Part 8: Update 6 (Spring 1178 - Summer 1178)Ebbs and Flows
Spring of 1178
Walking through the newly expanded economic area, Shigehira allowed himself a brief moment of satisfaction. Although the expansion had been expensive, new merchants were moving in and expanding existing stalls. Merchants from far afield had already arrived with exotic goods, as if by magic. It was hard to believe that civil war gripped Japan.
The continued fortification and improvement of our provinces continues at a steady pace, with our rich southern province of Kii completing the construction of a Stronghold. This is intended to make it more difficult for a sea invasion as well as keeping the neighbouring clans in check. In addition, the additional building slot is allows will give us the chance to build another Clan Estate, increasing the income from this valuable province. It does, however, mean it is food neutral. We also have finished the construction of a building we have not seen before in Kyoto, a Market! As one of two possible building chains that the Barter Exchange upgrades into, the Market chain increases the wealth of the province by a respectable sum.
In game encyclopaedia - Market posted:
A market adds substantially to a province's taxable wealth. A market has cash in circulation: there are prices, often controlled by the lord, expressed in monetary terms, not in the number of chickens that must be swapped for so many rice sacks. Once people can sell their surplus, they will always seek out goods to buy, and that can add substantially to the economic activity in a province.
Despite the need for trade, the activity was considered rather improper in medieval Japan. Merchants, like many townsmen, had a lower status than hardworking peasants. Whatever the merchants were doing to earn a living, it was obviously not quite as honest or straightforward. And, despite the fact that the nobles enjoyed spending the taxes they gathered, they certainly considered trade to be utterly beneath any proper gentleman. Merchants and cash have their uses, though: it is easier to transport wealth around in the form of coin and treasure than as rice sacks!
Inspecting his troops, the Samurai Captain addressed them. "We are the finest warriors of the Taira! No man can best us with bow, no man can best us with sword. We fight for the honour of our families and our clan, we fight for Kiyomori. We are Samurai!"
Additional Levy are raised in Tango to help us remove our Attendants and Munemori from garrison duty, while Kyoto also raises Levy to help bulk up our forces in the area. The big news this turn is the recruitment of a brand new unit, Foot Samurai! With their rather exceptional combat statistics (and price tag to match) these elite troops are capable of performing every role on the battlefield, from support, to ranged combat, to heavy melee. Unfortunately, the units are exceptionally small (only 45 men per unit) which means replenishment is a long process and they have a very high cost. While they can kill approximately infinite Naginata Levy, Attendants will rock their world in melee combat, as will all cavalry units. Nevertheless, they are extremely powerful and I can't wait to show them off (Right after they bankrupt me).
In game encyclopaedia - Foot Samurai posted:
To be a samurai was, originally, to be a mounted warrior with bow and spear; mastery of the sword and fighting on foot were later developments. However, once adopted, these new ways were treated with equal sincerity and dedication. Samurai infantry are master archers, capable of hitting targets at impressively long ranges, and also quite capable of defeating enemies in close combat. However, the numerically small size of the unit does make them vulnerable to being overwhelmed by numerous lesser enemies. A wise commander also makes sure they are carefully handled when cavalry threaten.
War, the skills of war, and the spirits went hand in hand in Japan. According to the "Azuma Kagami", a written account of the Gempei War, Minamoto Yoritomo's first action when summoned to war was to put on ceremonial robes, and bow towards the Iwashimizu Hachiman shrine. By doing this, the Minamoto Shogun placed the destiny of his family in the hands of Hachiman, the kami of war and the Minamoto's tutelary spirit. To make sure Hachiman continued to favour his clan, Yoritomo had a Shinto priest and a samurai "deeply versed in Shinto ritual" offer prayers on his behalf.
"My lord, Urukami merchants have not been seen for many weeks" the advisor informed Kiyomori "Word has been sent to the Urukami Daimyo, but we have heard no reply"
"This is troubling" replied Kiyomori "The Urukami have been loyal friends. Send scouts to determine the problem"
"At once, my lord" the advisor responded
Our trade route with the Urukami has been broken. Since we have not had any diplomatic contact informing us of the breaking of ties, only being physically unable to trade would break this. While sea trade can be broken by blockades, land trade can only be broken by losing your land border. Since it's a land trade that was broken, that means...
