Part 7: Update 5 (Autumn 1177 - Winter 1177)A debt repaid...
Shogun 2 Music - Good Death
Autumn of 1177
Although the Taira were masters of naginatajutsu, Kiyomori was no fool to cling blindly to tradition. The people of Tamba had embraced the Samurai way of life and Kiyomori had siezed that opportunity with both hands. The construction of proper training facilities to facilitate troop recruitment was already paying dividends, reports indicated that several master Samurai were already perfecting the first batch of samurai warriors. Knowing mastery requires both the sword and the brush, the school in the province of Wakasa had been opened to all who wished to attend. The Taira would be masters of all things.
This is a big turn for our expansion plans. Firstly, we see the construction of the Bushi School in Tamba, where we have our Muster Yard. The Bushi School not only allows the construction of rank 1 veteran Bow/Sword Attendants, but is also allows the production of Foot Samurai. I'll be able to start recruitment of them immediately, although they are very expensive to build and maintain, so I won't be massing them while there are other priorities for my funding. It does mean a brand new voted on unit to see in combat and I'm excited to be able to show them off in this LP. They really are that good, especially with a few levels on them. The second building is part of my renewed focus on hitting the goals that we voted on in a reasonable timeframe. You might remember Wakasa is the first province we purchased with Mitsukazu to the northeast. Since I don't plan to prosecute any war from it, it's going to be turtled up with walls, a garrison and our tech boosting buildings.
In game encyclopaedia - Bushi School posted:
This school allows the training of samurai infantry, and improves the expertise of other bushi (warriors).
Long years of training are required to understand the way of the warrior, and to train mind and muscles to the point where a stroke or shot can be made without conscious thought. A warrior needs to empty his mind of everything - even, or perhaps especially, fear, hope and anger - if he is to fight to his full potential. The thousands of hours spent with sword and bow empty the man of everything except the need to perform the perfect act. In that moment of still perfection, he can defeat any opponent without considering anything other than victory. Such training is necessary, but expensive for the warlord who wants his men to be the best.
In game encyclopaedia - School posted:
A school gives a basic education to those who can learn and have enquiring minds. This helps with research into the arts, as students experiment with their new-found wisdom.
An educated class is also the sign of wealth and spare productive capacity in a province. It is only when there is spare time to look up from the daily grind of trying to feed yourself and your family that any kind of organised, formal education becomes possible. And when that tipping point is reached, the world opens up. With education a man is no longer limited only to learning from his experiences, and he can move beyond the accumulated folk wisdom of his fellows. Existing knowledge can be studied, commented upon, and used as a basis for further thought.
Throughout the realm, the treacherous attack on Kyoto caused province administrators to realise that the Taira were still vulnerable. As more men enlisted to defend their families and homes, the Taira lands became more secure. In Kyoto, despite the destruction the attack had caused, men leapt at the chance to take the fight back to the Sasaki.
I need to mobilise more forces, fast. I'm growing the area I need to defend, but not increasing troops at an appropriate rate. If I skate the edge just right, I can use the extra money saved to build up an economic machine that can power the armies and navies I need to continue my expansion without cutting my infrastructure investment. If I get it wrong, I'll end up costing myself an enormous amount of koku in lost opportunities. I'm going to need these guys to play out the last act of my desperate gamble.
"Absolutely not" Kiyomori stated, his face set.
"But my lord" replied his advisor "The girl is from a loyal family and it would consolidate our hold of their traditional lands."
"Their lands are aleady Taira" snapped Kiyomori "Her family might be loyal, but she is ambitious beyond measure. I'll not wed her to my son."
Another turn, another wedding proposal. This wife increases his command by one at the cost of one loyalty. Since the loyalty is worth a lot more than the command star, we refuse. Disloyal generals have a habit of undoing your best plans and I don't want to risk it. I'm also not sure I want to risk making a widow this early...
"We managed to catch you, my lord" announced the Levy Captain, saluting Tomomori. "We collected all the remaining forces in Kyoto as you ordered."
Tomomori smiled. "Good. Today we are all warriors of the Taira, vengeance will be ours. We march for Omi."
