/nerdy/know it all
too loud
too lucky
vain about privileges

weaknesses that are embarrassing
wrong color shoes
Instrument – Commanded or compelled to; not done for personal reasons toward target, though sometimes done for personal gain (money, regard of god, freedom from being vaporized for not doing it).
directive/must obey (android or other creature programmed/genetically encoded to obey its maker)
fulfill a dying wish or promise
law says to (perhaps ancient laws/rules that don’t have a meaning now, just need obeyed)
order from ancestral spirit
ordered to by superiors
ordered to under duress (self or loved one/thing will be harmed or released)
prophecy said to

spell/hypnosis/mind control/chip in head/evil spirit
told to by God/Goddess
tricked into killing person by someone else who made it seem like the right thing to do
voices in head said to
Law – Not personally threatened. Threat is to society. Just a sampling of common reasons for execution or justifications for killing a criminal. Past societies have turned some petty crimes into capital offenses, like cutting down a tree. You can too! Littering? Sure! (Some of the reasons listed under other categories could be turned into laws creating a legal justification for, say, executing someone wearing Nikes instead of Adidas.)

arsonist/blows up buildings
assisted suicidist
behaving in a dangerous-to-others manner
breaker of rules
carrier of infectious disease
criminal who can’t be caught or escapes conviction
deformed/mentally or physically challenged
escapee from prison
escapee/deserter from group
evil dictator responsible for many deaths
false prophet
fleeing arrest
half breed
illegal business
illegal/forbidden talent/knowledge
magic user/wizard/sorcerer/witch/psychic/astrologer/fortune teller
mass murderer
member of outlaw/forbidden religion
member of royal line that has been exiled
more children than allowed
outsider who committed a small crime
practices forbidden (magic/scientific/religious/artistic) ways
rapist/sex criminal
resisted arrest
self-appointed executioner of those who don’t deserve to live
threat to the government/leaders/king
too much/too little intelligence
too old, reached age that law dictates people must die by
touching/looking at one forbidden to touch
unrepentant law breaker
weapons possession

“ruined” according to customs (as warning to others not to do the same)
Maintain control – Eliminate threat to own control or way of controlled life. Some seem like punishment or revenge, like killing an escapee, but ultimately it’s about providing a little lesson to others thinking along the same lines.
ability to translate some ancient knowledge want kept secret
alien/foreigner in a closed nation (feel threatened by different ideas)
alienating loved ones/followers/customers/fans

amoral person
arrogant, loose cannon who challenges authority
astrologist who gave “wrong” reading (as warning to others not to do the same)
avatar of opposing god
avatar who is speaking the truth of god’s wishes that is opposite of what religious leaders have been saying
challenging control
changed beliefs
child born out of wedlock/from unapproved father/from man other than husband
claimant to throne/inheritance/position
cryogenically frozen person/embryo who threatens inheritance
cult hero of cult have no control over
cult hero who has become an embarrassment
deflowered the one wanted kept virginal (as message to others who might try)
desecrater of sacred place/person
disgusting morals
distracting someone from fulfilling duty/prophecy
dreams too big, makes others who’ve accepted lot in life question
embodiment of morals who is amoral (e.g., womanizing priest)
escapee from closed society
ex-spouse who has taken children

famous retired person coming out of retirement (who will gather a following)
follower or outsider who is more talented/more (potentially) powerful/has bigger weapons
freeing those someone wants confined
group member becoming too famous and drawing regard and attention of group members
group member growing in intelligence and questioning what everyone else accepts
has special knowledge that could stop defenses from working/androids or mind-controlled minions from obeying
has special knowledge to revive ancient enemy

helper of runaways
hero with feet of clay (who would disillusion followers)
informant/seller of information
innocent bystander/peeping tom/reporter (covering a different story) who saw/heard incriminating things
keep people fearful
keeping self alive unnaturally (against morals)
last of royal line with claim to throne
leader of faction who is trying to take over
leaders in war who are negotiating for peace that would threaten arms/war magic business
left group/cult when it’s forbidden to do so
liberator who will end person’s power in a closed society (prison, controlled community)
loner/not a team player
lost in contest/failed at task (as lesson for others who might lose)
lover/bride/groom/spouse of hated being
memorizer of forbidden knowledge
mourner of death that clan/group wants celebrated
murdered to make it look like illegal practices done to person or that took deadly turn were done by unknown murderer