"My lord, disastrous news" the scout reported "The Urukami mon flies in their lands no longer. They are destroyed"
"I see" responded Munemori "Put the garrison on alert and send runners informing my father immediately. Warmongers should not be trusted."
Were they friend or foe, Munemori wondered. His position was dangerously exposed with all resources allocated to the eastern front. Men would need to be raised.
That our loyal friends to the northwest have been annihilated by another clan. This is problematic as the new clan is unlikely to be anywhere near as friendly or reliable as the Urukami were. If I had money to spare, I would fortify the northern provinces. Unfortunately, I don't have any koku to spare and so my northern risk profile just went up a substantial amount.
"An emissary has arrived from the Hasebe, my lord" the attendant informed Kiyomori "Do you wish to receive him?"
"I do not wish it, but I will receive him. The loss of our friends was unfortunate, but we may yet turn this to our advantage." replied Kiyomori.
Here are our new neighbours, the Hasebe, fresh from their conquest of the Urukami. I'll need to get them onside to prevent them being opportunistic with my poorly defended northern lands. My militarisation should help with this, although how much is unknown.
It had taken many seasons, but the hot-headed Yasunobi was finally ingratiating himself into the Iga lands. "I'm the best" thought Yasunobu to himself "That's why they gave me the most difficult assignment. Kiyomori himself will commend me when I am successful here!"
Our second Junsatsushi has ranked up! He has spent all his time in the Iga province trying to convert them to Taira, something which he is succeeding at. It's an insurance policy, since not only does the computer need a large garrison to keep peace there now, but if they do sally forth I can by the province out from underneath them!
Addressing the Iga magistrate, Yasunobu spoke. "Kiyomori understands and respects talent. The rewards for talent in the Taira are many, which would serve a man of such obvious skill as yourself. There is no dishonour in accepting your true rewards, after all."
The magistrate looked thoughtful. "Kiyomori is indeed a sensible man, to see such talent as ourselves! Fools think we should languish for scraps, but men such as us should be recognised throughout Japan!"
"What an insufferable buffoon, how can he possibly think himself my equal?" thought Yasunobu, his face unchanging from his jovial smile.
To keep with our currently massive conversion requirements, we give the Vindicator Skill at rank 2 to Yasunobu to enable rapid province conversion.
"A package has arrived, my lord" the messenger informed Yasunobu "although it is most unusual."
"Excellent! No doubt in response to my exceptional talents!" exclaimed Yasunobu "Hand it to me!"
"As you wish" replied the messenger, handing over a wickerwork basket and note. Suddenly, a muffled bark came from inside the basket.
"A dog?" Yasunobu questioned "Who would send me this?"
Opening the message, he soon had his answer. "A true Junsatsushi should never be without a loyal companion - Mitsukazu"
We also jag another amazing roll for Retainers, with the ever useful Hunting Dog (As seen by Mitsukazu!) giving us an additional star for buying the loyalty of provinces. Another Mitsukazu clone can't possibly hurt considering he is responsible for as much expansion of Taira power as all our armed forces!
"As you can see, all our people would benefit from trade" the Hasebe ambassador announced.
"An interesting proposal" Kiyomori replied. "Very well, I will allow in your merchants. Let us trade."
"If the Hasebe were of the same cloth as their ambassador, this agreement is not worth the paper it is written on" he thought.
To try to keep the Hasebe from attacking us as well as keeping our treasury as healthy as possible, we open a trade route with the Hasebe. Judging by their indifferent attitude to us, ambitious temperament and questionable integrity, I don't think it will help us much if they decide to invade. Still, free koku.
Riding hard through the night, Mitsukazu had finally made it to the Settsu docks. "I'm not as young as I used to be" he thought as he boarded the small ship that would take him to Awa. "At least I can get a full nights rest now"
We continue to move Mitsukazu towards Awa to expand the Taira power and secure the victory province. Unlike boarding armies, you can board agents on to ships and still move them on the same turn. This allows Mitsukazu to move an enormous distance this turn.
