The Let's Play Archive

Total War: Shogun 2 - Rise of the Samurai

by shalcar

Part 13: Update 11 (Spring 1181 - Summer 1181)

Masters of Koryu

Spring of 1181

The administrator shook his head. With the expansion of the garrison and the new walls, Wakasa was more like a military town than the quiet place it used to be. Never a gentle land, nor a wealthy one, they had often been overlooked by the warring clans. With this expansion of military power, however, he was worried they could no longer consider themselves safe.

With the construction of the new Town Watch in Wakasa, I'm feeling a lot more confident of our ability to hold the northeast when Realm Divide strikes. It's not going to stop a serious force, but it will at least slow them down enough for me to prepare a counterattack. These northern provinces are worth so little that I am quite happy to use them as roadblocks rather than actual defensive chokepoints.

"A magnificent beast!" exclaimed Kiyomori, watching the newly recruited soldiers perform drills. "With these troops the Taira host will be unbeatable."

A brand new unit type and the third place thread winner, Mounted Naginata! These skilled horsemen have an exceptional charge and solid bonus against cavalry, as well as having very respectable combat statistics. This makes them perfect for hunting opposing generals and collapsing levy lines. Nevertheless, they will take heavy damage from naginata levy and will be outright slaughtered against naginata attendants, so they should be used with care. They are also the most expensive unit we can produce right now, both in recruitment costs as well as upkeep. They only have 30 men in the units, so they need a lot of attention to ensure they are not wasted. Their high armour helps prevent attrition from bows and when withdrawing from combat which partially offsets those problems.

In game encyclopaedia - Mounted Naginata posted:

Naginata cavalry are extremely good in close combat against other horsemen, where the long reach of their weapons gives them a significant advantage. This also makes them quite handy against most infantry, as they can cut down to size - literally, in some cases - almost any opponents. Naginata-armed infantry counter their weapons' strengths quite effectively, as might be expected. Given the small numerical strength of the unit, they are best kept out of range of massed archers: naginatas are no defence against a storm of arrows.

While the naginata was a fearsome weapon, Japanese weaponsmiths also produced a hybrid weapon halfway between a sword and a naginata, called the nagamaki. It came to be favoured by some in the period immediately after the Gempei War. This resembled nothing so much as a gently curved sword with a handle as long as the blade. Like the naginata it was used with wide sweeping motions, but could also be used as a spear to stab enemies. Despite being effective, it required a lot of effort to make: some claim more work was involved than for a sword or a naginata, and this inherent expense helped to limit its popularity.

The Taira had long been strong supporters of tradition, both in form and in combat. To be Taira was to give yourself utterly to the ancient forms of tradition, to excel where your ancestors first trod, to marry the future and the past. Throughout the land the Taira philosophy had taken hold, each man dedicated to the old ways, each man working to excel beyond what other clans thought were possible. To be Taira, was to be beyond mortal men.

Another major step towards fielding Onna Bushi Heroines, Old Way Mastery allows us to build (if we have access to Iron, which we do) a Legendary Koryu Dojo. In addition, it also gives us one of, if not the absolute best bonus out of any technology. We now gain a free rank on every unit produced that isn't a Mounted Samurai, Mounted Samurai Hero, Foot Samurai or Mounted Naginata. This means an effective +1 morale, melee attack, defence and +2 reload skill and accuracy on every other unit we produce. This is a huge boost for the combat effectiveness of our levy, which is exceptional considering they will be doing most of the heavy lifting during Realm Divide and can be produced anywhere easily and cheaply.

In game encyclopaedia - Old Way Mastery posted:

To become master,
You must overcome weakness.
Cast aside all fear,
Step gladly into the dark,
And meet death as an old friend.
Mastery is not posturing to impress a judge in a tournament. It is a practical matter: the business of killing quickly and honourably.

"Captain, your first orders are to head to Mino to report to Tomomori" Kiyomori ordered. "He may still be on the outskirts, or he may be in the province proper by the time you arrive. Perform your duty and he will see you rewarded."
"As you command, my lord" replied the cavalry captain, saluting.

Our first job is to get our new Mounted Naginata over to Tomomori to fill out his stack and give him mobility on the battlefield. Since he is going to be holding the front against the Minamoto (who are the samurai specialists), we can expect he will need the capacity to handle samurai armies, of which Mounted Naginata are exceptionally useful.

