Part 24: Update 22 (Winter 1185)The Enryakuji dedication
Autumn of 1185 (Enemy Turn)
"Captain, the enemy force marches on the city!" the scout announced as he burst into the room.
Yoshite looked up from his paperwork. "We outnumber them two to one and yet they still wish to attack us at our strongest?"
"It seems so, sir" replied the scout. "What are your orders?"
Yoshite smiled. "They have come a long way to die. We shall be generous and grant them their wish."
As expected, Mikawa comes under attack, this time from the Soga. Luckily for us, the Tatara army that is also present is outside of reinforcement range, so we only need to fight a single stack at a time. This is very fortuitous, as the blacksmith enhanced Sword Attendants we face are likely to do terrible damage to our levy, hopefully the garrison forces! Our valiant captain leads a force of 10 Naginata Levy and 4 Bow Levy, while the Soga force contains 2 Sword Attendants, 4 Naginata Levy and 2 Bow Attendants.
Click here to see the battle!
"Archers to the walls, target the swordsmen" barked Yoshite. "Leave the Naginata to us."
Mikawa is an exceptional fortification to defend, as it only has 3 walls to cover with archers as well as naginata. We have multiple rows of reinforcements to defend key wall positions as well as to grind down the enemy forces. With a 2:1 numerical advantage and walls, we should win this battle comprehensively.
"Flaming arrows! FIRE!" screamed Yoshite from the battlements. Fire leap from the walls, arcing towards the enemy soldiers. Men tumbled, pieced by arrows, an unlucky few found their clothes aflame, screams piercing through the noise of battle.
As expected, the Soga attack crashed into our walls and melted, killing a mere 360 of our troops, with around 150 of those being our immediately replenishing garrison. We are in good shape.
Cheers erupted from the Taira forces as the Soga turned tail and ran. A chant of "Taira! Taira! Taira!" burst from the men, high on the thrill of victory. For every fallen Taira soldier, there lay two dead Soga, a potent testament to the invincibility of the Taira spirit.
The Naginata Levy garrison did the bulk of the killing as well as the bulk of the dying. It will take more than this to make the walls of Mikawa fall.
"Captain, the second landing force approaches, alongside the remnants of the crushed Soga" reported the scout.
Yoshite sighed. "I admit, I find the slaughter of fools to be pointless and exhausting."
"Sir?" inquired the scout.
"Summon the men and man the walls. Mikawa will never fall as long as I draw breath."
Undeterred by the crushing defeat of their allies, the Tatara march upon the walls of Mikawa, certain of their victory. The remnants of the Soga army, sensing an opportunity to repay the Taira forces, join the attack. The enemy forces number 8 Naginata Levy and 2 Bow Levy, still not enough to outnumber the veteran defenders 9 Naginata Levy and 3.5 Bow Levy.
Click here to see the battle!
The Tatara forces dashed upon the walls like waves upon the rocks, yet for all their vigour and courage, their efforts were in vain. Blades of Taira naginata traced crimson arcs through the air, the bows sang, silencing the Tatara battle cries.
The enemy forces, despite the additional troops, pose a lesser risk than the last army due to the poor nature of their soldiers. As we suffered minimal damage in the last attack, it would take a utter disaster for the walls of Mikawa to fall.
The Taira counter-attack was fierce, cutting soldiers down like a scythe through wheat. At the end of the bloody work, a mere half dozen Tatara remained from a host of a thousand. They fled, their will broken, hopes crushed. None would oppose the Taira and live.
Our mastery of Mikawa is absolute! A mere 5 enemy soldiers remain, every other pathetic dog lies dead upon the field! With less than 300 Taira soldiers dead, it's a strong message to the rest of Japan. Don't fuck with the Taira!
The archery lieutenant saluted. "Captain, Munemori would be proud. No enemy will take Mikawa, not even with ten thousand men."
Yoshite returned the salute. "Your men fought with skill and valour today. There are no finer warriors in all Taira lands. It is an honour to be served by such capable men."
The lieutenant smiled. "Thank you sir."