The ship made good time, the captain skilfully using the wind to his advantage. Soon enough, the Awa beach was in sight. "We can't linger here long" the captain explained "If they believe we are hostile we could undo all your hard work"
"Thanks again, captain" replied Mitsukazu "I carry out my duty, as you carry out yours."
In fact, he makes it all the way to the beach of Awa from just outside Tamba in a single turn. Using this trick, agents can move exceptionally long distances. There is another trick with boats which allows crazy movement, but I don't have the fleets to show it off just yet.
Following Tomomori's orders to the letter, the Attendant Captain lead his troops into Settsu and reported to Kiyomori. "This is your entire unit?" Kiyomori asked, incredulously.
"Yes, my lord" the captain responded "We are all that is left"
"Tell the barracks master to organise replacements" Kiyomoti ordered "You will take a garrison roster for the duration"
"As my lord commands" replied the captain saluting and leaving the room.
"So many men lost" thought Kiyomori "We owe them much. I hope their sacrifice was worth it."
We move our Naginata Attendants from Kyoto to Settsu in order to allow them to replenish at a reasonable rate. They now replenish at 6 men a turn instead of 2. As you can see, replenishment for advanced troops is difficult for a lot of the game, which is why Levy are often used all the way through the game. None of our provinces are really set up to replenish troop numbers, although Settsu is tagged for that purpose when we have the koku.
Since his failed attempt at sabotage, Nakamitsu had not been idle. Disguised as a labourer, he had spent his time extensively exploring the fields and village whenever he had the chance. "Take your time and make the perfect plan" he thought to himself. "Rash action will get you killed".
The seeds of a new plan began to form and he knew this would show his worth.
Our Monomi serves no use as a rank one, so we send him to try again on this mission to sabotage the farms in Iga. Either he dies or he gets some valuable experience. No matter what the outcome, I'll need to move him out to both explore and also to not annoy the owners too much. I don't want them declaring war on me just yet!
A bottle of Sake in hand, faking drunkenness, Nakamitsu stumbled down the town road. Weaving his way to the town granary, he recognised one of the guards, a hothead called Rikimori. "Your mother was easy" Nakamitsu slurred "but my dog is prettier"
Rikimori lashed out at Nakamitsu, but where he expected a slow drunk, he encountered a skilled warrior. Stepping under the blow, Nakamitsu slashed open the belly of Rikimori. The other guard boggled at the scene unfolding him, but before he could gather his wits a small dagger caught him in the throat. Finishing off Rikimori, Nakamitsu got to work placing his firepowder hidden in his empty sake bottle. Setting it alight, he left silently.
"Rash action will get you killed" he thought, smiling at the darkness.
The devastation was absolute.
Luckily for us, he succeeds. A substantial amount of damage was done to the farms, I would estimate about 2000 koku worth. This puts him just below the requirements for rank 2, so I will need to find someone else to burn down (or murder). As long as he doesn't die, he will rank up.
Summer of 1178
"The people must have solace in this life and the next" announced Kiyomori "Their needs must be met and their hearts must be filled"
"Your gift is most generous" the monk replied "Our order will gladly serve the people of Settsu. There are those of us, however, who believe through perfection of combat skill, we achieve enlightenment."
"They are all welcomed" Kiyomori stated "Each man who serves may serve in his own way."
Our building spree continues, this time a new Buddhist Sanctuary in Settsu. It increases the happiness of the province and allows the recruitment of the Sou agent type (one per building chain). It is also the other requirement for creating Bow Warrior Monks (Along with a Koryu Training Grounds) allowing me to really up the ranged killing power of our armies. The other warrior monk type, Naginata Warrior Monks, require a Buddhist Temple and Koryu School. We currently don't have the art needed to build a Buddhist Temple, so we won't see those monks for a while yet.
In game encyclopaedia - Buddhist Sanctuary posted:
A place of refuge from the burdens of the world, a sanctuary gives the faithful a chance to understand the true meaning of the Buddha's teachings. A sanctuary can bring an air of contentment to a whole province, and train monks to spread the faith.
