The Let's Play Archive

Total War: Shogun 2 - Rise of the Samurai

by shalcar

Part 19: Update 17 (Summer 1183 - Winter 1183)

Troubled Times

Summer of 1183

Across the empire, the newly constructed fortifications had brought stability and security to the surrounding provinces, encouraging merchants to move in and enhance existing markets. All this new commerce brought more prosperity to the lands, enriching the lords as much as it enriched the savvy merchants.

Keeping our economy afloat with the inevitable collapse of our trade based income requires a strong commitment to improving our provinces, with Barter Exchanges the best possible choice for those low value provinces (If they had a higher value, Clan Estates might have been the better investment) by not only adding to their wealth, but also increasing the growth of the provinces giving continuous benefit even during turns in which we might not have any spare koku to reinvest. Meanwhile, Omi is improved further with the construction of a Market, adding a flat 300 to the wealth of the province. With the tax rate in Omi around 45%, it's a solid 130 koku a turn to help blunt the impact of Realm Divide.

"The realm is imperilled thanks to the rash actions of my brother" stated Munemori. "Send word to the province administrators. They must expect the worst and raise as many men as they can. It is only thorough force of arms we will survive these dark times"
"The messages will be dispatched at once, my Lord" replied the attendant, bowing. "All throughout the realm will know your divine will"

With Realm Divide kicked off and the desperate need for more troops, the vast majority of my income goes into mustering additional forces to stave off the inevitable attacks that will come. Our ability to mobilise is reasonably good and all our outer provinces increase their defensive troop deployment. With the force multiplier of defensive fortifications, we are beginning to approach something resembling a fighting chance. Several of our fronts are still criminally undermanned however.

Munemori read the dispatches, stony faced. That a rising star like the Taria would cause resentment among the surrounding clans was to be expected, but not a single clan remained neutral. Perhaps, like sharks, they smelled blood in the water. As a frown touched his features, Munemori vowed that the blood the traitors smelled would be their own.

If you thought the war declarations last turn were all the hostilities we could expect, you could not have been more mistaken, with another five clans joining their allies or simply assisting friendly clans declaring war upon us. Every clan we have ever met, with the exception of our two vassals and our sister clan, are now at war with us. Thankfully, our vassals and sister clan have willingly joined most of our wars, so we can expect some degree of support for the time being, although in Realm Divide, support is a limited offer...

"All our borders are closed" ordered Munemori. "All people passing through our lands that are not Yashima or our vassals are to be turned away. If they want total war, they shall have it."

With the last clans joining war against us, all trade from outside our sister clan and vassals has ceased. Obviously, this is a devastating blow to our economic situation and puts us on the back foot. For now, if we ever wish to trade again, it will be at the point of our sword.

"The Ishikawa have long been reliable trading partners and honourable neighbours" mused Munemori. "That they should throw in their lot with the Minamoto is unfortunate, but perhaps, something that should have been anticipated. Father, you must have known."

You might be wondering what the diplomatic situation looks like a turn into Realm Divide and it's fairly impressive and a little overwhelming. Japan is a sea of red, although strangely enough our vassals don't outright hate us. This is due to the boost we received for being at war with the same clans, although Realm Divide will eat through that in 3 or so turns. I fully expect to be at war with our vassals before 6 turns are out and at war with our sister clan before 10 turns. It's a lonely existence during Realm Divide and one of the more jarring game experiences. In vanilla Shogun 2, you don't even have a sister clan to help soften the blow!

The attendant rushed into the room. "My Lord, amazing news!" he exclaimed.
Munemori looked up from his papers. "What is amazing? Speak!"
"Reports from throughout the land, my Lord" replied the attendant. "Your loyal subjects utterly reject the rebellion and unrest that grip the rest of Japan. The true Emperor is Antoku and you are his most favoured subject, blessed by heaven. Men, entire families, have risen up, swearing to defend the righteous order with their very lives!"
For the first time in months, Munemori smiled. "The people's faith in me is touching. Let the realm know I will never fail them."

