Tip 1: ask your players if they're interested in what you have in mind. It'd be a shame to spend hours designing intrigue that your players will just hack and slash through.
Originally Posted by Matt
Tip 2: most of the elements you mentioned make for wonderful backgrounds, so if you do spend hours dreaming them up, you'll have somewhere to put them.
Tip 3: even if your players are interested in the aspects you mentioned, they might not be capable of handling them effectively. So have some training wheels at the ready.
DM: you are the prince of Walesalot, and your companions are your Fighting Council. Your minister of war informs you that the neighboring state has moved its first regiment through the Cursed Gate, transforming them into fiendish ogres, and they're destroying border towns left and right.
Incapable PC: Well, I have two regiments on that border, don't I?
DM: The minister of war says that they're fatigued, wounded, and becoming treasonous.
IPC: Good. Send them to the front. Leave the other 15 regiments in the capitol just in case; the Fighting Council and I will head to the border and spearhead the effort.
-Heinrich smiles. Cynthia smiles. Hermit attacks!