Collecting all our available forces from Kyoto and the remnants of our attacking garrison, we combine the forces and march on the settlement of Omi. It's a valuable province and we need to take the risk that we can secure it to end the war. I hate fighting with drabs of an army, since it means I have to basically exploit the defensive town AI, which makes me feel dirty.
On the outskirts of the city, Tomomori stood, addressing his men. "Today we protect all that is Taira. The traitorous Sasaki plot to slaughter our families, but they did not reckon with the will and force of us. We will storm their city and put an end to their madness. We will win. We must win. We are Taira!"
If I can pull this off, I should have bought myself some breathing room for a few turns. We have a solid ranged advantage with 3 Bow Levy, 4 somewhat damaged Naginata Levy (3 units equiv) and a buggered Naginata Attendant. The enemy garrison consists of 3 Naginata Levy and 2 Bow Levy, so we have an extra 100 men. One other advantage we have is that the computer doesn't actually know or factor in the additional accuracy that our ranged troops have thanks to Tomomori. This should give us a comprehensive ranged advantage and let us shoot them to ribbons (It's also worth remembering we have additional armour on our Naginata troops, giving us a quality edge).
I wasn't expecting to have to fight this battle, so I don't really have anything new to show anyone in this. Instead, I wanted to give a bit of an understanding as to why the AI behaves the way it does when defending a town and why I approach it the way I do. It's fairly game-y in the sense that it's a case of taking advantage of something the AI isn't really expecting (That they don't have walls), but I think it's useful as an understanding of what the computer is actually doing.
Click here to see the battle!
"Archers, front!" yelled Tomomori "They don't want to come out to play, so let's cut those traitorous bastards down where they stand. The Taira bowmen are without peer!"
This map will seem familiar, as we have fought on it before. One minor gripe I have with Shogun 2 is that the town battles tend to be a bit repetitive since there are only 5 or so for each type of fortification and you do fight a lot of town battles. Having said that, the one on the edge of the cliff is spectacular. I'll point it out when we see it. The plan is fairly straightforward, leverage a solid line and superior ranged firepower to cut them to ribbons. Tomomori can drive off the enemy archers if they attack, but the AI is very conservative with committing forces in a siege battle, so we likely won't need that.
They were victorious. The Sasaki had fallen before the might of the Taira, their rebellion over. Battered but with high spirits, the Taira forces moved to occupy the city, surely they were unstoppable!
That went better than expected, although we are still utterly exhausted from a military point of view. I couldn't fight off another attack if I tried. We got lucky with that bowshot that killed their general causing a chain rout, It could just as easily have been us chain routing, although we were in a stronger position than I had initially factored. I'm still looking at over a year before this army can fight again in the best case scenario. Those Naginata Attendants are more likely to take 2 years, not including the time it would take to move them to a province where they can reinforce at a rate faster than 2 men a turn!
In the end, the Sasaki forces had abandoned their traitorous masters. Those who failed to flee were cut down, an example to those who would rebel against their rightful lords. Tomomori had been as a demon, his arrows unerringly finding even the most difficult mark. Following his guidance and strict training, all his men had excelled on the field this day.
It looks like an absolute slaughter, but it's important to remember that all defending units are killed in a failed siege defence. If we had fought this battle on the field, their army would still be basically intact and we would have only got moderate kills on our Bow Levy. Nevertheless, our Bow Levy had a standout performance and that alone has ensured Tomomori will be my primary combat general for pushing east. He is also rank 4(!) now, his stats are soon going to be competitive with a hero unit, he already has the accuracy of one!
"This is the price of failure" thought Tomomori, as he watched the Sasaki administrators taken away by his men. "Traitors get their just rewards"
Tomomori briefly pondered sacking the city, but why should he loot what was Taira by right? That the Sasaki had been caretakers mattered not, the land knew it was Taira.
We have occupied the city! We did have the option of looting or of putting the Sasaki back in charge, but neither of those options seem clever, so simple occupation is the name of the game.
