Here is a PM I received a while ago:
Since you mentioned you are in the Martial Arts, I thought you might like to modify the Water Overview to reflect a FLOWING style of combat. Water would have no plan save to blend with an opposing force to minimise it's impact.
Earth are stationary, long-range fighters. Water would flow around them under cover to attack them from all sides.
Fire is rash and commits the forces to the offensive. Water would withdraw before the advance while bringing the opposition into a crossfire. (Hard to do in 40K)
Air is mobile but typically light. Water can envelope them in pieces.
Not the best examples as they apply to larger scale combats, but I tend to think that warrior who is reacting has already lost the initiative and thus the combat. A warrior that blends with an attack can redirect it away from himself and use the opponent's energy against him.
Just a suggestion.
It's great to see people putting so much thought into these philosophies, but I'm going to disagree with this on two levels.
First, it is important not to view the elements too narrowly. Earth is NOT fundamentally "stationary, long-range". Earth is fundamentally resilient
. Earth wins by wearing down it's opponent, by out-lasting them. Game mechanics
mean that this fighting style favours long-ranged warfare (which in turn favours static armies) in 40k
, but even this is not ridgid. It is quite possible to make an Earth assault force. I appreciate that this may seem like a very fine (even pedantic) distinction, but so often true understanding lies in the fine distinctions.
Similarly, Fire is not assault, it is an explosive burst of power, which is best expressed by by assault forces, because of the way the game is played.
Keep in mind that every (non-vehicle) unit has the core attributes (strength, toughness, etc) and we can increase those attributes in two ways: We can pay more for them, or we can reduce something else. In other words, Fire armies are simply those that have chosen to increase their killing power at the expense of their resilience or mobility or somesuch, whereas Earth armies have chosen to focus on their durability.
A real world example of an assaulty Earth army would be the Imperial Roman Legions, whereas English Longbowmen would be a shooty Fire unit. The Romans were highly disciplined and fought methodically, with superior equipment, training and formations allowing them to grind through far more numerous enemies over long exhausting battles. The Longbowmen, however, were (comparatively) poorly trained in everything except fireing their weapons, had poor equipment, little discipline, and would be overrun by any professional unit that reached them. On the other hand, they had the very useful ability to instantly kill absolutely anything that was foolish enough to wander into their lines of fire, no matter how well trained or well equiped.
My second point regards surrendering the inititive by being reactive. Consider two warriors confronting eachother, but not moving. Each warrior has an endless number of possible moves before him, and as such, each warrior represents infinite possibility.
When one of those warriors attacks, however, he begins to commit himself, and his possibilities narrow. As the movement progresses, those possibilities continue to dwindle, until, just before the blow lands, the warrior is fully committed, and he has no choices left. At this moment, he is completely predictable. His opponent, who has not moved, still possesses infinite possibility, and provided he has the speed, skill, and resilience to effect his plan in time, I would argue that it is HE who has the inititive.
Other than these two minor points, I feel that the above quote makes a number of excellent observations. I especially like the description of Fire as "rash". It suggests that there are certain personality traits (as opposed to simply unit traits) which go with each element. If true, would it then be possible to design a personality test that would match a person up with the type of army he is likely to be most effective with? I think this is an area which deserves much more consideration.
. Occult or esoteric studies will provide an archangel for each of the four elements and a direction (north, south etc..)
I'm quite familiar with a number of occult schools, and I recognise your reference to the Golden Dawn system of elements at the compass points (though this practice was then brought into Wicca by Gardner in the 1940's, where it became more widely recognised when feminists embraced Wicca as a political as well (or instead of) as religious doctorine). However, I have deliberately avoided the use of this metaphor (which has been used in a tactica on the Black Templar forum), as I feel it is misleading. A more helpful image might be an equalateral triangle, with the corners labeled Earth, Fire and Air. Water, the sythesis of all three of these other elements, would appear at the point in the center of the triangle, rather than as a separate, independant entity/quality.
I would also like to add my voice to the growing list of people who are of the opinion that there is nothing wrong with playing any of the other elements. None of the elements is fundamentally "better" than any others, they simply represent different approaches to the problem of defeating the enemy. Depending on the situation, some elemental approaches will have an easier time than others, but that's about it.
I will go even further, though, and say that playing an element that does not truely suit you will result in loss of games and loss of pleasure. Surveys of the richest self-made men on the planet indicate that they all love what they do. While correlation does not equal causation, I would suggest that this is a significant finding. You have to go with the style you enjoy the most. It is, after all, a game.
Edit: I'm an idiot. A far better analogy is that of a 3 dimensional graph, with Earth, Air and Fire as the 3 axi, with Water occupying the origin, (0,0,0). This model allows for a better integration of two or more elements than the more ridgid, 2 dimensional, triangular model.
Edit: Would it be better to say that Water exists along the line Air=Fire=Earth? Perhaps a better question is, "Does anyone even care at this point?"
Edited by Silent Requiem, 17 March 2007 - 04:54 PM.