Part 5: Update 3 (Autumn 1176 - Winter 1176)A crane's anger...
Autumn of 1176
As the final reinforcements were added to the newly raised walls, Shigehira observed the fortifications with a critical eye. His father had entrusted management of Kyoto to him in his brothers absence and he had no intention of failing his first assignment. Careful attention paid to the procurement of building supplies and allocation of labour had paid dividends, reducing cost and maintaining the quality of the fortification. Hoping they would never be needed, the walls were a potent symbol of the rising star of the Taira clan.
The very first stronghold in Taira lands (and possibly even all of Japan!) has been constructed, fittingly, in Kyoto. The Stronghold chain increases the size of the city, allowing additional building chains to be constructed in the province (an additional building chain per upgrade level) and also consumes a food for each upgrade level. Additionally, the Stronghold chain increases the level of fortifications in the province. We have already seen the Town fortifications (A knee high wall), Stronghold fortifications are a wooden walled fort on a raised dirt pad. Defending troops inside this fort will fight to the death instead of retreating, unlike a Town.
In game encyclopaedia - Stronghold posted:
A stronghold is a sign to the peasants of exactly who is in charge of their lives, a reminder of where loyalties should lie, and obeisance be made. It is a good base for the troops of the local garrison, enabling them to keep order in the surrounding province, and attract new recruits to their cause. Although not expected to hold out for long when besieged, a stronghold can act as a stumbling block for any invader.
Japanese fortifications always had to be built to meet two conflicting priorities. Firstly, there was the obvious need to be a defensive structure that kept out enemies and was sufficiently impressive to keep the locals awed. Secondly, Japanese castles and strongholds had to survive earthquakes, a problem that most of the rest of the world did not have to consider. Japan sits on top of one of the most geologically active areas in the world, and castles could not be lumpen, monolithic structures if they were to survive a quake.
"Throughout Taira lands, levy were needed to defend their homes. Kiyomori had promised to protect and care for them as his children, men flocked to his banner. Fathers, husbands, sons answered the call, bringing stability and security for their families underneath the Taira flag."
We have gained a lot of territory and surpassed our ability to defend it, so additional levy must be raised in order to bulk up our forces. Garrison troops are needed to deal with the resentment of our recent conquests, although they will only be required for a small amount of time, at which point they can be moved to more critical locations. Naginata Levy are the most cost effective garrison troops we have, with a low recruitment cost and crucially, a pitiful upkeep cost thanks to our clan ability. Extra bodies to soak up arrows in an emergency also helps...
Word of the outbreak of war reached Mitsukazu's ears as he was overseeing the distribution of rice to the peasants. Hoping against hope that he could reach the Kusunoki before the fighting starts, he rides hard for weeks. Arriving on the outskirts of Tango, his hopes are dashed as he spots a Taira army approaching the city. Words would not solve problems on this day.
We are going to need the diplomatic skills of Mitsukazu to raise support for the Taira cause in the Tango province unless we want to have our entire force bogged down in a peacekeeping mission preventing unrest from conquest AND from lack of clan support. We can't afford to have all our force projection stuck babysitting our rather destitute northern provinces with the window for early game closing, so we need to deploy our finest agent!
The army marched swiftly and with purpose towards the heart of Tango, proud and unstoppable. The Kusunoki were not expecting an answer to their war declaration so soon, their forces horribly out of position. While they march to save their town, Munemori hatches a plan to deceive the rushed and inexperienced Kusunoki Daimyo. Leaving behind a camp on the southern outskirts of the city with a few men, flames stoked high and banners fluttering, he moves his army under the cover of darkness into an interception path for the enemy reinforcements. A few hours later, Tomomori arrives in camp "Their scouts won't be reporting to anyone, brother. Let's show this pompous fool what happens to those who threaten the Taira!". The trap set, they just needed to wait...
We enjoy both a numerical and quality advantage with 3 Naginata Attendants, 3 Naginata Levy and 4 Bow Levy compared with the paltry garrison of 2 Naginata Levy and 1 Bow Levy. Their reinforcements are led by their Daimyo and are a further 2 Naginata Levy and 1 Bow Levy.
Click here to see the battle!