Tomomori sneered as he threw the Sasaki banner into the flames. "There will be no trace of those who have no honour. History does not remember fools."
Another clan down! Sadly it was one of our vassals, but we can always make more. The loss of tribute and trade income hurts, as does the loss of a buffer state.
Tomomori pored over the reports taken from the Omi administrators. That the Taira were hated here was obvious to every man, but he would change that. He had already siezed the Minamoto estates and even now the Taira administrators were removing troublesome magistrates. His men would need to keep order in the streets and reinforcements were going to be a long time coming. He had taken the city, but was this a trap? He smiled as he wished Shigehira was here, administration was his forte.
A very rich province, Omi contains a Town, Muster Field, Clan Estate, Dry Field Agriculture (Very Fertile), Trails and an Isolated Hamlet. It will need to be protected and it is a turns march from Kyoto. This means it should be developed to focus on wealth, as the forces needed to defend Kyoto would also have the force projection to protect Omi. As you can see, it is exceptionally Minamoto and will need a heavy garrison for some time. Luckily for us, it already has a Clan Estate to both produce extra funds to pay for the garrison upkeep as well as helping with making the conversion as swift as possible.
As he walked down the corridor, Tomomori sensed something wasn't right. A lantern was conspicuously unlit, the shadow deeper than it had any right to be. "Show yourself" he challenged, drawing his sword. A figure stepped forward from the shadow, a young man.
"I am Nakamitsu" he replied, bowing. "I wish to pledge my service to you"
"Why would you do that, the Omi hate the Taira" responded Tomomori, eyeing Nakamitsu suspiciously
"The Taira are the winning side, I always like the winning side" grinned Nakamitsu. "We have a deal then?"
Our first Monomi, these agents are remarkably hard to get to a useful level. I always end up getting them killed by failing to set fire to a farm or some other stupid task. Having said that, when they do get skilled, they are absolutely devastating to enemy armies, generals and agents alike. Nothing is more satisfying than putting a blade into the back of an enemy Junsatsushi that is decimating your clan support.
Nakamitsu was always a strange child. His village was a hard place and he was never a strong child. Always picked upon by the older children, he soon learned when to run, when to hide and when to fight. Misdirection and bluff were his best weapons against the other children, but sometimes his only choice was to run.
This is the Monomi agent detail screen. Nakamitsu is a young man, only 21 years of age and has no notable traits. As you may notice, the screen is common throughout all agent types.
Winter of 1177
Kiyomori stood atop the newly constructed battlements, the wind tussling his grey hair as he observed the land around him. Even here in Settsu, the heart of Taira power, he could never let his guard down. He had been betrayed by his vassal, the Sasaki, despite all he had achieved and it had nearly cost the life of his youngest son. The thought turned in his head, filling him with anguish and rage. How dare they try to harm his family? His clan? His lands would be unassailable, his armies legion and his will unfaltering. The Taira would protect their own.
Construction of an additional School is completed to help with our new goal of getting Onna Bushi Heroines (Why yes, I am taking this seriously!) and Monks. In addition, the completion of the fortifications in Settsu not only help fortify our western border against the Realm Divide event that is coming, but gives us the additional construction slot we need in order to construct the Buddhist Sancturary we need for Warrior Monks. I want to get the new toys for the thread ASAP, you guys deserve to see some non-levy units rocking face.
As the ship cast off from the dock, the captain took a deep breath of salty sea air. He was the first captain of the glorious Fukuhara Taira navy. Although his boat was little more than a cutter, useful for transportation more than war, he had as much a duty to the Taira as any Samurai. "We have a good wind, Fujin has blessed us! Set sail!"
Our first ship, the Attendants Light Ship is the naval equivalent of a Levy unit. Cheap and unreliable, but they have their uses. Any ship can carry a full stack of troops and an unlimited number of agents, so this is a transport more than a warship. We need to capture Awa as a victory condition, so we will both need a way to get to it and also to find out exactly who owns it and how strong they are.