Well this is certainly a stroke of amazing fortune! With just this single event I am now significantly more confident in our ability to weather Realm Divide and still make progress towards winning the game. Many of our provinces are fortified, which means that while we have good garrisons with no upkeep, those provinces can only recruit a single unit a turn. With this boost, it doubles their capacity to recruit our superior levy in the areas that need it most. This is crucial to our holdings in Awa and the northern provinces, as well as letting us quickly and easily reinforce Tomomori's decimated forces, getting that army back in the fight many turns earlier than would otherwise be the case.

Shigehira sighed. The endless civil war had been stressful enough, but this latest development had changed the balance of power in the region. Enemies were simply too close to Kyoto for him to ensure he discharged his duty as defender of Kyoto. Taking a piece of parchment, he began to write:

"To the administrator of Omi,

You are hereby ordered to dispatch a regiment of naginata levy to Kyoto to report to myself as soon as they arrive.


Kyoto is undermanned and within a single turns march of our Watanabe vassal, so we dispatch a unit of levy from Omi to help bolster their defences. Omi is at least 2 turns march out, as well as able to call upon larger forces than a Kyoto lightning strike, so this seems a prudent course of action.

As Nakamitsu descended the stairs into the sake den, the dimly lit air was thick with greasy smoke. The room was filled with vagabonds and vagrants, men drinking away their troubles away from their wives. A table in the far corner was even more poorly lit than the others in this place, a man sitting there almost completely obscured in the low light, his only distinctive feature that he had not taken his hat off. Nakamitsu walked over to the table and sat down, facing the man. "The cranes are beautiful tonight" Nakamitsu stated.
"Long may their flights grace us" responded the man with the countersign.
Nakamitsu nodded. "What news of the merchants?" he inquired.
"They speak of many things" the man replied. "They speak of the weakness of Minamoto forces to the north, of a Minamoto army to the east. It is all here." With that, the man put a parchment on the table and stood up draining his drink in one draught.

One often underused ability of Monomi is the "Establish Criminal Network" ability, which is performed when you place a Monomi in a friendly town. What it does is increase the sight range beyond the borders of the province by an amount proportional to the number of stars the agent has in the Spy Networks ability (+5 vision per star), which not only allows you to see outside your borders, but also increases the likelihood of spotting hidden armies and agents but also gives additional information about their makeup. In addition, it reduces the success chance and increases the critical failure chance of enemy Monomi performing actions in the city. Like all agent activities that embed the agent, it gives 3 experience a turn, something that can be critical for the often fragile Monomi or for an agent who otherwise has nothing to do this turn.

Nakamitsu has gathered us two rather useful pieces of information, the first is the rather large army Minamoto army to our east and the second is that both Minamoto towns are undefended bar somewhat meagre garrisons. While I am in no shape to invade just yet, the lack of hostile forces is always a good sign.

Years of tutelage underneath Mitsukazu had taught Shigehira the intricacies of finance, the numbers that had once seemed to alien to him now danced, patterns emerging like eddies in a stream. The parchments spoke to him of the wealth of the Taira, but also of dangers to that prosperity ahead, like rocks hidden underneath the waves.

Our finances have taken somewhat of a hit, although it doesn't yet reflect the full impact that Realm Divide will have on our economy. Tax income is up at 5605 compared to 5185, a growth of a quite respectable 420 koku a turn, although the trade income has crashed from 2053 to 1294, a loss of 759 koku. With military expenses up an additional 509 koku a turn, our spendable income is down 30%. When our vassals and sister clan declare war over the next few turns, we can expect to lose an additional 30%, putting us on meagre rations indeed unless I can find a way to stabilise our income loss.

Autumn of 1183

The fort towered over the nearby countryside of Settsu, the large battlements and fortifications like a man made mountain in the otherwise gentle countryside. Outside it's mighty walls, men scurried like ants beneath it's majesty, in the vast tracts of land devoted to the training and replenishment of the mighty armies that were the soul of the Taira empire. Settsu was truly the beating heart of the Taira, pushing the soldiers that were it's lifeblood to the very extremities of the far flung provinces. Although Kiyomori had not lived to see the monuments that he had set in motion, the legacy he had left would see the very face of Japan change under it's influence.