The town was well positioned, with a river diverted to run around both sides, highly defensible. While the river was able to be forded in a few places, most of it was impassable, except for two bridges. Munemori knew that while he could not rush those choke points in time, the enemy could not sally forth at any great speed either. By ambushing the enemy reinforcements, he would be able to crush the vastly inferior force piecemeal with few losses before the garrison could respond. All that remained was to see if the enemy would, in his haste, fall into the trap.
This is one of the more difficult fortification maps to assault. The river crossings rapidly tire out your men and heavily reduce their speed, allowing them to be picked off by the defenders. In addition, the bridges allow only very few men across at a time and have the potential to become a slaughter field. Since the biggest weakness of any defensive position is being overrun and this map has so few entry ways, it heavily tilts the defenders way.
The trap sprung, the battle was over swiftly. The men were growing accustomed to battle, the attendants finally reinforcing their hours of drill with combat experience. Soldiers cheered their victory, reliving lives saved and debts repaid in the melee although not all were cheering. Though the losses were few, Mitsukazu, observing the carnage, shook his head sadly. He knew that all men of honour and reason could be brought to understand in the Taira cause. This waste and death saddened him, although he understood the need for violence. The resentment the people carried would make his job all the more difficult.
A spectacular victory! The plan worked flawlessly and the enemy was shattered. If we had to attack that force unified and fortified upon the hill it would have been a much tougher fight. As it is, our force is able to be redeployed to garrison duty and to reinforce our southern provinces to ready for the new push east.
"Brother, Did you see that?" cried Tomomori "I slew twenty men, if it was one! They fall before the Taira like rabbits to the fox!"
"All the men were inspired by your martial prowess" replied Munemori, diplomatically. "We are lucky that our enemy was so headstrong and foolish. They will not always be so."
Our army is full of heroes, Tomomori leads with a spectacular killcount and the attendants all performed exceptionally well despite a few casualties. In fact, all of our Naginata troops did very well and our bow levy also performed about as well as bow levy could be expected to in a short engagement. These losses let me introduce a new game mechanic, Replenishment
Replenishment: Units which are in friendly territory and under the command of a general or garrisoning a town replenish their losses over time. Each turn a unit regains 5% of their total troop count base, plus any additional replenishment modifiers (Roads add +4% for example). However, units which can NOT be produced in the province (or are in an allied province) recover at half this rate. Our Naginata Attendants, for example, would only gain 2 men a turn in a province that could not produce them (75 * 2.5% = 1.875 = ~2). Since all provinces can by default produce Levy and they have a high base man count, you know you can replenish them much easier than other troops. You still pay full upkeep for units at less than full strength.
"Secure the town, set up a perimeter" barked Munemori "Any man caught looting is to be killed on sight."
Turning to Tomomori, Munemori gave the order to hunt down all the fleeing Kusunoki.
"It will be an honour, brother. I will take a detachment of men and continue the lesson we started here!" Tomomori replied, saluting.
We are setting an example as to what happens to those who declare war on us and we have no need of the vassal. The province itself is worth very little so there isn't anything to loot, not to mention we can't afford the additional unrest anyway. Another province to add to our growing empire! The additional administrative cost is likely to mean this province is a net loss at the moment, but in the long term it will work out.
The Taira flag fluttered in the evening breeze as the celebrations began. Munemori smiled to himself and went to join the men at their party. The province was his, along with the duty to all who lived there, but tonight some hard fought celebration was in order. Mitsukazu, however, was in no mood for celebrations. Gesturing for the province administrators, he worked long into the night to work out how to cultivate and protect the people that served his lord.
With the capture of Tango, we have secured our entire northern border and given ourselves some capacity to fall back before we encounter our more valuable provinces. While we are vunerable from the sea, our campaign of northern expansion is over. We must now focus our efforts on rebuilding and on expanding east, towards our other victory provinces.
"The meagre soil of this province leaves barely enough rice for the peasants" briefed Mitsukazu, to the slightly hungover Munemori "and support for our clan is precarious, with the majority supporting the Fujiwara. Order is kept by our forces, but I will need to raise our profile here."