In fact, 200 of those losses were from our miraculously regenerating Levy Garrison, meaning we took barely 100 real casualties, a kill rate of 10:1! With the replenishment happening at the start of the season, we are likely to have almost all our troops back in action next turn. Attacks like this should not be discounted however, as many players have been caught unaware by a sea invasion to provinces they thought were safe, which is why token defensive forces should be left in all sea provinces, or within a turns march from them (since there are only few select provinces where you can disembark and attack in the same turn).
Winter of 1185
The Enryakuji monk bowed. "My Lord Shigehira, our order thanks you for the most generous gift of a mighty temple dedicated to us."
Shigehira nodded, his features serious. "We had a bargain..." he stated.
"One we intend to keep" interrupted the monk. "As agreed, we are at your command, ready to support the rightful rulers of Japan in the eyes of heaven."
Continued improvement of our economic power occurs in Kii, with the construction of a Market, as the game simply won't last long enough for additional growth that Food Stores would give to pay for itself. In fact, we will see an almost complete cessation of all economic related improvements, as we now have the wealth required to ensure Japan supports her true rulers. The big news for the turn is the construction of a Buddhist Temple in our capital, Settsu. The Buddhist Temple is the second building in the temple chain and further increases the happiness of the province, as well as allowing the construction of Naginata Warrior Monks and increasing the rank of all Warrior Monks recruited in the province. Combined with our Legendary Koryu Dojo and Mustering Field, Settsu can produce 3 high level Warrior Monk units a turn. It's time to drown Japan in wave upon wave of devoted Taira monks!
In-game encyclopaedia - Buddhist Temple posted:
The construction of a monastery is a tangible commitment to Buddhism, and it increases the happiness of all people in a province. As might be expected, a monastery is a place of quiet contemplation, removed from the worries of daily life. The monks are free to reach a better understanding of Buddha and his teachings, and to hone their skills as part of their contemplative exercises.
In the 8th century, Buddhist monasteries were subject to significant interference from the imperial government. Regulations controlled all aspects of monastic life, and religious leaders found themselves acting as bureaucrats rather than contemplating their own spiritual development. Driven from the monasteries to escape such interference, the monks went out into the country and took the teachings of Buddha to the population as a whole. It was not long before new monasteries, free from Imperial and Court control, were founded. It was, however, useful for the monasteries to have patronage from the great families, and to offer religious respectability in return.
The newly recruited Levy stood at attention in the Wakasa courtyard, the walls seeming larger and more imposing without the mighty force once housed there.
"Munemori cares for all his people, even the lowliest" announced the province administrator. "We are the Taira! Our martial discipline us unmatched, our will unfaltering, our destiny unfolding."
Recruitment this turn is a little less exciting however, with new Levy recruited to maintain order in Izu, Tamba and Suruga. Wakasa also recruits a Naginata Levy unit in order to satisfy our current mission.
Munemori read his reports.
"My Lord" announced the attendant. "The will of Japan bends to your might."
"It is for the people of Japan that we fight" responded Munemori. "We fight for the rightful Emperor and for the honour of the Taira. My father's memory will be honoured as it deserves."
"I agree, My Lord" replied the attendant. "Such dedication to heaven and the rightful order of things has been noted. The men fight with pride and honour, inspiration turning each into a hero worthy of fame."
By recruiting the Naginata Levy in Wakasa, we have completed our current mission and the rewards are exceptional! A full +2 melee defence to every Taira unit for 6 full turns, more than enough to ensure that we hold on to any territory we take, as even our levy will now be more than capable of holding their own with such a substantial boost to our troops. It's just what we need as we fight blacksmith enhanced troops to even the scales.
Taneyori lay in his bed, exhausted. "The Minamoto sympathisers are like weeds" he thought. "Pull out a dozen, yet another six sprout."
Looking at the ceiling, he wondered why he, of all the junior Junsatsushis, was assigned this task by Mitsukazu. He couldn't conquer this alone.
"I need some snails to eat these weeds" he laughed to himself. Suddenly, his eyes widened. Why couldn't he enlist help? What was stopping him?
