The Let's Play Archive

Total War: Shogun 2 - Rise of the Samurai

by shalcar

Part 9: Update 7 (Autumn 1178 - Winter 1178)

An army reborn

Autumn of 1178

Shigehira walked through the the newly expanded clan estate, shaking his head at all the administrators bustling around him. The expanded staff kept the province officials in line and ensured that corruption was caught wherever it was found, but it was becoming increasingly impossible to find the information he sought. "Mitsukazu has a better head for this than I" he thought as he tried to find the latest grain tallies. He was master here, but he increasingly felt that there was a dance of bureaucracy whirling around him over which he had no control.

Our improvement of Kyoto continues with the construction of a Shinden, the next upgrade of the Estate building chain. Increasing the tax rate by a further 5% and adding even more clan support, it's a critical upgrade to the Clan Estate. Sadly, we are approaching the limit of what we can do with Kyoto, since our limited Bunka arts research means that the more advanced economic buildings are unavailable to us. Nevertheless, Kyoto is now worth a fifth of our total income, a full third of all our tax take in the entire Taira lands.

In game encyclopaedia - Shinden posted:

The shinden improves clan influence and tax rate effects. Primarily concerned with land and financial oversight, this is an organisation that oversees all government business. The day-to-day issues of running people's lives, collecting taxes and making sure that criminals are brought to book are left to lesser departments.

Throughout the realm, men volunteered to bolster the Taira ranks. Some men joined to uphold the honour of Kiyomori, while others sought adventure and glory with Tomomori and others still to ensure the safety and stability of the lands following Munemori's example. Despite their many and varied reasons for their service, there was one common tie binding them together in blood. They were Taira.

It's time we got serious about our war footing and this is part of our mobilisation. With new Foot Samurai and Levy recruited across our central provinces to both garrison provinces as well as bulk up Tomomori's forces, we are positioning ourselves to begin an offensive that is likely to take us close to Realm Divide. The cost blowout of all this should be impressive, I guess I will need to take someone else's gold to pay for it all!

As his army marched through fields he had grown up in, Ietoyo smiled grimly to himself at the madness of it all. "To save my clan I must destroy it" he thought, marching through the morning fog. "This is madness. These are my clan, my people, how can those fools sit in my city and oppose us?"
Before he was lost in thought, an advisor interrupted him. "We are approaching the city, my lord"
"Excellent" Ietoyo replied "Let's give these traitors a lesson in humility!"

With our freshly bribed army, we engage the garrison forces defending the settlement of Awa. Asking them to slaughter their ex-clansmen seems a bit rough, but I guess those are the breaks when you are a traitor freedom fighter. Our force of 5 Naginata Levy and 4 Bow Levy should easily overwhelm their 3 Naginata Levy and 3 Bow Levy.

Click here to watch the battle!

"You may think we fight brothers today" boomed Ietoyo. "But today we fight honourless dogs! We may have called them brothers, but they refused to serve their oath to me! We march to save the Kagawa, while they stand to oppose us, ready to see our honourable name ground in the dust. We will show no fear, we will show no hesitation. We are the true Kagawa and we will reclaim our rightful lands!"

The hill is a bit intimidating, but otherwise this is one of the more gentle siege maps. It has a few natural chokepoints that enable the defender to hold with a decent force, but they don't have enough men to cover all the angles.

Standing in the courtyard, Ietoyo addressed his troops. "You have done an honourable and glorious thing this day! Men of the Kagawa, we have retaken our homes from the traitors. Our ancestors look down upon us and shower their blessing for such heroic men. Go home to your loved ones and let them know you are safe, for this day, you have served loyally and well."

A comprehensive victory! Casualties are higher than I would like, but considering they were basically free with the province, I don't mind too much. Levy replenish at a reasonable speed, so it shouldn't be long before they are fighting fit.

Mitsukazu approached Ietoyo as he walked towards his study. "A stirring speech, but you do remember our agreement?"
"I am a man of honour" replied Ietoyo, stiffening at the remark. "I serve Kiyomori in exchange for the safety of my people and my family. You see he upholds his word before you question mine again."
"I meant no disrespect" Mitsukazu responded "None doubt your honour and your loyalty is absolute, I see that now."

Kills are fairly evenly distributed throughout the units, although casualties were focuses on the Naginata Levy units. This is fine, since I can leave the weakened units behind, by the time they get involved in fighting they will have replenished. In the meantime, I can withdraw most of the forces and bring them over to the mainland where I need additional troop bulk.