Munemori nodded "I'll do my best to keep the province quiet until you can defuse the situation"
"That would be wise" replied Mitsukazu "There are skilled teachers of Naginatajutsu in this province, so you should take advantage of them to replace your losses."
The province of Tango is fairly unremarkable, containing a Town, Todokoro, Koryu Training Grounds, Dry Field Agriculture (Meagre), Trails and Coastal Village. The wealth of the province is unremarkable and only manages to offset the administrative cost increase of our larger empire. We will need to maintain a reasonable garrison here before unrest causes rebellions, which makes this a net loss but we will recoup that cost when we have a chance to improve the province with a Stronghold and Barter Exchange. This is quite some way down on the list, although the ability to recruit Naginata Attendants will make fortifying the surrounding areas much easier.
His hands a little steadier, his voice more commanding, his arrival more heartening, Munemori was starting to show the strength and maturity of Kiyomori.
Our first ranked up General, Munemori now provides additional morale for the men in his command radius. Generals gain experience from winning fights (15xp), losing fights (3xp) and being in control of reinforcements (5xp).
Sitting by himself in the garden, Munemori pondered how long ago leaving Settsu seemed. No man could save all the men under his command, but still he wondered if he had done all he could. For the sake of those men underneath him, he would learn all his lessons well.
This is the General Detail screen. Similar to the Agent Detail screen, the only difference is the loyalty rating for each General. Identical to the other agents, the upgrade arrow and retainer icon are lit up indicating that choices can be made.
"I know about your little songbird" Mitsukazu said to Munemori, wryly. Snapped out of his contemplation, Munemori spun around "But how could you? Does everyone know?"
Mitsukazu laughed "No my lord. But I would be a poor Junsatsushi if I didn't protect my daimyo's son!"
"Still, I would like you to keep her secret" Munemori stated, his expression pained.
Mitsukazu spoke kindly, "You need not worry, my lord. I've already spoken to her and she knew I was coming. That is no mean feat, she is sensible and cautious, a good quality in anyone."
The retainer for Munemori is the delightful "Discreet Mistress" who reduces his chance of assassination by 5%. Event modifiers like this affect the base percentage, so if an action was 5% to complete, it would now be 0%. Monomi are the only agents who can assassinate and they are rare and difficult to acquire in Rise of the Samurai, but they also have very few counters. As such, it's always useful to protect our critical family members.
Throughout the camp, men talk of Munemori, like a giant upon his horse, dashing around the battlefield and filling their hearts with fighting zeal. They knew that he was going to bring them home, that they would survive and win. He cared for his men, like a father for his children, just like Kiyomori. He was no paper leader, sitting at the back, his aim was true, his sword was strong, his voice was commanding. Men whispered how he was blessed by the gods as a protector and how he would never fail them.
This is the skill tree for Generals. The left hand side is the leadership section and focuses on campaign movement, loyalty and morale while the right hand side is the warrior section and focuses on increasing the combat stats of the general and inspiring the men underneath his to greater feats. Munemori is both a leader of men and a warrior, so he takes a bit of both.
A journey is composed of a thousand steps and Munemori had taken his first. Stronger and wiser, he would make a fine daimyo of the Taira.
This is the General detail screen with a full list of all of the bonuses Munemori currently has.
News spread, not of the declaration of war by the Kusunoki, but of their destruction. Word rippled throughout the land of the unstoppable Taira and the destruction of those foolish enough to anger them.
That ended as expected, we are an absolute wrecking ball at the moment. Of course, it helps we are picking on people that are about one fifth our size (although these ones picked on us!).
"My lord, glorious news" announced the messenger to Kiyomori "Your sons exceed themselves and cover the clan in your glory. Our forces are unstoppable and your realm is substantial."
"I am proud to hear of my children" replied Kiyomori. "We have always been worthy of respect, but now we command it from the very heavens themselves!"
Having taken that province, we now have triggered the next level of Clan Fame. While still not large enough to be considered an overwhelming threat by the Emperor, we are large enough that few could match us head to head. Sadly, a lot of our land is fairly worthless without development, so we appear much bigger than perhaps we really are.
Retreating as far as they could go, the Kusunoki Daimyo and the few loyal men that remained set up camp, exhausted. While they were alive, they could still fight. Tomomori was close on their heels, there was only one lord in this land...