new/rival belief system that will put an end to one’s job
obnoxious/amoral/embarrassing/criminal/deformed/untalented/illegally talented/wrong believing family/group member reflecting on others
one who knows person’s past and can expose who person really is/as a fraud
one who will awaken power in another (love/sex/knowledge) before it’s time/ready to control
painter of amoral pictures/writer of amoral stories
person who could prove an accusation (that would weaken an enemy) is false
practitioner of forbidden knowledge
pregnant with another’s child
previous spouse presumed dead who has returned/been resurrected
prove that one still can
raising doubts that could split group apart to put fear into others
random business owner/family member to reinforce power of extortion racket
random person to maintain control through fear and intimidation
rescuer of sacrifices to gods
resistant to being controlled
resurrected holy one who will gather following away from current leaders of religion
returned vanished/”dead” revered leader who will take back leadership
ruler/heir/leader who returned “from the dead”/resurrected from the dead who will gather following
seller/distributor of information that is dangerous
spirit of dead leader/ancestor who won’t stop meddling
taunting and causing those under control to laugh and question authority
threatening divorce

too intelligent, could discover secret
weds against will of parents/those in control
woman carrying last of royal line with claim to throne
woman pregnant by man unapproved by head of clan/family
innocent photographer who inadvertently shot incriminating photos/video
suicide turned to look like murder to save face/rally followers
“ruined” according to customs to prevent a life of being shunned/outcast/abused
android/creation who thought they were human/biological but realized they’ll never (naturally) die
as an alternative to suicide (which person’s religion claims will doom one’s soul)
avatar of one god about to be fed as sacrifice to another god
before can become (painful) sacrifice
being tormented with no release
child who would be taunted for being different (half breed)
disgusting habits/repulsive/no fashion sense (person thinks they’re putting them out of their misery)
doomed/about to go to fate worse than death
dreams too big in hopeless situation, can only lead to a life of misery
dying slowly and painfully/unpleasantly
escapee from controlled society who can’t survive on own and will soon die painful death
forced into marriage
has forbidden/illegal abilities (magic/artistic/mechanical/religious/psychic/alien/alien to group (vision among the blind)) to protect them from torture and execution
has talent desired by enemy/those in control in order to prevent them from exploiting person
hero who has been weakened by enemy/lost what made him/her heroic to prevent followers from becoming demoralized
immortal who won’t naturally die but can be killed (who is in pain, injuries that won’t heal, etc.)
in pain (from disease)
infested by disease/aliens/alien devices
intelligence growing beyond ability to relate to others/falling beyond ability to care for self
kept alive as a resource/food/incubator/egg sac/body parts
kept alive unnaturally/against will
loser in a contest/competition/task before they’re tortured as an example to others
overthrown child heir/ruler before enemy can kill to eliminate any rivalry for throne
physical or mental vegetable
physically damaged
physically or mentally challenged
predestined to die in a horrible way or become evil
prevent someone from having a secret tortured/drugged/spelled out of them
sold into slavery/prostitution
transforming into something else
under unremovable enchantment
zombie/living dead/vampire/werewolf
Personal gain:
anger/convenient outlet for negative emotions
as a distraction to stop an event or draw attention away from something else
as a substitute for person was assigned to kill
as a test to challenge a detective
assigned target in job as assassin/done for money
become them and live their life
being whose death is required proof (dragon/demon etc.) that one (still) has what it takes to hold title
best warrior to test self against
blockade to advancement
business owner in order to take over their business
business owner in order to take over their customers
cannibalistic practices/to gain their power by eating them
criminal/own group member who committed a crime wanted by group want to maintain peace with
dying too slowly for those who would benefit from death
evil ruler/ruler one strongly disagrees with so new one will be found
famous person to become infamous for having killed them
fits some profile of group an insane person is trying to eliminate/punish
for food/to process for food
for fun/felt like it
for some part of body that’s needed (magical body part/ingredient for spell/use in an experiment)
gain regard of those in control by eliminating one they find threatening
heir to fortune so will be split fewer ways
heir to throne to take heir’s position
heir who will or is squandering a fortune
inherit their money
inherit their position
make a statement — Kat F.
