The Let's Play Archive

Total War: Shogun 2 - Rise of the Samurai

by shalcar

Part 12: Update 10 (Summer 1180 - Winter 1180)

A brother's rage...

Summer of 1180

Shigehira observed the swearing in of the newly expanded Town Watch. It was many years ago when a treacherous attack had been mounted on Kyoto, but he remembered it all too vividly. The renewed bolstering of the garrison would ensure that he would not be caught unaware again.

Despite it's central location, Kyoto is much too valuable to risk falling to the two nearby clans, especially when the Town Watch only costs 1150 koku. This adds another Naginata Levy and Bow Levy to the defence of Kyoto as well as increasing repression. Town Watches are excellent choices for valuable provinces as the troops provided would cost 500 koku and 100 koku upkeep a turn, so in only 7 turns you have saved the additional cost. It's also cheap in an absolute sense, while still helping secure me against the inevitable Realm Divide.

"My lord, glorious news!" exclaimed the runner. "Antoku now sits upon his rightful throne, evidence of the supremacy of the Taira before earth and heaven!"
Kiyomori smiled. "Most glorious news indeed. Our power grows to match our honour!"

Speaking of Realm Divide, here is the Taira specific mini-Realm Divide caused by having our puppet Emperor on the throne. The extra clan tax rate is an absolute godsend given our current cashflow issues, but the diplomacy hit is fairly painful and will mean we likely won't get any grace when Realm Divide hits.

"My lord, we must be careful" warned the advisor. "Power draws respect and admiration, but also jealousy"
"I am well aware of our new situation" admonished Kiyomori "We already have few friends and now no-one but blood is ever to be trusted."

As you can see, most of Japan used to be indifferent to us but are now unfriendly with the lightly shaded red. Even our friends who used to be very loyal and supportive of us are now merely lukewarm. I don't think this will cause anyone to go to war with us who wasn't already going to, but it's going to make securing trade routes much harder as well as making Realm Divide hit very hard indeed.

"An emissary to see you, my lord" the attendant announced "He brings greetings from the Sugawara clan"
"Send him in" responded Kiyomori "It is always my pleasure to see valued guests."

A ship sailing into our waters has caused us to meet another clan. At this point in time they are too far away for me to worry about them much.

"The enemy has placed an ambush ahead in the hopes of attacking our rear when we engage the town" reported the scout.
Munemori nodded. "They must think us fools as well as cowards. We will turn the tables and attack them, destroying them piecemeal."

As luck would have it, Munemori runs into a single Bow Levy regiment blocking us from attacking Inaba. We attack it with our obviously superior force and in a stroke of good fortune, the single Bow Levy unit in Inabe reinforces it. Free experience for Munemori!

This battle was autoresolved, there is no video.

It had been horrifically one sided. The men were a force of nature, sweeping aside the Hasabe foolish enough to stand before them and spirits were high. All would fall before the fury of the Taira.

As expected, casualties were minimal. In reality, we lost far more men than we needed to if we had played it out (I would estimate about 5 men lost overall), but it's a good outcome with the removal of 2 units that could have been defending Inaba.

"A glorious victory worthy of mighty Taira men!" bellowed Munemori. "You are all proof that a Taira can master all put before him! We are warriors, peasants and nobles. Yet we all share a common destiny, supremacy over Japan!"

Better yet all our losses were Levy, which will be quick and easy to replace. We got a rank for two of our levy out of the deal, but the real win is another 15xp for Munemori!

Under the morning sun, Munemori addressed his forces. "Inaba is Taira land by bloodright! Those of Taira blood have owned these lands for generations, living here from father to son. The Hasabe have destroyed the natural order of this place, claiming Minamoto supremacy! The very land itself cries out over this injustice! It is our duty, nay, our divine duty to return the land to her rightful bloodlines and restore the balance of heaven and earth!"

We continue our march on Inaba by attacking the central town. Luckily for us the town only has a basic garrison, although it is being reinforced by a small army giving it a total of 4 Naginata Levy and a Bow Levy versus our 3 Naginata Attendants and 4 Naginata Levy. Our forces are certainly superior, but we have to be careful to not let the reinforcements flank us otherwise our low morale levy might decide to rout, which would be a disaster for us.