Ships are a little different to land units in how they are classified. The Japanese have traditionally been very poor sailors and never really developed a naval warfare doctrine. As such, the boats were designed around the idea of boarding actions and getting as many warriors onto the other persons ships as possible. In other words, they treated naval warfare like land warfare. The boats are basically transport ships and thus the bigger, the better. Boats come in three sizes, Light, Medium and Large. They can be staffed by Attendants or Samurai. There are also Fireships, although they are highly specialised.
In game encyclopaedia - Attendants Light Ship posted:
The crews of attendant light ships can bombard enemy vessels with arrows, and the ships have enough speed to extend the range and get out of the way of any counterattacks, should the need arise. The ships are also swift enough to menace any stragglers in an enemy fleet. They are not, however, all that much use in close-in, boarding fights. Their crews do not necessarily have the strength to launch successful attacks against other warships, or withstand a boarding attack for long. While they have high morale, the crew are not samurai, and cannot fight as well as samurai.
A balanced fleet in any time of war requires lighter, smaller, handier ships to act as scouts and to escort the heavier warships. These small vessels should not be expected to do much of the work in battle, but they are necessary to keep the enemy off balance, to provide covering fire, and to hopefully lure the opposing admiral into doing something ill-advised, such as pursuing annoyances rather than keeping formation and concentrating on the large enemy ships.
With new centres of learning opening throughout the land, the people of the Taira began to take a different approach to learning and knowledge. Scholars began to record oral records, tales and collected wisdom in levels never before seen. Neighbouring clans began to look with respect upon the Taira as a civilised and wise people as schools of never before seen size were planned for construction.
As we proceed at speed towards Warrior Monks, we grab this delightful little art which increases our diplomatic relations, which should help offset our expansion penalty and hopefully buy me a little breathing time to reinforce my depleted forces. In addition, it unlocks the second level of the School chain, the Calligraphy School, which increases tech rate by 6% instead of 3%. We are going to need these if I want to get to the units in a decent timeframe.
In game encyclopaedia - Poetry And Literature posted:
Unbound and silk-soft,
A petal on a spring breeze:
Every poet's soul.
To crush an enemy on the field of battle is a great thing. To kill hope in an enemy heart with a few well-chosen words may be equally useful. And what could the sadness of a poet's vision do to a foe's spirit?
"I bring greetings from the rulers of Awa, the Kagawa. We are honoured to meet fellow Taira." the emmissary announced.
"It pleases me to greet fellow Taira also" replied Kiyomori
We have discovered the owners of Awa, the province we need to capture as part of our victory conditions. In a stroke of luck, they are a Taira family, which means two things for us. The first is that the Yashima Taira to our west will be less likely to attack them and take the province, which would be disastrous for us and that we can conquer the province with Mitsukazu and enormous bags of cash. This is exceptionally useful as it will mean I can use my produced troops on the mainland and expand in two directions at once. Nothing can go wrong with this plan.
The many centres of learning throughout the land had need of scholars and wise men to staff them, far more than were available. In response, skilled philosophers, samurai and scholars from all over Japan came to teach in Taira lands. The fusion of new knowledge caused a boom in Taira understanding of the world.
I love this event. It's triggered by gaining several technologies rapidly and encourages going deep into the technology tree with the research savings. In response to this, I'm no longer going for monks for the duration of this tech boom. Instead, I'll be beelining directly for Onna Bushi Heroines in order to get maximum bang for my buck. To be honest, I did a little happy dance when this popped up, as it massively reduced the pressure I was under to show you all the fun toys and lets me deviate from my tech race a little.
Mitsukazu sighed, he was getting to old to be running round the countryside, replacing administrators and magistrates with more suitable men. Giving thanks for the City Garrison backing his commands, he took a rare moment to sit and think. Having barely stopped since he arrived, Mitsukazu calculated that roughly half of the districts in the province were strongly in support of the Taira, but there were still many enemy sympathisers left to find. His work was half done, it would be easier to patrol the streets and order would come slowly but surely to this land. They would see that the Taira care for all who serve.