make the world a better place — Kat F.
marry their spouse (for love/gain their property/power/influence)
obsession that one can’t possess or who spurned
on a dare
paragon, long retired, who others never stopped comparing replacement to
part of advancement to next level to kill fellow students
person forcing loved one into marriage
person loved one’s family wants him/her to marry
person who caused strict rules on all to be imposed
person who will satisfy masses as being the criminal sought, to gain public confidence and praise
possess something (loved one/property/possession/title/business) that rival has always wanted
possess their home/land
possesses something murder feels should rightly be his/hers
powerful/intelligent person to prove more powerful/intelligent
prove that one can
replace with copy/imitation/pretender/actor
resurrect previous leader to regain power
return person to spotlight
rival for belief system to be accepted as authority
rival for translation of ancient manuscript so can twist meaning of it
sacrifice to a god for good favor/prevent bad favor
set someone else up as the murderer
spouse (who won’t divorce) so can marry another
stop something being sold to someone who would ruin it/mistreat it
strike fear into those who thought themselves well protected
test weapon on
to gain their power through killing them
too smart person who is ruining the grade curve
usurper (to take control)
wanted person for bounty
woman tricking loved one into marriage with claim of pregnancy
won’t tell secret (to frighten others who also won’t tell)
wouldn’t agree to political/business arrangement (want to get someone who will agree into negotiating position)
wrong sex baby
Remove obstacle – Someone, often deliberately, who’s blocking “rightful” progress.
ancient ruler who won’t change for the times, rules as though society hasn’t changed
android/creature/computer programmed to enforce ancient laws that no longer apply
boss who won’t allow to advance
controller of needed scarce resources (medicine, water, food, air, protection against something deadly in the environment …)
holder of information/material/object needed to complete own project
holding onto old ways, holding others back
in way of heart’s desire
one preventing rebuilding of sacred place
roadblock between people and king
someone who would stop one from completing an objective
standing in way of goal
standing in way of progress
suppressor of knowledge/progress

Revenge – Just a sampling. Many of the reasons listed under other categories could be for revenge if they’re changed to the past tense.
abandoned as a child
abused self or loved one as a child
accuser who ruined life
adulterous spouse
always got best grades, best girl/boy friends, awards
betrayed group
betrayed personal trust
broke up family
brought [the person who kills him/her] back to life as an experiment (gave new body)
created person against his/her will
descendent of one wanted revenge on
desecrated one wanted kept virginal (in revenge for spoiling plans)
deserted group to fend for self
destroyed or responsible for destroying (e.g., made decisions) family/clan/way of life
destroyed what one values (dams Venice, blocks view from home)
distracted someone from fulfilling duty/prophecy
dumped for someone else
embarrassed (accidentally)
exploited young and talented
exposed secrets
failed to promote a career properly and ruined life
family member of one wanted revenge on
harmed loved one (physically or mentally)
ingenue who ousted from limelight
internment camp leader
liberator who brought person’s power in a closed society (prison, controlled community) to an end
lover who spurned
pay back for insult
possesses something that rival/hated one always wanted (loved one/property/possession/title/business)
prevented suicide (causing life of pain, loss of face for family)
prosecutor who ruined life
rejected (love, creation, job application)
responsible for death/destruction/betrayal/loss of reputation
rival who won (see Rival list for a few ideas)
seduced into criminal activities as a young child
spouse who is an android/something other than what he/she led others to believe who has deceived all these years
stole idea and became successful with it
stole spouse
surrendered, which brought demise of group
teacher who gave a bad grade/prevented from advancing or continuing or participating in other activities because grades are too low
tormented during childhood
turncoat spy
turned down marriage proposal
usurped throne (to punish)
warlord/barbarian who destroyed family
winner of battle/contest
Rival, eliminate – Opponent, enemy, competitor. Not even an attempt at being an exhaustive list of rivals someone might want eliminated.