Click here to see the battle!

"Enemy reinforcements approach from our rear and the garrison lies ahead. Captain, take your attendants and seize the town while I destroy the reinforcements" Munemori ordered, turning his horse around. "I want to see the Taira mon flying from the town by the time I arrive."
"Of course, my lord. It will be as you command" responded the attendant captain, saluting.

This is one of the worst maps to attack, as it only has access to 3 approaches, two of which are fairly terrible. The southern approach and eastern approach are very steep hills that will tire your men quickly and only open up well inside enemy arrow range, while the western approach gives you poor angles of attack but has a much more gentle and forgiving slope. For obvious reasons the northern approach is inaccessible. I always prefer to approach from the west, especially given the importance of fatigue in fights. In bigger castles it is viable to attack from both the west and the east to split the defenders, but obviously we have neither the manpower nor the need to do so in this attack.

The enemy forces were routed and the heady rush of victory filled the air. Munemori revelled in it, the respectful and awed gazes of his men washing over him. His men had fought hard and well, bringing honour to themselves, their clan and their family. For now, at least, he could afford a little indulgence. Soon enough the burden of command would return and he would be brought back to earth, his job far from over.

A solid victory, if a rather sloppy one. Poor play on my behalf caused many more levy casualties than we need have taken and in my rush to finish the fight quickly men were thrown away that I need not have. The complete destruction of the enemy makes this worthwhile however, as I no longer have to sally forth to clean up dangerous remnants of the reinforcing army.

Despite the destruction of the battle, spirits were high and the air was filled with joviality. "Each man fought well this day" announced Munemori "We have brought order to Japan and ensured a safer future for our families. I have never been prouder to lead such honourable and inspiring men as yourselves. Rest well, you have all earned it."

The attendants were outshone by the levy in this fight, getting many more kills. This came with additional casualties however, with the attendants taking minimal losses and maintaining a solid number of kills as well as almost full combat readiness.

Munemori had come a long way from the young man he was at the start of the war. Where once a child, eager to please his father, he was now a man, strong of will and sure of command. His manner was sure, his orders confident. None could question that he was a leader of men, nor question his skill with his sword and bow. Where Tomomori was the sword, agile, brash and aggresive, he was the naginata, precise, adaptable and reliable.

There are benefits to all these small skirmishes however, a solid amount of experience for Munemori, leaving him the most experienced Taira general under our command. Since he is the guardian of our northwestern provinces, he is going to need all the advantages he can get.

With every battle the legend of Munemori grew. Men spoke of the son of Kiyomori as proof of heaven's favour on the Taira, that the very blood of the emperor caused a touch of the divine. None could see Munemori and not be swayed by the righteousness of the Taira, their self evident fate to rule Japan. His very presence caused men to work harder, faster and longer. None wished to be the one to let him down.

Since Munemori took a generalist rank 2 by taking a level in both Warrior and Leader, he has access to every level 3 skill. Munemori doesn't have the luxury of leading the finest warriors the Taira can muster, so he has to be able to make do with less, more often from further away. This leads me towards a more generalist skill set, as well as having an eye towards him being the Daimyo in a reasonably short time period. To that end I take a point in Partisan and Strategist. Partisan increases the conversion rate of a province towards supporting your clan, a very useful ability as it will reduce the occupation forces required in rebellious areas as well as unlocking the advanced leadership skills. Strategist increases the campaign movement rate of forces under his command, which is critical considering the area he is expected to defend as well as being required for the more advanced combat buff skills.

"My lord, disturbing news from the imperial house" reported the messenger "Mitsukazu reports that the Emperor, Antoku, is concerned that you would use your power to coerce his person. Mitsukazu bids that we move carefully."
"I had not expected one of our own blood to be so suspicious" responded Kiyomori "Thank Mitsukazu for his message and let us hope that Antoku does not force us into... rash deeds."