Sitting in his assembly hall, Ietoyo felt uneasy. The hall was his, yet the familiar Kagawa mons that had decorated the walls since he was a child were gone, replaced with Taira. The old decorations were stored safely away for another time. He had done what he must to ensure his family survived, there was no honour in the loss of all his family had worked hard to achieve. He had bought reprieve and a chance for his children to flourish. His lands were his by the word of Kiyomori and he had gained both safety and wealth. He would endure and serve loyally, so that his son, or grandson, or great grandson could one day fly the Kagawa flag befitting the noble blood that ran in their veins.

Another clan down! The Taira are a force of nature, you would think by now everyone would either capitulate as soon as I looked at them or band together to murder me. Realm Divide will ensure the latter is the course of action, so I better make sure my walls are nice and high!

The bitter icy wind whipped Mitsukazu as he walked around the town outskirts, cold and unsettling as his own thoughts. Men had fought and died because of his words, his gold, his conviction. He was an agent of peace, of unification. He had failed to convince all of the wisdom of Kiyomori and it had cost the lives of good men. The deaths were upon his head, as surely as if he had swung the blades that ended their lives. He was getting too old for this.

Another province taken, this time it's a victory province which leaves only one victory province left to take! The bad news is I have to hold it unsupported since all my forces and production capacity is on the mainland. Awa will need high walls and a large garrison to survive Realm Divide, which means it's likely to be a net drain on my resources.

Sitting on his bed, Ietoyo held the Kagawa tapestry that had hung in the great hall since his time began. His families lands were never rich, the soil never gave the bounty of other regions and the coastline was too rough for trade. The Kagawa were never rich in material goods, but they had always understood the value of knowledge and wisdom. A single tear fell from his face, marking the tapestry. How much more must he give to see his family safe?

A relatively poor province, the saving grace is that it has full support for the Taira so the garrison needed at the moment will be small. It's unlikely to be a net positive for our empire with the additional Administrative Cost and the need to garrison it (we can only afford 3 Levy there, assuming it didn't increase Admin Cost). It contains a Town, Town Watch, School, Dry Field Agriculture (Barren) and Roads. We will need to fortify those walls and install a larger garrison.

Awa contains two new buildings that we have not seen before, the Town Watch and the Road. Town Watch is one of the possible upgrades to the Todokoro and is the first building of the Watch chain. This chain increases the size of the garrison in the province as well as the amount of repression. As it is mutually exclusive with the Mustering chain, you can either have a large garrison and repression or recruitment capacity and replenishment in a province. The Roads upgrade is the next in the Trails building chain and further increases the movement bonus for armies and agents moving on the roads in the province. In addition, it increases the replenishment rate of units in the province as well as increasing town growth.

In game encyclopaedia - Town Watch posted:

The town watch serves to act as a central point to mobilize the people in defence of their homes, and as a potent reminder of the power of the local rulers over those same people.

Local defence was a necessity, but peasants were never really expected to stand for long against samurai or other trained warriors. Peasants also could not be used for offensive actions, or sent away from their homes. At best, they could swell the numbers in an army, or the enemy would get tired out killing them before reaching the real defenders. This sounds harsh, but it was a foolish lord who allowed his entire population of strapping peasants to be slaughtered in battle. If this happened, who would gather the harvest?

In game encyclopaedia - Roads posted:

Roads improve the movement extent of armies and agents in a province. Everything moves faster thanks to roads actually having a surface, not being a dusty track or muddy stream depending on the weather. Improved transport links also help the replenishment rate for army casualties. All comings and goings are carefully watched, of course, by officials and paid informers, meaning that line of sight is also better along roads.

While roads improve the ability of people to move around this was not always what the great families wanted. It was one thing to be able to move an army swiftly, but quite another to have peasants be able to move around freely. Land without workers was, and is, entirely worthless. It generates no taxable income. If the peasants could simply leave, they might just do so! Traders, being people who did not work the land, were free to use them, because they were considered to be worth less than useful, hard working peasants.

"A man of your standing and honour can never be simply one of the Taira's servants" stated Mitsukazu to Ietoyo "Kiyomori would never accept it. Your skills are too great, your integrity too strong. He would lose honour for not properly rewarding a man such as you."
"That he keep his word is all the reward I required" replied Ietoyo. "I need no more"
"Nevertheless" responded Mitsukazu "You are appointed to the position of Commissioner of Finance for the Taira. Serve well and with honour"
"Kiyomori honours me greatly with his trust" Ietoyo smiled. "I will not fail him"

Another general and a damned loyal one at that, Mitsukazu is obviously one hell of a fast talker. The main benefit of a new general who is loyal is that you can assign them a Commission. In this case, as a reward for taking Awa, we give him the position of Commissioner for Finance. This increases global tax rate by 1% per star and reduces the upkeep of the troops in his stack by 2% per level. This is actually more valuable than the province of Awa itself, as the extra koku generated from Kii, Kyoto and Omi with 1% more tax is over half of what Awa makes total. The very high loyalty of Ietoyo means that I can use him to lead large armies by himself without having to worry about them being bought out (...again).

