Storyboarding a resource war:

Total posts: [12]
I'm just wondering if the current setup is passable in a story.

There are two neighboring nations.

One has a large percentage of its territory as being mountainous as well as having those mountain contain large amounts of iron ore in addition to supplying building stones. But it has little farmland and what farm land it has is somewhat poor.

The other meanwhile has large amounts of aridable land as well as having a river run through it providing it with water for consumption and irrigation. But it suffers repeated raids from nomadic tribes and other nations, and unlike its mountainous neighbor little to no usable ore in its territories.

At first, the mountainous one provides superior weapons and armed protection for its neighbor in exchange for its surplus food.

However, I need a reason for the mountainous nation to invade its neighbor to seize control of the farmlands. I've thought of

  • Overpopulation
  • An increase in tribute resulting in an embargo by the neighbor
  • And a blight or drought that caused the tribute to go unpaid resulting a withdraw of protection and declaration of war by the neighbor in order to secure the mountain's mines and quarries.

Well whatever the cause, you can bet I'll end this conflict by having its aftermath cause yet another war a few years down the line.
2 jagillette9th Oct 2011 09:35:23 PM from the middle of nowhere
Wimpy Mc Squishy
Of the three, I'd say the first sounds the most plausible to me. The last one seems really contrived, and the second one a little silly.

edited 9th Oct '11 9:35:45 PM by jagillette

3 RalphCrown10th Oct 2011 09:35:21 AM from Next Door to Nowhere
Short Hair
How about simple greed? Rich people always want more, and they'll start wars to get it.

edited 10th Oct '11 9:35:41 AM by RalphCrown

Under World. It rocks!
Terracotta Soldier Man
[up] The problem with that, though, is that they usually try to have some sort of excuse beyond "I want more stuff" to legitimize their cause in the eyes of others.

My advice: Go with a combination of the first and the third. With the one nation on the verge of a Malthusian crisis and the other nation barely having enough to feed itself, tensions will strain to the breaking point quickly.

For that matter, if you wanted to give the aggressors a thin veneer of political legitimacy to a blatant resource grab, you could also have the mountain nation harbor a claimant to the plains nation's throne.

edited 10th Oct '11 2:33:12 PM by Specialist290

5 USAF71310th Oct 2011 02:35:59 PM from the United States
I changed accounts.
Depending on what rough period of development we're on here, I think you could just justify it as "these people are weaker, so, let's just go take over."

I mean, in the modern day, yeah, they'd need a reason. In, say, a medieval-esque society, though? Why bother? You've got the better shit, so go take it. That's just how it worked back then.
I am now known as Flyboy.
Terracotta Soldier Man
[up] Speaking as someone who is literally studying history for a future living: ...No, it isn't. Especially not in the medieval era.

edited 10th Oct '11 6:47:54 PM by Specialist290

7 MrAHR10th Oct 2011 07:05:00 PM from ಠ_ಠ , Relationship Status: A cockroach, nothing can kill it.
Ahr river
A budding empire is what you're thinking of.
8 USAF71310th Oct 2011 07:09:29 PM from the United States
I changed accounts.
Well, there's a difference between "we have a good reason to do this, so let's do it," and "let's do it, because we're stronger, and then give a bullshit reason."

I suppose they didn't exactly go conquering willy-nilly, since the medieval period was rather rough for warfare and everybody usually had a decent army if they were worth mentioning. Although... he's talking about iron weapons here, so medieval might actually be being kind of generous...
I am now known as Flyboy.
Terracotta Soldier Man
[up] Re your first point: True enough. "Justification" does not always equal "honest reason."

That said, it's not too implausible for a society to have a fairly advanced society with strong agricultural techniques and an advanced government while lagging a bit behind its neighbors in weapons tech, especially if they rely on foreigners to supply their weaponry.

edited 10th Oct '11 7:36:52 PM by Specialist290

10 USAF71310th Oct 2011 07:40:55 PM from the United States
I changed accounts.
It would still make them weaker, wouldn't it?

Maybe the stronger party thinks they can win the blitz, while the weaker side thinks it's safe if it's only slightly behind because if they can hold out for a bit they can start stealing technology. Although that doesn't necessarily make sense in this scenario because the weaker side is also lacking for resources.

I am now known as Flyboy.
Terracotta Soldier Man
[up] Technological inferiority is only a weakness, and at this stage in history not even necessarily as crucial one as, say, muskets versus machine guns. If the plains nation is large and populous enough, they might try to trade space for time much like happened on the Eastern Front in World War II.

Actually, I can see much of the tension in the story deriving from the interplay between one side striving for a decisive strike and the other hoping to last long enough to win a war of attrition. For the plains nation, the bad harvest might only lead to a little belt-tightening until the next harvest, while the mountain nation needs that food now to survive. It would ultimately become a struggle over whether or not the mountain nation can seize enough granaries not to starve that winter.

Not that I'm saying it has to be written that way, but it's an interesting angle.

edited 10th Oct '11 8:04:06 PM by Specialist290

Hmm perhaps it was the capture (or "borrow") of just a few nearby food centers that prompted a much bigger conflict.
The system doesn't know you right now, so no post button for you.
You need to Get Known to get one of those.

Total posts: 12