With another province under our control, Taira clan fame has increased yet again. The justification is a little flimsy considering we fully control the capitol and the surrounding lands with the emperor being of our blood, but everyone is concerned that I plan to outright take control of Japan. Considering this is exactly what I am planning on doing, it makes a certain amount of sense. When that yellow bar fills, it's Realm Divide time. Looking at that, I'm only 2 or 3 provinces away from that so I had better have my heroines ready to go!

"As you requested my lord, this province is rich is wealth and has a strong naval tradition" reported the administrator. "Taira support is solid throughout the population, with many looking upon the old ruling clan favourably."
"A good place" responded Munemori. "Father would approve"

Unlike our more recent conquests, Inaba is an exceptionally valuable province and well worth all the expense we went towards capturing it, especially considering it already has solid Taira support. Militarily, it has the best possible defensive map (as shown in the previous battle) and is a chokepoint on the campaign map, making it absolutely perfect for building heavy walls to weather the storm of Realm Divide, as well as being in a reliable location for sallying forth. Economically, it has the Naval Tradition speciality giving it extra wealth, growth and gives a rank bonus to all ships produced here. The farmlands here are Fertile and it already has a Barter Exchange constructed. In addition it has a new building we have not seen yet, the Harbour. This adds sea trade routes, wealth, growth and increases the value of any trade resources that we are exporting. All of these functions combined mean that Inaba is one of the most valuable provinces we own in a pure town wealth standpoint, making far more than the loss from administrative upkeep. The buildings in Inaba are Town, Tadokoro, Barter Exchange, Dry Field Agriculture (Fertile), Trails, Harbour and Pirate Cove.

In game encyclopaedia - Harbour posted:

Building a harbour, or improving on what nature has already given, provides basic warship building capabilities. The harbour can also handle more maritime trade, encouraging the local economy.

Surprisingly for an island nation with such a long coastline, the Japanese never developed into a maritime power. Sea battles never really evolved beyond boarding actions, but this did give Japan an advantage when it came to piracy. Booty and loot are no use at all at the bottom of the sea. Japan developed both a pirate tradition and a pirate problem. Japanese pirates were the bane of Chinese coastal shipping for centuries, something that bothered the central and provincial governments not one jot. This provoked severe reprisals from the Chinese from time to time, but without ever solving the piracy issue. There was simply too much money to be made as a pirate. As always happens, some pirates eventually managed to become rich enough that they were seen as respectable. Gold washed away all sins in the end, and remade the pirates as "sea lords".

In game encyclopaedia - Pirate Cove posted:

This small village boosts the trade income of the province, and its people can be recruited as experienced crews for any ships. Unfortunately, where there is money there are usually bad people trying to take that money. Trade and piracy are often linked more than honest warlords would like to think, for who is to say who owned a particular cargo, and when?

Piracy was a curse to all of Japan's neighbours, and often to Japanese merchants as well. What central government there was in Japan did not feel all that inclined to do anything about piracy, if only because the pirates were often the only source of Chinese goods. The Chinese had banned trade with Japan in the hope of starving the pirates of targets; the result was to make the pirates the only importers of stolen Chinese merchandise. From time to time the Chinese descended on particular pirate havens and killed everyone they could. Often that stopped the piracy anything up to a few days.

"Prepare a message for the Hasabe" ordered Munemori. "Tell them the following: We will wipe their pitiful clan from absolute existence with all of the power of the Taira to the complete and utter exclusion of all other things. All is not lost however, for they may right their path of foolishness, accepting wisdom by swearing vassalage and opening trade with us. Should they refuse, I will personally see them obliterated from Japan"
"At once, my lord" the messenger replied.