"Before we proceed further" Ietoyo stated "I must inform you as to the disposition of our neighbours. They are of poor disposition towards us, but do not seem overly hostile. The terrain prevents trade and isolates them, but that works to our advantage defensively. They have few friends here."
"Useful information" replied Mitsukazu "I will inform Kiyomori at once"

With control of Awa, we are neighbours with two new clans, the Kono and the Yamauchi. I don't plan to have much to do with them, since I don't want to expand in that direction and they are not particularly friendly. In addition, their provinces are not considered adjacent for land trade, which makes trading with them impossible at the current time.

"You heard me, you honourless sons of bitches" yelled the Samurai Captain "We march until we reach Omi! I'm not about to explain to Tomomori why we stopped to watch the leaves fall. Now move out!"

Tomomori needs more troops to launch his eastern offensive, so we move additional troops from their staging area of Kyoto into Omi. Getting those Foot Samurai under his leadership is a high priority, as his boost to ranged accuracy will put them at the accuracy level of a Shogun 2 Bow Hero right out of the gate!

His orders were simple, but simplicity was no excuse for haste. Moving silently through the forest, Nakamitsu scouted to the east, searching for any clue to the clans beyond. Finding a small inn by the roadside, he put on the air of a simple wandering monk and sat down by himself near a table of less than sober looking fieldhands.
"The Shiba Daimyo is the most fearsome general in all Japan" boasted one "He could command the wind and rain if he wanted to!"
"Hah" snorted another "The Honda are the true powers of the region, their honour and skill are unmatched!"
"That's true" nodded a third "The Kitabatake tried to fight them and were dashed upon Honda naginata!"
Nakamitsu smiled to himself, his mission was proceeding well.

As important as a ranked up Monomi is, we need scouting reports from our eastern front far more. Monomi are ideal for scouting as they not only have the largest sight range of any unit, but they also identify enemy troop types far easier than other agents or even armies, which means you get a complete intel picture. Another unit might tell you that there are 12 units in the army, one of which is a naginta levy and 11 of which are unknown, while the Monomi would tell you there are 10 Naginata Levy and 2 Bow Levy (Also how much they like eating Fugu). A side benefit is that they are invisible and so don't attract attention and can also open castle gates in a pinch!

Acting on the tipoff from the inn, Nakamitsu headed to the outskirts of Owari to discover the nature of the legendary general of the Shiba. All throughout the land, men knew of him and his many exploits. "Either he is indeed a man of impressive skill in battle or his skill in propaganda is unmatched. Either way, I need to get this information to Kiyomori" thought Nakamitsu.

Our new scouting has revealed another clan, the Shiba, owners of Owari. They are supporters of the Minamoto and are likely to get in our way, so we should be ready to deal with them. If you look at the Nakamitsu scouting picture above, you will notice that their Daimyo in Owari is a 4 star general! This guy is seriously bad news if he decides to bring his force my way and Nakamitsu is far too inexperienced to assassinate a Daimyo of that skill. I'm going to need more Samurai. And Monks.

Winter of 1178

"Forms, paperwork, delivery dockets, duty rosters, granary reports, why must I deal with all this nonsense" raged Tomomori to the air, his kick sending a pillow sailing across the room. "Give me an enemy with a blade!"
Startled, an attendant leant through the door to the room. "Are you well, my lord?" he enquired.
"Of course I am not well!" snapped Tomomori "I followed Shigehira's advice to expand the administration facilities and all it did was increase the paperwork!"

With the enormous increase in army upkeep in the last few turns, we can't afford to let our economy stagnate. The construction of a Shinden and Clan Estate in our next two richest provinces, Omi and Kii, ensures that the Taira treasury stays in a healthy manner. The additional conversion provided in Omi will help liberate Tomomori's army faster as we focus on destroying Minamoto support in the province. Despite this, we are running into diminishing returns as we don't have the Bunka arts to continue improving our high performing provinces. Another way to ensure income will need to be found.

In Kyoto, Shigehira was having a different type of problem. "I just don't understand it" he lamented to his advisor "The men tell me they need one thing, my wife says it is foolishness. Who do I believe? Surely the men know what they need? I took Tomomori's advice of implementing strict drill, but all it did was make the men think I was a cruel taskmaster"
"Each man has his place in both heaven and earth" replied the advisor. "Find yours and you will know the right path"
"That's easy enough to say" Shigehira countered. "But it's much easier to find your place if you don't have to listen to the grumbling of men and your wife"

Significantly less aggressive at recruiting than last turn, we nevertheless continue with the creation of bulk for Tomomori's forces as well as the required garrison to maintain peace in Omi. We are getting close to having enough Levy for most of our plans and since the vast majority of my budget is earmarked for elite units, we will continue at a slow but steady pace.

