The Let's Play Archive

Total War: Shogun 2 - Rise of the Samurai

by shalcar

Part 4: Update 2 (Spring 1176 - Summer 1176)

The army marches...

Spring of 1176

Overlooking the newly constructed pastures, Kiyomori smiled. The steady supply of quality warhorses would ensure mighty Taira cavalry thundered across the battlefield, destroying all in their path. The farmland required for grazing was substantial, but it was a price well worth paying.

Pastures are the other building chain that Fields can be upgraded into. While they provide little wealth and food, they allow the construction of cavalry units in the province. Cavalry are rare and expensive in this era, however, they are exceptionally powerful in the right hands. The wealth loss is multiplied by the fertility of the province, so it's best to construct these in provinces that have poor soils to minimise loss. Kii continues it's programme of economic growth with a Barter Exchange, enabling a further Junsatsushi.

In game encyclopaedia - Pastures posted:

Horses are vital to samurai warfare, and strong, brave animals are preferred as mounts. Samurai are horsemen, by tradition mounted archers first and foremost. The ability to ride is as important as any skill at arms.

It was only during the Sengoku Jidai period that samurai habitually fought as infantry. For much of history "samurai" was a term synonymous with "cavalry" to the Japanese. A samurai was expected to fire his bow accurately from horseback. Given that shooting needed two hands, and the samurai had to stand up in the stirrups, this required the horse and rider to be superbly trained, as the man would have to control his mount only with his knees. A good horse, then, was highly sought after and highly prized. Not only did it have to be tractable and obedient, it also had to be quite hardy to survive on campaign. It is little wonder that horses were prized possessions, just as much as good armour.

Isolated from the Taira forces, Ochi Nomokara ordered the raising of additional levy to bolster support for his actions amongst the people and to deter surrounding clans. He would protect his ancestral home for his new lord, his honour and his children.

Our new province is a long way from any support and needs to be shored up with some haste. Levy are perfect for this task with their low upkeep, although without any proper fortifications, we are very vulnerable.

As he sat astride his horse, Shigehira thought back to his father's words. "When you can hit the target from horseback, none will doubt you are a man."
He squinted, the target seemed impossibly far away, yet he would not fail. Never as beloved as his eldest brother, Munemori, nor a powerful warrior like Tomomori, Shigehira swore he would show the clan his worth. Spurring his horse forward, he drew his bow and focused. The winter's wind was cold and fierce, the bowstring sang as Shigehira shot.

The arrow flew true.

Our youngest son has come of age and is now available to lead men into battle! An additional general never goes astray, just in case something happens to our current ones or an additional front opens up. All new general units appear in your capital, which for us is Settsu.

The sake flowed freely long into the night in celebration. "Son, you make your father proud" spoke Kiyomori "but now you have the duties of a man of the Taira. You always spoke of a better way to manage our constructions, so I am putting you in charge of development."
"Father, I won't let us down" promised Shigehira.

Our newest general is exceptionally loyal, if unskilled. We have assigned him the Commissioner for Development, this means that our buildings will cost less to build and provinces he captures will have a lower level of resistance. Like all commissions, as he ranks up the bonus will increase.

The morning brought many sore heads. Kiyomori strode into Shigehira's room and threw open the outer doors, breathing deep as sunlight filled the room. Shigehira stirred from his bed, blinking blearily. "Shut the doors father, it hurts."
"It always hurts Son" replied Kiyomori "but duty and our enemies won't wait for your head. You are to head to Kyoto and oversee the constructions there."

Our new general won't do us much good in Settsu while Kiyomori is holding down the fort, so we dispatch him to Kyoto to bolster the forces there. Our plans for Kyoto place it near the centre of our troop producing provinces so it makes a natural rally point for additional forces.

"This is dishonourable, brother" muttered Tomomori "marching our forces into Shinmen land without a formal declaration."
"Oh, there is a formal declaration" replied Munemori "Father sent it and a demand to surrender before we marched. If I know father, they will be reading it right now."

Our first declaration of war! It's against the Shinmen, our neighbours in Tamba to the north. Currently, we don't have any wish to drag our allies into a fight and we certainly don't want to share the spoils and the Shinmen don't have any allies, so it's a nice little war between us.

"My Lord!" exclaimed the messenger "The Shinmen reject our offer of surrender and state they will send our heads to Settsu as a warning to the Daimyo."
"It doesn't matter" mused Munemori "We will overrun the garrison long before their forces arrive."

Looking down at the quiet town in the morning mist, Munemori felt a slight twinge of concern. He was sending men to their deaths, Taira men. Maybe there was another way?
Suddenly, a horn broke the dawn silence. Cursing, Munemori rushed back to the camp. Summoning the captain of the levy, he gave the order to form ranks and begin the attack. As he armed himself for battle, he wondered where Tomomori and the Attendants were. This foolish plan of Tomomori's was going to get him killed.