"Father orders us to sieze the province of Mino" stated Tomomori. "Mino will be another example of the majesty of the Taira. Send word to the Kitabatake. It is war."

I need the province of Mino and I can't wait around any longer. It's unfortunate that I need to attack one of my trading partners to do so, but that's just how it has to be. In addition, it will give the Watanabe someone to attack with their large stack that isn't me, since the Kitibatake are adjacent to the Watanabe. Gaining access to the silk in Mino should offset the cost of losing this trade route, leaving us in a similar financial position. If I am reading my fame meter correctly, I'm 3 victory provinces from Realm Divide, which you never, EVER feel ready for.

"Move out!" ordered Tomomori. "We will be in Mino before the weeks end or by the gods I will know why!"
"Subtle" replied Ietoyo, grinning. "The unspoken threat is always the most intimidating"
"It was a lucky shot" retorted Tomomori "You won't outshoot me twice"
"Most likely not" admitted Ietoyo. "But there will be plenty to shoot at soon enough"

With our war declaration out of the way, Tomomori marches on Omi, bypassing the neutral army of the Shiba, which had just attacked Mino and been repulsed.

"Ietoyo, you will take a detachment of Naginata Levy and the Bow Levy and approach on our western flank. I will lead the centre. We have a large skirmish advantage and it would be a shame to waste all our drill" commanded Tomomori.
Ietoyo nodded. "Of course my lord. None shall stand against us"

These are the sorts of odds I like to see, with our forces outnumbering the defenders almost 2:1 and with a significant quality edge. Our forces consist of 2 Foot Samurai, 1 Naginata Attendant, 9 Naginata Levy, 3 Bow Levy and 2 Bow Warrior Monks while our opponent has 6 Naginata Levy and 5 Bow Levy. I'm expecting an absolute cakewalk and I didn't take this as seriously as perhaps I should have. After all, 1000 men can do a substantial amount of damage with a terrain advantage if given a chance.

Click here to see the battle!

"A koku of rice to any man who can bring me ten heads!" announced Tomomori "There are to be no prisoners, let none survive!"

A deceptively easy map, the hills and chokepoints mean that it favours the defender much more heavily when the numbers are larger, since the approaches can all be suitably defended. While it's a deathtrap for smaller defending forces, larger garrisons can give a very good accounting of themselves, especially if the attackers don't pay attention to fatigue.

"What the hell happened with our right flank?" demanded Tomomori.
"The attendant captain, my lord. He wished to demonstrate his ferocity and loyalty in battle. He did not survive the encounter" the attendant replied.
"The fool paid the highest price then. It was a pity he took so many of my men with him." noted Tomomori. "Perhaps I need to pay more attention to the temperaments of the men" he mused.

Well, that could have gone better. While our losses are around what we would expect given our overwhelming force, a lot of them were our attendants and we lost quite a few of our elite samurai. On the other hand, the only units taken below combat effectiveness are our Naginata Attendants, which is an acceptable trade for a province. Their upkeep is not so expensive as to make it a waste to have them garrison the province while they replenish. In fact, almost all our casualties were from our flanking detachment which I just managed badly and paid the price for it. I always have to remind myself, never divide your forces if it does not give you an immediate advantage, which that flanking attempt most certainly did not. I wasn't expecting the aggression from the AI that I got and I ended up burned.

"You did well today" noted the samurai captain. "They ran like rats from the fox. Drink! Tonight the sake will flow and tomorrow there will be no drill. You are heroes, but you are mortal. Remember that."

As you can see, the units that took the brunt of the fighting didn't actually manage many kills, the real units that pulled my arse out of the fire were my Bow Warrior Monks and my Foot Samurai. This is the first time I have showed off the killing power of Foot Samurai when you are up against the wall and I must say that they didn't disappoint. That Samurai Captain is a real hardarse. Clocking over 300 kills is pretty impressive for a unit that is only 45 men big. You will also notice something new, he now has a circle/pip instead of a chevron to indicate his rank. The pip indicates rank 5 and additional chevrons indicate extra ranks over 5. You may remember back when I said that a rank 4 Foot Samurai could kill approximately infinite Naginata Levy? Well, that guy is your proof!

"Secure the outlying areas and inform the local administrator that we are making some... changes" stated Tomomori.

With another province under my belt, I am now only 2 provinces away from triggering Realm Divide. I will need to fortify Mino as a border province it can expect to see it's fair share of action.