The remnants of the reinforcement army is a trivial number of men and their Daimyo. Since we don't want them attacking our farms and ports, we must put a stop to them.
"There they are, attack!" shouted Tomomori as the Kusunoki forces came into view. "A year's supply of rice for the man that brings me his head!"
Another battle to autoresolve, the pesky rebels will bother us no more.
Despite being heavily outnumbered, the Kusunoki forces put up a good fight. In the end, however, the ferocity of Tomomori and the sheer number of troops made it a forgone conclusion.
A mop up exercise. Losses will be replenished in a turn or two and more combat experience for Tomomori!
As a levy presented the head of the Kusunoki daimyo, Tomomori smiled. "You have earned your reward!" he announced "and also command of this unit. I promote you to captain of the levy!"
"You honour me too much, my lord" replied the new levy captain.
An extra rank for the levy unit is always helpful, considering the large increase to their statistics percentage wise that experience brings.
With several successful attacks under his belt and his combat skills ever improving, Tomomori was becoming well respected to all who served under him. An impeccable warrior, now a blossoming general.
A rank up for our Commissioner for Warfare gives us our second improved general. Our second army will now be able to be lead by quality (when we get one!)
Men served willingly as the legend of Tomomori grew. There were always those who wished to say they had served next to the finest warrior in all Taira lands.
His extra rank up has increased his ability as the Commissioner of Warfare (although the card won't change until we spend his skill points) and given us a 4% reduction to unit recruitment costs.
Obsessed with training, Tomomori ordered that all men who could shoot a bow must train every day until he was satisfied that they were improving. Not content to give orders he would not himself follow, Tomomori trained with his bow until he was satisfied each day. Those who served under him quickly became exceptional archers.
Meaning Rubber Bow (Gomu Yumi), this retainer increases by a flat 10 the accuracy of all units that are bow capable in the army that has Tomomori as the highest ranking general. This applies to his own unit as well, so his own bodyguard now has a rather impressive 74% accuracy. Retainers that boost entire armies are some of the best in the game, especially considering our bow levy are now 25% accurate instead of 15%.
A warrior unparalleled, men spoke in hushed tones of how Tomomori could make his blade dance, blocking blows that no ordinary man could have seen, let alone parried. His aggression undid some of the mastery of his attacking strikes, but in defence of himself and those around him, no blade could touch him.
Taking the two full points in the Warrior skill, we give Tomomori a solid boost to his defence. He is a walking combat hero, a man who inspires all underneath him to great things by expecting everyone to perform at his level. As such, he is getting the skills that a man such as he deserves.
The extra drill had paid off, not only for the accuracy of his men, but for their ability to quickly and efficiently respond to complicated combat orders. Men recovered from their sprints faster, felt inspired more often and endured far more than they thought possible.
In addition to the cheaper troops, the extra rank for the Commissioner of Warfare reduces the cooldown time on abilities, so you can use them more often. Unfortunately, the battles are so short and the bonus is so low that most times unless you burn all your cooldowns at the start just so you can use them again at the end, you only get one use of them anyway. This makes the Commissioner for Warfare the weakest commission.
"Of course we accept your offer for trade!" exclaimed the Urukami Daimyo. "Urukami and Taira interests have often aligned and I see no reason it should not continue to be so!"
Another trade route established to help fund our war machine. In addition, since the Urukami are already friendly, this Trade agreement should help ensure that they look elsewhere for their expansion, enabling us to keep garrison costs down. It's doubly valuable for our financial state!
Winter of 1176
The administrator smiled as he watched the construction of the Mustering Yard. Vast storehouses of all sorts of weapons, armours and supplies were completed, as well as the many buildings needed to house the soldiers. This was a place in which men could be trained quickly and deployed to more critical areas, each man loyal to the Taira. Those who brought war upon us would pay a high cost indeed.
This is the Muster Yard, the first dedicated building the Mustering building chain. It gives additional recruitment slots and replenishment rate to the province containing it. Tamba is a good province to build this as it brings the recruitment slots up to 2 and it is where our Bushi Training Grounds are located. Settsu has no need for one yet as it already receives a bonus recruitment slot as it is our clan capital.