current holder of title/position so can advance or take position for self
first to achieve something
keeper of rival sacred place
loved one of rival to infect corpse with deadly disease
more charming sibling/parent/friend who stole all boyfriends/girlfriends
new business in area had exclusive control
other ghost competing to haunt a place
rival “chosen one”/”savior”
rival artist (painter, sculptor, writer …)
rival assassin
rival astrologist vying to publish official horoscope/be leader’s astrologist
rival at sports
rival bounty hunter
rival buys vying for same limited product
rival conspirator (of other conspiracy)
rival counterfeiter
rival crime boss
rival cult hero
rival curser who curses same targets
rival drug dealer/supplier
rival elemental
rival embezzler at same company
rival evil dictator
rival faction leader vying for control
rival fake avatar/avatar of competing god
rival for exploration of best archaeological sites
rival for interpretation/translation of scholarly/religious/ancient writings/holy writings
rival for job/position/title
rival for love/affection/attention of another
rival for most pure to be dedicated to god
rival for power over sphere of influence
rival for rebuilding revered landmark
rival fortune teller (using same ways or rival/new fangled ways)
rival game master (chess, go)
rival gang leader
rival heir to throne
rival high level thief after same items
rival hunter/predator
rival liberator wanting to gain credit for liberation
rival mathematician/inventor/scientist
rival of other rebel group
rival outlaw religion leader
rival outside influence on isolated people (e.g., religious, political, scientific group trying to help them see new ways)
rival performers in circus
rival psychic
rival reformer
rival religious leader
rival seller of information/stolen information
rival shop keeper
rival spy of other faction/business who’s spying is interfering with own spying
rival superhero
rival terrorist from another terrorist group after same targets
rival to kill someone for revenge/have been seeking for a long time
rival weapons dealer/supplier
rival who just gained a big advantage
rival who subscribes to different way of casting magic
rival with unfair advantage (very wealthy, very smart, very talented, magic, technology)
rival wives/pregnancies/husbands
rival wizard/magic user/witch/sorcerer
Rival, weaken – Killing the rival wouldn’t be sporting. Murderer just wants the outcome tipped in his/her favor. At whatever cost.
arms dealer/manufacturer/importer/smuggler
assassin for rival
avatar of rival
best protector of rival/opponent to not only weaken defense by demoralize
create a martyr to the cause
eliminate a rallying point for rebel group
famous spokesperson for rival
guardian who keeps some threat to rival in check
has special knowledge needed by rival (for defenses/weapon/skills)
hero of enemy
holder of information/material/object needed to complete rival project
holds a secret or important/powerful information to prevent rival from getting
leader of group who won’t form an alliance against rival (to intimidate or get new leader)
leader of rival group
leader/morale booster returning/coming out of retirement to help rival
magic user/wizard/sorcerer/witch/psychic/astrologer/fortune teller for opponent
mercenary spy
messenger of rival
military expert/strategist for opposition
photographer who won’t turn over incriminating photos/video about rival
political power for opposition
power behind opposing beliefs/values (greenie, PETA)
primary inventor for military/business opposition
primary religious leader of opponent
prophet/false prophet who supports rival
prove someone isn’t immortal
resurrect previous leader of enemy group to cause division
sacrifice meant for rival’s god
sidekick/partner/loved one/dedicated follower to punish leader
source of rival’s power/wealth
spy to replace with own spy
stabilizing influence in rival group who keeps them from infighting
suicide made to look like murder done by rivals
supporter of rival faction vying for control
supporter/minion of evil person
up and coming ingenue
vendetta (for ongoing feud)
weaken leader’s (see Rival, weaken) power so oppressed people will rise up and overthrow
well-spoken vocal opponent
woman carrying heir/infant heir of dying leader of opposition
“immortal”/”Omniscient”/seer to prove they aren’t
(inadvertently) calling attention to those who want to lay low
Stop threat – Threat is to safety and security or way of life rather than threat to control. Could be done by a person without power in the society, who sees something that threatens to change their way of life. Think the flamboyant hippie family who has moved into an ultra conservative neighborhood that the children are eying with interest. (Or are the hippie children eying the new conservative neighbors?) Murderer will return to regular life, not take on power or control. (See also reasons under Law and Maintain control.)
about to betray group
about to uncover long lost secret/object that will threaten self/loved ones/family/clan/group/culture/religion
abuser of animals
abuser of power (from king to police officer to head of gang or family)
abusive of self/loved one/weaker ones
acting above station
amnesiac who knew secrets before memories come back
android who is malfunctioning
assassin about to strike at self or loved one
avatar of opposing god
before can become sacrifice (and release god’s power)
behaving in a dangerous-to-others manner
bewitcher/sorceress/enchantress, someone who controls with charm, charisma and magic
blasphemous person
breeder of monsters
bringer of change and “advancement” to simple people
bully coach/teacher/mentor
butler (because the butler always did it) — Kat F.