We need to take advantage of our current supremacy over the Hasabe, since taking their final province would leave us critically overextended as well costing us, since their last province is worth less than the administrative cost we would incur. Instead, we demand vassalage from them and a trade agreement in exchange for peace. This has several benefits. The first is that we get 10% of all of their income, around 230 koku a turn. In addition the trade route gives us another 180 koku per turn. Not only have we secured our border with a crippled clan (rather than expanding next to a strong and potentially hostile one), but we are able to use the income provided by this to fortify and improve Inaba without having an impact on the rest of our economy. Our cash woes are starting to turn around in quite a big way! I only have to maintain this for 6 or so turns to pay for the Town watch and Stronghold at Inaba, ignoring the fact that the Stronghold would also allow us to build additional economic buildings (like a Clan Estate) to further improve our economic position without needing additional military expenditure.

"This time will be different" Nakamitsu told himself as he approached the outskirts of the farming town. "All is in readiness and I will carry out my mission."

Showing that I enjoy a laugh as much as anyone, I order Archer Nakamitsu to sabotage the enemy farms. It's another coin-flip as to if he succeeds or not, but with the economic outlook improving we can really use a more advanced Monomi.

The night was still and dark. Heavy cloud obscured the little moon that sat in the sky, leaving the world covered in a heavy inky blackness. Every inch the moving shadow, Nakamitsu moved through the sleeping town making not a single sound, one with the breeze. He easily picked evaded the simple guards and picked the pathetic lock, things were looking up! Placing his firepowder next to a haystore, he carefully lit it and moved out to observe from a safe distance. No sooner had he turned around than he noticed that the entrance was being opened from the outside. Alarmed, Nakamitsu hid himself as best he could, all as the fire burnt, slowly at first but gaining ferocity by the second. A woman giggled and a guard came through the door, intent on taking a little break. Noticing the fire, the guard sprinted out the door raising the alarm and summoning the town watch. Cursing to himself, Nakamitsu fled the scene. The fire would be easily extinguished, once again his mission was a failure.

That worked about as well as I expected. Score one for the not-dead-yet team! Every Ninja/Monomi/Assassin type agent I ever make in Total War games ends up the same, absolutely useless. Nevertheless, I will continue to do so since it's entertaining for everyone and I hope that I can get one to a decent level to show him off. The fact he isn't dead yet is promising, at least.

The most promising administrator in Kii, Noriaki always had a head for numbers and an eye for the unexpected. Never seen without his good luck omamori, his uncanny ability to observe the right thing made him an object of awe with his peers. No-one knows if Noriaki derives his success from uncanny luck or exceptional intelligence, but none can doubt his effectiveness.

With our cashflow significantly improved with our new vassal and additional tax from having our Emperor on the throne, I have a little money to spend to kick our economy back into gear. With that in mind I purchase a Junsatsushi in Kii to help boost the tax rate a little and also begin gaining experience so that I have a rank 2 for province conversion purposes when Realm Divide starts.

"My lord, a man is here to see you. He is most insistent, should I sent him away?" inquired the assistant.
"No, I will see this man" replied Munemori. A tall man walked in with easy grace and a sharp eye.
"Thank you for seeing me on such short notice" he stated.
"On what business have you come to see me?" questioned Munemori. "Few are brave or brazen enough to request an audience."
"I am Sadatoki" the man replied "Junsatsushi for the Taira that used to own these lands. I have sworn to destroy those who defeated my former masters, but a Ronin has little chance of seeing a clan destroyed. Instead I offer my service to you. I wish to restore the Taira to their rightful place."
"An interesting proposition" mused Munemori. "Sit, let us discuss this some more."

Inaba might have good support for Taira, but it is still majority Minamoto. Being as it is a very valuable province, it is an obvious choice to take advantage of both of these by recruiting another Junsatsushi there. It also provides us with a skilled conversion agent if we are forced to expand west during Realm Divide.

"The weather is beautiful and the land rich. It's hard to believe that anything could trouble this place, my lord" the attendant captain noted.
"Even here we must be aware of danger" replied Ietoyo. "Until we reach Tomomori we must be vigilant. Dead we serve no purpose."

We have enough space in Tomomori's army to add Ietoyo and the Naginata Attendants, bringing the force size up to 19 units, 1 shy of the cap. It also gives me the option of splitting the army while still having it under the control of a general, something that is critically important during Realm Divide where you can expect to have to defend every front at once. For now at least, we can use the extra general coverage as well as additional Inspire to ensure our forces can handle unexpected army compositions as well as enabling us to split our levy forces without concern about the morale loss. We can also use Tomomori in a more offensive manner to take advantage of his impressive combat statistics without losing leadership over the core of our army.

