Created By: Psuliin on August 18, 2012 Last Edited By: Psuliin on September 3, 2012
Troped

Trope Trigger (Renamed from Trope Carrier)

An object, formula, or other device that functions to trigger another trope within a work.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
Narrative Device. A trope for handling tropes. If an author has a trope that turns out to be popular, or that he plans to use frequently, he writes a Trope Trigger into the storyline so that whenever he needs the "triggered" trope he just drops in an instance of the Trope Trigger. Depending on the form of the trigger, it might be used for Foreshadowing: when the audience sees the trigger, they know the "triggered" trope can't be far away.

Compare/Contrast with MacGuffin, Plot-Sensitive Button, or Berserk Button.

The MacGuffin is nearly always an object, while the Trope Trigger may or may not be. The MacGuffin usually has no other function except as the thing that everything revolves around. The Trope Trigger is defined by the trope it activates.

The Plot Sensitive Button is a physical object that is used repeatedly throughout the work but produces different effects at different times. The Trope Trigger always produces the same effect.

If a character with a Berserk Button gets angry at any minor provocation then it is not a "triggered" trope. If there is a particular trigger that always pushes a character's Berserk Button (e.g. an obnoxious brother or the color red), then that is a Trope Trigger.

Examples

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime & Manga]] [[/folder]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film]] [[/folder]]

[[folder:Light Novels]] [[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
  • Smallville: Several episodes required Clark Kent to become brainwashed and crazy. The writers handled this by retooling red kryptonite from the Superman canon, so that instead of having some bizarre random effect on Clark it always turned him into a sociopath. It got so whenever fans saw a red glowing rock they knew what trope would be in force for the episode.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Mythology]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
  • In Oracle of Tao, Ambrosia Brahmin is a Trope Trigger for Elias as Mr. Exposition. Ambrosia's average intelligence and amnesia allow Smart Guy Elias to expound on obscure details pertaining to the plot.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Webcomics]] [[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
[[/folder]]
Community Feedback Replies: 37
  • August 18, 2012
    Bisected8
    Would this be a Super Trope of Berserk Button (since that's something which is used when the writer wants a character to get angry)?
  • August 18, 2012
    Psuliin
    It could be, yes. But the real point of the Trope Carrier is that it activates a trope. If the Berserk Button triggers a particular anger trope then it's definitely a subtrope.
  • August 20, 2012
    Mauri
    Meaning more like this causes a domino effect to trigger a trope or snowball it to happen?
  • August 20, 2012
    HonestGent
    I think he means it's a recurring plot device that acts as a Trope Trigger. As in a Mac Guffin that doesn't advance the plot, but rather sets an aspect of the plot in motion (that aspect reflecting a trope) but doesn't remain important, or is discarded afterwards. I think. Correct me if I'm wrong.
  • August 20, 2012
    Psuliin
    Honest Gent is correct, except that The Trope Carrier usually remains important. At least, it will probably be used more than once in a work, especially a long work or series.

    Mauri, it could work by a domino or snowball effect. That would also count as a Trope Carrier. In fact if it always triggers the same domino effect then the whole sequence would be the Trope Carrier.
  • August 20, 2012
    bulmabriefs144
    I think I get it. Let's add examples and hats.

    Just for the Mr Exposition trope:

    With regard to Berserk Button, a Trope Carrier would be one who always triggers another's Berserk Button (like an obnoxious brother or something). Or for the Bitch In Sheeps Clothing, this is the person that causes them to act fake.

  • August 20, 2012
    Mauri
    Basically like the old idea of "You hear the stomach grumbling you offer the chow. Pronto!". Not as an example just how I am simplifying the idea. Therefore by activating a minor effect the plot sensitive button can be hammered as if there is no tomorrow.

    Examples: Maybe it could be said as routines but then I may be running on a possible tangent.
  • August 20, 2012
    Psuliin
    I think those examples are on-target. :)
  • August 21, 2012
    Mauri
    Also you might want to put the Webcomics folder since some examples are under it.
  • August 21, 2012
    Psuliin
    Thanks! Done. Which examples do you mean?
  • August 21, 2012
    Mauri
    Well not many I can recall but there are people who will flood once they figure this trope out: Webcomics: Thing is that examples exist but I am not that adept at finding and or recalling, also while a visual pun thought of a possible image for the trope of an aircraft carrier.
  • August 24, 2012
    Lavalyte
    Sounds like you're working backwards from the trope name.
  • August 24, 2012
    Psuliin
    Actually I meant the name as a pun on "troop carrier".
  • August 24, 2012
    HonestGent
    But troop carriers aren't really indicitive of what the trope is about. Taking the pun into account, I'd think Trope Carrier would be about Trope Overdosed works, not plot devices that act as a trigger.