carrier of disease
child of monster/devil/demon
child who could be embarrassing if found out
chosen one/preordained
clan leader taking clan against tradition
compulsive nature destroying family/reputation
controlling leader/master
controls a monster
corrupt political person
corrupt religious person
creator of protection (device, spell, sutras) against predator (vampire, aliens, demon, mental controller)
creepy, strange, makes nervous
criminal a long time ago who has been punished and repented
cruel dungeon/game master
cult leader
currently humiliating
dancer/singer where it’s forbidden
defiler of sacred place
deformed/mutant (child)
demon hunter/vampire slayer/bounty hunter/exorcist
demon/angel, opposing being
destroyer of what one values (dams Venice, blocks view from home)
destroying or is responsible for destroying
developer ready to destroy land
did or let someone else do something forbidden
different (seems to threaten comfortable conformity)
disband their political/religious following, end cult of personality
discoverer of what some want to remain lost
disguised to protect secret and live in peace (opposite gender, other race, other species)
dresses weird/against gender type
drug dealer/manufacturer/importer/smuggler
embarrassment to family
escaped experiment
ex-spouse who has taken children
excess child beyond number allowed
executioner/interrogator who likes his/her job too much
exposer of secrets
false prophet
follower of forbidden ways
fortune teller/seer/mystic/telepath who seems able to find out too much
gambler who caused indebtedness
gives birth to demons/monsters
God of Death
grave robber/desecrater
group member becoming too famous, bring attention to group who wants to stay unnoticed
half breed
has incriminating evidence
hated being who is seducing loved one
holder of information/material/object needed to complete (threatening) project
hunter of endangered species
hunter of kind
hysterical (in a deadly situation when calm is needed)
incompetent healer
incompetent in position where lives are at stake
infested by disease/aliens/alien devices
influenced by drug/disease/spell
invader of home/country
knows a secret (though may not realize it)
knows secret of what keeps society protected
knows too much
last of hated race
law enforcer executing people who satisfy crowd rather than tracking down true criminal
leader of belief system that will be accepted as authority
lover who could be embarrassing if found out
magic user/wizard/sorcerer/witch/psychic/astrologer/fortune teller
magical being
mass murderer
mastermind behind evil
member of outlaw/forbidden religion
mentally damaged because person is imperfect or because they’re dangerous
messenger with life altering news
misleading followers
morose/downer/dragger down of morale when needs kept up if chance of survival
mortal in immortal world
mystic/paranormal/psychic/abnormal abilities
new/rival belief system that will bring an end to current way of living
next in line for position who would be dangerous (incompetent/controlled/bad or evil beliefs)
ninja/incredible deadly skills
no longer competent to lead
object of obsession who is becoming threatening
obsessed/obsessed fan
old, feeble, sickly, dependent, drain on society
one who holds gambling debts of self/loved ones
one who would (unknowingly) release a great evil
opposing nature makes another ill
outsider/unwanted type who will bring property values down
owner of “ugly” business in a nice/family neighborhood
part of a prophecy want to stop
participants in a deadly game/deadly initiation rite
perfect copy/replacement/pretender
person leading loved one astray
person trained to be a weapon/killing machine
poisonous to others/environment
poor/orphaned/abandoned/sick drain on society
possessed by evil spirit/devil/demon
possessor of esoteric knowledge (like an exorcist) that could stop someone
possessor of evil soul
potential betrayer of criminal/avenger who can’t be caught
predestined to murder self/loved one
pregnant with demon/opposing god’s child
preserve/protect loved one/family/home/clan/culture/society/religion
pretender (alien, shapeshifter) for nefarious purposes
pretender (different class/race/sex) trying to fit in
promoter of belief system that would take away certain rights
prosecutor who could win case
protest leader
prover that religion/leader is wrong
pulling away from family
raising doubts that could split group apart in order to silence them
rebuilder of what was deliberately destroyed (to eliminate an evil)
rebuilder of what was deliberately destroyed (to preserve a controlled way of life)
reincarnated evil person
returned vanished/”dead” revered leader who isn’t as great as memory has it
rising above class
rocking the boat
secret past that threatens present peace
seeker of truth
sellers of illegal copies of artistic work
soul stealer
spouse/child/parent who controls
spouse/friend of loved one who is wrong race/religion/sex/species/class
spreader of lies
spreading family/corporate/country/personal/group/gang/clan secrets
stole secret recipe/formula — Kat F.