In game encyclopaedia - Muster Field posted:
A muster field improves the number of men who are toughened up for military service, meaning that more units can be recruited in a province: a little discipline among civilians is no bad thing. This also helps with sending replenishment troops to understrength units.
A town watch traditionally keeps the lower classes in order and watches for fires. It is also an excellent training for warriors: they learn to obey orders as well as fight. At the very least, the town watch learn such military skills as obedience, how to form ranks, stand to arms, and prepare to receive an attack. All of these are useful: if men do not act as a well-ordered unit, they will die as a disorganised mob. They may well kill many of the enemy as they die, but they will act ineffectively, not as a piece of the whole army and adding to its collective strength.
The recruitment of men continued in earnest throughout the realm as garrison troops were raised to help maintain control in Tajima. Kiyomori watched the new Naginata Attendants and made note to speak to them about the importance of their mission. They would bring their clan much glory.
Another garrison unit and an additional Naginata Attendant unit to help bring our primary army up to speed for our push east. We will need more troops and I am concerned about our ability to replenish our forces. Of course, the lands to the east do not support the Taira, so a long invasion is likely at any rate.
"From administrators to the lowest peasant here we are loathed" mused Mitsukazu. "They see the Taira as conquerors and power hungry. I must help them to see that we were defending ourselves and that we take our oaths as custodians of this land seriously. I have much work to do here."
Another tutorial-esque mission that indicates our provinces are able to have opposition perform a "Gain Allegiance" operation on them, this encourages us to get our clan support up in the area where it is critically low. Of course, I am already on this, so it should be a nice perk for something we are doing anyway!
"We must protect the north east, but force of arms is not the only way to do so" stated Kiyomori to his attendant. "Go, speak to the Daimyo of the Adachi and offer free and open trade. He makes far more from this than us, so he will be less likely to wish to lose his access to such wealth."
Another trade route opened up to help keep our cashflow healthy. It once again serves the dual purpose of making the nearby clan less likely to invade us as well as giving us extra cash. Since we don't have any special resources to trade, we make a very small amount relative to those who do. However, if you would make much more than the computer, it's loathe to trade with you. Instead, set up trade routes early and then when you gain access to the special resources you are already trading and make a large sum of money!
"Take your men and move to Kyoto" Kiyomori ordered the Attendant Captain. "There you will meet up with Shigehira and report directly to him"
"As you wish, my lord" the captain replied.
Our new troops need to be moved towards our rallying point, Kyoto. Once we have a sufficient force there, we will be able to push east.
"Brother, a runner has arrived from father" Munemori informed Tomomori. "You are ordered to take the Levy forces and return to Kyoto."
"As father wills, brother" replied Tomomori. "May we fight side by side again soon."
We need a garrison force to ensure order in Tango for the moment while we establish our control and the Attendant units replenish rapidly there due to the Koryu Training Grounds. As such, we will leave them and Munemori there to hold down the fort until I can furnish an additional army for him. He will also help add force projection to what is a woefully underdefended region.
Shigehira overlooked the finance scrolls for the Taira. "I don't understand" he puzzled. "How are our provinces so rich, yet the take so poor? We lose so much to administrative waste."
While he had no answers yet, he would solve this problem.
Here is our economic breakdown so far. As you can see, our new provinces have cost us a full 10% of the total tax take more in administrative costs, which wipes out most of the value added by these new provinces. A mere 600 more koku a turn from tax than when we started! Trade, on the other hand, is flourishing, having managed to grow by the same amount that our tax take grew. Our army costs are still fairly small, so we have lots of room to move with those, but my primary objective is to help get our tax flow up. When realm divide happens and all our trade partners declare war on us, you need a strong tax base to be able to continue. If you get caught unaware, it can be an exceptionally painful experience!
The changes Shigehira had made were paying dividends and the Taira coffers were filling with gold at a rate faster than most would have hoped. It was still not enough to feed the growing clan, more would need to be found.
As you can see, we have access to an increasing number of resources through our trade network, although we have none to sell ourselves. It's still a huge improvement on our starting position and (mainly) free gold, so we can't complain too much!
Sneak peak: The finest warriors...