Ietoyo saluted. "Ietoyo reporting for duty on the orders of Kiyomori"
"Father sent you to act as my second?" replied Tomomori. "Very well, you have the look of an honourable man about you. I hope you can keep up."
"I will do my duty" responded Ietoyo, formally. "I serve Kiyomori, as do we all"
"Excellent" Tomomori laughed. "Any good with a bow?"

Our eastern army is now ready to take on almost any force, with ranged power provided by 2 Foot Samurai, 2 Bow Warrior Monks and 3 Bow Levy backed up by 1 Naginata Attendant and 9 Naginata Levy to act as a bulwark against attacking forces. At 19 units big, it is a huge threat to all nearby provinces as it could take any of them if required. It's also where a large amount of our upkeep goes, costing a full 1251 koku per turn to maintain. Considering it's power, this army is very cost effective due to the quality being consolidated in units that benefit from the massive accuracy bonus from Tomomori, while a large quantity of dispensable chaff is used to tie the enemy down while our elite archers make pincushions out of them. Obviously an army of entire elites would beat it, but I would estimate that we would hold our own costwise and an army of full elites would be substantially more expensive, we could easily field 2 or 3 of these armies for every one an opponent could bring to bear.

"The situation around here is complex, to say the least" Tomomori briefed Ietoyo. "Despite my father's orders to size Mino, to do so in a rash manner would have grave consequences for our standing in the area."
"Putting us in a war for little advantage and the loss of much honour" considered Ietoyo "Our best option is to sit tight and let the situation develop."
"What I wouldn't give to march on Mino now!" fumed Tomomori "But I fear you may be right. We must bide our time."

Our problem here is that diplomatically, this situation is a complete clusterfuck. The Shiba have taken our target province of Mino from the Honda, but lack sufficient forces to hold it, with the Kitabitake in range and currently at war with them. The Shiba force is down defending Owari, next to the remainder of the Honda forces who look to be heading north to retake Mino. Our issue is that we are trading with the Kitabitake and don't want to declare war on them without another trading partner to replace them. In addition, we don't want to declare war on someone who then loses the province we want to take, leaving us in a war with no benefit to us.

Autumn of 1180

"Absolutely not!" thundered Kiyomori. "If something happened to you I would never forgive myself!"
"I have a duty to defend our homes just as you do" his wife countered "This is our home and I will defend it, and you, to the death"
Kiyomori sighed. "I can't convince you otherwise?" he pleaded.
"No. Our minds are made. The noblewomen of Settsu will defend it to the last. Besides, it's garrison you don't have to pay" she added with a smile.
Kiyomori reached out to his wife. "I promise I will never let any harm befall you."

We finish our walls in Omi, giving us a solid defence in an exceptionally valuable province which still borders multiple hostile clans. The big news for this turn is that we finally finish our Koryu Dojo, the second highest tier of the Koryu building chain. This dramatically shifts our ability to generate troops as it not only provides a regiment of Onna Bushi to defend Settsu if it is ever attacked, but it reduces the recruitment time of all Koryu troops by 1 turn. This means that Naginata Attendants, Bow Warrior Monks and Naginata Warrior Monks can all be made in 1 turn instead of 2 as well as being produced one rank higher (0.5 morale, +1 attack/def, +2 acc,reload). We are also now able to produce Mounted Naginata and Tetsubo Warrior Monks, both of which take 2 turns. Like all our Warrior Monks, we don't have sufficient Buddhist Temples to produce them, but our Pastures enable us to produce the Mounted Naginata. Powerful and heavily armoured, Mounted Naginata are capable of ripping apart bow units and other cavalry. They are especially useful for eliminating generals as they will deal catastrophic damage to opposing general units. Their main weakness is that they are small in number and like all cavalry are a large bow target so even their high armour means they should not be in combat for long. They are also stupidly expensive to recruit and upkeep, just like all cavalry.