stop a reform
stop an invention (that would change way of life)
stop something being sold to someone who would use it for evil
stop something/someone being sold to someone who would mistreat it
tax collector
teacher/possessor of forbidden knowledge
tempter from/to paradise
threatens harm
time traveler changing time
tormentor (of self/loved one/others)
transforming into something dangerous
translation ability of some ancient knowledge want kept secret
translator of some ancient knowledge (before his/her work is revealed)
trespassing in home or on private property
trying to control or take over control
trying to revive an evil that group fought hard to eradicate
ultimate warrior
uncovers hidden secrets (detective)
unlucky person
upstream person dumping poison into stream
violence induced by drug/disease/magic/curse/mutation
waffling in beliefs
will complete some society damaging device
will resurrect/resurrected and controls ancient demon/god
worships wrong god/evil god/enemy of god
writer/publisher of dangerous ideas
water filling a closed compartment
a leak sucking out air in a plane or space ship
being choked or smothered
vegan or herbivore in a place where only meat is available
lost in the wilderness
stuck in any isolated environment — space ship, colony, research station — where survival depends on periodic resupplies of food, water, air from outside
dumped into the desert
river dammed upstream
lost at sea
imprisoned where jailers control water, food, air, sleep …
well poisoned
noise from the neighbors
being deliberately woken as torture
colicky baby
Homeostasis (keeping the body’s temperature and chemistry at functioning levels)
trapped next to an erupting volcano
lost in a blizzard or the Arctic
ship falling into the sun
dropped into a vat of acid
trapped in a burning room
lack of shelter or clothing to protect from dangerous environments
drug addiction
Excretion (being able to poop and pee :-)). A bad guy could give your character a disease that, um, plugs him up, but more reasonable for a story is getting to a place to go. England’s Prince Philip ended up with a bladder infection after not taking a break during several hours of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebration.
unable to get privacy while disguised as the other sex
trapped in a social situation where leaving is rude or notable
following a person or staking out a location
unclean or unsafe toilets
under the control of an autocratic coach or trainer
Stimulation and Activity
solitary confinement
sensory deprivation tank
“lock them up for eternity” transdimensional prison super villains always escape from
old folks home
a weekend symposium on the dullest topic your character can imagine
Reproductive sex (Relationship building sex is Level 3.) More of a species need, but still a biological drive that can consume some people’s thoughts in some situations.
No one to reproduce with
Bad gene pool
abusive family
unsafe work conditions
trapped in dangerous work (can’t escape, pays too well, no other skills)
inadequate shelter or clothing
dangerous but beloved hobby or profession
lost in a land of predators
famous fighter others seek to challenge themselves against
assassination target
a special and useful talent that also damages her body each time she uses it
an erratic boss or one who doesn’t like her
not part of the guild that controls who gets work
her skills aren’t up to what the job needs
her job is becoming obsolete
doing her job well would mean her job becomes obsolete
new employee just hired with better skills or better at sucking up
jealous co-worker
looming deadline
jobs are available only to those of a particular class, religion, race, sex
job based on a belief system she’s questioning
a task violates her morals
Resources (basics, materials, money, time, etc.)
access to supplies or even basic necessities controlled by another
unexpected shortage and rationing
scarce, unavailable, dangerous to get or priced out of reach
not available where she is
debt or recurring medical bills that sucks up her income
spendthrift spouse
addiction, either hers or family member’s
unstable money system
culture or religion forbids using certain resources
culture or religion forbids non-members from using certain resources
her own nature makes certain resources unusable
resources reserved only for the “pure”
caught between getting what’s needed and doing the right thing
doing the right thing would take longer than time allows or endanger a loved one
government, religion, or community punish different beliefs
keeping position requires obeying orders that betray personal morals
fundamentalism on the rise
has betrayed morals so many times she feels it’s hypocritical to follow them now
what’s right, what’s moral and what’s required aren’t the same thing
standing up for morals would draw dangerous attention
the end requires justifying the means
lesser evils creates a better chance to end a greater evil
local morals are different from personal morals
a choice between saving the one over the many
The family (What would harm family members. Being separated or not having a family is the next level.)