Now this is very welcome indeed! By raising clan support in Tango to more than 50%, we have completed our mission. The reward is a +2 boost to conversion rate in all our provinces. Since we have just conquered several provinces that have no love for Taira and the base conversion rate is 0.5, this is a massive boon to keeping our empire stable. This is the same rate boost as having a Clan Estate in every province and might even let me reduce the garrison keeping Tamba happy. We might also be able to free Munemori and his Naginata Attendants who are keeping the peace in Tango until we could stabilise the happiness of the province.
"I'm to be what?" shouted Shigehira "Sasaki try to kill me and father sends me with a wife? What next?"
"She is a sensible woman, my lord" replied the attendant "Regardless, your father has already agreed. It is done."
"Make the arrangements then, I will heed father's wishes. Now leave me, I have work to do."
Another turn and yet another bride offer, this time for Shigehira! She is a prudent wife, like Kiyomori's, giving -1 morale but -10% upkeep for all troops under his command. Since he is likely to be in charge of the garrison forces and with our higher quality troops, the morale loss is less important but the upkeep reduction is fantastic. We accept and immediately start reaping the cost savings!
"Loyal friend, you have served me well" announced Tomomori to the Attendant captain. "Your orders are to return to Settsu via Kyoto and report to my father. Take this".
Tomomori handed the captain a scroll sealed with the Taira mon.
These Naginata Attendants are shattered and still costing me a fair amount of upkeep. I need to get them to a province that can replenish them so I can get them back into the fight. Settsu is the closest province that can replenish them at a decent rate, so they head there. Since they can't get there in one turn, I send them to Kyoto, since without a General in the stack, they will only replenish in cities.
The captain knew his orders. A simple mission, he needed to scout the coast of Awa and return with his report. A simple task, but he knew that even these things were critical to the continued prosperity of the Taira.
We do a little exploring with our boat and then send him back towards harbour. We will need it to ferry Mitsukazu to Awa so he can work his silver tongued magic and I don't want it to go too far afield until it's completed it's primary mission.
"The Sasaki might have been traitors, but the income we gathered from their merchants was most beneficial. Perhaps an arrangement could be made with the Kitabatake?" the advisor inquired.
"A most sensible suggestion, send at once for the Kitabatake ambassasdor" replied Kiyomori.
We need to replace the income that we lost from losing the Sasaki and since I have no plan to head south and instead want to head east, the Kitabatake to the south are perfect candidates for replacement trade. They agree to open a trade route, keeping my cashflow healthy.
Mitsukazu stared at the messenger. "Dispatched to Awa? I have not yet completed my mission here!" he exclaimed.
"Kiyomori said it was of the utmost importance and that you would understand he doesn't ask this lightly" replied the messenger.
"As my lord commands" he responded "I will leave at once."
I don't want to miss out on the opportunity to expand my empire as pain free as taking Awa is looking like, so I immediately dispatch Mitsukazu to head to the port at Settsu. The bonus conversion rate to clan support from completing our mission will help keeping the province under control, so we can leverage one of our more useful agents more aggressively.
Without Mitshukazu to guide them, the town garrison suddenly found that it was much more difficult to isolate and remove dissidents. Unruly peasants and angry gatherings forced Munemori to issue a tax exemption for the season simply to maintain order. "One simple task and I can't even manage it without help" thought Munemori "Am I really ready to lead the entire clan?"
Well, this is a screw-up. I had not taken into account that Mitsukazu adds happiness to the province he is administrating and now my garrison force is no longer enough to ensure the peace. While the lack of clan support will resolve itself as the province comes to support us, I have no option but to stop collecting tax in order to maintain order! Luckily the province is not worth all that much and I consider it a cost of having Mitsukazu move out to perform more valuable tasks, but if I had been paying attention I would have reinforced the garrison earlier so I wasn't relying on Mitsukazu to keep the peace.
"Nakamitsu, I want you to prove your worth to the Taira cause" Tomomori ordered. "Head south to Iga and sabotage their granaries."
"Of course, my lord" replied Nakamitsu. "Consider it done"
First thing I need to do is find a target to help level up our new Monomi. Damaging buildings is a great way to level them up, since the chance of death from failure is the lowest of the possible Monomi actions and the cost of sabotage is quite low. As long as you succeed, they have no idea who did it, although if you get caught you get the diplomatic hit for *ALL* Monomi actions that they didn't catch up to that point.