We continue to grab small economic boosts from wherever we can to keep the ship of state ticking over, but the really big news this turn is the construction of a type of fortification we have never seen before, the Fort. Forts are an upgrade to the Stronghold and improve on it by having an outer courtyard and a further raised inner courtyard, requiring attackers to scale two sets of walls as well as allowing the defenders to fall back when one set of walls is breached. Defenders will only fight to the death in the inner courtyard, while in the outer courtyard they will still rout, although they will rout to the central keep rather than offmap, where they will reform for the final defence. Forts also add defensive archery towers, who will pelt the attacking forces with arrows while they are in range. Be careful however, as the towers can be captured by the attackers and turned against the defenders! Forts also allow the construction of another building chain in the province.

The construction of a Muster Field in Settsu along with the Fort allows us to recruit a full three units a turn from this province (all at exceptionally high combat skill thanks to the Legendary Koryu Dojo) as well as giving us a good recovery point in our inevitable war with the Yashima Taira. With so many possible needs to respond to, the ability to quickly raise a high quality army can be crucial when koku is tight, as you save substantial sums on unit upkeep.

In game encyclopaedia - Fort posted:

This solid structure can be garrisoned to defend a province and slow down invaders, even though it will not withstand a prolonged siege. No attacking general, however, would sensibly leave troops at his rear as he advances into enemy territory. A fort therefore costs time to reduce, a precious commodity in warfare. It also reminds the local peasantry of their overlord's power, and helps that lord recruit new troops.

Early Japanese fortifications were usually very practical structures, made from wood and without layered defences of walls and towers. They were intended to draw in and delay attackers rather than withstand them. Early castles were located on rivers, at ports and at other important strategic chokepoints. The builders always took full advantage of the natural landscape: mountainous positions were favoured, and nearby streams were diverted to become as moats where possible. It was common for the defenders to not lurk behind their walls when attacked: the defenders would, more often than not, sally forth to meet the enemy rather than rely on the walls. If the attackers tried to bypass the castle, the defenders would not sit idly behind their walls, but would instead raid supply lines and harass the invaders until they either retreated, or decided to take the fort.

Where Kiyomori had put his faith in the land and the power that springs forth from it, Munemori believed that it was the people that would bring the salvation and supremacy of the Taira. The awe that all held for the master of the largest empire in Japan was never more obvious in his own lands, where men sprang forth from the very earth itself, ready to lay down their lives for the man who cared for them all as a father. Japan would be united under her rightful lord, held aloft by a thousand swords.

I have been given extra recruitment slots and I plan to use them! This is the single largest recruitment that I have ever undertaken this game with a full 12 units added to our armed forces, more than half a stack of troops in a single turn. In addition to all the levy for defensive or replenishment purposes, we also recruited two rank 4 Naginata Attendants in Settsu to add some core line punch to our forces there. If it becomes necessary, we can recruit 4 units in Settsu, allowing us to bulk very rapidly (2 from the Muster Field, 1 from being our capital and 1 from our current Clan Might bonus). The recruitment of additional troops in Wakasa and Totomi are intended to allow us to push outwards and conquer hostile lands as soon as possible, with key provinces being close to those locations (the last victory province to Totomi and a Luxury Goods province adjacent to Wakasa).

Munemori knew that his father had believed in the power of the Naginata, the ancient and trusted weapon on which all the Taira power had been forged. Munemori was no traditionalist, to stick to a tool out of blind nostalgia and loyalty to a non-existent past. Instead, he realised that by respecting the old and yet embracing the new, a different, more powerful force could be created. The bow was an old tool, but there were many new tricks available to those with the foresight and logistical capacity to turn it into a weapon of terror. The addition of fire, a primal force, added a new terror to the enemies of the Taira. The greater logistical capacity needed to provide troops with fire arrows could also be leveraged to keep their quivers from running dry for longer, making the Taira archers enemies to be feared indeed.