"Use all means necessary, you have the skills" Mitsukazu had said. What if this was what he meant?
Our newest Junsatsushi gets a well needed level, enabling him to convert provinces to support for the Taira faster than ever before. As he is situated in Mino right next to the Minamoto, his essential skills should help keep the Taira/Minamoto war firmly in our favour.
Taneyori strode into the barracks, determination on his face. "You two!" he barked. "You will assist me in my duties, I have need of muscle."
"You are not the garrison commander, to order us so!" retorted the levy-man. "I jump only on my captain's orders."
Taneyori drew himself up to his full height. "I am under orders from Mitsukazu, who serves Munemori as his right hand! Bring me this captain who dares not spare two men for Munemori himself!"
The two levy-man paled, looking around for support from their slowly retreating comrades. Seeing no support forthcoming, one ventured "You will inform the captain?"
Taneyori nodded. "The necessary paperwork will be undertaken to assign you as my permanent assistants. I assure you, the pay is far more than your meagre wage."
Although enemy agents are starting to be a threat, we simply can't afford to not be converting the populace to support for the Taira as fast as possible to ensure we keep our game winning momentum. As is most relevant for that goal, we put both points into Vindicator to give Taneyori all the skills he needs in order to ensure loyalty to the Taira.
"So you have the brawn, but where is your brains?" inquired a voice from the corner. The man stood up from his table, katana hanging by his side, clothes and bearing of a samurai, yet no clan colours decorated him.
"Who are you, to speak so brashly?" demanded Taneyori.
The samurai laughed. "You speak confidently for a man who is beset with fear of failure. I wager you doubt you ability to do your duties. I am Kazuyoka, Kabukimono at your service"
"A masterless man" noted Taneyori. "Yet a perceptive one. How do you come to Mino?"
"The Adachi were once my masters. I served their Daimyo as a bodyguard with honour and distinction." spat Kazuyoka. "When you destroyed him, I failed to take my life and now I wander, a samurai with no master, a man with no destiny, a drifter with no skill."
"Then I want you to consider me your chance at redemption" uttered Taneyori. "Perhaps the gods meant your skill to be more than your sword. Perhaps you were meant to be more. I offer you employment and status. Will you serve me?"
Our two possible retainers were Hunting Dog and Kabukimono. With Hunting Dog giving bonuses to requesting allegiance, something we are likely to never do for the remainder of the game, we take Kabukimono, mildly improving the tax rate boost when Taneyori is overseeing a city.
The Awa administrator looked at the reports in front of him, the gentle sea breeze stirring the paper in the room. The walls had been checked and rechecked, the men drilled and trained, the bastion prepared. Yet Awa stood, unable to rely on help from the mainland, an island that hostile seas kept alone. Ietoyo had the Taira promise that these lands would be safe and this was a duty that would not falter.
Not all the news is good however, with our island province of Awa (A victory province no less!) under threat by a full stack of enemy troops. Although they are a full turn away and winter attrition will wear away their numbers, our half stack of defending forces will have their work cut out for them if the enemy presses the attack! With no way of retaking the province if it falls, it is the Achilles heel of my entire plan. Awa must not fall.
Mitsutoki looked at the town of Echizen. Knee high walls, peasant huts, sparse cobble roads, no fortifications in sight. That such a wealthy province should have so little to show for it boggled the mind. The Adachi had invited their own destruction with their neglect, but would he fall prey to their fate?
Meanwhile, Echizen, our most valuable and freshly taken province, has had a full stack Suguwara army advance from the adjacent province and rest perilously close to the town! With no defensive walls and manned only by level, Echizen is vulnerable like nowhere else in our lands. Enormous wealth and poorly fortified, if it falls our entire northern flank will be exposed!
Tomoe Gozen rode forward, her chestnut horse moving with the steady grace and subtle power that hinted at the finest horse in Japan. The mount's grace was matched only by the rider, poise and control perfect, each movement fluid and commanding. The Minamoto would do well to fear her coming storm.