Many Buddhist sanctuaries in Japan were built next to older Shinto shrines. In this, Japanese Buddhism was different from many other religious invasions across the world, which tended to build their new buildings on top of the wreckage of the old religion and its shrines. The new would nearly always replace the old, often with the aid of a builder's mattock. Buddhism, though, was quite content to leave a space for the kami, and even adopt some spirits as tutelary examples for the faithful. The resulting fusion of faiths lasted for hundreds of years, until the Meiji Restoration.
Tomomori felt weary, like he never had before. Days of heavy patrols had turn into weeks which flowed into months, the province was a firepot, ready to explode at the slightest spark. A new regiment of Naginata Levy had been recruited and was providing some relief, but the loyalty of this province to the Minamoto was amazing. Simply finding men loyal enough to the Taira was an overbearing task, "No wonder they rebelled" thought Tomomori. He would do his duty, Omi would be controlled, he could not fail. He was Taira.
With our need to replenish our forces and to enable us to go back on the offensive, more Levy are created in Kyoto and Omi. They will serve as both needed bulk and garrison forces for the rather unstable Omi. I'm also starting to get paranoid about all the other clans nearby to the exceptionally rich Kyoto. I'll feel better with a stack or two defending me, although at the rate of 2 units a turn it will take a while before I have a force worthy of my size.
"Kiyomori has stated that Kagawa are descended from the Taira family bloodline and that he is the rightful ruler of Awa. However, he accepts that the Kagawa family shall be considered as his own and allowed to maintain provincial control of their ancestral lands" stated Mitsukazu, addressing the Kagawa Daimyo, Kagawa Ietoyo "Many others have accepted this generous offer and have gained much. Kiyomori is a man of his word."
"The power of the Taira is immense, true" replied Ietoyo "I must consider this... generous offer."
"You can't be serious" the Kagawa advisor yelled "This is an outrage!"
"Silence!" the Daimyo commanded.
Buying out Awa is an act of war, so we need to declare our intentions to adsorb them. Mitsukazu should finish this quickly.
"The strength of your forces is well known" said Mitsukazu "But you lack the wealth to feed them and to exercise your will. Kiyomori offers his vast wealth to ensure that none of your people go hungry and a large contribution to your family to ensure their comfort"
"I will speak to my forces" responded Ietoyo "They are simpler men and move in straight lines where others are trapped in circles"
With orders to acquire the allegiance of the province at any cost, we move Mitsukazu in to unleash the diplomatic and persuasive force that is the Taira Junsatsushi core.
"My men and I commit ourselves to the Taira forces" stated Ietoyo "but I fear I can no longer commit the province, I have been overthrown"
"Your advisor took my offer poorly then, I take it" inquired Mitsukazu
"Indeed he did. Along with the garrison commander, he has seized control of the capitol. The army is still loyal to my orders and I will regain what is mine."
"Could we not resolve this matter by spilling gold rather than blood?" pleaded Mitsukazu "Men need not die for this simple thing"
Ietoyo met him with a steely gaze. "No, I will see the traitors dead at my feet. This land is mine to do with as I will. None will stop me."
Success... of a sort. Sometimes when you attempt to gain the loyalty of a province you instead gain the loyalty of a portion of the garrison. The amount of garrison you gain depends on the level of support for your clan in the province as well as the skill of your Junsatsushi. Sadly, it still costs the full amount of koku you gain the garrison.
Overlooking his men, Ietoyo was filled with indecision. Was he doing the right thing? All his life he had ruled his people with integrity and honour, yet now they turned their backs on him. Kiyomori offered him a chance to save his family and his people, the Kagawa could not stand against the Taira, why would his people oppose him in such a way? Couldn't they see it was their only hope to survive?
Having said that, it looks like we gained control of every single unit in Awa, including their Daimyo! This force will be more than enough to overwhelm the garrison, so in a rather indirect way, we own Awa. Maybe. Considering we need more troops, a ready made army complete with (somewhat traitorous) general is an amazing boon.