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You have an error in your SQL syntax; check the manual that corresponds to your MySQL server version for the right syntax to use near ') ORDER BY comment_date ASC' at line 3 How To Make Armed Conflict Believable In Fiction And RPGs How To Make Armed Conflict Believable In Fiction And RPGs - Article Marketing

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How To Make Armed Conflict Believable In Fiction And RPGs

By: kiralews | Total views: 111 | Word Count: 806 | Date: Sun, 30 Dec 2012 - 2:42 AM

Often in fictional settings there is a need to introduce conflict on a large scale, have a revolt, or topple a government. Whether this is central to the story or just part of the backdrop, using armed conflict in this manner is a common tactic by authors and game designers when they want to challenge the characters or threaten the government's power base.
Unfortunately, this approach is often not built on a solid foundation. Because it is easy for us to think in terms of violence (from our Revolutionary history to our current globe-spanning wars), it may seem that the best or most likely way to cause unrest in a fictional country is to introduce armed force. Yet just because it is easy to do this, does not mean it is the best or even the most realistic tack to take. "Want to overthrow a realm? Let's have a war" can produce a shallow scenario that is not well motivated, and grasping to this trope often ignores the core problem with it: if it is your goal to topple a regime, then historically speaking, change at the top is relatively seldom the direct result of armed conflict.
It is true that when a revolt results in radical change, the results are memorable - and perhaps even more so to the American imagination, given our country's birth circumstances and the enduring concept of democratic masses rising up to overthrow oppression. If this is the tone that is being echoed in a work of fiction or rpg, however, it must be well founded and well motivated to be believable. Otherwise it is an archetypical resonance only, and that is not sufficiently well founded to carry the dramatic tension throughout a story.
Memorable revolts and wars linger on in collective consciousness: angry barons (and their armies) forcing King John to sign the Magna Carta; Kaddafi being kicked out of his seat of power by local rebels and foreign interests; and myriad similar events around the world may lead us to think "hey, armed conflict is usually successful." In fact, across history and many cultures, more regimes have been forced to change because of systemic problems, than have altered their ways at the point of a sword or a gun.
If a call to arms is something you are committed to incorporating into your work of fiction or rpg setting, here are three basic elements to keep in mind in order to create a well-founded conflict scenario.
Motivation
Why is the conflict happening? Wars and revolts don't arise out of the blue, nor do people (usually) simply wave their hands and say, "Oh something happened a while ago that got everyone up in arms." Rather, people are quite clear about why they are going to war. It is something they experience viscerally - either strongly in favor of, or dreading it - because they put their personal lives on the line to do it. Note that the things that motivate people to go to war, are usually not identical to what is motivating a government. The government also consists of individuals, but usually the actual driving force comes down to one person in authority or a small faction that is at the right point of leverage to make their agenda the controlling one. Who are these people and what is motivating them? You need to be crystal clear on that (and its implicaitons) for armed conflict to make sense in your story or game setting.
Resources
Wars are not only expensive in terms of money or gold, they consume piles of other resources as well. Clothing, arms, armor, transportation, supplies in general and food in particular: all of these things come from somewhere, and providing them can be a burden that drives the countryside and civilian population into starvation. Lack of resources can halt a war in its tracks, and even small revolts and insurgencies must be supplied from somewhere, even if that is by the clandestine aid of friendly locals. What resources are your armed forces using and where do they come from? Again, the implications of this may be more far-reaching and world-changing than is evident at first glance.
Landscapes
Conflict plays out on the physical landscape of geography, and on the meta-landscape of "capabilities" afforded by the society and technology (or magic) that is in play. If the enemy lies across the ocean, how are we going to get there? That is a question of both geography (sea) and technology (vessels and force projection). If magic is commonplace, how is it used in warfare, and how will it impact the battles to come? How do these various landscapes impact the unfolding events of the conflict? All things to consider when a fictional world goes to war.

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