Our first battle! Our glorious forces are attacking the sleepy town of Tamba. Currently, the Shinmen forces and Daimyo are out of the town but are inside reinforcement range. We have to fight both the captain of the guard and the reinforcing army, although it will take time for the reinforcements to enter the battle. With us we are bringing Munemori, Tomomori, 3 Naginata Attendants, 3 Naginata Levy and 4 Bow levy. The enemy numbers their Daimyo, 4 Naginata Levy, 1 Bow levy and a unit we have never seen before, a Bow Attendant. We have the numbers and the positioning advantage, so we don't worry about a siege!

In game encyclopaedia - Bow Attendants posted:

While almost any man can be trained to shoot a bow well enough to fire in the general direction of the enemy, skill and dedication are needed to shoot accurately and well in the heat of battle. Bow attendants have good morale and are trained well enough for close combat should the need arise. Like many bowmen, however, they are vulnerable if attacked by cavalry.

Archery has a long history in Japanese warfare and every samurai was expected to master the art. The bow plays a key role in several Japanese myths. Tamamo no Mae, the beautiful courtesan who stole the heart of the Emperor Konoe, was killed by an arrow fired by Miura no Suke, a mighty warrior. Although Tamamo no Mae was a most beautiful and intelligent woman, she was a kitsune, a nine-tailed fox, working for an evil rival to the Emperor. When her secret was revealed she fled, and Miura no Suke gave chase. Aware that her doom was close, Tamamo no Mae appeared to Miura no Suke in a dream and begged for her life. He refused and fired the fatal arrow the very next day. Tamamo no Mae's fox body turned into the Sessho Seki, the Killing Stone, which legend says kills any who come into contact with it. The stone was haunted by the fox spirit who chose to take the name Hoji, until she was convinced to leave, or exorcised, by Genno, a Buddhist monk.
Unlike their Levy counterpart, Bow Attendants can shoot reasonably accurately and have enough morale to be able to operate in a skirmishing fashion. They are still exceptionally weak to melee and will lose to anything that isn't Levy in combat.

Click here or the map below to see the battle!

Overlooking his men, Munemori tried to hide his nervousness. They stood awaiting his orders, silent. As much to reassure himself as his troops, Munemori took a deep breath and addressed his men...

This is the battle map screen. It shows the areas we can deploy our troops in yellow and the area where the enemy forces will deploy in red. Areas where no-one can deploy are not coloured. It's a small town located at the top of a hill. In all siege battles you can deploy from any angle, which can be advantageous in a reinforcement situation. Reinforcement armies arrive from the same direction as their armies are relative to yours on the campaign map. We can use this to be able to inflict devastating blows on our opponents.

The plan had worked, Tomomori's aggressive move had caught the Shinmen reinforcements off guard and Munemori's assualt had allowed the capture of the town with only few losses. The bravest men, lead by the levy captain, had sustained the greatest losses but never once did their will falter.

They were Taira!

An auspicious start to the campaign! The enemy forces were crushed and the losses we took were minimal, which will prove to be important. It was a good demonstration at the power overwhelming force has in this game, especially against low morale units. Most of the casualties we inflicted were cutting down fleeing men. It's important to note that in siege battles, all of the defenders main force is destroyed if they lose. Reinforcement armies do not suffer from this drawback.

"Brother, the enemy flees before us like rabbits before the fox!" cried Tomomori, his horse pulling alongside Munemori.
"For the Taira!" thundered Munemori, holding his bow aloft "For Kiyomori!"

This is the battle summary detail screen. On this screen we can see the performance of each unit involved in the fighting with respect to initial troop count, number of troops lost, number of troops left and number of enemy killed. The little arrows/chevrons to the right of the unit indicate the unit experience. Each level of experience increases the morale, melee attack and melee defence by 1 and increases by 2 the accuracy and reload skill of the unit. This means veterans can pack a really nasty punch!

"My lord, the men request the right to plunder their rightful share and the Shinmen representative begs to swear loyalty to your clan" the runner advised Munemori.
"Neither shall get their wish this day" responded Munemori "Father ordered that we occupy this land, not burn it or give it away."

This is the capture screen for gaining a province through military might. There are 3 possible options. The first, Peacefully Occupy, causes the least unrest in the province and causes no damage (other than what happened in the fighting). The vast majority of the time, this is going to be your preferred choice. The second option, Loot, does severe damage to all the buildings in a settlement, destroys the towns wealth, cripples town growth for a few turns, causes massive amounts of unrest and also reduces the honour of the Daimyo. The payoff is you get a substantial amount of money (based on the wealth of the town), with the amount being around 30k koku for developed towns! It's also useful if you can't hold on to the town and want to deny it to the enemy. The last option is to create a vassal loyal to you. This becomes a computer player that gives you a portion of their taxes and can only go to war on your orders. They are good for buffer zones, since you don't pay for their upkeep (all players get a base 1200 koku income so they can support a decent force by themselves)! Vassalize is only an option if you take the capital of a clan or are taking their last territory.