In game encyclopaedia - Koryu Dojo posted:

This koryu dojo allows the training of powerful naginata monk hero units if there is a Buddhist temple in the province. It also reduces the time needed to train other naginata units because of the excellence of teaching on offer.

Naginatajutsu is, as the name suggests, the skill of fighting with a naginata. However, this is a modern style and roughly the equivalent of kendo, or Japanese fencing. It is a formalised sporting style rather than a set of practical combat techniques. Naginatajutsu still requires skill, of course, and a good deal of courage to face an equally-skilled opponent armed with a practice naginata. Koryu, on the other hand, probably translates best as "old school", and it is likely the techniques taught for battle with the naginata were different from today's kata. If nothing else, koryu would be entirely concerned with the practical business of chopping an opponent into quivering chunks, rather than trying to show proper form and impress tournament judges.

"My lord" interrupted the messenger.
"What is it?" snapped Kiyomori, spinning around.
"A emissary from the Tatara wishes to see you" announced the messenger.
Kiyomori bit back his sharp reply. "Very well, let him know I will see him shortly."

Another turn and another boat sails into our waters. Just another clan to declare war on us during Realm Divide.

"Your first mission is to ensure support for Taira and eliminate Minamoto corruption from this province" ordered Munemori.
"The pleasure is all mine, my lord" Sadatoki replied, bowing.

It's time to put our new Junsatsuhi's to the test and get them earning their keep. Sadatoki is put in charge of Inaba enabling him to convert the province and also increase the tax rate by 3% (Administrative cost of 40% means that we only get 60% of his 5% bonus) which nets us an additional 53 koku a turn, as he cost 500 koku, he will turn a profit in 10 turns making him one of the best choices we have for our economy at the moment.

It was pure chance that led to Noriaki overhearing a conversation about a corrupt official. Despite the fervent support for the Taira in Kii, not everyone was striving for the greater glory of Kiyomori and the Taira. Where there was one, there could be others and Noriaki had no intention of letting such blatant abuse of Taira goodwill go unanswered...

Noriaki is similarly put to work in Kii and gives us another 3% tax, bringing in 55 koku a turn. Since Kii already supports the Taira 100%, he is simply there for the additional funds and will also pay for himself in 10 turns. It can also be useful to have a Junsatsushi on hand when an invading army arrives as you can sometimes pay them off if your defences are poor.

"I know things are not always cordial with the Kibi and the Taira right now" the merchant captain informed Munemori "but there is the opportunity for great profit if trade is allowed to flow through the ports of Inaba."
"We have no quarrel with the Kibi" responded Munemori. "Consider the port open to trade, for now at least."

Our cashflow situation is really starting to turn around now, so to keep up on the high we use our new harbour to open a sea trade route with a friendly clan. While sea trade routes can be raided or stopped entirely by blockades, this is pretty much free money as even if we only get a turn out of it, it's more than if we had not bothered, especially considering that Realm Divide will make everyone hate us anyway.

Abandoning the granaries that caused him such trouble, Nakamitsu moved south where he happened to chance upon a small force of Kitabitake moving north towards Mino. Knowing that any delay he could inflict upon them would further the Taira plans to capture Mino, he shadowed them until the evening, taking care to stay out of sight...

At only 100 koku to sabotage the Kitabitake army and a 65% chance of success instead of the 50% of burning down granaries, we send out Nakamitsu to poison the water supply and stop the army from moving. Given his track record, I expect him to fail but not die...

The Kitabitake were not expecting trouble and had posted poor guards, their obvious lack of martial diligence demonstrating their inferiority. Finding the water supplies, Nakamitsu emptied a small vial of a colourless liquid into each urn. Slow acting and tasteless, the poison would cause horrible illness and debilitating weakness. Although not many would imbue enough to be slain, the need for extreme vigilance and recovery of the affected would mean the force would go nowhere this season.