a job where her family could be threatened to gain her cooperation or to torture her
bickering parents
spouse who wants a divorce
parents dead and siblings in danger of being split up
a job or needs of one family member that requires family to live separated
religion that requires cutting ties with family members who disagree
a job that requires the family to live in dangerous conditions
a personal choice that would damage the reputation of the family
self-destructive choices
dangerous or secretive job that causes too much strain on the family
a decision that creates a rift in the family
chronic illness
polluted or toxic air, water, land
contaminated food
virus spreading through the community
survival requires more from her than she’s capable of (harsh environment or she’s weakened)
primitive medicine and incompetent doctors
unhealthy working conditions
health care is too expensive
committed to completing a task that few others can but that is harmful
beloved work that’s damaging to health
war or natural disaster
valuables that would draw thieves
dangerous neighborhood
debt that threatens repossession and foreclosure
renter whose livelihood depends on being able to use the property someone else owns
police are corrupt
her presence draws the danger she’s hiding from to her
monster or bad guy magnet
caretaker of others’ property who then push it to the limits
lack of social skills
afraid to trust
“wrong” race, class, sex, religion (all of which might have clothing, accent, manners, customs that make the differences more noticeable) to be accepted by the community
tainted by family’s choices or own past
holding attitudes or (fringe) beliefs that aren’t accepted
new in town or moving often
feels she needs to impress people to draw friends
shy or introverted or private
command position
job that interferes with leisure time
fear of dependency
(over?) values her independence
feels unworthy of love
lack of self-esteem that results in attention grabbing, seeking adulation of fans
a dangerous job that might endanger those close to her
fears friendships would take too much time
holding secrets she doesn’t want to chance revealing
Family (what prevents a family from forming, or separates one member)
acceptance in the family is contingent on conforming
rift from differing political, religious or cultural beliefs
cut off by distance or war
dangerous or unpredictable job
fear of being tied down
fear she won’t be able to commit
job that requires too much committment
lack of stable life
Sexual intimacy (in addition to what would get in the way of forming friendships)
vow of chastity
morals that put conditions on relationships
unusual needs
associating sex with sinfulness and indecency
that much closeness might reveal secrets she’s keeping
married and loyal to someone for whom intimate relations is dangerous
self worth is tied to being needed by others
lacking the special skills needed to be useful in the family or culture
tainted by past choices
skills she has are no longer useful in society
can’t support herself, dependent on others
can’t find or keep a job
pariah whose family is now suffering too
condemned by the public when she reveals who she really is
made a bad decision that the public won’t let her forget
artistic creations she puts her soul into are rejected by the public
age or disease is sapping talent
prevented (because of sex, culture, etc. or from over protective caretaker) from gaining experience
never had the opportunity for experience
has experienced too many failures
a past choice ended up causing a devastating loss
task requires skills well beyond anything she’s been able to do or that she’s repeatedly failed at
task requires dependence on unknown factors and people
what’s at stake is huge
lost the mentor she depended on
lost the skills, senses or technology she’s always depended on so only has her natural self
needs to remotely direct someone else to do something she could do easily
fear of failure
fear of success and the changes it might mean
fear of a potential she’ll need to live up to or be locked into pursuing
fear of the responsibility that often comes with mastery
fear of the attention and regard that comes with mastery
requires special training she doesn’t have access to (which needs time, money, freedom, being the right race, religion, etc.)