This is a big boost to our offensive and defensive capacity with the mastery of one of the more critical arts in Rise of the Samurai. The first benefit, an additional 50% more ammunition for each ranged unit represents a large amount of additional killing power for our ranged heavy strategy with Tomomori's stack, as well as allowing us to trade shots longer in our defensive sieges. The additional shots are crucial for the smaller units, as they often tend to be more elite (like Foot Samurai) and so expend their ammunition significantly faster. Without this boost, you can run Foot Samurai dry in well under a minute of actual combat time, although you will get an impressive number of kills doing so. The second benefit this gives us is a new ability, Fire Arrows. Fire Arrows have increased armour penetration compared to regular arrows as well as causing additional morale damage compared to being shot by normal arrows. They also can burn down buildings and ships. All ships and ranged units (with the exception of Onna Bushi Heroines) can activate Fire Arrows on a cooldown to enable a burst of extra killing power. This is exceptionally useful when armoured units like Naginata Attendants are attacking Strongholds/Forts/Castles, as the Levy that tend to make up garrisons have poor armour penetration and the ability to fire a single volley of Fire Arrows can deal several normal volleys worth of damage.

In game encyclopaedia - Way Of The Bow posted:

Swift as the north wind,
Light as the white crane's feather,
Deadly as the snake.
To stand in the stirrups at full gallop, release the shaft, and hit a target dead centre is the epitome of skill. To do this and consider the actions of the enemy, shows mastery of oneself, the ultimate goal of a warrior.

The experience of working with men of untrustworthy dispositions and wary natures had been a new one to Nakamitsu. So used to working alone, needing to deal with people only until he closed into killing range, the unique style of posturing, bravado, bribery and brawling made a heady mix that threatened to drown the man who could not swim in it's unfamiliar waters. Nakamitsu was nothing if not a survivor, as fast of wit as he was of blade. He was becoming a weapon with many faces, each inviting yet also with an edge.

Sometimes you can get everything to work out properly. Not only did I get the extra intelligence from having Nakamitsu establish a spy network, but the 3 experience it gave him gained him an additional rank to 4 stars. His utility just went up substantially.

Click here or on the agent details below to see his skill tree.

Nakamitsu was discovering the benefits of knowing certain types of men, for the gutter brawlers had no use for honour, they only had use of an edge. Perhaps the most interesting was an old man only known as "The doctor", the discreet apothecary. If you had a wound that needed treating, a certain type of rash or something to make a man easier to mug, he was who you needed to see.

The old man looked up as Nakamitsu walked in. "What do you want?" the old man barked.
"I've been told you are the man to see if you need an... edge" responded Nakamitsu, looking around the dank shop.
"Who told you then?" snapped the old man. He looked conflicted for a moment, before stating "Very well then, I might be able to help. What sort of edge do you need?"
"The killing kind" Nakamitsu responded. "The kind that turns a glancing blow into a lethal one"
The old man's eyes narrowed. "Poison, then. I should have guessed. You look like the type, well fed, on some retainer no doubt. What do you know about the men underneath you, that you pass along on your oh so important work?"
"I fail to see what this has to do with our business" Nakamitsu stated flatly. "You will be well paid for your assistance."
"Then I have the poison and some certain... equipment that you will find of use" replied the old man. "But you tell your Lord, watch for the men and women that the games of power crush. His duty is as much to them as it is to you."
"He's a little busy right now" Nakamitsu replied dryly. "But none should suffer as I did. Perhaps Taira can help Taira."

Rank 4 provides some interesting choices to a assassin build of Monomi, with the ability to reduce mission costs and increase province happiness with the Noble Bandit side branch of the tree or the ability to continue down the tree towards the rank 6 ability and increase the likelihood of killing the target rather than injuring them with Exotic Weapons. In this case, with Realm Divide reducing our income substantially, cost effectiveness is quite important, so we take a single rank in Noble Bandit to help keep mission costs acceptable. Since we need a point in Exotic Weapons to continue further down the tree, but already have boosts to our critical success rate so only a single point is spent here. If you have decent income and no boosts to critical success rate, taking two points in Exotic Weapons may be the better choice, while if you are cash strapped, two points in Noble Bandit is the better option, as you gain no success rate from Exotic Weapons and ranks 5 and 6 give you 3 points to spend instead of 2, so you can still get a full two points in the rank 5 abilities if you so wish.