    The description does a good job explaining it though, so if you ask me, the name could stay.
  • August 24, 2012
    Psuliin
    At this point I'm looking for a few good examples and/or hats. :)
  • August 25, 2012
    Mauri
    If the examples fit then put them in. If they don't point the mistake. Anime and Manga Webcomics
  • September 1, 2012
    Acebrock
    Trope Trigger might ba good name for this
  • September 1, 2012
    rodneyAnonymous
    "If there is a particular trigger that always pushes a character's Berserk Button (e.g. an obnoxious brother or the color red), then that trigger is a Trope Carrier."

    Please explain why that is not exactly Berserk Button.
  • September 2, 2012
    TheArbitrageur

  • September 2, 2012
    Mauri
    In the case of Berserk Button it can be compared to the "what causes it"... It can be used as the traditional view on the "pipsqueak" insult to the napoleon. Basically insult a hero protagonist that is short with a similar insult is bound to be that option. Assuming we have ticked the napoleon box. Short explanation: It is not about the berserk button but the use of something to press it and it will always press it; a remote control if you make that comparison.
  • September 3, 2012
    rodneyAnonymous
    Calling Ed short is his Berserk Button. BB isn't getting irrationally upset, it is the thing that makes someone get irrationally upset. In other words "what causes it" is a Berserk Button. What is being distinguished? Someone saying it is one thing, him hearing it is a second, and his reaction is a third?

    That is exactly Berserk Button.
  • September 3, 2012
    Psuliin
    "Please explain why that is not exactly Berserk Button."

    It is, Rodney. That's a case in which two tropes apply to the same thing. It's a Berserk Button because it enrages the character. But if that rage always takes the form of a specific anger trope then the "button" is also a Trope Carrier (or possibly Trope Trigger; I may rename it).

    Mauri, I think that the Berserk Button is usually a specific trigger of some sort, though some characters may have several different buttons. The description of the trope mentions the "pipsqueak" button specifically. I would say that it's also a Trope Trigger only if it always sets off a specific anger trope.

    For example, suppose a character is always enraged by the sight of a hat with feathers on it. In that case such a hat is that character's Berserk Button. Now, if in addition to that the character always reacts by grabbing the hat and stomping on it then the hat is also a Trope Trigger for Agitated Item Stomping.

    Another example is the Incredible Hulk. Bruce Banner has a broad set of Berserk Buttons, which always trigger Hulking Out. This is a special case or subtrope of the Trope Trigger.
  • September 3, 2012
    rodneyAnonymous
    No, Bruce Banner does not have a particular Berserk Button that I am aware of. (Though in some incarnations he hates being called Bruce.) Getting angry isn't a trope.

    Do you mean "this is like a Berserk Button, but for stuff besides getting angry"?
  • September 3, 2012
    Psuliin
    Rodney, the Hulk has several fairly broad Berserk Buttons. Just annoying him isn't enough to cause him to change. You have to frighten him, make him very angry, or cause him a good deal of pain. I consider "making him angry" to be a Berserk Button because if you do it then he becomes really, really angry.

    "Getting angry isn't a trope."

    No, but many tropes are associated with anger, and if a Berserk Button ALWAYS triggers one of those tropes then it would also be a Trope Trigger. Basically if the Berserk Button always causes someone to get angry in the same way, and that way is a trope, then the Berserk Button is a Trope Trigger.

    "Do you mean 'this is like a Berserk Button, but for stuff besides getting angry'?"

    That's one way to think of it, yes, with the exception that it can involve anger. The Berserk Button causes extreme rage (hence the name). Something that involved an anger trope but not the violent fury of a Berserk Button could be a Trope Trigger.

    Remember, the Trope Trigger always involves another trope. And, as you noted, anger per se is not a trope. A Trope Trigger could trigger an anger trope, but it's much broader than that. It could potentially involve any trope that can be written as resulting from a specific trigger.
  • September 3, 2012
    rodneyAnonymous
    "...the Hulk has several fairly broad Berserk Buttons..."

    Ok I think you don't understand what Berserk Button is, then. It isn't broad. Ever. It doesn't have to involve "violent fury" or "extreme rage". This is "Berserk Button but for stuff besides getting angry". No exception because that's exactly the same.

    See UsefulNotes.Trigger. BB is a specific kind of trigger: it triggers anger.
  • September 3, 2012
    Psuliin
    I'm going by the description of the trope, Rodney. It says, "You happen to mention in passing what you think is a fairly innocuous observation, maybe pointing out that he could stand to lose a little weight, or is a little on the short side, or maybe could use a girlfriend, or you do something that you think is no big deal in their presence, like question who names their kid dude. And the character instantly goes ballistic, flying into a screaming, frothing, sometimes tearful Unstoppable Rage, from which you will be lucky to escape with your life."