"Send for the province administrator" ordered Tomomori "He can give us his loyalty or his head."

Another province added to the Taira clan! Located in a northern pass, this is a good defensive province albiet lacking in wealth.

"Fly the Taira banner" ordered Munemori. "The Shinmen are a ruling clan no longer."

The second clan to fall to the Taira, although the first to fall by violence, the Shinmen will make their bid for Japan no more.

"The people of this province have little wealth, but are dangerous fighters" Munemori cautioned Tomomori "They have many skilled swords and bowmen. We can learn from their strengths."

This is Tamba, our freshly conquered province. It currently has majority support for Fujiwara, with only a quarter of the population supporting Taira. This will change as we slowly raise support, but until we gain significantly more support, we will need a large garrison to maintain order. The province is not wealthy and the additional overhead will wipe out most of the gains, but this province has a Bushi Training Grounds, allowing us to produce Bow Attendants and Sword Attendants, giving our army some more depth. The other buildings in the province are Town, Tadokoro, Dry Field Agriculture (Average) and Trails.

Unrest due to lack of clan support is different from most types of unrest. It starts at -1 happiness and increases the penalty by 1 by each turn, up to a maximum determined by how many people don't support you. This means you can produce garrison troops to keep order, although the upkeep will be expensive. It is also sometimes offset by the resistance to invaders penalty slowly decaying over time.

In game encyclopaedia - Bushi Training Grounds posted:

Bushi training grounds allow the recruitment of basic sword- and bow-armed troops.

The way of the warrior, later called bushido, lay at the heart of everything that a samurai could be, or hoped to become. While a samurai was expected to be a master of sword and bow, there was a moral element to his training as well, a core set of ethics that guided his life in every waking minute. More than just a code of chivalry or a set of martial arts for using weapons with surpassing skill, bushido was a guide to living and dying with honour. It was the "dying" part that made bushido different from many other warrior systems: death had no bearing on whether a course of action could be considered failure. The only failure was not to carry through an action when it was the right thing to do as a warrior.

"Brother, runners bring word of the Shinmen Daimyo, turned to banditry and raiding those who served him" spat Tomomori "Let me hunt down this dishonourable dog and end his mortal concerns"
"We must show the people of this province that the Taira protect our own" replied Munemori "Take a detachment of men and finish this"

The remnants of the Shinmen reinforcements have retreated just outside of Tamba and are ready to burn down farmland and cause havoc. I have no intent to let them do this.

Sneaking through the wooded lowlands, scouts find the base of the Shinmen rebels. Not wishing to let the enemy sneak away, Tomomori orders the attack.

This is a clean-up fight. We have a large advantage and the enemy forces are trivial. Auto-resolve is pretty much made for these fights, as there is no challenge and as such, no fun.

This battle was autoresolved, there is no video.

Bursting from the trees into the camp, Tomomori and his men strike down a dozen enemies before they can react. These bandits will trouble the Taira no more.

A few levy lost, quickly replaced and some valuable battlefield experience for Tomomori.

The fight provided no surprises, total destruction of the enemy.

While moving through the Tango province, Mitsukazu overhears rumours that the Koide clan of the Tajima province has blatent Taira leanings.
"A worthwhile clan to bring under my lord's banner" Mitsukazu thinks "I must make haste to Tajima"

The Tajima province has a high level of support for the Taira clan and as such is a ripe target for allegiance. It's in a corridor to act as a natural defensive chokepoint against incursion from the west so that we can focus our attention east, towards victory provinces.

"Yasunobu is nothing but trouble, my lord" the court herald complained. "He's too clever for his own good and has a poor habit of listening to the secrets of others. We had hoped he would grow out of it, but his head is filled with tales of glory."
"I think I can solve your problem" replied Shigehira "Send a message to my father telling him we have a new asset."

While Mitsukazu is exceptionally useful, he can't be everywhere at once and we need more conversion power. To that end, we purchase another Junsatsushi to bring us to our currently allowed maximum of 2.

Summer of 1176

Overseeing the new levy being drilled in Tamba, Munemori wondered to himself just how reliable men that had only just been conquered could possibly be.

We recruit additional levy to replace our previously damaged levy unit so that we can leave with a fully combat ready force. The damaged levy will be left behind to replenish and act as a garrison. Repression caused by garrison units does not take into account their numerical strength, it's a flat +1 repression per unit.