As we have reached an even rank (2,4 and 6), we get the choice of another retainer. This was fairly straight forward, as our choices were +1 to assassination or -5% chance to be detected on mission failure. As Nakamitsu's primary mission is the elimination of enemy agents and generals, we are far better off to achieve our mission than to be slightly better off if we fail. As such we take the Poisoned Tanto for an additional +1 to assassination, making him a 7 star assassin.

Shigehira smiled. "The best you have seen?" he asked, amused.
Mitsukazu nodded, ignoring Shigehira's amused expression. "Taneyori is by far the most gifted I have seen in catching troublemakers. His diplomacy might need some work, but he has the potential to be a talented Junsatsushi."
"I can hardly argue with that from you" noted Shigehira. "Very well then, I'll send word to Munemori to let him know that we have a new agent."

With the inevitable betrayal of our vassals and our sister clan, we need a Junsatsushi in the area who we can spare so that our economy doesn't grind to a halt when that happens. We also need him sooner rather than later, given the massive difference to province conversion and purchasing that the second rank makes, so to that end we recruit our fifth and final allowed one in Kyoto. Hopefully, by the time we are betrayed, a combination of our armed forces and Taneyori will let us quickly consume many (hopefully valuable) provinces and catapult us towards victory.

"My Lord, finding suitable replacements for my men is proving difficult in this province" reported the Samurai captain. "Skilled and willing warriors are few and far between"
Tomomori nodded. "We lost many men taking this place and far too many to replace out here."
"We will do what we can, my Lord" responded the captain.
"No, we march north to Owari. Suitable replacements will be found there. Gather your samurai, the levy and monks will remain here to guard this miserable place."
The captain saluted. "At once, my Lord!"

We need Tomomori and the Foot Samurai to be at fighting strength as soon as possible, but the closest province which can reinforce at more than a snails pace is Owari, two turns away. Luckily, we can march to Mikawa in one turn, then into Owari in the next and can return at any time. It's a slight risk to have our general and best units two turns away from the front, but the rapid recovery of our forces is worth it. The Minamoto army is more than one turn away from attacking Totomi, so if they make an aggressive move we can simply move Tomomori back, having lost no replenishment. I can make this move with confidence thanks to the intelligence provided by Nakamitsu, once again I can't overstate how important it is to use your agents to their fullest.

Winter of 1183

The northern provinces had long been a harsh place, poor soils and cruel geography lead to a much tougher existence than the more fertile southern reaches. This lack of wealth and lesser strategic significance meant that the more practical Kiyomori to have spent only where absolutely needed. Munemori knew it was his duty to protect not only the southern reaches, but the northern ones as well. His duty to protect them weighed heavily upon him, with wealth channelled northwards to erect great protective walls and the forces to man them. The empire of the Taira would be unassailable, each man defended by Munemori's protective net.

The defensive ring of our provinces grows a little stronger with the construction of a Stronghold in another one of our key northern provinces, in this case, Tango. Tango has more wealth and military capacity than the adjacent Tajima, which is also the last of our border provinces to lack a Stronghold. While Tango and Tajima also lack Town Watches, the addition of fortifications should at least assist with holding on to our territory, as well as allowing additional Barter Exchanges when funds are available. It's still a net economic loss due to the extra consumed food, but the additional security is more than worth it.

These great constructions were not without cost, however, as the men raised to defend their homes was reduced from a torrent to a trickle. Only the most critical areas could afford to raise new levies, as men and material were diverted every northward to fortify the border against all comers.

We recruit significantly less troops this turn than previous turns, despite our need for additional forces being greater than ever. The extra upkeep on all the newly recruited troops is starting to seriously strain our economy and hard choices have to be made. An additional levy is recruited in Totomi to further assist in the replenishment of the forces stationed there, while a full two new levy are raised in Wakasa, as I hope to launch an attack from there to seize the very valuable adjacent province. Mikawa still requires troops to be raised for the purpose of maintaining order, although hopefully not for that much longer given that it has a reasonable defensive force present but no fortifications making it fairly easy to capture given the cost of the garrison force.