Throughout Japan, the Taira were known as masters of Naginatajutsu, with much respect for the old ways. Slowly at first, but increasing steadily, masters of the art migrated to the new Taira empire, bringing old, long forgotten secrets and skilled mastery of war.

Another art mastered, this time The Old Way. It's a very useful art, giving a moderate increase to unit replenishment, which considering our problems with replenishing units at a reasonable rate, is most welcome. In addition, it allows us to construct a Koryu Dojo, which gives us access to Mounted Naginata (A less popular vote, but still our first real cavalry) and also to a unit I have been keeping a secret, Testubo Warrior Monk Heroes. Unfortunately for us, they require advanced buildings in the Temple chain, which are unlocked with advanced Bunka arts.

In game encyclopaedia - The Old Way posted:

Respect the old ways;
They have crafted who you are:
A warrior of stone.
There are many roads from the swordsmith to the battlefield, not all of equal length. The clever student listens to the master who has walked on before him.

"Glorious news, my lord" announced the messenger "A prince has been born to Tokoko-hime, a Taira will sit upon the throne!"
"Most welcome news indeed!" responded Kiyomori, his smile broad. "The gods favour us with our due!"

Here is the real reason for our conquest, the Taira dream of nothing less than absolute power! With a Taira prince upon the Emperor's throne we will be the spiritual leaders of Japan and Kiyomori as the supreme military leader of Japan, we will have complete mastery over all Japan! This was the actual reason behind the Gempei War, with the young Prince Antoku used as a pawn for Taira supremacy. The Taira lost and he was only six years old when he was drowned by his own family rather than have their ship be captured by the Minamoto. I'm always amazed at the ruthlessness of humanity, although it's entirely possible it saved him from a worse fate.

"I don't care how cold your feet are you lazy bastards" shouted the Samurai Captain "Be grateful I'm not making you march through hell! Now move!"

Our more recent forces are moved to Omi to join Tomomori's growing army to power our eastern expansion and to fortify Omi against Minamoto support. These reinforcements include two units of Foot Samurai to add some elite kick to our primarily Levy force. I would prefer some more Attendants, but both of our military provinces are instead producing Foot Samurai and Bow Warrior Monks(!), so Attendant numbers are still very limited.

"Reporting for duty, my lord" announced the Samurai Captain, saluting Tomomori.
"You made good time, Captain" Tomomori noted. "We were not expecting your detachment for another week"
"We can do better sir" the Captain responded "I'll make soldiers out of these lazy children or break them trying"
"I can tell we are going to get along well" replied Tomomori "Report for archery drill at sunrise."

The army of Tomomori! Measuring at 16 units large, a full 3/4 of a stack (A stack of troops has a maximum of 20 units and two stacks can be on the field per side in a battle), it's our first major force of the game and quite capable of upsetting most clans. Most of our punch is ranged however, so we are vulnerable to large numbers of sword attendants or to cavalry. Luckily for us, Cavalry requires a lot of investment to field, let alone in numbers (We are one of, if not the most powerful clan in Japan and we still are only just able to produce them) so my primary fear is sword attendants, which are vulnerable to arrows which we just so happen to have in serious numbers. Sadly, we are still stuck in Omi until we can get clan support up to a reasonable level.

Buried in paperwork, Shigehira gave thanks as it provided blessed relief from the burdens of command. Losses were still high, but more wealth was bursting from Taira lands than ever before. The coffers filled at a titanic rate, but emptied just as fast in wages for the multitude of new men recruited into service. Wondering how it was possible for men to eat so much, Shigehira made a note to ask Tomomori to explain his expenses. How could one army cost so much to field?

Our finances and what a difference a year makes! Last year our tax take was 2005 koku while now we make 2760 koku, almost a 50% increase in total tax income. This brings our total income to over five thousand koku a turn, a very respectable sum. Our profit has decreased, however, as we have increased our army upkeep by a massive 1232 koku a turn which is enough to field 32(!) more units of Naginata Levy. That's an average of 8 Naginata Levy worth of upkeep added a TURN.

Trade, however, remains roughly constant with the loss of one trading partner and the gain of one slightly larger one. To get much more out of trade, I need to gain access to valuable resources, ideally which no-one in our trade network has. The Honda to our east do have access to rare silks and I need to attack them anyway, so they are an especially juicy target, despite silks being the least valuable trade good (18 koku per silk as shown on the finance screen).

Sneak Peak:The Old Way Rises