Yet such challenges are mere entertainment for the true heroes of our land. Tomoe Gozen moves towards Tomomori and the ultimate unification of Japan, certain that no battlefield could hold two such titans of war. Resting in the town of Owari, her arrival will coincide with the final Taira offensive.
The death and destruction caused by the Minamoto wore heavily on Ietoyo's mind. "While the Minamoto live, Japan will never know peace" he thought. "We must end this terrible war before it consumes all the good in us."
Ietoyo will not stand idly by and watch the lands around him burned by the Minamoto forces. South Shinano is a key choke-point province, capable of producing large numbers of troops while also being an essential bottleneck between the Minamoto and Taira lands. I will sieze this bottleneck and put the pressure back on the Minamoto. Ietoyo has always served the Taira faithfully, I see no reason to expect anything less of the man and his army of unstoppable levy.
The Taira forces stood surrounding the castle, Ietoyo observing the position. "Their garrison is too meagre to hold us out" he noted. "Our forces freeze as we wait. Prepare the men to attack."
Suddenly, an unfamiliar horn blared mournfully three times through the icy air. "My Lord!" shouted an attendant. "Enemy reinforcements from the trees!"
"Order the attack" commanded Ietoyo, turning to face the cavalry captain. "Only you have the speed to prevent this new force from intercepting us while we storm the fortifications. You must buy us time."
The cavalry captain saluted. "You didn't keep me around for my boyish good looks. They will pay for every inch in blood."
Ietoyo frowned. "Do not act flippant around me. Men will die on your orders. See that you take the responsibility seriously."
The captain's smile faded. "Of course, My Lord."
It turns out that South Shinano is better defended than I had thought. Despite only having 2 Naginata Levy and 1 Bow Levy inside the castle, they have an army hidden in the trees consisting of a General and a regiment of Foot Samurai. It's going to be tricky enough taking the Stronghold with our 11 Naginata Levy, 6 Bow Levy and 1 Mounted Naginata given Ietoyo is a mere 2 star general. Nevertheless, hit and run delaying tactics are what Mounted Naginata are best at, so it's time for them to earn their pay.
Click here to see the battle!
"Chikasada!" barked Ietoyo.
"Yes, My Lord?" replied the captain.
"Your men are without equal and their skills beyond compare. You will lead the assault on the walls to seize the Tenshu" ordered Ietoyo. "The fighting will be bloodiest there, which is why you and your men must do it. I can trust no-one else to prevail."
Chikasada saluted. "After some of those bandits, these Minamoto will seem like children. It will be done."
Another common town location, South Shinano is easier to assault than places like Mikawa. This works in our favour, as we have all four walls available to storm, while they only have 3 units to repel invaders. If I can prevent my Levy from routing, the outcome will be forgone. My primary concern is the reinforcement army falling upon me from behind and routing my levy, as they wont stand when stuck between Foot Samurai and walls!
The cavalry captain staggered into the courtyard, his face ashen. "My Lord!" shouted an attendant. "He's alive!"
Ietoyo hurried to the man, yet stopped when his state became apparent. The captain's condition was grave. Arrows were stuck in his gut and chest, a garish sword wound to his arm was filthy, a sickly mixture of blood and dirt.
"What happened?" demanded Ietoyo.
The captain tried to salute, but instead he fell to the ground. As men rushed to help, a voice answered Ietoyo.
"He ordered us to withdraw, as the enemy force was too great. He wouldn't fall back though, he said he was buying us all time to get out alive. He faced 50 samurai alone so that we might win this day. We thought he was dead."
"Let us hope his courage is matched by his vitality" replied Ietoyo. "For I fear he won't live the night."
A mighty battle, the Minamoto are ferocious warriors, worthy adversaries of the unstoppable Taira! Our ultra-elite Naginata Levy did their job admirably, as the did the Mounted Naginata, but the cost was high. Both units were damaged beyond any combat effectiveness. The elite Naginata Levy unit will be replenished with fresh recruits, bringing the experience level of the unit down substantially. Despite this, the strong defensive position will give us a critical staging point to ensure the Minamoto never recover.