"My Lord, thank you for granting me audience" the man stated, bowing.
"Tomoyori, you have always been a loyal servant to my father. It is an honour to see you again" replied Shigehira.
"The honour is all mine, my Lord" noted Tomoyori. "I come to seek a boon for my son. His leadership skills and mastery of the budo arts are formidable. I wish for you to accept him as a general of our glorious forces."
Shigehira looked pained. "Nothing would please me more, Tomoyori, but I fear we can not afford to raise another force for him to command."
Disappointment flashed briefly across Tomoyori's face, before it was once again a mask of civility. "Of course, my Lord. I thank you for your time."

You may be wondering how you get additional generals if you are unlucky enough to have few or very young children in game. This is one method through which new generals can be acquired. For 1000 koku, a new general will appear in your capital and there is no downside to refusing. This can be quite useful if you have commissioners to appoint, as the extra benefit from having those staffed can easily offset the cost over the life of the general. In addition to this event or having children grow up, you can also get new generals through seducing them with a shirabyoshi, bribing them with a junsatsushi or winning a substantial fight with a general-less army (the captain in charge must survive, obviously). Of those, only the children growing up and the field commission are free.

Since we have no need for additional generals at this time and given our limited financial situation, we decline to employ the young man.

Ietoyo looked over the scouting reports and absent-mindedly rubbed his temple. He had expected to be under attack, yet the Kitabitake forces marched right past his fortifications right toward South Shinano at great speed. That those forced into vassalage under duress should throw themselves so fully into a war not their own seemed... unusual, if not outright suspicious. Putting the scroll down, he sighed. Maybe this endless war was eroding his better spirits, looking for treachery and dishonour where none existed. He had done what he had to for his family to survive, could the Kitabitake have not done the same? Servitude to the Taira in exchange for the survival of family, their servitude was different to his, perhaps, but it was still servitude.

The Kitabitake had deployed a decently sized force which I had thought was intended to attack us along with a declaration of their rebellion and betrayal. Instead, I may have misjudged them, as they marched the force right past my provinces and directly for South Shinano, the poorly defended province of the Minamoto (Notice it is only defended by 3 units, as indicated by the 3 grey stripes on the flag). With any luck, they intend to uphold their end of the bargain by taking on Japan head to head, while I upkeep my end (they get to survive when I own Japan) and profit either way. If the Kitabitake win, they will occupy some attention from the Minamoto and divert their forces away from me to fight armies I don't have to raise or upkeep. If the Kitabitake lose, not only do I no longer have to fear rebellion from them but I also get to sweep in an crush the now heavily weakened Minamoto force! Never underestimate the value of vassal states!

Nakamitsu pondered the report. Although the writing was crude, the scribe writing it had been barely literate, the information it contained was more valuable than the most elaborate prose. The Minamoto army was closing in and Tomomori was marching away from them with some of their best troops. Nakamitsu was no master tactician, but he knew that Tomomori must be informed at once.

Not all the news is good, however, with a respectable Minamoto force moving towards Suruga and Totomi. Tomomori will need to be recalled to man the walls if this army attacks, although I expect it's more likely to be a defensive force in response to the army I have recuperating in Totomi. Little does the computer know it's absolutely bushed.

The Awa administrator walked along the beach, the waves crashing in, the sky dark and cloudy. Reports indicated that a hostile army was marching on Awa, but a large contingent of Yashima Taira troops were stationed on the outskirts of the town, a force more than capable of crushing the approaching army. "When then would they still attack?" he wondered. "What use could be gained by throwing away their lives?"

A nagging doubt sat at the back of his mind, far more terrifying than a demon. That his friends might not be such, that the Yashima would turn on the Fukuhara and Awa would turn red with the blood of her soldiers.

I'm unsure what to make of this, actually. The Yashima have moved a very solid force next to Awa, but if they are attacking the clans adjacent to Awa, it's the most sensible route to move troops. Of greater concern is the army to the top left, which will easily smash through that small Yashima stack and is on a collision course with Awa. While I have confidence in the force defending it, without knowing the makeup of the attacking army, I have no idea if I need to aggressively increase troop numbers or not. With funds so tight, it could be a critical decision.