"The province is neither rich nor well defended" noted the administrator. "But the silk produced from the surrounding area is of exceptional quality and commands a high price."
"Have we secured silk production?" asked Tomomori.
The administrator nodded. "We have, my lord. It is only a small scale operation, but in time it could be quite lucrative."

Not a particularly rich province, Mino nevertheless contributes a moderate amount of income to our empire due to already containing a Shinden and also giving us access to Silk. It only has the basic silk building, so it provides 10 trade goods worth of silk for us to sell, for an additional 180 koku a turn coming out of trade. We are nowhere near saturated with our trade network, so upgrading our silk production is something I should be considering. Unfortunately for us, clan support in Mino is split between Minamoto and Fujiwara, with no support at all for the Taira. This means that we will need to maintain a large province here to ensure order. Hopefully this won't be for to long as the Shinden here improves Taira support at a reasonable rate. Mino contains a Town, Town Watch, Shinden, Dry Field Agriculture (Average), Trails and Silk Workshop.

In game encyclopaedia - Silk Workshop posted:

Silk has always been a wondrous commodity, no matter where the cloth was traded. The silk weavers in this province can bring in a great deal of wealth to the lord who invests wisely in their enterprise.

From the most ancient of times silk was a symbol of power, luxury and mystery. From Asia it travelled all the way along the fabled Silk Road - a series of caravan routes in reality - all the way to Europe. There it was treated as an almost magical material, its sheer cost meaning only the richest and most powerful could possibly wear it. Sumptuary laws governing the clothes of every social class made the punishments for wearing high-status clothes singularly unpleasant. Oddly, wearing silk was also controlled by Japanese versions of sumptuary laws: clothes made the man in every part of the world. And in every part of the world, nothing said wealth, opulence and power like silk.

The latest battle had taught Tomomori something that many had despaired he would ever learn, humility. He had made a mistake and men had died unnecessary deaths. A soldiers lot in life was to fight for honour and never fear death, he knew that. It was a leaders job to ensure their lives were never thrown away. The lessons of command were hard, but valuable. He must always work towards perfection.

Matching his older brother, Tomomori hits general rank 3, allowing us to further improve his skills on the battlefield.

"Following archery drill we will conduct endurance training" ordered Tomomori. "The Taira will never falter, never fail, never fall"
"I will see it done and that they thank you for it!" noted the samurai captain, saluting.
"Let the men know that as long as I draw breath I will never leave the fight, I expect no less from them" added Tomomori
"At once, my lord"

Taking him further down the warrior path of the tree, we give Tomomori two ranks in Diehard Fighter, which not only massively improves the morale of his bodyguard, it increases the charge bonus of all the troops in his army. The charge bonus is not massive at only +2, but it helps more than you would think as kills at the start of the battle are worth much more with respect to causing routs than sustained kills. It also means his Naginata Levy have a chance of doing better damage to more elite units if a flank charge can be attained.

Kiyomori scowled, the letter had not been diplomatic. "We are the Minamoto, do not interfere with our family or we will crush you utterly"
Kiyomori would see that they regretted their belligerence.

Taking Mino might have been roughly income neutral, but it brings us into contact with the other main participant on the Genpei war, the Minamoto. They are currently at war with the Fujiwara, the other non-Taira major clan of the era, so hopefully they will be too busy to send a force into Mino, but with the hatred they have for us, this is unlikely. Mino will need to be fortified as a priority.

No granaries, no armies, just simple reconnaissance. Nakamitsu approved, his luck had not been the most reliable of late. That seemed to be changing though, no patrols, no encampments, no resistance. The Kitabatake seemed to have no troops at all. Had they committed all their forces to take Mino? Could they really be as weak as they appeared? Regardless, Tomomori would want to know as to the weakness of his enemies.

I can't really afford to pull my forces south into Ise to capture the last Kitabatake province, so I need to do some scouting first. Nakamitsu is perfect for this with his large movement range, line of sight and ability to move undetected (as long as there are no granaries). To my surprise I discover that they have basically nothing defending their provinces!

"Inform the Kitabatake that if they do not swear vassalage to Kiyomori and immediately open trade that I will exterminate every person living in the province of Iga." Tomomori ordered the messenger. "See that they understand the gravity of my threat."