"My Lord, Chikasada is dead" reported the attendant. "He was first over the walls and lead the attack with a strength unmatched by even the finest samurai."
"Is this my legacy as a leader?" demanded Ietoyo. "Do I order the destruction of all I respect? How much more will this civil war cost Japan?"
"The bandit hunters suffered tremendous casualties taking the fortifications" noted the attendant, ignoring the rhetorical questions. "Barely 1 in 3 survived the assault."
Perhaps the most deceptive result here is the 31 kills on our Mounted Naginata. Each of those were Foot Samurai, representing more combat fire-power than the 3 units of Levy inside the fortifications. This is the power of cavalry in Rise of the Samurai, the ability to obliterate a elite unit of your choice, be it general or Foot Samurai. It is difficult to acquire and expensive to maintain, but sometimes that tactical option, available to no other unit, can really save your bacon.
"This province is built to train and replenish troops, my Lord" reported the administrator. "Barracks vast enough to hold thousands of men, facilities for the construction of fire bombs, the finest roads. The Samurai in the province clamour to be on the winning side."
"Maybe this is the final price we pay" responded Ietoyo. "We needed a weapon to end this terrible war. I see now the truth. South Shinano is that weapon. I will bring peace to Japan, no matter the cost."
The province of South Shinano now rests in the hands of the Taira! Containing a Stronghold, Barracks, Bushi School, Fields (Average Soil) and Post Road and Stations. The Barracks is the third building in the Mustering chain, improving the quality of Levy produced there by 1 combat rank in addition to allowing the recruitment of Fire Bomb Throwers. It also increase the replenishment rate of the province further. Post Road and Stations is the third upgrade in the Roads chain, increasing the town growth of the province, replenishment rate of the province and movement speed of units in the province. These two upgrades mean that units in South Shinano move quickly and replenish at an incredible rate, as well as allowing rapid mobilisation. In 3 turns, even fully decimated units will be returned to full strength! With 2 recruitment slots and the ability to produce Foot Samurai, South Shinano will be the spearhead into the Minamoto's black heart. We now only need a mere 3 provinces (1 of which must be Sagami) to win the game!
In-game encyclopaedia - Post Road And Stations posted:
Post roads improve communications, allowing armies to march quickly and more replenishment troops to reach the front lines. They also allow agents to pass freely, and aid in trade. Because roads and travellers are quite closely watched and monitored, they also improve line of sight and the chance of spotting a rival's nefarious agents. Travellers can only use them if they have the proper written authorisations.
Post stations were roughly a day's travel apart, and were supposed to be used by official travellers, offering rest and remounts as required. Because everyone had to report to the stations, it was relatively easy for provincial authorities to keep an eye on who was using the roads, and whether or not they could justify their journeys. Innkeepers, on the other hand, soon realised that where there were weary travellers there was a profit to be made. Historically, the close monitoring roads by central government only came about under the Tokugawa Shogunate, but from the first, only very foolish provincial lords would allow anyone to tramp across their domains.
In-game encyclopaedia - Barracks posted:
A barracks separates soldiers from the general populace, making it easier to train them and instil discipline, if only because civilians have funny ideas about deciding things for themselves. Ordinary men can be drilled and moulded into fighting warriors away from the comforts and distractions of any kind of home life. As well as recruiting new units, replacements for existing units can also be efficiently mustered and despatched to where they are needed.
Every organised army in history does its best to keep its soldiers away from civilians, if only to keep desertion, drunkenness and debauchery at manageable levels! Even though life as a soldier is harsh, and never harsher than during training, it is often better than a life spent labouring in the fields. The work is hard, but then so is farming, and there is probably more chance that the new soldier, rather than the farmer, enjoys a hot meal at the end of his labours. There is danger, but then the same is true of working the land. A soldier, though, unlike the peasant, has a chance of making his fortune and changing his fate.
The winds were cold, yet such physical troubles were far from Hisakane's mind. The people knew of the supremacy of the Taira, how peace would reign under their wise guidance. Yet the Minamoto still fought against this heavenly truth, despite all signs. They must be warned of their folly, before it consumes them.