The message had been simple.
"The wolf prowls to the east. A warrior stands between life and death"
Tomomori carefully burnt the parchment before summoning the Samurai captain.
"We march back to Totomi. Trouble is afoot."

With the movement of the Minamoto force too close for comfort, we are forced to return Tomomori and the Foot Samurai back to the front lines despite their badly damaged state. I'm expecting the worst out of that force and I'll need every edge I can manage in order to hold on to the land I have taken. Replenishment is a luxury I simply can't afford during Realm Divide. I hope my western and northern lands fare better than these.

Nakamitsu knew that more information would be needed about the Minamoto force. Knowing the forces that they faced would be instrumental in divining their intentions and combat capability. None could be trusted. This was a mission he would undertake himself, a ghost passing through a sea of endless night. He would not fail.

I need more information about that army and I need it yesterday. To that end Nakamitsu is sent out on a scouting mission to find all he can and maybe put a dagger in the right place if the opportunity presents itself. Monomi are exceptional agents for discovering army composition, as they have the best vision of all the agents.

For once, providence was on his side. Not once in the two weeks he had observed the Minamoto force did they ever know he was there. The Minamoto forces were most likely defensive in nature, the vast majority simple levy, lead by an uninspiring general. Of greater concern was the hundred strong complement of Foot Samurai, clad in armour and weapons far surpassing those found in the Taira forces. While their discipline was far below the standard expected of the Taira forces under Tomomori, the superior equipment would do much to compensate for such shortcomings.

The news is mixed, with most of the force composed of Levy, but the 3 Foot Samurai they do have have been built at a province with an improved Weaponsmith, giving them exceptional combat statistics, especially considering they are fresh. Of greater concern is the fact that they currently have 3 times the number of Foot Samurai in Tomomori's army and they are as powerful as our elites, so we can expect to need vast quantities of Levy to wear them down, even if we do fight to the death. Archery would be the best way to eliminate this threat, but they also have improved armour. It looks like advancement in this direction is going to be stalled until I can work out a new plan of attack.

Taneyori looked back on Kyoto, nervousness making butterflies in his stomach. "I'm not ready for this!" he inwardly panicked, as his steps took him inexorably closer to hostile territory. Time would tell if Mitsukazu's faith was well placed.

Taneyori is sent out on his first mission, the conversion of the Ishikawa province to supporting the Taira. If I need to take the province by force quickly, it might help to have some support amongst the local populace. On the other hand, I may be far better served by putting Taneyori inside Kyoto or Omi for the additional taxation boost, as well as the experience. No matter which way it falls, I feel like it's the wrong choice. I need to find an edge, quickly.

Kiyomori's death had shook Settsu, for he had been well loved by the populace. The words and ceremonies of the rich and powerful had secured the ship of state, but for the peasants, a different form of reassuring was needed. A young monk, Hisakane, found the change restorative, a new look upon life and rebirth. He would bring the word to the people of all the Taira lands and assure them that all was right in heaven and earth.

That edge is going to involve our superb military forces and perhaps a Sou will be the little extra I need. A Sou is a monk, master of rhetoric and religious texts, able to demoralise enemies, embolden armies, create rebellion or cause enemy agents to have a crisis of faith. One of the benefits of the Sou is that they are exceptionally cheap to run, with most of their actions being free (The only actions with a cost are indoctrinating enemy agents and inciting rebellion). Sou are the natural counters of Junsatsushi and are countered by Monomi. I plan to have Hisakane demoralise enemy armies, causing them to turn tail and run earlier than they would otherwise, where I can cut them down without risk to my forces. It should also dramatically increase the effectiveness of my Onna Bushi Heroines.

Picard Day wanted to see the current state of our arts, so here it is. As you can see, we have heavily favoured the military arts over the economic ones and this has meant that my economy has run over a bit of a rough patch. We are currently researching Confucianism which is the final art to unlock the rest of the monks, at which point we will either have to switch to a more economic focus to reduce our crippling administrative cost or we can double down on our military arts and go for making the units we do have incredible. That would limit the deployment of more monks and foot samurai however, as they have enormous costs to keep in the field. On the other hand, it would lead to some truly spectacular feats of martial prowess for the units we do have.

Sneak Peak:Strange Happenings