has reached mastery but lacks official recognition (which needs time, etc. as above)
Respect for others
surrounded by incompetents
no one else has the same high standards
others have different goals
others have different morals
too self focused to even notice others’ accomplishments
Recognition and Respect from others
hiding her true identity so doesn’t want attention
shy so attention embarrasses her
doesn’t feel what she does is special since it comes so easily to her
feels what she does is fun but frivolous so doesn’t deserve much attention
her fluff is recognized but her serious works are ignored
wants to do what she enjoys without the fuss of the responsibilities of a formal position or title
doesn’t want others assuming the right to critique her if she’s a public figure
doesn’t want the accountability to others that’s involved
doesn’t want a reputation she needs to keep living up to
doesn’t want the constraints that an official position would come with
wants her actions to reflect only on herself, not on others a status might require her to represent
doesn’t want her family bothered by the choices she made that they disagreed with
her culture honors teamwork, not individual achievement which is seen as self-serving
fears being seen as arrogant or self-serving
desire for status based on believing being impressive will gain her friends
doesn’t want others to depend on her
doesn’t want to endanger others
can think clearer if she’s the only one harmed by her choices
much easier to get things done alone
doesn’t feel ready to make decisions for others
would take the fun out of it
doesn’t trust others as much as she does herself
doesn’t feel it’s her forte
enjoys the job but doesn’t care enough about those who would depend on her
lacks mentors
lacks access to knowledge (not available, lacks resources or freedom from responsibilities to pursue it)
knowledge is forbidden to her
knowledge she wants is forbidden to everyone
would need to make moral sacrifices in order to pursue the knowledge she wants
would take too long
doesn’t see enough value in it for what she’d give up to get it
would need to set aside parts of her life that she values
would need to entrust what she values to others while she takes time off to study
would need to leave her family and what’s familiar
lacking self confidence in ability to learn and understand
overly dependent on experts, memorizing rather than thinking
religion or government requires obedience and acceptance, not understanding
a learn-by-the-seat-of-her-pantser in a land of book worshipers
brings back bad memories of punishment and feelings of inadequacy tied to forced education
more knowledge would make her different than the people she cares about and feels a part of
doesn’t want to change who she is, who she identifies with
seen as elitist, etc. (See Aesthetics.)
lacks others who share what she values
doesn’t like the meaning of her life that she’s discovering
warring between the meaning of the life she was born into and the life she wants for herself
the meaning of the life she was born into or fell into is at odds with a new philosophy/religion she is exploring (either an established one or an understanding that’s unfolding to questions she’s asking)
fears the life she should have she can’t actually have; doesn’t have the resources, doesn’t have what it takes, has too many obligations, it feels too alien
doesn’t like the self she’s seen; which may be stronger, weaker, differently talented, suited to a life she doesn’t approve of, a person she doesn’t recognize
her heritage is different (and unwanted) than she always believed
her true heritage will pull her away from the family she loves
fears awareness of her weaknesses, especially those she can’t change, will make her less confident
fears awareness of her strengths will lock her on a life path she doesn’t want to be on (yet)
worked hard to suppress and compensate for her weaknesses so doesn’t want them dragged into the light for examination
the strengths she’s uncovering are considered weaknesses in her culture
fears the obligations and lack of choice if she pursues who she really is
culture emphasizes what connects the group rather than individual needs
her culture requires choices that go against her personal code
the nature of her species pulls her one way while the society she’s growing up in pulls a different way
pulled by morals she grew up with even though they don’t work in her new life
wrestling with morals that keep tradition alive but don’t make sense in current times
confused by doing the right thing and the moral thing
wrestling with how far loyalty should stretch
has done so many bad things she’s not sure what the right thing is any more
society rewards those who don’t stick out too much
government punishes free expression
culture finds tradition comforting and connecting to each other and the past
fear of doing anything unplanned
fear of failure so needs to plan
culturally conditioned to believe that anything based on feelings rather than thought consideration can’t have value
Problem solving:
since she’s used to having the “right” answer handed to her, lacks experience in tackling problems
problems aren’t puzzles to tackle; problems are something to be avoided
society discourages questioning
culture encourages harmony and not making waves that would disrupt others’ peace
Lack of prejudice:
prejudicial attitudes are so ingrained and automatic she doesn’t realize
has never met the people she’s prejudging and doesn’t realize how much of her knowledge comes only from opinions of others
Realistic, embracing facts
facts aren’t as comforting as what feels right
facts are overwhelming and experts say contradictory things
Personal growth & Self-fulfillment
selfish to put to put that much time and energy into one’s self
with her time taken up by obligations, she’s lost sight of what she personally finds valuable
elitist since it isn’t productive
Autonomy & Independence:
In a culture based around extended families, autonomy is less evolved than knowing how to work with others