Wars in stories?


How do you (or how have you) used WARS from Culture to Culture in your plots?

Give me some ideas for battles or wars that would be cool to have happen...

I'm running my campaign mostly in the King Conan timeperiod and I'd like to eventually have my players be involved in larger scale battles and I'd like to LEAD up to those battles.
Setting up which countries would be going to war and why...

any ideas?
Well I'm in much the same quandary since I'm running a Free Companies based campaign. I have the officers, I have the troops, I have the PCs. They begin in Corinthia, not long after the end of a military campaign in which the Company took part. They will be heading to Arenjun in Zamora for another "job", though I'm not sure what that will be, or who they will be working for.

So how do you decide who is going to war with whom, and whether it is appropriate for a Free Company to be hired to assist? I don't have to decide right away, fortunately, since the first adventure has the leader of the Company "lending" the PCs to a merchant to help guard his caravan on the road to Arenjun (with many subsequent twists and turns of plot).

But once the PCs are back with the Company, I'll need to have some idea of where the mercs will be going and who they will be fighting for and against.

Well, the meat of our campaign has been in Zamboula, the PC’s being mercenaries, the Turanian lords where hiring mercenaries to bring under control bands of Darfari that had escaped and banded together out side the city and where raiding caravans, the Turanians didn’t much care about it but it started hurting the business and the tax revenues where slowing down, but the merchants of the city where the ones being really hit, so they preasure the government and put up the funds to hire ouside mercenaries to bring the threat under control since the turanians did not want their forces to leave the city unprotected,

Anothere idea would be to have the shemites try to take back the city,
Or have the same hired mercenaries go after Zuagirs, the the Zuagirs band together and raid Zambula, man theres a lot to do….

I usually go more for "battles" than wars - wars usually take a long time to build up the energies, resources, and manouver the opposing forces, and imply a long, protracted fight between 2 (or more) dedicated nations. Battles usually emerge from anything like a slight or cultural hatreds boiling over, can have either sizable armies or just 2 bands of mercanaries, and a usually don't last more than a month or 2 of game time before the fickle bosses settle, leaving the soldiers in the dust, so to speak.

Howard's Conan seldom was involved in more than a limited campaign. He served in the Turanian army for several years (2) perhaps, but it wasn't an ongoing campaign against a dedicated foe, it was more like being mustered to wipe out a rival prince or tribe of Zuagirs. And his battles in "The Phoenix on the Sword" or The Hour of the Dragon, though protracted conflicts perhaps, weren't organized in the way we think of wars doing.

As a GM I prefer the fickle tone of two forces grabbing their armies, having a nasty battle, and then settling before the soldier has any idea what's being politically manouvered rather than dealing with continental warfare. This way, you can easily move the players to a different country or region from one game to the next, and fits the emotionally charged politics of the diplomats. IMHO, of course. :p
Sounds reasonable. So my Free Company could be going to Arenjun to take a short-term contract from the King or the lords of the city, perhaps to help put down a rebellion of some sort, or an incursion of some sort from the south. Hmmmm....now the creative juices begin to flow. :)