"Father" Shigehira wrote "I have arrived in Kyoto and have implemented a new tax regime on trade throughout the province. By making the peasants pay based on the sale of their goods, we get a larger portion of income from the same items. I'm learning many things and have debated with emissaries from many clans, the discussions are heated but fruitful. I believe I am gaining their respect."

We have completed Chinese Learning! It gives us a small diplomatic boost and increases the size of tariffs we receive on traded goods. As all our trade income is from tariffs, this is a boost that works out to an extra 70 koku a turn. Not enormous, but every bit counts. The slight diplomatic boost will help offset the penalty we receive from expanding into other provinces.

In game encyclopaedia - Chinese Learning posted:

As night follows day
Accept another's wisdom,
Wisest of the wise!
The clever man looks at his cup, and admires the workmanship; perhaps he treasures it for its beauty. Then he drinks the tea and is refreshed.

With his army at his back, Munemori finds his brother and his men, still celebrating their victory over the Shinmen Rebels. "What news brother?" asks Tomomori.
"A runner arrived while you were bandit hunting" replied Munemori "It was from father, we are to move in force to the border of Tango and to do as we see fit"

Moving the remainder of our forces to meet up with our bandit killing Tomomori, our army is unified once again.

"Finally, the crane awakens!" cried Tomomori, jumping to his feet. "Enough celebration! Break camp and form up, we march!"

Our unified army is now moved to our northen border, just south of the Kusonoki in Tango. Their forces are no match for us, so we will march on their town next turn.

As he moved through Tajima, Mitsukazu noticed the poverty that was everywhere in Tajima. Arriving at the town, he asked for directions to the daimyo's residence. To his surprise, it seems he was expected.

Tajima is a province that has a high support for the Taira and the currently ruling clan is of Taira descent. It has a small garrison and no real development to speak of, but it's in a good place to defend and should be easy to convert.

"My people are starving" stated the Koide daimyo "I have failed my family and my clan, the god's have brought their dishonour upon me."
"You have a new chance at redemption" replied Mitsukazu "Kiyomori will give you enough gold to buy the food for a thousand people for a year, with a promise of more to follow if you swear allegiance. He will take you in and protect you as one of his own."
"An honourable offer to a dishonourable man. Go, tell Kiyomori I accept his offer and humbly submit myself before his might."

A new province for us! It's fairly useless, but it serves a good fortification point and it provides another location to build up some economic power from.

Overlooking the manifests of the province, Mitsukazu was forced to concede that the Koide daimyo was right, the province was poorly managed and starving. Sending for a runner to take his request for administrators to Kiyomori, Mitsukazu hoped that the food bought would be enough to tide this province over until more competent economic managers could be provided.

Tajima is a province that strongly supports us already, so uprising is unlikely to be a problem, but it has little wealth and only a Town, Tadokoro, Dry Field Agriculture (Barren), Trails and Coastal Village.

The fate of poor rulership was to lose, the Koide had squandered what their fathers had fought and died to achieve. They would be looked after, but their bid for supremacy was over.

Another clan down! This early on, most clans consist of only a single province, so lightning strikes are the way to win. Once we start running into the winners of the early factional wars, we won't have the opportunity to punch this hard.

"My lord, I bring respects from the masters of Inaba, the Urukami" stated the messenger.
"All Taira are as my brothers" replied Mitsukazu "It is good to meet you"

We have run into a new clan that is now on our western front. While we have no plans to expand in that direction (our victory provinces are the other way!), it's good to have a friendly clan next to you, as it heavily reduces the chance they will declare war on you, as well as being much more likely to trade.

"Head to the Iga province" ordered Shigehira "Test out your tongue there. Find those who would harm us and demonstrate the risks associated with plots."
"Of course" replied Yasunobu "I'm the best, you just watch"

First we move Yasunobu down to Iga in order to see what sort of support there is for the Taira down there. I'm not expecting there to be much and at his low skill level he is going to be wasting his time, but it will also show me which provinces have poor defences and rich buildings, as I need to turn my war machine in that direction.

Out of breath, the runner burst into Munemori's command tent. "My lord, the Kusunoki have declared the Koide traitors to their people and declare their intent to march on Tajima!"
"This must be what father meant" Munemori replied.
"Then they are fools to attack the invincible Taira" Tomomori laughed. Munemori nodded.
"Assemble the troops, we march to protect our people."

This was unexpected. It seems the computer didn't want to wait for me to attack and planned to go down swinging. I admire their courage, although this will only end one way.

The troops stood at attention, watching Munemori.
"The Kusunoki have treacherously declared war on us!" thundered Monomori "We fight to protect our family, our friends, our home, our clan! Our fight is just and our allies many. Today we march as honourable men."

All our allies have elected to join in on this defensive war. Their flag will be ashes.

Next time: A crane's anger