I'm pleasantly surprised! Not only did he not die, but he actually succeeded in his mission, making it his second successful mission all game! The big bonus is not stopping that baby army, since I don't care about that, but the extra 15 xp he gained from a successful mission put him that much closer to rank 3, which is where he starts getting more effective.

"We head north, setting up camp on the border of Mino" ordered Tomomori "If an opportunity arises to seize Mino, we must be in a position to do so with all speed."
"A respectable plan of action" responded Ietoyo "The time is still not right to take Mino, winter will be upon us far too soon."

I want Mino, but I don't want a war with the Kitabitake. It's not looking like I have much option, so I march Tomomori northeast to sit on our border and hope that the Shiba retake the province so I can invade them instead. Any wars I start now are likely to kick me into Realm Divide, so I am somewhat nervous about the whole thing...

Winter of 1180

The administrator of Wakasa overlooked the newly constructed fortifications. Personally, he couldn't see the point of the walls. Peace had reigned in this section of Japan for many years and the strength of the Taira was a protective blanket over them. Neighbouring clans were friendly and trade made all prosperous. What storms were brewing that he could not see?

You may remember Wakasa as one of the first provinces I ever captured that is located to our northeast. It now finally has walls to help it hold against the inevitable attack when Realm Divide comes. It may seem like I am putting a lot of effort into preparing for Realm Divide and this is true, the main thing that catches new Shogun 2 players is that they don't factor in just how quickly the game shifts gears when Realm Divide hits. If you prepare well in advance and expect trouble, it doesn't change your game an enormous amount, but if you have relied on trusting your neighbouring clans and have not taken precautions, it can quickly cause you to get crushed on multiple fronts. This is why more cost effective armies and multiple decent generals are better than a superstack lead by a walking god. They just can't be everywhere at once and a soldier who is not where he is needed is useless.

"The fate of those who fail their clans is oblivion" stated Kiyomori, holding the announcement scrolls. "Everyone here must remember that. We fight not just for Taira, but for our very existence."

The consolidation of Japan continues with two more clans wiped out. Consolidation always works against us, but we are still top dog in this part of Japan.

The sabotage of levy had been simple and Nakamitsu was filled with confidence. These were not the granaries, filled to the brim with accursed luck. A small force caught out here would be destroyed and all destruction played into the hands of the Taira. Readying his vials, Nakamitsu approached the camp...

Spotting another juicy target, Nakamitsu moves to sabotage the single Kitabitake unit for the low, low price of 65 koku and a 65% chance of success. Maybe our luck has finally turned a corner?

His luck was to take on a more familiar form, however. No sooner had he started to approach a camp then he was almost discovered by a patrol, forced to dive into a ditch to avoid detection. Brushing himself off, he felt a wetness against his leg. Checking himself for injuries, he suddenly came to the sickening realisation, the vials, so critical to his mission, had been crushed in his amateurish escape. Cursing, he headed off towards the nearby town to restock his supplies, once more, he had failed.

...or not. Back on form as the most useless agent I have, he manages to bungle the job but at least he doesn't get killed. He does, however, reveal himself to the Junsatsushi nearby, the counteragent to Monomi. Could this be the end of our glorious hero?

Smiling to himself, Shigehira read the latest financial reports. Mitsukazu had told him that corruption was leeching the wealth from the Taira heart and he was right. The Herculean efforts of the Junsatsushi's had revealed many corrupt officials and inefficient practices. The rewards of this fiscal diligence was self-evident as wealth flowed into the Taira coffers faster than it ever had at any time in the clan's history. Truely they were the ascendant star of Japan!

As you can see, our financial situation has turned around! The benefits of an additional vassal and several trade routes combined with another rich province have boosted our income to exceptional levels. A lot of money is tied up in our Junsatsushi's staying in towns and I don't want to force Mitsukazu to be stuck in Kyoto, but the extra money has meant that we can fortify provinces at an impressive rate while still growing our economy. It's a race to make enough money to field Onna Bushi Heroines before Realm Divide and I feel more confident with every turn. I'm finally able to start building the essentials and have nearly finished the fortification of our border provinces.

Sneak peak:Masters of Koryu