    That certainly sounds like violent fury and extreme rage to me.
  • September 3, 2012
    Psuliin
    And, even if you choose to simply ignore the description of Berserk Button, as I said anything that triggers a specific anger trope is still a Trope Trigger.
  • September 3, 2012
    rodneyAnonymous
    The Hulk's only canonical Berserk Buttons are calling him Bruce, and threatening his children. If you think he has "several fairly broad" buttons you are mistaken about what it means.

    The last paragraph of the description and several of the examples reflect this error.

    "That certainly sounds like violent fury and extreme rage to me."

    Whatever, fine. But BB is the trigger, not the fury. BB is a kind of trigger.
  • September 3, 2012
    Psuliin
    On the matter of "Triggers," I think this is a commonly misused concept on TV Tropes. Again, I go by the actual descriptions of the terms in their write-ups.

    The description of a Trigger says, "Do not put trigger warnings on any TV Tropes pages other than Fan Fic Recommendations. Works that have full pages should already indicate the existence of triggering content in the description or trope list in a natural way, and a trope's description should be a good indication of whether or not there will be any significant triggering content in its examples."

    You can see from this that the "triggers" they're talking about are things that will provoke unpleasant reactions in the people reading about a trope, not something that triggers events or reactions in the story itself (unless of course a character is written as having such psychological triggers as a result of trauma).

    This is completely different from a Trope Trigger, and rather different even from a Berserk Button, though they could be related in an unusually dark dramatic work. Fundamentally though, a "Trigger" here on TV Tropes is something that writers and readers here need to be aware of in preparing or reviewing content.
  • September 3, 2012
    rodneyAnonymous
    Berserk Button is the trigger, not the explosion.
  • September 3, 2012
    Mauri
    Well was using said trope as an example. I'm acting on the idea that this trope is for a predetermined activation routine for other tropes. Triggering a bit on the terms of programming a bit sorry...
  • September 3, 2012
    Psuliin
    I understand that, Rodney. That is how I've been referring to it in every comment on this thread. It is not the same kind of trigger referred to in Trigger, and the type of anger it triggers is extreme explosive rage.

    It differs from a Trope Trigger in that anger by itself is not a trope. If the anger that the Berserk Button triggers is also an anger trope then the Berserk Button is also a Trope Trigger. But it need not be. Likewise a Trope Trigger can activate an anger trope, but it is not a Berserk Button unless the anger is the sort of extreme rage that a Berserk Button involves.

    At this point I'm repeating myself, because I can't think of any way to say it more clearly. In short: a Trope Trigger can trigger anger, if it is an anger trope. A Berserk Button can be a Trope Trigger, if the extreme rage it activates involves an anger trope. But neither Trope Trigger nor Berserk Button is really a subtrope of the other. Sometimes they just overlap or intersect.
  • September 3, 2012
    Psuliin
    "I'm acting on the idea that this trope is for a predetermined activation routine for other tropes."

    You are exactly right, Mauri.
  • September 3, 2012
    rodneyAnonymous
    If you understood that, you would not have written "If there is a particular trigger that always pushes a character's Berserk Button (e.g. an obnoxious brother or the color red), then that is a Trope Trigger." That does not make sense. The particular trigger that always makes a character angry is a Berserk Button. Their getting angry at other stuff is irrelevant to the button. The Hulk absolutely does not have "several fairly broad Berserk Buttons". No one does. "Broad" is nearly a disqualifier.

    Berserk Button is a particular kind (sub trope?) of what you are describing. "'Trope Trigger' that results in anger" is exactly BB. (The "merely angry" versus "extreme fury" distinction is not important.) I realize one event can involve more than one trope, totally, but two things that are exactly the same are not two different tropes.
  • September 3, 2012
    Psuliin
    If that's what you want to think, Rodney, it's a free country. However Berserk Button is not a sub-trope of what I'm describing, and since I'm describing it I think I ought to know. I'll just repeat what I've already told you: IF a Berserk Button always triggers a specific anger trope as part of its extreme rage, then it is also a Trope Trigger. Otherwise it is not.

    Given that, Berserk Button is not a particular kind of Trope Trigger, because the Berserk Button does not always trigger a trope. It always triggers extreme anger, but as you noted yourself, extreme anger by itself is not a trope.

    The two may intersect, but neither is a specific type of the other.
  • September 3, 2012
    rodneyAnonymous

  • September 3, 2012
    Mauri
    Well the idea is that berserk button is just an example; basically how it can get pressed and is used conscientiously (gotta love the Firefox spelling correction) by the authors for many works just for exploiting said button (like mocking a character physical trait for example). Most of the ones I've pulled around are hitting on the Accidental Pervert trope itself. Trying to recall examples but having a hard time here... since it must be always following the same domino effect. Might as well take a breather and keep on fishing Megumi Hayashibara OST pieces to listen while waiting for any aide work to actually unfold.

    New example:
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=9m6nvugup4n78dvexnv2g6q4