Concept of the ‘Spheres of War’

December 18th, 2008

This page delves into the design and concepts behind the Spheres of War and their inter-connecting relationships with each other. I have overlaid the classical Greek ‘elements‘ over the Spheres of War. Though the Greeks were attempting to describe nature, the classical elements have very little to do with the actual reality of matter and energy, and are very humocentric (similar concepts turn up in the Humorism). The seems to describe psychology, and while not up to modern psychology, the organisation seems to translate well to the Spheres of War. Seems they naturally lend themselves to Spheres of  War (Greeks had quite  few wars, and a warlike psychology may have dominated back then).

The Four Elements

The Four Elements

The idea is to use this common meme of the elements to help Players visualise the interactions between the Spheres of War. That they are related, and that each is dominant and submissive to it’s neighbours, as such the relationship between the classical elements loosely translate into the relationships I wish to model between the Spheres and Attributes in WarSpike.

Each of these ‘Spheres of War’ has one of the classic ‘elements’ assigned to it. Each element seems to embody a Sphere of War; or at least the psychology ascribed to that element (humors). An element is used as the symbolic representation of a given Sphere. In addition each attribute used in the rules is also assigned to one of the Spheres as it’s ‘primary attribute’: the one attribute that has the most effect on the Sphere. The element personifies character of the Attribute and the type of war within sphere, with a further aim to ‘brand’ the sphere with an identity which I can use in design. The assigned Attribute represents the core quality of the sphere it represents, the basic fundamentals of that sphere, and the one that most closely resembles the element. Further, in Medieval game setting we can link these Spheres, Elements and Attribute to the four humours. All combined yield this;

The Spheres

The Spheres

In the above diagram can see that each sphere is dominant over the following sphere in a anti-clockwise direction. The Sphere which dominates another has a profound effect on that Sphere and influences how it is used. Much in the same way that the Earth element is dominant over the Fire element, so the Tactical sphere dominates the Technique sphere. A solid mass of Troops standing shoulder to shoulder using Tactics are going to make short work of a lone combatant even with phenomenal Technique (unless is Achilles or other some demi-god).

We can also see that each sphere has influence over the sphere which dominates it. The Fire element has an influence of the Earth element, much as the Technique sphere has influence over the Tactical in the form of leadership to give flexibility (fire melts rock, but it take a lot of heat and it’s local).

Finally we see that there are opposing Spheres. The classical element of Air and Earth are opposites, in the same way the lone protests of a law breaker will wash over mass of police, so the police can not touch those who obey the law.

Using this diagram we can define the role of each Sphere and how it relates to the others spheres. This is a bit of a ‘chicken and egg’ puzzle and none of the spheres comes first in order and they are all influenced by the other, and in describing each of the spheres I have to reference the others before I have described them! However, of all the spheres I choose to start with ‘Technique as this seems the ‘first’ of all the spheres (for reasons I’ll explain).

Technique Sphere Interactions

The Technique Sphere is personified by the element of Fire the most energetic of element and corresponds with the most energetic of the the Attributes: Action. It is the power of the individual to do things, to take action and others naturally follow (if interested). A dynamic hands on leader who leads form the front is inspiring.

Tactical Sphere Interactions

The Tactical Sphere is personified by the element of Earth the most solid of the element and corresponds with the most physical of the the Attributes: Stature. Action means nothing without physical backup of Stature, and in war a leader needs the backup of many Troops. A solid body of men, the salt of the Earth, often standing in mud. The Troops are often in harsh conditions and what keeps them going is the passion of their leaders.

Strategy Sphere Interactions

The Strategy Sphere is personified by the element of Water the most clinically cold of element and corresponds with the most fluid of the the Attributes: Reason. This sphere is all about numbers and gaining the upper hand to preserve the most. it dehumanises people into numbers, and while that sounds horrific if take in context it makes sense. In the trenches of the Somme the Tactical Sphere was in a stalemate, it was deadlocked, and there was nothing Tactical could do without massive sacrifice. It was here the Strategy, working the numbers concluded that the sacrifice had to be done because it was unsustainable. However strategy manages resources too, and what they need was to override Tactical and introduce new gear. In the end the assault rifle turned up and change warfare.

Politico Sphere Interactions

The Politico Sphere is personified by the element of Air the most insubstantial of the element and corresponds with the most variable of the the Attributes: Mentality.

The only way a mass of opposing Troops will listen to an individual who is not  a fighter is if the individual has political power. For an individual to do that they need to juggle the Spheres. First they need proxies, and gain influence other capable individuals using Politico. These proxies who can fight use Technique and individual personal power to lead units. The more proxies, the more units. These units organise into army under a Captain or commander using Tactical. Multiples armies can gather under a General under Strategy, and as we see, the Politico Sphere has dominance over the Strategy Sphere. The Politician powers the economy that powers the army. So the army plays nice because they are aware of the power. They want more resources and the Politician supplies that (military-industrial complex) and every now and then the Politicians let the army off the leash. This is how a non-combatant individual can affect an opposing army or any other body of opposing Troops in the Tactical Sphere – by getting to their leaders. They go above there head, and deal with the power direct, but it’s all a balancing act and Politician is powerless to stop an army physically, but an army has no power unless their leads give them the green light.

When a Politician tries to fire up a crowd, to present themselves as a leader yet they do no get down into the grassroots and lead, they are said to be spouting ‘hot-air’. It’s leading by making claims they do not have to follow through on, through association and often demonizing the opponent to form a ‘group’ as they can not form one on their ideas alone. Those who are not dynamic leaders are showmen who talk a good game but are in it for themselves. To tell the difference – look at what they have done for their community, for the poor, the masses, and how they organise. If it’s a PR machine then it’s hot-air – if it’s grassroots then they are a leader.

Category: Prototype Rules Page

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