I'd like to hear what your favourite methods might be of giving direction to a character's "story path". They can be from existing games, games which are not yet out, or even entirely hypothetical.
Why do you think they work well?
How economical/simple can they be?
How do they give direction to a character's "story"?
* A character Goal simply says what the character is trying to achieve in the story - we know we will progress towards this goal, and eventually succeed or fail. To create story for this character, we simply need to provide them with opportunities to advance towards their Goal and obstacles to stand in their way.
* A Destiny (from Archipelago). We know where this character will end up; we just don't know how they will get there. ("Jurel will one day sit on the throne, missing one eye.") To create story for this character, we simply need to work together to move the character towards this endstate, possibly throwing in some foreshadowing or irony (e.g. we start the story by having Jurel captured into slavery).
* Best Interests (from In a Wicked Age...). These position a character in opposition to other characters in the story; the story will then develop no matter what the characters do, since they are, by definition, adversaries. To create story, we simply frame the characters into a common situation, or escalate it by giving them access to power or means they did not previously have (e.g. place a gun on a table between them).
What are your favourites (or hypothetical concepts), and why?