I need money more than I need to grab another poor province, especially as the next province I take will now trigger Realm Divide. I need that province to be on the way to my last victory province, not backfilling! As such, I demand vassalage and opening of trade, something that they are in no position to refuse. While it will give them time to regroup and take another swing at me, it's a 500 koku a turn boost to my economy which is just too good to ignore as I am finally seeing the level of income that I am used to from my more economically focused games.

Summer of 1181

As the final finishes were put into place, the Awa administrator took pride in the speed and efficiency at which the battlements had been constructed. Kiyomori had promised that the people of Awa would be safe in Taira hands. The administrator would sooner see himself dead than to dishonour his family and lord in such a way. Awa would be held until the last man fell.

Our island province of Awa finally gets the walls that it so desperately needs, given that we have no real means of supporting it if it comes under attack. taking advantage of the economic upgrades already in Omi, we construct a Barter Exchange to help keep the money coming in at the rate we are rapidly becoming accustomed to, as well as insuring against the imminent Realm Divide.

The constant effort required to administrate a province such as Kyoto had honed Mitsukazu's skills to a razor's edge. Never a slow man, his foresight and intuition were at levels that some considered supernatural. Where most men were slowing down with age, he was speeding up. Few would even challenge him to a match of wits and fewer still would have a chance. He was Mitsukazu.

Mitsukazu continues to lead the way by becoming our first rank 4 Junsatsushi. This is a nice boost to our income as the additional star gives him another 3% (after admin costs) boost to Kyoto, working out to another 84 koku a turn.

"Expedience and wisdom" tutored Mitsukazu "Is knowing when a blade or coin is the best weapon. Know if the man responds to threats, know how he thinks and why he thinks."
"Surely some men can never be bought?" questioned Shigehira
"Every man has a price, once you learn it, he can never harm you" Mitsukazu responded.

Rank 4 is a bit of a dead level for Junsatsushi, since both rank 4 options in the tree boost quite expensive abilities. In this case we have chosen to improve his diplomatic finesse by taking 2 ranks in Bribery. This means that he is significantly more likely to bribe an army and somewhat more likely to buy off an enemy agent. We are unlikely to see any use out of this however, as we have a large opportunity cost for using him and any nearby provinces are all heavily fortified and unlikely to see enemy attack.

"I give up" Shigehira stated. "You are a master of the game"
"One defeat can teach you more than a thousand victories" explained Mitsukazu "Learn from everything. Another game?"
"I suspect the answer is yes" noted Shigehira "One day I might even beat you."

Rank 4 also gives an additional retainer slot to choose, in this case we have gone for making him slightly harder to assassinate. Given that the 5% is a flat reduction and he is a skilled junsatsushi (the counter-unit to monomi), he is now basically unkillable by all except the most hardened assassins.

The brashness of Yasunobu had got him into trouble, but unlike most, he was good enough to get out of the trouble his tongue got him into. Taira support in Omi was the highest in recent memory, a testament to his skill as an agent.

In other major economic news, Yasunobu has also ranked up on this turn. This pushes him to rank 3, which is a good level for economic junsatsushis.

With support for the Taira at the highest in living memory, Yasunobu was able to focus on eliminating the corruption that plagued the province. Systematically, traitors and those still loyal to other clans were rooted our and eliminated. Despite lacking the silver tongue of Mitsukazu, Yasunobu's more direct approach nevertheless delivered impressive results.

We take two ranks in Magistrate, so he has an effective +4 ranks compared to last turn, for a bonus 12% (after admin costs) to the tax rate of Omi, worth a hefty 228 koku a turn more than last turn!

"We are making good time" noted the cavalry captain. "If we cut through Kitabatake lands we will reach Tomomori sooner. I don't want to get on his bad side."

We continue to move our Mounted Naginata over towards Tomomori, who needs the troops now more than ever. One neat thing about cavalry units is that they can move further on the campaign map than infantry, which enables us to get the unit there swiftly. Nevertheless, with the size of our empire now ballooning away from our production centres, I need to seriously start considering a road network.

With no further need to scout the Kitabatake, Nakamitsu moved silently into the province of Owari. Making his way there, he moved into a deep woodland. "This will make an ideal base of operations while I scout the area" he thought. "This time I will not fail"

With no further need to scout out the Kitabatake, Nakamitsu moves into the province of Owari, the next target of my expansion, currently owned by the crippled Shiba. 4 star general or not, next turn I kick off Realm Divide (at least, that's the plan!)

Sneak Peak:Friend against friend

I'll be out of town for the next week, so the next update will be this time next week. Hope you enjoy it!