Yet we are still vulnerable to enemy agents stirring trouble, so we move Hisakane towards South Shinano, ready to deal with any enemy agent response to our invasion.
"Mino is secure enough" thought Taneyori. "Yet South Shinano will be crawling with those who support our enemies. As Ietoyo masters the swords of the people, so must I do my duty and master the minds. This time, I have help."
South Shinano fully supports the Minamoto, leaving our army trapped there just to maintain order. We need to rapidly bring support for the Taira up and Taneyori is in the perfect situation to do it. Moving him into South Shinano from Mino, the rapid conversion of the province begins.
Nakamitsu moved through the winter snow like the wind itself. The Minamoto force had been simple enough to find, as he watched the patrol from the top branches of a tree. Suddenly, he heard movement underneath him. Another patrol! How did he not notice?
The shifting of his weight caused the frozen tree to crack, the branch failing under him, plummeting him towards the ground and the patrol...
The Minamoto scout force has burned our farms in Suruga, costing us valuable money. Yet I can't move out Tomomori to deal with them this turn, so instead I am forced to be a little more creative, using Nakamitsu to sabotage the force and prevent further damage...
Yet fate was kind, his fall broken by the soldier underneath him. As the other members of the patrol scrambled to draw their swords, Nakamitsu's unerring skill and speed served him well, knives and katana cutting a bloody swathe through the stunned men. He would make them fear his every move...
Soon the Minamoto camp was awash with fear. Patrols never came back, guards disappeared, men found their meals poisoned or their friends dead on their beds. Nakamitsu was the fist of an angry god, Japan herself demanding retribution for the terrible war the Minamoto had undertaken.
Success is ours! In fact, he is so successful that the enemy force is decimated, with the death of 21 (!) Foot Samurai and 9 Fire Bomb Throwers. Unable to move or damage our holdings, they will be forced to take winter attrition, leaving them weak enough to be obliterated by our defensive forces.
Mitsutoki looked around the room, all eyes upon him. "We dispatch a small force, say 400 men, into the trees to strike the enemy from the rear when they attack" he said. "We summon the reserve city guard to fill their spots. They might not be seasoned military men, but it should give us the numbers advantage."
He looked grim. "We must hold this place. Munemori depends on it."
Without defensive walls or a general in Echizen, I'm going to need to pull out every trick in the book to hold on to this place. Garrison units won't join the battle if they would make more than a stack, instead they simply fill your army up to the full 20 units. We have 18 units in Echizen, so only 2 garrison units will fight. Instead, we can take advantage of all our troops by moving 3 units outside the city into the trees, giving them the best chance of being hidden from enemy forces and being reinforcements in our battle, giving us the numerical edge and allowing us to strike into the enemies rear. Even if the enemy army decides to attack and obliterate our reinforcements, we are still meeting them on even numbers. I can't afford to fail now.
This is why I am so concerned. Their levy is on the left, each man improved by a blacksmith and thus significantly more powerful than regular levy. Our levy forces are on the right. Our mission related defence boost will be critical here, as it somewhat cancels out the additional attack of the enemy Levy. In addition, our armour levels are the same, as they are improved by a blacksmith and we have the Taira native bonus to Naginata troop armour. What I am hoping will give us the edge is that our troops still cause fear as a mission reward for our success with Nakamitsu. Losing Echizen will throw a huge spanner in my plans to push for endgame!
Shigehira looked at the gold coin. The Taira commanded wealth beyond any in Japan, far beyond what any clan could ever dream of. None could stand against them now. The Taira would prevail.
Money is no longer even remotely a problem. With Echizen and our other provinces all producing large sums of gold, we have more than enough to fund a push, fortification AND mass recruitment while still being healthy. Administrative cost is absolutely insane now, eating up nearly a full half of my income, yet we are but a few turns away from mastering an art that will reduce it by 20%, worth well over 1000 koku a turn. Money will never be a problem, so it's time to crank out the big toys (3 Naginata Warrior Monks and 2 Foot Samurai a turn? Sure, why not!) en-mass.
Sneak Peak: Men of Faith