The mission was simple, but the execution was difficult. In unfamiliar territory, Nakamitsu found that it was harder to move undetected than he thought. The darkness was unfriendly and treacherous. He would need to be on his guard.
As you can see, basic Monomi have a terrible chance of doing the easiest Monomi action in the game (Except assassinating monks, but they are hard to find compared to farms), although it is rather cheap. Having said that, the cost would have bought me an extra regiment of Levy, arguably the better use at this point in time. You need to spend money to make money, although in this case it's more we need to spend money to ruthlessly murder everyone who gets in our way. If we can get him to rank 3 or so then we will have a reliable way to get into enemy fortifications as well as eliminate enemy generals.
Moving silently towards the hayshed, Nakamitsu readied the lantern and special firepowder. It would make a great distraction so he could set fire to the granary in the confusion. Misjudging a shadow in the grass, he stumbled and fell, tumbling down the small hill and into the river. In the distance, dogs barked at the sudden noise. His lantern extinguished, firepowder ruined and ankle twisted, Nakamitsu beat a hasty retreat. He had failed.
As expected, we messed it up. The good news is messing it up only costs 1/3 of the actual cost (so about 60 koku) and in this case it didn't get him killed. It nets 3 xp of the 20 he needs to level up, so this might take a while. In fact, I'm expecting to go through 3 or 4 Monomi before we end up with one who gets lucky. One of the best reasons for upgrading the Isolated Hamlet chain is that it gives you rank 2 Monomi right out of the gate. Also, the research that increases agent success rate by 10% is a flat 10% to the base, so it would have been a 43% chance of success which really increases your survival rate.
Reading the recent dispatch of scrolls, Shigehira rubbed his eyes. Sleep had not been forthcoming lately, there was just too much to do. The finances were in a strong position, but gold kept disappearing, never making it to the places it was meant to be. Was corruption that rife or was banditry to blame? No matter how hard he stared at the page, the scroll produced no answers.
Looking at our finances, we can see that we have increased our tax income and trade income by around 200 koku each, while increasing military costs by only 100 koku. We also lost 100 koku worth of tribute (which comes under "Other"), so our economic outlook is a little stronger. The increase in Administrative Cost is starting to rapidly eat into our income and there seems to be no change to that trend in the near future. Now that the groundwork has been laid, I need to field a larger force to protect all the land we have been gaining and this means reduced income in the near future.
"Your wisdom is legendary, my lord" the attendant said to Kiyomori "Trade fills our coffers with gold and shows the world your honour and magnificence"
"Hah!" Kiyomori laughed "Your flattery is perhaps overdone, but it is true that there is wisdom in knowing the value of things"
Trade is flourishing considering we have no valuable resources to sell, with tariffs still making up our entire trade income. We need to be careful not to make trade agreements with anyone who would attack us, as that has negative diplomatic repercussions to both parties.
Sneak peak:Ebbs and Flows
Ok guys, it's feedback time. I want this LP to be enjoyable as possible for everyone to read and I would like your help in that. Firstly, the only feedback I get for this LP is in the thread and I love knowing what you do and do not want to see. Maybe you want me to spend more time on the story, maybe you want more details and nitty gritty, maybe you want me to fix my damned spelling. I don't know what you guys want to see, but I would love to make it more fun for everyone.
As the gentlegoon above me suggested, I'll do a small feature on what the diplomacy screen items actually *mean*. Obviously that isn't all we could want, perhaps some people would like me to do a State of the Empire post listing all of our provinces, what they have in them and my plans for them. Maybe you want to see a similar breakdown for our armies or maybe you want to see a diplomatic breakdown on what everyone thinks of us and who is friends with who.
If you find something confusing in an update or are wondering what is happening somewhere I don't seem to be covering, speak up and ask! There is a good chance you are not the only person who is wondering about that.
Once again, I hope everyone is enjoying the LP!